July 13 in U.S. military history

1861: Following their victory in the Battle of Rich Mountain in western Virginia two days ago, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan catch the fleeing Confederates at Cheat River. Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett, commanding the Confederate troops, is killed, becoming the first general killed in the Civil War.

The victory at Corrick’s Ford marks the high point of McClellan’s career, as his inflated accomplishment makes him a national hero – he will become general-in-chief of the Union army – and sets in motion the creation of West Virginia.

1863: In New York City, residents kick off three days of violent riots against the draft – perhaps the worst riot in American history. Firemen are attacked and their equipment destroyed, and the outnumbered police officers can’t control the huge crowd. Soldiers are ordered to New York City, many of whom fought days ago at Gettysburg, and by the time order is restored, 4,000 troops occupy the city. Hundreds of citizens are dead, thousands wounded, and dozens of buildings are burned.

1943: Allied and Japanese ships clash in the Solomon Islands during the Battle of Kolombangara. The force had just landed Marine Raiders on New Georgia and the Japanese intended to land reinforcements, but are driven off after a brief nighttime engagement. Heavy gunfire and torpedoes sink the Japanese light cruiser Jintsu, taking almost the entire crew with her. Japanese torpedoes sink the destroyer USS Gwin (DD-443), and heavily damage three other cruisers.

1985: Vice President – and former TBM “Avenger” torpedo bomber pilot during World War II – George H.W. Bush becomes Acting President for the Day when Pres. Ronald Reagan undergoes surgery.

2008: At 4a.m., over 100 Taliban fighters launch a coordinated assault against a joint American-Afghan patrol base in eastern Afghanistan. The remote outpost had just been established and its defenses had not yet been fully constructed, enabling the enemy to destroy the heavy U.S. weapons almost immediately. After four hours of close combat, the attackers are driven off with help from artillery and aircraft support. Nine American soldiers are killed and another 29 wounded in one of the Taliban’s deadliest attacks of the war.

Posted on July 13, 2017 at 09:20 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Military History · Tagged with: , , ,

June 16 in U.S. military history

Saddam Hussein’s presidential secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, the “Ace of Diamonds” from the military’s deck of playing cards featuring the 55 most-wanted members of the Hussein regime. (Photo by the author)

1775: Under cover of darkness, a 1,200-man American force commanded by Col. William Prescott fortifies Breed’s Hill, overlooking Boston.

1861: 9,000 Federal troops led by Brig. Gen. Henry W. Benham attempt to capture Charleston, S.C. in the Battle of Secessionville. Although the Confederate defenders are heavily outnumbered, the marshy terrain and fortifications spell disaster for Union. The problematic Benham had moved without orders, and is court-martialed following the battle.

1943: 94 Japanese warplanes set out to raid the Allied invasion force before it reaches the island of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. American aircraft operating out of Guadalcanal’s Henderson Field splash 93 out of 94 Japanese warplanes, while losing only six planes. Two tank landing ships are beached and only one cargo ship is damaged.

1944: One day after landing on Saipan, Marines repel Japanese counterattacks and capture Afetna Point and the town of Charan Karoa, linking the beachheads. Meanwhile, soldiers of the 27th Infantry Division come ashore and move to take Aslito airfield.

Across the Philippine Sea, American battleships shell targets at Guam in preparation for the invasion. However, the landings are postponed as the Japanese fleet is steaming for the Marianas with hopes of finally crushing the American fleet in a decisive battle.

1959: North Korean MiG 17s attack a Martin P4M “Mercator” reconnaissance aircraft in international waters, injuring the tail gunner and forcing the Navy spy plane to perform an emergency landing in Japan.

1965: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announces that in addition to the Marines and paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade recently deployed, the United States will send 21,000 more troops to Vietnam. McNamara also acknowledges that the military knew North Vietnam had been sending soldiers into South Vietnam prior to launching Operation Rolling Thunder, the politically managed bombing campaign on the North.

1992: After the first day of a summit in Washington, President George H.W. Bush and Russian president Boris Yeltsin announce that they have agreed to cut their countries’ nuclear arsenals by two-thirds.

2003: Delta Force operators, along with British Special Air Service commandos, capture Lt. Gen. Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti – Saddam Hussein’s right hand man. Mahmud was the fourth-most wanted man in Iraq, after Saddam and his sons Uday and Qusay,

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 09:02 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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June 7 in U.S. military history

Capt. Charles Chandler (with prototype Lewis Gun) and Lt. Roy Kirtland in a Wright Model B Flyer after the first successful firing of a machine gun from an airplane.

1830: Following nearly four years at sea, the sloop of war USS Vincennes arrives at New York, becoming the first United States warship to circumnavigate the globe.

1912: At College Park, Md., U.S. Army Capt. Charles D. Chandler fires the first machine gun ever mounted to an aircraft. The plane is a Wright Model B flown by Lt. Roy C. Kirtland – the namesake of Kirtland Air Force Base. While The “Lewis Gun,” designed by Col. Isaac N. Lewis is not picked up by the United States military, the weapon sees extensive service during World War I with both the British and French.

1942: While the Japanese are defeated at Midway, they land troops and occupy the Alaskan islands of Attu and Kiska. 25 American soldiers are killed on Attu and the inhabitants of both islands are relocated and placed in internment. Less than a year later, U.S. and Canadian troops will wipe out the Japanese occupying force nearly to a man.

