Posts filed under ‘Haiti’

SHAKO: Happy Birthday National Guard

Happy 385th Birthday!

If you thought the creation of the U.S. National Guard dates back to the rebels who stood against tyranny at Lexington and Concord, you’d be wrong by more than 130 years.

The Minuteman statute by Daniel Chester French (photo via Wikipedia)

According to the National Guard (and who would know better?) the official birth date of the Army National Guard is December 13, 1636. That’s when the Massachusetts colonial legislature directed the colony’s existing militia companies to be organized into three regiments.

The selection of Dec. 13, 1636 is based upon the Defense Department practice of adopting the dates of initial authorizing legislation for organized units as the birthdates of the active and reserve components of the armed services.
The descendants of those first regiments – the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S.
The enemy in colonial days was usually Native Americans fighting to save their lands and way of life. Later in the 17th and 18th centuries colonial militias battled the French and their Indian allies in a series of conflicts known, handily, as the French and Indian wars. By 1775 they were fighting British redcoats in the war for independence.
National Guard troops have served in nearly every U.S. conflict and war since then, and have responded to floods, fires, hurricanes, tornados, civil disorders and other emergencies both in their home states and elsewhere.

National Guardsmen and a Coast Guardsman monitor Hurricane Ida response efforts in the Houma Navigation Canal in Houma, Louisiana, Sept. 13, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Vincent Moreno)

 

A crew from the California National Guard fights the Dixie Fire in northern California, Aug. 16, 2021. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Harley Ramirez)

 

The Puerto Rican National Guard assisted aid-relief efforts in hurricane-battered Haiti since August 2021. Here they help with treatment of a woman from the La Flandre community on Aug.22, 2021. (Puerto Rico National Guard photo by Sgt. Agustin Montanez)

 

Alabama National Guard Soldiers vaccinate Covington County citizens at Jaycee Park in Livingston Alabama on March 23, 2021. (Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. William Frye).

 

A pilot from the 55th Fighter Squadron performs pre-flight procedures inside an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Indiana., Aug. 19, 2021.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Jonathan W. Padish)

The official birth date of the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the Air Force is September 18, 1947. On that date, the first Secretary of the Air Force was sworn in under provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, the authorizing legislation for the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard. Soon afterwards, National Guard Army Air Forces units began to be transferred to the Air National Guard as a reserve component of the Air Force.

The oldest Air National Guard unit is the 102nd Rescue Squadron of the New York Air National Guard. This unit was originally organized in accordance with existing law, and authorized in the New York National Guard as the Aero Company, Signal Corps, on November 22, 1915. The oldest Air National Guard unit in continuous existence since its organization is the 109th Airlift Squadron of the Minnesota Air National Guard, which was organized and federally recognized as the 109th Observation Squadron, on January 17, 1921.
From fighting COVID-19 to flying jet fighters, the Guard has come a long way since the 1630s.

Illustration depicting the first muster of Massachusetts Bay Colony militia in the spring of 1637. (U.S. Army)

December 13, 2021 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 3, 2017)

The Long Tan Line.

1st CEB Hikes During MTX 2-17

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Danny Gonzalez).

 Chosin Reservoir, 1950? Nope. Chilikoot Pass, 1899? Wrong. Retreat from Moscow, 1812? Wrong again.

This FRIDAY FOTO shows U.S. Marines snowshoeing downhill  at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California on February 22, 2017. The Marines are assigned to the 1st Marine Division’s 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which conducted training that tested Marines’ mobility and survival skills in a mountainous, snow-covered environment.

March 3, 2017 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 12, 2016)

Veteran’s Day 2016

SD attends Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony

Defense Department photo by Army Sergeant Amber I. Smith.

President Barack Obama lays a wreath during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia Friday, November 11, 2016.

USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7)

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla Giglio

The USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) sails past the Statue of Liberty as it enters New York Harbor prior to Veterans Week NYC 2016.

The 1,000 Sailors and more than 100 Marines on board the amphibious assault ship articipated in New York’s Veterans Day parade Friday, November 11. The ship recently returned from the humanitarian assistance mission to Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

 

November 12, 2016 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: April 8, 2016

Lonely Vista.

All Secured: U.S. Marines Remain Alert in Iraq

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Rick Hurtado

U.S. Marine Sergeant Josh Greathouse scans the area during a perimeter patrol in Al Taqaddum, Iraq on March 21, 2016.

Greathouse is a member of 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air  (SPMAGTF) Ground Task Force.

 

April 8, 2016 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 16, 2015)

HALO Jumpers.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Callaway

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Callaway

There’s a cautionary saying from the early days of aviation that “only angels have wings.” But here we have a photo of U.S. Air Force special tactics airmen demonstrating their skill with a HALO — high altitude, low opening parachute jump. The object of such a jump is to free fall from a high altitude then open the chute at a low altitude and descend without being detected from the ground.

