The movie Good Night and Good Luck leaves viewers with the impression that there was a happy ending to the Milo Radulovich case.
Real life, however, is more complicated than that. True, the Secretary of the Air Force – probably at the urging of President Eisenhower -- dropped the attempts to throw Milo out of the service.
“He is not, in my opinion, a security risk,” was basically all the bureaucrat said. Nice, but not exactly a full exoneration.
And it did nothing to erase the enormous stress Milo and his shy young wife had suffered. Nancy Radulovich decided she couldn’t bear the stares and prying eyes in Michigan any more.
Though he had only one more semester to go before getting his physics degree, she insisted on moving to California. Milo loyally followed. Eventually, the marriage fell apart anyway.
Milo, who had no interest in politics, had always wanted just one thing: To be a weather forecaster. Even though he didn’t have a full degree, there were lots of jobs. But he also found out that there indeed was a blacklist, and regardless of being cleared, he stayed on it.
When prospective employers found out who he was, the job he was about to get always mysteriously disappeared. Finally, a gutsy private employer hired him. Eventually, he did get a job with the National Weather Service, and even ran the Lansing office.
He was universally recognized as a brilliant forecaster. But he never rose as high, or made as much money as he should have, because he had no bachelor’s degree.
Milo Radulovich is an American hero. We all may owe our civil liberties to him. The University of Michigan ought to have given him his degree a long time ago. No, wait a minute. That’s not enough. He deserves an honorary doctorate and a monument somewhere on campus. Heck, he has a plaque in front of MSU’s law school. They say prophets are never honored in their own country.
Let me say to the University of Michigan:
It’s way past time to start.