Reminders of the past and reflections thereon
are apparently the venue fools inhabit. I feel a fool. My wife thinks I'm naive. I think that almost 30 years in the Army made me a bit of a cynic and said so but my wife insisted I think the best of folks.
Today I was watching a made-for-TV movie, "In Pursuit of Honor". Purportedly about a true event (about which there is absolutely no documentation), the movie does start off with a scene at the Bonus Army march in the summer of 1932.
In 1924, a grateful Congress voted to give a bonus to World War I veterans - $1.25 for each day served overseas, $1.00 for each day served in the States. The catch was that payment would not be made until 1945. Members of the Bonus Army encamp within sight of the Capitol. However, by 1932 the nation had slipped into the dark days of the Depression and the unemployed veterans wanted their money immediately.
In May of that year, some 15,000 veterans, many unemployed and destitute, descended on Washington, D.C. to demand immediate payment of their bonus. They proclaimed themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force but the public dubbed them the "Bonus Army." Raising ramshackle camps at various places around the city, they waited.
The veterans made their largest camp at Anacostia Flats across the river from the Capitol. Approximately 10,000 veterans, women and children lived in the shelters built from materials dragged out of a junk pile nearby - old lumber, packing boxes and scrap tin covered with roofs of thatched straw.
Discipline in the camp was good, despite the fears of many city residents who spread unfounded "Red Scare" rumors. Streets were laid out, latrines dug, and formations held daily. Newcomers were required to register and prove they were bonafide veterans who had been honorably discharged. Their leader, Walter Waters, stated, "We're here for the duration and we're not going to starve. We're going to keep ourselves a simon-pure veteran's organization. If the Bonus is paid it will relieve to a large extent the deplorable economic condition."
The sad truth is that MacArthur and the D.C. Police managed to kill 4 including 2 children. This happened because the Army charged/attacked veterans and their families to include women and children. Men we now lionize for their service during WWII didn't much hesitate to order their soldiers to attack unarmed and peaceful protesters. This happened in part because the Congress borrowed against the money set aside for the bonuses just as Congress has been using money taken for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid to pay for other things. When I see what the POTUS and Dem/S in Congress are trying to do with OUR money now, I'm reminded of this past act. I wonder when it will be that they will start to deny their needy former defenders of their support and when they will order us to be run/shot down in the streets...
CBN News has learned exclusively that five Muslim soldiers at Fort Jackson in South Carolina were arrested just before Christmas. It is unclear whether the men are still in custody. The five were part of the Arabic Translation program at the base.
Patrick Jones, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer for Fort Jackson, confirmed for CBN News yesterday afternoon that an investigation was ongoing .
Prior to this posting, CBN News learned that these details were also confirmed by a government official with knowlegde of the investigation.
The men are suspected of trying to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson.
A source with intimate knowledge of the investigation, which is ongoing, told CBN News investigators suspect the "Fort Jackson Five" may have been in contact with the group of five Washington, DC area Muslims that traveled to Pakistan to wage jihad against U.S. troops in December. That group was arrested by Pakistani authorities, also just before Christmas.
Coming as it does on the heels of November's Fort Hood jihadist massacre, this news could have major implications.
When I attended basic training there were a lot of soldiers being served food by other soldiers, cooks and KPs, every day. We absolutely NEVER gave a thought to the idea that our fellow soldiers would intentionally harm us via our food. I know that when I had KP I worked hard to make sure that I did my part to put good food out on clean tables. To think that you had to look at every bite wondering if it had been adulterated, well, that defines terrorism. To think that your fellow soldiers did this to you, well, that defines betrayal. To think that you have to trust other Muslim soldiers, well, that defines insanity.
These soldiers have not only attacked their fellow soldiers they have forever put the loyalty of their fellow Muslim soldiers in doubt. Forever.
I'd like to point out that this is the third instance of Muslim betrayal in the military. The first was the Muslim chaplain in Gitmo who worked to the benefit of the terrorists held their above and beyond his religious duties. The second was the Fort Hood shooter. This may prove to be the charm in convincing the command structure to more closely watch their Muslim soldiers.
I'd like to point out that we had absolutely no incidents of this kind with Japanese-American (Nisei) soldiers during WWII. To me, this demonstrates that Muslims will do things that others would not. It would be foolish to ignore this proclivity.
What is wrong with today's military?
I ask the question because there must be something wrong when a commander sends people out to catch somebody who has a proven record of violence and when he is slightly injured decides to prosecute those people. After all, a violent person will often resist with violence and you sent people to raid, using violence, to capture him.
Three Navy SEALS are on trial for giving a terrorist, one Ahmed Hashim Abed who ambushed some Blackwater employees escorting supplies for a catering company a punch in the gut which resulted in a fat lip. Yeah, I don't buy that either but lets just go with it for a second. Imagine the scenario:
Terrorist ambushes Americans operating legally and not only murders them but burns their bodies and hangs those bodies from a bridge as a form of advertising. The U.S. military rightfully decides this man must be caught and dealt with. They send in some of their best operatives to find and capture this leader. They do so. In the process he is ever so slightly hurt.
