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Two WWII Veterans whose stories were told in the Ken Burns PBS documentary THE WAR, visited the MSU Campus this week as part of the annual Public Affairs Conference. Listen as Mike Smith talks with Glenn Frazier and Bill Lansford.
The theme of the 2008 Public Affairs Conference at Missouri State University is "Seeking Solutions: Conflict, Violence, and the Courage to Change. Kicking off the weeks worth of discussion was a Q&A panel at Plaster Theater which featured nationally syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon speaking with WWII veterans Bill Lansford and Glenn Frazier. Lansford and Frazier's service in WWII was told by Ken Burns in his PBS documentary THE WAR.
William Douglas Lansford joined the Marine Corps in 1940 and was stationed in Iceland when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Upon his return, he joined the newly formed 2nd Marine Raider Battalion under the legendary Col. Evans F. Carlson and participated in the Midway, Guadalcanal and Bougainville campaigns. Later he landed in Iwo Jima, where he was wounded. He also participated in the occupation of Japan. In 1945 he was discharged as a sergeant.
Lansford attended college under the GI Bill, then became a reporter on the Los Angeles Daily News. After a brief sojourn he joined the regular Army to pursue a radio writing career with the Armed Forces Radio Service. Before receiving his captaincy, Bill resigned his commission to pursue a writing career.
Lansford went on to write for top magazines such as Colliers, Saturday Evening Post and Argosy. Lansford authored the biography of Pancho Villa, which was published and then filmed by Paramount Studios as "Villa Rides." He served as story editor for "Bonanza," and later wrote for "CHiPs," "Starsky & Hutch," "Ironside," "Fantasy Island" and "Star Trek."
He recently published several stories in Leatherneck Magazine and is currently researching a book about Carlson's Raiders and completing one about the Spanish language theatre of his childhood.
Lansford is raising funds for a monument to be erected in Los Angeles to the 40 Latino-American Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and appears in the Ken Burns documentary, "The War" seen on PBS.
Glenn D. Frazier joined the U.S. Army on July 3, 1941. Requesting duty in the Philippines, Frazier was assigned to the 75th Ordinance Company in Manila. His job as a sergeant was to get ammunition to and from the front lines at the Battle of the Points in January 1942.
After being captured in Bataan on April 9, 1942, at the age of 17, Frazier spent 3 1