These airmen are from the 24th Special Operations Wing, part of U.S. Special Operations Command and one of three Air Force wings dedicated to demanding and dangerous jobs like combat controllers, pararescuemen and special operations weather officers.

Combat controllers are special air traffic controllers operating from the ground in combat zones.They provide expert air support coordination and communications capabilities and often accompany Army Special Forces, Army Rangers and Navy SEALS when they deploy into hostile areas.They call in air strikes and control air traffic on and above landing strips and jump zones in hostile or austere environments. They were among the first U.S. troops on the ground during emergency relief efforts after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Pararescuemen, known as PJs, parachute over land or water to render medical assistance and rescue downed pilots and other personnel in combat or natural disaster situations. They are also lowered to ground or water level on a cable to rescue people. Among their many tasks, special operations weather officers and airmen deploy into combat and non-permissive environments (the ‘bad guys’ or ‘bad conditions’ on the ground don’t want you there) to collect and interpret meteorological data and provide ground force commanders with accurate intelligence during a special operations mission.

The HALO jump, from MC-130H Talon II special operations aircraft over Hurlburt Field, Florida, is designed to help participants maintain their qualification for special tactics airmen, trained to jump into hostile or austere environments not accessible to aircraft.

To see a photo slideshow of the pre-jump preparations and the jump itself, click here. As ever, to enlarge the image just click on the photo.

January 16, 2015 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: The Art of Flying, Marine Corps-Style

Marine Corps Aviation Centennial

Back in 1985, when I was an Associated Press reporter in New York, my editor asked me to help cover the Vietnam Veterans parade that would march across the Brooklyn Bridge to the city’s brand new Vietnam Memorial in lower Manhattan.

A park on the Brooklyn side of the bridge was the staging area for the parade. As I was interviewing some veterans of the 1st Marine Division, several UH-1 “Huey” helicopters streaked overhead with their rotor blades making a menacing, “Apocalypse Now” whup, whup, whup sound.

But when the Marine and Amy vets around me looked up, they pumped their fists in the air and let loose with a primal roar that drowned out the choppers and city traffic noise.

“That’s the sound of the cavalry coming,” one Marine vet shouted to me over the din. “When you heard that sound, it meant you were O.K. You were going to get out alive.”

The memory of that moment came back to me last week as I toured an exhibit of Marine Corps combat art, marking 100 years of Leatherneck aviation, at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington. More than Navy or Air Force fliers, Marine Corps aviators have always had a close relationship with the grunts on the ground. Close air support was a concept pioneered by the Marines in the Central American “Banana Wars” of the 1920s and 1930s — and has been a key part of Marine Corps air doctrine ever since.

Close Air Suport-Korea by Master Sgt. John DeGrasse USMC. Copyright, National Museum of the Marines Corps

There were lots of paintings and drawings of Marines dashing off Hueys into Vietnam rice paddies among the 91 artworks on exhibit — all of them on loan from the National Museum of the Marines Corps in Virginia. The exhibit also included a painting of Marine infantrymen under fire on a snowy Korean hillside while an F4U Corsair fighter plane provides close air support. Another, painted by Alex Raymond, the creator of the Flash Gordon comic strip in the 1930s — who served with the Marines in World War II – shows Marine fighter pilots describing a dog fight during an after action debriefing.

The exhibit, “Fly Marines! The Centennial of Marine Corps Aviation: 1912-2012,” celebrates the 100 years since 1st Lt. Alfred Cunningham signed up as an aviation trainee in May 1912. A few months later he soloed in a Curtis seaplane — after just two hours and 40 minutes of instruction — becoming the first Marine Corps aviator, less than nine years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.

The exhibit, which opened Jan. 14 and runs through Jan. 6, 2013, includes paintings drawings and sculptures of all types of helicopters, jets and piston-driven aircraft — and the Marines who flew them  – from World War I to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are also a few artifacts like the pilot’s wings of Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, the legendary Black Sheep Squadron leader and top Marine Corps ace of World War II.

Aviators Debriefing by Maj. Alex Raymond USMCR. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Copyright, National Museum of the Marine Corps

One unique detail of the exhibit: nearly all of the artwork on display was done by artists who either are, or were, serving Marines. Since 1942, the Marine Corps has had a contingent of combat artists to record what war really was like for the Leathernecks. Once numbering as many as 70 trained artists, they sketched and painted what they saw at sea, in the air and on the ground — often in combat zones around the world. Now there is only one full-time artist, Staff Sgt. Kristopher Battles.

He described to 4GWAR and other reporters attending a press preview of the exhibit how he carried a 9 millimeter sidearm and an M-16 rifle as well as a camera, watercolor paints and a sketchpad when he went out on patrol with Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two of Battles’ paintings are on display at the Air & Space exhibit, as well as his artist’s kit.

