Category Archives: Patriotism

On patriotism

By lex, on June 19th, 2006

Something ASM826 wrote in comments the other day, and inspired by the latest bit of insipidity set loose upon an amazed and often embarrassed world set me to thinking:

I have been thinking about this interview since I read about it a few days ago. Patriotism is not a uniquely American trait. Others have held it. It makes the most sense when there is a clash between societies and someone believes that theirs is the superior.

For example: Winston Churchill was questioned by cabinet about negotiating a settlement with Nazi Germany, and his reply was, “ if this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

Not much question where he stood, eh? No matter what problems his country had, compared with the alternative he thought Britain was better. Not much question where U.S. patriots stand, either. This country is better. The things we share and believe are better. Even our problems are better.

Flying the flag, loving my country, and feeling contempt for people who can, see the obvious value of the things that I love about the United States isn, pandering. It’s my personal response, welling up out of who I am.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Patriotism, Uncategorized

Kids!

Spent thousands of days/nights in hotels over the years hauling the freight in the purple jets. Always, always dreaded the hotels packed with high school kids attending some big function.

This video redeems them all. There is hope that our next generation gets it.

Warning: you might mist up just a little bit.

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Filed under Freedom!, Patriotism, Really Good Stuff, Uncategorized

Shadow Gallery, The Art of Intelligence

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Guns.com has an interesting article on the CIA’s once secret art collection that detailed its Operations in World War 2, the Cold War and the GWOT:

Everything the CIA touches becomes shrouded in mystery, including their “Intelligence Art Collection.” While most people don’t have access to the paintings and sculptures inside the CIA, the Southern Museum of Flight in Alabama is open to the public and displays replicas in their exhibit called “Shadow Gallery, The Art of Intelligence,”

The boing boing article goes on the say that the art collection is also available for viewing online at the CIAs website.

Other than the painting above heres another on of my favorites:

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The painting is called “Seven Days in the Arctic:

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed for every advantage, including study of the Arctic for its strategic value. For seven days in May 1962, under Project COLDFEET, the US Intelligence Community pursued an opportunity to collect intelligence from an abandoned Soviet drift station on a floating ice island deep in the Arctic. The Soviets had hastily evacuated the station when shifting ice made its aircraft runway unusable, abandoning the remote base and its equipment and research materials. Upon discovering that the station had been abandoned, the Intelligence Community formed a team of officers from the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the US Air Force, and the CIA to develop a plan conceived by US Navy Lt.(jg) Leonard LeSchack, to parachute specialists on to the site and retrieve them using a unique airborne pickup device, Robert Fulton’s Skyhook. The Skyhook was an adaptation of devices Great Britain and the United States had used in the 1940s and early 1950s to allow fixed-wing aircraft to pick up people or objects from the ground without landing. Fulton’s device had been tested, but it had never been used operationally.

COLDFEET came to life on 28 May, when LeSchack and Air Force Major James F. Smith were dropped on to the abandoned post from a B-17. The plane belonged to CIA proprietary Intermountain Aviation and was flown by the company’s pilots, Connie Seigrist and Doug Price, accompanied by a polar navigator borrowed from Pan American Airlines and other Intermountain crew members to operate the recovery equipment. On 2 June, under extremely difficult conditions caused by poor visibility and high winds, the B-17 returned to make three successful passes with the Skyhook to collect the men and the Soviet material they had retrieved. The mission yielded information on the Soviet Union’s Arctic research activities, including evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice US submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.

The painting’s unveiling at CIA headquarters on 21 April 2008 and the ceremony honoring COLDFEET participants brought team members together for the first time in 46 years. Many of the family members who joined them had never been to CIA Headquarters, let alone heard of the contributions their relatives had made in an extraordinarily challenging Cold War mission.

