Tag Archives: MILITARY

“Locked & Loaded” – Oh Shit, Not Another War!

George H.W. Bush, in 1990, took a coalition of nations into Kuwait and Iraq to protect one of our sources of oil from an invading Iraqui army. We went to war for oil, and many Americans didn’t think that was justified. The majority, however, saw our actions as protecting a friendly nation from a tyrant, Saddam Hussein.

Currently, Donald Trump is threatening war with Iran and seems to be claiming that Iran attacked our friend, Saudi Arabia. A clearer version of the truth is that both Iran and Saudi are aggressor nations and neither is a friend to America. Both nations are religious and economic rivals and both sponsor international terrorism. After all, it was Saudis who brought down the trade towers on 9/11 and it is the Saudis who are heavily responsible for the civil war that is raging in their neighboring country of Yemen.

Continue reading “Locked & Loaded” – Oh Shit, Not Another War!

What I Will & Won’t Do About Guns – REVISED!

In February of 2018, I wrote a blog about my views regarding guns in America. I just reread the piece and found that nothing has changed except for my feelings about semi-automatic weapons. As I originally stated assault-style weapons are nothing different than the .22 semi-automatic rifle I plinked with as a kid. What has changed is the rate of fire and the killing power of the ammunition being used today.

So, here’s what I’d do. First, I’d outlaw the manufacture, sale, and possession of all civilian-marketed semi-automatic weapons both long guns and pistols that utilized an external clip or magazines. Storage of ammunition would have to be internal and fixed by both law and design. Just like my uncle’s old Winchester pump shotgun would only hold five shells and my Smith & Wesson .357 revolver will only hold six bullets, such would be the requirement or limit for all guns.

Continue reading What I Will & Won’t Do About Guns – REVISED!

Buying Guns Online – HTF is That Possible?

By far not the only troubling thing about these most recent shootings that troubling but, in each case, it’s been said that the killer purchased their weapon legally and ONLINE. I’m ignorant of gun laws but I do remember that following the assignation of President Kennedy it generally became illegal to purchase guns through the mail. So, I assumed the same would hold true of the Internet. I did a little digging and think the following is generally true:

Continue reading Buying Guns Online – HTF is That Possible?

A Kindred Spirit

I received this from a friend this morning and it touched my heart. The letter’s author and I share many of the same experiences, both growing up convinced our America was perfect, both seeing some of the real world aboard a US Navy ship, and both coming to learn that America wasn’t the utopia we’d believed it to be. We also share the

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Shaw’s Monthly Care Package from Peaches

Going into the service does lots of things for a young man from small-town America. One of the most important is introducing him to the great variety of humankind we share this nation with.

In boot camp, I met my first person from the state of Washington, learned some of the slang of Italian-Americans from the steel mill towns of Pennsylvania, and had to learn how to pronounce a Polish kid’s name containing almost no vowels.

Continue reading Shaw’s Monthly Care Package from Peaches

Tanks, Cars, SUVs, Robots, and Steam Drills

I’m sure those who work at the Lima, OH tank factory were happy to see their jobs saved. But economically speaking, everyone needs to remember that jobs building military hardware are in no way as economically valuable in the long-haul as nongovernmental jobs.
Those lost private industry jobs making consumer products at Lordstown, Ohio were far more important than those jobs saved at Lima. Every car made at GM plants affects the economy in every corner of the nation. The same is simply not true about rebuilding a decades-old war machine. And for Trump to put any part of the blame on the closing of Lordstown on union workers is simply assinine.

Continue reading Tanks, Cars, SUVs, Robots, and Steam Drills

Eisenhower Told Us But We Didn’t Listen

Back in the 1950s president Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex; the ever more powerful relationship between those who make the weapons of war and those who buy and use them. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to Ike’s warning and the MIC is more powerful than ever.

I recently heard an economist state that the cost of Medicare for All could be covered if we ever got serious about reigning in our military budget. America currently spends more on its military that of the world’s nations combined.

