Mike Mansfield with U.S. sailors and Vietnamese refugees, 1954.
Mike Mansfield’s service to the United States began at age fourteen, when he falsified his age in order to join the Navy during World War I. He went on to serve in the Army and the Marines, all by the age of twenty-five, making him the only congressman to achieve the distinction of serving in all three (then existing) military branches.
Mike Mansfield would continue to serve his country as a congressman, senator, Senate Majority Leader, and finally U.S. ambassador to Japan until his retirement in 1989. He was recognized as an authority on U.S.-Asia relations early in his congressional career and was an important voice on foreign policy throughout his thirty-four years in Congress, serving on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His frequent overseas travels included three trips to Indochina in the early 1950s. (Don Oberdorfer, Senator Mansfield (Washington: Smithsonian, 2003)). This photo was taken during a trip early in his Senate career.
Photo credit: 98-833, Mike Mansfield Collection, K. Ross Toole Archives, Archives & Special Collections, Mansfield Library, The University of Montana.