VFW remembers Glenn Ford

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, October 18, 2006

By By Lee “Lavan” Martin
Many senior veterans remember Glenn Ford and his film productions, but not many are familiar with his was exploits. Phil Brennan, a proud Marine and columnist for "NewsMax" does. His article published in "NewsMax" September 1, 2006 is reprinted here with permission from "NewsMax".
"When Glenn Ford died Thursday morning at the age of 90, major media recalled his long Hollywood career, recalling the 106 films in which he appeared, his many marriages and romances," wrote the Associated Press, "He was a star to the end of his career."
Glenn Ford was far more than that, yet none of the obituaries bothered to mention his extraordinary patriotism or his distinguished military career. Ford rose to the rank of Captain in the United States Navy after years of dedicated service that began with World War II and continued through the Vietnam War.
He was undoubtedly a star, one of Hollywood's enduring major stars, but as his biography on a Web site devoted to his long life states, his accomplishments were even larger than life off-screen. As his son Peter once told "NewsMax", Ford was "one of those Ronald Reagan, true-blue American types."
At the beginning of World War II, Glenn served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In 1942, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. As a Marine he helped build safe houses in occupied France for those hiding from the Nazis and was among the first Americans to enter the infamous Dachau concentration camp at war's end. He went on to serve in the Navy and at war's end he was commissioned a Commander in the Naval Reserves.
Committed to service in the armed forces, Ford also served two tours of duty in Vietnam and the Third Marine Amphibious Force in 1966-1968. He once went on a jungle mission with a Special Forces Team during the Vietnam War. Ford was the only actor to have served with both the Green Berets and the French Foreign Legion and his military record is well-recognized in both the United States and France as a highly decorated veteran.
Among his numerous medals and commendations are the Medal of Honor presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Medaille de la France Libre for the liberation of France, two commendation medals from the U.S. Navy and the Vietnamese Legion of Merit. He received the rank of Captain with the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1968, retiring in 1977.
Ford bravely served his country in two wars (not on the sidelines, but in front lines), facing enemy fire on many occasions and never expecting to be treated like a Hollywood star but as a fellow fighting man. He was indeed a hero both on and off the screen.
That's the way Glenn Ford would want to be remembered.
Two years ago he told "NewsMax", "Let's never forget that to remain free we must always be strong. That's an important lesson I learned in my Navy career in World War II. National defense must be the top priority for our country. If you are strong, you are safe. Now is the time for every American to be proud. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. If we are not brave, we will not be free."
Glenn Ford lived the motto of the Marine Corps, Semper Fidelis. He was always faithful to the nation he served so long and so well…Semper Fi, Glenn"
Now you have the rest of the story, comrades. May we all continue to have high regards for our great country and our many, many VFW heroes!
Lee "Lavan" Martin is commander of the Atmore VFW Post 7016.

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