Category Archives: Of Interest…

Howitzers and Class Albums

Note: Most available from 1900-1949;  examples of years missing ~ 1903, 1917*, 1946.

Mouse over cover image to read year and information.

Howitzers – Class Albums – Army-Navy search!clalbums!howitzers/searchterm/Howitzer/field/all/mode/all/conn/and/order/title/ad/asc

Howitzers only


*November 1918 –  Yearbook of the United States Corps of Cadets. This class entered the United States Military Academy June 15, 1916 and on November 1, 1918, completed the course then prescribed which was known as the War Emergency Course. –

There are two 1921’s –

1921 –

1921(1918) – Yearbook of the United States Corps of Cadets. War time class; entered in 1917, graduated 1 Nov. 1918, recalled 3 December 1918, graduated 11 June 1919. –
There are two 1943-1 –  for the class graduating in January – these are duplicate yearbooks; but where is 1943-2 for class graduation in June?

Who has made the decision not to add classes after 1949?….. 60+ years of classes not available!

Bradley J. Johnson


Important Note – in the last 150-lb Lightweight printed program I have (1991)…a “J Metzger” was listed as the Captain of the team; and the correct team captain, Bradley J. Johnson, was not. 

J.H. Metzger was in fact a Captain, but apparently serving as an assistant!

If one looks closely at the photo roster on the 1957 page, as shown below; they can see where the mistake was made.

The online 2012 Sprint Football guide shows that this problem was “caught” after the 2011 guide, thus the benefits of online scrutiny!

Nevertheless, It is sad to think that the “first captain of the 150-lb, Lightweights, Football team” was not correctly identified and recognized all those many years in official publications.


1957-150-roster - Captain error


Rabble Looks Back

By Bill Giunco –
Rabble looks back on Army football yester-year

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Ring Melt

Dear Classmates,

On Monday 7 March, I was privileged and honored to attend the 11th annual West Point Ring Memorial Program, often called the Ring Melt as your representative and as a donor. The Program is one of the services that the West Point Association of Graduates, WPAOG, provides to the graduates and their families. To learn more about this program you can visit the AOG web site,

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R Day 1862

Dear reader, today we have a guest Gray Matter, written by Brian McEnany ’62, describing what approximated R Day for a member of the Class of 1862.

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1950 Cadets

50’s Photos but no specific year

1st Regiment Wing in 1958 – not sure if same here

New Cadets Reporting in by Train

Learning ton do it right

Really Great Name Tags

Central Area as it once stood

Everyone remembers their first

“It Fits – Take it Home”



West Point, a Century Ago

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West Point, a Century Ago

West Point, a Century Ago, 1911-1920: An Amazing Decade

By Robert C. Carroll (1962) 1
Bob Carroll
Colonel, US Army Retired

Published in
“Military Collector & Historian,
Journal of the Company of Military Historians”
Summer 2013; Vol. 65, No. 2


LOOKING back at West Point one hundred years ago, we see a dripping wet New Cadet Dwight Eisenhower (1915) on 14 June 1911 wondering what in the world he had gotten himself into. By the end of that decade, Brig. Gen. Douglas MacArthur (1903) would be West Point’s new superintendent. In the interim, the academy would endure some amazing events and challenges. It would also graduate a pantheon of leaders who would serve our nation with remarkable distinction. What follows is a glimpse of what it was like to be at the Military Academy a century ago and a snapshot of the alumni it produced during the decade 1911-1920.

For those familiar with the post, a 360-degree panorama of West Point from Battle Monument circa 1911 is revealing: 2

To the north was the ever-awesome view of Storm King Mountain, the Hudson River, and Constitution Island, once called “Martelear’s Rock”. To the west, the flag pole sported a flag with forty-six stars until 1912 when Arizona and New Mexico joined the union, thus allowing sergeants of the Cadet Color Guard, including Eisenhower, to carry the forty-eight-star version. Looking farther to the west, one could see the two oldest buildings on the grounds, the Quarters of the commandant and superintendent, and high above them on the hillside the beautiful and lofty one-year-old Cadet Chapel . 3

FIG 1. View up the Hudson from Trophy Point. Courtesy West Point Library.

Across The Plain to the south sat the gymnasium, which would be demolished in 1924 to accommodate Washington Hall . Next came the gothic Cadet Barracks (Old Central) -quite adequate to house the 650 men in the six companies of the battalion of cadets. Next to the barracks stood the “West Academic Building” (later named after Gen. John J. Pershing), soon to be joined (in 1913) by its East counterpart, named Bartlett Hall. Behind Pershing was Grant Hall, the cadet mess. Following The Plain to the east was the old library (later demolished and replaced on site) and, under construction, a new large riding hall which years later would morph into an academic building named Thayer Hall.

FIG 2. The Riding Hall pre-Thayer Hall. Courtesy West Point Library.

To the east sat three relatively new structures: the Officers’ Mess, eight years old; the solemn-looking Cullum Hall, eleven years old; and what would later be named Lincoln Hall (once the Bachelor Officers Quarters), only one year old. At the base of Clinton Parapet (originally Fort Arnold but renamed when Benedict became a traitor), was the almost universally mispronounced Kosciuszko Monument, which would have to wait two more years to receive its figure statue of Thaddeus. Completing the circle, where now lie Revolutionary War cannons and huge links of the Great Chain, stood the West Point Hotel, which had been home to MacArthur’s mother throughout his cadet years, a decade earlier.4

Most of the young men who came to this place in 1911 grew up in small towns or on farms and in big families. The American population of ninety-four million was largely im migrant, with more than a third either coming from another country or with a parent who did. The economy was just starting to move toward major industrialization, with the auto industry in its infancy. In 1914, America suffered a depression (to be followed by an even worse one fifteen years later). Cadets were thankful for their room and board and very well aware of their “free” education, for which they would later pay in service and in blood.

The cadets took a tough entrance exam that would cause any old timer to wince. These questions are from the 1920 version of the exam: 5

Mathematics: Given a square whose side is 2. The middle points of its adjacent sides are joined by straight lines forming a second square inscribed in the first. In the same manner a third square is inscribed in the second, a fourth in the third, and so on indefinitely. Find the sum of the perimeters of all the squares.

English: In a few paragraphs (about 250 words) discuss the Victorian period in English literature, paying attention to the following points: (a) the characteristics of the literature; (b) the chief writers, both in prose and poetry.

History: Write a short account of the War of the Roses. [Author’s note: I don’t think they meant the movie, which then would have been silent.]

And these young men would face a science-heavy West Point curriculum with math, physical sciences, engineering, and ordnance, along with English, history, law, languages, tactics, and gymnastics/physical culture.6 Demanding? Yes! As it is today!


FIG. 3. Engineering class.
Courtesy West Point Library.

FIG. 4. French class.
Courtesy West Point Library.


Turning to sports, baseball was the great national pastime and Army played it well. This was long before Doubleday Field, named in 1937 for Civil War hero Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday (Class of 1842), who was questionably credited with inventing the sport. 7 Omar Bradley (1915) was a decent footballer and an outstanding baseball player, known as both a power hitter and an outfielder with one of the best arms in his day. Every player on his 1914 team would later earn at least one star in World War II. Later, in 1920, Superintendent MacArthur, who had played an unheralded right field as a cadet, took the opportunity to coach Cadet Earl Blaik (1920) on hitting curve balls. An outstanding athlete competing in both football and baseball, Blaik would become a legendary football coach at Army, producing three Heisman Trophy winners and an Outland Trophy winner. Colonel Blaik later recalled that, after the superintendent’s coaching, he not only couldn’t hit curve balls, he couldn’t hit anything.8 On the fields of friendly strife …” Oh never mind, Mac!


FIG 5. Cadet Earl Blaik (1920). The Howitzer, 1920.

FIG 6. Superintendent Douglas MacArthur. Courtesy West Point Library.

Jim Thorpe was arguably the best all-around athlete of his time. After winning gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon at the summer Olympics at Stockholm, Sweden, he led the Carlisle Indians in a football victory over Army and then on to the 1912 national championship. Playing a solid game as a 175-pound halfback and linebacker, sophomore Eisenhower said he tackled Thorpe only with the help of others. A few games later, Ike severely hurt his knee against Tufts, ending his football career and nearly denying him a commission in the Army.9

FIG 7. Army football played on The Plain -old hotel in background. Courtesy West Point Library.

FIG 8. Ike with his “A”; won as a yearling. The Howitzer, 1915.

The next season (1913), a Notre Dame team led by captain/end Knute Rockne beat Army in a game later immortalized by Ronald Reagan playing “the Gipper”. The movie took some license by portraying Notre Dame’s forward pass as a surprise innovation, which the cadets thought to be illegal. In actuality both teams threw the ball, but Notre Dame won the day. The next year (1914), when Ike and Bradley were seniors, West Point was undefeated.10

A plebe on that team went on to become possibly the greatest athlete in West Point history. After earning a degree and all American status at Purdue, the amazing Elmer Oliphant (June ’18) became the first cadet to letter in four sports. This 5 ‘7″ 180-pounder starred as a half- back and drop-kicker, became a two-time Army All-American and College Football Hall of Famer, who set an Army record by scoring forty-five points in one game.”Ollie” captained both the football and baseball teams, played hockey, won the brigade light heavyweight boxing title, threw the discus, and set a world record in the 220 yard low hurdles on grass.11

Not surprisingly, these cadets of yore were interested in les femmes.


While this decade preceded the “Roaring Twenties”, there was still some evidence of a shift in social mores, exemplified by raised hemlines, revealing, for the first time, very sexy ankles. One can only imagine what happened to these hemlines on Flirtation Walk where cadets could display affection toward the supposedly weaker sex without the overwatch of the dreaded Tactical Department. It is highly unlikely, however, that cadets were allowed to dance the racy 1912 hit by Arthur Prior, The Grizzly-Turkey Trot.12 But for twirling a young lady at Cullum (Dance) Hall in such a manner as to reveal her petticoat, Cadet Eisenhower endured demerits and confinement punishment from the Commandant of Cadets.13

“No horse, no wife, no mustache!” is a traditional West Point edict. During this era, no cars either. But by the end of the decade, Henry Ford’s manufacturing genius would allow graduating cadets to buy Model Ts for several hundred dollars, then to buy gas at about twenty-five cents per gallon at the newly created drive-up gas stations, with the newly ordained gas tax.


