BenTha'er-Horizons

Military

Abandoning Military Canines

It is very upsetting to read that a number of the military canines have been abandoned to shelters overseas instead of being brought home. This is not right. The dogs have been trained by us and many have saved soldiers’ lives. They deserve better treatment from this country and more should be done to bring them home to homes here when they retire. Read about it here.
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Sherman's March to the Sea

Gone With The Wind as a book and a movie depict in a bigger-than-life way the destruction of Atlanta and plantation life in the South during the Civil War. General Sherman was and still is considered a destroyer, a butcher per se to many people of Southern heritage. Victor Davis Hanson has an article that discusses the Atlanta campaign the Sherman’s severing of supply lines to make his March to the Sea in Georgia. By doing so, he feels he freed himself to attack the structure and illusion of the plantation elite to prop up the Southern armies to continue a prolonged struggle. By taking the war to those who started it and wished to continue their way of life, he brought the reality of war upon them and possibly shortened the war in the end. Interesting military history.
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Five Bloodiest Battles in History

Interesting read on what they consider the 5 bloodiest battles in history. The number one top bloodiest was the Battle of Stalingrad.
Read about it, the numbers, and the other four here.

As the lead in paragraph states from this article in Military History online---

“Much of a soldier’s life is spent awaiting and preparing for war. When the moment to take action does come, it is usually bloody, confusing, and over quickly. Often, combat will be on a small scale; a skirmish, a probing patrol, an accidental clash with the enemy in the darkness. At other times, fear will destroy an army, causing men to flee from the perceived threat of death before severe casualties have been sustained by either side. And, finally, there is the battle that surpasses the normal expectations of war in its scale of death and destruction. These are the days where neither side is prepared to surrender, or – as is so often the case – a general’s strategy is such that it leaves the enemy no escape, left to the mercy of the victors.”
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Sylvanus Thayer

Sylvanus Thayer was an engineer in the military. He was a 4 year graduate of Dartmouth. He was asked to come to West Point Military Academy and organize the program there in the early 1800s. Since he was a Thayer, we salute him. Here is a portrait of Sylvanus Thayer found in the Visitor’s Center at West Point.
Sylvanus Thayer
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Hudson River

During the Revolutionary War, the Americans strung a linked cable across the Hudson River to Constitution Island to prevent the British from moving their boats and army up the Hudson Valley by the river. Here is a photo of the Hudson River from right at West Point Military Academy.
Hudson River
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West Point

We made a jaunt up with Glenn to the town of Highland Falls to visit the military academy at West Point. Highland Falls is a small town along the Hudson River. George Washington established a military post there during the Revolutionary War to help protect the Hudson Valley and the bend in the river was a natural spot to set up defenses against the British. We went through the visitors center and then on to the West Point Museum. A lot of history of West Point and war is found there.
west point museum copy
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First Black Medal of Honor Recipient

The National Gallery has had a display in recent history of photographs depicting the history and tale of .......

“Tell It With Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Shaw Memorial," whose purpose is to dispel the shadows of anonymity surrounding a group of soldiers whose July 1863 assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston harbor was a turning point in the war.”

One of the photos shown is of William H. Carney who was a member of the 54th Massachusett’s Regiment and the first African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor. It was bestowed belatedly in 1900. The story of Mr. Carney and the other faces of courage can be found in this article.
William H. Carney
William H. Carney, a member of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment
and the first African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
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Five Worst Fighter Aircraft

Following what was a discussion of flight and why birds and planes fly in a V formation, here is an article about the five worst fighter aircraft of all time. One of the first ones mentioned was the Buffalo which had a nickname of The Flying Coffin. That does not engender any sense of confidence. See what others are on this list and why by reading here.
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Thanksgiving and War

A quiet day of Thanksgiving for just the two of us. We made an awesome meal with plenty of food though toned down on the fats and sugars for a change. We watch some TV, a lot of the Godfather series since it was featured. At the same time, I can across this article on this peaceful day which contemplates “Why should we study war?” Why indeed. Let us hope we can avoid such a calamity though with the diplomatic furbelows and misunderstandings of the current times, I don’t know if I hold my breath for peace. We shall see.
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Interesting Factoid

Here is an interesting little tidbit about the second-in-command of a submarine who saved the world on October 27, 1962. It was the Cuban Missile Crisis and the world was on edge. The wrong move would have set many areas on fire.

“50 years ago, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, second-in-command Vasilli Arkhipov of the Soviet submarine B-59 refused to agree with his Captain’s order to launch nuclear torpedoes against US warships and setting off what might well have been a terminal superpower nuclear war.”

