Posts filed under ‘Army’

FRIDAY FOTO (June 21/22, 2019)

The “Almost” Midnight Sun.

IMG_20190620_221920545_HDR

Midnight sun over the northern end of Storfjorden (Great Fjord) in Svalbard archipelago. (Photo by John M. Doyle, Copyright 4GWAR)

What’s wrong with this photo?

Taken Friday, June 21, 2019 off the eastern side of Spitsbergen Island, almost 600 miles north/northwest of Norway in the Barents Sea, this photograph shows the sun still up an hour before midnight. But that’s not unusual in the Arctic during summer solstice.

What’s wrong with this image is the nearly ice-free water. Even in summer, the waters around Spitsbergen would normally have presented a seascape thick with pack ice spread across miles of water, like this photo, taken a day later in a different area.

IMG_20190621_202434623_HDR

Arctic sea Ice in northern Storfjorden (Great Fjord). (Photo by John M. Doyle, Copyright 4GWAR Blog)

But warmer weather, due to climate change, has led to a dramatic decline in sea ice, posing both risks and opportunities for the region.  The Arctic is heating up more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe and the northern Barents Sea is becoming much warmer, according to the Barents Observer. Also, new sea ice created over the winter months is thinner and melts in summer, resulting in an overall loss of sea ice.

The increasing climate shift affects the habitat and  food supplies of all types of wildlife from Polar bears and walrus, to birds, fish and other types of sea life. It also poses dire consequences for humans. In Longyearbyen (population 2,200) the largest town on Spitsbergen — and the northernmost permanent community in the world — houses are sagging as the permafrost beneath them melts. 

The reduced sea ice is opening up opportunities for year-round commercial navigation through the Arctic Ocean as well as increased mining, fishing oil drilling (it has been estimated that 1/5 of the world’s undiscovered petroleum reserves lie beneath Arctic waters). But those activities raise concerns about damage to the environment, indigenous communities, maritime safety and rising national security issues.

 

June 22, 2019 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Remembering D-Day 75 Years On

Invasion.

D-Day Ike paratroopers

The Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight Eisenhower, talks with 101st Airborne Division paratroopers before D-Day. (Defense Dept. photo)

The night before the invasion of Normandy 75 years ago this week, a small French boy spent his fifth birthday huddled in a cellar 25 miles from Omaha Beach. That same night, Francis L. Sampson, a Catholic chaplain with the 101st Airborne Division flew through German anti-aircraft fire over Normandy, convinced he was going to die.

Your 4GWAR editor told the story of those two people and how they came to meet in Indiana 40 years later for the Associated Press in 1984. In addition to the priest and the little boy, the story has taken on a subplot — Father Sampson’s actions in the days immediately after D-Day, may have inspired – at least in part – the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

You can read it all here.

As the war correspondent and author Cornelius Ryan found when he researched his bestseller, “The Longest Day,” there were many, many people with a story to tell about what happened to them in those historic 24 hours.

For instance there’s the significant role weather forecasters played 75 years ago.

A team of six meteorologists – two each from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, the Royal Navy and the United States military – worked for months honing forecasting techniques, before advising Allied commanders, led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, on when the optimal time for attack would arrive.

The Allies ended up sailing and landing in relatively calm waters, but documents released in the intervening years showed just how close bad weather came to making the operation a complete failure, according to The Weather Channel U.K.

Higgins Boat LCVP at Normandy photo from NARA

Higgins Boat LCVP at Normandy (photo from the National Archives and Records Administration)

The Voice of America website has a piece on the crucial role the city of New Orleans played in World War II. New Orleans businessman Andrew Higgins and his factories equipped the military with a vessel that became critical to the D-Day invasion — the flat-bottomed, shallow draft boat with a drawbridge life exit ramp.

The Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel or LCVP, often referred to as the Higgins Boat, allowed infantry or small vehicles to exit through a front ramp — a major shift in the way to conduct amphibious warfare, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

*** *** ***

 

SHAKO-West Point cadetsSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

June 6, 2019 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Memorial Day 2019

The North Remembers.