Continue reading Eisenhower Told Us But We Didn’t Listen

African Americans in World War One

Some years ago I received a photo from Greenfielder, James F. Cannon. It was of a John R. Cannon, taken in France during his service in World War One. Along with the photo he also sent me a document regarding African American soldiers who served in the trenches of World War One. As part of my contribution to Black History Month, I’d like to reprise the information Mr. Cannon sent me. This was originally published on my blog in 2008.

African-Americans and World War One
The dichotomy of American involvement in World War One was, of course, that America was in the war fighting to make the world safe for democracy, but many African Americans in the United States did not enjoy that very premise.

While the American military leaders had little faith in African American ability in combat, they acknowledged that everyone would be needed in the war effort nonetheless.  With the severance of diplomatic relations with Germany in March 1917, a month before the U.S. declared war, the First Separate Battalion (Colored) of the Washington D.C. National Guard was mustered into federal service to guard the White House, Capitol and other federal buildings.

From most accounts, African American leaders backed America’s entry into the war.  In one instance, the secretary of the NAACP said that patriotism was fanned into a flame in Harlem.

While there were regular Army units of African Americans in service at the start of the war, the 24th and 25th Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry, the Army command decided to use only National Guard and drafted units in Europe.  The Regular army units would provide cadres of non-commissioned officers and specialists for the overseas units.

The total number of African-American men called under the Selective Service Draft Regulations during 1917-1918:  367,710

Mistreatment of soldiers of the 24th Infantry stationed in Houston led to disturbances between the soldiers and civilians in August 1917 which resulted in some civilian deaths and the executions of 13 soldiers of the 24th Infantry.

While the soldiers expected the uniform of the United States to be accorded proper respect, the reality of many situations, especially in the south, did not support this belief.

Some National Guard organizations fared better.  The 8th Illinois National Guard, which became the 370th Infantry Regiment was the only guard organization with a full complement of African American officers, which was a source of pride.  It had seen combat service on the Mexican Border in the years just prior to 1917

On the whole training facilities and quality of training for African American troops was substandard

With a few exceptions like the officer training camp at Camp Hancock, Georgia where the commander insisted on good training and proper respect and the instructors were French and British Officers.

Social support systems for soldiers were in place, with The Knights of Columbus, Salvation Army and the Red Cross doing a fair job of helping the troops with integrated services.

In most African American communities there was overwhelming support of the Liberty Bond drives in 1917.

On the homefront, the contributions to the war effort were varied and successful, including: The Women’s Auxiliary of the 15th regiment; individual efforts by Eva D. Bowles, Secretary of the Colored Women’s War Work in Cities. Alice Dunbar Nelson, the recognized leader of mobilization of African American women for the Council of National defense. Louise J. Ross, the chairperson of the New Orleans Chapter American Red Cross.

African Americans worked with the U.S. Department of Labor, the national Bureau of War Risk Insurance, the Women’s Motor Corps, nationwide war fund drives, the War Camp Community Service, war-time National Food Administration Young Women’s Christian Association and Young Men’s Christian Association, the American Red Cross Nurses and Canteen Workers.  One reference described that when the African American 805th Pioneer Infantry passed through Kansas City, Kansas heading for Europe, they were served by a canteen committee and supplied with candy, chewing gum, smokes and matches.

African Americans were employed in a number of war industries, including munitions production. There were the Organized Women Knitters and the Circle of Negro War Relief.

Mr. Emmett J. Scott, of the Tuskegee Institute, was Special Assistant to the Secretary of War, Newton Baker.  Mr. Scott became a noted historian of the African American efforts in the war.

The first African Americans in military service to be in combat zones were in the U.S. Navy and were among the service personnel landing the first troops of the American Expeditionary Forces in France.

While it is estimated that 1/3 of all labor troops in Europe were African Americans, it is not true that all were assigned to labor units.

