“Pacific Paratrooper” provides an opportunity to venture back into the past to experience eye-witness stories of World War II in the Pacific, Farewell Salutes, an occasional homeland episode and military humor. As I see it, the blog provides us an opportunity to understand the relevance of history to today. This post is an example.
During World War II, the Army had a problem: Many troops weren’t reading the preventative maintenance manuals — long, boring instructions on keeping guns, tanks and other equipment clean and battle-ready.
Army officials turned to newly drafted Pvt. Will Eisner, who arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1942 as something of a celebrity because of his success as the comic artist who created “The Spirit,” a popular strip that ran in dozens of newspapers, including The Baltimore Sun.
Eisner transformed the manuals into comics, in which Sgt. Half-Mast and Connie Rodd would remind the hapless Joe Dope of the dangers of improperly oiling artillery, recklessly driving tanks and otherwise acting foolishly with equipment.
The comics, which were printed and distributed to all troops, remain the most widely circulated of all time, said Benjamin Herzberg, a former assistant to Eisner. “He had a monthly distribution of hundreds of thousands,” Herzberg…
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