I had never heard of Project COLDFEET:

What became known as Operation Coldfeet began in May 1961, when a naval aircraft flying an aeromagnetic survey over the Arctic Ocean reported sighting an abandoned Soviet drift station. A few days later, the Soviets announced that they had been forced to leave Station NP 9 (a different station, NP 8 ended up being the target) when the ice runway used to supply it had been destroyed by a pressure ridge,[1] and it was assumed that it would be crushed in the Arctic Ocean.[2]
The prospect of examining an abandoned Soviet ice station attracted the interest of the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research. The previous year, ONR had set an acoustical surveillance network on a U.S. drift station used to monitor Soviet submarines. ONR assumed that the Soviets would have a similar system to keep track of American submarines as they transited the polar ice pack, but there was no direct evidence to support this. Also, ONR wanted to compare Soviet efforts on drift stations with U.S. operations. The problem was how to get to NP 9. It was far too deep into the ice pack to be reached by an icebreaker, and it was out of helicopter range.
To Captain John Cadwalader, who would command Operation Coldfeet, it looked like “a wonderful opportunity” to make use of the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. Following a recommendation by Dr. Max Britton, head of the Arctic program in the Geography Branch of ONR, Rear Admiral L. D. Coates, Chief of Naval Research, authorized preliminary planning for the mission while he sought final approval from the Chief of Naval Operations. The mission was scheduled for September 1961, a time of good weather and ample daylight. NP 9 would be within 600 miles (970 km) of the U.S. Air Force base at Thule, Greenland, the planned launching point for the operation.
ONR selected two highly qualified investigators for the ground assignment. Major James Smith, USAF, was an experienced paratrooper and Russian linguist who had served on U.S. Drift Stations Alpha and Charlie. Lieutenant Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR, a former Antarctic geophysicist, had set up the surveillance system on T-3 in 1960. Although not jump qualified, he quickly went through the Navy parachuting course at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey. During the summer, the two men trained on the Fulton retrieval system, working in Maryland with an experienced P2V Neptune crew at the Naval Air Test Center at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
Because formal clearance had arrived too late and NP 9 had drifted too far away, the project was put on hold, but in March 1962 news came forward that another ice station (NP 8) had also been abandoned, which was in reach from Canadian airfields. As NP 8 also was a more up-to-date facility than NP 9, the project’s target was shifted to NP 8.[1]
On 28 May 1962, a converted CIA B-17 Flying Fortress 44-85531, registered as N809Z,[3] piloted by Connie Seigrist and Douglas Price dropped both men by parachute on NP 8. On 1 June, Seigrist and Price returned and a pick-up was made of the Soviet equipment that had been gathered and of both men, using a Fulton Skyhook system installed on the B-17. This mission required the use of three separate extractions—first for the Soviet equipment, then of LeSchack and finally of Smith.[2]
Operation Coldfeet was a success. The mission yielded information on the Soviet Union’s Arctic research activities, including evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice U.S. submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.[2]

It’s a rather small collection that’s available for online viewing but it gives glimpse into some interesting history.

The painting I’d REALLY love to see is the one about Project AZORIAN.

Looks like there’s going to have to a trip to the Southern Museum of Flight to see other paintings in the collection.

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Filed under Freedom!, Good Stuff, GWOT, Heroes Among Us, History, Patriotism

Pritzker Military Museum and Library

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What formerly known as the Pritzker Military Library, (as part of it’s 10th anniversary comemoration) has changed it’s name to the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. As such, the website is now:

http://www.pritzkermilitary.org/

The name change is to reflect that the Library is in fact, more than a library.

The Museum’s mission statement from the website:

Our Mission

The Mission of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library is to acquire and maintain an accessible collection of materials and to develop appropriate programs focusing on the Citizen Soldier in the preservation of democracy.

Why a Military Library?

Colonel J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), founder of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, assembled a major collection of books and related materials on military history, with a particular focus on the concept of the Citizen Soldier in America. Today, building upon that foundation through the generosity of private donors, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library has become a non-partisan research organization that attempts to increase the public understanding of military history and the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served.

