View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Bill Mauldin died. I am too young to remember much of Vietnam, much less World War II, but his Up Front was one of the first books I read about the war that wasn't about battles or moving lines, but about the life of the average soldier. He helped me understand the resilience that the US soliders showed during the war. He explained that most enlisted men didn't resent officers for being officers, but did resent officers who didn't take care of them, and respected those who did. And how the most important this was to stay alive, and the best way to do that was to get the damn thing over with as quickly as possible.

The book was littered with his cartoons, and I can still remember the best of them, even without having seen the book for years. US soldiers were strictly forbidden from looting, but every once in a while, couldn't resist the temptation to supplement their rations with a cow that "happened to be in the way when th' gun just went off." The one that illustrated how the next line back was the "rear eschelon." There was one he alone loved, of a cavalry officer shooting his wrecked jeep, that eventually got turned into a visual in M*A*S*H. While the AP was filing glowing dispatches about upbeat, victorious soldiers, Mauldin was reminding the brass that these guys were suffering, and just wanted to get home, and could you hurry it up, please?

Blogarama - The Blog Directory
help Israel
axis of weevils
contact us
site sections