Tag Archives: military

Military Serving Gulf Seafood

Published by:

The Gulf of Mexico seafood businesses have been greatly suffering since the BP oil spill caused fear that the shrimp and fish that come from the area wouldn’t be safe to eat. Well, these companies in the Gulf have gotten a boost from a deal that was made between an organization that has been helping out the area since Hurricane Katrina, Ready 4 Takeoff, and The Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. The contract has brought the fish and shrimp to 72 military bases across the country, where it will be sold under such names as Emeril Lagasse, the famous TV chef. This deal is a good idea to help out the failing Gulf businesses, but my one question is; why isn’t the whole entire government promoting the Gulf food as well?

No one can argue that since the BP oil spill, many companies that make their money off of the fish and shrimp from that area have struggled to stay in business. Deca, which is the grocery chain that is located on all of the military bases, is doing a good thing by starting to stock Gulf seafood in their stores instead of importing it from other countries. When a tragedy like the one that happened to the Gulf arises, we all need to step up and help out in any way that we can.

And while many still have their concerns over the safety of the seafood, the Food and Drug Administration has said many times it is completely safe. While smell tests, which consist of the FDA smelling samples to see if they perceive a chemical smell all came up negative, that still didn’t appease consumers. So, the FDA then did tissue samples of some seafood, and less than 1 percent of 1,735 samples came up positive for trace amounts of chemicals.

Even with all of this evidence, people are still wary when it comes to feeding the food to their families. But if the government wants to promote the safety of the seafood, feeding it to the military families who have limited incomes, and are not likely to have many other options when it comes to buying any kind of fresh seafood, is not the way to go. In order to really bring more consumers back to the markets in the Gulf, and back to the famous seafood restaurants, the Obamas need to start eating and serving this seafood in The White House, not just posing for a photo op where President Obama can be seen eating some of the fish from the Gulf.

The government as a whole has to show that the Gulf seafood is good enough for their family as well. Consumers look to Michelle Obama for everything from her clothes to her health food choices, so her vouching for the seafood from the area would go a big way in helping out these businesses. The people who can afford to buy the most expensive, freshest food need to be shown eating some shrimp from the Gulf, not just military families. And until the government steps up and practices what they preach, the Gulf seafood industry is still going to be suffering…

View Source Article

This Week In American Military History: Bonhomme Richard to Space Shuttle Columbia

Published by:

This Week in American Military History:

Feb. 1, 1800:  The frigate USS Constellation (the first of four so-named American warships) under the command of Capt. Thomas Truxtun defeats the French frigate La Vengeance under Capt. F.M. Pitot in a night battle lasting several hours. The engagement, fought during America’s Quasi War with France, is – according to Truxtun – “as sharp an action as ever was fought between two frigates.”

Feb. 1, 1862:  Julia Ward Howe’s poem “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which begins “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,” is published in the Atlantic Monthly. It will become a Union Army ballad. Today, the ballad is a martial hymn sung in American military chapels worldwide and by descendents of Union and Confederate soldiers alike.

Feb. 1, 1961:  The Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) – the first three-staged, solid-fueled ICBM – is launched for the first time in a successful “all systems” test.

Minuteman I is the first missile in the still-operational Minuteman family. Minuteman IIIs are still deployed. The name “Minuteman” comes from the famous “minutemen” of America’s colonial militia.

Feb. 1, 2003:  The doomed Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) disintegrates upon reentering the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crewmembers, including:

•    U.S. Air Force Col. Rick D. Husband, mission commander
•    U.S. Navy Commander William C. McCool, pilot
•    U.S. Navy Capt. David M. Brown, mission specialist
•    U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, payload specialist
•    U.S. Navy Commander Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist
•    Israeli Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon, payload specialist
•    Civilian research scientist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist

Feb. 2, 1848:  The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo – which begins, “In the name of Almighty God” – is signed by representatives of the United States and Mexico, officially ending the Mexican-American War.  According to the Library of Congress, the treaty “[extends] the boundaries of the United States by over 525,000 square miles. In addition to establishing the Rio Grande as the border between the two countries, the territory acquired by the U.S. included what will become the states of Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, most of New Mexico and Arizona, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.”

Feb. 2, 1901:  Congress authorizes the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps under the Army Medical Department.

Feb. 3, 1801:  Nearly one year to the day after Constellation’s thrashing of La Vengeance, the U.S. Senate ratifies the Mortefontaine treaty, officially ending the Quasi War with France.

