Posts filed under ‘Washington’

FRIDAY FOTO (January 14, 2022)

First Snow, Last Post.

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery)

Snow falls in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on January 3, 2022. This was the first snow of the year.

The holiday wreaths are placed on the graves during National Wreaths Across America Day in mid-December. During the annual event, nearly 38,000 volunteers place 257,000 wreaths at every gravesite, columbarium court column and niche wall column at Arlington National Cemetery

And yes, despite the cold and snow, the sentinels of “The Old Guard,” the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment maintained their solitary watch over America’s honored, unknown dead at Arlington.

 (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery)

January 13, 2022 at 11:55 pm 5 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (October 15, 2021)

Dress (Rhythm and) Blues.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Erin Morejon) Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

Well this is something you don’t see every day.

This photo shows Marines with the Parris Island Marine Band in their dress blue uniforms playing electric and bass guitars at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.

Portraits of band members were being taken for recruiting photos April 10, 2021 to support the Musicians Enlistment Option Program.

Instrumentalists and vocalists who want to join the Marines can put their musical talents to work through the Marine Corps Musician Enlistment Option Program (MEOP). Performing throughout the continental United States and internationally, Marine musicians serve as musical ambassadors of the Marine Corps. For the record, the Marine Corps has 10 bands based around the world.

To qualify for the MEOP, recruits must first audition and qualify for the music program. Every MEOP recruit attends the Corps’ 13-week recruit training and, upon graduation, attends the Naval School of Music for advanced instrumental and academic training. Check it out here. There’s also a cool musician/recruiting video, here.

October 15, 2021 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Louisa May Alcott, Civil War Nurse

Another Literary Civil War Nurse. UPDATED

Those familiar with the poetry of Walt Whitman know the journalist, essayist and poet helped nurse wounded soldiers during the U.S. Civil War. In fact, a passage from his 1865 collection Drum-Taps, is etched in the granite wall surrounding the entrance to Washington’s DuPont Circle Metro station, according to a 2013 Washington Post article.

It reads, in part, The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night — some are so young;

Some suffer so much — I recall the experience sweet and sad . . .

But Whitman wasn’t the only American literary figure to draw on the painful experiences of Civil War nursing for inspiration.

Louisa May Alcott, best known for her coming-of-age novel Little Women, left home in Concord, Massachusetts in December 1862 to become a nurse in a Civil War hospital.

Orchard House, the family home of author and Civil War nurse Louisa May Alcott in Concord, Massachusetts. (4GWar photo by John M. Doyle, Copyright Sonoma Road Strategies, LLC)

Those familiar with Little Women may remember that the father of the four March sisters — the “Little Women” of the title — joined the Union Army as a chaplain and became seriously ill with pneumonia. His surprise return to his family at Christmas was a highlight of the book, which Alcott based largely on her own family.

However, Alcott’s own father — the prominent educator, philosopher, and abolitionist Bronson Alcott — was too old to serve in the Union army, your 4GWAR editor learned during a recent visit to Orchard House, the Alcott family home in Concord. Fired by her family’s abolitionist fervor and inspired by the work of Florence Nightingale — it was Mr. Alcott’s daughter, Louisa, who traveled to Washington to do her part in the “war of the Southern rebellion.”

Louisa May Alcott, age 20, before the Civil War.(Wikipedia)

According to the  National Museum of Civil War Medicine website, the 30-year-old Miss Alcott threw herself into her work at the Union Hotel hospital in Georgetown. Her days were a tiring whirlwind of dressing wounds, cleaning and sewing bandages, supervising convalescent assistants, fetching bed linens, water, and pillows, assisting during surgical procedures, sponging filthy, broken bodies, writing letters on behalf of the sick and injured, and feeding those too weak to feed themselves.

A self-described “red hot Abolitionist,” Alcott was not happy with the prospect of caring for Confederate soldiers. When one injured Rebel was brought in, she privately resolved “to put soap in his eyes, rub his nose the wrong way, and excoriate his cuticle generally,” according to the Civil War medicine site.

Like the father character in Little Women, Alcott herself became seriously ill and returned home a physical wreck, according to the History Net website.

Just a few weeks into her service, Louisa confessed in her journal that “bad air, food, water, work & watching are getting to be too much for me.” The Union Hotel was a grim, dirty place crowded with patients and medical workers. “A more perfect pestilence-box than this house I never saw,” Alcott wrote.

By mid-January Alcott was unable to continue with her nursing duties, and was confined to her room, diagnosed with typhoid pneumonia. She was zealously dosed with calomel, a poisonous mercury compound widely used during the Civil War.  Her condition worsened, and she slipped in and out of consciousness, haunted by alarming hallucinations.