FIG 11. Plebes in 1913 swearing oath, uncovered, right hands raised. Courtesy West Point Library.

The new plebes (freshmen) and the newly commissioned second lieutenants (then as now) swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which was amended during this period to prohibit alcohol. With this prohibition, Bartender Benny Havens (a pre-Civil War local bartender well known to generations of cadets and immortalized in a West Point song bearing his name) must have been rolling in his grave. Another constitutional amendment during this period gave women the right to vote. It would take another fifty-five years for women to join the Long Gray Line, surely with the approval of Molly Corbin, a Revolutionary War heroine who “manned” her husband’s weapon after he was killed and who is buried in the “West Point Cemetery” .14 In the past thirty-five years, women have served with distinction as cadets and subsequently as officers in the Army, in peace and in war.

Although African-American men received the right to vote some fifty years before women, there were no African-American Cadets at West Point during this period. The country’s racial history during this decade is particularly nasty; the KKK ran rampant, and lynchings were not uncommon. Just a month after the West Point class of 1915 put on their gold bars, ten thousand African-Americans marched in New York City to protest lynchings. In 1917, race riots occurred in East St. Louis, Illinois; and in Houston, Texas; the latter resulting in thirteen soldiers being hanged for alleged participation; 1920 saw a host of race riots from Pennsylvania, to the District of Columbia, to South Carolina, to Texas.15 It was not until well into the 1960s that African-American cadets arrived in significant numbers at the academy. Today, happily, African-Americans thrive at West Point, and West Point thrives because of them.

Cadets of this era observed world events that included the opening of the Panama Canal, thanks to Maj. Gen. George W. Goethals (’80) and Maj. Walter Reed, MD; the return of Mecca and Medina to Arab hands, thanks to T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia); the end of two thousand years of Chinese dynasties, thanks to the Empress Dowager Cixi; development of the Theory of General Relativity, thanks to Albert Einstein; the introduction of the Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911 (so designated because it was in 1911), thanks to John M. Browning; and the sinking of the RMS Titanic, thanks to an iceberg. Cadets were largely spared when a horrific influenza pandemic, comparable to the Black Plague of 1349 swept the globe. The records of the academy indicate sporadic deaths by flu, but nothing like the waves that hit Fort Devens, Massachusetts; Camp Funston, Kansas; and other places.16

But the headline story for this decade was “The Great War” the devastating war to end all wars. The tinderbox was sparked in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, and two months later the battle was joined. It embroiled all of Europe. At one point, there was a small cessation in fighting for an eerie and holy Christmas truce to sing “Silent Night” in German, French, and English.17At that very time, “firsties” from the class of ’15 were enjoying a short Christmas leave, wondering if and when America would get involved. On 6 April 1917 (Good Friday) the United States declared war. A month later Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing (’86) departed the United States for France, with American doughboys following soon after.

The fighting stopped on 11 November 1918.18 The United States was a pivotal nation in the winning alliance, and West Pointers were prominent in this victory. Three-fourths of the World War I American generals graduated from USMA, and West Pointers earned an amazing sixty-plus Distinguished Service Crosses and one Medal of Honor, Emory Jenison Pike (’01), in not much more than six months of combat.19

FIG 13. The Class of 1917, graduating early. Courtesy West Point Library.

The impact of the war on West Point was huge! Imagine how this staid old institution had to perform cartwheels to accomplish the following: Two weeks after the declaration of war, the class of 1917 graduated early, in April. Four months later, in August, the second class of 1917 graduated after only three years at the Academy. The next summer, the class of 1918 graduated in June after three years. With the battle raging and demand for leaders acute, the Department of the Army directed USMA to graduate two more classes on 1 November 1918. These men were sophomores and juniors.20

On 2 November 1918 only the plebes or freshmen were left. Imagine that! Consequently a call went out, and on 4 November 1918 a fresh cohort of plebes entered with the intention of graduating the following June. These men arrived with little screening and preparation, and attrition was high – almost sixty percent. Hard-pressed for uniforms, the Academy put them in enlisted olive drab uniforms and campaign hats with a distinctive orange band, from which came the nickname “orioles”.21

When the 11 November 1918 Armistice was signed, the two classes that had graduated on 1 November 1918 had been in “the real Army” less than a fortnight. The newly minted second lieutenants who had left in sophomore year were ordered back to West Point on 1 December 1918 as “student officers”. At a West Point formation one could see a battalion of these “student officers” in olive drab, another battalion of plebes in gray, and yet another battalion of “new cadets” in”oriole” hats. A sight to behold! 22 These “student officers” graduated a second time the next summer and are listed as the class of 1919. The wartime class acceleration did not calm down until 1923. The class of 1920 graduated after two years; the class of 1921 (only seventeen graduates) after two and one-half years; and the class of 1922, some after three years, others after three and one-half. 23

The graduates of this remarkable time were destined for greatness, due in part to the timing of the next war, some twenty-three years later (1918-1941). Most Army officers typically achieve significant leadership positions only after twenty years of service. So the experience, maturity, and especially age of these graduates would make them ideal candidates for leadership positions during the next war. As many had predicted, the war came. And West Pointers from this era stood tall.

The class of 1915 gets a lot of attention as “the class the stars fell on” (one out of three). Leading that class, of course, is Eisenhower, elected to two terms as president of the United States. Both he and Bradley earned the five stars of General of the Army. Some readers may not know that Bradley, as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was awarded his fifth star in 1951 mainly to handle five-star MacArthur in Korea.24

FIG 14. Cadet Dwight Eisenhower ’15. The Howitzer, 1915.

FIG 15. Cadet Omar Bradley ’15. The Howitzer, 1915.

One other anecdote from this class bears telling: James Van Fleet (’15) had been the star fullback on the 1914 Army team. Years later Colonel Van Fleet (with twenty-nine years of service) stormed Utah Beach as commander of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division. Ike complained to Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George C. Marshall (Virginia Military Institute ’02) that Van Fleet should be a general. Marshall had mistaken Van Fleet for another who had problems with alcohol.25 The mistake was corrected, and Van Fleet soon commanded the 90th Infantry Division and then III Corps in the sweep across France as part of the Third Army led by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton 1909). Van Fleet went on to earn four stars, winning accolades for his service in the Greek Civil War and in Korea. His lifetime awards for valor are, to say the least, impressive: three each of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. 26

FIG 16. Cadet James Van Fleet The Howitzer, 1915.

Six graduates of this era became Chief of Staff of the Army: Eisenhower, Bradley, Matthew B. Ridgway (1917), J. Lawton Collins (1917), Lyman L. Lemnitzer (1920), and Maxwell D. Taylor (1922). Three became Chief of Staff of the Air Force: Carl A. Spaatz (1914), Nathan F. Twining (1919), and Thomas D. White (1920). Four became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Bradley, Twining, Lemnitzer, and Taylor. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold 1907) was promoted to General of the Army on 21 December 1944 before the advent of the USAF and in 1949 after retirement became the only General of the Air Force in our nation’s history.)27

Other recognizable names include Alexander M. Patch, Jr., (1913), who led the XIV Corps at Guadalcanal and later commanded the Seventh Army; Mark W. Clark (1917), an Army training genius and father of the noncommissioned officer academies; Albert C. Wedemeyer (1919), who replaced Joe Stilwell (1904) in the China-Burma-India Theater; Alfred M. Gruenther (1919), Ike’s protege at NATO and later president of the American Red Cross; and Anthony C. McAuliffe (1919), best known for his “Nuts!” response to the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, who went on to command U.S. Army Europe. In addition, Lucius D. Clay (1918) is famed for orchestrating the Berlin Airlift, Leslie R Groves (1918) for building the Pentagon and the atom bomb and, of course, Earl Blaik (1920) for his legendary football coaching career.28

A less familiar name is Col. “William H. Wilbur” (1912), who landed with his unit at Fedala in North Africa on 8 November 1942, proceeded alone through sixteen miles of hostile territory with a commandeered vehicle and accomplished his mission of delivering letters to appropriate French officials in Casablanca. On his way back Wilbur personally led a platoon of American tanks in an attack. His Medal of Honor citation understates this heroism as “exemplary in its coolness and daring”.29

All told, twenty-four graduates of this era made the full four-star general rank. An interesting note: Remember the ill-fated class that was forced to come back for a second year as student officers? The class of 1919 had a total of six full generals, believed to be an academy record.30

It was stellar leadership that was forged at West Point in the amazing decade of 1911-1920! Today, a century later, we can look back and see the steady hand of this historic and national institution sculpting leaders of character for unique and unknown demands to follow.

Let West Point continue to do so for the ages.

“The long gray line of us stretches
Through the years of a century told,
And the last one feels to the marrow
The grip of your far-off hold”.

(From The Corps, West Point song; words by USMA Chaplain H. S. Shipman; music by W. Franke Harling;31 introduced on 12 June 1910 at the last service in the old Cadet Chapel, before it was relocated from the cadet area to the “West Point Cemetery”, block by granite block, befittingly.32)

Notes: 1. The author graduated from West Point in1962. Numbers in parentheses after names throughout this article indicate West Point class.

2. Rod Miller, The Campus Guides: West Point U.S. Military Academy (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002), 30

3. Robert Cowley and Thomas Guinzburg, eds., West Point, Two Centuries of Honor and Tradition (The Bicentennial Book of the United States Military Academy) (New York: Warner Books, 2002), 142-144.

4. WilliamManchester,AmericanCaesar:DouglasMacArthur1880-1964 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1978), 54-61.

5. Official Register of the Officers and Cadets United States Military Academy for 1919 (West Point, NY: United States Military Academy Printing Office, 1919), 117-120.

6. Official Register of the Officers and Cadets United States Military Academy for 1919, 21, 45.

7. E. Miklich, Website: Nineteenth Century Baseball: http://www.19cbaseball. com/The Abner Doubleday Myth.

8. Manchester, American Caesar, 123.

9. Michael Korda, Ike: An American Hero (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), 93.

10. Wikipedia Encyclopedia, Prichard

11. WikipediaEncyclopedia, Honors

12. http://www.locgov/Jukebox/search/results?q=turkey%20trot

13. “Dwight D.Eisenhower”,At Ease:Stories I Tell to Friends(GardenCity,N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967), 9-10. <

14. Cowley, West Point, Two Centuries of Honor and Tradition, 22.

15. Wikipedia Encyclopedia,

16. Annual Report of the Superintendent, United States Military Academy (West Point NY: United States Military Academy Press, 1919), 43.

17. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

18. RuthT.Feldman,World War I,Chronicle of America’s Wars(Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 2004), 28-29.

19. Cowley, West Point, Two Centuries of Honor and Tradition, 148.

20. Annual Report of the Superintendent, 1919, 3-4.

21. Ibid.

22. Cowley, West Point, Two Centuries of Honor and Tradition, 170.

23. Annual Report of the Superintendent, (1919), 3-4.


25. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

26. Ibid.


28. The Register of Graduates and Former Cadets of the United States Military Academy (West Point, NY: The Association of Graduates, 2010), Biography Pages 4-97 to 4-129.


30. als#1941.E2.80.93present


32. Miller, The Campus Guides: West Point U.S. Military Academy, 10

FIG 17. Cadet William H. Wilbur ’12. The Howitzer, 1912.


Work Area

FIG 10. Sketch from The Howitzer, 1916.

FIG 9. Army halfback Oliphant (Jun ’18).

FIG 12. U.S. doughboys charging over the top at St. Mihiel. Courtesy West Point Library.

FIG 17. Cadet William H. Wilbur ’12. The Howitzer, 1912.


FIG. 3. Engineering class.
Courtesy West Point Library.

FIG. 4. French class.
Courtesy West Point Library.



This for the photos


FIG. 3. Engineering class.
Courtesy West Point Library.

FIG. 4. French class.
Courtesy West Point Library.














FIG 3. Engineering class. Courtesy West Point Library.


FIG 4. French class. Courtesy West Point Library.

Women Serving in Front Line Units

Women Rangers – it should have been done years ago

Three West Point Women Graduates are in the Mountain Phase. As the Ft Benning Phase tests brute strength, the Mountain and Florida Phases test physical agility, there is a very good possibility that the Army will welcome three Women Officers wearing Ranger Tabs. “We will fight an Army on a dare – we’ll follow Darby anywhere”

The key is the last sentence – Similar to the current process, earning a Ranger tab will not automatically move a soldier into the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Army’s special operations unit.

The U.S. Army’s top officer said he expects between 70 and 80 women to apply to become the first-ever female students at Ranger School.

Posted by members of the Class of ’62.

Note   If you have a comment to add, supporting or against assignment of women to front line combat units – please submit it.

Recent interim Marine evaluation.…-ground-combat/

The primary reason for adding these comments is to insure Graduating Female Cadets understand the issues and potential cost of selection of a “front line” combat arms branch.  Years ago the Academy Officials went before Congress to insure the wording in the proposed 1975 bill would allow adjustment of the physical standards for female Cadets.  If consideration had not been  allowed and women Cadets were required to meet the standards men were expected to maintain – then many potentially very competent future Army Officers would have washed out. There can be no adjustment to physical standards to allow women to enter front line units, nor would one hope  female soldiers  would never seek  such an adjustment. Yet the Marine Corps has established  separate standards – see  AP Report bottom of page. Isreali-j Isreali-h Failure for any reason may not be Career ending but will be Career limiting. Washing out or even a decision to reconsider is not the best for a Career. Isreali-g

The reason no women have attended Ranger training is unknown. Unless every graduate of Ranger Training is required to enter Special Ops, there would seem to be no reason to prevent the training of women. It would seem to be a logical requirement before considering any further transition toward the front lines. Unless Ranger Training has significantly changed, without question there are Young Graduates who could easily complete the coarse.

Isreali-e Female marines can’t do three pullups, shows some military tasks are for men Washington Times Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, and a member of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, says standing down was the right thing to do. “The Marines made the right decision in suspending the mandatory three pullup requirement for female trainees,” she said. “This issue is bigger than boot camp. If it is too much to require female recruits to do three pullups, it is a thousand times worse to expect women to serve in direct ground combat units such as the infantry, armor, artillery and Special Operations Forces.” Mrs. Donnelly wants Congress to eliminate the Obama administration’s social experimentation with the military by writing into law the traditional exemption that keeps women off the field of battle.  In the meantime, female Marines being tested will return to a less-demanding “flexed-arm hang,” which requires them only to hold their chins above the bar. (see below of comment –

The Services are evaluating Women serving in front line units. The decision forcing the Service Chiefs to determine what units will include women was made by a departing SecDef. Not a single elected official was involved. Not a single vote was cast.) Isreali-d   Read more: Isreali-c   Cadet Breaks 20-year IOCT Record ( Female Record ) The Indoor Obstacle Course Test (IOCT) has challenged cadets for more than 60 years at West Point. No female cadet has ever completed the IOCT faster than Class of 2017 Cadet Madeline. Note – Maddie (sp) is a tall Cadet and as such is able to jump much higher on the rope than we from South Area who set the standard for the Corps years ago. American Friends of LIBI – – These IDF female tank instructors bear a huge responsibility. They give training to tank soldiers in the Armored Corps., who lead the first line of attacking forces in case of ground war. Their operational instructions must be accurate and meticulously communicated. We’re proud of their role in the IDF! – with Etti Attia.   Nightwitches -Russian bombers who bombed Germany during WW2. They had old, noisy planes & the engines used to conk out halfway through their missions, so they had to climb out on the wings mid-flight to restart the props. To stop Germans from hearing them & starting up the anti aircraft guns, theyd climb to a certain height, coast down to German positions, drop their bombs, restart their engines in midair & get the hell out of dodge. Their leader flew 200+ missions & was never captured.

On on July 26, 1948, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 ordering integration of the Armed Forces. It was not easy but the Armed Forces complied. Public Law 94-106 signed by President Gerald Ford on Oct. 7, 1975 had passed the House by a vote of 303 to 96 and the Senate by voice vote after divisive argument within Congress. When Omar Bradley was asked by a member of the Class of 1962 what his views were on the Law requiring women in the Corps of Cadets, the General said “Congress passed it, the President signed it, I support it”. Those words were the words every serving officer should have embraced. There is humor when one sees the photo in the 1979 Howitzer showing one Cadet Company displaying a verity of sports equipment – baseballs, footballs, volley balls, soccer balls, tennis balls, some 20 or so different ones while proclaiming the Class of 1979 as the last all male Class. It took ruthless enforcement to bring the genders together into a cohesive Cadet Corps, and again it was a member of the Class of 1962 who was steadfast in that enforcement.

The Services are evaluating Women serving in front line units. The decision forcing the Service Chiefs to determine what units will include women was made by a departing SecDef. Not a single elected official was involved. Not a single vote was cast.

President Kennedy spoke to us at Graduation. The second to last paragraph – “Eighteen years ago today, Ernie Pyle, describing those tens of thousands of young men who crossed the “ageless and indifferent” sea of the English Channel, searched in vain for a word to describe what they were fighting for. And finally he concluded that they were at least fighting for each other.” Is that where our leaders in the Pentagon stand? israelie-b In rereading of the horrors, inhumanity, and brutality by both German and Soviet front line soldiers during the battle for Stalingrad, one wonders why those armies did not employ women in the front line. Certainly both countries were fighting for survival. Although not at Stalingrad, the Soviets did employ female snipers because of their proven ability to properly control breathing. Only the Russian and Yugoslavian Partisans employed women in a front line capacity during World War II. With the dwindling manpower pool, why did not the Germans create female SS units? Germany was full of rabid female Hitler worshipers. With the ravages inflicted upon Soviet peasants by the Germans, one would think many female peasants would have wanted to join Soviet units. We might consider we fought for survival during our Revolution. Folklore has it that Molly Pitcher stood at her husband’s gun when he went down; yet that is still not advancing with fixed bayonet. Certainly native Americans fought for survival, but they did not put their women in the front line. Isreali-f

Women in a Combat Role More at

This is what they might face –   Korea    World War II    Vietnam   War on Terror

In the middle of the night, two marines stood on the high ground, one loading 8 round clips, the other doing the shooting as an M-1 was handed to him. Up and down the road similar examples of Marine Lore was established. When the last bugle sounded and the last was dead on the wire, the loader looked at the shooter and said “You don’t have your boots on”. It was 40 below, wind blowing. (One near breakthrough collapsed under the BAR and rifle fire of Pvt. Hector A. Cafferata and Pfc. Kenneth R. Benson, a pair of young men from New Jersey who had enlisted together. As Cafferata blazed away, his blinded partner, Benson, loaded weapons. Caught with his wet boots off, Cafferata fought five hours crippled by frostbite. Before the battle ended, he’d lost one arm to a grenade and the use of his other arm to a bullet.  Taken from “The Last Stand of Fox Company) These two wore the patch of the 1st Marine, a 1 arched by Guadalcanal where Marines with their uniforms rotting off, surviving on captured Japanese rice, with diseased ridden bodies, gave America our 1st Victory. A machine gunner who was at  Guadalcanal, like a few others, developed an inability to wake up in the middle of the night to relieve himself (nocturnal enuresis – stress). The doctors told him there was no cure as long as he was on the front line, it was just another complication of combat and he was sent back into the line. Carrying a Thompson as he fought his way north, finally worn out on Saipan and sent home to recover.

In the Bulge a paratrooper went to relieve himself, when his buddy “Yelled get back in here” (meaning do it in our foxhole) he went ahead, dropped his trou and was immediately shot at by a German sniper. Hitching his pants up without cleaning himself he jumped back into their foxhole. The smell did not bother any other members of his Rifle Company, as they all smelled the same. Some who were never able to get their trousers down in time, did smell worst than the others.

Ranger Class December ’62 – February ’63. Normal rain in North Georgia Mountains, crossed a river, then the winds and freezing temperatures hit – 40 some cases of frost bite.

