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June 03, 2006

H&I Fires* 3 June 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

I need a drink.

I bet Andi is having a few, too - inbetween aerobic sessions.

What Cassie said. There's a reason the dyspeptic Marine Wife Tech Wench is a Denizenne. This is it. -The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jun 03, 2006 | General Commentary
» Don Surber links with: RFK Jr. might want to look at some real vote fraud
» A Rose By Any Other Name links with: What Our Troops Deserve

A call to arms!

The Huntress nailed this to my email door:

I contacted Shock Magazines American Editor, Mike Hammer, on the day Blackfive wrote about Mike Yon's evocative picture being stolen by SHOCK Magazine to express my outrage. He chose to play the victim claiming he had been duped. I reminded nicely but with much seriousness that he had outraged the bloggers who were responsible for the demise of Eason Jordan at CNN, Dan Rather at CBS, and helped Mike in his battle against the US Military over the legal copyright on that same picture. I asked him to NOW do the right in spite of having done the wrong thing already.

Obviously...he chose NOT to heed my advice.

Yesterday, Michael wrote a dispatch titled "Dishonor" .

Today, Michael has called us to action.

I have learned that ordinary people can make a surprising impact on the world simply by aligning their actions with their principles. What HFM, Polaris and all the organizations and individuals associated with the launch of SHOCK magazine have done is just plain wrong. It might cost a few dollars to rectify or inconvenience a few executives whose failure to exercise due diligence largely created this mess. But if enough ordinary people take a little time to champion their own values, the tipping point will be reached. When we brought this to the attention of two major retailers who already had SHOCK on their shelves–Tower Records and Borders–they did the right thing and agreed to take them down. There are many ways that ordinary voices can make themselves heard.

Michael has posted contact addresses and phone numbers of the distributors as well as key executives within HFM NY Corporate offices, as well as HFM France, and Polaris Images, along with a sample letter and is calling on his fans, and friends, to let their "ordinary voices " be heard. Please use the sample letter he has provided to email everyone on the Publishers and Distributors lists.

A few hours ago, I contacted Heather Reisman, the CEO of Indigo/Chapters in Canada to express my disgust at this magazine, to ask that it be removed from all Chapters outlets, not simply because they stole Michael Yon's picture to be used for their personal and political gains but more importantly because the content of this magazine is disgusting, vulgar, and morally offensive.

SHOCK Magazine has NO PLACE in a family bookstore. I provided her with a link to Michael's website, his attorney's information, as well as making her aware of the litigation being undertaken.

Ms Reisman recently yanked all the June edition of Harper's Magazine from Indigo bookstores:


Canada's largest retail bookseller has removed all copies of the June issue of Harper's Magazine from its 260 stores, claiming an article by New York cartoonist Art Spiegelman could foment protests similar to those that occurred this year in reaction to the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. In 2001, Ms Reisman ordered all copies of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" pulled from stores, describing the book as hate literature .
(See "Indigo Pulls Controversial "Harpers" Off The Shelves")

It is REPREHENSIBLE that she would distribute the tasteless, vulgar, morally depraved "SHOCK" Magazine.

I encourage all Canadian fans of Michael Yon to please email a personalized copy of the sample letter to Sorya Ingrid Gaulin, VP Public Relations at sgaulin@indigo.ca, and to call her ( please DO NOT BE RUDE) at 416-646-8965.

For those of you wishing to contact Corporate Communications of the Lagardere Group (HFM France) via email , below I have provided a french translation of the sample letter Mike Yon provided on his website.


Messieurs:

J'écris pour exprimer mon outrage au-dessus du lancement de votre nouveau CHOC de magasin.

Il ne peut pas avoir échappé à la notification que la question inaugurale, qui comporte a sensationalized l'attaque sur les militaires des USA sur la couverture, a été chronométrée pour coïncider avec les vacances de jour commémoratif, qui sont prévues pendant qu'un temps pour honorer le sacrifice solennel de ceux bravent les hommes et les femmes qui ont donné leur vie en service de leur pays et à la défense de notre liberté.

Que votre compagnie a choisi ce moment particulier d'essayer à la place de critiquer et dénonce nos forces militaires par ce magasin frivole est une insulte à chaque Américain.

Que le magasin lancé avec une utilisation non autorisée de photographie évocatrice de Michael Yon sur sa couverture soulève un spectre d'incrédulité et démontre l'irrévérence pour les principes de copyright qui sont ainsi le principe fondamental aux Etats-Unis ils font partie de notre constitution.

Aucune excuse ne peut déguiser le fait qu'une recherche simple de Google aurait fourni à votre personnel assez d'information pour éviter cette insulte supplémentaire. À moins qu'et jusqu'à HFM rectifie les affronts provoqués par cette pratique maladroite et déshonorante, je n'achèterai aucune de vos publications.

Dans l'espoir que votre compagnie mettra ces sujets bien, je reste avec respect,


Gotta admit - it will be *easy* to boycott a magazine I've never read (and before any lurker snarks about *that* remember - this is about defending Michael Yon's intellectual property, *not* about the editorial freedom or censorship of the magazine)

by John on Jun 03, 2006 | Media Morons

June 02, 2006

H&I* Fires 02 June

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

A moment of Zen for the ground attack pilot.

Dolt.

The most liberal 20 square miles in Kansas Leads The Way! I gotta admit - based on my own experience, hands on or off, I know it affects how I drive. And I wonder why that is, when conducting a conversation with the person next to me (I'm not one of those people who has to look at the person I'm talking to - those drivers make me crazy, too) it doesn't have near the effect on my driving as using a cell phone does. Which is why the only time I have my phone on in the car is when I'm heading to the airport to pick up SWWBO.

Another hero of the Greatest Generation passes. 2LT Edward Dahlgren. H/t Blackfive via Milblogs.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam. -The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jun 02, 2006 | General Commentary

The Bronze Star.

If anyone cares about the subject - CAPT B has a good post on the Bronze Star over at Milblogs.

I just had to pile on, as the relationship of the Bronze Star to the Officer Corps vice enlisted soldiers has long been a burr under my saddle.

So, I'll say what CAPT B didn't in his post on the Bronze Star.

