Sunday, February 6, 2011

# 40 Ronald Wilson Reagan

Regardless of what field of endeavor Ronald Wilson Reagan perused, he left his mark upon the profession he was associated with.  Born in Tampico, Illinois on Feb. 6, 1911 he was not a son of privileged. At a time when only the affluent were able to send their sons and daughters to University, Ronald Reagan worked his way through Eureka College receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology. He played football and received his first acting experience while in College. His first job after graduation was as a radio broadcaster first in Iowa then moving to California in 1937.

In 1937 he was offered a acting contract with Warner Brothers studio.

Reagan volunteered in 1937 for the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, as a private assigned to Troop B, 322nd Cavalry at Des Moines, Iowa. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry on May 25, 1937.

Reagan was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. Due to his nearsightedness, he was classified for limited service only, which excluded him from serving overseas. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office. Upon the approval of the Army Air Force (AAF), he applied for a transfer from the Cavalry to the AAF on May 15, 1942, and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the 1st Motion Picture Unit (officially, the "18th AAF Base Unit") in Culver City, California. On January 14, 1943 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank, California. He returned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit after completing this duty and was promoted to Captain on July 22, 1943.

In January 1944, Captain Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the sixth War Loan Drive. He was re-assigned to the 18th AAF Base Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II. He was recommended for promotion to Major on February 2, 1945, but this recommendation was disapproved on July 17 of that year. He returned to Fort MacArthur, California, where he was separated from active duty on December 9, 1945. By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the AAF.

While never a great actor, he did have a good career as a 'B' actor.  His acting career took off in the 1950s when he became a star on Television.  From 1947 to 1952 and again in 1959 he  became president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).  Reagan led SAG through eventful years that were marked by labor-management disputes, the Taft-Hartley Act, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings and the Hollywood blacklist era.

Originally a Democrat, Reagan became disillusioned with the Democratic Party and in 1962 formally became a Republican.  He ran for Governor of California in 1966 serving as Governor from 1967 to 1975.  In 1975 he challenged President Ford for the Republican nomination. While he lost, he did gain valuable experience from the race.  Enough experience to return in 1979 and not only win the nomination, but defeat President Carter in landslide, returning again in 1983 to trounce Walter Mondale with the greatest landslide since George Washington.

President Ronald Reagan retired to California after his second term. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1994 at a time which there were very limited treatments for the disease.

Ronald Wilson Reagan died his home in Bel Air, California on the afternoon of June 5, 2004. He was 94.

Instead of posting all his quotes and achievements, I'll let the man speak for himself.

Reagan - A Time For Choosing

Reagan - Tear Down This Wall

Today pundits and left-leaning commentators are saying that President Barack Hussein Obama is the new Ronald Reagan.  Listen to the first video and see if President Obama's policies are more like Reagan's or like Khrushchev's?

History will place President Obama with the appeasers, but will praise Ronald Wilson Reagan as a true peace maker.


Debbie said...

The NFL and super bowl will honor him today.

Right Truth

Maggie Thornton said...

I didn't know there was a 1st Motion Picture Unit. No, there is no resemblance of Obama to Reagan. I would say "in Obama's dreams only," but he has no dream to be Ronald Reagan. Linked you at my place.

Bill Smith said...

Excellent piece.

I was occupied traveling 500 miles to and from funeral. I wanted to write my own post as I proudly served under President Reagan. I recall how he responded to the terrorist threats to military units in Europe. Swiftly and decisively.

I am cross-posting your article on the ARRA News Service with link backs and full credit to you.

As always enjoy your work.

Thank you!

Findalis said...

Debbie: I missed the tribute. I was in the kitchen whipping up the grub for the game.

Maggie: The 1st Motion Picture Unit was stationed in Hollywood and responsible for both technical films that explained a piece of equipment etc... The SNAFU films are a good example of those type of films. The other type of film is the propaganda film such as Frank Capra's series Why We Fight.

Welcome to the playground Mr. Smith. I hope your journey was uneventful and our condolences on your loss.

Our thanks for your kind words and cross-posting of this article. Please feel free to cross-post any article you enjoy with a link back here.