After a month of drilling and training the green troops who panicked during his retreat at Enotachopco Creek (in what is now the state of Alabama), Major General Andrew Jackson is almost ready to march south against the pro-British Creek Indians known as the Red Sticks.
According to Robert V. Remini’s “Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars,” the tall, gaunt Tennesean became a “hard and determined disciplinarian” who inflicted the harshest punishment on anyone who disobeyed an order a or attempted to desert – which his rough-and-tumble Tennesee Volunteers were wont to do. That hard discipline included the execution by firing squad of a 17-year-old Tennesee recruit who, during an argument with an officer, threatened to shoot anyone who tried to arrest him, according to A.J. Langguth, in his “Union 1812, The Americans Who Fought the Second War of Independence.”
Jackson forbade the importation of whiskey into camp and ordered his troops to improve the road between his base at Fort Strother and his army’s supply depot at Fort Deposit near the Alabama River.
On March 14 Jackson took his army out of Fort Strother and headed south 60 miles to the Red Stick stronghold at the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa River. They included regulars from the 39th U.S. Infantry Regiment and additional Tennesee volunteers.
Jackson left some troops behind to guard Fort Strother. He took with him about 2,000 infantry and 700 cavalry and mounted riflemen. Accompanying Jackson were about 600 Indians – 500 Cherokees and about 100 friendly Creeks.
Mystery at Sea.
UPDATES with INTERPOL statement, continuing passport investigation
The search continues for a Beijing-bound Malaysian Airlines jet carrying 239 passengers and crew that disappeared over the weekend without a trace. Aircraft and naval vessels from at least four nations have mounted a massive search in the South China Sea between Vietnam and Malaysia.
Normally, 4GWAR wouldn’t post on such an event but an issue has arisen that has piqued our interest – and concern.
Air traffic control lost contact with Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 about an hour after it departed Kuala Lumpur Saturday (March 8). There was no indication of trouble from the crew of the Boeing 777- – no distress signal – and no reported weather issues, according to the Associated Press.
Lists of passengers were posted by airport officials in China and by the airline. There were a few discrepancies in passenger names but two people said to be on the plane have come forward to say they are elsewhere in the word and not on the missing plane. In both cases, the persons in question – one from Austria, the other from Italy – said their passports were stolen in Thailand over the last two years, according to Reuters.
The international police agency, INTERPOL, confirmed in a statement Sunday (March 9) that both the Italian and Austrian passports used to board the Malaysian airliner had been reported stolen and had been entered into the massive Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database maintained by the the police organization. But INTERPOL also said no country checked the database between the time they were added to the database and when the missing plane took off. “INTERPOL is therefore unable to determine” how many other times the stolen documents were used “to board flights or cross borders,” the Lyons, France-based agency said.
Meanwhile, INTERPOL said it was checking to see if any of the other passports used to board the plane were stolen and it was working with the countries involved to determine the true identities of the passengers who used the stolen passports. The current head of INTERPOL, Secretary General Ronald Noble, complained that “only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care” to keep people with stolen passports off international flights.
It could be a coincidence, that two people using stolen passports could have wound up on the same flight. Maybe they were fugitives or refugees from their home countries or criminals trying to elude police or smuggle drugs. But U.S. officials are investigating whether terrorist are somehow involved, according to NBC News.
Even if foul play does not prove to be the cause of this baffling incident, the stolen passports indicate a serious flaw in global aviation security measures. What good is having a database to protect the flying public if governments don’t use it consistently? We’ll keep our eye on this still-unfolding story and also keep our fingers crossed that this incident — it it doesn’t have a happy conclusion — is at least not the latest in a string of attacks and attempted attacks on international air travel.
Modern Face of War
UPDATES with additional information and links
The camera that took this photo was using a night vision lens, just like the night vision goggles worn by these combat air traffic controllers, a little known speciality (outside the military community) in the U.S. Air Force and Special Operations Forces. They are the first to arrive at hazardous landing areas (either because of enemy action or damage from natural disaster) to set up aircraft landing or parachute drop zones. Combat controllers are FAA certified air traffic controllers who provide the link between the air and ground forces in direct action, special reconnaissance, humanitarian assistance and foreign internal defense operations.
This Combat Controller Team is from the 720th Special Tactics Group, based at Hurlburt Field, Florida. In this photo they are relaying wind speed and aircraft direction to a C-130 H3 cargo plane during night operations on an airfield in northeastern Niger, late last month (Feb. 28) during Joint Exercise Flintlock 2014. Troops from Canada, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom — as well as 6 north and west African nations participated in Niger this year.