It's a medal the Ossifer Class has devalued the meaning of amongst themselves ourselves - though the public and the press are still impressed with the medal. Of course, if they knew what the percentage of award was, they might not be as impressed - and that's too bad.

In my decades of experience - if you see *anyone* with the "V" for Valor device on the Bronze Star, there's a story there.

If you see an enlisted soldier with the Bronze Star, give her that little extra nod of respect, because you know she was a stand-out performer.

If you see an officer with a Bronze Star - no V device - often as not, you are looking at the equivalent of a combat zone Meritorious Service Medal (the Bronze Star rates just above the MSM) for doing their job well. I know *how* that happened over time, but the bottom line is, as I said: I see a "V" device, I'm impressed. I see the Bronze Star on an enlisted soldier, I'm impressed. I see one on an officer, no "V", and I know he did his duty creditably in a combat zone. But unless the rules have changed (and I haven't deployed for this war) he could have served as an assistant G3 slide-maker in Division Headquarters, or he could have been the Lieutenant leading the lead platoon into Baghdad for a Thunder Run, or the Captain commanding the MLRS battery. All are important jobs, all are part of the team, but they don't carry the same level of risk, nor opportunity for finding yourself a warrior hero.

And the only enlisted troop in those locations who might sport a Bronze Star is likely in the Thunder Run platoon.

Before the email starts - it doesn't mean, Officers, that you didn't earn *your* Bronze Star. But look around you at all the Bronze Stars worn by officers, vice how they are awarded to the troops, and tell me that the officer corps hasn't morphed the meaning of the medal.

Me? I would actually prefer putting a Star on the MSM ribbon, to indicate excellence in performance in a combat zone, and let the Bronze Star revert to what it was originally intended to be. I don't object to the distinction being made between serving in a combat zone vice the Directorate of Combat Developments at the Field Artillery Center. Of course, in one aspect, the combat patch already makes that distinction, along with the Combat Infantry and Close Combat badges. I just object to how the Bronze Star has morphed.

In the midst of the failures of a few, a good development.

June 2, 2006 — Military sources told ABC News that there are likely to be charges filed against officers up the chain of command in connection with the killing of 24 civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.

Those who could be charged include senior officers who were not on the scene at the time of the killing but should have known something wrong had happened and done something about it.

All I have to say is - good. Let 'em defend themselves, and if they fail the test, let us put them away from us. Toss the bad apples.

And the rest of us will get about our duties, doing the best we can to make this work.

Leader scalps are *always* good. No railroads. No rush to judgement. But if they're guilty - whack 'em with the book.

The rest of the story is here.

Veterans ID Protection Act

Color me unimpressed.

Rep. John Salazar (D. Colo.) has introduced the Veterans Identity Protection Act of 2006. This bill will require the Veteran's Administration to provide one year of free credit monitoring and a free annual credit report for the next two years to veterans who are affected by the recent theft of personal data contained on a laptop a VA employee had no business taking home. The measure also seeks to authorize $1.25 billion (that's billion, folks) to implement the program for the first year.

The bill has 92 co-sponsors. 89 are Democrats, 2 are Republicans, and the House's lone Independent have signed on as cosponsors. (Click here if you want to explore the names and districts)

I don't know Representative Salazar well, so I'll take a leap of faith here and assume, based on his website, that he's friendly to veteran's issues. Those who follow these things more closely can comment if they wish.

Examining this bill, I'm baffled. It's either;

1. A cynical attempt to splashily jump on the issue, embarrass the Administration, and isn't a piece of serious legislation, other than to smack the Administration while riding on the backs of veterans. Which is too bad, if Representative Salazar is in fact the friend of vets he portrays himself to be? Co-sponsors, knowing this, can safely jump on it and will use it to give themselves vet-cred in the upcoming election cycle, risking nothing for a shameless prostitution of themselves and a cynical manipulation of their constituents. Or,

2. These people are too stupid/ignorant to be allowed near the levers of power.

Ike Skelton (among others in the sponsorship list) is defense-savvy, and not stupid. He was my Representative for my entire career before I retired and officially was out of his district. So, I have to assume that as a vet, I'm being rode hard, put up wet - and they think I'm ignorant, or stupid, or both. For some co-sponsors, we know it's both.

How else to explain that they want to spend 1.25 billion dollars to pay for a service any of the affected veterans can get... for free. Simply by making a few telephone calls. It took me all of 30 minutes to request the credit reports and put a credit watch on my social security number with the 3 credit reporting agencies. And it didn't cost me a dime.

Even if we assume (wrongly) that all 26.5 million potentially affected veterans are alive and therefore vulnerable, they want to spend roughly 50 dollars each for a service already provided for free.

Heh. I'll take that 1.25 billion if they really want to spend it. They could plow that into the medical accounts and upgrade those services, rather than pay to provide a service you can already get, for free.

As I said, color me unimpressed. There are plenty of serious reasons to spend that money - this just isn't one of them. Fund the VA to do the outreach to tell veterans to get their free credit reports and establish the credit watch - and then with the remaining 1.24 billion, take care of those Who Bore The Burden, not pay some middleman to do work that doesn't need doing.

Ya wanna credit report, and establish an extended credit watch?

Here, provided free, as a public service:

How do I request a "fraud alert" be placed on my file if I believe I may be affected by the recent Veterans Affairs data security breach? You have the right to ask that nationwide consumer credit reporting companies place "fraud alerts" in your file to let potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft. A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you. It also may delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two, which then also must place fraud alerts in your file. Equifax: 1-877-576-5734; www.equifax.com Experian: 1-888-397-3742; www.experian.com/fraud TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com

An initial fraud alert stays in your file for at least 90 days. An extended alert stays in your file for seven years. To place either of these alerts, a consumer credit reporting company will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number. If you ask for an extended alert, you will have to provide an identity theft report. An identity theft report includes a copy of a report you have filed with a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency. For more detailed information about the identity theft report, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

What is a credit file disclosure?
A credit file disclosure provides you with all of the information in your credit file maintained by a consumer reporting company that could be provided by the consumer reporting company in a consumer report about you to a third party, such as a lender. A credit file disclosure also includes a record of everyone who has received a consumer report about you from the consumer reporting company within a certain period of time ("inquiries"). The credit file disclosure includes certain information that is not included in a consumer report about you to a third party, such as the inquiries of companies for pre-approved offers of credit or insurance and account reviews, and any medical account information which is suppressed for third party users of consumer reports. You are entitled to receive a disclosure copy of your credit file from a consumer reporting company under Federal law and the laws of various states.
How often can I request a free credit file disclosure through this website?
You are entitled to receive one free credit file disclosure every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This free credit file can be requested through this website, by phone or by mail.

