Foundation Lauds Fighter Pilot, Hollywood Producer Merian C. Cooper

Monday, 02 Jul 2012 05:23 PM

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Legendary Hollywood producer and great American conservative hero Merian C. Cooper has been named the "Greatest American Hero of The Twentieth Century" by the Foundation to Illuminate America's Heroes.

The mission of the foundation is to produce a major Hollywood movie to illuminate the heroic and inspirational true life story of Cooper to America and the world.

Cooper voluntarily and heroically risked his life to repay America's greatest debt to the foreign heroes and nations who came to the nation's aid in its hour of need during the American Revolutionary War. He more than succeeded.

cooper.jpg
Merian C. Cooper
Cooper heroically served as a fighter pilot for America in both World War I and World War II.

In WWI, he was shot down and badly burned. He spent the last months of the war in a German war hospital. After heroically serving in and surviving WW I, Cooper could have gone back home to America to resume his life.

Instead, he chose to repay America's debt to the Polish heroes: Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Casimir Pulaski, and others, who voluntarily risked their lives fighting for America's freedom in our Revolutionary War.

Following WWI, the map of Europe was radically redrawn. Poland, which had been occupied and absorbed by other nations for over 100 years, was recreated as an independent nation.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who had taken over Russia in the Communist Revolution of 1917, marched on Poland in 1919.

Cooper persuaded seven of his fellow American fighter pilots, who fought with him in WWI, to join with him to form a volunteer fighter pilot squadron to fight with him on Poland's behalf against the Bolsheviks.

They met with Poland's military leader, Marshal Josef Pilsudski, in Warsaw and asked to be allowed to repay America's debt to Kosciuszko, Pulaski, and Poland by becoming a volunteer fighter pilot squadron for Poland in their hour of need.

Pilsudski stood up and saluted Cooper and the other Americans saying, "Honor to you brave Americans!", "You shall have your squadron. What will you call it?"

Cooper responded, "We will call it the Kosciuszko Squadron in honor of your great patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko, who came to America's aid in its hour of need."

Cooper and his squadron flew over 250 combat missions in the one-and-a-half-year war. In the final decisive battle of the war, which is called “The Miracle on the Vistula River,” Cooper and his Kosciuszko Squadron had a dramatic impact on the miraculous Polish victory.

The mission of the Kosciuszko Squadron was to prevent the Bolshevik cavalry (which was planning to hit Warsaw from the south of Poland as one million Soviet infantry were hitting Warsaw from the east) from arriving on time.

Cooper and his squadron succeeded! They relentlessly attacked the Bolshevik cavalry with diving raids from the air. They scattered the cavalry so effectively that it never arrived at Warsaw.

Three of the Americans were killed in the heroic campaign. Cooper himself was shot down and captured by the Bolsheviks. He was imprisoned in the worst Soviet prison camp in Moscow. To the Americans and the Poles, Cooper was thought to be dead.

With no Bolshevik cavalry hitting Warsaw from the south, Pilsudski and his Polish forces smashed the Bolshevik infantry at the gates of Warsaw. Lenin sued for peace after the Polish victory, fearing that the West might join with Poland to overturn his revolution.

General Douglas MacArthur called "The Miracle on the Vistula River" the 21st most important battle in world history. He believed that if it had gone the other way, all of Europe would have likely fallen under Lenin and communism.

The British historian Sir Llewellyn Woodward ranked this battle as the 17th most important in world history.

Cooper miraculously escaped from the Moscow prison camp six months after the conclusion of the war. Lenin sent a regiment after him and put a bounty on his head.

Whoever captured or killed Cooper would get a state pension and never have to work again. Cooper escaped the Soviet Union and triumphantly returned to Warsaw. He received an incredible hero’s welcome by the Polish people and government.

Over 1 million Polish citizens attended the award ceremonies in Warsaw. Cooper and several other American pilots received Poland's highest military honor the "Militari Virtuti" medal.

This is Poland's equivalent of the "Congressional Medal of Honor." Pilsudski personally pinned the medals on Cooper and his fellow Americans.

The Polish parliament awarded Cooper a landed gentry’s manor estate and a lifetime pension. Cooper graciously declined the great offer.

He reminded everyone present that Tadeusz Kosciuszko had received a similar gracious and appreciative offer from the American Continental Congress.

Kosciuszko had graciously declined the offer saying, "The right to fight for your freedom was payment enough." Cooper repeated those same words.

Cooper returned to America and became one of the greatest Hollywood producers of the first half of the 20th century. He created and produced the original “King Kong” and over 40 other classic movies.

At the height of his Hollywood career in 1942, Cooper left Hollywood and voluntarily re-enlisted in the Air Force. He became the oldest active duty fighter pilot flying combat missions for America in WW II. He flew with General Chennault’s "Flying Tigers."

He became chief of staff to General Chennault before the end of the war and was reputed to have been the logician for Doolittle’s raid on Japan.

Cooper was also aboard the battleship Missouri to witness the Japanese surrender as a partial reward for his incredible career. He retired from the military with the rank of brigadier general.

In the 1950s and 60s, Cooper became one of America's strongest voices of anti-communism. He housed many exiles from the communist-occupied captive nations.

In 1964, Cooper was the No. 1 Hollywood celebrity, after Ronald Reagan, who actively supported and campaigned on behalf of Barry Goldwater in his campaign for president against Lyndon Johnson.

Cooper was also one of Reagan's greatest when he ran for governor of California, before Cooper died in 1973.

William Ciosek, a founding board member of the Foundation to Illuminate America’s Heroes, has spent more than 20 years researching the Cooper story.

He is the creator and producer of the 10-minute film treatment, entitled: “The Greatest Story Not Yet Told,” and has written the film treatment, entitled: “Honor to You.” Both of these can be clicked and viewed within the foundation’s website: www.illuminateamericasheroes.com.

According to Ciosek, “The far left which took over Hollywood in the 1960s considered Cooper a conservative, anti-communist dinosaur. It is why they have never honored his heroic and inspirational accomplishments.

They have hid this heroic story from the American public for too long. Now is the time for us to illuminate this profound story to America and the world.

“We need the active help and support of all patriotic Americans to get this story told; a story to inspire present and future generations — that one person can truly make a difference. . . . I urge all patriotic Americans to visit our website and personally view the video film treatment honoring this great American. I urge all to become active members, friends, supporting partners and benefactors of this heroic story and mission.”

David Jamison, a founding board member and executive director of the foundation states, “We are now at Stage 2 of the foundation’s mission to produce the Cooper story. Stage 1 was carried by the founders. We now need to raise some $2.5 million in tax exempt donations from patriotic Americans to secure a noted screenwriter, director, and main talent and to launch a massive media campaign to illuminate this hidden story and hero to the world.”

To find out more about the Merian C. Cooper story and the Foundation to Illuminate America’s Heroes, visit www.illuminateamericasheroes.com.

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