Flintlock is an annual, African-led, military exercise focused on security, counter-terrorism and military humanitarian support to outlying areas. Each year a different government in west Africa plays host to the exercise, which includes U.S. forces and troops from other non-African countries. To see an Africa Command slide show of the wide variety of Flintlock 2014 activities, click here.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft takes off on a mission at dawn from Baghram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 11, 2014.
For a slideshow of other activities around Baghram that cold clear morning, click here.
Eyes in the Sky Needed
The head of U.S. Africa Command said Thursday (March 6) that he is woefully short of intelligence-gathering assets like unmanned aircraft to monitor the vast, troubled stretches of North West Africa.
Gen. David Rodriguez told the Senate Armed Services Committee that only 11 percent of his command’s intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) needs were being met – but that was up from just 7 percent last year.
Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the senior Republican on the panel, said he found those numbers “pretty troubling.” He noted that when violence broke out in South Sudan last December, ISR assets had to be pulled away from helping African and U.S. Special Operations troops track down the murderous renegade rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Headed by indicted war criminal Joseph Kony, the LRA has for decades murdered and plundered its way across Central Africa, kidnapping children to be used as soldiers or sex slaves.
There are two unmanned surveillance drones and about 100 U.S. Air Force personnel to operate and maintain them based in Niger to help French and African peacekeepers restore order after a military coup fueled a revolt by nomadic Tuaregs that morphed into a takeover by Islamic extremists. More drones reportedly fly out of the U.S. military’s one African base, Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti to monitor Sudan, Somalia and other flash points around the Horn of Africa.
Rodriquez told the Senate panel that the biggest intelligence gap he faced ranged from northern Mali to eastern Libya at the northern end of the continent. The Army general said he needed Joint STARS surveillance aircraft and remotely piloted air vehicles [drones] “to cover that vast range.”
At he start of the hearing, to explore the needs of AFRICOM and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, said ISR assets were “a particular area of focus” for the panel this year since the Pentagon decided to reduce its capacity for round-the-clock unmanned combat air patrols because of budget constraints.
In his written testimony for the hearing, Rodriguez said his command was “making significant progress” in expanding collaboration and information-sharing with African and European partners to reduce threats and increase stability in a region threatened by violent extremist organizations..
While AFRICOM can mitigate immediate threats and crises like violent extremist organizations like al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab in Somalia, long term solutions will hinge on development of “effective and democratic partner nation security institutions and professional [armed] forces that respect civil authority.
He noted that Africa will be “increasingly important to the United States in the future.” It is home to six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, a population estimated to double by 2050. “Nearly 80 percentr of United Nations peacekjeeping personnel worldwide are deployed in missions to Africa,” Rodriguez said. “Modest investments, in the right places, go a long way in Africa,” he added.
2015 Defense Budget
President Obama’s budget request for the 2015 Fiscal Year starting in October came out Tuesday (March 4) and your 4GWAR editor was very busy at the Pentagon yesterday picking up information and writing — for other people.
To see what we wrote about for the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (the droids, drones and ‘bots people) click here:
Here at 4GWAR, we’ll be addressing the budget and what it means for counter terrorism efforts at the Defense Department and other U.S. agencies (including the Department of Homeland Security) on Monday.
Raiding and Evading
After retaking Fort Detroit in 1813, the Americans cross the Detroit River and take several posts in what is now the southern part of the Province of Ontario. On February 21, 1814 the commander of the American-occupied Fort Malden at Amherstburg, sends Captain Andrew Holmes to capture one of two British-Canadian outposts: the village of Delaware or Port Talbot on Lake Erie.
Holmes has mounted detachments of the 24th, 26th, 27th and 28th U.S. Infantry regiments and two small cannon. He is joined by rangers and militiamen from Michigan in a march along Lake Erie to Port Talbot. By March 2, within 15 miles of Delaware village, Holmes’ force of 180 has been winnowed down by cold, hunger and sickness to 164 effectives. He’s abandoned the two small cannon in the mud.
Learning that a force of British and Canadians are within an hour’s march from his position, Holmes retreats to Twenty Mile Creek. He leaves the Michigan Rangers as a rearguard. They, too, fall back, after a skirmish with the British advance party, Caldwell’s Rangers.
Holmes digs in on what will become known as Battle Hill behind defenses made from felled trees. After another skirmish with Caldwell’s Rangers, the Americans repel a frontal attack by 130 British regulars (of the 89th and Royal Scots regiments) and almost 100 Canadian militiamen, Rangers and Native American warriors, all under the command of Captain James Basden. The redcoats have trouble negotiating a steep ravine and the icy slope under withering American fire. Several British-Canadian officers killed or wounded.
It is a small battle lasting only 90 minutes. The British-Candian force suffers 14 killed and 51 wounded. Only 4 Americans are killed and 3 more wounded. After dark, Holmes retreats to Amherstburg. The battlefield becomes a Canadian National Historic Site.