Extracted from from the VA Data Security tab at AnnualCreditReport.com, the site established by TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.

Dear Congressman Salazar - you can put my $50 towards VA Healthcare services.

by John on Jun 02, 2006 | Politics
» The Cool Blue Blog links with: Star Chores: Graceland

Let 'em have their day in court.

Military prosecutors plan to file murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in the shooting death of an Iraqi civilian in April, a defense lawyer said Thursday.

This is unrelated to Haditha. It is very much related to Commandant Hagee's recent trip around the world.

The officer corps, commissioned and enlisted, of the Corps, and I don't doubt, the Army, need to pause, reflect, and make sure they've got their moral compasses with them.

That said - this happens in every war of significant duration that has ever been fought. That includes the "Last Great War" that ended in 1945. The Greatest Generation had it's murderers, too.

One of the things that marks a distinction between our miltary and Saddam's military, or Milosevic's, or Hitler's is the fact that we're doing the investigating (the Marine investigation of Haditha predates the press revelations of same) and where the evidence supports the allegations - we prosecute.

And, just like in real life murders - even though we know something stinks, and we're pretty sure we know who did it - the evidence just isn't there, so yes, I'm sure some malefactors go unpunished. Just like in the rest of an imperfect world, where real CSIs and the labs they work for can't wrap everything up neatly in one hour. Much less have some of the crime scene control issues offered up in a combat zone. Unlike the Press and the Public, a Court has to have sufficient evidence, a distinction, at bottom, we're all glad exists.

If there's evidence, charge 'em. Fight it out in Court. And if the defense loses, we've got space here at Leavenworth. Send 'em to us.

The whole story is here.

Crossposted at Milblogs.

by John on Jun 02, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Marines to Face Charges in Iraqi's Death

June 01, 2006

H&I* Fires 01 June

[In FbL-ese it's actually June 2nd. Running and grinning. ;) ]

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Apparently the use of soft power and diplomacy isn't a panacea. Who knew? Apparently NOT going into Somalia and rooting out terrorists on our own and instead relying on jaw-jaw and economic incentives in Somalia has caused even MORE bloodshed. That can't be right because we all KNOW that dialogue and soft power just has to lead to a peaceful tomorrow just like Noam Chomsky tells us.

Of course it isn't right; and there is a Santa Claus, Virginia.

[The following moved up from late posting yesterday - FbL]

We aren't the only ones facing illegal immigration problems.
India has a problem not only with Pakistan but also on its NE border with Bangladesh. Carrying pretty terrible consequences as a result.

Spain is making a small wall, and shooting border crashers, between it and Morocco to combat migration from N. Africa.

And, apparently, the Germans think we do a better job of assimilation than anyone. Go figure.

No need for that moat, Chief. A wall will do just fine. - Ry

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[I see I had to clean up Ry's messes...again. ;) ]

Interesting. I'm not yet sure how significant the discrepancy in the interview really is, but the Army Wife blogging it is getting some very nasty comments.

CDR Salamander thinks the Navy is being extremely short-sighted. More here.

The investigation into Haditha started earlier than we thought. The payments side of things mentioned in the NY Times is not a good sign, though.

Some frightening analysis of the meaning of moves in Iran's internal politics.

Posting at Army Wife Toddler Mom, Stacy of Keep My Soldier Safe writes about having a son away at war and Homefront Six writes on the thousand tiny cuts of army life.

Oh... and I'm looking for a job. - FbL

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Funniest quote of the day, from email:

"Yeah, us Libertarians are like that. Rules here, more rules there, pretty soon it's an anarcho-capitalist dictatorship of the bourgeouisariat." Nicholas Russon, from Quotulatiousness. -The Armorer

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I'd link the underlying article, and just give ALa the hat-tip... but you have GOT to read the comments on her post about a vertically-challenged pedophile. Gawd... I love Randy Newman songs! ~AFSis

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Chuck Simmons, at North Shore Journal (formerly You Big Mouth, You!) continues his coverage of SGT Amanda Pinson, and her recent honoring by the NSA. -The Armorer

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The Army Corps of Engineers has acknowledged flaws in the design and construction of the New Orleans levee systems. Then again, they were forced in the 70's to back off from intended plans by environmental groups and local officials - isn't that lovely?
At any rate, they are taking responsibility for their design and its flaws. Good on you, LtG Strock. (Are you listening, Col. Karpinski?)
- The Adjutant

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I think I need to let my loyal and helpful readers (no snark) know - I am aware that SGT Peter Damon is suing Michael Moore. Really. I do. But since everybody else had mentioned it, I thought I would just lettit go. Bad idea!

8^D -The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jun 01, 2006 | General Commentary
» Quotulatiousness links with: Hey! I do the quoting around these parts!

Janis Karpinski, unwrapped.

I'm sorry this is so long. I'm having a Cassandra moment. Indulge me.

I won't lie. I had an attitude when I ordered the book. I've always been just fine with the Commanding General of Abu Ghraib getting relieved. In these pages I've grumped that not enough officers have yet sat in the dock, accounting to a Court for their actions or inaction. I've noted the trials and convictions. I've mocked Karpinski's post-retirement embracing of the Moonbats as she acts like a camo'd Mother Sheehan. I was especially appalled by the Amazon page for her book - which I parodied here.

