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Memories of World War II: The event that sent Rod Serling into ‘The Twilight Zone’

From today’s Maureen Dowd column: Serling also had a devastating experience while serving in World War II. During a lull at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Pacific, he was standing with his arm around a good friend and they were having their picture taken. At that moment, an Air Force plane dropped a ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

From today’s Maureen Dowd column:

Serling also had a devastating experience while serving in World War II. During a lull at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Pacific, he was standing with his arm around a good friend and they were having their picture taken. At that moment, an Air Force plane dropped a box of extra ammunition that landed on Serling’s friend and flattened him so fatally that he couldn’t even be seen under the box.

“Many ‘Zone’ episodes are about that split-second of fate where somebody arbitrarily gets spared or, absurdly, does not,” Brode said.

Wikipedia reports that Serling was in the 11th Airborne Division, and that the incident he witnessed was slightly different, that a private named Melvin Levy “was in the middle of a comic monologue as the platoon sat resting under a palm tree when a food crate dropped from above, decapitating him as the men watched.”

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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