May 18, 2010

Field Marshal Lewis, Savior of the Falls Air Base

History knows their names:
General George S. Patton.
Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
Field Marshal Gregory D. Lewis.
Sadly, that last gallant figure is regularly overlooked by military historians in one of the great tragedies of our time. The name may be unfamiliar to you, but Field Marshal Lewis is the hero who saved the Niagara Falls Air Base.
No, really. Apparently that’s what Ol’ Guts-and-Guts told the county commissioners of far-off Lake County, Fla. He probably figured no one would ever fact-check him.
Let us be very clear here: Field Marshal Lewis was AWOL during the 2005 fight to protect the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Actually, it was a little group called NIMAC (the Niagara Military Affairs Council) that did all the heavy lifting on that one.
Still, we’re always willing to give a hero of the Field Marshal’s caliber the benefit of the doubt, so we did an exhaustive Google search to see if we could even find his name in any article referencing the 2005 fight to save the air base. We came up empty.
This article at the respected website, for instance, makes no reference to Field Marshal Lewis’ supposed heroic efforts to save the base.
Nor does this article in the Niagara Wheatfield Tribune announcing that the air base had been saved. You’d think the local media could spill a few drops of ink to honor, or at the very least quote, the man known in Lake County, Fla., as the Savior of the Falls Air Base.
Actually, a search of contemporary news articles fails to turn up any trace of the Field Marshal. Lots of volunteers fought to save the base. We found references to county legislators who carried water on this one. We even found an occasion when lots of other local leaders linked arms to defend the Falls Air Base—but the Field Marshal apparently didn’t emerge from his foxhole to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Sen. George Maziarz, Rep. Louise Slaughter, and then-Rep. Tom Reynolds.
The war with the BRAC commission was hell. There were lots of heroes that day, at the battle to save the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Many of their names are forgotten, lost to history. A few are remembered. All gave some, but some gave all.
Except Field Marshal Lewis, who was huddling in his bunker.
Here at Niagara Times, we’re going to make sure that the real heroes of that battle—like local undertaker Merrell Lane, the chairman of NIMAC, and sign painter John Cooper, NIMAC’s vice chairman—don’t have their valor stolen by a yellow-bellied imposter.


James T. Kirk said...

Hobbes, you're being too hard on the "Field Marshal." Maybe you're forgetting his address to the volunteers who fought to protect the base:

"Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his air reserve station. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for HIS air reserve station.

"When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball player, the credentialed county manager. Niagara County love a winner and will not tolerate a loser for more than seven or eight years.

"You know, by God I actually pity those poor bastards we’re going up against. By God, I do. We’re not just going to prevent the BRAC from closing this base, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to lubricate our hybrid cars. We’re going to murder those lousy Federal bastards by the bushel.

"Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what did you do in the great BRAC Commission II, you won’t have to say, 'Well, I shoveled shit in Royalton.'

"Alright now, you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel. Oh, and I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle – anytime, anywhere.

"That is all."

The Avenger said...

That is too great. Bravo, Mr. Kirk, that is comedic gold.

Now, having said that, I think Hobbes is wrong. Anyone who attended any of the events to save the airbase remembers a few things: Bill Ross giving his rousing speech that had Hillary Clinton calling him coach. Reps. Slaughter and Reynolds showing that bi-partisanship is the way to get things done.

And standing off in the corner was a dope wearing a big I *Heart* Niagara County pin....the portly Greg Lewis. Yes, his love of Niagara County surely carried the day with those BRAC honchos.