Then the damn book arrived, and I read it. I bought it used, via Amazon. It was surplused out of the Wilmington Public Library, and I got it for $3.95, plus shipping. Cover price is $24.95. Karpinski didn't see a dime of my money. Which, in the event, I'm still happy about, it being one of the most poorly edited and written books I've read in a long time. But then, I shouldn't be surprised, the imprint is that of Miramax Books, not exactly known for serious tomes and I doubt the home of a decently informed (on military affairs) editor. However the book was just poorly edited, period. It suffers from loss of narrative by jumping around a lot, and what I can only assume were assistant writer Steven Strasser's attempts to make military jargon fall more pleasantly on untuned civilian ears. All I know is it makes for 'squirm-in-the-seat' reading when a Command and General Staff College graduate continually refers to "Army Battle Divisions" which I am pretty sure is terminology she didn't use. No one in the Army, much less a 25 year veteran, talks about "Battle Divisions." But that's just me. Maybe things are different out there in the Real Army vice where I live and work at Fort Leavenworth... but I doubt it.

The book jacket as I received it is correct, vice how it appears on Amazon - it does *not* say "General Janis Karpinski, as does the Amazon cover - which undoubtedly dates from the pre-publication pre-order listing. I'll credit Karpinski with probably getting that changed. I hope so. It's only a one-word change - but it represents a lot in terms of credibility.

Anyway, I read the damn book.

It was, despite its flaws, a fascinating read.

And I believe, based on her own words, she deserved to be relieved, and probably not prosecuted for dereliction. It's a hard world out there, when the blood is sticky on the pavement, and she simply failed. The fact that almost anyone with her experience and in her position would probably have failed isn't relevant. She failed, and to me, confirms that with her own words.

If you're still interested, the rest is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

May 31, 2006

H&I Fires* 31 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Villainous Company and Hugh Hewitt (MKH) offer up excellent posts with roundup and background on Haditha, highlighting the second (and more moderate in tone) wave of reporting. Steve Shippert also has some good links at MilBlogs. And Uncle J educates those of us unfamiliar with the combat environment the Marines at Haditha were facing, outlining the thought processes that should go into evaluating their battlefield responses when the investigation is complete. - FbL

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A Win - Win - Win Situation: Dig a moat the length of the border with Mexico, use the dirt to raise the levies in New Orleans and stock the moat with those truculent Florida 'gators... H/t to Mo. -- cw4(ret)billt

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Post title fixed - Fuzzy was just ahead of her time again ... *grin*.
-- The Adjutant

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We aren't the only ones facing illegal immigration problems.
India has a problem not only with Pakistan but also on its NE border with Bangladesh. Carrying pretty terrible consequences as a result.

Spain is making a small wall, and shooting border crashers, between it and Morocco to combat migration from N. Africa.

And, apparently, the Germans think we do a better job of assimilation than anyone. Go figure.

No need for that moat, Cheif. A wall will do just fine.
ry
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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 31, 2006 | General Commentary
» Don Surber links with: Dr. Hero

On Marine Virtue.

Just when work swamps and the Muse deserts... email saves. Thanks, Keo!

I have been reading your blog and have sent some good friends to check it out. Very well done and we appreciate it. I thought you might like to read the message the Commandant of the Marine Corps has sent out to Marines. The CMC and Sgt Maj of the Marine Corps have been meeting with Marines in Iraq and we have gotten some feedback from them in one of the Marine and Corpsman only forums on the Internet. This is the message sent out.....



“On Marine Virtue”

By Gen. M. W. Hagee

Recent serious allegations concerning actions of Marines in combat have caused me concern. They should cause you to be concerned as well. To ensure we continue to live up to General Lejeune’s description of a Marine as someone who demonstrates “all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue,” I would like to review the importance of our core values.

As Marines, you are taught from your earliest days in the Corps about our core values of honor, courage and commitment. These values are part of and belong to all Marines, regardless of MOS, grade, or gender. They guide us in all that we do; whether in combat, in garrison, or on leave or liberty.

To a Marine, honor is more than just honesty; it means having uncompromising personal integrity and being accountable for all actions. To most Marines, the most difficult part of courage is not the raw physical courage that we have seen so often on today’s battlefield. It is rather the moral courage to do the “right thing” in the face of danger or pressure from other Marines. Finally, commitment is that focus on caring for one another and upholding the great ideals of our Corps and Country.

The nature of this war with its ruthless enemies, and its complex and dangerous battlefield will continue to challenge us in the commitment to our core values. We must be strong and help one another to measure up. The war will also test our commitment to our belief in the rule of law.

We have all been educated in the Law of Armed Conflict. We continue to reinforce that training, even when deployed to combat zones. We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful. We follow the laws and regulations, Geneva Convention and Rules of Engagement. This is the American way of war. We must regulate force and violence, we only damage property that must be damaged, and we protect the non-combatants we find on the battlefield.

When engaged in combat, particularly in the kind of counterinsurgency operations we’re involved in now, we have to be doubly on guard. Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing. There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves. Leaders of all grades need to reinforce continually that Marines care for one another and do what is right.

The large majority of Marines today perform magnificently on and off the battlefield. I am very proud of the bravery, dedication, honor, courage and commitment you clearly display every day. And America is proud as well. Americans, indeed most people around the world, recognize that Marines are men and women of the highest caliber – physically, mentally, and morally.

Each one of you contributes in your own unique way to our important mission; I am proud of your dedication and accomplishments. Even after 38 years, I still stand with pride every time I hear the Marines Hymn. The words of that Hymn mean something special to me. Especially, “Keep our Honor Clean”. I know that means something to all of you as well. As Marines we have an obligation to past Marines, fellow Marines, future Marines and ourselves to do our very best to live up to these words.

As your Commandant, I charge all Marines to carry on our proud legacy by demonstrating our values in everything you do – on duty and off; in combat or in garrison. Semper Fidelis.

- USMC -

by John on May 31, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» Neptunus Lex links with: Haditha

May 30, 2006

H&I Fires* 30 May 06

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Heh. While Fournier has me nailed on #1 and #2, I'm not with him on #3 yet.

Why?

Still, many Democrats worry that their party has not closed the deal.

"The fear I have as a Democrat is that if we are making this solely a referendum on the Republicans, we are not giving people a reason to turn out," said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane of California.

"Having said that, I think all these other elements are so bad for the Republicans that 'Had enough?' should be enough."