As the main body, 6,900 of the Japanese 51st Division steamed toward Lea, Lieutenant General Kenny ordered in waves of bombers sinking all 8 transports and 4 of 8 destroyers leaving men in life boats, on make shift rafts and swimmers in the water who began to head toward shore. General Kenny ordered the air crews to strafe the defenseless men. The air crews did not meet the eyes of the dying soldiers and sailors, but the crew of PT Boat 121 made repeated sweeps through the mass of men, killing with rifle fire individuals, machine gunning and dropping depth charges among larger groups of Japanese were forced to look them in the eye. General Kenny was correct, but far from Politically Correct in his order, as Japanese survivors would have picked up weapons on shore. Today such orders and subsequent action would result in Court Martial, yet one wonders, would the young women training with todays version of the Navy’s PT Boat been able to respond as the men of PT 120 responded?  Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward T Hamilton U.S.N.R. after completion of the task  “As long as we saw a Jap alive, we kept  up our relentless hunt.  Not until the job was done, did we turn for home, while behind us those black dots still bobbed through the waves – but now they were corpses floated still by unpunctured life belts, carrying them toward the shore they had set out to conquer. We were a sad lot coming home.  We hardly dared look one another in the eye or speak.  We felt more like executioners than fighters.” It had to be done.

Can even the most ruthless of  today’s young female warriors approach such brutality. August 18, 1976 North Korean soldiers (probably preplanned by the N Korean Government) wielding axes, hacked to death Captain Bonifas and 1Lt Mark Barrett during a required tree trimming in the Joint Security Area, Panmunjom. America’s Politically Correct response several days later was a show of force to backup trimming the tree. Kim Jong-il in addressing the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations asked that a resolution condemning the grave US provocation, demanding withdraw of American forces from Korea and dissolution of the UN Command. It passed.

Black Hawk Down, now some 20 years ago may be a more reasonable example for women to consider. When Administrations changed, the mission changed from humanitarian assistance to regime change. There was then an immediate request for a small American mechanized force which was denied by Sec Def. When a chopper went down while supporting ground troops, 2 snipers dropped in to protect the pilot. The two were ultimately killed, their naked dead bodies dragged through the streets to the joy of the cheering mob. The pilot was captured, exchanged, the US left, SecDef resigned and Somalia remains as it was before our humanitarian entry.

Knowing we cut and ran in Somalia did the Politically Correct, Politically Appointed Bureaucrat consider what some future President would face when the body of an American female was dragged through the streets to the cheers of the mob.  Did he consider what some future President would face when a captured female soldier was paraded through the streets with several ropes around her neck – perhaps her sniper rifle over her shoulder.

As mentioned women are better snipers than the average male as their ability to control breathing is superior. Should female soldiers train with real life like targets  –  a known terrorist face as the target.  Perhaps a known women terrorist holding a baby.  Let them look into the eyes of a known foe.

In the MATA Coarse at Bragg in the mid 60’s Vietnamese instructors told of interrogation techniques used on the enemy. One was to take several prisoners up, tell them what you were going to do and if the first one refused to talk, he was tossed out. Normally the others talked. There was a very repulsive technique used to interrogate women prisoners. It will not be listed, but if you must know, send an email to and an answer will be provided on an individual basis.

VA report of injuries from 80 pound loads carried by today’s male soldiers A signature injury of America’s latest wars has been musculoskeletal, cases of which exceed the number of wounds from firefights and improvised explosive devices. One study found that between 2004 and 2007, about a third of medical evacuations from the Iraq and Afghan theaters were due to musculoskeletal, connective tissue and spinal injuries. There is no data for Women as yet.

Rifle Company Command Vietnam –Two to four weeks in Jungle was very routine – no showers or enough water for good hygiene –when rains came, put security out and strip naked and use rain as shower, then re-dress with wet jungle fatigues and walk them dry –carry 3 days of C-rations (cans could be heavy) – hot meal every 2 to 4 days –double basic load of M-16 ammo (240 rounds – twelve 20 round mags) –two hand grenades per man; claymore – one per man; help machine gunner with ammo cans –sometimes (very seldom) help mortar platoon hump 81mm mortars and ammo for short relocation – mostly this was done by help –two water canteens per man (we got helo resupply most, but not all, days) –steel pot –shovel – every second man –bayonet –many times we moved all day and stopped at night and dug hasty defensive positions –most carried ponchos and liners (we never pitched tents) –some carried air mattresses –carried one or two extra pair of socks – no extra jungle fatigues –we would change fatigues and shower when we returned to base camp – we spent an average of 1 1/2 days per month in our base camp –even during Christmas cease fire we were pulled out at 2 AM Christmas day to rescue an SF camp near the Cambodian border that was in trouble –of course the radios were heavy – and still the radio man had to carry most of the same gear as everyone else –pee on the move –poop at night or in the AM – no privacy for this, just dig a 6″ hole and squat away –during combat helo assaults (we did many) carry everything with you because you never knew if or when you would return to your previous location –on occasion set up defensive positions – a series of two man foxholes with overhead cover and connecting trenches – stay there 7 to 10 days and patrol from there – we did this on road clearing exercises or near Cambodian border to interdict infiltration routes.

Other units, other situations – In 1st Cav  – went light with the expectation of resupply and hot meal every day, bath in bomb crater or stream, moved every day.

WEST POINT, N.Y. — West Point wants more women. Associated Press | Apr 28, 2014 | by Michael Hill With female cadets representing less than one in five cadets in the Long Gray Line, the U.S. Military Academy is taking steps to boost the number of women arriving here this summer and beyond. West Point’s new superintendent said the moves — which include more outreach and the cultivation of competitive candidates — will help keep the storied academy ahead of the curve now that the Pentagon is lifting restrictions for women in combat jobs. “We obviously have to increase the female population for a number of reasons. One is because there are more opportunities in the branches for the females,” Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr. said. Women have been a presence at the nation’s military academies since 1976. Female cadets here can grow their hair longer than the standard military buzz-cut and can wear stud earrings. But they carry the same heavy packs, march the same miles and graduate with the same second lieutenant bars the men here do. “I carry the heavy weapons whenever we do field training exercises,” said Cadet Austen Boroff, a woman who refuses to be out-soldiered by her male peers. “I’ll take the machine guns, so I’m taking more weight.” And cadets like Boroff remain in the minority, just as they do in the broader military.

The Air Force and Naval academies say their student bodies are about 22 percent female. West Point is at 16 percent, mirroring the gender breakdown in the larger Army. Caslen, who became superintendent last year, said an increased number of female cadets will do more than serve the Army when thousands of combat positions are slated to open to both sexes by 2016. It will also help integrate women at the academy, he said.

West Point, like the military in general, has taken additional steps to combat sexual harassment and assaults. In one high-profile case, an Army sergeant accused of secretly photographing and videotaping women at West Point pleaded guilty last month in a court-martial. “My objective is to create the climate, the command climate here at West Point, that not only eliminates harassment and assault, but that will also create the teams and create the climate so that every single person feels that they’re a member of the team,” Caslen said.

West Point has taken a series of subtle steps to increase the percentage of women coming here without lowering admission standards. The academy has created new recruitment mailings written for girls in their freshman, sophomore and junior years of high school that note female West Point graduates have gone on to become generals, astronauts, executives and government leaders. The letter asks: “Do you have what it takes to follow in their footsteps?” The mailings will not bear fruit for this year’s incoming class, but director of admissions Col. Deborah McDonald said there has been an increase in the number of female nominees. And the academy has begun targeting top-tier female candidates and guiding them through the demanding application process. They already do that for standout scholars, soldiers, athletes and minorities.

West Point women’s lacrosse team is moving up to Division I in 2015, which also is expected to draw more interest from top female athletes who now choose other schools. Caslen said there’s no long-term goal yet for a percentage of female cadets. Also, final numbers on the incoming Class of 2018 won’t be known until the new group arrives for cadet basic training July 2d.

But West Point, as of this week, has admitted 229 female applicants and as many as 36 other females from the academy’s prep school will be considered. “I have no concerns at all that we won’t actually move right beyond the 20 percent mark,” McDonald said. “It might even be as high as 22 percent.” The class coming to West Point this summer will be in the second graduating class in which all branches will be open to women. But female West Point graduates this year can already choose among every Army branch except the infantry and armor.

Boroff, for instance, will go into field artillery. Despite some headline-making cases, Boroff and other cadets said they feel secure at West Point. Cadet Sarah Melville of Beacon Falls, Conn., said she is treated no differently than any male cadet and is rarely reminded of her gender. “Perhaps occasionally, halfway through the school year, you go, ‘Oh, I’m the only girl in this class. OK, cool,'” Melville said. “It means nothing.”

Shok Valley Afghanistan  – Special Forces Teams were forced by higher to make an assault up a steep mountain rather than dropping in, on or above the objective, were trapped on the mountain side receiving fire from both above and across the valley, used KIA to provide a protective barrier, one his lower leg destroyed, wrapped it back and secured it to his thigh (out of the way), called in bunker buster bomb just above themselves, then were finally evacuated with higher claiming victory as Viscount Montgomery claimed victory (90% success) in the failed Market Garden Operation. As Prince Dutch Prince Bernard said “My country can never again afford the luxury of a Montgomery victory.” The  plan by higher was initiated to prove how well training of Afgan Special Opns Teams had progressed. Naturally the guy who required the operation be conducted as stated – received his star. There is an unknown element – if one considers a Mother Bear with her cub, one might just want a raging Bear in the foxhole with him.

New York Times

Female_M.P._Wins_Silver_Star_for_Bravery_in_Iraq_Firefight_-_New_York_Times Eric Female_M.P._photo_New_York_Times Anyone advising women Cadets to compete for front line assignment should review and discuss the below book with the young Officer to be.Vietnam The Real War: A Photographic History by the Associated Press (Hardcover)

AP Report

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half of female Marines in boot camp can’t do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year, prompting the Marine Corps to delay the requirement, part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs. The delay rekindled sharp debate in the military on the question of whether women have the physical strength for some military jobs, as service branches move toward opening thousands of combat roles to them in 2016.
Although no new timetable has been set on the delayed physical requirement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to “continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed,” Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman, said Thursday. Starting with the new year, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. The requirement was tested in 2013 on female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., but only 45 percent of women met the minimum”, Krebs said.
The Marines had hoped to institute the pullups on the belief that pullups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions. Officials felt there wasn’t a medical risk to putting the new standard into effect as planned across the service, but that the risk of losing recruits and hurting retention of women already in the service was unacceptably high, she said. Because the change is being put off, women will be able to choose which test of upper-body strength they will be graded on in their annual physical fitness test. Their choices: —Pullups, with three the minimum. Three is also the minimum for male Marines, but they need 20 for a perfect rating. —A flexed-arm hang. The minimum is for 15 seconds; women get a perfect score if they last for 70 seconds. Men don’t do the hang in their test.
Officials said training for pullups can change a person’s strength, while training for the flex-arm hang does little to adapt muscular strength needed for military tasks

The delay on the standard could be another wrinkle in the plan to begin allowing women to serve in jobs previously closed to them such as infantry, armor and artillery units. The military services are working to figure out how to move women into newly opened jobs and have been devising updated physical standards, training, education and other programs for thousands of jobs they must open Jan. 1, 2016, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman. They must open as many jobs to women as possible; if they decide to keep some closed, they must explain why.