Read the rest here.
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The Generals

The article to be found here is a review of the book, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today, by Thomas E. Ricks. The review appears to be critical of the book and its delivery of this information. The review itself is an interesting read.

“The central claim of The Generals, military journalist Thomas Ricks's assault on post-World War II American military history, is that once upon a time the U.S. Army won because poor generals got fired. Since then, Army generals stopped getting fired so much, and now the Army does not win wars.”
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Military History Books

Victor Davis Hanson, an author of history and military aspects of it, has listed some of his recommended books for reading on Pajamas Media. He is an exceptional author in my opinion, well above my intelligence level. Other writers have their selections in this section of the website. Check it out here.
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Military Blunders

For interesting reading, check out this HistoryNet article about the 5 worst military blunders. Gallipoli and Custer’s Last Stand are included in the five. The article can be found here.
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Great Military Reads

This webpage is enough to make a book lover, especially one of military history, go happy-crazy! If one had the time and money, you could use it all up in buying and reading these books. Of course, there is the library though it costs annually here since we do not live in town. This is a history book lovers dream of a webpage. Yahoo!!!! I do have a number of these books and can definitely attest to the author’s skill at writing………Antony Beevor, Nathan Philbrick, Kearns Goodwin, Hastings, Ambrose.

Enjoy reading this page!

DSCN0397The Thayer Library (in part)
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Legacy of the USS Thresher

Before the USS San Francisco survived hitting an underwater mountain when cruising along as a submarine, the submarine loss that set the bar for SubSafe was the USS Thresher.

“Thresher was the fastest, deepest diving, most capable submarine in the word,” Rear Adm. David Duryea, Naval Sea Systems Command’s, deputy commander for undersea warfare told USNI News in a recent interview. “This was the pride of the U.S. Navy.”

On 9 April 1963, Thresher put to sea to conduct a series of sea trials following an overhaul accompanied by USS Skylark (ASR-20), a Penguin-class submarine rescue ship, according to the 1975 book The Thresher Disaster.

The next morning, Thresher descended to 1,000 feet in a deep-diving test.
Forty-six minutes after reaching test depth, things began to go very wrong.

Thresher suffered a mechanical failure and Harvey’s attempts to bring the boat to the surface failed.

Four minutes after Skylark learned there were problems, Thresher sent her last garbled transmission, “exceeding test depth.” One minute later Skylark detected a noise that shared the characteristics of an implosion.

The next day, Navy officials announced the ship was lost.

Read about it here.

sub coloringChild’s picture of the USS Thresher
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SubSafe Program

Eight years ago, USS San Francisco (SSN-711) ran full speed into a mountain more than 500 feet below the ocean’s surface.
One sailor died.
Fifty years earlier, the crew might not have been as lucky, said Rear Adm. David Duryea, Naval Sea Systems Command’s deputy commander for undersea warfare told USNI News in an interview.
Duryea oversees the Navy’s SUBSAFE program, the series of rigorous checks in design, manufacture, and maintenance of the service’s nuclear submarine fleet— and the reason the San Francisco lost just one sailor. He died of head injuries.
“I’m not sure a non-SUBSAFE sub could have survived that,” Duryea said. “It’s my opinion the SUBSAFE program helped insure that ship was able to rejoin the fleet.”
San Francisco rejoined the Fleet in 2009.

Read the story here.

sanfran-320x210
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A Warrior and Hero

They wake up every day wondering what the enemy or the rest of the world will throw at them that day. They stand on guard to protect us and their fellow comrades and warriors each day. Along with our American spirit, they allow us to practice our freedoms every day and be as stupid and silly as we need to be. They do what our country and government asks of them repeatedly. The epitome of such a warrior and a hero was Chris Kyle. If you object to war and killing, you might not like him at a distance. I am not one of those individuals. I respect the service of our military and the terrific sacrifices they make in our lives. He was a man who stood strongly behind his beliefs and lived his values. He supported his friends and comrades in arms with all he had. One can only deeply admire such a person. It is our loss to have him gone so early. May God let him rest in peace and bless his family. To know more about Chris Kyle, please read his story here.

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More London Blitz

My mother’s best friend and co-worker, Irene, later became her sister-in-law and therefore my aunt. Irene was a war bride from London. She would share with Mom some stories of life in London during the bombing. I believe Irene lived in a neighborhood not far from Victoria Station. It was a lower middle class neighborhood. To see how far one could conceive the effect the bombing could have on London, its buildings, and its populace, take a look at this interactive map developed to show where a group has found each bomb landed during the Blitz. Looking at a close view here, there were 2 bombs that landed near the apartment of Tom’s we have stayed at while visiting London. St. Paul’s Cathedral survived the bombing intact as the picture below indicates.