Sad to say - I trust *those* guys even less. I just wanna send a new crop of Republicans to Congress. That whole term limit thing is really starting to look better 'n better...

Hee hee hee! Australian Brigadier Michael Slater "speaks some truth to power"... and gores the Press in so doing. Snerk! Greyhawk has it over at Milblogs.

Right Wing News has their analysis of some of the problems (hey, only 22 of them) with the Senate's Immigration Bill.

RINO Sightings is up! I didn't submit anything this week - having been focused elsewhere, so to speak.

I'm not for putting in impediments to vote, such as poll taxes, literacy requirements, etc... but I'm also not for gimmicks designed to purely increase the number of people voting - as if democracy is served by seeking the opinions of the disconnected and encouraging the "I could give a shite" voters to come and stand there at the ballot puzzling their way through names they don't know, issues they don't care about and almost voting randomly... so no, I don't support this dumb idea - a lottery to encourage people to vote. -The Armorer

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Sometimes, Sheep-in-Wolves-Clothing should think twice. I.e, if a Marine is involved, you *can* bring a knife to a gun fight. And win. -The Armorer

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From the "DUH" files... I bring you the Archdiocese of Cincinnati: "After initially defending the decision to hire Henties, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk said last week that he regretted hiring someone with a felony record to run the background-check program." Yep. They hired a FELON to run their CRIMINAL BACKGROUND-CHECK PROGRAM! It would be funny, if well... it wasn't so pathetic. ~AFSis

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I'm not saying you *have* to go to this level for your furry family members.

But I would. I know all the arguments about *not* taking a risk like this.

I don't care. I would. Good on Michael Rubin, for saving Jasmine. -The Armorer

***********************

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 30, 2006 | General Commentary

Announcement is made...

1st Milblogger's Shootout

Of the 1st Milbloggers Shootout! Francis Marion is recruiting.

Maggie claims she doesn't shoot, and what sort of entertainment will we provide her?

I say - she runs the butts.

Now, who will be first to explain why *that* is simply perfect?

by John on May 30, 2006 | Gun Rights
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Save the Date! Milbloggers Shootout / July 15th

Heh. Rome burns, the Congressional Nero fiddles...

Here's one way the services play politics when their Masters fiddle - like going home on break with no budget supplemental. Below are the actions the Army will take in order to stretch it's funds if Congress keeps dilly-dallying on the issue.

The interesting thing is - absent a train wreck as happened early in the first Clinton Administration when the Republicans forced a governmental shut-down, what the delay really does is make it harder to actually debate the budget, as the pressure to get the supplemental in place becomes overwhelming. Of course, depending on how they go about it - it's also then easier to lard it up with pork... because the time crunch makes it harder to knock that stuff out of there. Sausage-making, from slaughter to finished product...

VCSA Sends:

As you are already aware, the Congress did not complete the FY06 Emergency Supplemental prior to leaving for the Memorial Day recess. Although we anticipate that Congress will finish the bill in June, we need to take action now to control spending in the Operation and Maintenance, Army (OMA) appropriation and stay within the law. In addition to an approved reprogramming action that will move $1.4 billion into OMA, we must progressively restrict spending over the next month. This will enable us to maintain the solvency of Army accounts pending receipt of the supplemental and will ensure that available resources are spent on the highest priority missions.

I expect all holders of OMA, to include GWOT funds, to reduce spending while ensuring that life, health and safety issues are covered. The priority is to continue critical support to ongoing operations and to readiness activities for units and personnel identified for the OIF/OEF 06-08 rotation. Exceptions may be made for those actions commands must take now to posture the Army for OIF/OEF 07-09. The following provides time-phased guidance for the minimum action that holders of OMA funds must take.

1. Beginning 26 May:

a. Do not order non-critical spare parts or supplies, unless the organization or unit is deployed or has a published deployment date. Only requisition spare parts to bring equipment to Fully Mission Capable (FMC), not to 10/20, level. For supplies, requisition only what is necessary to accomplish assigned theater missions. All units should draw down on-hand inventories first.

b. CG, Army Materiel Command, must advise of above actions' impacts to the Single Stock Fund and the Army Working Capital Fund. Deliver this assessment to me no later than 6 June.

c. Postpone or cancel all non-essential travel, training and conferences.

Use discretion if cancellation or postponement requires payment of cancellation fees.

d. Stop shipments of goods unless necessary to support deployed forces or units with identified deployment dates. If movement is necessary, restrict the shipment to the least costly method that will not create unacceptable operational risk.

2. Beginning 6 June:

a. Hold all civilian hiring actions. You may continue recruiting efforts but cease all final offers of employment.

b. Postpone summer hires until receipt of the supplemental.

3. Beginning 15 June:

a. Release all temporary civilian employees funded with OMA or performing OMA-funded work. This includes depot operations.

b. Freeze all contract awards and new task orders on existing contracts.

Process solicitation of new contracts only up to the point of award.

c. Suspend the use of government purchase cards.

4. Beginning 26 June:

a. Release service contract employees, to include recruiters, if doing so will not carry penalties or termination costs equal to or in excess of the cost of continuing the contract. You may retain a minimum number of personnel performing mission-essential services.

b. Consult your legal adviser as you implement these actions.

c. TRADOC, M&RA and G-1 must detail no later than this date the series of actions the Army will take beginning in July to trim MILPERS expenditures.

They should include: a cessation in recruiting; deferment of reenlistments; cancellation of all PCS moves; and a promotion freeze.

These are painful actions but they are absolutely necessary in order to continue operations during the month of June. This measured response will provide appropriate controls on our spending of OMA resources and will minimize the impact to our mission. Through your leadership, we will sustain the Global War on Terrorism during this period of constrained spending. We expect the Supplemental eventually will provide the Army more than $36 billion in additional resources to continue the GWOT. Please direct any questions you may have to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller).

I will review weekly our accounts and keep each MACOM commander apprised.

