Washington Students Say Pappy Boyington No Hero

The University of Washington student senate narrowly rejected putting up a memorial to alumnus Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, Medal of Honor recipient and leader of the legendary Black Sheep Squadron.

WorldNetDaily reports:

The University of Washington’s student senate rejected a memorial for alumnus Gregory “Pappy” Boyington of “Black Sheep Squadron” fame amid concerns a military hero who shot down enemy planes was not the right kind of person to represent the school. Student senator Jill Edwards, according to minutes of the student government’s meeting last week, said she “didn’t believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce.” Ashley Miller, another senator, argued “many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men.”

Senate member Karl Smith amended the resolution to eliminate a clause that said Boyington “was credited with destroying 26 enemy aircraft, tying the record for most aircraft destroyed by a pilot in American Uniform,” for which he was awarded the Navy Cross. Smith, according to the minutes, said “the resolution should commend Colonel Boyington’s service, not his killing of others.”

The senate’s decision was reported first by Seattle radio talk-host Kirby Wilbur of KVI, whose listeners were “absolutely incensed,” according to producer Matt Haver. Brent Ludeman, president of the university’s College Republicans, told WND in an e-mail the decision “reflects poorly on the university.”

Bravo Romeo Delta, writing at the Jawa Report, corresponded with Lee Dunbar, the president of the senate, and got the encouraging news that the resolution only “failed by one vote, and a good majority of those who voted against it wanted more inclusion of other alumni who were combat veterans who earned the Medal of Honor. This week a new resolution to that effect is being drafted and introduced.”

Ace and Michelle Malkin are also on the story.

Ironically, on the same day this news broke, the Providence Journal featured an op-ed from Jim Donaldson entitled, “Let’s save the worship for true heroes of the world.”

It’s an Olympic scene networks love to show. And newspapers, too. Even more than dramatic pictures of skiers falling, snowboarders backflipping, and beautiful pairs skating, the shots that everybody loves to see are those of American athletes draped in the flag. Or waving the flag. Or up on the medal stand, gold medal hanging around the neck, a smile on the face — even as a tear rolls gently down a cheek, perhaps mouthing the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the revered red, white and blue is run up the flagpole.

It’s gives the folks back home in the good ol’ U.S. of A. that warm-and-fuzzy, feel-good, isn’t-he-or-she-great, aren’t-we-great, isn’t-America-great, sports-as-combination-Kodak Moment-Hallmark Card, Mom-and-apple pie feeling. But just when did winning the halfpipe make someone a hero? What’s so patriotic about skating, or skiing, faster than the next guy? Does winning a medal in ice hockey make America a better, safer place?

The pictures I’d like to see, but we seldom, if ever do, are of a teenaged sentry standing along the DMZ, between North and South Korea, or beside the barbed wire at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I’d like to see video of the officer of the deck during the midwatch from midnight to 4 a.m. as he keeps his destroyer on course in the Indian Ocean while most of his shipmates sleep, or of the non-commissioned officer as keeps a watchful eye on his men during a patrol through the streets of Tikrit.


Those achievements are not insignificant. Those stories are worth telling. But, when the Olympics are over, will those same networks tell us nightly stories of the young Marine serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, a guy with a young wife back home, and perhaps a child who was born shortly after he shipped out that he’s never seen, doing his duty each day — proud to do it — while at the same time counting each day until he can return? Will they superimpose a flag behind him while extolling his virtues and telling us what a hero he is? And how about the female Army officer serving in Iraq, where women are treated as second-class citizens? Will we hear about her? Don’t count on it.

We all have heard stories about heroes of past wars — men like Alvin York and Audie Murphy, Eddie Rickenbacker and “Pappy” Boyington. But who are the heroes of the Gulf War? Of the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq? Combat heroes no longer are glorified in America, where, if battles occur, we like to think they can be fought without anyone getting hurt.

So true.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jonk says:

    This just shows the disconnect between our “youth” and the reality of the lives they enjoy now. You see it everywhere.

    Reminds me of the few days after Sept. 11th, when we put a flag in the window of our office at the University I work for. We got an email from an English professor in the office above ours saying we have to take the flag down, as it is a symbol of oppression, etc. You can imagine my response.

    UW and the rest of this country’s university Starbucks Revolutionaries can go to hell…

  2. Anderson says:


    That said, my dad (who’s forgotten more WW2 history than I’ll ever know) was of the opinion that Boyington was a better self-promoter than soldier.

  3. LJD says:

    I suppose that rich white men, Marines, and killing the enemy had absolutely no influence on these students’ right to be complete dumbasses.

    I agree that war heroes are more worthy of honor than olympians, but hell, look at the emmys, grammys, oscars… Talk about rich people worshipping themselves for doing nothing relevant.

