Posted in Military History

Robert Howard’s Medal of Honor and the Birth of the SEALs

In W. Thomas Smith, Jr.‘s latest article in his “This Week in American Military History” series at Human Events today, Smith writes about the late Colonel Robert Howard’s actions that earned the Medal of Honor in Dec. 30-31, 1968. Amazingly, Howard had been nominated for the nation’s highest decoration twice before within the last year.

U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Sergeant First Class Robert L. Howard is operating deep in the South Vietnamese backcountry (some sources say Cambodia) when suddenly his 40-man hatchet platoon is attacked by a force of some 250 North Vietnamese soldiers.

As the attack unfolds, Howard and his lieutenant are struck by an exploding claymore. Howard is knocked unconscious. He comes to, but with blood in his eyes, he initially believes he has been blinded. Momentarily he can see, but he quickly realizes his body is riddled with shrapnel, his weapon is destroyed, and the enemy is all around him.

Howard manages to toss a grenade at an enemy soldier who is burning the bodies of Howard’s dead comrades with a flamethrower. Howard then crawls under heavy fire to his wounded lieutenant, and drags the officer toward a position of relative safety. Howard survives a second blast when his lieutenant’s ammunition pouch is struck and detonates. Despite his shredded hands, Howard manages to shoot several enemy soldiers with a pistol. He is then shot in the foot and no longer able to walk. Nevertheless, he organizes what’s left of the platoon into a defensive position, then crawls from one man to the next, tending to the wounded and dying, shouting encouragement to the living and fighting, and directing airstrikes on the attacking enemy. Though surrounded, Howard successfully repels attack-after-attack, saves his platoon, and ultimately receives the Medal of Honor.

Retired as a colonel in 1992, Howard is the only soldier to be nominated three times for the Medal of Honor for three separate actions over a period of just over a year.

Unfortunately, Col. Howard passed away last month. He was a great man – the 70 year-old found time to visit U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere this past year. I was looking forward to meeting him in the upcoming Medal of Honor convention in South Carolina this September.

Also Smith writes that SEAL Teams One (Coronado, Calif.) and Two (Little Creek, Va.) were established on Jan.1, 1962 to the horror of Communists and evil-doers worldwide.

[Originally published at Blackfive]

Posted in Military Religion

Retired General: Fort Hood attacker was “terrorist”

One of the nation’s most elite soldiers is not willing to pull any punches when it comes to Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan, the perpetrator of the most deadly attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

“He’s a terrorist,” Jerry Boykin stated in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Boykin is a retired U.S. Army three-star general, one of the original members of Delta Force, and former commander of U.S. Army Special Forces.

While that may be quite obvious to many who understand the actual definition of terrorism and the threat of jihad under Shariah law, the fact is avoided at all costs by the military, government, and media.

Gen. Boykin also placed the blame on military leadership for allowing a “jihadist” to openly serve in the armed forces, and admitted that the media is persecuting Christians.

“I think everybody in America realizes that the persecution of Christians is acceptable in our society today by both the leadership and the media, but no one wants to offend a Muslim.”

Boykin should know: while the Army allowed a jihadist to continue serving in the same branch of the military, they terminated Gen. Boykin’s career when he began making statements related to religion regarding Islam and the “War on Terror.”

Posted in Military

The Battle of Debecka Pass

With all of the bad news from Afghanistan, it’s nice to hear stories about the military in the good old days. You know, when Washington allowed our military to kill the bad guys in old-fashioned conventional warfare.

On the 17th day of the Iraq War, 26 Army SF soldiers, along with three Air Force combat controllers, two intelligence operators, and 80 Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) faced off and beat down Iraqi tanks, APCs, and hundreds of infantry in the Battle of Debecka Pass.

I will update ASAP, but in the meantime, The New York Times actually has a pretty decent account of the battle.


Posted in Military

Robin Sage begins

A U.S. Army Special Forces student, and role players simulating guerilla fighters, conduct pre-mission rehearsals during an iteration of Robin Sage, the culmination exercise for the Special Forces Qualification Course taught by the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne). (Photo courtesy of USASOC Public Affairs)
A U.S. Army Special Forces student, and role players simulating guerilla fighters, conduct pre-mission rehearsals during an iteration of Robin Sage, the culmination exercise for the Special Forces Qualification Course taught by the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne). (Photo courtesy of USASOC Public Affairs)

The year-long Special Forces Qualification Course for prospective Army Special Forces Soldiers culminates today with the ‘Robin Sage’ exercise. The grueling training course set in the woods and towns of North Carolina will last until Sept. 25.

From a USASOC press release:

Robin Sage is conducted eight times annually and has been effectively training students for more than 50 years by the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne). Robin Sage is designed to provide realistic training in unconventional warfare tactics and techniques. It is the final test of skills learned over the past 12-15 months in the Special Forces Qualification Course.

During the exercise, 8,500 square miles of central North Carolina becomes the Republic of Pineland. Over 1,000 people consisting of instructors, students, volunteers, civilian authorities and the citizens from the area participate. Local citizens portray natives and auxiliary forces while additional service members role-play opposing and guerrilla forces to depict a realistic unconventional warfare environment.

Posted in Military History

Military Milestones from the Boston Massacre to a Green Beret Ballad

By W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

Originally published at Human Events

This Week in American Military History:

Mar. 2, 1943: Elements of the U.S. Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force intercept and all-but-destroy an entire Japanese troop-transport convoy in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Several enemy ships, scores of enemy aircraft, and thousands of enemy soldiers will be sent to the bottom. Gen. Douglas MacArthur will remark that Bismarck Sea “cannot fail to go down in history as one of the most complete and annihilating combats of all time.” Japanese Navy Capt. Tameichi Hara will refer to the battle as “shocking” and “unbelievable.”

Mar. 3, 1776: A force of 250 Continental Marines and sailors under the command of Marine Capt. (future major) Samuel Nicholas land on New Providence in the British-held Bahamas and quickly seize Fort Montague in the first amphibious operation in American military history. The landing — largely unopposed (the British garrison spiking their own guns and fleeing) — nets for the Americans much-needed powder, shot, nearly 50 serviceable cannon, and a few mortars.

Continue reading “Military Milestones from the Boston Massacre to a Green Beret Ballad”