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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011



As we all know our history books tell us that General Douglas MacArthur died May 1946 just before the start of World War III. We've been taught that the great General died of a heart attack while hiking in Northern Wisconsin. This is the tale we've all been spoon fed by our teachers and historians. In fact the true story is much more surreal and not very, shall we say... heroic .

The first of May was a gorgeous Spring day. The sun was out and the sky was a crystal clear blue. The kind of sky you can only get in remote areas and this was just about as a remote an area as you can get East of the Mississippi. This beautiful day was occurring in Northern Wisconsin on the Wolf River. It is a land of giant white pines.

These pines made a whispering noise when the wind coursed through them. Their thin needles in bundles of five caught the wind like no other tree can. You could almost hear the ancestors of the original inhabitants passing down their stories around the campfire from generation to generation in the whispers coming from these ancient giants.

The remaining Native American populations were all on reservations by now and the Wolf ran right through one of these reservations. The once proud Menominee Nation now inhabited this backwater of backwaters. They welcomed the few visitors that came long distances over mud roads with open arms and were eager to earn money guiding tender-feet and city slickers on whatever adventure they wished to enjoy up here in the land of the truly sky blue waters.

What brought the distinguished visitor from out East here to Gardner Dam on the Wolf river in early May is still quite a mystery. The locals knew that you could catch some great fish with flies this time of year but it took the right day and the right old wily fisherman to bag some of the best fighting and more importantly, the best eating Brook trout anywhere in the world. Brooks and Browns where what you wanted out of the Wolf. The Rainbows where fine but the Brooks and Browns melted in your mouth when they came out of the pristine waters near Gardner Dam.

The Wolf River flows into Lake Winnebago and then out to Lake Michigan through the Fox river and Green Bay. Industries along the way gradually made the best water on earth into a slightly less drinkable concoction. The paper mills along the way and the farms around the shores of Lake Winnebago added funny tastes and smells that gradually were diluted by huge Lake Michigan and then mingled with the other Great Lakes that eventually went over Niagara Falls and into the Atlantic. These Great Lakes held 85% of America's fresh water but no one cared about that now. They were to be used for commercial fishing and to cool, lubricate, mix with all manner of industrial endeavors and human excrement and then to be poured back into the lakes and eventually the ocean.

For reasons unknown, General Douglas MacArthur and a small entourage decided to drive up from Chicago and try their hand at fishing on the Wolf River. Mac was in Chicago as part of a good will tour and some say a slap on the wrist from Truman. He was dragged from his position in Japan and made to complete this tour on his way to Washington to meet with the President. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh were on the designated route.

Perhaps one of McArthur's subordinates used to tell stories about Gardner Dam and the Wolf River or perhaps some obscure article Douglas read as a boy drew him to the rapids of Gardner Dam. All we know is that he ordered his unhappy band of not very merry men to arrange a fishing trip and Gardner Dam on the Wolf River was to be the destination.

I'm sure sticking his thumb in Truman's eye was a large part of it too. He was always known for being frustratingly late when it suited his mood and his mood was not very good having being dragged halfway around the world on the orders of an ex-artillery captain.

The group of 12 showed up in 2 Packard's and a Hudson. The local inhabitants were puzzled but delighted to have the early season business. They assured the General that they would have the best guide who could not only show them how to fly fish but where and what flies would get the desired results. They helped the Generals Aides erect some splendid looking army tents complete with all the amenities and everyone had the best night’s sleep they've had in a longtime.

The next day was the day we started this story. Everyone was eager to try their hand at fly fishing. Even the grumbling aides finally got into the spirit and were anxious to get into their waders and start slinging flies around.

10 and 2 the old guide keep repeating to the group who were attempting to not look too foolish as their peers looked on. MacArthur was a natural or maybe he picked it up along his many travels around the world or when he was with his father stationed out west. He quickly grew tired of the routine and wanted to start catching fish for breakfast...or at least lunch.

The fishing camp was set up in a beautiful area that had been cleared years ago for a Boy Scout camp but on this day it looked like a military campaign HQ. Come to think of it so did the Boy Scout camp. Tall pines ringed a large clearing and eagles could be seen looking for the same fish as the fishermen.

