Mike Mansfield

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Michael Joseph Mansfield (March 16, 1903 – October 5, 2001) was an American Democratic politician and the longest-serving Majority Leader of the United States Senate, serving from 1961 to 1977. He also served as United States Ambassador to Japan for over ten years. Born in New York City to Irish Catholic immigrants, he was raised in Montana, where he graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula (then called Montana State University). Mansfield represented the state of Montana throughout his political career.

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Early childhood

Mansfield was born in New York City, but moved to Montana at an early age. He was raised in Great Falls. Mansfield traced his roots in Ireland to Lowhill, County Laois.[1]

Military service

Mansfield left home in 1917, before completing the 8th grade. He joined the United States Navy at 14 years of age on February 23, 1918. Ten months of Mansfield’s nineteen months of World War I Navy service were spent overseas. He subsequently spent one year in the Army. He was the last known veteran of the war to die before reaching the age of 100. On November 10, 1920, Mansfield enlisted a third time, now in the United States Marine Corps. He served in the Western Recruiting Division at San Francisco until January 1921, when he was transferred to the Marine Barracks at Puget Sound, Washington. The following month, he was detached to the Guard Company, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California. In April, he boarded the USAT Sherman, bound for the Philippines. After a brief stopover at the Marine Barracks at Cavite, he arrived at his duty station on May 5, 1921, the Marine Barracks, Naval Station, Olongapo, Philippine Islands. One year later, Mansfield was assigned to Company A, Marine Battery, Asiatic Fleet. A short tour of duty with the Asiatic Fleet took him along the coast of China, before he returned to Olongapo in late May 1922.

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