My dad wasn't always known as "Buck" Fogarty.
The increasingly few people who even vaguely remember him--the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Greatest Generation--seem to be completely unaware of that. He was, in fact, born Oisin Michael Fogarty in the Five Points section of Manhattan, New York City, New York, on September 20, 1921. The son and only child of "Klondike Mike" Fogarty (Canadian-born star pitcher for the minor-league Manhattan Indians) and the former Mona Flannigan (eldest daughter of Chief Eamon Flannigan, FDNY). And, being a lot like his father, he became a baseball player, himself. First, in high school. Then, at Columbia University, where he majored in journalism.
You see, it was originally his intention to become a professional sports writer after a relatively "brief" stint as a major leaguer! But, of course, all that changed on December 8, 1941, when he dropped out of college to join the army.
Declared 1-A, he attended boot camp at Fort Dix, New Jersey. There, his fluency in Canadian French--personally taught him by Grandpa Mike--led to his recruitment by G-2* who sent him to London. There, he spent the next six weeks translating decoded Free French resistance messages into English as mission-briefing materials for American bomber crews. He was then transferred to the OSS who introduced him to PFC Anjiro Watanabe. A Hawaiian Nisei National Guardsman with whom he was trained in all manner of commando tactics prior to their deployment to the CBI Theater. There, with the help of Burmese guerrillas attached to the British Fourteenth Army, they spent the rest of the war operating a pirate radio listening post along the Thai-Burmese border. Monitoring, translating, and relaying all Japanese communications concerning troop movements and air traffic. When the war ended, and they went their separate ways, my dad returned to college on the G.I. Bill. Thereby finally obtaining his much-desired journalism degree.
Yet, instead of becoming a sports writer, he went to work for the Global News Wire Service as a cub reporter apprenticed to "Big Jim" Halverson. The two-fisted ex-marine-turned-hard-hitting foreign correspondent for their Hong Kong Bureau. And it was Halverson (upon his discovering that "Oisin" is Gaelic for "little fawn") who first gave my dad the nickname of "Five Points Buck." That, in turn, is why Dad always regarded it as a mixed blessing that the first time he used it in a by-line was when he had to write up Halverson's obituary following the latter's death, at the Pusan Perimeter, from a North Korean sniper's bullet.
From that point onward, it's Buck Fogarty who became an international household name. Covering such diverse history-making events as the French surrender at Dien Bien Phu; the coronation of Elizabeth II as Queen of England; the Suez Canal Crisis; the Watts Riots in LA; and both Tet Offensives. He even helped some Japanese anthropologist with a year-long study of some newly-discovered cannibal tribe in New Guinea!
So can you honestly blame me for occasionally wondering just how and where he found the time to meet, court, and marry one Enid Horton (ex-switchboard operator for Global radio affiliate KWTF)?
It wasn't till I became an investigative reporter, myself, that I learned the truth. Specifically; that my dad hadn't been killed by drug-smuggling Viet Cong, in Saigon, in 1973. That, in actuality, he had been shrunken (yes, you read that right) by a bunch of female Chinese tap dancers at some night club modeled after a Prohibition-era Chicago speak-easy! And, then, almost stomped to death...to the tune of "42nd Street"!!