Three Episodes


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"The Army-Navy Screen Magazine" was a bi-weekly series of films produced by the Army, Air Force & Navy shown only to service personnel providing war news from battlefronts abroad and defense efforts at home. One of the regular features were "I Was There," episodes showing first person accounts from front line veterans. Here are three memorable clips from the series:
* Two veterans of Jimmy Doolittle's B-25 raid on Tokyo, Capt Ted Lawson, author of the book "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," later made into the classic movie, and his copilot Captain Dean Davenport, discuss the mission, accompanied by film showing actual operations off the Hornet. Army Air Corps C-in-C General Hap Arnold gives a pep talk at the end.
* Bombardier & Navy Cross recipient Meyer Leven describes being shot down on the famous mission with the immortal Colin Kelly in one of the first offensive B-17 air operations in World War 2, three days after Pearl Harbor. In the fog of war, they thought they sank the Battleship Haruna, which was not the case, but the report was good for morale back home. (In fact they slightly damaged the Japanese cruiser Natori.) Kelly died saving his crew when they were pursued and shot up by Japanese fighters. Levin flew 60 more missions with distinction before he was killed in action. The narrator intones blandly, "This is the last time you'll see Meyer, because he's dead now." Wartime sangfroid.
* I Was There at Tarawa. Combat Cameraman Marine Corps Staff Sargent Norman Hatch went in with the first wave of the landings at Tarawa, "armed with a pistol and hand camera." He gives a dramatic first person account of the battle for the island fortress that bristled with heavy guns and deeply entrenched defenders. Scenes from landing on the beaches through the final defeat of the Japanese garrison, illustrated with footage he filmed himself.
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