I don't care how he was hurt, hell, I've given myself a fat lip by running into something in the dark of night. Are we to expect that soldiers in COMBAT make every effort to avoid harming thier enemies? Would it have worked any differently if the SEALS had simply shot him and drug his body back to base for identification. Do these rules apply to U.S. police officers in U.S. communities who apprehend violent criminals?
So tell me, what the hell is happening to the U.S. military? What's wrong with the leadership that permits such a travesty? Are they being directed by the Muslim in Chief? Please. Explain it to me. I don't get it.
The POTUS has taken over 90 days (thats 3 months) to decide on a "strategy" (its really a tactic) to deal with Afghanistan (it isn't to win or to get out or to satisfy his political friends or enemies as it does nothing to satisfy any of those goals). He made a speech on the subject last night. In the same breath he said we'll send 30K more military people (Marines and soldiers) into the country but we'll pull out in 18 months. He plans to accelerate training of the Afghans so that they can take over before we leave.
Oh, there is just so much wrong with this. First and most important is that 18 months, maybe 18 years, is too short a time to get success in retraining either Afghani police, military, or government officials to do their jobs in a way that Americans find tolerable. In fact with actual deployments not being effective until sometime next summer, 12 months is the actual amount of time on the ground for these additional personnel. That the whole "surge" is predicated on a pre-determined withdrawal date is the real killer for this plan. In the end such a program will be viewed as failure.
He is apparently doing nothing to turn the Afghans against the Arabs who seem to dominate the Taliban. Perhaps this is part of his diversity initiative. It is necessary that the Afghans be united against an enemy other than the U.S. They aren't. Self interest tells them that if they want to survive, if they want their family to survive, if they want their clan to survive, if they want their tribe to survive, they need to separate themselves from the national government because in 18-20 months there will be no national government. You see that's how it is there. That's the rank of priorities there. Combined with pre-determined withdrawal date this tells the individuals who would enlist or who serve in the government to sit back to wait and see what happens. It also tells the Taliban that they only have to build up their forces over the next 18 months to win.
He did set some conditions on the Afghan government, benchmarks, which seem incompatible with the pre-determined withdrawal date.
Much of the speech was given to covering his ass. He spent a lot of time trying to justify his choices. In that he appears weak.
It sure seems to me that the strategy here is all about re-election in 2012 and really has nothing to do with beating the terrorists. The POTUS obviously doesn't think that we're really at war (nor does he care) with radical Muslims who have tentacles everywhere and have co-opted several governments to give them safe havens for training and planning.
I predict that this is what we'll see aside from the political wrangling in this country.
- summer of 2010, military strength upped to 30K or so
- summer of 2011, drawdown begins
- October 2012, withdrawal completed
- November 2012 to January 2013, Afghan government falls
President Barack Obama will not announce his decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan before the Thanksgiving holiday, senior aides said on Thursday.
The news came as the president greeted 1,500 troops at Osan Air Base in South Korea, just before boarding Air Force One and heading back to Washington after an eight-day Asia trip.
Obama and his top military and diplomatic aides have been deliberating for months over how to proceed in Afghanistan, where the United States and its partners have sought for eight years to defeat the Taliban and deny al-Qaeda a safe haven from which it can plan and launch attacks.
Obama arrived on the base 3:19 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time), and received a rousing welcome from 1,500 troops in camouflage uniforms, many holding cameras or pointing cell phones to snap pictures.
"You guys make a pretty good photo op," the president said.
Standing on a riser wearing a blue suit and red tie, with a cluster of troops and a large American flag behind him, Obama expressed "the gratitude of the American public" and said his meetings in four countries over eight days in Asia will help deliver a "safer more prosperous world for all of us."
He got a huge cheer when he told them he was increasing military pay. "That's what you call an applause line," he said, before boarding his jet and taking off at 4:11 p.m.
Of course when I saw the event on TV they showed the soldiers standing in the background. However they seemed rather grim. I don't know that that is surprising as I would have been pretty grim myself. However, the news organization also dubbed in the "huge cheer" mentioned when the President mentioned some political act and never played the part about pay raises. You can see that the sound of cheering wasn't in sync with the soldiers in the frame with Obama. They were downright stony. Breitbart.tv » Obama To Troops: ‘You Guys Make a Pretty Good Photo-Op’
Another, yet another, WTF moment...
You know what "WTF" means, I'm not going to spell it out. You might note that I don't cuss often but it seems appropriate here. High Costs Weigh on Troop Debate for Afghan War is the cause of that "moment". What peckerwood is so smart that he thinks $40-50 Billion (with a "B") is expensive when you've committed to or are trying to commit to throwing away $2-12 TRILLION (with a "T") through stimulus, health care "reform", cap-and-tax, and so forth?
Mr. Barack "Bow Down" Obama, let me lay it out for you.
