Posts filed under ‘Traditions’

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.

*** *** ***

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

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

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