Feb. 3, 1961:  Two days after the Minuteman I test-launch, the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command (SAC) launches its EC-135 flying command post – codenamed “Looking Glass” – in order to maintain seamless and secure command-and-control of U.S. nuclear forces in the event ground-based command-and-control is wiped out in a nuclear attack. “Looking Glass” aircraft will be airborne 24/7 for the next three decades. According to the U.S. Strategic Command (which replaced SAC): “On July 24, 1990, Looking Glass ceased continuous airborne alert, but remained on ground or airborne alert 24 hours a day.”

Today, the U.S. Navy’s E-6B Mercury is America’s “Looking Glass.”

Feb. 4, 1779:  Continental Navy Capt. John Paul Jones takes command of the former French frigate, Duc de Duras, renaming her Bonhomme Richard (after Benjamin Franklin’s pen name). It will be aboard the Richard – badly damaged and sinking during the famous battle in the North Sea with the Royal Navy frigate HMS Serapis on Sept. 23 – that Jones refuses a surrender demand, allegedly replying, “I have not yet begun to fight!” It has also been widely reported that when the Serapis’ Captain Richard Pearson inquired as to whether or not Jones had lowered or struck his colors, Jones shouted back, “I may sink, but I’ll be damned if I strike!”

Incidentally, Bonhomme Richard (the first of five so-named American warships) does sink: But not before Pearson himself surrenders (believed to be “the first time in naval history that colors are surrendered to a sinking ship”), and Jones transfers his flag to his newly captured prize, Serapis.

Jones is destined to become “the Father of the American Navy,” though – in some circles – it is argued that title belongs to Commodore John Barry.

Feb. 4, 1787:  Shays’ Rebellion – a short-lived Massachusetts uprising led by former Continental Army Capt. Daniel Shays and spawned by crippling taxes and an economic depression in the wake of the American Revolution – is quashed by Massachusetts militia.

Feb. 4, 1944:  Kwajalein Atoll is secured by U.S. forces.

Feb. 4, 1945:  The Big Three – U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin – meet at the Crimea Conference (best known as the Yalta Conference) to discuss among other points what was to become of soon-to-be conquered Germany and the nations the Nazis had previously defeated.

Feb. 5, 1918:  U.S. Army Lt. Stephen W. Thompson, a member of the American 1st Aero Squadron, is invited by French aviators to fly in a French Breguet bomber as a gunner on one of their missions. It is on that mission that Thompson shoots down a German Albatross fighter over Saarbrucken, Germany; making him the first American in uniform to shoot down an enemy airplane.

Today, the U.S. Air Force’s 1st Reconnaissance Squadron traces its lineage back to the 1st Aero Squadron.

View Source Article

American Military History Dec. 22-28

Published by:

Dec. 21, 1861:  The congressionally conceived “Medal of Honor” is signed into law authorizing such medals be awarded to enlisted sailors and Marines who “distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities.” The Army version of the medal is signed into law the following summer.

Dec. 22, 1864:  Following his “March to the Sea” and just before his “March through the Carolinas,” Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman presents the captured city of Savannah (Ga.) to Pres. Lincoln as a “Christmas gift.”

Dec. 24, 1814:  The Treaty of Ghent is signed ending the War of 1812.

Dec. 25, 1776:  Continental Army Gen. George Washington conducts his famous crossing of the Delaware River from the icy Pennsylvania shoreline to the equally frozen banks of New Jersey. It will be followed by an eight-mile march to the town of Trenton where he will meet and defeat the Hessians (German soldiers allied to the British).

Speed of movement, surprise, maneuver, violence of action, and the plan’s simplicity are all key. Fortunately, the elements will all come together.

The factors in Washington’s favor are clear: The weather is so bad that no one believes the Continentals will attempt a river crossing, much less a forced march at night. The Continentals are numerically – and perceived to be qualitatively – inferior to the British Army. The Hessians, mercenaries allied to the British and who are garrisoned in Trenton, have a battlefield reputation that far exceeds their actual combat prowess. And no one believes the weary Americans will want to attempt anything with anyone on Christmas.

Hours before kickoff, Washington has his officers read to the men excerpts of Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis.

By 4:00 p.m. the force of just under 2,500 men gathers at McKonkey’s Ferry, the launching point for the mission. The watchword, “Victory or death,” is given. As darkness sets in, the men climb into the boats and begin easing out into the black river.

Washington’s crossing and subsequent raid has been dubbed “America’s first special operation” in some military circles: Though there were many small-unit actions, raids, and Ranger operations during the Colonial Wars, and there was a special Marine landing in Nassau in the early months of the American Revolution. Still no special operation in American military history has been more heralded than that which took place on Christmas night exactly 234 years ago, this week.

