The United States Declares War

The assembled corps listens in solemn silence as President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks Congress for a declaration of war. December 8, 1941

WESTERN GRADS Answer The Call In Two World Wars
Five hundred and sixty former WMA cadets entered the service during WW I. Seventy-three percent of the school’s graduates between 1909 and 1917 joined the military during the war. In an impressive demonstration of patriotism, nearly 1,100 of Western’s young men entered the service during WW II. That number is more than half of the graduates of the school to that point in time. Fifty-one were listed as killed or missing in the line of duty.

O’Hare And Tibbets Started And Ended War, Says Alumnus

One alumnus who visited Western remarked, “Did you know that Western grads really started and ended the war against the Japs in the Pacific?” He went on to explain that the first great hero of the war was Lieut. Commander Edward (Butch) O’Hare, Class ’32, who struck a great blow at the Japanese by shooting down six planes single-handedly in February, 1942, in a battle over the Coral Sea. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor for this exploit. Then another W. M. A. grad, Col. Paul Tibbets, Class ’33, was pilot of the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August, 1945, thus hastening the end of the war. O’Hare and Tibbets roomed together at Western and both were cadet officers. Butch O’Hare later was killed in a night battle off Tarawa in 1943, leading his squadron to the last. Cadets last year heard Col. Tibbets when he visited his old school give a first-hand account of the famous bombing. He was accompanied by his crew. “Yes, they started it and finished it,” said the old grad, who was a fellow cadet in the corps with O’Hare and Tibbets.

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