Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

General ‘Mike’ O’Daniel: One soldier’s arc all the way from WWI to the Korean War

I’m not a fan of Gen. Mark W. Clark, but I did like this passage, in an oral history interview he gave to Columbia University in 1971, about Gen. John "Mike" O’Daniel-of whom I had never heard: Hell, O’Daniel had been my second lieutenant on my infantry company in World War I when I was ...

U.S. Army
U.S. Army
U.S. Army

I'm not a fan of Gen. Mark W. Clark, but I did like this passage, in an oral history interview he gave to Columbia University in 1971, about Gen. John "Mike" O'Daniel-of whom I had never heard:

Hell, O'Daniel had been my second lieutenant on my infantry company in World War I when I was wounded and he took over, won the Distinguished Service Cross. I pinned his first star on him at Salerno, his second star on him at Anzio, and his third star on him in Korea.

O'Daniel also served in Vietnam briefly in the mid-1950s. Kind of reminds me of Sam Damon. I recently spoke at an old soldiers' home and was struck by the number of three-war vets there, including a 96-year-old retired general who had worked for, among others, MacArthur and Ridgway. I gave a laudatory talk about Ridgway and even then, the old general said, I underestimated him. 

I’m not a fan of Gen. Mark W. Clark, but I did like this passage, in an oral history interview he gave to Columbia University in 1971, about Gen. John "Mike" O’Daniel-of whom I had never heard:

Hell, O’Daniel had been my second lieutenant on my infantry company in World War I when I was wounded and he took over, won the Distinguished Service Cross. I pinned his first star on him at Salerno, his second star on him at Anzio, and his third star on him in Korea.

O’Daniel also served in Vietnam briefly in the mid-1950s. Kind of reminds me of Sam Damon. I recently spoke at an old soldiers’ home and was struck by the number of three-war vets there, including a 96-year-old retired general who had worked for, among others, MacArthur and Ridgway. I gave a laudatory talk about Ridgway and even then, the old general said, I underestimated him. 

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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