Sins of Omission

John Wayne and World War II

Ever since I can remember, John Wayne has been the actor the left most loves to hate.  While the left’s criticisms of him are many, the one that seemed to have the most validity was his failure to serve his country during World War II.  “He’s a big phony,” I was told by leftist classmates in junior high.  “His patriotism is all a sham.  He’s a draft dodger.”  This stung.  Most of us loved the characters John Wayne portrayed, and we wanted to believe that he was just like them in real life.

My big brother, Dave, had served in the Air Force with the Duke’s oldest child, Mike Wayne, and had met the dad.  “He’s just like the guy you see on the screen,” said Dave.  When I asked my brother about Wayne supposedly “shirking his duty,” Dave explained to me that there was a lot more to the story, and that Wayne actually wanted desperately to get into the service.  Moreover, research by Dan Gagliasso, a personal friend and a documentary filmmaker, reveals that Wayne undertook a mission for the Office of Strategic Services.

At Glendale High School, Marion Morrison, as John Wayne was then known, excelled both in the classroom and on the football field, and was president of his senior class.  He hoped to get an appointment to Annapolis but was chosen as an alternate. ...

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