Tech Sgt. Samuel Shaffer, Combat Correspondant
Sam Shaffer on the far right with his arm in a sling.
"My father, Samuel Shaffer, was born and died in Washington, D.C., 1910-1995. For most of his career, more than 30 years, he was Newsweek magazine's Chief Congressional Correspondent. He married my mother in 1933; she died in 1978. They had 3 daughters.
My father joined the Marine Corps during WWII at what was considered an "old age." He was in his early 30s. He served as a combat correspondent and saw combat at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. He told me that the training at Parris Island was worse than either.
I was born in 1944 after my father had left the Marine Corps with an Honorable Discharge. He was injured, though not in combat (see sling in photograph) and thus I knew little about his service. In fact, during my life, his interests were politics, his reporting, music, books, art, travel, a real intellectual. I think he rarely if ever talked about the Marines not avoiding the subject, I guess it rarely came up. When he was dying, I asked him what he was proudest of his life. I had assumed he would point to some big story he covered or having such great daughters (!), but he said "being a Marine." He was very insistent that his funeral have the Marine Honor Guard and he be buried at Arlington Cemetery in the Columbarium. He got it.
On the book Betio Beachhead, he was the primary writer but as a lower-ranked Marine, he is not listed such. This photograph of my father with other Marine combat correspondents and combat photographers, according to the official caption was taken one month and one day after the Tarawa battle. My father is on the far right, and the caption identifies him as a Technical Sergeant."
copyright 2004 T.O.T.W.
Created 12 May 2004