St Paul and bombing
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Naval Notes

A couple of interesting notes in history, past and recent. November 30 was the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Tassafaronga. This was a naval battle the United States fought with the Japanese as they tried to intercept Japanese warships trying to deliver supplies to Guadalcanal. The battle was a strategic victory for the U.S. yet a tactical defeat with the loss of the USS New Orleans. Read about the battle here.

NewOrleansTulagiBowMissingUSS New Orleans

The following day lead to a story about the de-commissioning of the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier. The big E has a long and distinguished history. A short reference to the USS Enterprise is here. Another more detailed article also is found in the Weekly Standard. This article covers information about different missions and also about the various men who captained the ship. Because this is a nuclear powered ship, it will take years to de-commission the carrier to remove the nuclear reactors safely. It sounds like the ship will be ported in Norfolk, VA though the article did not seem to be clear on that topic. If all the walls could talk or whisper tails of the men and exploits the Enterprise has seen over its 61 years in action. That may come to pass if this magnificent ship becomes a floating museum as other famous ships have in the past. Enjoy a story of the big E here.


USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise
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Veterans

Remembering the terrible sacrifices mankind made during the battles of World War I, Veterans Day was established. Practically every town in Britain has a World War I memorial to recognize the names of those who were lost in battle or subsequently from injuries suffered.
This article talks about a particular painting done by John Singer Sargent that is hanging in the Imperial War Museum in London. I have visited this museum and it is worth a visit. I most likely saw the painting though I cannot say it stands out in my memory. The painting focuses on men moving through a field of injured men from being gassed while they are seeking help at the nearest aid station. Poisonous gas was one of the most horrific parts of the war and a terrible death for those affected. One set of books (2 volumes) I have a lot of memories about is one given
to me by my grandparents they had bought after the war. It focused on the United States involvement in the war and the last section had numerous photos of soldiers damaged by the use of gas.

Singer Sargent painting
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Honor

The East Coast is being pummeled today by Hurricane Sandy as a major storm. Huge wind gusts and flooding from the storm surge on the ocean and bay sides. One interesting note is an article about how the Old Guard continues to patrol the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. They have done so for every second to every minute to every hour since April of 1948, no matter the weather (see below). To visit and see these honored soldiers guarding this tomb is inspiring and humbling. Arlington Cemetery was closed today to the public due to the severe weather conditions. It is interesting to view a list of what is considered the top 10 worst disasters over the last century. Hurricane Sandy will add an eleventh to the list, especially if it in any way aids the current President to be re-elected.

Tomb of Unknown Soldier
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Gals and Guys

Yes, I know that it is usually Guys and Gals. We will just let the women go first today (and every day). After eating yesterday, it was quite interesting and funny that the women and men split into conversation groups like olden days. The guys were in telling war stories and farming tales. The ladies were talking a range of items of food, family, work, current affairs, and education. A very nice time was had by all. It was sad to have to leave shortly after 5p.m. for the drive home where we made it to bed around midnight.

Here is Kimberly, Kathy’s mom, Lou, and my sister-in-law, Janet, holding down the discussion.

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Family Salute to a Soldier

Long day today and worth it. We all agreed who were fortunate to make the drive and back. Bob’s brother, Jim, and his wife, Kathy, invited family to their home for a barbecue. The occasion was to see and spend time with our nephew, Mitch. Mitch is due to be deployed to Afghanistan in the Army the first part of November. Our son, Scott, made the trip with us. Unfortunately, David felt he and his new family could not due to the long hours up and back. We left at 7 a.m. and it is an almost 6 hour drive to Quincy WA. Kathy, proud mother that she is, put on a great spread of food for all of us. Here is Kathy putting away food after we had made great inroads into the bowls and platters of goodies. Thank you Kathy and Jim for the great hospitality and family sharing! Jim is a proud Dad too.

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Mitch in his uniform with his sister, Kimberly. Kimberly is getting a master’s degree in food quality assurance at Washington State University (Go Cougs!). Very impressive uniform and status for Mitch!
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Early Moon

Here is an early morning look at the full moon as it sets over Binegar Butte range. It also gives a great look at our pasture and patch of Douglas Fir trees on the side hill._DSC5137
On another note, it is incredibly sad to watch the distress and heartbreak of this mother who lost her military SEAL son in war while our Commander in Chief(s) worry more about the impact of it going wrong for them than our soldiers.
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