Military Trivia and Its Hard Meaning

An email chain making the rounds of my office:  -----Original Message----- From: X Sent: Friday, February 27, 2014 To: ALL Subject: Trivia This trivia question is tailor-made for W.  Not because his gray hair says he could have been there but because he reads military history at lunch – What was the Allied military offensive in World War II whimsically codenamed “Chattanooga Choo Choo?”  I have no idea. -----Original Message----- From: W Sent: Friday, February 27, 2014 To: X Subject: RE: Trivia Never heard of it so looked it up (but no spoilers).  Being the resident stuffy BOVV (Bitter Old…
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Private Holidays – V-J Day

Everyone has some private holidays - besides commemorations such as the birth of a child or the wedding day - that may mean a lot or a little to the outside world but which are very special to that one person.  V-J Day is one of my private holidays but it didn't start out that way.  Now, with its commemoration just past, I'd like to tell you how it became special to me. I'm a baby boomer and admit that V-J Day - Victory over Japan, September 2, 1945 - meant little to me growing up.  Oh, I relished the…
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Op-Ed

The Last Vietnam Veteran Remembers…

The last uniformed veteran of World War I, a British woman, died this month. The last combat veteran, a British sailor, died last year in Australia. The last American veteran, an ambulance driver, died last year as well. All three reached age 110. She worked in a Royal Air Force canteen in England and remembered her war as a “good time,” filled with handsome pilots and excitement. The sailor, whose Royal Navy battleship fought a zeppelin, recalled his war as “tough.” What will the last Vietnam veterans remember at age 110, with great-grandchildren bouncing on their knees and asking for…
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The Clowns of War

I never saw Bob Hope in the combat zone, never heard his zippy one-liners and never gawked at his starlets and beauty queens in hotpants and skimpy blouses.  He never came to my corner of the boonies.  But we had comedy enough of our own, though it may seem a little crazy to some.  But war is crazy, isn’t it? * * * The hero of my favorite comic story is Lt. Alfa Bravo – that’s what I’ll call him – who misread an azimuth by 180 degrees and fired six howitzers east, instead of west.  Blew up the basecamp…
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Op-Ed

Too Many Heroes

I don’t understand how we could have so many heroes today. I knew a hero in the Vietnam war.  He died rescuing wounded.  I knew another in the first Gulf War.  She was killed by friendly fire.  But, today, every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine who returns from a combat zone is called a hero.  I don’t quite understand that. Audie Murphy was a hero, no question.  Ernest E. Evans of the destroyer USS Johnston attacking a Japanese battle fleet was a hero.  Chuck Yeager was a hero.  So was John Basilone on Guadalcanal.  It’s great to think but hard…
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Op-Ed

The Warrior’s Task

I had a buddy in the Vietnam war who was a different kind of fighting man.  He didn’t carry a gun.  He was a civilian warrior for hearts and minds.  But he taught me the most important part of the combat soldier’s task.  I want to tell you about his one very special combat. I’m going to call him “Bob.”  His mission was the aid and humanitarian work that kept children and their families alive in the crossfire of war.  As you would expect, he was a misery to the Viet Cong.  His work threatened to blow up their lies…
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Does Raquel Welch Still Love Me? *

My Vietnam war ended 44 years ago.  I have gray hair at one end and flat feet at the other, and perhaps you do, too!  But I don’t feel that old.  Still 19 inside.  Still marching off to see what battle is all about and if I’ve the courage to face it. Today’s young soldiers look at me, bemused, expecting to see the fires banked.  A war they see as way back there in the Stone Age is nothing to be upset about this century.  They don’t understand that my war can never end.  Theirs may not, either. There were…
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WW1

Attack by Moonlight (1918)

COMPANY “L,” SIXTEENTH INFANTRY IN THE AISNE-MARNE OFFENSIVE JULY 18-25, 1918 (Personal Experience)   MAJOR FRED M. LOGAN, INFANTRY First Division                Again the silent, determined columns moved forward—but, now, with an animated resolution of purpose which could not be denied—even by all Germanic resources which had held the upper hand against the world for four years. Down into the ravine of Coeuvres midst an intensive artillery counterpreparation methodically and instantly placed by the thorough opponent; past high-walled gardens, whose walls were crumbling under the intensity of the heavy shelling; over the little stream, so full of…
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VN

Ambush on the Dak Po (1969)

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY Headquarters I Field Force Vietnam APO San Francisco 96350 19 November 1969 After Action Interview Report Ambush at the Dak Po 21-22 January 1969 Binh Dinh Province, RVN, grid coordinates BR 337461. Company A, 1st Battalion (Mech), 50th Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. 8…. a. Route 19, which runs from Pleiku City in the Central Highlands to Qui Nhon on the South China Sea, is one of the most important supply routes in II Corps Tactical Zone. Its location has seen the defeats of the French Mobile Group 100 in 1954 and the successes of the 1st…
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Gulf Wars

One Great War Photo for the New Year

Children at Al Tash Refugee Camp keep busy as members of the 1st Marine Division civil affairs team deliver medical supplies and water storage units to the Kurdish refugees living here May 11 . Freedom and Peace Trust of Boston, a nongovernment organization, donated the bandages, gloves and medications to the people here. (USMC photo by Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald)   Originally published 1 January 2014
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WW2

Christmas Gift – Photo of a Man Who Fought for Us All (1943)

  New Georgia.  Pvt. Lloyd Culuck, Co. A, 1st Bn., 172nd Inf, gets chow from a can of Ration B on New Georgia Island, SW Pacific.  He uses the can lid in lieu of fork or spoon.  On the island since the first beachhead was established, he hasn't changed clothes in 12 days.  (Jul 43)  Army Signal Corps Photo: 161-43-2537 Source:  Signal Corps Collection, Record Group #111, Still Picture Branch, National Archives at College Park MD Originally posted 23 December 2013
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WW1

“When the Guns are Rolling Yonder” (1917-18)

Every soldier leaves behind Oh! a girl that’s true and kind, But you’ll never see your sweetheart anymore. To the war you’ll go away Just a little while to stay Oh! you’ll never see your sweetheart anymore.     Chorus:   When the guns are rolling yonder, When the guns are rolling yonder, When the guns are rolling y-o-n-d-e-r,     (Spoken) Fall’ In! When the guns are rolling yonder we’ll be there.   You’ll be marching up to battle Where those damned machine guns rattle But you’ll never see your sweetheart anymore. When you’re hanging on the wire Under heavy…
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WW2

The Chaos of Victory

Clip:  "In the week following the Emperor's order to cease hostilities, planes on photo-reconnaissance missions over Japan were twice attacked by enemy interceptors.  On 17 August, four B-32s were attacked over Tokyo by an estimated 10 Japanese fighters, of which two were probably destroyed and a third damaged. The same day, three other photo planes over Yokosuka and Miyakonojo were met by antiaircraft fire. On the 18th, two unescorted reconnoitering B-32s over Tokyo were attacked by 14 enemy fighters. An aerial photographer in one plane was killed, two of the crew were wounded, and both planes were heavily damaged. Our…
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WW1

Prussians & Doughboys, 1917-1918

Are Americans Well Disciplined? Statement of Dr. Otto Schranzkmuller, A former Prussian Municipal Official. 42nd Div. Summary of Interrogation #185 Dec. 12, 1919. "The American army seems to me as fine a collection of individual physical specimens as I have ever seen," the doctor declared in his excellent unidiomatic English.  "But from the standpoint of military discipline it is a mob, pure and simple.  The men appear slouchy; the officers do not stand out from the men in appearance as they do in any European army.  All seem to allow themselves to be victimized in prices by the tradespeople of…
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