View Source Article

From Blood Stripes to Bloody Ridge- This Week in American Military History

Published by:

This Week in American Military History:
by W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Sept. 12, 1918: Battle of St. Mihiel (France) opens between Allied American-French forces (primarily U.S. Army and Marine forces under the overall command of U.S. Army Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing) and Imperial German Army forces under Gen. Johannes Georg von der Marwitz.

In the afternoon, Lt. Col. (future four-star general) George S. Patton – destined to lead America’s first tank attack against the enemy – and Brig. Gen. (future five-star general) Douglas MacArthur will meet on the battlefield, and according to the U.S. Army Historical Foundation: “The lieutenant colonel [Patton] sported a Colt .45 pistol with an ivory grip and his engraved initials. A pipe was clenched in his teeth. The brigadier [MacArthur] wore a barracks cap and a muffler his mother knitted for him. As they spoke to each other, a German artillery barrage opened up and began marching towards their position. Infantrymen scattered and dove for cover, but the two officers remained standing, coolly talking with each other.”

U.S. Marine Gen. John A. Lejeune, will describe his personal experience of the battle: “In war, if a man is to keep his sanity, he must come to regard death as being just as normal as life and hold himself always in readiness, mentally and spiritually, to answer the call of the grim reaper whenever fate decrees that his hour has struck.”

Sept. 12, 1942: Battle of Bloody Ridge opens on Guadalcanal (see next week).

Sept. 13, 1814: From the deck of a Royal Navy ship aboard which he has been detained, Washington, D.C. lawyer Francis Scott Key pens his now-famous poem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” on an envelope as he witnesses the British night-bombardment of Fort McHenry, Baltimore during the War of 1812.

It will be more than a century before the U.S. Congress adopts “The Star Spangled Banner” as the official national anthem.

Sept. 13, 1847: U.S. Army and Marine forces (including lots of future Civil War generals like Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, George Pickett, Pierre G.T. Beauregard, Thomas J. Jackson, Joseph E. Johnston, Ulysses S. Grant, future Admiral Raphael Semmes, and I’m probably leaving out a few) participate in the storming of Chapultepec Castle during the Mexican War.

Chapultepec defends Mexico City, which will fall on the 14th.

For those of us fortunate enough since to claim the title, “Marine,” the taking of Chapultepec and ultimately Mexico City will give us two things:

First: The first five words of our hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli …”

Second: The “blood” red stripe along the seams of our dress-blue uniform trousers (Marines don’t wear pants).

The origin of the blood stripe is more tradition than absolute fact. But we Marines heartily claim it. According to tradition, the blood stripe represents the blood shed by Marines storming Chapultepec. And the reason only corporals and above are authorized to wear the stripe is because there was such a high percentage of NCOs and officers killed in the storming of the castle.

Sept. 13, 1942: Ninety-five years after defeating the Mexicans at Chapultepec, U.S. Marines beat back a series of wave attacks by Japanese soldiers on Guadalcanal that began on the night of Sept. 12 and will last until the morning of the 14th.

The fighting – since referred to as the Battle of Bloody Ridge (also Edson’s Ridge or Raiders’ Ridge) – is over which side will control the nearby airfield.

Japanese soldiers led by Samurai-sword wielding officers attack the ridge-defending leathernecks in suicidal waves screaming, “Banzai!” and “Marine, You Die!”

At one point during the fighting, the American line — under the command of Lt. Col. (future major general) Merritt “Red Mike” Edson — is nearly broken. But the Marines hold, and beat back the attacks with terrible losses to the enemy.

Edson will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his command of Bloody Ridge. Maj. Kenneth Bailey, killed in the fighting, will also receive the Medal of Honor.

Sept. 14, 1966: Operation Attleboro begins as something of a “feet wet” operation for a green American unit – the U.S. Army’s 196th Light Infantry Brigade – but will evolve into a major combined-arms operation as U.S. forces make contact with a battle-hardened Viet Cong division and a North Vietnamese Army regiment. The end result by November will be the discovery of one of the largest weapons and equipment caches of the Vietnam War to-date, and over 1,000 dead enemy soldiers.

Sept. 15, 1944: Two years after Bloody Ridge, U.S. Marines land on Peleliu.

Sept. 15, 1950: United Nations ground forces – primarily U.S. Marines – under the overall command of U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, begin hitting the beaches at Inchon, Korea.

Sept. 16, 1776: Gen. George Washington chalks up his “first victory in the field” against British and Hessian forces under Gen. Alexander Leslie in the Battle of Harlem Heights, New York.

