Who's the Real John Wayne?

A "Hero's" war record...How hot are your rocks?...The final word on our last page.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Duking It Out
Jim Harrison's reference to John Wayne's being a draft dodger ("Field Days," February) is not only a slam against a fellow outdoorsman (see Warren Page's article, "The Man's Man" in the January 1965 Field & Stream) but is also completely untrue. Wayne tried to enlist in the Marine Corps as well as the Army but was turned down because of his age (39), and a bad knee that would have gotten any man, regardless of age, classified as IV-F.

Chris Upton
Littleton, Colo.

  • In 1941 Wayne was 34, placing him easily within draft age, and was never classified as IV-F; he was briefly classified as I-A toward the end of the war, but his studio objected, and he was reclassified as II-A, "deferred in the national interest," and allowed to continue making movies. As far as Wayne's attempting to enlist in the Marine Corps, the Army, or the Navy, we could find no evidence of this. It's worth noting that during World War II, other major stars did serve, often with distinction. These include Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Glenn Ford, James Stewart, and Tyrone Power. Gable is especially worthy of note because, despite being overage, he became an officer in the Army Air Corps and insisted on flying combat missions.

Jim Harrison sees it this way: "Coming from a family with two uncles who suffered horribly during World War II, I've always been repelled by those who pretended they served but didn't. Early in the Vietnam War, when John Wayne visited the 9th Marine Regiment near Danang in Vietnam, a young Marine asked him how he thought it compared to World War II. Wayne scuffed the dirt and said, ¿¿¿It's the same old s--t,' which became a joke for everyone over there against fake soldiers."-The Editors

I have been an avid hunter and fisherman for over 70 years and have read many hunting and fishing articles in many magazines, but in all these years nothing has ever touched me like "Field Days." I'm on my fourth Weimaraner, Dutch. We're both old and we understand each other, and what Jim Harrison said is exactly what we feel. He has a rare gift.

Jack Spizale Sr.
Crystal, Minn.

A Matter of Inches
I had a good laugh reading Slaton L. White's "The Ultimate Duck Truck" (Offroad, February), in which he states that the Tahoe he modified claims "108 cubic inches of storage space" with the rear seat not in use. Man, you could put two Cokes and maybe a sandwich in that much space. Think I'll stick to my old Suburban.

Lloyd D. Crumb
via Internet

  • Slaton L. White replies: The figure should have been 108 cubic feet, not inches. You could get a pretty big sandwich in that.

Hot Rocks
In F&S; Tips in February, Jerome B. Robinson gives what I consider to be unsafe advice on drying boots and waders in the field. He suggests taking small rocks from a riverbed and heating them until they are "hot to the touch." Rocks from a river or stream contain water, which, when heated, can cause the rock to crack and sometimes explode.

David DeSilva
Pinole, Calif.

  • We received a considerable number of letters warning us about heating rocks from a streambed, and so we asked Jerry Robinson for his reaction: "I didn't tell people to pluck wet rocks out of a stream and throw them in the fire. I said to store them in a bucket, near a stove, where they can dry out slowly and not get hotter than your touch can stand."-The Editors

** I Will Survive**
I was pleasantly surprised to see you recommended the use of satellite phones in your February survival section. They are essential if you are truly in the backcountry. And no, the tech factor shouldn't dissuade anyone; just keep it turned off until it's needed.

Another indispensable survival item is the road flare. There is no surer way to start a fire, this sidee of napalm, and it can double as a location signal to rescuers. I carry the 15-minute length (usually two or three of them), which fit neatly in my pack and weigh next to nothing. Each one provides 15 minutes of intensely hot flame that will light even moderately wet wood with no need for tinder or kindling.

Matt Kollman
via Internet

The two Montana hunters mentioned by Keith McCafferty in "A Hunter's Guide to Winter Survival," who died on Halloween night of 1991 were relatives and dear friends and hunting companions of mine. In the 11 years since, I have wondered: If they had gotten the hide off the elk and wrapped themselves in it, hair side against them, would they have been able to survive the night and walk out the next morning? I feel that sharing their body heat and using the hide to conserve that heat might have helped, and would welcome Keith McCafferty's comments.

Ron Miller
Union, Ore.

  • Keith McCafferty replies: I believe the hunters might have survived had they wrapped themselves in the elk hide. There might have been a problem with the wet hide freezing, and the two might have had to walk around periodically, but they could have dealt with this. Unfortunately, it is a natural reaction to try and reach the safety of your car, and who among us can say for sure that we would have acted differently?

A Home for Heavey
I noticed you ended the December¿¿¿January issue with Finally..., but in February it was replaced by A Sportsman's Life. Is this some kind of tease or what?

Jarrod Lents
Loogootee, Ind.

  • We've decided that the last page will be occupied by Bill Heavey, and there he will stay until he resigns, goes mad, or runs out of ideas.-The Editors