President Richard Nixon; a quaker, a U.S. Navy vet, a politician, a President and the man at the heart of the notorious Watergate scandal. Nixon was the United State’s 37th President, and could be considered one of the most controversial Presidents of all time. Here are 10 interesting facts about Richard Nixon.
1. He Was a Quaker
President Nixon was raised a Quaker. The lifestyle was brought about by his mother, Hannah, who instilled her own beliefs in Nixon at a young age. When his father’s lemon grove was forced to close down in the early 1920s, the family moved to a Quaker community in Whittier, California. Here Nixon would attend Quaker meetings, up to four times on any given Sunday. Nixon went on to attend the town’s college, Whittier College, which was a Quaker school.
2. Joined the Navy During WWII
Because Nixon was a Quaker, he could have claimed an exemption from the draft and thus the military all together. Instead, he enlisted and was admitted in 1942 to the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Junior Grade. Nixon began his time in the Navy stationed in Iowa. He quickly switched positions to become the Naval Passenger Control Officer at the command center in the Pacific Theatre, and from there he moved around rapidly. Nixon would go on to become a commander in 1953; he retired from the Navy in 1966 and was on inactive duty from 1946-1966.
3. Received a Navy Letter of Commendation
While Nixon was the Officer in Charge of the Combat Air Transport Command at Guadalcanal in the Solomons, he (as well as his unit) received a Navy Letter of Commendation. This was given for the unit’s work preparing manifests, and flight plans for C-47 aircraft. The Navy Letter of Commendation is given to individuals for acts of heroism and meritorious service.
4. Ended The Vietnam War
When President Nixon entered office, the Vietnam War had been raging on for 14 years. The U.S. involvement in the war had escalated in the 1960s, and the country’s morale as a whole was low after more than a decade of fighting. Ending the war was one of Nixon’s campaign platforms and towards the end of his presidency he made good on that promise. Withdrawal occurred slowly, but by 1972 there were only 25,000 American troops left in Vietnam, and in January 1973 a peace treaty was signed. The United States agreed to withdraw from the land in exchange for their prisoners of war. It took just two weeks for troops to arrive back in America.
5. Authorized the Christmas Bombings
Prior to the peace treaty being signed in January of 1973, peace talks had stalled just one month earlier. It was December of 1972, when President Nixon authorized the bombing of ports and factories, as well as the Christmas Bombings. Some former POW’s claim this is one of the reasons for their freedom. The bombings of the ports and factories in December of 1972 are regarded as the largest bombings of the entire war. The second largest are the Christmas Bombing. The U.S. dropped bombs around Hanoi and Haiphong. In total, over 20,000 pounds of explosives were dropped on the cities over a several week period. The remaining POW’s that were encamped in the area said they could hear the bombs dropping on the cities.
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