World War II hero John Basilone, where are the John Basilones now?

Who knows who John Basilone was?   For those who don’t, World War II hero John Basilone  won the Medal of Honor in World War II fighting in the Pacific and the Navy Cross.

Then the War department sent him to the U.S. to sell our war effort against Japan.  So while his buddies were fighting and dying in the Pacific he was in the U.S. on easy street drinking coca cola, a war hero who had his pick of the best babes in the country. Then when his enlistment was up, he could have just said, “I have done my duty and more.  I’m going to return to civilian life, but with the invasion of Iwo Jima imminent he reenlisted in the Marine Corp to return to his buddies.  On Iwo Jima he was killed in action after leading the attack on the Japanese positions.

World War II hero John Basilone
World War II hero John Basilone in real life.

John Basilone has recently been dramatized in the t.v. series, “The Pacific” but where have they all gone now?   Most are dead.  Those who did not die in the Pacific battles have now succumbed to old age.  It is a vanishing breed.

Above is World War II hero John Basilone as he appeared in the t.v. dramatization, “The Pacific”.  Notice that John is carrying an M-1 carbine.  This is one of the rifles I reviewed in my book, Guns and Babes for an Adult World.

The U.S. is no longer the same country I grew up in when we all watched Gun Smoke and Have Gun Will Travel in the 1950s a scant few years after World War II hero John Basilone was killed.

James Arness starred in Gun Smoke. Bigger than life Mat was supremely courageous, and very quick with his Colt revolver. Arness was about six foot seven. His sidekick, Chester, played by Dennis Weaver, appeared slight by comparison. But Weaver, a brilliant actor, was actually six foot two.

Our heroes are now video game caricatures.   Our youth are fatsos living on pizza and coca cola without a John Basilone in sight.  America has become a wasteland without values and with very few real men left.  World War II hero John Basilone

Richard Boone played Paladin in “Have Gun Will Travel”. The character, Paladin, is suave. He’s ultra cool. He is well educated and well read. He’s also a ladies man. But All of these exemplary qualities belie what he does for a living. He’s a gunslinger, with his gun for hire. He kills people for a living. But Paladin is far from being a cold blooded man killer. Whenever a solution presents itself that avoids a killing, Paladin seizes it like a knight at King Arthur’s round table.  James Arness and Richard Boone played characters that were larger than life.  These were the kind of men the young men in my generation aspired to be.  

But oh well, I live in Thailand now, and it’s no better here where most men are real pansies.  And where the office personnel in over 90 percent of the condos embezzle money from the owners.  So where are the John Basilones today?  World War II hero John Basilone and men like him  only exist in the hearts and minds of a few.  A vanishing breed.





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