Grant_Memorial

Cavalry charge figures at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial between the Capitol and the National Mall in Washington D.C. (Photo by Ad Meskens via Wikipedia, sculpture by Henry Merwin Shrady )

Memorial Day, by federal law, is commemorated annually on the last Monday in May to honor those who gave their lives for their country. The holiday grew out of local ceremonies throughout the North and South after the American Civil War (1861-1865). In many places, the day — traditionally May 30 — was known as Decoration Day for the flowers and flags that locals used to decorate soldiers’ and sailors’ graves.

In past years, 4GWAR postings on Memorial Day have focused on U.S. military cemeteries, the tradition of decorating graves with small American flags at Arlington National Cemetery and remembering the price paid by those we honor on the holiday.

But this year, we note the controversy surrounding Civil War monuments and statues honoring Confederate heroes. To many, they are racist icons created during the Jim Crow er. For others, they are reminders of the “Lost Cause,” and part of an honorable heritage. So we thought we’d look at the monuments and statues — mostly in Northern states — dedicated to those who fought to preserve the Union.

For example, the charging cavalry group pictured above is just part of a massive memorial to Union Army commander and 18th U.S. president, Ulysses S. Grant. In fact, that sculpture group, and another depicting a team of artillery horses hurtling along with a caisson and cannon in tow, are far more dramatic than the centerpiece equestrian statute of old “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

Even monuments like this, are not without critics, mainly for honoring leaders who mistreated or ignored the mistreatment of blacks and Indians after the Civil War. Nevertheless, cities and towns from Maine to California have dedicated monuments of all shapes and sizes to Union troops and their leaders. Below is a small sampling from around the country.

Many statues and monuments — particularly in Washington, D.C. — are dedicated to generals like Grant,  William Tecumseh Sherman and George Henry Thomas, and admirals like Samuel Francis DuPont and David Glasgow Farragut (see photo below).

Admiral_David_Farragut_Statue

(Photo by David Washington, via Wikipedia)

Admiral Farragut, of “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” fame, stands atop a granite base in a park and city square named for him. The statue was sculpted by female artist Vinnie Ream. This monument to the U.S. Navy’s first admiral, was dedicated in 1881 in an extravagant ceremony attended by President James A. Garfield  and thousands of spectators. It was the first monument erected in Washington, to honor  a naval war hero.

Other outdoor art works are dedicated to local heroes or favorite sons like the monument to Pennsylvania’s George Gordon Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg and later Civil War battles. Paid for by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when few in Washington favored lionizing Meade — the monument stands on Pennsylvania Avenue, the main route of parades in the nation’s capital.

In Boston, the memorial to young Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, also pays tribute to his 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, one of the first African American army units to fight in the Civil War.   The high relief bronze was created by noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and readers may remember it was featured at the end of the 1989 Oscar-winning film Glory.

1280px-USA-54th_Regiment_Memorial0

(Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial, Photo by Jarek Tuszyński via wikipedia commons)

In Washington, D.C., all of the 200,000 African Americans who served in the Union army and navy are remembered in the African American Civil War Memorial.

African-American-Civil-War-Memorial-3_1

(Spirit of Freedom statue by Ed Hamilton 1997, National Park Service photo)

Elsewhere, a single soldier was enough for memorials like the Kent County Civil War Monument in Grand Rapids, Michigan …

KentCountyCivilWarMonumentGrandRapidsMI

(Caption)

Or two in front of the DeKalb County courthouse in Sycamore, Illinois …

Sycamore_Il_Civil_War_Memorial AMurray

(Photo by A. McMurray via wikipedia)

A lone artillery man in Scituate, Rhode Island …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Photo by Beth Hurd via Rhode Island USGenWeb Genealogy and History Project)

A member of New York’s “silk stocking” 7th Militia Regiment, formed by many of the city’s socially elite …

7th_Regt_Memorial_Steele_MacKaye_jeh

(Photo by Jim.henderson)

Monuments to the Union army aren’t limited to the North. This statue, known as “Taps”, is located in Little Rock National Cemetery in Arkansas. It is dedicated to the 36 soldiers from Minnesota who are buried there.