1. Is it important to be in Afghanistan? You said yes.
2. Will it take more troops? You said yes. Your hand-picked general said yes.
So you need to either send the troops or do the equivalent of dropping your drawers, bending over and taking one for the good of all and pulling ALL the soldiers the hell out of Afghanistan. You are so very good and bending over. You did it for the Saudis, you did it for the Japanese, you can do it for yourself. Go ahead Barry, get it over with.
The latest internal government estimates place the cost of adding 40,000 American troops and sharply expanding the Afghan security forces, as favored by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American and allied commander in Afghanistan, at $40 billion to $54 billion a year, the officials said.
Even if fewer troops are sent, or their mission is modified, the rough formula used by the White House, of about $1 million per soldier a year, appears almost constant.
So even if Mr. Obama opts for a lower troop commitment, Afghanistan’s new costs could wash out the projected $26 billion expected to be saved in 2010 from withdrawing troops from Iraq. And the overall military budget could rise to as much as $734 billion, or 10 percent more than the peak of $667 billion under the Bush administration.
Such an escalation in military spending would be a politically volatile issue for Mr. Obama at a time when the government budget deficit is soaring, the economy is weak and he is trying to pass a costly health care plan.
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg--or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.
So what is a vet?
He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Iraq sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
She is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the drill instructor that has never seen combat--but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks, city boys, and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another--or didn't come back at all.
He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor die unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket--palsied now and aggravatingly slow--who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
They are fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers. Sisters and brothers. Aunts and uncles. The quiet ones who are your neighbors, who may not even fly the flag they served under, not shouting their victories or showing off their medals. They are the ones who know the smells that go along with the pictures and memories.
They are ordinary and yet extraordinary human beings, people who offered some of their life's most vital years in the service of their country, and who sacrificed their ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say, "Thank you." That's all most people need, and in most cases, it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.
Two little words that mean a lot: "THANK YOU."
In other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom, it is Remembrance Day from the end of the first world war which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Our heartfelt thanks to our allies also remembering their veterans on this day.
According to Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-CA, the new top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Obama told Central Command head Gen. David Petraeus and Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal to "scrub" their assessments because he "wasn't inclined to send troops over there."
If McKeon's claim is true, Obama's instructions, relayed to McKeon through Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, show how resistant the president is to doubling down on the war in Afghanistan and how Republicans are prepared to take their push for an increased commitment of resources to the public.
Look folks. What you want, as President of the United States, is the truth from your warriors. You want to know exactly what they expect. You want to know what they know. You don't want them second guessing what you want to hear. What the President is doing is teaching people to tell him only what he WANTS to hear OR what he wants us to THINK he heard so that he can blame them for his failure (should that happen). Of course, you can't make a good decision if you don't have the facts, so he wouldn't and then he will have a failure... Jeez...
Internment/Resettlement (I/R) Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. I/R Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; and coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel.
Some of your duties as an Internment/Resettlement Specialist may include:
* Assist with the supervision and management of confinement and detention operations * Provide external security to confinement/corrections facilities or detention/internment facilities * Provide counseling and guidance to individual prisoners within a rehabilitative program * Prepare or review reports and records of prisoners/internees and programs
Job training for an Internment/Resettlement Specialist requires nine weeks of Basic Training, where you'll learn basic Soldiering skills, and eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in a field environment. Some of the skills you'll learn are:
* Military laws and jurisdictions * Level of Force Procedures * Unarmed Self-Defense Techniques * Police Deviance and Ethics Procedures * Interpersonal Communications Skills * Close confinement operations * Search and restraint procedures * Use of firearms * Custody and control procedures
Helpful attributes include:
* An ability to think and react quickly * An ability to remain calm in stressful situations * An interest in law enforcement and crime prevention * Being physically fit
Advanced level Internment/Resettlement Specialist provides guidance, supervises and trains other Soldiers within the same discipline. As an advanced level I/R Specialist, you may be involved in:
* Supervise and establish all administrative, logistical and food support operations, confinement/correctional, custodial, treatment, and rehabilitative activities * Responsible for all personnel working in the confinement/correctional facility, including security, logistical, and administrative management of the prisoner/internee population * Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of an Enemy Prisoner of War/Civilian Internee (EPW/CI) camp * Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of detention facility or the operation of a displaced civilian (DC) resettlement facility
back to top RELATED CIVILIAN JOBS
The skills you'll learn as an Internment/Resettlement Specialist will help prepare you for a future with federal, state, county or city law enforcement agencies or the federal penal system. You might also be able to pursue a career as a security guard with industrial firms, airports or other businesses and institutions.
and the old...
