Category Archives: History

The Price of Hours

By lex, on November 13th, 2010

In August of 1942, Allied amphibious forces landed in strength upon Guadalcanal, sweeping aside a small Japanese defense and seizing the airfield under construction there. With the possession of the island and its airfield, the Allies could defend the supply lines between the US, Australia and New Zealand. From August to November, the Imperial Japanese Army made serial attempts to reinforce their scattered troops on the island and re-take the runway, but the presence of the so-called “Cactus Air Force” on the island prevented them from using expansive, but cumbersome troop ships. Such forces as could be landed from the Tokyo Express of cruisers and destroyers came ashore piecemeal, lacking logistical and heavy weapon support. The Japanese forces fought bravely under difficult conditions, but were repulsed again and again, often with shocking losses.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, History, Marines, Naval History, Navy, Neptunus Lex

Gotcha!

By lex, on October 19th, 2010

I don’t frankly carry any water for Christine O’Donnell, but I do wonder whether the media treatment on her “gotcha” moment debating Chris Coons today is entirely fair:

Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion.

The exchange came in a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, as O’Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons’ position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.

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Barry Sadler

BarrySadler

Michael Lochs Archive / Getty Images 

 

Interesting background of the man who wrote what became the theme song for the U.S. Army Special Forces, and how it affected him. 

” “The Ballad of the Green Berets” is very much alive today, more than 50 years after its sensational birth. It’s the theme song for the U.S. Army Special Forces, is played for Special Forces trainees at Fort Bragg and is heard at every Special Forces reunion and at more than one Green Beret’s funeral. “The Ballad” also was the only notable and popular pro-military song to come out of the entire Vietnam War. It made Sadler one of the most famous Americans who served in that controversial war. And yet “The Ballad of the Green Berets” all but destroyed the man who created it.” 

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An Unwritten Book

101stAirborne

I have thought often of how many people have magnificent stories that stay hidden. Since my father died, my mother and I talk more. As a young woman she was in Manhattan during V-E Day – at Times Square. (the famous Alfred Eisenstadt picture Lex referred to  was during V-J Day).

My mother was in Washington DC during that day.

Anyway, today I am at the In-N-Out hamburger place and see an elderly man with a 101st Airborne cap. So I have to ask him where he served.

“I jumped into Holland”

At Arnhem?, I asked.

“Yes”

“Then  I was at Bastogne in 1944″. It was 11 below zero. ”

He was one to the defenders at the Battle of the Bulge!

He is a true hero…

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This Day

By lex, on September 11th, 2010

ThisDay

Asleep in my rack onboard the USS Constellation – “America’s Flagship.” We’re about two days out of Hawaii on the way home to San Diego at the end of a six month deployment. What we used to call, in those days, a “combat deployment.” We’d stopped off in Hawaii to drop off about 500 sailors and pick up perhaps twice as many “Tigers” – sons and daughters, fathers and cousins, brothers and sisters – who would ride the ship home with us, who would experience “life in the Navy” for four days.

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Woefully Ignorant

By lex, on September 3rd, 2009

Glenn Greewald (et al.) may or may not be an exceptional constitutional lawyer – I’m ill equipped to judge – but he really ought to steer clear of military history. The leading sentence to his most recent jeremiad * really says it all:

There was a time, not all that long ago, when the U.S. pretended that it viewed war only as a “last resort,” something to be used only when absolutely necessary to defend the country against imminent threats.

I’m trying to imagine what era Greenwald is thinking of: Our revolution was a war of choice, with one-third of the country in arms against tyranny, one-third supporting the ancien regime, and the remainder more or less on the sidelines as interested observers.

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Connecting The Dots

FallSaigon

Image by © Francoise de Mulder/CORBIS

H/T for ORPO1 for reminding me but it was another April in 1975 when the North Vietnamese invaded the South, violating the 1973 Paris Peace Accords of which they were a signatory.

It would certainly take more than 1 blog post to detail what when wrong in South Vietnam, but certainly at the top of it would be the micromanaging of the bombing in the North by Lyndon Johnson, who bragged that “Those boys can’t hit an outhouse without my permission” . That and the fact that there was no military strategy to winning other than “containing communism”

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