Talk:Joe Foss

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Joe Foss, Ace of Aces[edit]

I am aware of Richard Bong and many of the other top fighter pilots of WWII.

The title 'Ace of Aces' was originally ascribed to Eddie Rickenbacker, America's top scoring ace of WWI. His twenty-six victories was remarkable. In the early phases of World War II it was not known if any US pilot would match it. In the fourteen weeks between October 9 1942 and January 15 1943 Joe racked up 26 confirmed kills and 16 probables (enemy plane smoking and earth bound when it left the fight). For six of these fourteen weeks Joe was grounded, incapacitated by malaria and combat wounds. Joe was the first US pilot to reach twenty-six kills. Upon reaching Rickenbacker's record he was sent home and was awarded the Medal of Honor. It was at this time that newscaster Lowell Thomas first called Foss "the American ace of aces". It was in compliment to Foss' success, an Eddie Rickenbacker level fighter pilot for the Second World War. Later in the war other pilots reached and exceeded Rickenbacker's record, but Joe did it first and he did it in just eight weeks of combat flying.

Here is a quote from Leatherneck Magazine dated June 1943:

His name might be just plain Joe Doaks. It happens to be Joe Foss - Captain Joseph Jacob Foss of the Marines. As every Marine knows, he's the greatest pilot today in World War II. Twenty-six Japanese planes have plummeted to burning destruction before the deadly firing of this ace of aces.

Afterwards, the Navy had no intention of repeating the loss of a Medal of Honor recipient, as they had with Butch O'Hare, and they declined to return Joe to combat, finding other various duties for him stateside. Finally in 1944 Joe managed to get himself back to the Pacific for a second tour, this time as CO of VMF 115. He ended the war as the second highest scoring Marine aviator, though review of the records clearly show that Pappy Boyington's 28 included four probables (aircraft Boyington claimed while flying for the AVG but for which he was not paid, i.e. not confirmed kills), and the last two kills Boyington was credited with from his last mission in which he was shot down were never confirmed. Marion Carl argued that the Marine Corps should correct the record, but it never did.

Searching "Joe Foss"+"Ace of Aces" yielded 21,700 results in 0.18 seconds. Here are a few of those references:

I believe the moniker 'Ace of Aces' can be applied to more than one pilot. Regardless, the historical record clearly shows that during the war and in the days since Joe Foss was repeatedly referred to by this title, and appropriately so. In fact, if you refer to the info box on Wikipedia's Joe Foss page, you will find it is listed as one of Joe's nick names.Gunbirddriver (talk) 07:02, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