31E: Corrections Specialist
Major Duties: The corrections specialist controls, supervises, and counsels military prisoners and manages confinement operations and correctional treatment programs. Duties for MOS 31E at each level of skill are:
* Skill Levels o Skill Level 1 MOSC 31E1O. Assists with supervision and management of military prisoners, and provides external security to confinement/ corrections facility.
o Skill Level 2 MOSC 31E2O. Supervises, counsels and manages military prisoners in confinement/correction facilities.
o Skill Level 3 MOSC 31E3O. Supervises confinement facility operations, counseling, management, training and employment of military prisoners in confinement/corrections facility.
o Skill Level 4 MOSC 31E4O. Supervises confinement facility operations and establishes procedures for counseling, management, training and employment of military prisoners in confinement/correction facility.
o Skill Level 5 MOSC 31E5O. Supervises and establishes procedures for all type activities within confinement/correction facility.
Physical demands rating and qualifications for initial award of MOS. The corrections specialist must possess the following qualifications:
(1) Physical Demands Rating: moderately heavy
(2) Physical Profile: 222221
(3) Red/green color discrimination.
(4) Minimum score of 100 in aptitude area ST.
(5) No court-martial convictions. No record of any disciplinary action under UCMJ which indicates behavior inconsistent with the high standards of corrections specialist.
(6) No record of more than 15 days lost under section 972-10-USC, appendix 3, MCM 1068.
(7) No record of civilian convictions other than minor traffic offenses.
(8) No information in Provost Marshal Office, Intelligence Office, Military Personnel Record Jacket (MPRJ) or medical records whch would prevent the granting of a security clearance under AR 604-5.
(9) No record of pre-trial intervention or conviction by military or civil court of the following:
(a) Any offense involving force or violence.
(b) Any offense listed under para 4-22, AR 601-210 (misdemeanor), or similar offense not listed for which the maximum possible sentence exceeds 4 months of confinement.
(c) Two or more offenses within 5 years prior to the date of enlistment listed under AR 601-210, para 4-21, (minor non-traffic), or similar offense not listed for which the maximum possible sentence is less than 4 months confinement.
(10) Must possess a valid statemotor vehicle operator.
(11) Minimum age of 18 at time of entrance on active duty.
(12) No medically diagnosed history of alcoholism, psychotic disorders, antisocial behavior, objection to bearing and use of arms when necessary of any hehavioral characteristic which may be considered prejudicial to the reliable performance of corrections specialist duties.
(13) No record of possession or use of any narcotic or nonnarcotic drug as defined by Article 134, UCMJ and AR 600-50. (Personnel entering active duty may be granted waiver at Military Entrance Processing Station by the PERSCOM Security Interviewed per DoD Policy on cannabis use).
(14) Formal training (completion of MOS 95C course conducted under the auspices of the Commandant, U.S. Army Military Police School) mandatory.
MOS 31E had the alphanumeric designator of 95C prior to fiscal year 2004.
The major duties, physical demands, physical profile, and skill levels were obtained from Army Pamphlet 611-21.
I know, the "holiday" is the 25th. The 30th is the "traditional" day of observance. If you observed the official thing, I think you're safe if you observe on the 30th as well.
There are many who have served. Many bear scars or rest forever in foreign soil as a result of their service. Many families are forever changed by the loss of these men and women. It is for these cherished national heroes that we take time this day to mark their graves and remember their names.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
In remembrance of those of my own family who have served... Private Pelitiah Thayer - Revolutionary War General Freegift Patchin - Revolutionary War Captain George Richtmeyer - Revolutionary War Private Henry Parslow* - War of 1812 Quartermaster Sergeant Henry Parslow - Civil War First Lieutenant Barney Alonzo Parslow - Civil War First Lieutenant Theodore Sedgewick Van Cott - Civil War First Lieutenant William Hathaway Van Cott - Civil War Second Lieutenant Leonard Boole Van Cott* - Civil War Captain Orrin Lawrence Brodie - World War I Private First Class Gano H. Jewell* - World War II Technician 4th Class ____ _____ Dortch - World War II Seaman 1st Class John Elton Davis - World War II Sergeant Donald Fancher Parslow - World War II, Korean War Private Lawrence Broderick - Cold War Specialist Justin Lee Davis - Global War on Terror
Refloated Soviet sub may be scrapped. I had no idea there was a Russian Sub Museum here in the states or that a submarine could be sunk by a rain storm. I find it interesting, being a child of the Cold War, that such a thing might be available.
Manufactured by Lacroix Pyro-Technologies of France, the HIWS will be marketed by the FNH team. It is capable of hurling the 2.2-pound payload of a 3.3-pound round more than 700 yards in an indirect-fire mode. In a direct-fire role, the HIWS can engage targets out to 300 yards.Touting a sophisticated recoil-mitigation system, the weapon produces no back blast and no overpressure, making it possible to fire the system from an enclosed space - even from inside a vehicle. The HIWS is also relatively quiet: Ear protection isn't needed when firing the system.
Flag Day - 2008
Today is Flag Day. The flag of these United States of America is a powerful symbol. People all over the world look for it in times of need.
It flies over public buildings.
The flag has had songs written about it not the least of which is "The Star Spangled Banner" but also "That Grand Old Flag" and other patriotic tunes.
It is draped over the coffins of deceased Presidents
AND servicemen and women.