Fly Marines exhibit. Photo by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

You can just make out Battles’ paintings of a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter on the wall behind and to the left of the flight suit-wearing mannequin in the photo above (click on the photo to enlarge). You can get a better view of both works at his personal website Sketchpad Warrior.

Battles, who served in the Marines and reserves from 1986 to 1996, has a fine arts degree from Northeast Missouri State University. He re-joined the Corps as a combat artist in 2006 at the urging of the then-last remaining combat artist, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Fay. Battles had e-mailed Fay to say he admired his work and when Fay learned he was both a former Marine sergeant and an artist, he and combat art program officials asked him to consider re-upping. In September of 2006 Battles, who was then 38, reported to Marine Base Quantico for training and a month later he was on his way to Iraq.

In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Battles has been deployed to Haiti — where he once was a missionary — to record the Marines’ humanitarian relief efforts after the 2010 earthquake. Battles, who learned Creole French in his missionary days, also helped as a translator.

The staff sergeant said he considered himself lucky to have come under fire infrequently in combat zones. His predecessor, Fay, was wounded in Iraq, he noted. Battles said it can be difficult looking for subject material with a painter’s eye while on a combat patrol. “You still have to be on guard and watching as a Marine. It’s an interesting juggling act,” he said. Occasionally he ran across a gunnery sergeant or 1st sergeant that didn’t know about combat artists or that “we’re trained Marines,” who balked at taking the artist on patrols. “But most of my experience has been quite positive,” Battles said, adding “Once you start sketching a Marine in the field, they kind of perk up a little bit. It’s a morale builder.”

1920 poster by Howard Chandler Christy Copyright, National Museum of the Marine Corps

To see more of the Fly Marines exhibit click here. The National Air and Space Museum museum is located on the National Mall in Washington, DC at Sixth St. and Independence Ave. S.W.

To see more of the 8,000 artworks in the collection of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, click here. That museum is located at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, Virginia — not far from the Quantico Marine Base.

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.

January 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Today’s Minutemen (and Women) (Update 7-9-2011)

SHAKO: Musings on the Military Past and Present

As we celebrated Independence Day 2011, we got to thinking about the modern day successors to those 18th Century patriots who dropped everything and came running when their country was in need: the National Guard.

Historians say the Guard (or state militia as it was once known) began in 1636 when officials in Massachusetts Bay Colony created three militia regiments to protect that British colony from Indian attacks.

In 1903, Congress passed the Militia Act that organized all the state militias into the National Guard. More than 50,000 guardsman were called up to provide security at home and counter terrorism overseas following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Tens of thousands have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air National Guard has more than 140 units in the states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the last year, the Guard has responded to wildfires, floods and tornadoes, boosted the size of U.S. Forces overseas and conducted training missions with friendly armed forces. Here’s just a small sample of what these citizen soldiers have been up to in 2011.

South Dakota National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Quinton Young)

Airmen from the 114th Fighter Wing, Sioux Falls S.D., finish a section of levee in the Bay Hill area of Dakota Dunes. The levees that soldiers and airmen built with the joint effort of civilian volunteers and several local, state and federal agencies, will require security and patrolling efforts. The 114th Fighter wing has been assigned to round-the-clock patrols of this 3.8 mile stretch of levee along the shores of the Missouri River.

(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Craig L. Collins)

Missouri National Guard personnel and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter assisted Atchison County authorities repair levee L550 near Phelps City during severe flooding along the Missouri River. The Blackhawk was used to move over 145 Sandbags weighing two thousand pounds each onto areas of the levee damaged by rising water. The guardsmen were from the 106th Aviation Regiment, 129th Field Artillery and 1107th Aviation Group.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon)

A Texas National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk drops water over hot spots as helicopters from Austin Army Aviation Support Facility battled wildfires near the Possum Kingdom Lake area in North Texas. The aircraft are equipped with a Bambi Bucket, which carries over 600 gallons of water.

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane, U.S. Air Force)

Female members of the Air National Guard place sandbags to protect against possible flooding from the Missouri River outside Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Missouri.  These airmen are assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard.  Working with local community volunteers they helped pile up 24,000 sandbags.

In addition to emergency response in the United States, and duties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,  Haiti and Kosovo, the National Guard is also helping to train friendly forces overseas.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Miko Booth)

Here Sgt. 1st Class Charles Young of North Carolina National Guard observes as soldiers of the Moldovan army’s 22nd Peace Keeping Battalion during a training exercise in June. The Moldovans showed off their capabilities as a unit before their NATO evaluation, a weeklong exercise called Peace Shield 2011.