GEN Cody

Oh, full disclosure - yeah, *my* tasks will be at risk here, too. Fortunately, I work for a firm that won't just tell me to go home for no pay or burn vacation. The downside to the government is (all snarks aside about whether I'm a bargain or not - "I *am*" he said smugly) is that *if* it comes to that (I'm betting it doesn't) they may not get some of those people back, they having been put to new tasks - which will have downstream ripple and cost effects.

by John on May 30, 2006 | Politics

May 29, 2006

A Toast, those of you gathered here at this time and place.

Absent Companions! (sound of glass slapping upside down on the bar, thirteen times). [insert your number here]

Memorial Day 2006 - Taking Back the Holiday.

Lieutenant Leonard Cowherd in the TC hatch of his Abrams in Iraq

I don't mind the sales. Commerce built this country. I don't mind "Going to the Lake" - having fun with family and friends makes life worth living. And this day is about having a life worth living.

And I know that most of us (though not perhaps those who read this space) have no memory of a loved one lost in war. Many of the younger of us don't remember or never knew a relative who served in time of war.

Have a good time. That's the point.

By living your life, planning your future, you redeem the voucher that those who have answered the Last Call for the last time bought for you.

Their service was *all* about the Capital F Future.

Just by living our lives, and taking an interest in what goes on around us, we pay that debt. We can pay it ahead by keeping an eye on those who commit us to war. And recognizing that avoidance for avoidance's sake is as bad in its way as rushing headlong and blindly into battle. Truly, in this arena, the answer lies in the middle, not at the extremes.

But.


BUT...

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Whatever else you do with your free day - Remember Them. It only takes a moment. But Remember. They are not truly gone until we forget.

For some of us, the true meaning of this holiday doesn't come into focus until...

We Hear The Knock.

Attend The Funeral.

And Bury Our Dead.

This is why today is Memorial Day.

Click here - and Remember.


Crossposted at Milblogs and Smash's.

by John on May 29, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» The Middle Ground links with: Why Memorial Day Matters
» BLACKFIVE links with: Memorial Day - Round Ups
» The Indepundit links with: Remember
» TacJammer links with: Memory - 2006
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Memorial Day 2006
» The Indepundit links with: Remember
» The Indepundit links with: Remember

Speaking of "Taking Back The Day"...

...we're doing better today than in Tommy Atkins' day.

*sentence purposely left vague -- there are levels and there are levelers...*

TOMMY
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer, The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here." The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die, I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
~
"O it's "Tommy this," an' "Tommy that," an' "Tommy, go away," But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play, The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play, O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.
~
I went into a theatre as sober as could be, They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me; They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls, But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
~
For it's "Tommy this," an' "Tommy that," an' "Tommy, wait outside," But it's "Special train for Atkins!" when the trooper's on the tide, The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide, O it's "Special train for Atkins!" when the trooper's on the tide.
~
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap; An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
~
Then it's "Tommy this," an' "Tommy that," an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?" But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll, The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll, O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
~
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too, But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you; An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints: Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints.
~
While it's "Tommy this," an' "Tommy that," an' "Tommy, fall be'ind," But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind, There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind, O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.
~
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all: We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational. Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face. The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
~
For it's "Tommy this," an' "Tommy that," an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Savior of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot; An' it's "Tommy this," an' "Tommy that," an' anything you please; But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
-- Rudyard Kipling

Remember

Someone else to remember today... those sometimes lonely figures walking alone in the Gardens of Stone, careworn and wistful.

GOLD STAR MOTHER By Keo R. Gathman

As she stands beside his grave
On yet another Memorial Day,
She remembers the boy she sent away
And how he became the man resting here today.
His heroes didn't become famous playing ball.
In fact most of their names were never well known at all.
They went to work wearing camouflage green and desert brown,
Earning their reputation as the toughest warriors around.
When he first saw them in dress blues
The heart within her little boy knew,
That nothing short of becoming one of them would do.
Time all too quickly passed by
As childhood things were put aside,
And his heart's desire would not be denied.
"I love you mom" he said one day
"But the time has come for me to go away",
And she knew his decision she couldn't sway.
Through tears she tried so hard to keep inside
She told her baby boy goodbye.
Writing him letters nearly every day
She often took the time to pray,
"Lord be with my boy today".
"Help him clearly see the man I know that he can be,
Grant him his most cherished dream,
Let him come home, a United States Marine."
When the time came for him to go to war
She feared as she had never feared before,
Prayed there would be no knock on her front door.
They came that day dressed in their blues
And though in her heart she already knew,
She cried out "No, it can't be true."
The man child she had sent away
Was at last coming home to stay.
He never doubted what they did was right,
And he never wavered in the fight.
Forever and always as in his childhood dreams,
Her boy remains a United States Marine.

Copyright 2006 Keo R. Gathman, used with permission. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.

Keo herself is a former Marine, the sister of a soldier killed in Viet Nam ('70), and her son is currently in the Army.

by John on May 29, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» BLACKFIVE links with: Memorial Day - Round Ups

May 29, 1944.

Continuing the theme... today we Remember.

May 29, 2006. Imagine you are going to Fort Rucker, Alabama, home of Army Aviation. You enter the installation from Dalesville on Fannie Morris Drive heading north. Right after you enter the fort, turn left on Headquarters Road, then make the first right onto Andrews Ave, heading north again. As you pass the barracks and ball fields, keep an eye to your right, passing the numbered roads counting down until you hit 9th, where the Physical Fitness Center is. Turn left again, going west. 9th quickly turns into Red Cloud Road and heads into post housing. When you cross Farrell Road (easy to tell, there's woods off there catty-corner to your right and the duplexes are now facing the road) slow down a bit - you're taking the next right, onto Galt Lane. 28 families live on Galt Lane, Fort Rucker, Alabama. I wonder how many of them know how it got it's name?

To answer that question, let's go back to Italy, 1944, and see what the soldiers of the 34th Infantry Division were doing that day. In particular, this soldier.

Meet Captain William Galt, via his cousin, Castle reader Chris Lock:


Lieutenant William Wylie Galt

There is much more, but I will keep it relatively brief. He was born 19 December 1919 in Geyser, Montana. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry, through the Army ROTC program upon graduation from Montana State in the Spring of '42.