No, he wasn't the "ace-of-aces", he was described as such for awhile, that's the only thing you can claim. Quoting google search numbers is really not appropriate, since "Bong, Ace-of-aces" produces even more of a lopsided result, 94,700,000 results (0.83 seconds) which means?? FWiW Bzuk (talk) 08:03, 2 August 2011 (UTC).
Joe Foss has been referred to as "ace of aces" since around the time of his winning the Medal of Honor. He is still referred to as such. The last link that I provided you as a source was Joe's obituary from the LA Times, which reads in part: "Called "the American ace of aces" by newscaster Lowell Thomas, Foss received the Medal of Honor "for aerial combat achievement unsurpassed in this war" from President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a White House ceremony in 1943." The LA Times is a reputable source, and I have to look no farther to prove my point, which is that Joe Foss was referred to as "America's ace of aces". I have also pointed out to you that the phrase is applied to Eddie Rickenbacker. I do not argue that Richard Bong is not referred to as "ace of aces", I only state that Joe Foss is. For you to be correct you have to prove that Joe Foss is not referred to as "America's ace of aces", (abject nonsensical argument and not the point being made) which you have not done. Richard Bong was an excellent fighter pilot, and ended the war as America's top scoring ace. He is referred to as America's ace of aces, but the phrase has also been attached to other pilots, namely Rickenbacker and Foss. Gunbirddriver (talk) 17:52, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, he was once the "ace-of-aces, but was not THE "Ace-of-aces" of World War II, that distinction is reserved for the pilot with the most victories, not the pilot with the most victories at one time. FWiW, read your own statements, there is a significant difference between Rickenbaker as the World War I ace-of-aces and the highest scoring ace of the World War II, who was not Foss, good man as he was. Bzuk (talk) 21:20, 2 August 2011 (UTC).
I do not claim Joe Foss was the top scoring ace of World War II. I claim that he has been and continues to be referred to as an "ace of aces", and have provided references that support that fact. Gunbirddriver (talk) 22:45, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
That's fine, the way that the article states it is that when he reached the total of 26 victories, Foss was accorded the accolade of "ace-of-aces", however, others eclipsed that victory count and were ALSO then considered the "ace-of-aces", most notably Richard I. Bong, who is the only American "Ace-of-aces" of World War II, that's what the term means, regardless of others' misinterpretation, or that the there was a continuing use of a term one applied to Foss. See: Bong: Ace of Aces. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 23:15, 2 August 2011 (UTC).
See List of aces of aces. Gunbirddriver (talk) 00:33, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
See the list more carefully: Joe Foss, United States, World War II Service: 1942-1944, The U.S. Marine Corps' top ace, credited with 26 confirmed downed Japanese aircraft. Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor. Richard Bong, United States, World War II Service: 1942-1944, aka "Ace of Aces." U.S. pilot credited with at least 40 confirmed downed Japanese aircraft. Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor. What did you think it said? FWiW Bzuk (talk) 04:35, 3 August 2011 (UTC).
It is a "List of ace of aces" and in that list it named Joe Foss, along with a host of other individuals that found their way onto the list, including Eddie Rickenbacker.
I have been saying that Joe Foss was and continues to be referred to as an "ace of aces" as a descriptive name, which there is ample historical evidence to prove. Contrary to your impression, it is historical and precisely on point. Your counter does not disprove the essential fact, which is that Joe Foss was and is referred to as an American "ace of aces" which I believe is what I had in the article before you changed it. I doubt that much more can be gained from discussing it together further. We shall have to wait for others to weigh in. Gunbirddriver (talk) 06:11, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
He was and is the US Marine Corps "ace-of-aces" NOT the American Ace-of-aces although he briefly held that distinction (not a title, not a military term, just a description). BTW, what happens to all the other six aces that had higher scores, were they also ace-of-aces? FWiW, Robert Johnson was also briefly known as the European Theatre "ace-of-aces". Bzuk (talk) 06:18, 3 August 2011 (UTC).
Eddie Rickenbacker wrote to Major Richard I. Bong via General George C. Kenney, commander of the Allied air forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) on the occasion of Major Bong's amassing a score of 27 victories in the theatre. He said, in part, "Just received the good news that you are the first to break my record in World War I by bringing down twenty-seven planes in combat... My promise of a case of Scotch remains good..." (Kenney 2003, p. 63) Rickenbaker put stock on the first pilot to break the record not match his score of 26 victories. It was Kenney who bestowed the accolade of "ace-of-aces" on Richard Bong, and so appears on his books, Dick Bong: Ace of Aces and Dick Bong: America's Ace of Aces. FWiW, Bong was a teetotaler and received two cases of Coke instead... Bzuk (talk) 19:16, 3 August 2011 (UTC).
Yeah. Gunbirddriver (talk) 20:44, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
During the Inter-war period, there was some debate over the actual score that Rickenbacker claimed, with not only four balloons credited but that the score only reached 25, with some historians then rightfully confirming that Foss had actually "beat" the World War I record to become the overall American "ace-of-aces". Rickenbacker insisted that his "true" victory total was 26 and that remains the generally accepted figure to this day. In his communication with Kenney, Rickenbacker consistently uses the number as 26. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 21:20, 3 August 2011 (UTC).

Father's death[edit]

On his father's death, multiple sources state his father had been electrocuted by a downed powerline in a thunderstorm. I read somewhere that it was Joe that had found his father's body. In an article written by R.R. Keen, Master Gunnery Sergeant R. R. Keene, USMC (Ret), Associate Editor of Leatherneck Magazine, titled "Old" Joe Foss, he states Joe's father was killed in a farming accident. I assumed he was on the farm when he was electrocuted in the storm. I saw you cited the Sims piece. Perhaps we need to find another source to clarify this event? Gunbirddriver (talk) 23:52, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Here it is:
"And the spot on Highway 16 where, two years later, he saw the sparks shooting up into the sky that night of the big windstorm, and drove toward them, just curious, still humming the Sousa songs he had played that night with the high school band, and saw his dad lying there, his foot near the running board of his '27 Buick and his chest on the concrete, electrocuted by the downed power line he hadn't seen in the dark when he got out of the car." Gunbirddriver (talk) 00:23, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
All of the sources actually match and agree except for stating it was a "farming" accident, which is stretching a point as he was on the fields at the time of the accident. Daniel Bauer, in his book-length, three-part article, took his information directly from Foss himself in an interview in 1989, where Foss states: "Dad died in the fall of 1933. He was coming home from the fields at night and stumbled over an electric wire torn down by a storm." These are the verbatim remarks from Joe Foss as quoted in Air Classics, January 1990, p. 20. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 03:00, 4 August 2011 (UTC).
Read over the amended edit and see if it conforms to all the verifiable sources, especially those in Foss's own words. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 03:20, 4 August 2011 (UTC).
Yes, I think that's fine. You did a lot of work on that, Bzuk. Nice job fleshing out the story. I loved the sketch drawing of the Wildcat. Joe would like it fine. He never cared about stuff like the "Ace of aces" moniker. He was never gunning to be the top scoring aviator or top scoring Marine. He never resented Boyington being credited as the highest scoring Marine aviator, but the fact is a lot of their fellow Marines thought it wasn't right, and that's what rankled Pappy. That, and the drinking Pappy was found of got him into that scrap with Joe, stupid as it was. Joe warned him not to try it. He was a hell of a guy, Joe Foss. Nice job on his story. Gunbirddriver (talk) 04:30, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

point of view[edit]

