Semper Fi
September 4, 2020

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg dropped a bombshell on Washington, D.C., late Thursday, publishing a compilation of anecdotes about President Trump disparaging U.S. service members, frequently referring to those killed or captured in the line of duty as "losers" and "suckers." Trump and his aides pushed back hard against the reports, but then James LaPorta, a Marine Corps veteran and investigative reporter at The Associated Press, got confirmation from two sources. The Washington Post and The New York Times followed up with their own sources confirming Trump's dismissive comments about POWs and slain soldiers.

Goldberg begins his article with Trump declining to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018:

In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers." In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as "suckers" for getting killed. Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, "Who were the good guys in this war?" [The Atlantic]

Goldberg's report is "quite shocking," LaPorta told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Thursday night. "I actually didn't believe it — which is why I started reaching out to sources. ... Belleau Wood is one of those things that is sort of hammered into young Marines as they're going through boot camp. I mean, Marine Corps folklore comes out of Belleau Wood, the idea the German army called Marines 'Teufel Hunden,' which translates into 'Devil Dog.' That's where we get that name from."

Maddow also played a previously unseen part of her interview with Mary Trump in which the president's niece recounts a family story about Trump threatening to disinherit Donald Trump Jr. if he joined the military.

Goldberg told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday he thinks Pentagon officials are mostly baffled at Trump's attitude toward military heroes. "I think he's genuinely confused by service," Goldberg said. "I think the volunteer force in particular kind of confuses him, because why would you ever possibly put your life at risk for a salary of $64,000 a year? It doesn't make any sense, is my point, in his worldview." Watch below. Peter Weber

July 31, 2015

Bambi, one of Disney's most beloved animals, may be best known as "a little frail deer, not doing very well, sliding around on the ice on his belly," as Donnie Dunagan, the original voice of Young Bambi, describes him.

That image of a helpless baby animal is exactly what Dunagan didn't want people associating with him when he was later drafted into the Marine Corps, as he explained to his wife in a recent visit to a recording booth in San Angelo, Texas as part of StoryCorps' project to collect the stories of everyday Americans.

Dunagan went on to serve in the Marines for over two decades, both in combat and as a commander in a boot camp, all while keeping his Bambi past a secret. He was terrified that the marines he wanted to fear him would instead start thinking of him as "Major Bambi." Dunagan's conversation with his wife was broadcast Friday on Morning Edition as part of their weekly StoryCorps series:

Dunagan thought he had successfully kept Bambi a secret up until a month before his retirement. During a particularly busy time on the base, a general he had known for years called him into his office, assigning him more duties. Dunagan expressed dismay at the extra workload. Then, as Dunagan recalls, the general pulled out a top-secret folder from a safe with his name on it, looked at him over his glasses and said, "You will... won't you, Major Bambi?"

While Dunagan may have once had mixed feelings about his Disney past, he says now that he wouldn't trade that experience for anything. He loves when people realize that he's "this old jerk, he's still around and was Bambi." Marshall Bright

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