It is honored in many places in many ways by many people...
Between the fields where the flag is planted, there are 9+ miles of flower fields that go all the way to the ocean. The flowers are grown by seed companies. It's a beautiful place, close to Vandenberg AFB. Check out the dimensions of the flag. The Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions, as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars, comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants, with 4-5 flower stems each, for a total of more than 2 million flowers.
The Lockheed Plant in WWII
Most chain e-mails are just crap. This one was interesting.
Lockheed During W.W.II (unbelievable 1940s pictures) This is pretty neat--special effects during the 1940's: I have never seen these pictures or knew that we had gone this far to protect us.
During World War II the Army Corps of Engineers needed to hide the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant to protect it from Japanese air attack. They covered it with camouflage netting to make it look like a rural subdivision from the air. Imagine the materials and labor needed to create this. Look at the large dimensional lumber used to support the netting. Just amazing.
Unfortunately, as is so with most such e-mail, I don't know to whom to attribute either the photos or original e-mail. However, I hope you'll enjoy the photos.
D-Day, June 6th 1944
We should remember these young (and many not so young) men who struggled ashore, who died, who strove to fulfill their duty 64 years ago today.
Among those men was one Gano Haynes "Sonny" Jewell. Sonny was my dad's first cousin and they were close. Sonny had been pre-med at Cornell but he felt he wasn't doing his part. He thought he needed to do more and he enlisted in the army. Wonder of wonders, he was made an aideman probably recognizing his pre-med training and perhaps with a bit of work towards that end by Sonny himself. Nobody in our family is known for being a shrinking violet. He came to be assigned to work in the aide-station of the 2d Battalion, 116th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division. The 116th was one of the assault regiments and attached to the 1st Division for the landings. Sonny made the landing. He likely was very busy from June 6th through August 6th when he was wounded near Vire, France by German artillery fire. On August 7th, 1944 PFC Gano Haynes "Sonny" Jewell was killed by a fragment from a German artillery shell. He was 21 years old, an only son and a beloved cousin/nephew. Dad once told me how when his mother and aunt (Sonny's mom) went to get the body, he followed them as they drove a car and he drove a borrowed truck. He remembered how he watched the sidewall of old right rear tire on the car suddenly balloon out and burst and how they had to get the tire replaced before they could continue and get Sonny's body. A small thing to us but Dad's eyes would mist up a bit.
On VE Day (I think this was May 8th, 1945) the government released farm labor from enlistment restrictions and Dad enlisted in the Army. In fact, when he heard the news on the radio he telephoned home and told his mother that he didn't know when he was coming back but that he was going to Oneonta to enlist. Dad allowed that this was at least in part because of Sonny.
In 1985 I was sitting in my office in the home armory of the 116th Infantry and met Winston Morris. Winston had gone into service at age 35 and was 80 years old when we met. Prior to the war he'd been photographer and got command permission to carry and use his camera in theater. As NCOIC of the Regimental aide-station he got to move around quite a bit and take photos of a number of the Regiment's activities. He had a quite collection of photographs from those years and included in them was a photo of Sonny Jewell the day before he died. He was sitting at the edge of his foxhole in the aide station. Winston remembered him fondly. Unfortunately, I didn't get a copy of the photograph.
Sonny Jewell was one of millions, like Winston Morris, who did their duty and I hope that today, you'll take a moment and remember the Sonny Jewell or Winston Morris in your family and somehow thank him or her.
Today, by law, we observe Memorial Day
This morning, I walked out into the sunshine and crossed the street to the bandstand in Gypsy Hill park for the Memorial Observance. As speakers spoke and musicians played I was struck both by the large number of cars which brought people in ones and twos to the ceremony and by the larger number of folks going on with their daily business of jogging, walking the dog, prepping their chosen site for the afternoon picnic and at one point the jarring backing horn of the city trolley. I couldn't help but think that while there were a number of citizens who had come to today's observance ceremony, the vast majority had no apparent interest. They never even paused in their run, never slowed the pace as they walked their children in strollers or their dogs on the leash. I thought, too, of those in our family who had offered themselves to the service of their country and those who had died in that service, far from home.
I hope you will join me at 3:00 PM on the 30th of May (the traditional Memorial Day) for a moment (or more) of silent prayer for these men and women who gave us so very much.
Help Me ID a WWII Army Unit
Some photos, unclassified, were mailed to my grandparents. The return address is:
MAJ P. C. Bosse Hdqs WPBC, APO 244 c/o P. Va. San Francisco
The postmark is June 28, 1945 by the US Army Postal Service.
I think MAJ Paul C. Bosse is the mustached gent in the photos. I'd like to find out more about the unit, MAJ Bosse, and his connection to my grandparents. An internet search for "Paul C. Bosse" or "P. C. Bosse" turned up nothing. This link seems to indicate that the WPBC was a Personnel Center & Casual Depot. There are more photos, however, which made me think it might be something else (not withstanding the one officer's Adjutant General branch insignia). These photos show the troops, mixed race(!), in the field with white and black NCOs. However, just as in the beach photo, the officers wearing "helmets" are actually only wearing the "Liner, Helmet"! That's not what would have happened in combat operations. Any information on this subject you send me would be welcome but please avoid the BS.