"lack of respect for a war hero, all demonstrated poor judgment on the part of airport security personnel"....

This is an opinion rather than a fact, specially considering that at the time security was heightened at airports due to 9/11 being recent....someone can say the security was just doing their job and that he should have just removed his medals and asked for them to be returned, as I am sure not all Medal of Honor recipients had their medals destroyed at airports....Antonio Suga Baby Martin] say you, say me 9:05, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

The medal was removed for destruction, and was only released after an appeal to supervisors. FWiW, the reference source is fairly clear on the incident and although Foss's viewpoint is paramount, it is not out of the question that a confrontation took place. Bzuk (talk) 15:25, 16 September 2011 (UTC).
WOW...then indeed it was a lack of respect on their part. Still, that is just my opinion, not a fact. Antonio Furios Mercury Martin] say you, say me 9:31, 17 September 2011 (UTC
How about "all demonstrated lack of judgment on the part of airport security". Clearly Foss and his Medal of Honor were of no risk to the airflight, and not using judgment is one of the traits the TSA prides itself upon.Gunbirddriver (talk) 17:28, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
See new edit, this may be a bit of the too many cooks syndrome of wiki editing. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 16:21, 18 September 2011 (UTC).
I still think that in terms of Wp:Weight, the incident was fleeting and putting too much emphasis on it may detract from what is a profile of an extraordinary man living an extraordinary life. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 21:25, 19 September 2011 (UTC).
Yes, I've read that. I think the episode is better handled with the quote in place, as it gives perspective on the entire affair. The wiki topic of weight you refer to is really speaking of giving weight to differing opinions, not the weight or significance of an event in a person's life, as we can see here:

Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views.

Even if we were to take your meaning, that weight referred to the significance of the event in Joe Foss's life, we would be compelled to note that at 87 years of age Joe Foss was making national headlines in major newspapers, over an issue the entire nation was wrestling with, and is still wrestling with. I'd say his comments on the issue are worth mentioning in the articles body, and have placed them there as I had first introduced them. If you wish to discuss it further than kindly place a tag on the section in question and we can see if we can obtain a consensus opinion before further editing the section.Gunbirddriver (talk) 17:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Respectfully, I disagree as the amount of information elevates a non-issue, especially since the entire passage was recently challenged as being questionable. The number of statements made by Foss in the wake of the incident are also very different as he went from anger and recrimination to a more calm response, again, all making the entire event overblown, but I am not wedded to it. However, the mishmash of the ref has to be changed. FWiW, where did this quote originate, if it was from the Zimmerman and Gresham book, I assume it was from the first chapter as that deals with the medal itself. Bzuk (talk) 13:13, 20 September 2011 (UTC).
I have found the quote and it appears to be from a very different source. FWiW, the TSA abuses seem to have taken on a life of their own and Foss actually does figure in some of the commentary but rarely. Bzuk (talk) 13:47, 20 September 2011 (UTC).

It can be found in the body of the text in Chapter V: The Many Forms of Valor. Here is a link, but the page number is not clearly indicated:'t+upset+for+me.+I+was+upset+for+the+Medal+of+Honor,+that+they+just+didn't+know+what+it+even+was.+It+represents+all+of+the+guys+who+lost+their+lives+--+the+guys+who+never+came+back.&source=bl&ots=-uAVFDAOWH&sig=n2BIzXesqoyoXCc_x9vFXLQAXsc&hl=en#v=onepage&q=%22I%20wasn't%20upset%20for%20me.%20I%20was%20upset%20for%20the%20Medal%20of%20Honor%2C%20that%20they%20just%20didn't%20know%20what%20it%20even%20was.%20It%20represents%20all%20of%20the%20guys%20who%20lost%20their%20lives%20--%20the%20guys%20who%20never%20came%20back.&f=false

I have added a second reference which also documents the Foss quote. Gunbirddriver (talk) 17:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think you need the two references, go with the most attributable one, which is the Smith quote. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 18:06, 20 September 2011 (UTC).
Okay. Gunbirddriver (talk) 21:38, 20 September 2011 (UTC)