Sept. 17, 1862: The Battle of Antietam (Maryland) – the bloodiest single-day battle in American history – opens between Confederate Army forces under Gen. Robert E. Lee and Union Army forces under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. After 12 hours of fighting, some 23,000 Americans are dead, wounded, or missing.

Though a strategic victory for the Union, the battle will prove tactically inconclusive for both sides.

Sept. 17, 1944: Operation Market Garden, an enormous Allied Airborne operation during World War II (in fact, the largest parachute operation in history), is launched to seize strategically vital bridges in German-occupied Holland.

After 10 days of fighting and many tactical successes, the operation will be deemed a strategic failure, and Allied forces will be ordered to withdraw.

(Cornelius Ryan’s book, A Bridge Too Far, and the film adaptation of the same are based on Market Garden)

Sept. 18, 1947: Happy Birthday, U.S. Air Force! America’s air and space warfare service (and the descendent service of the U.S. Army Air Forces), the U.S. Air Force becomes an independent and equal arm of the American military.

Sept. 19, 1777: Battle of Freeman’s Farm — first engagement in the Battle of Saratoga (during the American Revolution) — opens between Continental forces under the command of Gen. Horatio Gates and British forces under Gen. John “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne. Brits carry the day, but suffer heavy losses. Continentals will ultimately win Saratoga.
View Source Article

This Week in American Military History: From the King’s Proclamation to Richie’s MiG

Published by:


This Week in American Military History:


by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
08/24/2010

Aug. 23, 1775: Less than two months after the Second Continental Congress issues its “Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms [against the British]” in which the Congress resolves “to die free men rather than live as slaves,” King George III issues his own proclamation declaring the American colonies to be in a state of rebellion.

The king adds, “not only all our Officers, civil and military, are obliged to exert their utmost endeavours to suppress such rebellion, and to bring the traitors to justice, but that all our subjects of this Realm, and the dominions thereunto belonging, are bound by law to be aiding and assisting in the suppression of such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all traitorous conspiracies and attempts against us, our crown and dignity.”

Aug. 23, 1864: Union Naval forces under the command of Adm. David Glasgow Farragut – best known for purportedly uttering the command, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” – take Fort Morgan, effectively ending the near-month-long battle of Mobile Bay.

Aug. 24, 1814: British forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert Ross close-with and defeat a mixed American force of Continental Army regulars, Marines, sailors, and militia under overall command of U.S. Army Brig. Gen. William Henry Winder in the battle of Bladensburg, Maryland on the road to Washington, D.C. during the war of 1812.

The disastrous defeat of the Continentals at Bladensburg will enable the British to march on, sack, and burn the nation’s capitol within a few hours. But according to legend, the British are so impressed by the indomitable stand of the American Marines and sailors – who “broke two British regiments” during the fighting – that the commandant’s house and the Marine barracks will be spared the torch when Washington is burned.

Aug. 25, 1944: U.S. and French Army forces liberate Paris. The Germans fall back.

The BBC reports: “This evening French, American and Senegalese troops marched triumphantly down the Champs Elysee to ecstatic cheers of Parisians, young and old.”

Aug. 28, 1862: The Second battle of Bull Run (known to many Southerners as Second Manassas) opens between Union Army forces under the command of Maj. Gen. John Pope and Confederate Army forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (Gen. Robert E. Lee in overall command).

Within days, Confederate forces will drive Union forces from the field, not unlike what happened at First Bull Run/Manassas on July 21, 1861.

Aug. 28, 1972: U.S. Air Force Capt. Richard Stephen Richie, flying an F-4 Phantom, shoots down his fifth MiG over North Vietnam, becoming the Air Force’s first ace of the war.

But to hear Richie tell it, it was just a ride. “My fifth MiG kill was an exact duplicate of a syllabus mission, so I had not only flown that as a student, but had taught it probably a dozen times prior to actually doing it in combat,” he says.

Let’s increase awareness of American military tradition and honor America’s greatest heroes by supporting the Medal of Honor Society’s 2010 Convention to be held in Charleston, S.C., Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, 2010 (for more information, click here).

View Source Article

Mr. Smith is a contributor to Human Events. A former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor, he writes about military/defense issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. He is the author of six books, and his articles appear in a variety of publications. E-mail him at marine1@uswriter.com.

From Galloping Gates to the Gulf of Sidra

Published by:

This Week in American Military History

by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
08/17/2010

Aug. 15, 1845: The War Department transfers Fort Severn, Annapolis to the Navy Department, specifically the new Naval School under Commander Franklin Buchanan.

The U.S. Naval Academy is established.