He was assigned to A/1/168 Infantry, 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division. He fought in North Africa and Italy and was awarded the Silver Star for action he took during the 3rd Volturno Crossing:

1. Under the provisions of Army Regulations 600-45, as amended, a Silver Star is awarded to each of the following named individuals: ************************************************************** William W. Galt, 0446805, First Lieutenant, Company "A" 168th Infantry Regiment. For gallantry in action on 4 November 1943, in the vicinity of Roccaravindola, Italy. During the night attack Company "A" was the assault company of the First Battalion. Within a short time after the battalion had crossed the Volturno River, the head of the column was delayed by the heavy concentration of mines in their sector. Upon his own initiative and with utter disregard for his own personal safety, Lt. Galt advanced on his hands and knees through the mined area and selected a comparatively safe route to the objective. Lt. Galt’s courageous action enabled the battalion to advance through this mined sector with a minimum number of casualties. The devotion to leadership of Lt. Galt, in the face of grave danger was a credit to the Armed Forces of the United States. Residence at time of induction: Great Falls, Montana

By command of Major General Crane:

//SIGNED//
Norman E. Hendrickson,
Colonel, GSC,
Chief of Staff

Official:

Les M. White,
Lt. Col., AGD.,
Adjutant General

He was promoted to Captain and commanded Able Company [168th Infantry] in the Anzio Beachhead. He was posted to the 1/168th Infantry S-3 position after the Anzio Beachhead (he was in a bad way physically due to his previous wounds which had not healed completely). He was in the midst of some brutal combat throughout his career, culminating in his being at Villa Crocetta on 29 May, 1944. At Villa Crocetta his actions led to the relief of 2 companies of 2/168 that were pinned down, outflanked and were being shot to pieces.

He was awarded the Purple Heart 3 times prior to being KIA, being wounded at the 1st and 3rd Volturno River Crossings(See the Silver Star Commendation), and a 3rd time at Cervaro, Italy.

Because the 3rd time he was wounded required 3 weeks in the hospital (I understand it should have been much longer but he somehow got himself discharged and returned to duty), he was not present for most of the Battle of Monte Cassino. He was in combat in the battles at Sened Station, Kasserine Pass, Fondouk, Hill 609 and Eddekhila in North Africa and at the 1st and 3rd Volturno River Crossings, Push to the Rapido River, Cervaro, Anzio Beachhead and the Anzio Breakout, which led to Villa Crocetta in Italy.

Bill Galt was a very popular, well loved man. He was tough as nails, physically as well as mentally. He was a great soldier and a great leader. His men revered him and he is bigger than life to me. It is only fitting that this year's anniversary of his being killed falls on Memorial Day. He was 24 years old.

Things had been moving slowly in Italy. The soft underbelly of the Axis wasn't so soft with all those damn Germans there... The Allies had just tried an end run around the Germans (something MacArthur would do much more successfully 6 years later at Inchon) at Anzio. The 34th, already in Italy, was given the mission of trying to force the Rapido River north of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, the 36th Infantry having just been pummeled to flinders trying to force the river south of the monastery. The intent was turning the Gustav Line and avoiding a fight for the mountain altogether. That was not to be. Just an illustrative passage from the Division History:

Throughout this entire period, it must be borne in mind, every box of rations, every can of water, every round of ammunition which the infantry used had to be brought up across terrain which was under direct observation from hills still in enemy hands. The Germans, fully aware of this, laid down accurate and continuous fire upon all critical points and especially on the river crossings. Traffic control by the Division Military Police reduced congestion, but within a few days the stench of decaying mule carcasses, the litter of overturned vehicles, abandoned shell-cases and disabled tanks made a scene of modern war which will not be forgotten by any who saw it. On the mountains the battle remained stubborn and progress was slow. Casualties to both sides were very heavy, especially because the fanatical German paratroopers launched frenzied counter-attacks in an attempt to drive us back to the valley. Our ranks became thinner and the problems of evacuating casualties down the treacherous mountain trails and across the shell-swept approaches to the position were very serious. Volunteers came from the service and rear units of the Division to help out.

By the end of 12 February a platoon had succeeded in reaching the outer walls of the Abbey, and capturing prisoners from a cave on Monastery Hill. It was impossible for the platoon to remain, however, and they withdrew. The Germans throughout the operation took full advantage of the fact that the Allies had undertaken not to fire at the Abbey in view of its importance to the world as a religious institution. The relative immunity which the enemy obtained for his observation can hardly be overestimated.

On 14 February elements of the British 4th Indian Division took over positions held by the 135th and 168th Infantry Regiments on Hill 593 and on the other hills overlooking Cassino. Some of our men had stuck it out so long and had suffered so much that they had to be lifted bodily out of their holes. The sadly depleted Regiments went to S. Angelo d'Alife for rest.

[an aside applicable to today's alarums and excursions - how many casualties did we suffer because we *didn't* bomb or attack the Monastery? Answer - impossible to calculate, but a lot. When we *did* finally bomb and attack it... the Usual Suspects got peeved about it, and periodically bring it up still. Even back in the day, no one bitched nearly as loudly about the Germans using the monastery (which makes it a legitimate target and puts the onus for opprobrium on the shoulders of the Germans, according to the much-cherished, selectively read, Conventions.]

After a few weeks of rest and receiving replacements (and nowhere near enough time to properly integrate the new soldiers into the units), the 34th was embarked for the tiny Anzio beachhead, where they relieved the 3rd Infantry Division in the line. The division learned what it was like to live in a bowl, where the enemy had the high ground and was looking down on you. Something the French Foreign Legion and Paras would discover at Dien Bien Phu - except they didn't have the sea for an exit route. No matter, 5th Army did not intend to use that exit - rather, they intended to create their own.

Joining with the legendary 1st Armored Division and the soldiers of the US/Canadian Special Service Force, the 34th Division smashed through the German 362nd Infantry Division and started pushing their way towards Rome.

