The Last Full Measure – Lewis “Chesty” Puller, Most Decorated Marine

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For Chesty Puller, the Marines were his life. In 37 years, through three wars, Caribbean interventions, and regular service, Puller earned a reputation as a gruff, demanding leader, who, nonetheless, held the best interests of his men close to his heart. He became the most decorated marine in Corps history, but it was at Guadalcanal and at the Chosin reservoir in North Korea that Puller attained iconic status.

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Battle of Midway III

Lead: In the late spring of 1942, two great armadas met off the Midway Islands.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Isoroku Yamamoto opposed the war with America. He had served as Naval Attaché at the Japanese Embassy in Washington and knew first-hand how lethal was the power of the giant American democracy once awakened. However, when the decision to go to war was made he insisted that Japan’s only hope for victory was a surprise attack which would cripple U.S. forces in the Pacific. Pearl Harbor proved him right but he had missed the American aircraft carriers on December 7th, because they were at sea on maneuvers. Yamamoto was back in the Central Pacific in late May 1942 to take out those carriers and to establish an early warning picket line anchored by the two tiny Midway Islands at the tip of the Hawaiian archipelago 1300 miles northeast of Honolulu.

Battle of Midway II

Lead: Samuel Johnson, the author of the first great English Dictionary once said, “the prospect of hanging clears the mind, wonderfully.” In the early summer of 1942 with two great armadas converging on Midway Island, the mind of the Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was very clear.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Since civilian Eugene Ely first flew an airplane off a specially constructed platform on the USS Birmingham in November 1910, aircraft carriers played an increasingly important role in strategic planning. If there were any lingering doubts as to the value of the aircraft carrier, these doubts departed with the Japanese dive bombers leaving Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The Japanese attack was very destructive but it failed to take out the greatest prize of all. The three aircraft carriers assigned to the U.S. Pacific fleet were out at sea when Pearl Harbor was pulverized. In the early summer of 1942, a fleet under Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto returned to the Central Pacific to provoke a battle which he was confident he could win, take out those carriers, and establish an early warning line using the Midway Islands as an anchor.

Battle of Midway I

Lead: In the early summer of 1942 United States forces in the Pacific could have been defeated at the distant tip of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When the last Japanese dive bombers departed through the smoke that billowed from the ruined U.S. Naval Station at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, they left a job undone. While the line of battleships was hard hit and some of vessels such as the USS Arizona were lost for good, battleships were headed for a diminished role in strategic military planning. Hickam and Wheeler Air Fields were filled with many burning wrecks, but the aircraft could be easily replaced. Japanese had missed the greatest prize. Three aircraft carriers assigned to the Pacific fleet were absent on that fateful Sunday morning and to the Japanese command these ships remained a deadly threat.

The Last Full Measure: Leathernecks

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From dimmest memory US Marines have been called "leathernecks." Members of the Corps bear that designation with pride but the term actually began as one of derision. The history of the term goes back to the 1700s. In the Prussian military, officers wore a neck cloth made of silk, velvet or black ribbed leather.

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House Divided: Collapse of the Confederacy V

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the prospects of Confederate defeat around Petersburg increasing with each passing day, in spring 1865 Robert E Lee planned for a last campaign. He would give up the Capital at Richmond, extract his army, march south, connect with Joseph Johnston in North Carolina, defeat William Sherman, and with the last remaining serious Confederate army, deal Grant such a resounding blow that the North would be forced to seriously treat for peace. It was a daring plan and, of course, it failed.

House Divided: Collapse of the Confederacy IV

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Robert E. Lee had known it would come to this. He told Jubal Early that a siege was disastrous and would doom his army to defeat. His lines were paper thin around Petersburg and every day Yankee strength proved increasingly irresistible. Yet in the weeks of early spring 1865, he dreamed of a breakout, of joining Joseph Johnston in North Carolina and of a last campaign, first against Sherman, and then against Grant, whom he hoped he could give the slip.

House Divided: Collapse of the Confederacy III

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the end it was a matter of choice. Either it would be independence or freedom for the slaves. The rehearsed arguments across the South echoed the bitter national debates of the 1850s. Slavery was morally beneficial for both master and slave. Senator Hunter said, “what did we go to war for, if not to protect our property?” Howell Cobb of Georgia fumed, “if slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong. The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution.”