What I have found on Paul C. Bosse: Born in New York state 4 Dec 1907, residence was New York City, he was married and had children on 17 Jun 1942 when he enlisted. His dad was worth $840,000 in 1930! He died 13 Dec 1973 in Warrensburg, New York. His wife was Anne Gillette Bosse and they had 3 daughters (Anne, Susan and Constance). So I believe I've found the connection. Paul Bosse knew my grandmother from Lake George where he met his wife Anne Gillette at or near Sabbath Day Point. I'd like to know more...
U P D A T E
I've been given the following info: - WPBC APO 244 for 1945 is for Western Pacific Base Command, Saipan. - Maj Bosse was Asst Chief of Staff of G2 for WPBC. Here is an article he wrote assessing Japanese civilians: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2745220
Stephen King, Renowned Author and Ignoramus
The renowned author, Stephen King, set forth his ideas about our US service people in an interview said this:
I don't want to sound like an ad, a public service ad on TV but the fact is that if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you got the army, Iraq, I don't know, something like that. It's not as bright. So that's my little commercial for that.
If Mr. King wants to promote reading he might better say something such as:
If you can't read you will not be able to pass the tests necessary for acceptance into the US military.
That would be closer to the truth. You see, in today's military you must, in nearly every case, have a high school diploma (although GEDs are sometimes accepted) and a meet a minimum level of intelligence as measured by various tests depending on the positions for which one applies. Every single one of those tests requires that you be able to read and read fairly well.
In some ways I find Mr. King's ignorant statement ironic in that his books are/were fairly popular with soldiers with whom I served.
This idea that US service men and women are somehow the dregs of society is a liberal/socialist idea which seems to be part and parcel of the socialist dogma imported from communists in Europe and the far East (i.e. China). It was indeed true, in those areas, that the common soldier was the among the lowest classes and often uneducated. In many instances it was either the army or starvation for the soldier but most of the time it was an excellent way for the the state (as in the nation/government) to control the trouble makers and use them to its own advantage.
The thing is that people like Mr. King and Senator John Kerry (who has said very nearly the same thing) never seem to expect better of the military when they are in power. We saw little effort to reverse this trend by politicians during the Carter or Clinton presidencies. All such initiatives came from either conservative political leadership or, mostly, within the military hierarchy.
The truth is that today a soldier/sailor/Marine/airman who can't read can't perform to expected standards. They can't use the equipment they are issued, can't complete the paperwork they must complete, can't complete the training they must take, can't train the soldiers they must train and so forth. It is also true that the military services today have the highest education levels of any military at any time in history. Perhaps it is Mr. King and Senator Kerry and their comrades who need an education...
I've put off posting on this subject for a bit. I've been trying to come to terms with myself. You see my old unit, now called HHC 116th IBCT, left the armory for deployment on the 3rd of May 2007. I was sorry to see them go but glad I wasn't with them. My problem isn't that I'm relieved I didn't go. After all, I'm 53 years old. I think that's really too old for an infantryman even though they've been out there in the past and current conflict. I also feel that I gave God, the Fates, or whomever you care to blame/credit with running the world 27½ years of opportunity to put my butt in harm's way.
Oh, I know I might just be in more danger here. After all we've had a drive-by shooting right in front of the house (unsolved) and a fugitive hiding out on the front porch (caught now but he was armed as the chase began and the wife was in the backyard. The neighborhood seems to be going down hill with more trash thrown in the yard, and more frequent incidents such as those I just mentioned. But I've no desire to be constantly thinking that I need to watch out for having folks for whom I'm responsible.
After 27½ years one of the downsides is that you get more and more responsibility. Not just for things though, one is responsible for people, too. I'm not really excited about the need to write consolation letters home to family members. I understand that a Virginia Guard member was killed by an IED in Iraq recently. I'm glad I didn't have to write his family.
Welcome Home 3d Battalion 116th IBCT
They actually arrived home yesterday. Thanks guys. You done good.
April 22, 2008
Charlottesville, Leesburg and Woodstock area Va. Guard Soldiers return from Iraq
Soldiers from infantry companies headquartered in Charlottesville, Leesburg and Woodstock assigned to 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team returned to the United States April 20 and 21 after serving in Iraq and Kuwait since September 2007. The Soldiers flew into the demobilization station of Camp Shelby, Miss., and will conduct a number of different administrative activities to transition from active duty back into traditional National Guard status prior to returning back to Virginia. Approximately 150 Soldiers are assigned to each company.
The units will spend four or five days at Camp Shelby, but the exact arrival date for their return back to Virginia has not been determined at this time. The Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office will issue a follow up advisory once the return date has been set.