Franklin, who serves as the school’s first superintendent, is destined to become an admiral in the Confederate Navy.

Aug. 15, 1945: Japanese Emperor Hirohito broadcasts his surrender message to the Japanese people, a portion of which reads:

“…the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interests. The enemy, moreover, has begun to employ a new most cruel bomb, the power which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation … but would lead also to the total extinction of human civilization.”

Hours before the radio broadcast, Japanese Army Maj. Kenji Hatanaka – leading a group of diehards opposed to surrender – attempts a coup to prevent the broadcast. The coup fails. Hatanaka commits suicide.

Aug. 16, 1780: The Battle of Camden (S.C.) – one of the worst tactical blunders on the part of the Continentals during the American Revolution – opens between British Army forces under the command of Gen. Sir Charles Cornwallis and Continental Army forces under Gen. Horatio Gates.

Though the Americans will be decisively defeated at Camden – thanks to Gates’ improperly positioning inexperienced militia against seasoned regiments of the regular British Army, as well as his complete loss of tactical control – the battle will prove to be something of a highwater mark for British forces in the southern colonies (after Camden, it’s pretty much downhill for the British).

Gates himself will break and run, earning him the nickname, “Galloping Gates.” But the heroics of many of the ill-fated albeit last-standing Continental officers and men (like Gen. Johann Baron de Kalb) will prove to be exemplary. And Gen. George Washington – always able to recover from strategic setbacks – will choose the exceptionally able Gen. Nathanael Greene as Gates’ replacement.

Aug. 16, 1940: Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s parachute test platoon begin jumping over Fort Benning, Georgia. The airborne exercise (actually more of an experiment) is the first for the Army.

In 2001, Pres. George W. Bush will proclaim “August 16” of each year as National Airborne Day.

Aug. 17, 1942: Ahoy Raiders! U.S. Marine Raiders strike Makin Island in the Gilberts.

Sgt. Clyde Thomason, killed during the fighting, will become the first Marine in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor.

Aug. 17, 1943: U.S. Army Gen. George Smith Patton Jr. beats his British Army counterpart Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery to the gates of Messina, Sicily, in what Patton had purportedly referred to as “a horse race in which the prestige of the U.S. Army is at stake.”

Aug. 19, 1812: In one of the most dramatic sea battles of the War of 1812, the frigate USS Constitution engages and captures the smaller frigate HMS Guerriere in a contest of broadsides and close-quarters combat between opposing crews of sailors and Marines (the American leathernecks pouring a terrific fire into the unfortunate British officers and men aboard Guerriere).

According to the Naval Historical Center, “Despite the rational excuse that Royal Navy frigates were not as large and powerful as their American counterparts, the real causes of these outcomes were inspired seamanship and vastly better gunnery. For the rest of the 19th Century, long after the War of 1812 was over, America’s Navy was credited with an effectiveness that went well beyond its usually modest size.”

Constitution (known affectionately as “Old Ironsides”) is the oldest ship in the American Navy. Launched in 1797, she serves today as a duly commissioned ship crewed by active-duty U.S. sailors and Naval officers in order to further public awareness of American Naval tradition.

Aug. 19, 1981: One-hundred-sixty-nine years to the day after the victory over HMS Guerriere, the U.S. Navy – specifically two F-14 Tomcats — knocks down two Libyan Su-22 fighters over the Gulf of Sidra.

Aug. 21, 1863: Confederate guerillas under the command of William Clark Quantrill (operating outside of the control of regular Confederate forces) launch a bloody raid on Lawrence, Kansas.

Quantrill – who purportedly once served in the Missouri State Guard – is widely considered a brigand and a cutthroat. That reputation continues today. To some, however, he remains a folk hero.

Aug. 21, 1942: Just after 3:00 a.m., “Banzai”-screaming Japanese assault forces – primarily members of the elite Japanese Special Naval Landing forces – attack U.S. Marine positions on Guadalcanal in what will become known as the Battle of the Tenaru River.

The first wave is momentarily slowed as the Japanese struggle to get through the Marines’ barbed wire and American rifle machinegun fire rip into their ranks. At one point, the enemy breaks through and the fighting degrades into a savage hand-to-hand struggle with knives, machetes, swords, rifle butts, and fists. The Marines kill scores and hold their positions.
Subsequent Japanese attacks follow, but all are beaten back with heavy losses.

Let’s increase awareness of American military tradition and honor America’s greatest heroes by supporting the Medal of Honor Society’s 2010 Convention to be held in Charleston, S.C., Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, 2010 (for more information, click here).
View Source Article