By lex, on December 30th, 2010
On 30 June 1950, an understrength and under-equipped battalion of 430 infantrymen, along with a 134-man artillery detachment – together known as Task Force Smith – left their cozy garrisons in occupied Japan to reinforce the line in Osan, Korea. The occupation forces sent to oppose the North Korean blitz were not the same battle hardened soldiers that had driven through Europe and across the Pacific 5 years earlier. Their training in combined arms action had been perfunctory. They faced over 30 tanks and 5000 DPRK regulars – two full infantry regiments. When the North Koreans hit them – hard – they fought as well as any men might under such circumstances before they were nearly enveloped. After three and a half hours of sustained combat, low on ammunition and with their communications cut-off, they were forced to withdraw. One isolated platoon was even forced to leave behind its equipment, their dead and even some of their more seriously wounded comrades. With characteristic magnanimity, the victorious North Korean soldiers bound the survivors hands behind their backs and shot each of them once with a bullet to the back of the head.
This wasn’t the war that they had trained for.
By lex, on November 27th, 2010
It’s my secret belief – well, now it’s out in the open – that many of the readers here watched the HBO miniseries, “Band of Brothers.” Among that number, no few read Stephen Ambrose’s book of the same name. Over the course of the miniseries we invited a company of World War II dogfaces who helped liberate Europe into our room week after week. If like me, you bought the DVD collection, maybe night after night. We got to know and appreciate the humor and sturdy courage of soldiers Guarneres, Toye, Effron, Liebgott and Malarkey. We appreciated the quiet professionalism of Sergeant Talbert. We nurtured a congenial contempt for Captain Sobel, who forged the soldiers and officers of Easy Company into a hardened fighting force, but was too pursued by his own demons and incompetency to lead them.
By lex, on November 20th, 2010
Everybody’s getting into it:
By lex, on July 16th, 2009
When I was a youngster midshipman, I had the opportunity to exchange pleasantries with a World War II veteran that had sailed his submarine into Tokyo Bay, leaving havoc in his wake.
“How many ladies d’ye have at the Naval Academy these days, boy?” asked the old coot with a gleam in his eye.
By lex, on October 21st, 2010
You’ve got to admire it:**
Posted on December 7, 2005
It was a long time ago, now.
But never forget:
When a West Coast ship enters Pearl Harbor, as it inevitably will either going to, or returning from a forward deployment, the ship will “man rails” on either side of the ship and “render honors” to the USS Arizona as they pass.
Sometimes an old salt will look at the young Sailors coming into the Navy and breathe a soft sigh of despair – many of them are so very different from those of us whom they will replace. But when you see them fight for a spot up on the steaming flight deck inbound to the harbor, when you see them compete with the embarked Marines for sharpness of dress and military bearing, when you see them stand at attention and present-arms with ramrod stiff postures and deadly seriousness in their eyes, you know: It’s going to be OK.
Back To The Index
By lex, on October 16th, 2010
Looks like, after being left to dangle for the length of a book, Dutch politician Geert Wilders is going to get a pass: