Firsthand accounts of a marine combat correspondent's experiences during World War II
Filling a gap in U.S. Marine Corps aviation history, War Is Not Just for Heroes rescues the incredible true stories written by one marine as a combat correspondent in the Pacific during World War II as shared through his dispatches, letters, diary entries, personal notes, and tapes.
At a time when the average recruit was a strapping, healthy eighteen-year-old male fresh out of high school, the U.S. Marine Corps began recruiting experienced reporters who formed the coalition of hard-hitting, frontline journalists known as Denig's Demons. These men combined their combat training with their years of newsprint experience, establishing the impregnable power and prowess of the U.S. Marine Corps and the portable typewriter. Armed with their rifles, typewriters, and skills, combat correspondents reported what was often the only news from Pacific islands. Writing about heroic missions and daily activities from war zones, marine combat correspondents linked marines back to their hometown communities.
Hailing from Anderson, South Carolina, and enlisting at the age of thirty-three, journalist and combat correspondent Claude R. "Red" Canup (1911–1999) was a prolific chronicler of the war zone. Canup recounted the startling, poignant, and at times surreal life of a marine during the war. Combining a dry sense of humor with a biting rhetoric and snappy intellect, his dispatches and letters juxtapose the good with the bad, life with death.
Canup joined Marine Aircraft Group 45 and spent several peaceful months on Ulithi, a tiny island transformed from a steaming jungle into a strategically located marine air base. In his homespun manner, Canup enthusiastically reports on every detail, from basketball games to outdoor movies to island culture. Without missing a beat, Canup describes the unfolding battle of Okinawa with the insight of a weathered marine. After joining Marine Aircraft Group 31 in April 1945, he experienced 185 red alerts in 131 days with a grit and haunting honesty that memorialize the sacrifice and bravery of his fellow marines. Reporting from Yontan and Chimu airfields, Okinawa and Yokosuka naval bases, and elsewhere in Japan, Canup offers a compelling firsthand perspective on the war's final years.
Written by Canup and edited with a preface and prologue by his daughter, War Is Not Just for Heroes—the only known collection of any World War II combat correspondent's writings—combines documentary and biography with humor and recovers the overlooked life of a representative combat correspondent during World War II.
Much of the source material used in researching War is Not Just for Heroes, which includes news dispatches, photographs, and clippings, was generated during Claude Canup's Marine Corps service. Canup also referenced a VMF (N)-542 yearbook and a period guide to Japan. This source material, along with a copy of War is Not Just for Heroes was accepted into the Marine Corps Archives on April 9, 2013. The collection has been entered into the official records as the Claude Canup Papers and will be housed in the Gray Archives and Research Center in the Library of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. This great honor further validates the book's historical significance to the Marine Corps.
A native of Anderson, South Carolina, Linda M. Canup Keaton-Lima is a graduate of Lander College. She earned her master's and doctorate degrees at Clemson University. Keaton-Lima spent more than thirty years in public schools and community colleges in South Carolina and North Carolina. She lives with her husband, Lou, in Tega Cay, South Carolina.
"The Marine Corps historical program owes a debt of gratitude to Linda Keaton-Lima for bringing to light an invaluable treasure trove of wartime material and commentary from her late father, Marine combat correspondent Claude 'Red' Canup. As an eyewitness to the war in the Pacific, Canup, a successful former small-town newspaperman, made sure that his dispatches kept the homefolks informed as to what was going on with 'their' Marines 'somewhere in the Pacific.' If legendary World War II combat correspondent Ernie Pyle is known today as the G.I Joe reporter, then Red Canup deserves similar recognition for his coverage of Marines. I highly recommend this remarkable collection of observations and dispatches to all serious students of World War II history."—Charles P. Neimeyer, director and chief, USMC History Division
"Red Canup's 398 dispatches from the Pacific make him one of the most prolific combat correspondents in U.S. Marine Corps history. He personified the Marine Corps combat reporting ethos of keeping the families at home aware of their sons' exploits. War Is Not Just for Heroes is a not only a great read but a historical find!"—Capt. Jack T. Paxton, USMC (Ret.), executive director, USMC Combat Correspondents Association
"Red Canup was the real deal—a real marine, a real reporter. That combination made him the premier chronicler of the real world of World War II combat for the marine aviators who went into the skies over the Pacific. His daughter has collected and curated Red's individual marine stories to tell the bigger story of what it was like for those brave men who attacked, defended, and died. This is a terrific book."—Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor, PBS, and past recipient of the USMC Combat Correspondents Association Brig. Gen. Robert L. Denig Distinguished Service Award
"War Is Not Just for Heroes is fascinating, true-life storytelling. Using his famously sharp wit and homespun style, Red Canup showed the people back home the war as it was experienced by ordinary men and women, not by celebrated heroes. This book itself is a heroic work by Canup's daughter who devoted years to compiling her father's original war dispatches and masterfully arranging them into a narrative that reads like a novel."—J. Lowe Davis, Pulitzer Prize-winning executive editor of The Virgin Islands Daily News
"This account brings out at the nuts and bolts level, a significant but now largely forgotten component of the whole American attitude toward the war and those who fought it."—Richard B. Frank, author of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
"What a delightful story and addition to both marine and marine aviation history. War Is Not Just for Heroes has real human appeal."—Laura Homan Lacey, author of Stay off the Skyline: The Sixth Marine Division on Okinawa
"Readers and moviegoers long have thrilled to the epic glories and tragedies of World War II. In War Is Not Just For Heroes, Red Canup tells his own stories of the war, written as the events of the Pacific theater still were unfolding. Red's war correspondent reports and letters paint a human-sized picture of the conflict that only rarely appears among the sweeping accounts that fill our shelves, but that perspective is as moving and inspiring as the most spectacular Technicolor portrayals. Red's words, collected lovingly and artfully by his daughter, present the war in ways the reader can virtually touch, taste and feel -- his descriptions range from food to fighting, family to fleas."—Jason Robbins, Publisher, Daily News Publishing Co.