The earliest combat units to reach France were assigned to French divisions and this included the former 15th New York, which became the 369th Fighting Rattlesnakes, part of the 93rd Division (provisional). Lieutenant James Reese Europe led the famous 369th Regimental Band.

Sergeant Henry Johnson, 369th Infantry was the first AMERICAN recipient of the French Croix de Guerre for bravery.  Private Needham Roberts, 369th Infantry, was the second recipient. On May 14, 1918, a German raiding party wounded both men and when they attempted to take Roberts prisoner, Johnson fought with his rifle butt and bolo knife to free him.  They killed four Germans and wounded several others.  A posthumous Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to Henry Johnson in 2003.

The 369th Infantry Regiment took part in the July 15-18 Champagne-Marne Offensive, then occupied the lines in the Calvaire and Beausejour sectors, and by mid August, the 369th had been in the line for 130 days and by the end of the war had been on the FRONT line for a total of 191 days.

With the 371st and 372nd Regiments, the 369th fought in the Meuse-Argonne offensive between September 26 and October 8th.

Horace Pippin, a member of the 369th kept and illustrated a journal of his experiences and these events would later play a large part in his work as a noted artist.  Here he wrote with a sketch that the “guns were strong and all we could do were to wait.”

The 370th participated in the Oise-Aisne operation between September 15 and October 13th,  and October 28 to November 11th, 1918.

Corporal Freddie Stowers of the 371st Infantry lead a squad against a strong German position on September 28, 1918 and although mortally wounded, Stowers, a 21 year old from North Carolina, urged his men on to defeat the Germans.  His commanding officer recommended Corporal Stowers for the Medal of Honor.  It was presented posthumously in 1991.

Lieutenant Colonel Otis B. Duncan of the 370th Infantry, was the highest-ranking African American in the American Expeditionary Forces.

The 92nd (Buffalo) Division participated in the occupation of the Saint Die Sector from August 23 to September 20, 1918

Second Lieutenant Aaron R. Fisher, 366th Infantry, in the middle of the photo, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action, near Lesseux, France, September 3, 1918.  He showed exceptional bravery in action when a superior force of the enemy raided his position by directing his men and refusing to leave his position, although he was severely wounded.  He and his men continued to fight the enemy until the latter was beaten off by a counterattack.”  He was from Lyles, IN.

The 92nd took part in the Meuse-Argonne battle from September 26 to October 3rd.

First Lieutenant Robert L. Campbell, 368th Infantry was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Binarville, France, September 27, 1918.  During the afternoon of September 27, Lieut. Campbell saw a runner fall wounded in the middle of a field swept by heavy machine gun fire.  At imminent peril to his own life, and in full view of the enemy, he crossed the field and carried the wounded soldier to shelter.”  Lieutenant Campbell was from Greensboro, NC.

The 92nd Occupied the Marbache Sector, October 9 – November 11 and participated in the attack of the 2nd Army November 10-11.

The 92nd had 1570 battle casualties and the 93rd, 3927.

Kansas Citian, Private Grant McClellan wrote home to his wife a number of letters describing his experiences

In one he related, “You asked me what Division I was in when we came over.  We were the last part of the 92nd Division but when we got to the front they were resting and we went over the top with the 28th Division.”

The artist, Edward Tanner, who had ties to Kansas City, was too old at 58 in 1917 to serve in the military, so he joined the American Red Cross in France.  He developed a plan to grow produce and raise livestock around military hospitals to provide better food and boost morale for the convalescent soldiers.  By the summer of 1918, his program was a great success.

In September 1918, he received permission to sketch in the Military Advance Zone and he produced two lasting images:  a charcoal drawing, “American Red Cross Canteen, World War One,” where he specifically included an African American soldier and again in the painting “American Red Cross Canteen at the Front.”

Tanner mustered out of Red Cross service in June 1919 and his painting “The Arch” was of the solemn festival of 13 July 1919 in honor of the dead.

