Posts filed under ‘Traditions’

SHAKO: Air Force Birthday 2017

Happy 70th USAF!

Air National Guard aides in the relief effort of Hurricane Harvey

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

On this day (September 18) 70 years ago, President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947 which created the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the U.S. armed forces. Before that, the Air Force was a part of the U.S. Army.

Rather than commemorate the day with a single photo of fighter jets streaking across the sky, we thought we’d show a range of photos, showing some of the other things the Air Force does.

The photo above shows Senior Airman Austin Hellweg leading a family to an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter in Beaumont, Texas for transport to a safer location during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in August. Most people think National Guard or Homeland Security when you mention natural disasters like hurricanes. But in this violent hurricane season, the Air Force (as well as the Navy, Coast Guard, Army and Marine Corps) have all provided assistance, following Harvey and Hurricane Irma, in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

U.S. Fifth-Generation Fighters, Strategic Bombers Conduct Show of Force with Allies in Response to North Korea Missile Launch

(U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sergean. Joshua Smoot)

In this next photo, a B-1B Lancer bomber prepares to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base into Japanese air space and over the Korean Peninsula. After refueling on August 31, 2017, the Lancers flew with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets as part of a demonstration of America’s  commitment to its allies in the region.

Air Commandos participate in joint force exercise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Jeffrey Curtin)

Air Force personnel not only fly aircraft, sometimes they jump out of them. Special Tactics Airmen with the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron execute a high altitude, low open (HALO) jump from an MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft, flown by the 15th Special Operations Squadron. The jump came during a total force exercise mission over Terre Haute, Indiana on July 8, 2017.

Hurricane Irma

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corban Lundborg)

In the photo above, Air Force Reserve Major Nicole Mitchell records weather information while flying into Hurricane Irma September 8, 2017 on a WC-130J Super Hercules. Mitchell is an aerial reconnaissance weather officer assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. To see more photos of this mission, click here.

To learn more about the Air Force and its history — which really goes back more than 100 years, click here.

488px-Shako-p1000580

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.

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September 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm 1 comment

SHAKO: Labor Day 2017

Hard Work.

Oops, we missed our annual Labor Day Tribute to the hard-working folks in the armed services again. However, a quick look at the blog’s archives indicates your 4GWAR editor has had this mental lapse every other year, or so.

51st LRS closes UFG

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Franklin R. Ramos)

As we’ve said in past Labor Day posts, 4GWAR likes to pause and take a look at some of the jobs people do in the military that don’t get a lot of attention. Not everybody in the service hits the beach, fires a missile, flies a plane or jumps out of one. So here is a short look at the less glamorous — but still important — jobs that keep the U.S. military ready and able to meet the next challenge — whatever and wherever it is.

Our first photo (above) shows Airman 1st Class Matthew Martinez tightening cargo chains onto a truck at Osan Air Base in South Korea. The photo was taken Wednesday (September 6, 2017). Martinez is a vehicle operator assigned to the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron. Even the Air Force needs ground transportation.

ARNG delivers hay to landlocked livestock

(Army National Guard photo by Sergeant 1st Class Malcolm McClendon)

Our next photo shows a Texas National Guardsman helping load hay onto Texas and Ohio National Guard helicopters. The hay was going to livestock stranded near Beaumont, Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. This photo was taken Tuesday (September 5, 2017). From hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and overseas deployments, the National Guard has got to be ready for anything these days.

Sailors Perform Catapult Maintenance

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander P. Akre)

Like the airman in our first photo, these two sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis are using a simple tool and elbow grease to get the job done. Seamen Layton Prado and Daniel Ridley tighten bolts with a torque wrench during maintenance on the carrier flight deck. This photo was taken August 28, 2017 when the Stennis was in port at Bremerton, Washington, training for future operations.