The General broke away from the rest of the sometimes struggling group and grabbed one of the guides and an aide. They walked towards the sound of rapids. The Wolf was flush with fresh run off from the winter’s snows and was running high and fast. The standing waves of the mighty Wolf rivaled any out West at this time of year and the chute that was known as Garner Dam was a slight narrowing of the river. The dam made a deep pool where the big trout where. This is where the grand daddy of Brookies and Browns hung out and the guide knew this of course and directed Mac to stand on the bank and throw a few practice casts.

On the third cast there was a strike and the General calmly pulled in a good looking 26" Brook trout. As beautiful a fish as you would ever see. The guide assisted with netting the fish and promptly grabbed it by the gills and broke it's back, which is the proper way to end a magnificent fishes life. No gradually drowning in a bucket for the wily trout. The death was instantaneous and painless I suppose.

Then for the next hour nothing the guide tried in the way of flies would bring another rise out of the hole. The hole is very big and the General for all his skill could not reach even halfway across. So he decided to wade into the water just before the rapids where the river was running fast but not too deep. In this way he could reach another portion of the pool. With waders up to his chest it was a comfortable endeavor even in the cold spring waters.

This met with instant success and in quick succession 3 more beautiful trout, two Brook and one Brown, were destined to feed the fishing camp. The General was feeling his oats as the old saying goes.

Just then a red squirrel was trying to jump from one branch to another branch missed his mark when a gust of wind blew his body and the intended landing area further apart. He had not anticipated this event and his effort fell short. The intended target for his aborted leap was a good 15 feet over the pool where the General was fishing. The result was that he promptly fell into the Wolf River about 30 feet away and started swimming in the wrong direction.

The other fishermen noticed the commotion and started cheering and jeering at the unfortunate squirrel. Someone threw a rock in it's direction which caused the creature to veer again and he was headed down stream towards the General.

MacArthur decided to use the squirrel as target practice and possibly somehow assist the now desperate swimmer. He cast his line at the moving target and missed by a good 10 feet which raised muted hoots from the onlookers. One does not hoot out loud at a 4 star general.

Two more tries and then the fly actually hit the back of the squirrel and slid down and then impaled itself in the flesh of the bony part of the twitching furry, bushy tail. I'm sure that the General was more than upset by actually hooking the squirrel. He was just taking target practice and got a thousand to one shot that hit home.

A bit irritated and a little embarrassed and without much thought to the consequences he reeled in the now drowning squirrel. The squirrel was on his last legs and was desperate for any kind of solid object to climb on to. General Douglas MacArthur's leg turned out to be that object.

Before he could react or think MacArthur found the little red squirrel, with fishing line attached, climbing in panic and running circles up the General's leg and dodging the grasp of the by now very alarmed MacArthur. The line stretched tighter and tighter over his torso, face and head. The trailing fishing line was high test and the more the General struggled the tighter the line became and eventually pinned his right arm and was around his neck as well.

The mirth of the gathering crowd suddenly vanished as MacArthur lost his balance and fell into the shallow but fast rushing waters. His struggling body tumbled like a log with the current rolling faster and faster until to the horror of all it hit the boiling, frothing, white water known as Garner Dam rapids which was a solid three rated rapids at this time of year. In desperation three of the Generals aides jumped after the now fast disappearing MacArthur in a attempt to reach him.

The attempt was in vain and 2 of the Aides died as well. The third managed to stay alive and was found the next day 3 miles downstream in a daze. The Generals body was found 3 days later 30 miles from Gardner Dam along with the red squirrel still attached.

You know the official story of course, the one about the General vigorously hiking and then being felled by a heart attack. The true tail that I just imparted to you was hardly a fitting one for such a man as MacArthur. A man who was a four star general of the United States of America, architect of the Island Hopping campaign, Savior of the Philippines and a true American hero and deserved a better epitaph then being drowned by a red squirrel. So the fictitious "official" story was presented to the world.

Even his last recorded words “I shall return” were some PR man’s bright idea.

In truth General Douglas MacArthur had indeed returned, as eventually we all will.

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