Pioneer Infantry regiments were organized in the summer of 1918 and given standard infantry training so that if necessary they could be used in combat

Pioneer infantry regiments worked behind the front lines in the Argonne Forest and at St. Mihiel where they built narrow and wide gauge railroads and macadam roads for the movement of light and heavy artillery and supplies.

the 805th was rushed in to repair a road near Varenne, which had been so damaged by German shellfire that ammunition could not be moved forward.  The Pioneers worked through the night with shells falling around them. Some also worked in burial details, often under shellfire.  7 of the 17 African American Pioneer Infantry Regiments were entitled to wear battle clasps on the Victory medals whereas of the other 20 Pioneer Infantry regiments, only 8 were.

The 809th Pioneer Infantry had a notable baseball team.  It won the championship of the St. Nazaire league and finished third overall in the AEF.

Corporal, later sergeant, Vernon Coffey, of Kansas City, Missouri, joined the 806th Pioneer Infantry at Fort Riley (Camp Funston), Kansas.  He received overseas clothes and weapons at Camp Mills, New York where he shipped out for France.  After attending gas school at Langras, France, he served at ammunition dumps at Flury and Lima.

Coffey would return to his home after the war.  Coffey finished, as he related, his law studies and became an attorney and a preacher, later, at the First AME Church in Kansas City, Kansas.

The labor battalions towards the end of the war were organized into 46 engineer service battalions, 44 labor battalions, 24 labor companies, 3 stevedore battalions, 2 stevedore regiments and 2 butchery companies.

Following the outpouring of joy for the Armistice on November 11, 1918 and the triumphant return of the troops, most found that little had changed and that the fight for equality at home was still many years in the making.

The two combat divisions, A.E.F. were composed as follows:

92nd Division, National Army (Buffalo Division)

183rd Infantry Brigade

365th Infantry Regiment

366th Infantry Regiment

350th Machine Gun Battalion

184th Infantry Brigade

367th Infantry

368th Infantry

351st Machine Gun Battalion

167th Field Artillery Brigade

349th F.A. Regiment

350th F.A.

351st F.A.

317th Trench Mortar Battery

Divisional Troops

349th Machine Gun Battalion

325th Field Signal Battalion

317th Engineer Regiment

Headquarters Troop

Supply and Medical Trains, including Dental Corps

The 92nd Division was in battle for 17 days

93rd Division, Provisional

185th Infantry Brigade

369th Infantry

370th Infantry

186th Infantry Brigade

371st Infantry

372nd Infantry

Some other examples of combat bravery: Captain Thomas E. Jones, Medical Corps attached to the 368th Infantry, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Binarville, France, September 27, 1918.  Captain Jones went into an open area subjected to direct machine gun fire to care for a wounded soldier who was being carried by another officer.  While dressing the wounded soldier, a machine gun bullet passed between his arms and chest and a man was killed within a few yards of him.”  He was from Washington, D.C.  Corporal Van Horton, 366th Infantry, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, “for extraordinary heroism in action near Lesseau, France, September 4, 1918.” Corporal Horton held his position, stopping a powerful enemy attack.  He was from Athens, AL.

Private Joe Williams, 366th Infantry, Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Lesseau, France.”  Private Williams, though wounded, held off an enemy attack with three other soldiers.  He was from  Octon, AL.

Private (later Sergeant) Roy A. Brown, 366th Infantry, Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Lesseau, France.  Private Brown, though wounded, held off an enemy attack with three other soldiers.  He was from Decatur, AL.

Private Ed Merrifield, 366th Infantry, Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Lesseau, France.”  Although severely wounded, Private Merrifield remained at his post and prevented the success of an enemy raid.  He was from Greenville, IL.

Private Alex Hammond, 366th Infantry, Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Lesseau, France.”  Although Private Hammond was severely wounded, he prevented a breakthrough by an enemy raid in force.  He was from Harvest, AL.

Private George Bell, 366th Infantry, Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Lesseau, France.”  Although Private Bell was severely wounded, he prevented a breakthrough by an enemy raid in force. He was from Athens, AL.

