This week's Patriots and Heroes spotlight shines on another great military man, General Curtis LeMay. General LeMay has a huge list of achievements, and I can not list them all so I will hit the high points as best I can.
LeMay was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserve in 1929, and into the regular Air Corps in 1930. He started as a pursuit pilot, then received special training in the new art of ariel navigation and used this skill to demonstrate that air power could effectively protect the American coasts.
He developed the combat box formation, greatly increasing the survivablity of bombers through mutual support, and the strategy of night time incendiary raids on Tokyo. Many people think that LeMay's raining down of fiery death upon Japanese civilians makes him a monster. What many people fail to realize is that the Japanese population in Tokyo , and other towns, were full of cottage industry. Every family was making weapons in their back yard. This makes them a legitamite military target. His fire storm raids broke up this critical mass and greatly contributed to the war effort.
During the Cold War he headed the Berlin Airlift which saved the city and humiliated the Soviets, a noble goal at any time. Later LeMay took over SAC and straightened up a sorry unit and made it a fighting unit that really put the wind up the Commies.
LeMay later became the Air Force Chief of Staff and organized the he entire Air Force into a well oiled and effective fighting force.
LeMay was a storng man and general who was forced out of the military by weaker, short sighted men when he refused to support the waffling Jonson policies in regards to Vietnam. After the military, LeMay went into politics, but the perception of LeMay as an extremist sabotaged the ticket.
LeMay was an uncompromising man who stood for his country against her enemies, namely communism. He won many awards and honors doing so. He was a great man and patriot. For those who wish to know more the suggested reading material is LeMay: The Life and Wars of Curtis LeMay by Warren Kozak.