Posts filed under ‘Traditions’

SHAKO: U.S. Entered WWI 100 Years Ago Today

Over there.

On this date in 1917, the United States entered what was then known as the Great War.

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A column of American troops passing Buckingham Palace, London, 1917. (Photo: Imperial War Museum collection)

After avoiding entanglement in the European bloodbath that erupted in August 1914, America finally got involved when Germany resumed unconditional submarine warfare — threatening freedom of the seas — and tried to win over Mexico as an ally by promising a return of lands lost in the Mexican-American War of 1846.

Congress declared war on Germany just two months after U.S. troops under General John J. Pershing returned from a punitive expedition into Mexico to catch or kill the rebel general and bandit Pancho Villa. When Congress declared war of April 6, 1917, the U.S. army was still small and hadn’t fought a nation state’s army (Spain) since 1898.

While 4GWAR won’t be following the centennial of World War I as closely as we did the bicentennial of the War of 1812, SHAKO will be checking in from time to time to ponder the implications of America’s involvement in an overseas war that saw the introduction of tank warfare, poison gas and the widespread use of the airplane, submarine and machine gun.

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Pilots of the 94th Aero Squadron at Foucaucourt Aerodrome, France, November 1918. The top U.S. air ace of WWI, Eddie Rickenbacker (center), leans against a SPAD XIII fighter plane bearing the squadron’s “Hat in the Ring” symbol.

World War I also saw veteran units like the Marine Corps and the 69th New York Infantry Regiment add to their glory while new outfits like the “Harlem Hellfighters” and the “Hat in the Ring Squadron” added their names to the history books.

In the coming months leading up to November 11, 2018, we hope to introduce you to some interesting people and units like the “One Man Army,” the “Lost Battalion,” “Arizona Balloon Buster,” and the “Rock of the Marne.” Meanwhile, to get you started, here are some informative websites about World War One and the American Expeditionary Force. The U.S. Army Center of Military History, The Great War and the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission.

SHAKOSHAKO 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 6, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Bataan Death March Remembered.

No Vet, Like an Old Vet.

SHAKO-Bataan Death March

(Army Reserve photo by Staff Sergeant Ken Scar)

Retired Army Colonel Ben Skardon, 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March with two Army medics at White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico on March 19, 2017.

This was the 10th time Skardon walked in the event, which commemorates a brutal episode in the history of World War II in the Pacific.

Seventy-five years ago next month (April 9), U.S. forces fighting the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines coping with heavy casualties, lack of food, ammunition and other supplies were forced to surrender in April 1942.

Bataan Death March

The approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make an arduous 65-mile march to prison camps. Intense heat, disease, exhaustion and harsh treatment by Japanese guards led to thousands of deaths. A number of atrocities occurred during the march.

Click here to read the accounts of some of the survivors.

— — —

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 23, 2017 at 11:58 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (March 10, 2017)

Logging Some Miles.

Air Liaison Officers test cadets

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

Who says modern warfare is just about pushing buttons? Not these Air Force Academy cadets. The cadets were carrying a log during a medical evacuation march at Camp Bullis, Texas, last month (February 16, 2017). The cadets were required to trek multiple miles carrying logs and simulated casualties to a medical evacuation zone in limited time.

Not exactly simple as rolling off a log.

March 10, 2017 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 24, 2017)

Narrow Margin.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Amy M. Ressler.)

Two Navy air crewmen share close quarters aboard an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during a live fire exercise over the South China Sea, on February 21, 2017.

These crewman are assigned to the USS Coronado, a fast agile littoral combat ship.

February 24, 2017 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 13, 2017)

Mirror Image.

Armed Forces Full Honor Review for Carter

(Defense Department photo by E.J. Hersom)

The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard  seems to hover above a highly-polished floor (deck) as it stands in formation during Defense Secretary Ashton Carter‘s farewell ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia on January 9, 2016. These sailors are assigned to Naval District Washington, D.C., which  includes the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis), Bethesda Naval Hospital, Naval Air Station Patuxent River (Pax River) and Camp David, all in Maryland, as well as Naval Support Facility Dahlgren in Virginia and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, DC.

Carter, became the 25th Secretary of Defense in February 2015. He previously served as deputy defense secretary from 2011 to 2013, and as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (2009-2011). Carter also worked at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration (1993-1996), as assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. He received the Defense Department’s Distinguished Service Medal — its highest civilian award — five times.

Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis will succeed Carter, if confirmed by the Senate, when the Trump administration comes into office.

 

January 13, 2017 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 6, 2017)

Herculean View.

Operation Christmas Drop 16

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elizabeth Baker)
This aircrew aboard a C-130 Hercules circling over a remote island in Micronesia last month appear to have the have the best seat in the house. Assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron,  the crew was practicing airdrop procedures December 5, 2016 during Operation Christmas Drop. Each year Operation Christmas Drop provides tools, food, clothing and toys to over 30,000 islanders in the Pacific.

In addition to highlighting the complicated cockpit technology — with the heavenly view — we thought this photo and the operation it illustrates  was a suitable holiday season subject for today, January 6 — Three Kings Day. Also known as the feast of the Magi or Epiphany, the holiday is also celebrated in many countries as the last day of the Christmas season (the 12th Day of Christmas, as in the song).

January 6, 2017 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 9, 2016)

Airborne Weaponry.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Joshua L. DeMotts

The U.S. Air Force concerns itself with things that fly — fixed wing aircraft, helicopters,  missiles — and M-1 rifles with fixed bayonets, too, apparently.

Here we see the Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performing at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, to honor Vietnam War veterans.

September 9, 2016 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

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