Alcott refused to return home, but the hospital matron telegraphed Bronson Alcott, who hurried to fetch his gravely ill daughter. Louisa was too weak to protest.

Little Women, her most famous book, was first published in 1868. Alcott is also remembered for her book Hospital Sketches, published in 1863, a work of fiction based on letters she had written home during her brief, but harrowing, stint as a wartime nurse.

September 16, 2021 at 11:24 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: U.S. Army Birthday; Flag Day 2021

Happy 246th Birthday!

(U.S. Army photo by Specialist Laura Stephens)

June 14th is a double-barreled day of significance in the United States. It’s the U.S. Army’s 246th Birthday and it’s also Flag Day, when Americans celebrate our national emblem — the Stars and Stripes.

The photo above shows soldiers assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” participating in the U.S. Army Birthday Run at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

On June 14, 1775 — at the urging of John Adams (the future 2nd U.S. president) — the Continental Congress, in effect, created the U.S. Army by voting $2 million in funding for 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.

Flag Day

Two years later, on June 14, 1777, Congress adopted the 13-star, 13-red-and-white-and blue-striped banner as the national flag. Flag day was celebrated on various days in various ways around the United States until the 20th century.

A member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment — The Old Guard — places American flags in front of gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on May 23, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Jose A. Torres Jr.)

As war wracked Europe and the Middle East in 1916, and it looked more and more like the United States would be drawn into the horrific conflict known as the Great War, 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.

 

Francis Scott Key notes “that our flag was still there” during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. (Photo courtesy of Library of Congress)

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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 in the photo at left.

June 15, 2021 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 22, 2021)

…Until the Paperwork’s Done.

(U.S. National Guard photo by Sergeant Chazz Kibler)

Soldiers in the Maryland Army National Guard use the backs of the soldiers in front of them to fill out medical paperwork to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C., on January 14, 2021.

National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from all 50 states states traveled to the District to provide support to federal and district authorities leading up to the 59th Presidential Inauguration on January 20 of Joseph R. Biden as the 46th president.

More than 26,000 members of the National Guard were on the ground in Washington to assist D.C. and federal authorities through the inauguration festivities. In addition, 6,565 Guard members provided security at state capitals across the nation.

Maryland was among the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia to deploy Guardsmen and women in Washington, according to the National Guard Bureau. A platoon-sized element of approximately 30 Soldiers from Guam flew  7,900 miles to Washington to assist in the operation.

The Guard has supported presidential inaugurations since 1789 when local militia units took part in George Washington’s inaugural events in New York City. But this year’s inaugural assistance was the “most extensive ever,” the Bureau said.

January 21, 2021 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 31, 2020)

Tanks for the Memory.

The Last Ride

 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Patrick King)

With their turrets reversed, it’s hard to tell if this line of Marine Corps Abrams main battle tanks are coming or going. But make no mistake, these behemoths are definitely going — away, forever.

The official caption of this photo reads:

U.S. Marines with 2d Tank Battalion, 2d Marine Division, track through tank trails on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 27, 2020. For nearly 80 years, 2d Tank Battalion left the tank lot and would return after combat or training operations. This time, the tanks will not return. After serving 2d MARDIV for more than three quarters of a century, 2nd Tank Battalion will deactivate in accordance with the future redesign of the Marine Corps.

It isn’t just the 2nd MARDIV’s tanks that are going away. The Marine Corps is unloading all of its M1A1 Abrams tanks, M-88 Recovery Vehicles and Armored Vehicle Launched Bridges as part of the United States Marine Corps Force Design 2030 guidance published in March by General David  Berger, the Marine Corps commandant.

The 15-page document outlines a plan to modernize the Marine Corps in accordance with the National Defense Strategy, which pivots away from two decades of counter insurgency and special operations combat with terrorist groups around the world to Great Power competition with Russia and China. The Force re-design calls for a shift from big guns, tanks and infantry units to  rocket artillery batteries, light armored reconnaissance companies and unmanned aerial vehicle squadrons.

The Marine Corps will eventually divest of all three of its active tank battalions as it moves from a “second land army” back to its maritime roots of defending ships at sea, island-hopping and battling for contested coastlines, in preparation for potential conflict with near-peer adversaries such as China, according to Stars and Stripes in a July 30 article under the headline: A  farewell to armor.

July 31, 2020 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 3, 2020)

Solemn Masked Men.

Military Funeral Honors with Modified Funeral Escort are Conducted for U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jesse Lewis Jr.