  4. Wayne says:

    Just a technical point, Boyington was a Marine pilot not a soldier. No big deal just thought I point that out.
    He was flamboyant as many fighter pilots were and are. However he had a great number of kills to back up his talk. I give him his due for that.

  5. G A PHILLIPS says:

    T-Bird I think you have said it all agaian. Well done!Oh, LJD, and you get “Commonsense star” also, your star goes for what you have implied(liberals giving libreals awards for being liberal) another job well done!

  6. the Pirate says:

    Whats intresting in relation to the “rich white male statue” comment is Boyington was by no means rich at any point in his life and correct me if I wrong but wasn’t he also part Sioux?

    Of course the ASUW President said the comment was in reference to a discussion in the previous year, but interesting timing to bring it up talking about Boyington.

  7. Patrick McGuire says:

    My 5-year old son has been taught that anyone who wears our uniform is a hero, regardless of any acutal duty performed. He now holds them in awe and while he may outgrow that reaction, he WILL nevertheless continue to hold the members of our military in the highest esteem.

  8. Christopher says:

    The inmates are running the asylum.

    Not surprising that all this comes from Huskies. The Univ. of Oregon Ducks will do their part by kicking the UW Huskies a** in the fall when we play them in football.

  9. Anderson says:

    True, Wayne, but “soldier” was so rhetorically compact. A Marine in the air is a difficult creature to classify.

    Took a look at the article, and boy are those some cocky little brats at UW. Not terribly surprised, since my ex-girlfriend married a guy in the administration there. (Have any of those kids read Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon & failed to recognize their sort are being satirized in it? I wonder.)

  10. Herb says:

    What more would you expect from a bunch of spoiled, leftist, know it all, college kids. Yes, KIDS. that what they are and as everyone knows,

    “You can always tell a kid, but you can’t tell him much”.

    I can say one thing for sure, Don’t ever expect these selfish, egotistacal self centered kids to defend this country. They are to chicken and cowardly to do that.

    But, do expect them to take, take, take, from everyone else.

    Anderson, until you sit behind an R-2800, 2000 Hp engine in an F4U Corsair and had someone shooting at you in combat, don’t knock the guys that did it, including Boyington who prooved his expertise by downing 28 enemy aircraft.

  11. anjin-san says:

    I’ve always admired Boyington, a great pilot who served with distinction under very rough circumstances.

    That being said, these kids are entitled to their own opinion. Perhaps when they are older they will see things a bit differently.

    Maybe the students should think about honoring Ghandi. Can’t think of anyone more worthy…

  12. Anderson says:

    Anjin-san, if you’re going to praise Gandhi

  13. Herb says:

    Anjin San:

    “kids anr entitled to their own opinion. Perhaps when they grow older, they will see things a bit differently”

    You are older and you still don’t see anything different from the left wing extremist thought you espouse here.

    Whats your excuse?

  14. SgtFluffy says:

    The University doesen’t deserve to place a memorial to a hero of Boyingtons statue on their campus. I bet they would be behind a draft dodger memorial though.

  15. floyd says:

    people actually PAY to go to these schools?? boy; do they ever NEED an education!![lol]

  16. anjin-san says:


    Hey I was posting in the wee hours of the morning, and am a crappy speller even when the sun is shining…

  17. anjin-san says:

    Sorry Herb, I now only respond to folks who have a working brain…

  18. Herb says:

    Thats Ok Anjin, I guess you should know, your brain is stuck in “anti American” mode and doesn’t work to well in the arena of thought

  19. Bruce Schaffer says:

    Go here, read about him, and understand Greg Boyington was not only a war hero but a strong individualist with an anti-authority streak. If some of you could have met him your opinion would likely change. Don’t march to the brainwashing drumbeat of leftist professors and their robot activist, learn and think (which is what higher educations is supposed to be all about anyway).

  20. stefan Kelley says:

    I’m not surprised at the poor attitude of U.W. If an Engineering alumnus who flew an obsolete plane in china with the Flying Tigers, and took a plane that the navy didn’t want, and trained neophyte pilots to decisively beat a truly vicious foe, receiving the Purple Heart, Navy Cross, and Medal of Honor is not the kind of person the student body wants to remember and respect, I am fine with that. I’m also in favor of Osama Ben Laden using those privileged little brats and their Draft-Dodging Professors as a Bulls Eye. He doesn’t care what your politics are. To the enemies of our Nation we are all the same. Thank God for people like Greg Boyington, and the rest of us who allow these self-righteous little pricks to voice an opinion. Inside they know they are afraid to stand up in a real fight. They hate the police until they are victims. They hate the Military until they themselves are under a enemies gun, and they hate politicians who make them feel as truly pathetic as they are. Courage is something the left never has had. Their Professors tell them protest is the highest expression of democracy. Just like Jane Fonda did. Give her a memorial.

  21. Elloise Rybarczyk says: