Mike Mansfield


Mike Mansfield : biography

March 16, 1903 – October 5, 2001

During the economic crisis of 1971, Mansfield was not afraid to reach across the aisle to help the economy. He said:

"What we’re in is not a Republican recession or a Democratic recession; both parties had much to do with bringing us where we are today. But we’re facing a national situation which calls for the best which all of us can produce, because we know the results will be something which we will regret."

Two controversial amendments by Mansfield limiting military funding of research were passed by Congress.

  • The Mansfield Amendment of 1969, "passed as part of the fiscal year 1970 Military Authorization Act (Public Law 91-121) prohibited military funding of research that lacked a direct or apparent relationship to specific military function. Through subsequent modification the Mansfield amendment moved the Department of Defense toward the support of more short-term applied research in universities." Office of Technology Assessment report. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Science of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, first session, March 20, 1991.by the United States. Congress. House. Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Subcommittee on Science. Pub: Washington : U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office, U.S. G.P.O., 1991. Chapter 2: The Value of Science and the Changing Research Economy, p. 61. This amendment affected the Military Services, for example research funding by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Editorial by Herbert Laitinen, Anal. Chem., 42 (7), pp. 689-689, June 1970.
  • The Mansfield Amendment of 1973 expressly limited appropriations for defense research through ARPA, which is largely independent of the Military Services, to projects with direct military application. See "Mansfield Amendment of 1973" about halfway down the page.

An earlier Mansfield Amendment, offered in 1971, called for the number of U.S. troops stationed in Europe to be halved. On May 19, 1971, however, the Senate defeated this amendment by a vote of 61–36.

As Senator, Mansfield sponsored S.J.RES.25 : The joint resolution to authorize and request the President to issue a proclamation designating the fourth Sunday in September, 1973, as "National Next Door Neighbor Day", and in 1974 drafted legislation (S.J.RES.235) to honor the fourth Sunday in September of every subsequent year as "Good Neighbor Day". See items 39 and 46.

Burial at Arlington

Ambassador Mansfield died from congestive heart failure at the age of 98 on October 5, 2001. He was survived by his daughter, Anne Fairclough Mansfield (1939?-2013), and one granddaughter.

Remarks by Col. James Michael Lowe, USMC, October 20, 2004.

The burial plot of Senator and Mrs. Mansfield can be found in section 2, marker 49-69F of Arlington National Cemetery.

Military service

At 14, Mansfield dropped out of school and lied about his age in order to enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War I. He went on several overseas convoys on the USS Minneapolis, but was discharged by the Navy after his real age was discovered. He was the last known veteran of the war to die before reaching the age of 100. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as a private from 1919 to 1920.

Mansfield was a Private First Class in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1920 to 1922. 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. His service with the Marines established a lifelong interest in Asia.

That August, Mansfield returned to Cavite in preparation for his return to the United States and eventual discharge. On November 9, 1922, Marine Private Michael J. Mansfield was released on the completion of his enlistment. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, his character being described as “excellent” during his two years as a Marine.