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The Senate has one less military veteran

Senator Ted Kennedy has succumbed to his illness.  We wish the family the best of it in what is always a trying time, even when you knew it was coming.

As my opinion of Senator Kennedy's politics is well known, I'll focus on his military service, as laid out in Wikipedia.
Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army in June 1951. Following basic training at Fort Dix, he requested assignment to Fort Holabird for Army Intelligence training, but was dropped after a few weeks without explanation. He went to Camp Gordon for training in the Military Police Corps. In June 1952, he was assigned to the honor guard at SHAPE headquarters in Paris. His father's political connections ensured he was not deployed to the ongoing Korean War. While stationed in Europe he travelled extensively on weekends and climbed the Matterhorn. He was discharged in March 1953 as a Private First Class.
 
Senator Kennedy applied his extensive military experience´╗┐ compared to many of his compatriots into a seat on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, where he  served on the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, the Subcommittee on Personnel, and Chaired the Subcommittee on SeaPower. 

Whenever a Republican President was in power Senator Kennedy rarely saw an emerging threat that needed a capability to meet it, witness his interest in missile defense and his insistence that rhetorical persuasion alone was sufficient to keep North Korea and Iran in check. 

While his views of the personnel of the US military were no doubt somewhat influenced by his good friend and colleague, the Junior Senator from Massachusetts and Winter Soldier, John Kerry, credit must be given to Senator Kennedy in being on the right side of many veteran's issues, most recently that of pushing the government on traumatic brain injury, as well as his support for the most recent iteration of the GI Bill.

As do all of us passing through this vale of tears, Senator Kennedy left a mixed legacy even if you were a partisan supporter of his.  Senator Kennedy's highs and lows were rather higher and lower than most of us achieve (or suffer) - from a college cheat, playboy soldier and guilty of negligent homicide to one of the most powerful members of Congress are highly exaggerated peaks and valleys.

Still, he met his service obligation, even if it wasn't too strenuous, and there are plenty who can't manage even that.  Make way down there in Fiddler's Green - someone give the Senator a shot of his favorite brown liquor as he passes through.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam of Private First Class Theodore Kennedy, who also happened to be the Senior Senator from Massachusetts.

13 Comments

You forgot to mention that Teddy signed up for 3 years in the Arrmy, relized his error and had daddy Joe resend his commentment for 2 years.  Not the brightest twig on the family tree...
 

Nothing noteworthy or deserving of respect here.  He did it purely to further his political ambitions, didn't do it particularly well, and his communist loving, nazi collaborating, gun running daddy greased his every move so he didn't get shit canned out of the army.  By my understanding, he was as lousy a soldier as Jimi Hendrix was.

Honorable service rates respect, but that does not apply here.

 
Steve, did you hear they are burying him at Arlington?

The scumbags all use military service for political promotion; Kerry and Gore come to mind. When I was trying to not get shot any more times than absolutely necessary in Vietnam, Gore was serving there with a BODYGUARD!  F'n Arlington...I can't believe it!
 
Teddy's vacation of his Senate seat was just a few hours early but still a good birthday present.  Next year I want to see the Dems trailing by large margins Reps who've come back to conservatism.  I always find odd the almost instinctive attempt by most civilized people to cast the deceased in a good light.  It's probably clear that I feel nothing of that compunction:  Dying does not make someone any more or less deserving of praise or scorn.  He was a poor soldier and a worse politician, and the few times he was on the right of things purely because of emotional views do not even come close to outweighing the wretched rest of his actions.  The biggest part of the whole deal, for me, is that Teddy won't be doing any more harm.  I wish his family the best in dealing with his passing, but that's the extent of my sympathies in the matter.
 
Galensmark - his service in the Senate, whatever we collectively think of it, qualifies him for Arlington, regardless of his military service.

Heh.  You guys have little appreciation today, on this topic, for the subtlety of snark.
 
"His father's political connections ensured he was not deployed to the ongoing Korean War."

This has always been standard practic, methinks.  En route to RVN in 1970, we were asked if we were related to anybody rich, famous, or political.  No doubt, anybody with any connections wound up anywhere _but_ where there was any shooting going on.  IMHO.
 
having operated the entire day under the old "if ya can't say something nice...." rule, i'm relieved to finally have one single thing.

PFC Kennedy: thanks for your service, rest in peace.  Fiddler's Green is kind of far down the road, and watch out for that narrow bridge crossing over River Lethe.
 

"He was discharged in March 1953 as a Private First Class."

Ummm, even considering the times and possibly slower promotion (Korea notwithstanding) rates...

Two years of service and he only made E-2?!  Even with his daddys political influence...?!

Wowzers.... that's a distinguished military record.....

What'd he do?  Drive the Generals car into a lake or something?
 
"Two years of service and he only made E-2?!"

Private First Class is/was E-3...ran into at least one Sergeant First Class (E-6) circa 1968.  PFC would have been good for 1952, methinks.....

 
En route to RVN in 1970, we were asked if we were related to anybody rich, famous, or political. No doubt, anybody with any connections wound up anywhere _but_ where there was any shooting going on.

Not all, not all. Guy Smith, Dean Rusk's son-in-law (yup, *that* Dean Rusk) was in the 162d. You should've seen the flap when he took a bullet in the shoulder and some fragments in his face during one CA and wound up in the hospital.

I visited him right after he'd spoken via MARS with his wife -- he said she went ballistic when he described his wounds, and mentioned that the doc had shaved his mustache off to stitch up his lip. "Whaaaaaaat?!? You grew a *mustache*? When did you do it and, more important, what the hell did you do *that* for?"
 
Bill, you are an absolute mine of information with respect to the grunts-eye view of war.

Me, I never knew until he died that Teddy even served. Good on him.

To the extent that he participated in the chickenhawk slander against Dubya, he had no right. To the extent that he refrained, I salute him for his restraint. To be honest, I don't recall him saying much about that issue when Kerry ran.

The man has passed on, and let us not speak ill of the dead.

Requiscat in Pace, as I hope Mary Jo does.


 

Ah, my bad.  I slipped into Marine mode when it came to PFC.  I mean I was a PFC coming out of  Marine boot camp.

Still, he only made E-3 even with daddys influence and the losses from the Korean intervention?

Oh well, being an E-3 Lance Corporal sounds (and is) so much cooler than E-3 PFC....
 
I also didn't know he'd been in the military until after he died.