Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pappy Boyington memorial idea still alive

(reposted as blogger ate the original one...)

It is reported today that the Student Government at the UofW are considering a memorial to all 5 former students who are medal of honor winners.

Boyington was certainly worthy of a seperate memorial, but I would rather see a memorial to all over a memorial to none.

The students have a chance to undo a mistake, I hope they get it right.

UW Student Senate To Vote Again On Memorial

February 16, 2006

By Bryan Johnson

Student Senate To Vote Again On Memorial

SEATTLE - The University of Washington Student Senate is expected to vote again on a memorial to honor five former students awarded Congressional Medals of Honor.

Earlier this month the Senate deadlocked 45-45 on a proposal to honor Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. The student president then cast the deciding vote "No".

Now the student who proposed the campus memorial is suggesting honoring all five former students and some members of the Senate tell KOMO 4 News that is more likely to pass.

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington shot down 28 Japanese planes in World War II. He headed the Black Sheep Squadron, and got the nickname "Pappy" because he was so much older that those he led.

Kevin Cuba, the military curator at the Museum of Flight, says everything Boyington did was controversial: "He was haunted by his shortcomings most of his life. And I would say his entire career was fraught with controversy."

Boyington had a reputation of being a womanizer and a heavy drinker, but he was "a hell of a pilot."

He was one of four UW graduates to be awarded the Medal of Honor, a fifth student who did not graduate also received the award.

Student Andrew Everett wanted to honor all of them. He started with Boyington: "Pappy Boyington was the most famous. He wrote a book. There was a TV show about him. He was a legend a media celebrity of his day."

His Black Sheep squadron is featured in the Personal Courage Wing of the Museum of Flight. But fame is fleeting.

Students who spoke with KOMO 4 News today had little to no knowledge of Boyington. One ROTC student knew he was a flier, but could add no details. Another had never heard of Boyington.

The students are also too young to remember the TV series "Baa, Baa Black Sheep". Robert Conrad played Boyington.

By one vote, The UW student government said no to a memorial. Perhaps it was Robert Conrad, not Pappy Boyington, that led one student to say there are enough statues to rich white men.

The flight museum curator says it's sad students know so little about Boyington's fight to save their lifestyle: "He didn't just volunteer to go into combat. He begged to go into combat. He wanted to serve his country and he did."

Some who oppose a memorial to Pappy Boyington say that would honor war.

They may not realize that stately trees lining the main entrance to the campus honor 58 UW members who died in World War I.