July 7, 2011 at 12:45 am 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (July 1, 2011)

Di ‘ahh’, tanpri

Defense Dept. photo by Fred W. Baker III

That’s the phrase for “Say ‘Ahh, please,” in Haitian Creole French.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. James Wong, a nurse practitioner assigned to Task Force Bon Voizen, may not have known that, so he resorted to the old fashioned way of encouraging a boy to stick out his tongue during a medical exam in Desdunes, Haiti.

Task Force Bon Voizen, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored joint humanitarian exercise, was launched in Haiti at the end of April. Under the leadership of  the Louisiana National Guard,  task force personnel treated more than 800 dental patients and nearly 23,000 medical patients. Veterinary technicians also treated almost 1,500 animals, and engineers built a school and two clinics during the mission’s run.

To see a slideshow on the efforts of 1st Lt. Wong and other medicos in the task force, click here. For a photo slide show about the veterinary operation’s efforts to treat chickens, click here. For a full report on Task Force Bon Voizen (which, by the way, translates to ‘Good Neighbor’) click here.

July 1, 2011 at 7:01 pm Leave a comment

NEWS: Haiti and Afghanistan

HAITI: Uproar Over Cholera Report

A French epidemiologist’s report says “massive contamination” of Haiti’s Artibonite River led to the outbreak of cholera in that country, killing more than 2,000 people, according to press accounts. The report implicates United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal – who are based on the river – as a likely source of the contamination.

But officials, including a scientist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ,say the evidence is not conclusive. Meanwhile, Nepal has condemned the report’s allegation, which has led to sometimes violent protests by Haitians. In Kathmandu, Nepalese officials insisted their troops were not the source of the water-borne illness, which is endemic in Nepal, but hadn’t been seen in Haiti for decades.

AFGHANISTAN: Strategy Shift

The second-highest-ranking military official at the Pentagon says NATO commanders in Afghanistan are shifting focus from a counter insurgency campaign to counter terrorism strategy. Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Washington conference that the emphasis is shifting.

Because the Taliban and foreign terrorists can flee into Pakistan after attacking coalition forces, more focus will be placed on cutting enemy communications and supply lines as well as disrupting recruiting new personnel, Cartwright told the Government Executive 2010 Leadership Briefings at the National Press Club.

AFGHANISTAN: Looking to Cut Civilian Casualties

U.S. forces battling insurgents and foreign terrorists in southern Afghanistan are looking for ways to avoid or at least reduce the number of civilian casualties. And one area under consideration is the use of non-lethal weapons, according to the ARES blog.

Marine Corps Major Gen. Richard Mills, chief of Regional Command Southwest, says he hopes to add non-lethal weapons – like stun guns, pepper spray and access denial technology – to his tool kit.

Institute for the Study of War map

December 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

TRADITION: Happy 235th Birthday, USMC (Updated)

Let ’em Eat Cake, They’ve Earned It

(USMC photo, Sgt. Jimmy D. Shea)

Nov. 10 is the 235th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps, which got its start when the Continental Congress resolved on Nov. 10, 1775 to create two battalions of Marines.  Capt. (later Major) Samuel Nichols — considered the Corps’ first commandant — advertised in and around Philadelphia for “a few good men” and signed them up at Tun Tavern in Philly.

Sketch of Tun Tavern in the Revolutionary War. (National Archives via Wikipedia)

We at 4GWAR will be celebrating our Blog’s first birthday on Friday, Nov. 12, so we harbor a warm spot for other organizations born under the sign of Scorpio.

The Marine Corps Birthday is a big deal with the Corps (as big as Saint Crispin’s Day in England) and has been since 1921, when then-Commandant Major Gen. John LeJeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, summarizing the history, tradition and mission of the Marine Corps and directing that the order be read to every command on every subsequent Nov. 10, the Marine Corps Birthday.

Since 1952, the Marine Corps has had another tradition: the cake cutting ceremony. The 20th USMC commandant, Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., formalized the ceremony, stating the first piece of cake must be presented to the oldest Marine present, who passes it to the youngest Marine.

Gen. James F. Amos, the 35th commandant of Marine Corps, cuts the ceremonial cake while Navy Secretary Ray Mabus looks on, to celebrate the 235th U.S. Marine Corps birthday at the Pentagon. (Sgt. Jimmy D. Shea)

In the photo above, Gen. Amos is cutting the cake with a Mameluke sword, the traditional sword of Marine officers, commemorating the Corps’ first post-Independence landing on foreign shores. So Happy Birthday Leathernecks and here’s to Presley O’Bannon and the seven Marines who landed on the shores of Tripoli. Let’s also toast Smedley Butler, John LeJeune (which people in-the-know say is actually pronounced LeZhurn) John Basilone, “Chesty” Puller, John Philip Sousa and Dan Daly, the man behind our favorite Marine Corps story … and to all the other Marines who’ve signed on since 1775.

God bless the United States and success to the Marines, as the traditional toast goes.

November 10, 2010 at 12:52 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


Posts

August 2022
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Categories


%d bloggers like this: