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Sep-27-2007 17:57printcomments

World War II: This Is It

Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician, Toxicologist and Pharmacologist.

Ken Burns and Phil Leveque in Portland, Oregon
Ken Burns and Phil Leveque in Portland, Oregon

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - About the only people who know, who really understand what World War II was about, were the Frontline Infantrymen, whether they were Army, Marine, the combat navy men, Air Force bombers and fighter pilots.

The Infantry suffered 70 percent of the casualties, the Air force about 10 percent and the rest for everybody else. I’m not decrying the service and sacrifice of the others, but that is how it was.

If anyone thinks World War II was a big game of Cowboys and Indians (with 50 million dead) have a look at Ken Burns World War II. The battle sequences are absolutely realistically incredible and as a Frontline Infantryman, I am gripped with built-in instinctive feelings that I should dive into a foxhole someplace – any place.

I have seen exerpts of the first four hours of the series and the Battle of Guadacanal, where 1,700 marines were killed and 5,700 wounded, but 21 thousand Japanese were killed. I must mention that about 6,000 Navy sailors were killed and about 10 U.S. Navy ships were obliterated. The Japanese lost a whole bunch more. Under the circumstances about the Japanese, who, of us, cares?

It is probably fortunate that Ken Burns programs come 60 some years after the events occurred. The series probably could not be made thirty years ago because most all battle veterans were still fighting the battle demons of PTSD and unable to talk about it. These 60 years have given some of us the strength, fortitude and composure to not choke up and weep when we try to talk about our battle experiences.

It is fortunate that Ken Burns’ World War II is on OPB so we can watch it at home. No “Battle hardened” veteran wants to weep or be seen weeping about lost comrades blown to pieces or dying in their arms. We, battle veterans, have earned the right to weep. We’ve been there, seen that, done that. No one else has been through what we have nor would we want them to have done so.

You can email your questions to the doctor:

More information on the history of Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of Phil Leveque about his experiences in WWII. Order the book by mail by following this link: salem-news.com/pages/Dogface_soldier.

If you are a World War Two history fan, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for Dr. Phil Leveque's video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King.

Other articles and video segments about medical marijuana on Salem-News.com:

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