LABOR DAY 2017 Marine Corps

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Tyler W. Stewart)

We haven’t forgotten the Marines. Here is Corporal Natasha Williams helping build a structure at Landing Zone Plover at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on August 11, 2017. The structure will be used by students at the Marine Corps Engineer School to practice breaching procedures (like blowing open a door, when kicking it down doesn’t work). Williams is a combat engineer assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion.

LABOR DAY 2017 Coast Guard (2)

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jordan Akiyama)

We didn’t forget the Coast Guard, either, although they do so many daring things on, above and off the water, it was hard to find a photo of someone doing something “routine.”   Here we see Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Hensley, a machinery technician stationed at Galveston, Texas with a Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team. He was repairing a range light channel marker when this photo was taken on Sunday (September 3, 2017). The marker was damaged during Hurricane Harvey on Bolivar Peninsula, Texas. Take a look at the background to get an idea of how high up he and his teammates have climbed.

Well that’s our story. Hope you had a good Labor Day holiday and if you’re traveling near the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, or the southeast Atlantic Coast this weekend — be smart, stay safe.

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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.

West Point cadets

(U.S. Army photo via Wikipedia)

September 7, 2017 at 11:29 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 14, 2017)

Lafayette, We Are Here, Encore.

U.S. Forces Honored During Bastille National Day Parade

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb)

U.S. service members march in the Bastille Day parade in Paris as blue, white and red smoke trails billow overhead from a flyover conducted by French Alpha jets. U.S. troops led the parade in a historic first to commemorate the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, as well as its long-standing partnership with France.

ww1soldiersdock Bastille Day 2017

U.S. soldiers on the dock in France. (Courtesy TeeJaw Blog)

In all, 4.7 million Americas served in uniform in the Great War, more than 116,000 died.

U.S. Forces Honored During Bastille National Day Parade

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb)

Here’s a closer look at the U.S. contingent marching in the 2017 Bastille Day parade. The color guard are dressed in World War I helmets and uniforms. Behind them, in order march the U.S. Army contingent, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. Interesting to note the U.S. Army now wears berets instead of the Smoky the Bear campaign hats in the archive photo above.

July 14 marks the storming of the Bastille, a notorious prison in Paris, sparking the French Revolution in 1789. Every year on that date, there is an enormous military parade in Paris with Foreign Legionnaires in their white kepis and red and green epaulettes, sabre-brandishing cavalry of the Republican Guard in plumed helmets, sailors in white caps topped by red pompoms, pilots in flight suits and all manner of military cadets, national police and specialty troops.

July 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Flag Day; U.S. Army Birthday

Happy 242nd!

Washington takes command

On this day (June 14) in 1775, the Continental Congress, urged by future U.S. President John Adams, created the U.S. Army by voting $2 million to fund the colonial militias around Boston and New York City. Congress also ordered the raising of ten companies of expert riflemen from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Together with the ragtag militias in New England and New York they would form the first Continental Army. George Washington of Virginia, one of the few colonials with military command experience (from the French and Indian War) would take command in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 3, 1775.

Army installations around the world are celebrating the Big 242. The festivities ranged from a band concert in Georgia to a fun run in Hawaii. Many Army bases featured a birthday cake-cutting ceremony, in which the longest serving soldier on post shares cake cutting duty with the newest soldier, according to the Army website.

To read more about the infancy of the U.S. Army, click here.

Flag Day turns 101.

nation-makers

“The Nation Makers” by Howard Pyle (1908) depicts the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, one of the first appearances of the Stars and Stripes flag.

June 14 is also Flag Day in the United States, to commemorate the day in 1777 when Congress adopted the 13-star, 13-red-and-white-striped flag as the year-old republic’s national flag. Flag day was celebrated on various days in various ways around the United States until the 20th century.

As war wracked Europe and the Middle East in 1916, it looked more and more like the United States would be drawn into the Great War. To inspire unity and patriotism, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress — but it’s not an official federal holiday.

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.

June 14, 2017 at 9:44 pm 2 comments

SHAKO: Gen. Beauregard’s Retreat.

