Posts tagged ‘Topics’

FRIDAY FOTO (June 18, 2016)

Beard Bump.

2016 DoD Warrior Games

DoD photo by Roger Wollenberg

Veterans Fred Lewis (left) and Victor Sassoon — members of the U.S. Special Operations Command volleyball team –bump beards for good luck after beating Team Army in sitting volleyball during the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York  June 15, 2016.

What’s sitting volleyball, you ask. It’s a tough competition for injured service members who can’t play volleyball standing up. See the photo below.

2016 DoD Warrior Games: Sitting Volleyball

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Carlin Leslie

The Air Force sitting volleyball team competes against the U.S. Special Operations Command team during the 2016 Warrior Games at the U.S. Military Academy.

For more photos of the Warrior Games, click here.

 

June 17, 2016 at 1:15 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: A D-Day Memory Repeated

Twice Told Tale: June 5, 1944.

In honor of the 72nd anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy during World War II, we thought we’d re-run this post from the 40th anniversary in 2014. – John M. Doyle

A D-Day Story – With a Twist.

ike and 101st

Gen. Eisenhower talks with 101st Airborne Division paratroopers before D-Day. (Defense Dept. photo)

All the attention and remembrances that the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France is getting recently jogged my memory about another D-Day story I uncovered 30 years ago – for the 40th anniversary of history’s biggest amphibious invasion.

Your 4GWAR editor was South Bend, Indiana correspondent for the Associated Press when someone told me about a priest then serving at the University of Notre Dame who had a great D-Day story. Monsignor Francis L. Sampson had been an Army chaplain serving with the 501st Parachute Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. (The same division but a different regiment from the one featured in the book and cable TV series “Band of Brothers.”)

Sampson parachuted into Normandy along with the 101st the night before D-Day, was captured by the Waffen SS and almost shot on June 6. After the Germans realized he was only a chaplain they let him return to the barn where he had been tending wounded paratroopers too badly hurt to be moved. He and an Army medic tended both German and U.S. wounded until American forces overran the area and captured the Germans who had captured Sampson.

He went on to jump into Holland in late 1944 in Operation Market Garden (“A Bridge too Far”), was captured again at the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and liberated from a grim German POW camp by Russian troops in April 1945.

Pretty good story, I thought, as I pitched it to my editor in Indianapolis. But he told me about a Frenchman, now a local business magazine publisher who was a small boy in Normandy on that night in June, 1944. Bernard Marie, who was then in his mid 40s, was offering a free lunch in Indianapolis to any U.S. vet who could prove he was in Normandy on what became known as “The Longest Day.”

We decided to combine both men’s stories after I interviewed them and also put them in touch with each other. Here is the beginning of the story that ran in U.S. newspapers on the afternoon of June 5, 1984:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – On the night of June 5, 1944, Bernard Marie spent his fifth birthday huddled in a cellar 25 miles from Omaha Beach. Monsignor Francis L. Sampson flew through German anti-aircraft fire over Normandy, convinced he was going to die.

The story had some humorous and harrowing anecdotes. My favorite was when the first U.S. paratroopers broke into little Bernard’s house. He thought their four-letter-word cussing sounded like German (think about it). And was terrified the Germans had come to get his family. But when he saw the American flag patch sewn on every trooper’s sleeve he knew things were going to be all right, he told me.

Back to 1984: Press photographers captured the embrace of the 72-year-old Catholic priest and the grown up French boy – even though they had never met before – amid scores of applauding WWII vets.

But the story doesn’t end there. While trying to find a complete copy of the original story, which so far hasn’t happened. I came across Monsignor Sampson’s obituary in the Des Moines Register (he was a native of Iowa). I learned that he had stayed in the Army rising to the rank of major general (two stars) and had served as the Army’s Chief of Chaplains from 1967 to 1971. He died in January 1996.

Fr_ Francis L Sampson grave marker 1912 to 1996

But what really got my attention was a sidebar in the obituary, that noted an action Sampson performed in the days immediately after D-Day, may have inspired – at least in part – the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” See for yourself, here.

For more on this remarkable career that spanned three wars and a lot of souls in need, click here.

To learn more about D-Day, click here for the Defense Department’s 72nd Anniversary page.

SHAKO

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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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, SHAKO, Skills and Training, Traditions. Tags: , , , , , .

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (June 1-June 7, 1814) FRIDAY FOTO ADVISORY

 

June 6, 2016 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 3, 2016)

Man-Eating  Tank.

Sullivan Cup

U.S. Army photo by Sergeant 1st Class Jon Soucy

Army Private First Class Harlan Troutman scrambles into the driver’s compartment of an M1A1 Abrams tank during the Gen. Gordon Sullivan Cup best tank crew competition at Fort Benning, Georgia in early May. Troutman is assigned to the Tennessee Army National Guard’s H Troop, 2nd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

June 3, 2016 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Memorial Day 2016

Assessing the Toll.

Memorial Day, a holiday that grew out of efforts to honor the dead of the Civil War — North and South — commemorates the fallen. Veteran’s Day, as the Washington Post points out, was created after World War I to honor all who served their country in war and peace.

They say Freedom has a price. The chart below shows how Americans have been paying that price for more than 200 years.

Military deaths chart

The photos below show that debt has been paid — with interest — by the living as well.