Minnesota_Monument in Ark

(Photo by Valis55 )

*** *** ***

SHAKO-West Point cadetsSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

May 27, 2019 at 7:46 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (May 24, 2019)

Monuments Men.

10th SFG(A) conduct airborne operation near island of Mont Saint Michel

(U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Alexis Washburn-Jasinski)

 

Paratroopers from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) land within sight of the world famous Mont Saint-Michel abbey in Normandy, France, during a May 18, 2019 airborne operation to commemorate the Allied liberation of France during World War II.

The abbey, one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites, started as a small church in 709 C.E., dedicated to the Archangel Michael — who just happens to be the patron saint of paratroopers.

Three U.S. Air Force aircraft from 352nd Special Operations Wing and the 86th Airlift Wing, delivered more than 130 Green Berets to the drop zone, a little over a mile from Mont Saint-Michel, near Avranches, which was liberated by U.S. forces in 1944. A large crowd of residents from the commune of Avranches — which sponsored the event — attended the airdrop. The demonstration included both military free-fall and static-line parachute drops.

The jump celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the drop of “Jedburgh” teams into France ahead of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Just a year earlier, the Allies created 100 three-man special operations teams with personnel from the British Special Operations Executive, American Office of Strategic Services (the precursor of the CIA) and General Charles de Gaulle’s Free French organization. Known as Jedburghs, the teams also included individuals from Belgium, Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands. Instrumental to the allied liberation of France and occupied Europe, the Jedburgh teams trained, armed, and directed local resistance fighters from behind enemy lines.

Today’s Green Berets trace their history directly to the Jedburgh teams as well as the First Special Service Force, a combined Canadian-American unit, known as the “Devil’s Brigade.” The 10th Special Forces Group, the first such unit, was established in 1952 and immediately deployed to Europe during the Cold War. It’s worth noting the Army Special Forces motto “DE OPPRESSO LIBER” is Latin for “To Free the Oppressed.”

For more details of the air drop event and photos, click here.

May 24, 2019 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 17, 2019)

Nyyyahhhh!

FRIFO 5-17-2019 Army Golden Knights paras

(Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alyssa D. Van Hook)

Your 4GWAR editor’s stomach lurched when we saw this photo on the Defense Department website. Hence the gibbering headline.

We usually don’t run photos of the various military daredevil demonstration teams like the Navy’s Blue Angels of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team seen here … but there was something so knee-weakening, so awesome in this view of a Golden Knight kneeling and looking out to the Earth far below that really got to us.

How did it make you feel?

For the record, these Golden Knights were preparing to jump during the Legends in Flight air show at Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland on May 10, 2019.

For more photos of the Golden Knights and other performers and exhibits at Legends in Flight, click here.

May 17, 2019 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO:Go For Broke!

April 5 Honors Japanese-American Soldiers

SHAKO 4-4-2019 GO FOR BROKE

The Color Guard of the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team stands at attention while citations are read following the fierce fighting in the Vosges area of France, November 12, 1944. (U.S. Army photo)

Did you know April 5 is National “Go For Broke” Day? At 4GWAR we didn’t either until recently. The phrase comes from Hawaiian pidgen gambling slang. It means roughly “bet it all” or  “wager — and risk — everything for a potential big payoff.”

The term, popularized by Japanese-American soldiers in World War II, is also the motto  of one of the most decorated units in U.S. military history — the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In addition to fighting the Germans in Italy and France in the European Theater of Operations — the soldiers of the 442nd RCT had to battle racial animosity in the wake of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Because of the U.S. military was caught completely by surprise, rumors arose that Japanese living in the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast — most of them citizens — had served as spies and Fifth Columnists for Japan. The Army and FBI found no evidence that Japanese-Americans aided the Pearl Harbor attack. However, a presidential commission created to investigate the disaster noted Japanese “spies” were in Hawaii before the attack, although most were attached to the Japanese consulate in Honolulu, but others had no known connection with the Japanese foreign service. The vagueness of this description led many Americans to conclude there were indeed Fifth Columnists among the Japanese-American population.