Statue Removed.

Beauregard's Statue New Orleans

(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle.)

When your 4GWAR editor took this photo of the imposing statue of Civil War general Pierre G.T. Beauregard in New Orleans in January, we did not think it would soon be a figure of controversy — and eventually removed from public view.

The heroic bronze stood outside New Orleans’ City Park and your editor had just gotten off one of the Big Easy’s lovely streetcars on our way to the New Orleans Museum of Art, which we had never visited in several previous trips to New Orleans.

The statue of the Confederate general, who ordered the first shots of the Civil War to be fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861, is one of many civic artworks around the city.

But it was one of four monuments to heroes of the Confederacy that the New Orleans City Council voted to remove last year. The city already has removed one statute of Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, as well as a memorial to a white rebellion against a biracial Reconstruction-era government in the city, according to the Miami Herald.  The last memorial to come down will be a landmark statue of General Robert E. Lee atop a pillar at a prominent downtown traffic circle.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for removing the monuments in the aftermath of the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church. The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos, recharging the debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage, the Herald noted.

Beauregard, a French creole from Louisiana is credited with championing the design of that now-incendiary battle flag. A West Point graduate, Beauregard ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New Orleans in 1858 and was in command of the troops that fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor three years later, the New York Times noted.

Beauregard was second-in-command at the first Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) but his star faded during the war, partly because of his vanity and grandiosity — his detractors dubbed him “Little Napoleon” — and partly because of a long-running feud with Davis, the prickly Confederate  president, who was also a West Point grad and hero of the Mexican-American War.

According to the New Orelans Times-Picayune (and who would know better?) Beauregard was appointed superintendent of West Point in January 1861 but the appointment was rescinded one day later when Louisiana seceded from the Union. Although he came from a slave-owning family and fought for the Confederacy, Beauregard argued after the war for black voting rights and integrating schools, transportation and public places. He also had a hand in developing the city’s streetcar system after the war and headed the Louisiana Lottery, the biggest gambling operation in 19th Century America.

The Times-Picayune piece answered a question that had been bothering your editor since we first read the inscription at the statue’s base. The general’s full name was Pierre Gustav Toutant-Beauregard, yet the statute identified him simply as G.T. Beauregard. Why? It turns out Beauregard, who didn’t learn to speak English until he was sent away to school at age 12, nevertheless hated his first name, dropped it and the hyphenated last name when he enrolled at West Point.

By the way, not all of the statues in New Orleans are controversial For example, take this gilded statute of Joan of Arc near the French Market.

Joan of Arc

4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle

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.

May 18, 2017 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

SHAKO: ANZAC Day 2017

Australian, New Zealand War Dead Remembered.

Thousands turned out in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and elsewhere Tuesday (April 25) for Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.” It also marks “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”

Named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) — the day is celebrated every year on April 25. It is the anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli landings in Turkey during the First World War.

1024px-2013-04-25_AWM_Anzac_Dawn_-_Ben_Roberts-Smith_VC

A crowd of nearly 35,000 people attend the 2013 Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia’s capital. (Photo by Peter Ellis via wikipedia)

An estimated 8,709 troops from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand were among the thousands of Allied troops killed during the failed attempt to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula between the Med and the Black Sea to open the way for the capture of Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of the German and Austro-Hungarian empires.

Aussie troops Gallipoli

Men of the Australian 1st Divisional Signal Company being towed towards Anzac Cove at 6 am on the day of the Gallipoli landings. (Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial)

By the 1920s, Anzac Day became established as a National Day of Commemoration for all the Australians and New Zealanders who died during the Great War. In ensuing years, the holiday honors the dead from all the wars and conflicts the two countries’ troops served in.

To see how Anzac Day 2017 was marked in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Turkey, click here, here and here.

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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 26, 2017 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

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.

The_US_Army_in_Britain,_1917-1918_Q30005

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.

94th_Aero_Squadron_-_Group

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

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