Marine Corps Aviator Deaths During World War II
Nearly 2,500 Marine Corps aviators died during World War II. Amazingly, more than half of those who died did so in accidents.
|USMC Aviator Losses|
|Combat|| 794|| (31.9%)|
|MIA|| 319|| (12.8%)|
|Operational Accidents|| 560|| (22.5%)|
|Training Accidents|| 815|| (32.8%)|
Non-combat losses therefore totaled 55.3-percent of all Marine Corps aviators lost in the war, possibly more, given that some of those listed as “missing in action” are likely to have also perished in accidents.
These figures may seem shocking to contemporary sensibilities, but were in fact not uncommon at the time. During 1943 alone over 5,000 military personnel were killed in aviation accidents in the Zone of the Interior (what is now called CONUS).
No Respect for Veterans?
Victor Mature, a rising young actor in the early 1940s, answered his Uncle Sam’s call during World War II, and then went back to work, becoming a perennial star in numerous “sword and sandal” epics well into the 1950s. One of these was Demetrius and the Gladiators
Though set in Rome in the mid-First Century, the film was made in California. One day, Mature practicing his gladiatorial routine for long hours in the arena, under a hot sun. Finally, the director called it a day.
Mature immediately did what any right-thinking gladiator would himself have done under similar circumstances. Without bothering to doff his gladiatorial togs, he jumped into his car and drove over to the nearest bar in search of a cold one. Needless to say, walking into the establishment while still wearing his cape, cuirass, and greaves, to plop down onto a barstool caused a bit of stir. After several minutes of being gawked at by the stunned bartender, Mature finally piped up, "Whasamatter? Don't you serve servicemen here?"