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First Family
War Heroes

 

A January 18, 2005 article in USA Today noted the following:

"Until a generation ago, the children of presidents, oilmen and bankers regularly saw service. Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Kenedy, Prescott Bush--all titans--had sons who served. Today, 1% of those serving in Congress have a child in the armed forces--an institution that, according to sociologist Charles Moskos, is bereft of 'children of the privileged.' That's too bad. The real loss are the young and privileged adults themselves."

The article is worthy of note. Indeed, throughout history, the White House has seemed to favor not only war heroes, but Presidents whose sons also went on to serve during time of war. 

Below are facts regarding the Military Service of members of the First Family. In each set of five facts is one that is incorrect. Identify the TRUE facts and then select and indicate which is incorrect. 

Which of the following statements about the military service of former First Families is NOT True?


 Your Answer

  1. President Zachary Taylor, son of a Revolutionary War veteran, was a career soldier whose exploits in Mexican War (1846-48) transformed him from a minor military figure into a presidential contender. Nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready" for his military persona, he served as our 12th President from 1849 until his death in 1850. During the Civil War his son, Richard Taylor, became a General and military hero in his own right--commanding soldiers for the Confederacy
  2. Prior to being elected President in 1877, Major General Rutherford B. Hays served in the Civil War where he was wounded in action. During the Philippine Insurrection his son Webb C. Hayes served in combat where he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
  3. Our ninth President William Henry Harrison was our first "war hero" president (other than George Washington), a career soldier who became a Brigadier General and was nicknamed "Old Tippecanoe" for his heroics in 1811. He also served in the War of 1812 before being elected President in 1841. During the Vera Cruz action of 1914 a direct descendant of the old general, Commander William Kelly Harrison earned the Medal of Honor. During World War II Commander Harrison's son, Lieutenant General William Kelly Harrison, Jr. earned the Distinguished Service Cross.
  4. Charles Robb, the son-in-law of President Lyndon B. Johnson, served as a Marine Corps Company Commander in Vietnam during the period in which LBJ was directing the war from the White House.
  5. ALL of the above are true.

Theodore Roosevelt Family

Before becoming President, Theodore Roosevelt became a "war hero" during the Spanish-American War. When he was awarded a belated Medal of Honor decades later he became the ONLY President in history to receive the award. In addition to his own service, which of the following statements is NOT true of his sons.


Your Answer

  1. The President's oldest son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was wounded in action and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism in World War I. While he was serving in combat, Ted Jr.'s wife also served with the Y.M.C.A. in Paris. In World War II Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. earned the Medal of Honor and was the oldest American to land with American forces at Normandy.
  2. The President's youngest son Quentin, was killed in action in World War I, earning the French Croix De Guerre. Quentin's brother Kermit also served with distinction in World War I, then returned to service in World War II.
  3. Roosevelt's son Archie was wounded in action during World War I and declared 100% disabled, but returned again to serve in World War II. He may be the only soldier ever classified as 100% disabled TWICE in his military career. He was awarded two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.
  4. Theodore Roosevelt's daughter Ethel, as well has her husband,  Dr. Dick Derby, served overseas during World War I, providing medical care to wounded soldiers.
  5. Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. are the ONLY father and son in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Family

President Franklin D. Roosevelt served as President during the greatest war in world history. The potential for death or capture of any of his four sons by enemy forces might have been seen as good reason to keep them out of action. Which of the following four statements about his four sons is NOT True?


Your Answer

  1. Roosevelt's oldest son James Roosevelt suffered from bad eyesight, chronic ulcers, and flat feet, the latter of which made it impossible for him to wear combat boots. He served in a stateside command under a special waiver.
  2. Despite physical ailments including flat feet, wearing tennis shoes, James Roosevelt became an officer with a Marine Raider Battalion, landing behind enemy lines at Makin Island and elsewhere, earning both the Navy Cross and Silver Star.
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., was a Naval Officer who served at in Operation Torch and later commanded a ship in the Pacific where he earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart.
  4. John Aspinwall Roosevelt, FDR's youngest son, served as a Naval Officer aboard the air craft carrier USS Hornet
  5. Elliot Roosevelt, a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Force flew a P-38 during the invasion of North Africa, and then flew photo-reconnaissance in support of the D-Day invasion at Normandy.

The Kennedy Family

Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., was a career diplomat who opposed American involvement in World War II. Never the less, when war broke out his family made great personal sacrifices in support of the war effort. Which of the following statements about Kennedy Family heroes is NOT true.


Your Answer

  1. The oldest Kennedy son, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., was an aviator in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was killed in action earning the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart.
  2. John F. Kennedy was a PT Boat hero who was awarded the Navy Cross.
  3. William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, husband of Kathleen Kennedy, and the son-in-law of Joseph P. Kennedy served during World War II and was killed in action
  4. Robert Sargent Shriver was a direct descendant of  David Shriver, who signed the Maryland Constitution and Bill of Rights at Maryland's Constitutional Convention of 1776. Before marrying Joseph Kennedy's daughter Eunice in 1953, Shriver had served in the Navy in World War II and retired as a Lieutenant Commander.
  5. PT Boat legend John Duncan Bulkeley recruited John F. Kennedy to PT Boat service in World War II, where Kennedy earned the Navy-Marine Corps Medal.

As far as the Presidents themselves and their military service, which of the following statements in NOT True?


Your Answer

  1. Before becoming President in 1881, James A. Garfield had the distinction of being the youngest Brigadier General of the Civil War.
  2. Both President Grover Cleveland and President William McKinley avoided Civil War service by hiring substitutes to serve in their place.
  3. President Harry Truman was a combat veteran of World War I. His son served during World War II.
  4. One thing that President John F. Kennedy, President Richard Nixon, President Gerald Ford, President Jimmy Carter, and President George H. W. Bush share in common is that all FIVE of them served during WORLD WAR II, and all FIVE served in the U.S. NAVY as OFFICERS.
  5. President George H. W. Bush was youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings. During World War II he flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific including one in which he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.


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