In a democratic society, it is important for people of all viewpoints to have an open, public forum to discuss the past, present, and future of the military. Through its collection and its programs, the Museum & Library is dedicated to serving as a forum for those discussions and preserving them for future generations. Since opening in 2003, the Museum & Library has hosted more than 400 events featuring the country’s most acclaimed authors, historians, journalists, and scholars.

At the website, you can take a look at the Museum itself, take a look at some of the digitized books and art, use a searchable Library catalog, and see an overview of some of the Museum’s exhibits. There’s also an online store where some items are available for purchase. You’ll be able to see what’s going on at the Library, including author and speaker lectures.  These speaker and author lectures are also available as podcasts and webcasts.

The Museum’s Veteran’s Information Center also has a wide range of resources (everything from education and employment to health care information) available for veterans and active duty military personnel.

If you happen to make it to Chicago, I encourage you to visit the Museum (I’m also a member). Admission is free for active duty personnel with an ID.

Also, make sure that you sign up for emails to get the latest on news and events at the Museum (which will also periodically appear here).

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Filed under Good Stuff, Heroes Among Us, History, Patriotism, Remember

Frederick Von Stuben’s NCO “Blue Book.”

You never know what you’re going to run into at the Pritzker Military Library. I’ve been a member now for just under a year and I’m usually there weekly doing research on something for the blog.

Last night was a new member tour and I happened to run into this:

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That’s Fredrick Von Stuben’s NCO “Blue Book.” Published in 1779 (I think) this is one of 3 copies in existence.

Go to Army.mil to find out the rest.

In 1779, Von Steuben’s publication, “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States,” was ready to be printed. Due to the war, however, there was a scarcity of paper. The first printer decided to bind the book with the blue paper he had on hand. This is how the book got the nickname: The Blue Book. In March of 1779, Congress endorsed it and ordered it to be used throughout the Army. Many of the state militias also adopted the Blue Book. In 1792, Washington pushed through the Uniformed Militia Act, which included the use of Von Steuben’s regulations.

Each respective owner has signed the book as it’s passed on to the next. This copy is available for viewing in the rare book room at the Pritzker Military Library in beautiful downtown Chicago, IL. There are other interesting things here in addition the huge military book collection.

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Filed under History, Patriotism, Perspective

Patriot’s Day

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Concord Hymn
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Patriots’ Day is a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine, where state, county, and municipal offices are closed. This day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775 on the 19th of April. Patriot’s Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

US Navy Jeep has a nice article here concerning this very New England holiday. In that article the author, Bob Reed, poses the following:

The Declaration of Independence would not be written for more than a year, but the mistreatment of the colonists by the British crown had led them to desperation. Actions like this embody the patriotism and resolve of our early forebears. And they lead one to wonder how Americans of today would react to conditions similar to those of the colonists.

The British Army is not marching on Concord to seize our powder and shot. It is not the British Crown demanding that we pay ever increasing taxes on everything. It is not the British Parliament proposing new laws and restrictions on our freedoms. No, it is Progressive Elements within our own state legislatures and the Federal Government doing these things. And we put them there!

What do we do now America?

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Pritzker Military Library American Icons Of The Great War

As some of you may or may not know I’m a member of the Pritzker Military Library and the Membership Director for the Library’s Young Professional Association.

On Thursday, April 18th we will be hosting an exhibit opening called “American Icons of the Great War.”

American Icons of the Great War includes some of the United States’ most iconic images that emerged from the propaganda posters created during World War I (1914-1918). Using original posters from the era, the exhibit shows how these artists utilized well known symbols to rally the United States behind the war effort.

The link for the event is here.

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I’m one of the few Lexicans that lives in Chicago but if you do, I’d be honored if you would attend. If you don’t and know someone that lives in the area please feel free to pass the word along. We also accept donations and those proceeds will to go programs to assist us in veteran outreach.

Thank you.

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Filed under Freedom!, Heroes Among Us, History, Lexicans, Other Stuff, Patriotism, Valor