World War II

Oldest Member of Congress Fighting for Political Life

Posted on 03/5/2014 by | Washington Watch | Comments

Bulletin Today | PoliticsRep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the oldest member of Congress, faces a primary runoff after failing to lock up his party’s nomination March 4. Hall, a World War II Navy pilot who came to Congress in 1981 and will turn 91 in May, has said this will be his last race to represent Texas’ 4th Congressional District. But former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who is 48, said he wasn’t going to wait to run because Hall had made that claim in the …

Maria von Trapp: Her Family Inspired ‘The Sound of Music’

Posted on 02/24/2014 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyIn 1938, Maria von Trapp fled the Nazi takeover of her Austrian homeland along with her father, her siblings, and her similarly named governess-turned-stepmother, Maria Kutschera von Trapp. Their adventure eventually inspired one of the most beloved film musicals in history, The Sound of Music, which made Julie Andrews (who played stepmother Maria) into a superstar. But the true story lived by von Trapp — who died on Feb. 22 at age 99 in Stowe, Vt. — was considerably different from the one depicted on …

Lou Brissie: Baseball’s Wounded Warrior

Posted on 12/2/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyDuring World War II, major league baseball stars who were called up to serve in the military often got relatively cushy assignments, working as physical education trainers or playing in exhibition games to entertain their fellow troops. But not pitcher Lou Brissie, at the time a promising prospect coveted by the Philadelphia Athletics’ Connie Mack. After leaving South Carolina’s Presbyterian College to enlist in the Army, the 20-year-old corporal nearly lost his life on an Italian battlefield in 1944, when a …

Why So Few Veterans in Congress?

Posted on 11/8/2013 by | Washington Watch | Comments

Bulletin Today | PoliticsWhy are there so few veterans in Congress these days? The end of the military draft 40 years ago and the gradual retirement and passing away of the World War II generation have contributed to a record low of 17 veterans in the 100-member U.S. Senate. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter. In the House of Representatives the total of 85 veterans — out of 435 members — is also the lowest since World War II. The high point …

John Spence: Fighting Frogman

Posted on 11/5/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyDuring World War II, John Spence was the kind of hero who belonged in a comic book or movie serial. He was a member of an elite, top-secret team of combat divers called “frogmen,” trained by the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of today’s Central Intelligence Agency, for critical but highly dangerous missions — from rescuing downed airmen before they could be captured to planting explosives on underwater barriers set up by the enemy to hinder beach landings by …

Rick Atkinson Plans to Refight the Revolutionary War

Posted on 06/18/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentRick Atkinson’s Guns at Last Light has topped bestseller lists since May. It was the third volume in the “Liberation Trilogy,” his epic history of World War II, and now the two-time Pulitzer winner has reupped for another conflict: the Revolutionary War. Atkinson, 60 (left), spent a grueling 15 years researching and writing the three WWII books (which now have a combined 900,000 copies in print). But “the American Revolution has always had a grip on my imagination,” he says. …