Memorial Day Messages

By lex, on May 28th, 2011

From the Chairman:

Back at Dover, the pitch-black night begins to yield to dawn, and the ramp lights fade behind a persistent mist. The flag-draped caskets are gone, and those in mourning retreat for a few short hours of rest before continuing their final journey home with their fallen loved one.

Nevertheless, the sun will soon rise. A new day will begin.

And on that day, troops will still be deployed around the world, still defending all of us. Sadly, some will come home to Dover, others to Bethesda and Walter Reed.

On Memorial Day, we pause to honor those who selflessly gave all to their nation. As we do so, we must also keep faith with our Wounded Warriors, forever support our Gold Star Families, and stand alongside those who still wait for the missing.

It is these efforts — not only on Memorial Day but every day — that truly make us a people worthy of their sacrifice.

From CNO:

While our sailors continue to make extraordinary contributions across the globe, it falls to us to ensure their personal sacrifices are not overlooked. This is why our Navy remains committed to support for those who have been wounded and the families of those who have given their lives, with the very best care our Nation can provide. This is why we prioritize family readiness and quality of life through housing, child and youth services, and education. And this is why we must not waiver in our commitment to provide sailors with the tools they need to perform the many missions we will ask of them.

It is my greatest privilege to lead the finest sailors in the history of our Navy – these distinguished Americans, these “fortunate few” answer the call to serve. In tribute today I ask you to join me in remembering, thanking and taking action on behalf of those who sail the oceans, serve on land and patrol the skies in the greatest traditions of the U.S. Navy and in the best interests of America’s future security and prosperity.

From the Commandant:

Our nation places our freedoms and hopes for a more peaceful world on the shoulders of these brave, young men and women who serve without complaint in dangerous places far from home. Our Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, coast guardsmen and military families have been tested over this past decade at war, and they have measured up in every regard and been equal to every challenge. They have kept faith with their oath to defend the American people, and it is our duty as a nation to honor their sacrifices and keep faith with these noble warriors and their families — especially those who have been injured or fallen in combat. These young heroes represent the highest qualities of service to our nation and to its people. Let their example remind us all of what it means to be truly selfless and just how much the human spirit can endure, accomplish and overcome.

From a writer:

On Memorial Day, we pause at the graves of lost soldiers and make speeches that sometimes open to view the heartbreak and love that are their last traces. But this is not enough, because they do not hear, and because those who will have followed in the years to come will not hear. Love is not enough, rationalization not enough, commemoration a thin and insufficient offering. The only just memorial to those who went forth and died for us, and who therefore question us eternally, cannot be of stone or steel or time set aside for speeches and picnics.

We should offer instead a memorial, never ending, of probity and preparation, shared sacrifice, continuing resolve, and the clarity the nation once had in regard to how, where, when, and when not to go to war. This is the least we can do both for America and for the troops we dispatch into worlds of sorrow and death.

Amen.

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Roommates

By lex, on May 28th, 2011

Travis Manion and Brendan Looney were roommates at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Rugged athletes who wanted into the fight, shared private jokes, intermingled their families. They were both killed, separately, fighting the nation’s wars  – Travis as an officer of Marines who died exposing himself to sniper fire while coming to the aid of wounded comrades in Iraq, Navy SEAL Brendan in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Separated in life, they now lie united again in death, interred side by side at Arlington National Cemetery:

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So Far, A Balanced Documentary

Vietnam

 

I was among the last of the draftees to be inducted during Vietnam.

September, 1972, which was the 2nd to last group to be drafted. December was the last group.

I can remember getting up at 04:00 with my father taking taking me to the pickup point for the bus to take us to the induction center in Oakland.   Those of us going had to wade though 100s of protesters all chanting that we didn’t have to go.

But we went.

In a bit of bureaucratic irony the Army ended up sending me to Germany, but for the intervening 45 years (this month) I’ve had my own thoughts on the subject.

I believe that this is a subject that will forever divide my generation, the effects which are still around today.

It is a subject that has been difficult not to politicize, so I started watching the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam with some trepidation.

Having just finished the 2nd episode, I have to say so far I have been pleasantly surprised.

Episode 1 dealt with the end of WW2, the French trying to reassert their rule in the area, and the rise of the Viet Minh.

Episode 2 tonight took us through 1963, and the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. At the age of 13, I remembered the circumstances, but I got a lot of background added this evening.

If you can see it, I’d recommend it.

I’ll be interested how they cover the Tet offensive in 1968.

So far the program seems to present the history in an objective manner.

On your PBS station.

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Guest Post: David

By lex, on May 28th, 2011

In honor of this weekend, a former shipmate and respected mentor sent me a note that he authorized me to share. It’s a good one.–

In May of 2001, I was serving on the Navy Staff and, in addition to my regular duties, was part of the rotation of Navy Captains on call for special events. As luck would have it, my number came up to be part of the Navy contingent at the Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery on May 28th, 2001.

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Nostalgia Day

By lex, on May 26th, 2011

Today seems to be  a day of remembrances. Quite out of the blue I got a note from an old shipmate who’s beginning a book project on the last deployment of USS Constellation. My ship. He wanted to touch base for an interview, gather some reflections from those aboard her.

He also attached an email I wrote to my officers and chiefs on my last day aboard. It’s nice that he kept it, I’m not very good at holding on to such things.

CONSTELLATION was my first ship. Tomorrow is my last day aboard Connie, at least as a member of her company. After tomorrow, I will be a guest, someone you used to know, who used to be a part of you.

I may not get the opportunity to say farewell to each of you in person tomorrow, so please forgive me if this seems too impersonal. I just want to say that it has been an incredibly positive experience working with such an outstanding group of professionals.

Your focus, energy and enthusiasm were remarkable to observe.

A warship never sleeps – there are always people on watch, keeping her safe, keeping all of us safe: the ship is, in a sense, alive. Her people give her life.

You made this ship a living thing, working her decks and spaces. You lightened it with laughter, and freighted it with consequence to our country’s enemies. This ship lived fast, and it lived hard, like it meant business, like it knew that what we were doing was too important for half measures. We trained hard, fought hard and played hard, because of your work and that of our CPO’s and Sailors. And we did great things, with style – flawless execution was the standard expectation.

Life is very much more about what you accomplish than what you acquire. I hope you are as proud of what we accomplished together, as I am to have been a part of it.

My very best wishes to everyone. I will not miss all of this, but I will miss all of you. Maybe we’ll meet again in the fleet. Until then, farewell, and following seas.

Very Respectfully,

Commander, United States Navy

Operations Officer

USS Constellation CV-64

I meant it, too.

Still do.

 

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29 Years

By lex, on May 26th, 2011

It was 29 years ago today that the sh!t hit the fleet: The USNA Class of 1982 tossed their hats in the air and exchanged a thin gold strip on their shoulder boards for a single fat one (the Marines pinned on a butterbar). As I have mentioned before, that was a very happy ending to an arduous four years. Perhaps it was only me, but when those hats came clattering back down on our upturned heads again, I had a premonition that life going forward would be a different kind of hard.

Those were leaner years, as I was painfully reminded from page 105 of the current issue of Shipmate magazine, the Boat School’s alumni rag.

29 Years

That was a good day.

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A French Soldier’s View of US Soldiers in Afghanistan

Read the story at this link

http://inmilitary.com/a-french-soldiers-view-of-us-soldiers-in-afghanistan/?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=link&utm_content=Outbrain_IM_September2017_A_Frenchs_Soldiers_View_of_US_Soldiers_in_Afghanistan&utm_campaign=Blog%20-%20In%20Military%20-%20LT%20-%20AMU

 

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