“…I was surprised to find out that LeMay wasn’t at all the man I thought he was … and I didn’t think he got a fair shake in history.
Here is a man who has been marginalized and even vilified as this mad bomber yearning for a nuclear exchange with the Soviets. Hollywood helped solidify that negative image with Dr. Strangelove ..and he became a favorite target for journalists beginning in the 1960s.
In truth, the real LeMay couldn’t have been further from the crazy brute that he’s been made out to be. He was a sober, strategic realist, who cared deeply for the men who served under him and for the country he defended. LeMay was perhaps the most brilliant military strategist this nation has ever produced – not my words but those of the late Robert S. McNamara.
And LeMay was brave. He put his own life at risk insisting on flying the lead bomber on every dangerous mission over Europe. He was one of the most influential factors in our victory in the Pacific Theater. And if that weren’t enough, LeMay had a third act that equaled the first two, helping to win the Cold War by turning the Strategic Air Command into the most efficient and deadliest military force in history that kept the Soviets in check for decades. …. ..
On his very first mission, LeMay ordered everyone to fly straight in with no deviation so they could hit the targets. The men were horrified. One pilot stood up at the pre-flight briefing and said they’d all be slaughtered. LeMay looked straight at him and, showing the most brilliant form of leadership, simply said: “No, I think we can take it and to prove it, I’ll fly the lead plane.”
(Excerpt) Read more at frontpagemag.com …