Military brass has said repeatedly that physical standards won’t be lowered to accommodate female applicants. Success for women in training for the upcoming openings has come in fits and starts. In fall 2012, only two female Marines volunteered for the 13-week infantry officers training course at Quantico, Va., and both failed to complete it. But the following fall, three Marines became the first women to graduate from the Corps’ enlisted infantry training school in North Carolina. They completed the same test standards as the men in the course, which included a 12-mile march with an 80-pound pack and various combat fitness trials such as timed ammunition container lifts and tests that simulate running under combat fire.

Officials had added specific training for female recruits when the pullup requirement was announced in December 2012, and they came up with a workout program for women already serving. Military testing for physical skill and stamina has changed over the decades with needs of the armed forces. Officials say the first recorded history of Marine Corps physical fitness tests, for example, was 1908 when President Theodore Roosevelt ordered that staff officers must ride horseback 90 miles and line officers walk 50 miles over a three-day period to pass. A test started in 1956 included chinups, pushups, broad jump, 50-yard duck waddle and running. The first test for women was started in 1969: A 120-yard shuttle run, vertical jump, knee pushups, 600-yard run/walk and situps.

Four more women drop out of Marine Infantry Officer Course

By Hope Hodge Seck Staff Writer Marine Times Four more female Marine officers have dropped out on the first day of the Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, Va., bringing the number of women who have attempted and failed to complete the course to 14. A requirement for Marine infantry officers, the grueling 13-week course has been open to women since September 2012, in keeping with a servicewide review of restrictions on women serving in combat arms fields. But to date, no women have graduated the course and only one has made it past the initial Combat Endurance Test that kicks off the course. That woman was injured, however, and did not continue on with the course. Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs said the latest iteration of IOC held its initial Combat Endurance Test on Jan. 9. Of the 104 students who began the course, one was medically dropped and 28, including the four female volunteers, were unable to meet the requirements of the CET. The Marine Corps continues to send female officers to the course on a volunteer basis, with plans to use data from IOC to make an informed recommendation in 2016 as to whether the Marine infantry and reconnaissance fields should be open to women.

While IOC, which has a 20- to 25-percent drop-out rate among male participants, has stymied women so far, female Marines have had more success with the less-challenging Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Geiger, N.C., which trains enlisted Marines for infantry fields. So far, 13 female Marines have completed the course in two evolutions of training. Another company in ITB with six female volunteers was set to graduate in early January, but Marine officials did not immediately have data available about that graduation.

The Navy

Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, B.J. ’77, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command  –  Commencement Address  —  University of Texas at Austin 2014
Some times the Navy has something to say


The Author of Pacific Glory met with Fleet Admiral Nimitz years after the Admiral retired. One question he asked the Admiral was how were the Japanese battleships and cruisers allowed to penetrate into MacArthur’s Naval Force supporting the Philippine landings. Nimitz paused for a moment then said it was his fault. You must be familiar with the Japanese plan and our response, along with past Pacific Naval decisions to appreciate Admiral Nimitz’s statement. In this editor’s mind, in that response many years after the engagement, Admiral Nimitz stands with Bradly and Marshall as a truly great leader.

Tour boats ferry
people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes.
We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes.. I went into a
small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book
entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor ” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December
7th, 1941–Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington
D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he
answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the
phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the
Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Nimitz flew
to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl
Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair,
dejection and defeat– you would have thought the Japanese had already won the
war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of
the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.. Big sunken
battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked.

As the tour boat
returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do
you think after seeing all this destruction?” Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked
everyone within the sound of his voice.

Admiral Nimitz said,
“The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever
make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and
surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made
the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?” Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one :
the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen
of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured
to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two :
when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so
carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks
opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have
had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is
now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull
them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the
time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews
ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three
: every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the
ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane
could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply. That’s why
I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could
make or God was taking care of America.

I’ve never forgotten
what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect
upon it.
In jest, I might
suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in
Fredricksburg, Texas –he was a born optimist. But any way you look at
it–Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and
circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt
had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a
leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection,
despair and defeat .


Never Liked the Movie – this is a good story


The Real Story by CAPT Paul N. Gray, USN, Ret,

USNA ’41, former CO of VF-54.


Recently, some friends saw the movie “The Bridges at Toko-ri” on late night TV. After seeing it, they said, “You planned and led the raid. Why don’t you tell us what really happened?” Here goes.

I hope Mr. Michener will forgive the actual version of the raid. His fictionalized account certainly makes more exciting reading.

On 12 December 1951 when the raid took place, Air Group 5 was attached to Essex, the flag ship for Task Force 77. We were flying daily strikes against the North Koreans and Chinese. God! It was cold. The main job was to interdict the flow of supplies coming south from Russia and China. The rules of engagement imposed by political forces in Washington would not allow us to bomb the bridges across the Yalu River where the supplies could easily have been stopped. We had to wait until they were dispersed and hidden in North Korea and then try to stop them.

The Air Group consisted of two jet fighter squadrons flying Banshees and Grumman Panthers plus two prop attack squadrons flying Corsairs and Skyraiders. To provide a base for the squadrons, Essex was stationed 100 miles off the East Coast of Korea during that bitter Winter of 1951 and 1952.

I was CO of VF-54, the Skyraider squadron. VF-54 started with 24 pilots. Seven were killed during the cruise. The reason 30 percent of our pilots were shot down and lost was due to our mission. The targets were usually heavily defended railroad bridges. In addition, we were frequently called in to make low-level runs with rockets and napalm to provide close support for the troops.

Due to the nature of the targets assigned, the attack squadrons seldom flew above 2000 or 3000 feet; and it was a rare flight when a plane did not come back without some damage from AA or ground fire.

The single-engine plane we flew could carry the same bomb load that a B-17 carried in WWII; and after flying the 100 miles from the carrier, we could stay on station for 4 hours and strafe, drop napalm, fire rockets or drop bombs. The Skyraider was the right plane for this war.

On a gray December morning, I was called to the flag bridge. Admiral “Black Jack” Perry, the Carrier Division Commander, told me they had a classified request from UN headquarter to bomb some critical bridges in the central area of the North Korean peninsula. The bridges were a dispersion point for many of the supplies coming down from the North and were vital to the flow of most of the essential supplies. The Admiral asked me to take a look at the targets and see what we could do about taking them out. As I left, the staff intelligence officer handed me the pre-strike photos, the coordinates of the target and said to get on with it. He didn’t mention that the bridges were defended by 56 radar-controlled anti-aircraft guns.

That same evening, the Admiral invited the four squadron commanders to his cabin for dinner. James Michener was there. After dinner, the Admiral asked each squadron commander to describe his experiences in flying over North Korea. By this time, all of us were hardened veterans of the war and had some hairy stories to tell about life in the fast lane over North Korea.

When it came my time, I described how we bombed the railways and strafed anything else that moved. I described how we had planned for the next day’s strike against some vital railway bridges near a village named Toko-ri (The actual village was named Majonne). That the preparations had been done with extra care because the pre-strike pictures showed the bridges were surrounded by 56 anti-aircraft guns and we knew this strike was not going to be a walk in the park.

All of the pilots scheduled for the raid participated in the planning. A close study of the aerial photos confirmed the 56 guns. Eleven radar sites controlled the guns. They were mainly 37 MM with some five inch heavies. All were positioned to concentrate on the path we would have to fly to hit the bridges. This was a World War II air defense system but still very dangerous.

How were we going to silence those batteries long enough to destroy the bridges? The bridges supported railway tracks about three feet wide. To achieve the needed accuracy, we would have to use glide bombing runs. A glide bombing run is longer and slower than a dive bombing run, and we would be sitting ducks for the AA batteries. We had to get the guns before we bombed the bridges.

There were four strategies discussed to take out the radar sites. One was to fly in on the deck and strafe the guns and radars. This was discarded because the area was too mountainous. The second was to fly in on the deck and fire rockets into the gun sites. Discarded because the rockets didn’t have enough killing power. The third was to come in at a high altitude and drop conventional bombs on the targets. This is what we would normally do, but it was discarded in favor of an insidious modification. The one we thought would work the best was to come in high and drop bombs fused to explode over the gun and radar sites. To do this, we decided to take 12 planes; 8 Skyraiders and 4 Corsairs. Each plane would carry a 2000 pound bomb with a proximity fuse set to detonate about 50 to 100 feet in the air. We hoped the shrapnel from these huge, ugly bombs going off in mid air would be devastating to the exposed gunners and radar operators.

The flight plan was to fly in at 15,000 feet until over the target area and make a vertical dive bombing run dropping the proximity-fused bombs on the guns and radars. Each pilot had a specific complex to hit. As we approached the target we started to pick up some flak, but it was high and behind us. At the initial point, we separated and rolled into the dive. Now the flak really became heavy. I rolled in first; and after I released my bomb, I pulled out south of the target area and waited for the rest to join up. One of the Corsairs reported that he had been hit on the way down and had to pull out before dropping his bomb. Three other planes suffered minor flak damage but nothing serious.

After the join up, I detached from the group and flew over the area to see if there was anything still firing. Sure enough there was heavy 37 MM fire from one site, I got out of there in a hurry and called in the reserve Skyraider still circling at 15,000 to hit the remaining gun site. His 2000 pound bomb exploded right over the target and suddenly things became very quiet. The shrapnel from those 2000 lbs. bombs must have been deadly for the crews serving the guns and radars. We never saw another 37 MM burst from any of the 56 guns.

From that moment on, it was just another day at the office. Only sporadic machine gun and small arms fire was encountered. We made repeated glide bombing runs and completely destroyed all the bridges. We even brought gun camera pictures back to prove the bridges were destroyed.

After a final check of the target area, we joined up, inspected our wingmen for damage and headed home. Mr. Michener plus most of the ship’s crew watched from Vulture’s Row as Dog Fannin, the landing signal officer, brought us back aboard. With all the pilots returning to the ship safe and on time, the Admiral was seen to be dancing with joy on the flag Bridge.