(U.S. Army Photo by Elizabeth Fraser)

The U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon conducts military funeral honors with a modified escort for Navy Commander Jesse W. Lewis Junior at Arlington National Cemetery on June 29, 2020.

It was the first funeral service since March 26 to include a caisson, the next step in Arlington National Cemetery’s phased plan to resume greater support to military funeral honors as COVID-19 cases within the national capital region trend downward.

According to the Arlington website:

 Military funeral honors with modified escort consists of individual service branch body bearers, a firing party, an escort commander with guidon, escort, bugler, drummer, national colors and chaplain. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment’s caisson platoon may also be requested. Additionally, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps service members with ranks O-6 [colonel] and above may receive a caparisoned horse and flag officers [generals and admirals] from all services may receive the appropriate presidential salute battery (PSB) gun salute. 

The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard also participated in the ceremony for the Navy veteran.

Military Funeral Honors with Modified Funeral Escort are Conducted for U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jesse Lewis Jr.

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser)

July 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm 1 comment

SHAKO: Memorial Day 2020

Tradition, Updated.

Flags-In 2020

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser)

A soldier assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” places flags at headstones as part of Flags-In at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on May 21, 2020.

For more than 50 years, soldiers assigned to the unit have honored the nation’s fallen military heroes by placing U.S. flags at grave sites of every service member buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., just before Memorial Day weekend.

Things are a little different at Arlington this year, from the face coverings members of the “Old Guard” wear as they plant the flags to the terse message on the National Cemetery’s website:

ANC remains open only to family pass holders during the Memorial Day weekend. You must be in possession of a both a face covering and a valid family pass to enter. Access is for gravesite visitation only, no touring.

As we’ve said in the past, everything’s different in the midst of World War CV.

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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.

 

 

May 24, 2020 at 11:57 pm 2 comments

SHAKO: Veterans Day 2019

A Terrible Beauty.

In late May — on Memorial Day — America remembers the honored dead, those who gave their lives in this country’s wars since 1775.

But on Veterans Day every November, Americans honor the living who served or continue to serve in uniform. November 11 is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I – the “War to End All Wars” in 1918. Unfortunately, history has proven that was an overly optimistic term for what turned out to be the First World War.

Veterans Day 2019 Arlington Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 3, 2019 (4GWAR photo copyright John M. Doyle)

A few years after that conflict, the United States buried an unknown soldier killed on the battlefields of France in a new tomb, a monument to all the slain, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day there is always a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown (the original soldier has been joined by fellow nameless warriors from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

On Sunday November  3, your 4GWAR editor joined more than 50 fellow Norwich University alumni at a much smaller ceremony in Arlington, to locate the graves of Norwich grads buried in the National Cemetery. We had the privilege of joining a small group of Norwich vets, including two serving Army officers, to do the honors among the fields of white headstones.

Veterans Day 2019 Arlington with Norwich

Norwich University alumni search the rows of gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery. (4GWAR photo copyright John M. Doyle)

Once a grave on our list was located, a small American flag and the Maroon and Gold flag of Norwich, a 200-year-old Vermont military academy, were planted in front of the headstone and a Norwich commemorative coin was placed atop it. The Army officers, a lieutenant colonel and a brigadier general saluted the fallen. Then we retrieved flags and coin and moved on to the next grave site.

Veterans Day 2019 Arlington with Norwich2

Honoring Norwich’s dead at Arlington. (4GWAR photo copyright by John M. Doyle)

Our task accomplished, we headed to the Tomb of the Unknown for a Norwich Maroon and Gold wreath laying ceremony at the tomb in the waning afternoon sunlight.

Veterans Day 2019 Honor Guard Tomb Norwich wreath

Third Infantry Regiment honor guard passes the Norwich wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown (4GWAR Photo copyright John M. Doyle)

 

 

 

 

November 11, 2019 at 11:59 pm 2 comments

SHAKO: Defenders Day Blast

Purple Cannons Majesty.

Old Guard Artillery Baltimore

(U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Jacob Holmes)

Soldiers assigned to the Presidential Salute Battery of 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” participate in a Defenders Day performance at Fort McHenry in Baltimore on September  14, 2019. Defenders Day commemorates the successful defense of Baltimore from a British invasion force during the War of 1812.

Based at Fort Myer, Virginia, the 3d U.S. Infantry is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving the  nation since 1784. “The Old Guard” is the Army’s official ceremonial unit that accompanies honor funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and serves as escort to the president. Other units in the regiment include the Continental Color Guard, red-coated Fife and Drum Corps, and the U.S. Army Drill Team.

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.west point cadets.pdf

 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.

 

October 11, 2019 at 2:18 am Leave a comment

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