Memorial Day in Arlington National Cemetery 2015

Army photo by Rachel Larue

Brittany, left, and her four-year-old son, Christian, spend time at the grave of husband and father, Marine Corps Sergeant Christopher Jacobs, in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Christian wore his father’s cover (uniform hat) during the Memorial Day visit.

Memorial Day FistBump

Dept. of Defense  photo by Roger Wollenberg

Marine Corps veterans Eric Rodriguez, left, and Anthony McDaniel fist bump during the gold medal wheelchair basketball competition at the 2016 Invictus Games for wounded warriors in Orlando, Florida on May 12.

May 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 28, 2016)

Honor Duty.

Flags-In at Arlington National Cemetery

U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue

Soldiers place American flags in front of headstones during “Flags In” at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia (May 26, 2016).

Every year soldiers assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” place approximately 230,000 flags before each of the cemetery’s headstones in preparation for the Memorial Day holiday.

To see more photos of the simple, somber, beautiful event, click here.

A poem,

Bivouac of the Dead

.

 

May 27, 2016 at 11:44 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 13, 2016)

Woosh!

22nd MEU LAAD Marines fire Stingers

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Ryan G. Coleman

Marines fire stinger simulation rounds aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in the Atlantic Ocean last month (April 17, 2016). The stinger is part of a group of anti-aircraft weapons known as MANPADS, for Man Portable Air Defense Systems.

The Marines are assigned to Medium Marine Tiltrotor Squadron 264 in the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is underway for an amphibious exercise.

May 13, 2016 at 1:16 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: May 6, 2016

Eerie Viewing.

459AS sharpens their rescue capabilities

U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe

Night vision goggles cast an eerie green glow on the eye of Air Force Technical Sergeant Christopher Rector peers through them during a training flight over U.S. Army Garrison Yokohama North Dock in Japan last month (April 25, 2016).

The internal lights of his UH-1N Iroquois helicopter — known everywhere as a Huey — paint an equally eerie glow on his fearsomely decorated crash helmet. A lot of helicopter crewmen in the U.S. military decorate the front of their crash helmets to look like skulls or orcs — just like some NHL hockey goalies.

Rector is a special missions aviator evaluator assigned to the 459th Airlift Squadron, which frequently trains to stay prepared for potential real-world contingencies and operations.

May 6, 2016 at 2:43 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: April 29, 2016

Sapper Haul.

Army engineers compete in 2016 Best Sapper Competition

Army photo by Sgt. Anthony Hewitt

No, defense budget cuts haven’t come to this.

These two Army paratroopers are hauling this Humvee as part of the Best Sapper Competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, home of the Army Engineers School.

Sapper is an ancient term for military engineers. In olden days they designed and dug the trenches, built the forts and figured out how to break into castles.

These days, a Sapper is usually a combat engineer who has completed the 28-day Sapper Leader Course, and earned the red Sapper uniform tab. That tab says they are among the best at their complex and dangerous craft, which includes bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, creating field defenses as well as building, road and airfield construction and repair.

To earn the Sapper tab you have to graduate from the Sapper course, but you don’t have to be an engineer, according to the Army.

The paratroopers in this photo, Army 1st Sergeant Jose Casillas and Sergeant 1st Class Tim Shay are assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

What’s the difference between a 1st Sergeant and a Sergeant 1st Class? Click here for an explanation.

April 29, 2016 at 12:21 am Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: Another Russia-NATO Flashpoint?

Kola Peninsula.

One of the most interesting articles in Thursday’s New York Times was an opinion piece by a German journalist about the Kola Peninsula, Russia’s northwestern-most territory in the Far North.

kola-peninsula-tundra-map

Kola Peninsula tundra ecoregion highlighted along the Barents and White Seas. (Source: WWF via the Encyclopedia of Earth).

Ice-coated barbed wire fences, surveillance cameras and settlements that look more like military installations mark this frigid region, but the coastline is warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream, according to Jochen Bittner, a political editor for Die Zeit.

That makes the forbidding landscape of the Kola Peninsula “a gigantic marine pier, guaranteeing Russia’s naval fleet access to the Atlantic and offering a hub for operations in an area of the world that might become the next crisis zone between Russia and NATO: the North Pole,” says Bittner.

It’s no secret the Russian military has been building up its facilities in the Arctic, including several new air bases. But Bittner’s piece brings some diplomatic and political perspective to what’s at stake for Russia and the West in this increasingly important region.

To read more, click here.

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the High North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic Region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

 

April 28, 2016 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 22, 2016)

Last Run.

Here we go Kiowa Warriors

Defense Dept. photo by Kenneth Kassens.

Thirty-two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters with the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade  — the last U.S.-based Kiowa squadron–  conduct a flyover during a farewell flight above Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Under the Aviation Restructuring Initiative (ARI)  — a cost-saving program to fund future development and acquisition of helicopters — the Army is divesting its OH-58 Kiowa Scout helicopters. The Army is replacing them with active duty AH-64 Apache attack helos and pairing them with unmanned aircraft.

The 1st Squadron will deploy to Korea this summer. When it returns, it will be switching over to Apaches.

The April 15 flyover served as a final “thank you” and farewell to the residents of the Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville, N. C. community. To learn more about the flyover, the Kiowa Warriors and the people who flew them, click here to read an article co-authored by our friend and colleague, Drew Brooks of the Fayetteville Observer, (via Stars and Stripes).

April 21, 2016 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

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