From that moment on, the Admiral had a soft spot in his heart for the attack pilots. I think his fatherly regard for us had a bearing on what happened in port after the raid on Toko-ri. The raid on Toko-ri was exciting; but in our minds, it was dwarfed by the incident that occurred at the end of this tour on the line. The operation was officially named OPERATION PINWHEEL. The pilots called it OPERATION PINHEAD.

The third tour had been particularly savage for VF-54. Five of our pilots had been shot down. Three not recovered. I had been shot down for the third time. The mechanics and ordnancemen had worked back-breaking hours under medieval conditions to keep the planes flying, and finally we were headed for Yokosuka for ten days of desperately needed R and R.

As we steamed up the coast of Japan, the Air Group Commander, CDR Marsh Beebe, called CDR Trum, the CO of the Corsair squadron, and me to his office. He told us that the prop squadrons would participate in an exercise dreamed up by the commanding officer of the ship. It had been named OPERATION PINWHEEL.

The Corsairs and Skyraiders were to be tied down on the port side of the flight deck; and upon signal from the bridge, all engines were to be turned up to full power to assist the tugs in pulling the ship along side the dock.

CDR Trum and I both said to Beebe, “You realize that those engines are vital to the survival of all the attack pilots. We fly those single engine planes 300 to 400 miles from the ship over freezing water and over very hostile land. Overstressing these engines is not going to make any of us very happy.” Marsh knew the danger; but he said, “The captain of the ship, CAPT. Wheelock, wants this done, so do it!”

As soon as the news of this brilliant scheme hit the ready rooms, the operation was quickly named OPERATION PIN HEAD; and CAPT. Wheelock became known as CAPT. Wheelchock.

On the evening before arriving in port, I talked with CDR Trum and told him, “I don’t know what you are going to do, but I am telling my pilots that our lives depend on those engines and do not give them more than half power; and if that engine temperature even begins to rise, cut back to idle.” That is what they did.

About an hour after the ship had been secured to the dock, the Air Group Commander screamed over the ships intercom for Gray and Trum to report to his office. When we walked in and saw the pale look on Beebe’s face, it was apparent that CAPT. Wheelock, in conjunction with the ship’s proctologist, had cut a new aperture in poor old Marsh. The ship’s CO had gone ballistic when he didn’t get the full power from the lashed down Corsairs and Skyraiders, and he informed CDR Beebe that his fitness report would reflect this miserable performance of duty.

The Air Group Commander had flown his share of strikes, and it was a shame that he became the focus of the wrath of CAPT. Wheelock for something he had not done. However, tensions were high; and in the heat of the moment, he informed CDR Trum and me that he was placing both of us and all our pilots in hack until further notice. A very severe sentence after 30 days on the line.

The Carrier Division Commander, Rear Admiral “Black Jack” Perry a personally soft and considerate man, but his official character would strike terror into the heart of the most hardened criminal. He loved to talk to the pilots; and in deference to his drinking days, Admiral Perry would reserve a table in the bar of the Fujia Hotel and would sit there drinking Coca cola while buying drinks for any pilot enjoying R & R in the hotel.

Even though we were not comfortable with this gruff older man, he was a good listener and everyone enjoyed telling the Admiral about his latest escape from death. I realize now he was keeping his finger on the morale of the pilots and how they were standing up to the terror of daily flights over a very hostile land.

The Admiral had been in the hotel about three days; and one night, he said to some of the fighter pilots sitting at his table, “Where are the attack pilots? I have not seen any of them since we arrived.” One of them said, “Admiral, I thought you knew. They were all put in hack by the Air Group Commander and restricted to the ship.” In a voice that could be heard all over the hotel, the Admiral bellowed to his aide, “Get that idiot Beebe on the phone in 5 minutes; and I don’t care if you have to use the Shore Patrol, the Army Military Police or the Japanese Police to find him. I want him on the telephone NOW!”

The next morning, after three days in hack, the attack pilots had just finished marching lockstep into the wardroom for breakfast, singing the prisoners song when the word came over the loud speaker for Gray and Trum to report to the Air Group Commander’s stateroom immediately, When we walked in, there sat Marsh looking like he had had a near death experience. He was obviously in far worse condition than when the ships CO got through with him. It was apparent that he had been worked over by a real pro.

In a trembling voice, his only words were, “The hack is lifted. All of you are free to go ashore. There will not be any note of this in your fitness reports. Now get out of here and leave me alone.”

Posters saying, “Thank you Black Jack” went up in the ready rooms. The long delayed liberty was at hand.

When writing about this cruise, I must pay homage to the talent we had in the squadrons. LTJG Tom Hayward was a fighter pilot who went on to become the CNO. LTJG Neil Armstrong another fighter pilot became the astronaut who took the first step on the moon. My wingman, Ken Shugart, was an all-American basketball player and later an admiral. Al Masson, another wingman, became the owner of one of New Orleans’ most famous French restaurants. All of the squadrons were manned with the best and brightest young men the U.S. could produce. The mechanics and ordnance crews who kept the planes armed and flying deserve as much praise as the pilots for without the effort they expended, working day and night under cold and brutal conditions, no flight would have been flown.

It was a dangerous cruise. I will always consider it an honor to have associated with those young men who served with such bravery and dignity. The officers and men of this air group once again demonstrated what makes America the most outstanding country in the world today. To those whose spirits were taken from them during those grim days and didn’t come back, I will always remember you.”

Courtesy of LCDR George Everding, USN(Ret)

(Former AFCM and Current Member of the

National Chief Petty Officer’s Association)


Submitted by,
YNCS Don Harribine, USN(Ret)




Reflections of a Blackshoe


Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, USN (Ret), M.D.


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The Big E CV-6 USS ENTERPRISE Most Honored Ship in US Navy.  Was in nearly every major engagement of the War, from the start to the finish, with the Japanese reporting her sunk 3 times.  Scrapped 1 July 1958.

Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt United States Navy – Patton thought this Naval Officer was outstanding.