We're interested in this bit from the Division History:

The 168th Infantry moved to the west, the 133rd Infantry, returning from its foray, moved up to the left of the 168th, and both Regiments formed up for a concerted push to the northwest. On 25 May the 135th Infantry, relieved of attachment to the Armored Division after a magnificent performance, moved into 34th Division reserve. At dawn on 26 May our troops made rapid progress which continued until late on 27 May when stiff enemy resistance was met along a line approximately 1000 yards short of the railroad between Lanuvio and Velletri. It had long been known that the Germans had prepared a strong defense line in this area. Bunkers and mortar positions had been dug into the north face of the railway embankment while machine gun and rifle emplacements were hastily completed by the retreating German troops as they occupied their defenses. Further, the village of Villa Crocetta had been turned into a fortress containing over a battalion of infantry, reinforced with tanks and self-propelled guns.

That's what the Division History says.

What it doesn't mention is this:

A painting by Jean-Pierre Roy depicting William Galt
(Painting courtesy the Congressional Medal of Honor Society)

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, 168th Infantry, 34th Infantry Division. Place and date: At Villa Crocetta, Italy, 29 May 1944. Entered service at: Stanford, Mont. Birth: Geyser, Mont.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Galt, Battalion S3, at a particularly critical period following 2 unsuccessful attacks by his battalion, of his own volition went forward and ascertained just how critical the situation was. He volunteered, at the risk of his life, personally to lead the battalion against the objective. When the lone remaining tank destroyer refused to go forward, Capt. Galt jumped on the tank destroyer and ordered it to precede the attack. As the tank destroyer moved forward, followed by a company of riflemen, Capt. Galt manned the .30-caliber machinegun in the turret of the tank destroyer, located and directed fire on an enemy 77mm. anti-tank gun, and destroyed it. Nearing the enemy positions, Capt. Galt stood fully exposed in the turret, ceaselessly firing his machinegun and tossing hand grenades into the enemy zigzag series of trenches despite the hail of sniper and machinegun bullets ricocheting off the tank destroyer. As the tank destroyer moved, Capt. Galt so maneuvered it that 40 of the enemy were trapped in one trench. When they refused to surrender, Capt. Galt pressed the trigger of the machinegun and dispatched every one of them. A few minutes later an 88mm shell struck the tank destroyer and Capt. Galt fell mortally wounded across his machinegun. He had personally killed 40 Germans and wounded many more. Capt. Galt pitted his judgment and superb courage against overwhelming odds, exemplifying the highest measure of devotion to his country and the finest traditions of the U.S. Army.

Why does it perhaps not mention it? Perhaps because despite the effort -

The Germans in the face of our fierce attack succeeded in maintaining their positions. We committed the 135th Infantry from reserve to the left flank of the Division. Even the 109th Engineer Battalion was sent into the line as infantry. Nothing was held back. Rome was the goal - all or nothing. Finally on 2 June, with the town of Velletri captured and his line in danger of encirclement, the enemy suddenly gave way. His units, patched-up remnants of the troops who had borne the shock of the breakout from the beachhead, had fought surprisingly well. The German High Command had used every effort to bolster them with replacements from the butchers, bakers, tinkers, and tailors of rear area units.

And finally, because of the efforts of men like Captain William Galt and others, on 6 June, 1944, Rome fell. An event rather overshadowed by other events on the continent of Europe that day.

Captain William Galt - someone you should know - and today, Remember.

And if you live on Galt Lane, Fort Rucker, Alabama - now you know why your street has the name it does.

Crossposted at Milblogs and Smash's.

by John on May 29, 2006 | Historical Stuff
» BLACKFIVE links with: Memorial Day - Round Ups
» Welcome To Andi's World links with: SGT Perry D. Martin, Jr. 12/17/1979 - 8/1/2005
» The Indepundit links with: Remember
» The Indepundit links with: Remember

THINGS YOU DIDN'T DO

A long while back, one of my fellow Viet Vets e-mailed a poem to me. The author was listed as “Unknown,” but I supposed it to have been written by someone's wife or fiancée.

It grated a nerve, then latched on to it. It slid into a quiet corner of memory and, at no particular time and for no paricular reason, it would reappear.

Over the years, I’d seen it on some Viet-Vet sites and a couple of grief-therapy sites--each time, the author was listed as “Unknown.” And I found it on a floppy in 2001--I'd evidently saved it as a text file about ten years ago and then tucked it away for safekeeping.

Finally, last year, I did some poking around, wondering if I could find the author.

I did. It was written by a gentleman named John Gordoski--not quite who I’d supposed it to be...

Things You Didn’t Do

Remember the day I borrowed your brand new car and I dented it? I thought you'd kill me.

But you didn't.

And remember the time I dragged you to the beach, and you said it would rain, and it did? I thought you'd say, "I told you so."

But you didn't.

Do you remember the time I flirted with all the guys to make you jealous, and you were? I thought you'd leave me.

But you didn't.

Do you remember the time I spilled strawberry pie all over your car rug? I thought you'd hit me.

But you didn't.

And remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was formal and you showed up in jeans? I thought you'd drop me.

But you didn't.

Yes, there were lots of things you didn't do, but you put up with me, and you loved me, and you protected me. There were lots of things I wanted to make up to you when you returned from Viet Nam.

But you didn't.

I also found someone you should meet: Captain Robert D. Kent, USMC.

Read the epilogue, the comments from family, from friends and from one who just met him in passing.

Read them carefully...

by CW4BillT on May 29, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» The Indepundit links with: Remember
» The Indepundit links with: Remember

May 28, 2006

Memorial Day 2006 - The Burial

[Editor's note: This tale of the impact on two families of the death of a soldier began here with The Notification, continued here The Funeral, and will conclude here tomorrow.


"First Sergeant, Call the Roll."


"Lieutenant Cowherd, Leonard..."

"Lieutenant Cowherd, Leonard..."

"Lieutenant Cowherd, Leonard..."


"First Sergeant, let Lieutenant Cowherd's name be stricken from the roll."

Play this as you read. Amazing Grace

The Firing Detail Sergeant gives the command...

Seven rifles crack! in unison... once... twice... three times, echoed back from the trees on a misty morning at Arlington National Cemetery.

Tony picks up the tale in the Flast Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on May 28, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» EagleSpeak links with: Memorial Day 2006
» Flopping Aces links with: Memorial Day 2006
» Mudville Gazette links with: Arlington
» Small Town Veteran links with: All Gave Some, Some Gave All