All three infantry companies were assigned to convoy escort duty in Iraq and had numerous enemy engagements via improvised explosive devices, small arms fire and complex ambushes. A and B Companies operated in Al Anbar Province or Multinational Division West. A Company operated and in some of the most dangerous areas in Iraq to include Fallujah and Ramadi, and B Company operated in hot spots west of the Euphrates River and the far western portions of Iraq near the Syrian border.
C Company provided convoy escort in Multi-National Division North and operated in some of the more recent danger areas around Mosul and Kirkuk. Nine of the 10 Soldiers wounded in action from the battalion were from C Company. The battalion had no fatalities.
In addition to the three infantry companies, the Battalion is made up of approximately 100 Soldiers from the Winchester-based Headquarters Company, approximately 125 Soldiers from Fredericksburg-based D Company and approximately 125 Soldiers from Fredericksburg-based F Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion. These three units will return to the USA in the coming weeks. Additional information about their return will be provided once the units have landed at their demobilization station.
Additional Background Information on 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry
The 3rd Battalion, 116 Infantry, also referred to as Task Force Normandy, was alerted Feb. 3, 2007 for mobilization and overseas deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This alert came 19 months after the battalion returned from Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The battalion entered active duty in late June 2007 for mobilization training prior to leaving the United States.
In the span of four months, the unit was able to staff and equip the battalion for the mission, calling upon Soldiers and equipment from 42 different units across the Commonwealth to form the largest battalion task force the Virginia National Guard has mobilized in support of the Global War on Terror. The battalion numbered nearly 800 Soldiers when the embarked upon their mission.
The battalion's deployment was also the first time a Virginia National Guard rifle battalion ever deployed from Virginia with the new organizational structure of the Army’s new modular brigade system.
The battalion deployed with its Headquarters Company, three rifle companies, (A, B and C Companies), a special weapons company (D Company) and a forward support company (F Company).
While at the mobilization station, Camp Shelby, Miss., the battalion was unexpectedly forced to accelerate the deployment timeline for two of its six companies. Due to urgent needs in Iraq and in support of the troop surge, A Company and C Company were required to accelerate their training timeline in order to arrive in theater to begin combat operations.
Both A and C companies successfully completed six back-to-back collective training exercises with no rest in between.
“These exercises were physically and mentally intensive ranging from mounted combat patrols to urban warfare,” said Lt. Col. John Epperly, commander of 3rd Battalion. “This is significant because the change from light infantry to mounted warfare represented a significantly new way of fighting for these Soldiers and one which they had never been trained in previously Fire teams and squads were re-organized into gun truck crews and trained in new tactics, techniques and procedures for mounted convoy escort. Under intense time pressure, both A and C companies validated for deployment and departed the United States on time under the new schedule.”
Upon departure from mobilization station, Task Force Normandy deployed to both Iraq and Kuwait. The three rifle companies were assigned to convoy escort duty in Iraq. Each rifle company was assigned to a Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and provided convoy escort to an area of operations ranging from 750 to 1,000 square kilometers.
Headquarters Company, D Company and F Company were assigned to Security Force (SECFOR) missions in Kuwait. D Company provided protection to the strategically important deepwater port at Ash Shuaybah. F Company provided port security at Kuwait Naval Base and protection to ammunition sustainment operations and re-deploying coalition forces at Kuwait Naval Base. The Headquarters Company provided command and control to the battalion's port security missions as well as the Area Reaction Force for all of southern Kuwait, an area that covered over 6000 square kilometers of battlespace known as SECFOR South.
“During its time in Kuwait and Iraq, 3rd Battalion was integral to the success of several operations, events and activities,” Epperly said. “The units stationed in Kuwait made significant gains and innovations in securing critical infrastructure vital to the war effort in all of southwest Asia.”
For a period of over 8 months, Headquarters Company, D and F companies, in concert with Naval Coastal Warfare Squadrons 5 and 21, provided joint security to the two strategic deepwater ports in Kuwait. “These ports were absolutely critical to the entire coalition war effort in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan since over 95% of all supplies coming into theater used these ports,” Epperly said.
While securing these ports, the battalion searched over 100,000 vehicles and 300,000 people without disruption to the ports. The battalion's local combat patrols around the port facilities logged over 10,000 vehicle hours without a serious incident. The battalion also secured the loading and unloading of over 8,000 combat vehicles as several brigade combat teams flowed into and out of Iraq.
The Headquarters Company provided an Area Response Force for all of southern Kuwait. Soldiers provided personal security detachments for distinguished visitors and aerial quick reaction forces for both the President's and First Lady's visits. They worked in a joint security environment with Naval Coastal Warfare Squadrons 5 and 21 as well as the Air Force's 586th Expeditionary Warfare Group.
D Company provided fixed site security and a Quick Reaction Force for the Seaport of Debarkation at Ash Shuaybah, Kuwait. This is the theater logistics center of gravity because over 90% of supplies for the warfights in Iraq and Afghanistan flow through this port. Delta's mission had strategic implications. They also worked in a joint security environment with Naval Coastal Warfare Squadrons 5 and 21 as well as the Air Force's 586th Expeditionary Warfare Group.
