To Be Clint Eastwood Tough

While Progressives continue lambasting Clint Eastwood for his speech during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Conservatives are applauding the speech and its humor. For many, the improvisational speech more than made up for the Chrysler commercial he voiced-over during Superbowl XLVI.

Either way, it’s safe to say Eastwood’s been in tougher spots.

Drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War in 1950, and stationed at Fort Ord, his certificate as a lifeguard got him appointed as a life-saving and swimming instructor. Eastwood excelled as an instructor and received a promotion to corporal.

But to supplement his $67 a month Army salary, he held a part-time job on a loading dock for the Spreckles Sugar Refining Company. When discovered by the Army, he had to quit the job.

In October 1951, Eastwood was aboard a Douglas AD-1 Skyraider that crashed into the Pacific, north of San Francisco’s Drake’s Bay. The plane had departed from Seattle, bound for Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento.

When the intercommunication system failed, the plane ditched into the sea at dusk, two miles off Point Reyes. Eastwood and the pilot escaped serious injury, and swam to shore.

The crash was headline news on October 1, 1951 in the San Francisco Chronicle. There was an immediate investigation into the crash, where Eastwood testified.

This kept him from going to Korea with the rest of his unit. He was Honorably Discharged in 1953.

He later reflected on the crash, “I thought I might live. But then I thought, other people have made it through these things before. I kept my eyes on the lights on shore and kept swimming.”

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About Tom Darby

French-born, American-raised, U.S. citizen, husband, father, friend, veteran, and writer.
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