This superb book is no “Flight” of fancy (May 30): Welcome to something that isn’t technically a Memorial Day story, because it’s about someone who survived his war experiences, but please allow me to broaden the day’s meaning a little.

It’s a tale told in a book released last fall that I just finished reading as this holiday weekend began. The Flight: A Father’s War, a Son’s Search is a tour de force. Granted, it’s by a friend of mine, longtime fellow journalist (and multiple award-winner) Tyler Bridges, but my recommendation of it as something great to start reading on Memorial Day would be just as strong if I didn’t know Tyler. I mean, this is really good stuff.

Tyler’s father, Dick Bridges, was a pilot in World War II. He was not, however, in a theater of the war on which popular historians usually focus.  I didn’t know that American pilots in 1943 flew from Tunisia, across the Mediterranean, Italy, and part of Yugoslavia, to bomb German war factories in Austria…. The longer, equally mind-boggling story is about how Dick Bridges survives after he is shot down….

Please don’t shortchange the defense budget (May 30):

It should by now be axiomatic that the best way to have fewer military personnel to memorialize is to maintain defense forces strong enough to deter aggression or to defeat any aggressors while suffering less American loss of life.

At a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee meeting leading into Memorial Day weekend, veteran U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) repeated his earlier concerns that the Biden administration plans to shortchange the national defense budget. He is right: Biden’s budget request would set this nation on a path bordering on military anemia.

Shelby noted that Biden’s overall defense request for 2023 of $813 billion, just a 3.8% increase, would not even keep pace with inflation, which has been running for months at more than twice that rate. He has said that with threats from Russia and China both increasing, the United States needs more robust forces, not force reductions.

As Frederico Bartels of the Heritage Foundation noted in April, Biden’s request would reduce the Army by 12,000 soldiers, cut the number of naval ships from 298 to 280 by 2027 (under President Reagan, the number was 592!), and reduce the Air Force by 269 planes.

And former Navy Secretary James Webb has warned that the Marine Corps is being gutted….


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