F Company provided fixed site security and Quick Reaction Force for Kuwait Naval Base. Their mission secured the Naval Base where all ammunition enters the theater. Further, they secured the deployment and re-deployment of five Marine Expeditionary Groups. They also worked in a joint security environment with Naval Coastal Warfare Squadrons 5 and 21 as well as the Air Force's 586th Expeditionary Warfare Group. F Company worked closely with Navy Inshore Boat Units to provide seamless sea and land side security for the Naval Base.
Must be a poetry corner now...
The Sands of Christmas
I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh, and looked across the table where the bills were piled too high. The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix, My stocks were down another point, the Dolphins lost by six.
And so with only minutes till my son got home from school, I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool. The burdens that I carried were about all I could take, and so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.
I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust, No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust. And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh, eight hummers ran a column right behind an M1A.
A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens, Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean. They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight, their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.
Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind, To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again. There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease, They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MRE's.
They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see, They didn't need an ornament-- they lacked a Christmas Tree. They didn't have a present even though it was tradition, the only boxes I could see were labled "ammunition".
I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side, He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I cried. I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near and kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.
There's nothing wrong, my little son, for safe we sleep tonight, our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right, to worry about the things in life that really mean nothing at all, instead of wondering each day if we will be the next to fall.
He looked at me as children do and said it's always right, to thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write. And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note, to thank the many far from home, and this is what we wrote,
God bless you all and keep you safe, and speed your way back home. Remember that we love you so, and that you're not alone. The gift you give, you share with all, a present every day, You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay.
Michael Marks, 2003
Mr. Marks must be one of the least known but most prolific authors of pro-military poetry of our time. Please, attribute this work and the previous to him and correct those who may very well not know better.
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight. The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream. The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near. Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight. A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child. "What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts. To the window that danced with a warm fire's light Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times. No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me. My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December," Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas Gram' always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam, And now it is my turn and so, here I am I've not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile. Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home. I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.. Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall." "So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least, "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you've done, For being away from your wife and your son." Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long. For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled. Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (NBC) -- When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush's surge.
Anderson's orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.
Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.
"Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month," Anderson said.
That money would help him pay for his master's degree in public administration. It would help Anderson's fellow platoon leader, John Hobot, pay for a degree in law enforcement.
Both Hobot and Anderson believe the Pentagon deliberately wrote orders for 729 days instead of 730. Now, six of Minnesota's members of the House of Representatives have asked the Secretary of the Army to look into it -- So have Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman.
Lest anyone who has never been in the military misunderstand something let me explain.
Benefits authorized by Congress are often contingent on a minimum amount of time served on active duty. The law has changed over the years dependent on Congress's desire to spend money on the benefits the military receive. It is VERY common to cut orders for National Guard troops such that they will end just prior to the soldiers qualifying for benefits that the state must pay from their federal funds and thus cut into the money they have to spend on other things. It is also common for the National Guard Bureau (a federal sub-organization of the DOD) to direct federalization orders (orders bringing individuals or units to active duty) are written to minimize the federal government's committment to benefit payments.
So, that this happened as noted in the article is very believable and actually to be expected. I'm certain the command or at least the full-time members of the unit's command structure were aware that this was part of the reason the orders were so written.
I don't think this is the right thing to do. Some bean counter officer (perhaps a clique of bean counters) got carried away and forgot that these men (and women) actually served a longer time in theater than some of our WWI soldiers served in Europe in 1918-1919! These soldiers DESERVE the benefits and I see no reason why Congress can't re-write the law again to ensure that they get the benefits they earned.
Perhaps more egregious is how the Democrats offset the cost of the new benefits. Because of House PAYGO rules, any new entitlement spending (such as the Filipino Veterans Equity Act) must be funded by either a corresponding cut in existing spending or matching revenue gains.
In this case, the Democrats on the Veterans Committee voted to save nearly $1 billion by eliminating a $2,200 special monthly payment to veterans who are less than 100 percent disabled, but 60 percent or greater disabled.
Just how would you feel if you thought you had a contract with your government that you'd be taken care of and suddenly lost $2200 a month in income?
Royal Australian Air Force F-111 sinks North Korean drug ship. After being caught trying to smuggle drugs into Australia the Pong Su was sunk by two 2000-pound (900 kg) laser-guided bombs dropped from an RAAF F-111 aircraft. The deliberate destruction of the freighter was said to deliver a strong message to international drug smuggling rings that the Australian Federal Government would take all measures necessary to stop illegal drug importation.
Do you think that did the trick? I'm thinking North Korea is now working on using an old diesel sub to do their exporting work now.
For us, the American ideal is personified in the concept of self-reliance, work ethic, honesty/forthrightness, decency, personal property rights, family, religion, an ability to defend oneself from criminals and crooked politicians, and personal responsibility.