Posted in Military History

This Week in American Military History

Better late than never…

Jan. 22, 1944: Allied forces, including the U.S. VI Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas (of Lt. Gen. Mark Clark’s Fifth Army), begin a series of landings along a stretch of western Italian coastline in the Anzio-Nettuno area. Codenamed Operation Shingle, the Allies achieve complete surprise against – and encounter little initial resistance from – the Germans. But the landings kick off what will become one of the most grueling campaigns of World War II.

Jan. 22, 1954: First Lady Mamie Eisenhower breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow of USS Nautilus in Groton, Connecticut, launching the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. The following year, Nautilus gets underway, begins breaking numerous sea-travel records, and becomes the first “ship” to cross the North Pole.

Jan. 22, 1969: Operation Dewey Canyon, the Marine Corps’ last major offensive of the Vietnam War, begins. Marines under the command of Col. Robert H. Barrow spent 56 days clearing out the North Vietnamese Army’s stronghold near the A Shau Valley.

Jan. 25, 1856: Marines and seamen from the sloop USS Decatur land at Seattle to protect settlers from an Indian attack. The Battle of Seattle lasted seven hours and the Indians suffered severe casualties, while only two settlers died.

Jan. 26, 1948: Pres. Harry S. Truman signs executive order 9981, which essentially directs the desegregation of the armed forces.

Jan. 27, 1837: U.S. soldiers and Marines under the command of Col. Archibald Henderson – a serving Marine Corps commandant – defeat a force of Seminole Indians in the running battle of Hatchee-Lustee Creek (Florida). For his actions, Henderson will receive a brevet promotion to brigadier general, becoming the Corps’ first general officer.

Jan. 27, 1862: Pres. Abraham Lincoln issues the first of two war orders. The first, General War Order No. One, directs U.S. Army and Naval forces to move “against the insurgent forces [of the Southern states].” In four days, Lincoln will issue Special War Order No. One, calling for an expeditionary force to seize and hold “a point” along the railroad southwest of Manassas Junction.

Jan. 27, 1942: The submarine USS Gudgeon sinks a Japanese submarine – becoming the first American sub to send an enemy warship to the bottom during World War II. Gudgeon also becomes the first sub to patrol Japanese waters. She will go on to rack up more than a dozen kills. She will conduct rescue missions and special operations. But in 1944, on her 12th patrol, she mysteriously disappears with all hands.

Jan. 27, 1943: American bombers – specifically B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators – of the U.S. Eighth Air Force strike German U-boat facilities at Wilhelmshaven. The bombing raid is the first U.S. Army Air Forces mission over Germany.

Jan. 28, 1915: Pres. Woodrow Wilson signs into law the congressionally approved merger of the “Life Saving” and “Revenue Cutter” services, thus establishing the U.S. Coast Guard. Still, the officially recognized birthday of the Coast Guard is Aug. 4, 1790, the day Congress approved Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s proposal to “build ten cutters to protect the new nation’s revenue.”

Adapted (and abridged) in part from “This Week in US Military History” by W. Thomas Smith Jr. at Human Events.

“This Week in US Military History” is a project of the Center for American Military History. See more or submit content here.

Posted in Images Military History

“Black Jack” Pershing awards MacArthur, Donovan the DSC duiring World War I

Gen. John J. Pershing (second from left) decorates Brig. Gen. Douglas MacArthur (third from left) with the Distinguished Service Cross. Maj. Gen. Charles T. Menoher (left) reads out the citation. Col. George E. Leach (fourth from left) and Col. William Joseph Donovan await their decorations. (US Army photo)
Posted in Articles

Leadership 101: Emotion and the Three M’s

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

The first article in our series – Leadership 101 – describes the series going forward, then touches on the five elements of the foundation upon which we build the leader from the ground-up (before getting into the fundamentals of leadership). If you’ve not read Leadership 101: Body, Mind, and Soul Required, I urge you to do so now at

Today we continue building the foundation. But we will also include some red-meat, right-now leadership tools because (despite our building) many of us are already leaders, and – as I learned years ago in U.S. Marine Corps boot camp – all of us may be thrust into leadership positions on a moments notice.

Let’s flash-review the five elements of the whole man (whole woman) that we must master as our basic building-blocks of sound leadership. My good friend, Mark Divine, a U.S. Navy SEAL Res. commander, refers to these five whole-man elements – (1) the physical body, (2) the mind or brain, (3) emotional awareness and control, (4) intuition, and (5) soul or spirit – as “the five mountains.”

(ref. SEALFIT Unbeatable Mind Academy

A lot has been said and written about the body-mind connection, so we won’t spend a great deal of time on the body or the mind right now except to say that a physically sound body and a physically sound mind (or brain) are critical to one’s quality of life.

This is straight out of my old Boy Scout handbook. We cannot take either the body or the mind for granted, though we all have at times in our lives. We have to eat right, exercise daily, and sleep for the body. And we must condition the mind through a mix of reading, instruction (which you are receiving right now), and problem solving. And we have to learn to embrace the connection between the body and the mind. More on this further in the series.

Today, let’s look more closely at the third element (or mountain) – emotional awareness and control.

Continue reading “Leadership 101: Emotion and the Three M’s”

Posted in Articles

Leadership 101: Body, Mind, and Soul Required

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Welcome to Leadership 101, a new feature here at Unto the Breach. I call it Leadership 101, because basic leadership is exactly what we are going to address – tackling the fundamentals of good leadership – but from a unique perspective. We’ll do it in such a way as to give you the tools needed to both ramp up your leadership skills (yes, seeing results immediately) and develop your leadership capabilities for the long haul. And we will do so no matter what your leadership experience and skill level may be.

This unique version of Leadership 101 is based on my own perspective, gleaned from other leaders (many of the world’s great masters of the art of leadership) as well as my own training and experience leading people. It is a perspective based on years of serving as a military (primarily small-unit infantry) leader and yes, a follower; learning from the best military leaders and counterterrorism experts in peace and in war; being a business, committee, and team leader; and – like most of us – having been thrust into unexpected (sometimes unwanted), immediate, temporary, varied positions of leadership at various evolutions throughout my life to this point.

As I told a group of cadets and midshipmen from West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy back in 2010; “Leadership – that sometimes vague, somewhat ambiguous magic of getting people to do what needs to be done – has been discussed, written about, and mused-over since armies first marched and navies first sailed, and every leader has tried to convince others that he or she has the perfect formula for that particular kind of magic.”

But far too often we are so focused on the so-called fast-track formulas and all the great soundbites associated with those formulas that we neglect or completely ignore the pure fundamentals necessary to good leadership, whether we are talking about military leadership or business leadership (both of which are related yet different, and we’ll discuss how in a future piece).

I’m not going to waste your time (or mine) with a bunch of feel-good nonsense about leadership. Nor will I attempt – like so many so-called experts – to wax philosophic about what leadership really is by talking over readers’ heads with clinical terms and jargony formulas.

This, you will discover, is red-meat, right-now leadership.

Let’s jump into it; first with the foundation (before we get to the fundamentals) because if we don’t have a foundation upon which to build the leader, the end result – no matter how good that result might look on paper or in person – might fail at the front, in the trenches, where the leader finds himself or herself struggling to make decisions in those terrible, unforgiving, high-stakes moments when direction is critically needed.

I will refer to this all-important foundation as simply the development of the whole man or whole woman. The idea being, you will never be a good leader if your own physical body and brain (including your intellectual capability and capacity), emotional state, intuition, and soul (spirit) are not first in order, and with each of the five living components working in concert with one another. And they will never be what they need to be – for you as a leader – if you neglect any one of them by wrongly convincing yourself that you are a good person with integrity.

You have to work at it, and it has to become a daily lifestyle thing.

Continue reading “Leadership 101: Body, Mind, and Soul Required”

Posted in Images Military

Unmanned helicopter makes first-ever combat delivery

CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan-A detachment of Marines from Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 in Afghanistan completed their first unmanned aerial system cargo delivery in a combat zone, Dec. 17. The unmanned helicopter moved about 3,500 pounds of food and supplies from Camp Dwyer to troops at Combat Outpost Payne. The helicopter, an unmanned variant of the K-MAX, completed the delivery in about an hour and a half. (USMC photo by Cpl. Justin M. Boling)