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November 03, 2004

The end of a sad little sidebar in history.

From Strategy Page (and other places):

November 3, 2004: U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Jenkins, who deserted to North Korea in 1965, and was finally allowed to leave earlier this year, has been court-martialed by the U.S. Army. He admitted his guilt and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, reduction in rank to private, forfeiture of all back pay and a dishonorable discharge. Jenkins is 64 years old, in poor health, and will go to live with his Japanese wife (who was kidnapped by the North Koreans 25 years ago) and two daughters in Japan.

Justice was served - though I think we could skip the jail time at this point. Having sat on Courts-Martial panels, I know why they did it. Let Mr. Jenkins fade back into obscurity. He can always petition President Bush to get the same treatment Jimmy Carter gave the Vietnam-era deserters.

On this day in 1783, the Continental Army was disbanded, except for a Lieutenant and some soldiers to "guard the stores at West Point," then just a fort and arsenal, the Academy being a few years in the future. That Lieutenant and his men were the soldiers of Alexander Hamilton's company (yes, company, not battery) of artillery, the New York Provincial Artillery Company, which survives to this day, as Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division. This unit is the oldest continuously serving unit in the United States Army. As distinct from numerous units with longer lineages in the Army of the United States (the legal distinction between the Regulars and the National Guard and Reserve) who can trace their lineages back to the founding of their colonies. They are the only company-level unit to have their own color (flag) as opposed to a guidon.

In 1862, Dr. Richard Gatling patented his famous gun. Still available, too.

In 1957, the Russians murder the dog Laika, launching her into space on Sputnik 2, knowing she wasn't going to survive the trip. Bastards. She deserved better.

In 1979, the Iranians take 63 Americans hostage, effectively setting up Jimmy Carter for failure as a President. Gotta give 'em credit, though. We didn't get them back in pieces, unlike certain Islamic fundamentalists we know.

I'll close for the day with this picture of soldierly life. Y'all who know, know.