Saturday, July 4, 2009



"My Father, My Son"

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr. - Karl Malden
Elmo Zumwalt III - Keith Carradine

Adapted from Wikipedia:

Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr. (November 29, 1920 – January 2, 2000) was an American naval officer and the youngest man to serve as Chief of Naval Operations. As an admiral and later the 19th Chief of Naval Operations, Zumwalt played a major role in U.S. military history, especially during the Vietnam War. A highly-decorated war veteran, Zumwalt reformed Naval personnel policies in an effort to improve enlisted life and ease racial tensions.

During his son Elmo III's illness in the early 1980s, Admiral Zumwalt was very active in lobbying Congress to establish a national registry of bone marrow donors. (Such donors serve patients who do not have suitably matched bone marrow donors in their families. This was ultimately a disinterested act, since his son was able to receive a transplant from his own sister, but many patients don't have close relatives who are able and willing to help in this heroic way. His efforts were a major factor in the founding of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) in July 1986. Admiral Zumwalt was the first chairman of the NMDP's Board of Directors.

Admiral Zumwalt said he felt his son's cancer was most definitely due to Agent Orange. However, Zumwalt said he did not regret ordering the use of Agent Orange, because it reduced casualties by making it difficult for the enemy to hide and find food.

Admiral Zumwalt, along with his son Elmo III and writer John Pekkanen, authored a book called "My Father, My Son", published by MacMillan in September 1986, where they discussed the family tragedy of his son's battle with cancer. The book contains chapters narrated by Admiral Zumwalt, Lieutenant Zumwalt, and other family members.

After treatment in a number of hospitals, Elmo III went to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, where he received a bone marrow transplant from his sister Mouzetta, whose tissues fortunately matched his well enough for this treatment to be feasible. Results were promising at the end of "My Father, My Son", but he died in 1988.

That same year, 1988, "My Father, My Son" was adapted for a TV movie of the same name, starring Karl Malden as the elder Zumwalt and Keith Carradine as his son.


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