Newspaper Japs

(Photo from National Archives and Records Administration)

That prompted the Army — with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s authorization and the acquiescence of Congress and the Supreme Court — to exile all Japanese, both U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, from the the three West Coast states and parts of Arizona to remote inland internment camps under armed guard and harsh living conditions.

Hundreds of young American-born, ethnic Japanese men, known as Nisei, drafted before war broke out, were discharged or segregated in California. A Hawaiian National Guard unit made up of ethnic Japanese was dissolved. Yet, many Nisei wanted to prove they were loyal Americans by fighting for their country. Many older community leaders encouraged them to enlist in the Army as one of the best ways to convince U.S. officials to release the 120,000 Japanese-American men, women and children from the so-called relocation camps.

The 442nd RCT was activated on February 1, 1943, and was composed of Nisei men who had volunteered from Hawaii and internment camps on the mainland. They trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, before deploying to Italy in June 1944, where they joined in combat with the 100th Infantry Battalion — the first Nisei Army unit to be activated in the war — consisting of men from the previously terminated Hawaiian National Guard unit. By mid-August, the 100th officially became part of the 442nd RCT. That’s when “go for broke” became their motto. In 1951, MGM released a motion picture about the 442nd’s combat exploits and battles against racism called “Go For Broke.”

https://4gwar.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/442nd1.jpg

The 442nd at Anzio Beach 1944. (Photo courtesy of Go For Broke National Education Center)

In their two years of service, the 442nd RCT and the 100th Battalion, before it joined the 442nd, earned: 7 Presidential Unit Citations; 36 Army Commendation Medals and 87 Division Commendations.

Individual soldiers were awarded 18,000 decorations, including: 21 Medals of Honor; 29 Distinguished Service Crosses (the second-highest decoration for bravery); 560 Silver Stars (the third-highest bravery medal) and nearly 9,500 Purple Hearts for wounds in battle. The units lost 650 men, more than 3,700 were wounded in action, and 67 were declared missing in action.

On April 5, 1945, the 442nd RCT’s first Medal of Honor recipient, Private First Class  Sadao Munemori, was killed in action near Seravezza, Italy. That’s why April 5 is deemed “Go for Broke” day.

In December 2011, more than 450 Japanese American soldiers of World War II were honored for their heroic actions in combat and steadfast loyalty in the face of discrimination, the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award for service presented out by the U.S.

*** *** ***

SHAKO-West Point cadets

SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

 

April 5, 2019 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Women’s History Month 2019, Part IV

Women in the Army.

This is the fourth and last installment of 4GWAR’s tribute to Women’s History Month featuring  photos illustrating the contributions of women in the four armed services. With the exception of one historic first or trailblazer for each service, these pictures focus on women doing their jobs — some dirty, difficult or dangerous — but all essential to keeping the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps ready to defend the United States of America. This week we look at women Soldiers.

WOMEN ARMY NO ID2

(Army photo by Timothy Hale)

Army officers and non-coms — male and female — participated in a combat fitness test at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on March 15, 2019, to familiarize themselves with the new age- and gender-neutral  Combat Fitness Test.  Army senior leaders approved the new six-event fitness test to better prepare soldiers for combat tasks and reduce injuries across the three Army components (active, Reserve and National Guard) beginning in October 2020.

Joint training strengthens Air Force, Army collaboration

(Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Christopher Hubenthal)

Army Private First Class Diamond Her leads the way in a ground survey during a decontamination training exercise at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on February 22, 2019. Her is a unit supply specialist with the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) regiment of the Army’s 11th ADA Brigade. Air Force and Army participants from the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and the 1-43rd ADA, shared Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield explosives (CBRNE) best practices, and tested their response proficiency during the training.