1944: (D-Day Plus 1) The soldiers of 2d Ranger Battalion, which scaled the 100-ft. cliffs at Pointe du Hoc under fire, have taken 50 percent casualties, with their commander Lt. Col. James Rudder having been shot twice. The Rangers will endure numerous counter-attacks and won’t be relieved until D-Day Plus 2. The Allies have air superiority and pound enemy armor and vehicles moving towards the beaches. The 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions make slow progress expanding the beachhead at Omaha Beach, where casualties are heavier than all other sectors combined. On Utah Beach, the 4th Infantry Division begins linking up with the heavily scattered paratroopers (only ten percent landed in their drop zones) of the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions. Meanwhile, construction begins on harbors that will deliver soldiers, vehicles, and materiel to the new Western Front.

LSTs unload cargo during low tide at Omaha Beach

1959: 100 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., the Balao-class submarine USS Barbero (SSA-317) fires a Regulus cruise missile loaded with 3,000 pieces of mail towards the Naval Air Station at Mayport, Fla. 22 minutes later, the first-ever “missile mail” arrives.

2006: Intelligence officials finally pinpoint the location of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, at a safe house near Baqubah, Iraq. Zarqawi and several other terrorist leaders are killed when an Air Force F-16C “Fighting Falcon” levels the building with two 500-lb. bombs. While Iraq’s most wanted man, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis is dead, his terrorist group lives on and will eventually become the Islamic State.

Posted on June 7, 2017 at 08:58 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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Walking the beat

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Lane Edward Morrow, of Susanville, CA, of 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3/4 Marines, walks during an early morning guard shift at a vehicle checkpoint near Patrol Base 302, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. The Marines living in austere conditions at PB302 exchange fire regularly with Taliban who attack from multiple positions. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Posted on September 29, 2011 at 06:07 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Gold Star mom says military may be complicit in Taliban ambush

Susan Price, the mother of fallen Marine Gunnery Sergeant Aaron Kenefick, said on the Tom Bauerle radio show that military commanders may have been complicit in the ambush that killed her son and four other soldiers and Marines.

The action she describes is the infamous Battle of Ganjgal, where Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor and former Army Captain Will Swenson has reportedly been nominated for the Medal of Honor as well.

Her son was a Recon Marine and was “Marine of the Year” twice in ten years.

Posted on September 25, 2011 at 21:16 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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SFC Alwyn C. Cashe

Since being part of the 2010 Medal of Honor Convention, I have read and published scores of narratives for valor medals. While the actions of these men are all truly incredible, the actions of Sergeant First Class Alwyn C. Cashe in Iraq on Oct. 17, 2005 are astonishing. Especially considering he was only awarded the Silver Star.

Cashe occupied the gunner’s turret of a Bradley fighting vehicle when it was hit by an IED. Cashe managed to escape the vehicle, but the vehicle’s fuel cell had ruptured and ignited, setting fire to the men stuck inside. Cashe was covered in fuel, and insurgent small-arms fire was targeting the Bradley. Cashe rescued the driver, who was on fire, and opened the hatch to rescue the burning soldiers still inside. His uniform caught fire, but he continued his rescue efforts – even running into the inferno to pull out the medic.

Of those wounded in the attack, Cashe’s burns were the most severe. He succumbed to his wounds on Nov. 8, 2005. I run into burning buildings for a living as a fireman. But I cannot imagine running into a burning vehicle while soaked in fuel and on fire myself to rescue multiple victims. This man did, he died doing so, and was only awarded the military’s third-highest medal for valor. Lyndon Johnson got a Silver Star for just riding on an airplane.

Cashe’s Silver Star citation can be read in full here.

Blackfive has more on SFC Cashe here, here, and here.

Not to take away from the honor and tradition of our military decorations, but sometimes cloth and metal don’t quite seem sufficient to recognize people like Sergeant First Class Alwyn C. Cashe. I expect that his medal will be upgraded. If not, it is time to overhaul the awards process.

Posted on September 25, 2011 at 09:30 by Chris Carter · Permalink · One Comment
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Illustrating absurdity: Liberals and counter-terrorism

Victor Davis Hanson cleverly illustrates the absurdity of liberal outrage regarding our counter-terrorism strategy. Consider this:

Somehow bloggers and op-ed writers have established by their selective outrage a narrative that it was immoral of Cheney to approve the waterboarding of three confessed terrorists like KSM, but quite moral of Obama to expand fivefold the Predator targeted-assassination program that served as judge, jury, and executioner of suspected terrorists — and of any living thing in their vicinity when the Hellfire missiles obliterated their compounds.

That is not to say that I am opposed to Hellfire missile attacks against “suspected terrorists” – providing our intelligence community is doing their due diligence in vetting their targets. But Hanson makes it crystal clear that there is a significant segment of our government that is willing to jeopardize the lives of Americans in order to weaken their political opponents.

If the Democrats seriously thought that the Bush doctrine had to be discarded, as Hanson points out, they would have corrected it. Instead, they continued the very strategy that they had fought when their party wasn’t in power:

… Obama retained Secretary of Defense Gates, stuck to the Bush-Petraeus withdrawal plan in Iraq, expanded Predator-drone attacks in Waziristan, surged into Afghanistan, bombed Libya, and embraced everything from Guantanamo to renditions.

It would be comical if it weren’t for the fact that it is our lives they are risking for their personal gain. I hope enough Americans will consider this when it comes time to vote.

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 14:10 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: National Security · Tagged with: