June 1968 | Volume 19, Issue 4
It has been pointed out by Lieutenant General Julian C. Smith, U.S.M.C. (Ret.) that a statement made by Richard O’Connor in “Mr. Coolidge’s Jungle War” on page 90 of our December, 1967, issue is seriously misleading. Mr. O’Connor wrote that Carleton Beals, an American journalist and Sandino sympathizer, reported seeing a photograph of the town of Chinandega showing great destruction “after it was bombed by U.S. planes.” Actually, says General Smith—who himself served two and a half years in Nicaragua—most of the destruction was caused by ground fighting between Nicaraguan Liberal and Conservative forces, and whatever damage resulted from bombing came not from Marine Corps planes, as the statement implies, but from planes flown by “two American civilian free-lance flyers … in the service of the Conservative Nicaraguan Government…. U.S. Marine Corps Aviation was always under strictest orders not to bomb or strafe any town or area known to be occupied by civilians.” We regret the error.