Private Will Clincy, Private 1st Class, 366th Infantry, Distinguished Service Cross “for extraordinary heroism in action near Frapelle, France, September 4, 1918.”  Private Clincy showed exceptional bravery during an enemy raid.  His teammate on an automatic rifle was mortally wounded and Clincy, although also wounded, continued to serve his weapon alone until the raid was driven back. He was from Birmingham, AL.

Twelve other African Americans were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award for combat bravery.

Sergeant Rufus Pinckney, 372nd Infantry was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for capturing fifteen Germans and saving a French officer’s life.

Other recipients of the Croix de Guerre included:

Private Ed Williams

Private Herbert Taylor

Private Leon Fraitor

Private Ralph Hawkins

Private H.D. Prunes

Sergeant D. Stormes

Private Arthur Menly  all of the 369th Infantry

*[Period references and period titles, especially of organizations which use terms not in common usage today were used in this section].

Bibliography

Congressional Medal of Honor, The Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal Issued by the War Department, April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1919; compiled in the Office of the Adjutant general of the Army, 1919.

Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War, American Expeditionary Forces – Divisions; Historical Section, Army War College, 1931.

92nd Division Summary of Operations in the World War; American Battle Monuments Commission, 1944.

93rd Division Summary of Operations in the World War; American Battle Monuments Commission, 1944.

The American Negro in the World War; Emmett J. Scott, 1919.

History of the American Negro in the Great World War; W. Allison Sweeney, 1919.

The Unknown Soldiers – African-American Troops in World War I; Arthur E. Barbeau & Florette Henri, 1974, 1996.

The Doughboy, Summer 1991, Volume 14., No. 1.

Across Continents and Cultures:  The Art and Life of Henry Ossawa Tanner; Dewey F. Mosby, 1995.

“African-American Artist and Soldier” by Walter Kudlick, Stand To!  The Journal of the Western Front Association, January 1997, No. 48.

United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919, 16 volumes; Historical Division, Department of the Army, 1948.

Personal Documents in the Archives of the Liberty Memorial Museum, Kansas City, MO.

 

A Little Political Science & History

I watched the attached video and had no problem whatsoever seeing the parallels and similarities between Mussolini and Hitler as compared to the rise of Donald Trump.

I’m not saying they are a perfect match or that the times are exactly the same. But, I do believe that Trump craves total control, has contempt for intellectuals, fears opposing political parties and ideologies, wouldn’t hesitate to stomp out the free press, curtail free speech, align himself with the military, and wouldn’t turn down an enabling act if offered one.

I don’t live my life in fear of Trump but I do keep aware of how close he comes to walking in the footpaths of Il Duce and the der Führer.

It’s Missing? WTF?

When I started college in the mid 1960s I decided I’d give accounting a try. After a couple of courses I discovered I had no propensity for the subject. I test drove a couple of other business courses before deciding I might be better suited for art and politics.

With this in mind you can imagine how stupefied I was in learning last evening that the US Department of Defense can’t account for $21 trillion dollars. Yeah, that’s trillion with a “T”.

Putting some perspective on this number just let me say that the entire federal government budget for 2017 was just a little over $4 trillion. The entire national debt is $19 trillion. It is estimated that the gross national product for the United States in 2018 will amount to $20 trillion. So, the DOD is missing more than the value of all goods and services produced in America during the current year.

Continue reading It’s Missing? WTF?

Is The AR-15 a Man Killer?

For several weeks now I’ve taken a serious look at the AR-15, trying to separate truth from fiction. The only truth I’ve found is that there is great disagreement. While the AR-15 is America’s favorite rifle there seems to be a wide diversity of opinion about its standard ammo, the .223 cartridge. I Googled the title of this post and saw lots of people claiming the .223 is not what our military should be taking into combat.

I read a statement from an Army sharpshooter about how many bullets it took to finally take an enemy soldier out. You’ll find lots of disagreement about the .223 being an effective bullet for deer hunting. You’ll also find some articles by ER and trauma doctors who have seen the damage up close and personal.