Airborne Operation 21 Feb. 2019

(Army photo by Paolo Bovo)

Army 1st Lieutenant Ashley Rae Selfridge, a paratrooper assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, puts the finishing touches on face paint camouflage before airborne operations onto Juliet drop zone in Pordenone, Italy, Feb. 21, 2019.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the U.S. Europe, Africa or Central Commands’ areas of responsibility.

 

Washington National Guard participates in Exercise Bersama Warrior

(Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Jason Kriess)

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Angela Gentry of the Washington Army National Guard, discusses battle drills with her Malaysian army counterpart, Major Nurkhairunisa, during Exercise Bersama Warrior in Malaysia. Bersama Warrior is a joint bilateral exercise between the Malaysian Armed Forces and the United States military. The exercise focuses on planning and conducting joint and coalition peace enforcement operations and was held in Kuala Lumpur from March 7-15, 2019.

Ready to deploy whenever, wherever required

(U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sergeant Michel Sauret)

Standing at the front of formation, Army Private First Class Keylin Perez bears the unit guidon during a field training exercise at Fort Meade, Maryland on January 13, 2019. Perez is a reservist assigned to the 200th Military Police Command’s Headquarters Company.

WOMEN ARMY ID12

(Army photo by T. Anthony Bell)

Culinary arts Specialist Adriana Elliot, a member of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina culinary team, plates her main dish in Chef of the Year event March 8 during the Joint Culinary Training Exercise (JCTE) at Fort Lee, Virginia. With teams from every branch of the Armed Forces, the JCTE is the largest military culinary competition in the United States.

Roger Ma’am

(Army photo by Captain Justin Wright)

Army 1st Lieutenant Victoria Oliver,  a platoon leader assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division‘s 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team addresses her soldiers during a training exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana on March 21, 2019. Her unit in the Air Assault division was going through a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana.

WOMEN ARMY ID10

(Courtesy photo)

TRAIL BLAZER: Captain Delana Small is the only woman (so far) to serve as an Army Special Forces chaplain. Between May 2015 and December 2017, Captain Small — a Protestant minister — was deployed with the 5th Special Forces Group to Turkey and Jordan.  That’s not the only milestone the captain achieved. Earlier in March, she was inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame for being the first female chaplain to serve in a combat-arms battalion with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). That historic first occurred in June 2012, when she reported to the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as chaplain for the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery. She graduated from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri just about six months before she reported for duty as an Army chaplain. She was the first of some 10 female chaplains sent to combat units. She deployed with the 4-320th Field Artillery to Afghanistan and later went to Airborne School, which led to her assignment with the Green Berets.

WOMEN ARMY BETTER SAPPER PIC

(Photo by Stephen Standifird, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs)

TRAIL BLAZER: Sergeant Hailey Falk, a combat engineer with 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, is the Army’s first female enlisted Soldier to graduate the school and earn the Sapper shoulder tab. Sapper is an ancient term for military engineers. In olden days they designed and dug the trenches, built the forts and figured out how to break into castles. The photo shows her receiving the coveted Sapper tab from Captain Timothy Smith, Sapper Training company commander at the U.S. Army Engineering School in December 2018, where Falk completed the demanding 28-day Sapper Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Brazilian Minister of Defense Fernando Azevedo e Silva Visits Arlington National Cemetery

(Defense Department photo)

A member of the U.S. Army Band takes part in an Armed Forces Full Honors wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia on March 26, 2019. In addition to the U.S. Army Band, there are 29 active duty Army bands around the country and overseas, as well as 18 bands in the Reserves and more than 50 National Guard bands. The U.S. Army School of Music is located at Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

*** *** ***

SHAKO-West Point cadets

SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

 

 

 

 

March 31, 2019 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


Posts

June 2019
M T W T F S S
« May    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Categories


%d bloggers like this: