Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Remembering our heroes: Mize and Guarnere

“A nation reveals itself not only by the the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers…”
- President John F. Kennedy

Last week, America lost two outstanding warriors. Ola L. Mize, veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and Medal of Honor recipient, and William J. Guarnere, from the legendary “Band of Brothers” unit of World War II.

mizeAlabama native Ola Mize tried repeatedly to enlist in the Army, but at 120 pounds was told he was too small. He also had to trick his way past a vision test as he was also blind in one eye from a childhood accident. Eventually, the Army relented and he served in the 82nd Airborne, re-enlisting once the Korean War broke out.

On June 10, 1953, a battalion-sized force of Chinese troops attacked and overran Mize’s outpost. With his company officers dead or wounded, Mize organized a defense, dragged wounded to safety, and formed a patrol to fight the Chinese bunker to bunker – despite having been hit by grenade and artillery blasts multiple times. Fighting for hours – hand-to-hand at times – Mize killed several dozen enemy soldiers with his carbine and many more by calling in American artillery fire. His full citation can be read here.

Mize was one of only eight Americans of the original 56 to survive the attack on the outpost. Initially, he refused the Medal of Honor, but eventually accepted it on behalf of his men.

Following the Korean War, Mize earned his commission and served multiple tours in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group. He later founded the Combat Diver Qualification Course in Key West, Fla. and commanded the Special Forces School at Fort Bragg.

Col. Mize retired in 1981, having earned the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, five Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart. He passed away in his Gadsden, Ala. home on March 12 of lung cancer.

“Wild Bill”

guarnereWhen the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, William Guarnere dropped out of high school and went to work building Sherman tanks. His job was considered essential to the war effort, which allowed him to stay stateside. But he enlisted in the Army, and trained for the newly formed parachute infantry. He would be assigned to Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, which would be immortalized by historian Stephen Ambrose in the book “Band of Brothers.”

Guarnere’s oldest brother Harry was killed fighting the Germans at Monte Cassino, Italy, and William couldn’t wait to kill every German he could. His fierce fighting earned him the nickname “Wild Bill.” Guarnere parachuted into France prior to the D-Day invasion, and was platoon sergeant during a June 6 assault on German artillery at Brecourt Manor featured on “Band of Brothers” miniseries, for which he earned the Silver Star.

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Posted on March 17, 2014 at 09:31 by Chris Carter · Permalink · 3 Comments
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Medal of Honor recipient Walter Ehlers passes

Ehlers speaks at the 63rd anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, 2007. (Source Defense Visual Information Center)

Ehlers speaks at the 63rd anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, 2007. (Source Defense Visual Information Center)

Walter D. Ehlers, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient for the Normandy campaign, was laid to rest March 10 at Riverside (Calif.) National Cemetery.

Ehlers was born in Junction City, Ks. on May 7, 1921. He enlisted in the Army with his brother Roland and the two served together throughout the North Africa and Sicily campaigns, but anticipating high casualties, their company commander separated the brothers for the Normandy invasion due to fears that the two would perish together. Walter learned on June 14 that his brother perished when a mortar struck his landing craft at Omaha Beach on D-Day.

As Walter’s reconnaissance squad fought through France on June 9 and 10, he repeatedly moved far forward of his men, leading a bayonet charge and assaulting multiple heavily defended strongpoints – at times, single-handedly. While covering the withdrawal of his platoon from heavy fire, and despite being wounded himself, Ehlers crossed a killzone to retrieve his wounded automatic rifleman. Once his man was secured, he returned for the soldier’s weapon. His full citation can be read here.

He was wounded three more times as the First Infantry Division fought across Europe. In addition to his Medal of Honor and Purple Hearts, he also earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star. He served as a counselor for the Veterans Administration, and his son Walter Jr. retired as a lieutenant colonel, also having served with the First Infantry Division. Ehlers spoke at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion in 1994 and walked alongside President Bill Clinton on Omaha Beach.

Many who worked alongside Ehlers never knew he was a Medal of Honor recipient. “This was a man who was a warrior,” recalled former California governor Pete Wilson. “There’s no doubt about that, but this was also one of the most gentle, kindest, most modest human beings I’ve ever encountered.” Hundreds attended his funeral.

Of the 12 Medals of Honor awarded for Normandy, all but three were posthumous. With Ehlers’ passing, only 75 surviving Medal of Honor recipients remain. However, the Marine Corps Times reports that former Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter will receive the award for shielding his comrades from a grenade blast in Afghanistan back in 2010.

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 10:53 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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F-35 Aileron Roll

Lt. Col. Brent Reinhardt completes a 360-degree roll in F-35A AF-1 with a full weapon load during a test flight from Edwards AFB, California, on 10 January 2014. The photo is a composite of seventeen images taken during the 360-degree roll. (Photo by Matthew Short)

Lt. Col. Brent Reinhardt completes a 360-degree roll in F-35A AF-1 with a full weapon load during a test flight from Edwards AFB, California, on 10 January 2014. The photo is a composite of seventeen images taken during the 360-degree roll. (Photo by Matthew Short)

Posted on February 23, 2014 at 11:12 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Weekend Matinee: The battle for Mali

In 2012, Taureg rebels known as the  National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) fought a rebellion against the Mali government. NMLA forces drove the military from Northern Mali and unilaterally declared independence. The jihadist groups Ansar al-Din, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took advantage of the weakened political state in Northern Mali and quickly drove out MLNA forces, gaining control of Northern Mali.

Determined to deny an Islamist state at Europe’s doorstep, France launched Opération Serval in January, 2013, an operation to clear the jihadists from Mali. The French military, supported by forces from several nations, quickly repelled the jihadists. The video is a France2 documentary (English subtitles) featuring combat footage entirely shot by military cameras.

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 17:34 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Diamond formation

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE Neb.– The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels, an F-18 demonstration team, perform breathtaking stunts in their famous diamond formation on Aug. 29, 2008. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger)

More on the Blue Angels at the Center for American Military History.

Posted on June 28, 2013 at 08:36 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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June 26 in U.S. military history

Convair B-36A-1-CF (S/N 44-92004, the first -A model built) in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Convair B-36A-1-CF (S/N 44-92004, the first -A model built) in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)

1862: The Battle of Mechanicsville (Va.) — second of the Seven Days Battles — is fought between Union forces under the command of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan and Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter, and Confederates under Gen. Robert E. Lee. Though the Confederates suffer heavy losses in a series of futile attacks against Federal positions, Porter is forced to withdraw in the face of fresh Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

1948: A day after the Soviet Union blockades West Berlin, 32 U.S. C-47 cargo planes loaded with supplies takeoff on the first flight of the Berlin Airlift. Over 2 million tons of supplies are delivered during the 15-month operation.

Across the Atlantic, Strategic Air Command receives its first B-36A “Peacekeeper.” The six-engine strategic bomber is the world’s largest warplane and, with a range over 6,000 miles, is the first unrefueled intercontinental bomber.

1963: President John F. Kennedy proclaims, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” as a Cold War expression of America’s support for West Berlin following East Germany’s erecting the Berlin Wall.

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 11:40 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Military History

June 25 in U.S. military history

Colonel Lewis B. Puller, USMC. Studies the terrain before advancing to another enemy objective, during operations beyond Inchon, Korea, circa September 1950. He was in command of the Marine Regimental Combat Team One of the First Marine Division. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland, NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 93034.

Col. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, USMC, studies the terrain before advancing to another enemy objective, during operations beyond Inchon, Korea, circa September 1950. Puller was in command of the Marine Regimental Combat Team One of the First Marine Division. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute)

1917: The first convoy of troop transport ships carrying the American Expeditionary Force arrives in France. More than two million Americans will serve on the battlefields of Western Europe, and over 50,000 will lose their lives during World War I.

1876: A 3,000-strong Native American allied force led by Lakota chief Sitting Bull wipes out five companies of cavalry led by Lt. Col. George A. Custer near the Little Bighorn River in modern-day Montana.

1918: After what Gen. John J. Pershing called “the most considerable engagement American troops had ever had with a foreign enemy,” Marines finally secure Belleau Wood.

1950: North Korean infantry, tanks, and aircraft cross the 38th Parallel into South Korea, launching the Korean War.

1996: Islamists detonate a massive truck bomb outside the Khobar Towers near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American airmen and wounding hundreds more.

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 09:50 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Military History

Saturday matinee: Fort Eben-Emael

Following World War I, the Belgians built a system of fortifications – similar to France’s Maginot Line – surrounding Liège to prevent another German invasion. Fort Eben-Emael, the largest fortress ever built, anchored the network and was completed in 1935. Eben-Emael featured multiple 60, 75, and 120mm gun emplacements protected by armor plating and reinforced concrete as thick as 13 feet. Barbed wire, cliffs, anti-aircraft batteries, machine guns and additional – albeit smaller – fortifications in the surrounding area protected the underground fort.

As the Wermacht moved west toward France in May, 1940, the Germans had to capture the bridges spanning the Albert Canal intact (they were rigged to detonate), and the guns at Eben-Emael had to be neutralized.

With some 1,200 soldiers manning the technologically advanced fortress, defeating Eben-Emael would be extraordinary difficult. But Adolf Hitler himself figured that a few dozen engineers with specialized explosives landing directly on top of the structure could pull off the operation.

What followed was the world’s first combat glider landing and perhaps one of the most daring raids in military history.

Posted on June 22, 2013 at 13:41 by Chris Carter · Permalink · 2 Comments
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Expendable

not-optimal-casualtiesToday’s Democrat Party views the United States military as nothing more than a political tool to further their agenda. And after Benghazi we see that our troops and intelligence operators are expendable if Democrats think sacrificing them is in their best political interests.

But don’t take it from me; just look at what they do.

Instead of preserving the world’s most effective combat force, the Democrat Party views the U.S. military as a massive source of funding (defense budget cuts), an opportunity to shore up political support through social engineering (allowing openly gay service members), and a means to further their liberal internationalist agenda (so-called “Responsibility to Protect” operations like Libya).

They know that the military community tends to vote strongly Republican, which partly explains their open contempt of the men and women that serve in the Armed Forces – whether falsely labeling them cold-blooded murderers (Rep. John Murtha), comparing them to Nazis, KGB, and the Khmer Rouge (Sen. Dick Durbin), joking about their intelligence (Sec. John Kerry)… the examples of the Democrat Party’s distaste for the military could easily fill an entire article.

But throughout American history, our troops knew at least if they were wounded, in danger of being overrun, or even killed, our military will do everything in its power to get rescue or recover you.

No one gets left behind. At least that’s how it used to be.

That is, until Benghazi, which has become one of the most dishonorable events in American history. When our consulate was attacked and overran, President Obama left Americans to die. Any rescue attempt was cut off – not by our enemies, but by the Obama administration.

Even worse than the tragic and preventable deaths of four Americans, Washington’s reaction over the last eight months shows the utter disregard the Democrat Party and media have for not only the fallen, but for all of our troops and operators.

I am not saying that each and every Democrat politician wanted those men to die. But can you name any Democrat politician that has said we need to get to the bottom of Benghazi? Has any Democrat even so much as distanced themself from their party’s callous disregard for the fallen? Washington can say they support the troops all day, it’s time they show us how they support our troops.

Since day one, the Democrat Party – primarily the Obama administration – and their media allies have sought to make the story go away. Since that didn’t work, they have resorted to distracting the American people and redirecting the focus by claiming Republicans are only making this an issue for political gain.

Just imagine if your son or daughter was killed in the attack and politicians reacted by saying that anyone trying to find out answers was only using the tragedy for political leverage. That really says something about our nation when the majority party can shamelessly stoop so low – and get away with it.

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Environmental impact study

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II with the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., drops a AGM-65 Maverick missile during a close air support training mission Sept. 23, 2011, over the Nevada Test and Training Range.  U.S. Air Force Weapons School students participate in many combat training missions over  the NTTR during the six-month, graduate-level instructor course held at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman/Released)

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II with the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., drops a AGM-65 Maverick missile during a close air support training mission Sept. 23, 2011, over the Nevada Test and Training Range. U.S. Air Force Weapons School students participate in many combat training missions over the NTTR during the six-month, graduate-level instructor course held at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman/Released)

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 20:18 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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