Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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R.I.P. Andy Rooney


COMMENT: A lit­tle known chap­ter in the pro­fes­sion­al career of the late Andy Rooney con­cerns his work dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. (Rooney, of course, will be remem­bered as the long-fea­tured cur­mud­geon of CBS’s “60 Min­utes” show.)

Dur­ing the war, he was one of a num­ber of jour­nal­ists trained as gun­ners on U.S. bomb­ing air­craft, so that they could cov­er the air war over Europe. Paul Man­ning was one of them, as was Rooney’s erst­while CBS col­league Wal­ter Cronkite.

(CBS under­wrote Man­ning’s research on the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion, then declined to go with the sto­ry. The late Edward R. Mur­row spurred Man­ning to pur­sue the story–they had worked togeth­er dur­ing the war.)

The Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work, about which we speak so often, is far bet­ter known than might be sup­posed. In FTR #145, we exam­ined Paul Man­ning’s cor­re­spon­dence with var­i­ous jour­nal­is­tic heavy­weights about his book.

As can be seen from the text excerpt below, Man­ning, Rooney, Cronkite and their col­leagues were of a fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent cal­iber than the “embed­ded” jour­nal­ists cov­er­ing the Iraq war.

” . . . Ear­ly in 1943 a small group of Amer­i­can war cor­re­spon­dents vol­un­teered to be trained for fly­ing with the B‑17s in their mis­sions over Ger­many.

This was intend­ed by the U.S. Eighth Air Force to com­mu­ni­cate to Amer­i­cans back in the States the eye­wit­ness sto­ry of these air bat­tles and the brav­ery of their sons. Wal­ter Cronkite, then of Unit­ed Press. I was one of these trainees, rep­re­sent­ing CBS News. There were also, Glad­win Hill of Asso­ci­at­ed Press and lat­er of the New York Times, Robert Post of the New York Times, Homer Bigart of the New York Her­ald Tri­bune, William Wade of Inter­na­tion­al News Ser­vice, Sergeant Scott Den­ton of Yank, and Sergeant Andy Rooney of Stars and Stripes. As a joc­u­lar take­off of World War I’s “Fight­ing 69th,” we were referred to as “the Writ­ing 69th” by Colonel Jock Whit­ney, a peace­time pub­lish­er and financier, and Colonel Mac Kriendler of 21 Club fame, who were among those of the Eighth Air Force who had sold the con­cept to Gen­er­al Ira Eak­er. We were sent to gun­nery school in Eng­land, where we learned to iden­ti­fy all Ger­man fight­er planes and to strip down and reassem­ble with­in 40 sec­onds the Brown­ing machine guns used in the B‑17s and Lib­er­a­tors. This was essen­tial knowl­edge, for sec­onds saved in fix­ing the stop­page in a mal­func­tion­ing machine gun could be the dif­fer­ence between life and death. We were not fly­ing as excess bag­gage but as gun­ners first, war reporters sec­ond. Over Wil­helmshaven, on our first mis­sion, I shot down a Messer­schmitt fight­er that had come right at us from the front where I was act­ing nose-gun­ner. . . .”

(Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile by Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 by Paul Man­ning; Lyle Stu­art Inc. [HC] ; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 110.)



One comment for “R.I.P. Andy Rooney”

  1. I always liked watch­ing ’60 Min­utes’ every now and then back in the day. Andy, you will be missed.

    Posted by Steven L. | November 6, 2011, 5:13 am

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