Sometimes you have to give the Navy Credit

A Sailor’s Perspective on the United States Army
Admiral William H. McRaven, Address to Class of 2015, 500th Night
18 January 2014
Good evening. General and Mrs. Caslen, General and Mrs. Clarke, General Trainor, Col Brazil, Command Sergeants Major Duane and Byers, distinguished guests and most importantly Class of 2015.
I am truly honored to be here tonight to address the future leaders of the United States Army. But, as a graduate of a state school in Texas, who majored in journalism because I couldn’t do math, or science, or engineering or accounting, I am somewhat intimidated by the thought of giving any advice, to any cadet, on anything.
Nevertheless, after almost 37 years in the service, much of that time with the Army, there may be something I can offer. So tonight, as you begin the final 500 days of your time at the United States Military Academy, I would like to give you a Sailor’s Perspective on the Army; not the Army of the Hudson, not the Army of the history books, not the Army portrayed in the countless murals across campus, but the Army you will enter in 500 days—the Army upon which the future of the Nation rests; the Army that you will shape and the Army that you will lead.
So, if you will humor this old sailor, I will tell you what I’ve learned in my time serving with the Army.
In the past twelve years I have worked for the great Generals of this generation; Dempsey, Petraeus, Odierno, McChrystal, Austin, Rodriguez and Dailey. All graduates of the Military Academy, each man, different in his own way.
Dempsey, a man of great humor and compassion, whose quick wit, and keen tactical sense allowed him to secure Baghdad as a Division Commander, lead the Central Command as a three star, and today, as the Chairman, he presides over the greatest change in our military since WWII and he does so with tremendous reason, intelligence and with a song in his heart.
Petraeus, whose understanding of the strategic nature of war was unparalleled. Who saw opportunity in every challenge and who dared greatly in hopes of great victories. His daily command decisions in Iraq and Afghanistan unquestionably saved the lives of thousands of young soldiers.
Odierno, a soldier’s soldier, who as a Division and Corps commander in Iraq, fought with a fierceness one would expect of a great warrior and then as the Commander of all forces in Iraq combined that fierceness with the diplomat’s subtle hand to lead and shape the future of a sovereign Iraq. And today, he leads the greatest Army the world has ever known.
Austin, the quiet bear of a man, whose deep intellect and incomparable combat experience allowed him to think through every complex problem and to succeed where others might have failed.
McChrystal, whose creative mind and intense drive for perfection, changed forever how special operations would fight on the battlefield and changed how SOF would forever be perceived by the Nation—and in doing so, likely changed the course of the Armed Forces as well.
Rodriguez, the everyman’s general who proved time and again, that character matters–that hard work, perseverance, persistence, and toughness on the battlefield are always traits of success.
And Del Dailey, whose boldness and innovation, coupled with a Night Stalkers sense of teamwork and aggressiveness, began the revolution in special operations.
What did I learn about the Army in watching these men and other great leaders like Keith Alexander, Chuck Jacoby, Mike Scaparrotti, John Campbell, Bob Caslen and Rich Clarke?
Well, I learned first and foremost that your allegiance as an officer is always, always to the Nation and to those civilian leaders who were elected by the people, who represent the people.
The oath you took is clear; to support and defend the constitution, not the institution– not the army, not the corps, not the division, not the brigade, not the battalion, not the company, not the platoon, and not the squad—but the Nation.
I learned that leadership is hard. Karl von Clausewitz once said that “everything in war is easy, but the easy things are difficult.” Leadership sounds easy in the books, but it is quite difficult in real life. I learned that leadership is difficult because it is a human interaction and nothing, nothing is more daunting, more frustrating more complex than trying to lead men and women in tough times. Those officers that do it well earn your respect, because doing it poorly is common place. You will be challenged to do it well.
I learned that taking care of soldiers is not about coddling them. It is about challenging them. Establishing a standard of excellence and holding them accountable for reaching it.
I learned that good officers lead from the front. I can’t count the times that I saw Petraeus, without body armor, walking the streets of Mosul, Baghdad or Ramadi, to share the dangers with his men and to show the enemy he wasn’t afraid. Or McChrystal, jocking-up to go on a long patrol with his Rangers or SEALs in Afghanistan; Dempsey on a spur ride in Iraq; Austin at the head of his Division during the invasion of Iraq; Odierno, cigar in mouth, rumbling through the streets of Basrah; Rodriguez and Dailey always center stage during the tough fights in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I learned that if you are in combat, move to where the action is the hottest. Spend time with the soldiers being miserable, exhausted and scared. If you’re a Blackhawk pilot or and Tank Commander, spend some time on the flight line or in the motor pool with the maintainers and the wrench turners. Whatever position or branch you are in, find the toughest, most dangerous, shittiest job in your unit and go do it.
I learned that you won’t get a lot of thanks in return. I learned that you shouldn’t expect it. Your soldiers are doing the tough job every day, but I guarantee you, you will learn a lot about your troops and they will learn a lot about you.
I learned that the great leaders know how to fail. In the course of your Army career you will likely fail and fail often. Nothing so steels you for battle like failure. No officer I watched got it right, every time. But the great ones know that when they fail, they must pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and move on.
Rudyard Kipling, the great British storyteller, poet and soldier once wrote, in part,
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowances for their doubting too.
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it and which is more–you’ll be a man my son.”
If you can’t stomach failure, then you will never be a great leader.
I learned that great Army officers are risk takers, but the greatest risk is not on the battlefield, but in standing up for what’s right.
I have seen a young lieutenant stand up to a colonel when that officer’s behavior was out of line. I have seen a captain challenge a general about a flawed battle plan. I have seen many a general privately confront their civilian leadership and question the merits of the national decisions.
All Army officers are expected to take risks in battle. The truly great officers know that real victory is achieved when men and women of character take professional risks and challenge the weak-kneed, the faint of heart, the indecisive or the bullies.
And finally, in watching Army officers, young and old, I learned that the great officers are equally good at following as they are at leading. Following is one of the most underrated aspects of leadership and each of you will be asked to follow someone else. The strength of a good unit rests more on how well the officers follow the commander, than how well they lead their own soldiers.
I have seen many a good Battalion and Company underachieve because someone in the officer ranks thought the Commander was incompetent and quietly worked to undermine his authority. I guarantee you, that in the course of your career you will work for leaders whom you don’t like and don’t respect. It will be easy to make fun of their idiosyncrasies, their receding hair line, their soft chin or their spouse. Be very careful about getting too smug, too opinionated and too righteous. As long as the actions of your commander are moral, legal and ethical, then do everything you can to support the chain of command and avoid the rolling eyes, the whisper campaigns and junior officer dissension.
I learned that the great Army officers know how to follow.
And what about the soldiers that you will lead? In my career I have been fortunate to have served beside soldiers from the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Division, the paratroopers of the All American Division, the 1st Armored Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, the10th Mountain Division, the 1st, 3rd and 4th Infantry Division, all Groups of the Special Forces Regiment and my beloved Army Rangers.
I learned that the greatest privilege the Army can bestow upon you is to give you the opportunity to lead such magnificent men and women.
These soldiers are not without their challenges. Your soldiers will, at times, question your authority. They will undermine your actions. They will mislead you, frustrate you, disappoint you, and occasionally fail you.
But, when the chips are down, I mean really down, your soldiers will be there and they will inspire you with their courage, their sense of duty, their leadership, their love and their respect. In difficult times, your soldiers will be everything you dreamed they would be—and more.
All one has to do is look at the citations that accompany the actions of Sergeants Sal Qunita, Leroy Petry, Robbie Miller, Ty Carter, Jarad Monti, Ross McGinnis, Paul Smith, and Clinton Romesha. Men whose unparalleled heroism, above and beyond the call of duty, was only apparent moments before their brothers were threatened.
I learned that your soldiers are at their best when their brothers and sisters in arms are threatened. They are at their best when life deals them the hardest of blows and their indomitable spirit shines through.
In 2007, I visited the intensive care unit in Landstuhl, Germany, where the Army was sending all of its most critically injured soldiers from Iraq. As I walked into the sterile room, clad from head to toe in clean white garb, a man lay naked on the bed in front of me. Missing one leg above the knee and part of the foot on the other leg, he was swollen beyond recognition from the blast of an IED.
The doctor in attendance didn’t know the man’s unit or service. I asked the man in the bed if he was a Marine or a Soldier. Unable to talk, he pointed to his thigh. There on what was left of his thigh, was a tattoo; the 1st Infantry Division. “You’re a soldier,” I remarked. He nodded. “An infantryman.” I said. He smiled through what was left of his face and then he picked up a clipboard upon which he had been writing notes. He looked me in the eye and wrote on the paper. “I –will—be—infantry—again!” Exclamation point. And somehow I knew that he would.
Just like the young Ranger in the combat hospital at Bagram who had both his legs amputated and was also unable to speak. The nurse at his bedside said that he knew sign language. His mother was deaf and the soldier had learned to sign at a young age. He was so very young and a part of me must have shown a small sign of pity for this Ranger whose life had just been devastated.
With a picture of hand gestures in front of me, the Ranger, barely able to move and in excruciating pain, signed, “I will be okay.”
And a year later I saw him at the Ranger Regimental Change of Command. He was wearing his prosthetic shorties, smiling from ear to ear and challenging the Rangers around him to a pull up contest. He was okay.
Just like the young female sergeant who I just visited at Walter Reed this week. She was seriously injured in a parachute accident. With her father by her side, she laughed off the injury like it was a scratch. She’s been in the hospital for two months and has years of rehabilitation ahead of her. She has no self- pity, no remorse, no regrets, just determination to get back to her unit.
These soldiers and tens of thousands like them will be the warriors you lead in 500 days. You had better be up to the task, because I have learned that they expect you to be good.
And, most importantly, I also learned that your soldiers expect you to hold them to high standards. These soldiers joined the service to be part of something special and if they are not held to a high standard, if their individual efforts are no more important, no more appreciated than the efforts of a slacker then it will directly affect the morale of the unit. And I learned that nothing is more important than the morale of a unit.
MacArthur once said of morale, “…that it cannot be produced by pampering or coddling an Army, and it is not necessarily destroyed by hardship, danger, or even calamity…It will wither quickly, however, if soldiers come to believe themselves the victims of indifference or injustice on the part…of their leaders.”
The great leaders in the Army never accept indifference or injustice and they only judge their soldiers based on the merit of their work. Nothing else is important. Not the soldier’s size, not their color, not their gender, not their orientation, not their religion, not their ethnicity—nothing is important, but how well your soldiers do their job.
I am confident that history will reflect that the young American’s who enlisted in the Army after September 11th, were equal in greatness to their grandfathers and their great grandfathers who fought in the World Wars—and in 500 days you will inherit these incredible soldiers. Be ready.
Finally, in watching the Army for most of my career, I learned that no institution in the world has the history, the legacy, the traditions, or the pride that comes from being a soldier. I am envious beyond words.
I learned that whether you serve 4 years or 40 years you will never, ever regret your decision to have joined the United States Army. You will serve beside the finest men and women in America. You will be challenged every day. You will fail. You will succeed. You will grow. You will have adventures to fill ten life times and stories that your friends from home will never be able to understand.
Your children and their children and their children’s children, will be incredibly proud of your service and when you pass from this earth, the Nation that you served so very well will honor you for your duty. And your only regret will be that you could not have served longer.
And if for one moment you believe that because Iraq is over and Afghanistan is winding down that the future holds few challenges for you, then you are terribly, terribly mistaken. Because as long as there are threats to this great Nation, the Army upon which this Nation was founded, will be the cornerstone of its security, it’s freedom and its future. And you, as Army Officers, will shape that future, secure our freedoms and protect us from harm.
So what has this sailor learned?
That there is no more noble calling in the world than to be a soldier in the United States Army.
Good luck to you all as you complete your final 500 days. May God bless America and may we always have the privilege to serve her.
Thank you very much
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Reflections of a Blackshoe

Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, USN (Ret), M.D.

I like the Navy,

I like standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe – the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her through the sea.

I like the sounds of the Navy – the piercing trill of the boatswains pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship’s bell on the quarterdeck, the harsh squawk of the 1MC and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work.

I like Navy vessels – nervous darting destroyers, plodding fleet auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady solid carriers.

I like the proud names of Navy ships: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea – memorials of great battles won.

I like the lean angular names of Navy ‘tin-cans” Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, McCloy, -mementos of heroes who went before us.

I like the tempo of a Navy band blaring through the topside speakers as we pull away from the oiler after refueling at sea.

I like liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port. I even like all hands working parties as my ship fills herself with the multitude of supplies both mundane and exotic which she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on the globe where there is water to float her.

I like sailors, men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the prairies, from all walks of life. I trust and depend on them as they trust and depend on me – for professional competence, for comradeship, for courage. In a word, they are”shipmates.”

I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed “Now station the special sea and anchor detail – all hands to quarters for leaving port”, and I like the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pierside.

The work is hard and dangerous, the going rough at times, the parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the ‘all for one and one for all’ philosophy of the sea is ever present.

I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship’s work, as flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night.

I like the feel of the Navy in darkness – the masthead lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of radar repeaters – they cut through the dusk and join with the mirror of stars overhead.

And I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small that tell me that my ship is alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch will keep me safe. I like quiet midwatches with the aroma of strong coffee – the lifeblood of the Navy – permeating everywhere.

And I like hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed keeps all hands on a razor edge of alertness.

I like the sudden electricity of “General quarters, general quarters, all
hands man your battle stations”, followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transforms herself in a few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war – ready for anything.

And I like the sight of space-age equipment manned by youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their grandfathers would still recognize.

I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them. I like the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones.

A sailor can find much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman’s trade. An adolescent can find adulthood.

In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they will still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods -the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief’s quarters and messdecks. Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their Navy days, when the seas belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.

Remembering this, they will stand taller and say,



Vice Admiral Harold M. Koenig USN (Ret), M.D.

Chair and President, The Annapolis Center 32nd Surgeon General of the Navy and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Vice Admiral Koenig became Chairman and President of the Annapolis Center on July 30, 1998. In this capacity, Dr. Koenig leads the organization as its chief spokesperson and chairman of its Board of Directors.

VADM Koenig became the thirty-second Surgeon General of the Navy and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, on June 29, 1995. He retired from that position on June 30, 1998 after completing 32 years of active duty service.

A native of Salinas, California, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Brigham Young University. He received his Medical Degree from Baylor University College of Medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in general pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology.