One trauma doctor said the damage done by a .223 looks like a bomb went off inside the victim’s body while being hit by a 9mm can seem to be not much more than a knife cut. What the .223 does to the body is caused by its velocity. As it travels through the body the bullet is traveling at such a high rate of speed it sends out a shock wave that compounds its effectiveness.

So while I don’t see any mechanical difference between a hundred year old semi-automatic rifle and the latest version of the AR, I do see a great difference in their respective ammunitions. I’ve said in other posts that while I’m not opposed to the AR I am opposed to any device that increases the number of rounds and the rate of fire. Maybe it’s time to consider the permitted velocity of civilian .223 ammo.

Click HERE for an informative article about the damage done by the .223 cartridge.

Ever see Chris Rock’s take on violence in the schools and gun control?

Trae Crowder on Arming Teachers & More

Many of you are familiar with Trae Crowder, The Liberal Redneck. He’s kind of a liberal version of Jeff Foxworthy except that he says “fuck” a lot. I find him funny and often dead on in his social and political rants. Here’s Trae’s most recent take on what happened in Florida and some of the solutions offered.

Teachers With Guns? WTF!

I just read an article in the Lexington Herald Leader about Pike County, KY’s school board authorizing qualified teachers with concealed carry permits. As a retired teacher I am very opposed to teachers taking on the added responsibility of armed guards. There are many things that I find abhorrent about this but nothing bothers me as much as the level of training, skill, and fitness needed for the task.

We’ve all seen enough TV news about our infantry troops training for urban warfare. These professionals spend months and years honing the tactical skills needed. They are also required to maintain the highest level of physical fitness. They have to be strong, agile, and fast of foot. They also have to make instant life and death decisions. These are things not often found in America’s army of mild-mannered schoolmarms. Before teaching I worked jobs that demanded physical strength and endurance. Once I entered the classroom, however,  I spent the next thirty years lifting sticks of chalk and passing out textbooks.

Think about the teachers you had in school and then go to YouTube and look at some videos about police and military tactical firearms training. Looking back over my career I can’t think of a single teacher, including myself, who should have been permitted to carry a weapon in the classroom.

A Bullet Ain’t Just a Bullet

Based on my assumption that there are less critics of a common and long existing .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle, like the one I gave my grandson, than of a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle that has been labeled an “assault” rifle, I’ve been doing a lot of research on where the truth lies and so far it remains elusive.

L-R: 9mm round, .22LR cal round, .223 AR-15 round

Yesterday my son dug through his junk box and came up with a couple of different sample rounds, a 9mm  and a .223. I searched and found a .22 hollow point.  As you can see in the photo I took the 9mm projectile is quite larger than the other two but the case of the .223 is much larger. The diameter of the .22 and the .223 are almost identical with the .223 projectile being somewhat longer and more aero-dynamically shaped. The cartridge case of the .22 is miniscule compared to the two other rounds.

So, what’s all this mean? It means my grandson’s .22 semi-automatic shoots a bullet almost identical to the military .223 used in an AR-15. The target is getting hit by about the same amount of metal. The 9mm bullet, being larger, will cut a larger hole in the target. In addition to the bullet size is the amount of gunpowder in the cartridge case, the more powder the faster and further the bullet will travel. And when it arrives at the target less energy will have been spent and the potential for damage increases. If the target is an animal or human the bullet may begin to tumble as it enters the body which could multiply the damages. Distance would also be a factor. On the assumption that the 9mm would be shot from a pistol distance would have a major influence on bullet’s potential. Being fired from a rifle the bullet could travel further before losing it’s ability to be effective.  In this comparison the .223 reigns supreme because of its speed or velocity.

While there is no end to the science behind ballistics and to the debate over which is the best ammo round. The one truth I understand is that every bullet has the potential to kill. Oh, and that includes a BB, “it will take your eye out!”