VADM Koenig is a Diplomate of the American College of Healthcare Executives. In 1994 the American Hospital Association named him “The Federal Health Care Executive of the Year”. VADM Koenig served in a variety of clinical roles in the Navy, including general medical officer, residency training program director, department chairman, hospital executive officer and commanding officer.

His staff assignments before becoming the Navy Surgeon General included: command of the Naval Health Sciences Education and Training Command,
Director of Health Care Operations in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) for Health Services Operations and Deputy Surgeon General and Chief of the Medical Corps.

VADM Koenig’s personal awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.

Ron Bartek’s Rebuttal – Class of 1966

To the Editor:

This is in response to what was presented in your publication on Oct. 22 as a review of ”The Long Gray Line,” Rick Atkinson’s nonfiction account of my West Point class, the class of 1966. I do not write to defend the book or to comment on a review of it, but to address the venomous attacks that are thinly veiled as elements of a book review – attacks against the class of 1966, thousands of other West Point graduates of the Vietnam era, service academies and the Army.

I certainly do not question the right of the reviewer or that of The New York Times to publish critical views of this or any other book. I do object, however, to misstatement and distortion of fact, especially when they go well beyond the bounds of literary criticism to discredit the honor and integrity of thousands of individuals, all of whom deserve fair treatment and many of whom can no longer speak for themselves.

The attack opens with the headline on Tom Buckley’s piece, ”Anyone for War?,” introducing his preposterous and malicious theme – that most of the West Point graduates of the class of 1966 were dishonorable cowards who shirked their duty to their country and did all they could to avoid serving in Vietnam. Mr. Buckley first takes the reader to the assembly, late in my final year at the United States Military Academy, at which we members of the graduating class were asked to select our first assignments in the Army from among the locations and units available. He asserts that all at this assembly ”were invited to waive their choice of a first assignment and volunteer for service in South Vietnam” but that ”only 98 cadets answered the call.” The rest of us, he goes on, ”headed for graduate school as planned, tried to get orders for someplace quieter or simply hoped for the best.” He charges ”a certain impropriety in the Army ordering tens of thousands of draftees into action while allowing the men who had been painstakingly trained to lead them to decide the matter for themselves.” The reviewer further questions the valor of our class, and other classes of the Vietnam era, by pointing to the number of our classmates killed in action in the war (30 members, or more than 5 percent, of the class of 1966) and saying that he ”had supposed that it was much higher.”

This attack seems to be based largely on the reviewer’s misunderstanding and misinterpretation of some of the key facts in this matter and his ignorance of other such facts. I trust the following will set the record straight.

The class of 1966 graduated with 579 men. At least 550 of them served in Vietnam. Thirty were killed in action there, and more than 100 others were wounded. Of those who did not serve in the war, five were Allied cadets who could not serve in Vietnam. Ten others died or were disabled before having an opportunity to serve there. Of those from our class who could have served in Vietnam, therefore, 98 percent did so.

To lend additional perspective: about nine million Americans served in the military during the Vietnam era; fewer than three million of them served in the war zone.

Back to that assembly in the spring of 1966, when we were asked to select the locations for our first tours in the Army. Yes, 98 members of the class were accepted that night for initial assignments to Vietnam. That was, in fact, the maximum number that could be accepted that night. As the Superintendent of the Academy stated in his annual report covering this period, ”the graduating class of 579 desired Vietnam duty in such numbers that a limiting quota of 98 had to be established by the Department of the Army to insure that the class would be distributed properly throughout the Army.”

Even these particular 98 graduates could not be sent immediately into the war zone; to do so before they received some additional training and at least some seasoning in the ”real Army” would have foolishly escalated the risk to them and tragically escalated the risk to the men they would be assigned to lead. In addition, West Point graduates and other regular Army officers were required to complete ranger training before arrival for duty in Vietnam. Three weeks of parachute training was also required of those going immediately to airborne units.

As the review points out, three West Point classes had battle death rates of more than 10 percent during World War II. In large measure, of course, the differences between these death rates and those of the Vietnam era reflect the relative magnitude and nature of the conflicts. In part, too, they resulted from the relative quality and rapid accessibility of medical attention. The officials who deliberated on these issues in 1966, some of whom were members of those World War II classes, were also convinced that graduates would be better prepared for leadership positions in Vietnam, and less likely to get themselves and their men killed at such high rates, if they got some pertinent training and at least a minimum of seasoning before being rushed into battle.

Apparently not aware that these quotas and policies had been established or not understanding why, Mr. Buckley alleges that we were cowards because we were not willing to accept the risks involved in ”volunteering” in larger numbers immediately, especially when that would have been the ”sound career move” given what he implies to have been the fleeting nature of the opportunity. He says that ”although many people had already decided that the Vietnam War was stupid, immoral or both, few yet thought that it was unwinnable. The prevailing opinion, in fact, was that once the military buildup had been completed, victory would come quickly.” If such an opinion prevailed anywhere, it certainly was not widely held in our class. The Department of the Army, too, took the longer and, as it unfortunately turned out for our country, the more accurate view – the war would not end quickly.

Beyond that initial group of 98, then, the remainder of the class carefully considered where and with which unit to serve before going to the war in turn. Some decided to select units they believed might soon be deployed to Vietnam. Others selected locations, like the border area between North and South Korea, that seemed to approximate most closely the physical environment and combat conditions of Vietnam. Still others chose units in Germany as their next training ground in our chosen profession. Only the top 5 percent of the class in academic standing was eligible to go directly on to graduate school before serving in units, but a good number of them chose units instead. In sum, the discussions in our class at the assembly that night, and during the weeks leading up to it, were not centered, as the reviewer leads one to believe, on how best to hide from the war but rather on how best to prepare for the war.

Mr. Buckley also discredits the integrity of cadets, graduates and the academy by referring to the cheating scandal that occurred there in 1976 and saying that the scandal ”exposed the cherished cadet honor code as a sham.” The honor code is no sham. It is a valuable discipline that has served cadets, graduates and the nation well, and continues to do so.

Finally, our nation clearly has not yet fully recovered from the Vietnam War. Deeply held convictions as well as doubts, both of which were felt in our class as they were throughout our country, cut deep and ugly wounds that are only thinly covered even now and still bleed. We would all like to see these wounds healed at last. It is past time, and we have much still to do together.


Fort Dearborn Massacre

During the War of 1812, General William Hull ordered the evacuation of Fort Dearborn in August 1812. Heald oversaw the evacuation, but on August 15 the evacuees were ambushed by about 500 Potawatomi Indians in the Fort Dearborn Massacre. The Potawatomi captured Heald and his wife, Rebekah, and ransomed them to the British. Of the 148 soldiers, women and children who evacuated the fort, 86 were killed in the ambush. The Potawatomi burned the fort to the ground the next day.

Death of Ensign Ronan – page 56

Interesting history inline below

Listing of Killed –


Images of the surrender

Several additional links

Surrender Document

Interesting Letters

Fort Norfolk

Fort Niagara

Battle of Fort Niagara –

Photos of the Fort – note the brick walls were built during the Civil War

Photos which can be enlarged if you pause on each

Interesting article relating to British & American Military relationships and events which could have changed the results of the War of 1812.

Photo of reproduction of the Brig Niagara – Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s Flag Ship on Lake Erie

An item which may be missing – the Fort was a Prisoner of War Camp for Germans during WWII. I recall to this day driving past in 1945 seeing a group but focused on one prisoner sitting at the wire looking out at me. There was at least one escapee – who made it all the way to the corner of Stone Rd and US 104 just outside Rochester N. Y.

German Prisoners of War

Fort George,_Ontario

Some sketches ,p.

Listing of Forts

Photos for download

Queenston Heights

West Point Magazine Fall 2011

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’62 Armor Files

Members of the West Point Class of 1962 assigned to Armor branch standing in front of the Patton Monument at West Point. In 1962 the monument was still in its original position, facing the old Cadet library. The old library was demolished and the new library erected on the original site of the Patton Monument. The monument was placed in storage for over four years while the new library was constructed, then reinstalled in its present location.

Bugle Notes

Our Alma Mater

Hail Alma Mater dear,

To us be ever near.

Help us thy motto bear

Through all the years.

Let Duty be well performed.

Honor be e’er untarned.

Country be ever armed.

West Point, by thee.

Guide us, thine own, aright,

Teach us by day, by night,

To keep thine honor bright,

For thee to fight.

When we depart from thee,

Serving on land or sea,

May we still loyal be,

West Point, to thee.

And when our work is done,

Our course on earth is run,

May it be said, “Well done;

Be thou at peace.”

E’er may that line of gray

Increase from day to day

Live, serve, and die, we pray,

West Point, for thee.

Paul S. Reinecke, Class of 1911

The Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light.

What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming.

Whose broad stipes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight.

O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

between their loved homes and wild war’s desolation;

Bless’d with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land

Praise the pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just.

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

On Brave Old Army Team

The Army team’s the pride and dream

Of every heart in gray,

The Army line you’ll ever find

A terror in the fray;

And when the team is fighting

for the Black and Gray and Gold

We’re always near with song and cheer

And this is the tale we’re told;

The Army team

(Band accompaniment)


Rah Rah Rah BOOM!


On, brave old Army team,

On to the fray;

Fight on to victory,

For that’s the fearless Army way.

(Whistle Chorus)

The Army Song

March along, sing our song

With the Army of the free.

Count the brave, count the true

Who have fought to victory.

We’re the Army and proudly proclaim:


First to fight for the right

And to build the nation’s might,


Then it Hi! Hi! Hey!

The Army’s on its way.

Count off the cadence loud and strong.

For where’er we go, you will always know,



The Corps

The Corps! Bareheaded salute it,

With eyes up, thanking our God —

That we of the Corps are treading

Where they of the Corps have trod —

They are here in ghostly assemblage,

the men of the Corps long dead,

And our hearts are standing attention

While we wait for the passing tread.

The Corps of today, we salute you —

The Corps of an earlier day.

We follow, close order, behind you,

Where you have pointed the way;

The long gray line of us stretches

Thro’ the years of a century told,

And the last man feels to his marrow

The grip of your far off hold.

Grip hands with us now, though we see not,

Grip hands with us, strengthen our hearts

As the long line stiffens and straightens

With the thrill that you presence imparts.

Grips hands tho’ it be from the shadows —

While we swear, as you did of yore,

Or living, or dying, to honor

The Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps!

The Late Bishop H.S. Shipman