Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

A Brief Life Lesson

Christopher Walken“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”
– Christopher Walken


Posted 2 days, 3 hours ago at 7:48 pm.

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Special Forces Honors President John F Kennedy

A SPECIAL Special Forces Invite

invite to JFK honor by Special Forces


Earlier in October 2016, I received an email from the US Army Special Forces for the annual honoring of JFK at Arlington National Cemetery.  Something that reflects the strong bond even until now between the “silent professionals” and the President.

SF invite to JFK event

Wednesday 19 October 2016 – JFK is Honored

Surrounded by a cordon of US Army Special Forces Soldiers in commemoration of how they honored the fallen President in 1963, the Deputy Commander of the 1st Special Forces Regiment,  Brigadier General E. John Deedrick, Jr., Deputy Commanding General, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) and invited guests placed a wreath at JFK’s grave and final resting place within Arlington National Cemetery.  As in 1963 Soldiers from the 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard” and the US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own” complemented the military contingent – also reminisce of  the 1963 final honors of the President.


Tradition Began in 1963

The origins of the connection of JFK and the US Army Special Forces began on 12  OCTOBER 1961 when the President met then BG William P Yarborough, who was at that time Commander of the 1st Special Forces Regiment at a ceremony held at McKellar’s Pond on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  JFK was exposed to a comprehensive display of the Special Forces capabilities that afternoon after a morning spent among the 82d Airborne Division and their soldiers.

The arrangements for JFK to see the Special Forces was arranged through a back channel plan by then MG Chester Clifton and then BG William P Yarborough.  Since the President had back issues, the Soldiers with their specialties were paraded in front of him while they were on flatbed trucks.  At the end, the Special Forces Soldiers assembled in formation, removed their duty caps and donned their green berets.  General Yarborough went up to the President with his headgear – the green beret.   It was later that a Presidential Order came out that authorized that the Special Forces were offered the distinction of wearing the green beret.

When JFK was assassinated in November 1963, Robert Kennedy, brother of JFK called down to Fort Bragg requesting that a funeral detail of Special Forces Soldiers be included in the President’s final honors.  Among the 46 men chosen for the final honors, was SGM Francis J. Ruddy.  After the final honors were concluded, SGM Ruddy approached the casket of the President, removed his green beret and placed it on the casket rendering honors to his fallen Commander-in-Chief.

That strong connection between the 1st Special Forces and JFK is maintained with an annual wreath laying in Arlington National Cemetery at JFK’s grave.


Honoring JFK

P.S.   Yes, that is my latest challenge coin awarded by Brigadier General E. John Deedrick, Jr.


Special Forces Honors President John F Kennedy



Posted 6 days, 23 hours ago at 11:12 pm.

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Words From the Chief

GEN Mark Milley Chief of Staff



At the recent Association of the US Army Annual Meeting held in Washington DC, General Mark Milley, the 39th Chief of Staff of the US Army addressed a group of attendees at a luncheon.

Among his words in that speech were the following:


“We’re the United States Army. And our enemies need to know these colors don’t run from tough fights. We will adapt and we will evolve our current force.  But in the end, we will win. That much I can tell our enemies … They can take it to the bank.”


Posted 2 weeks, 5 days ago at 2:26 pm.

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Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of Washington DC


and The Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of Washington DC…

Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of Washington DC





On 16  SEP 2016 to an assembled group of nearly 90 members and guests of this historic Association, John Michael delivered a presentation on the History of Fort Lesley J. McNair and his book “Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair.  The presentation included the background of this historic US Army Post – the 3rd oldest in continuous operation (only West Point in New York and Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania are respectively older).  Founded in 1791 as Military Reservation #05 when Major Charles Pierre L’Enfant laid out the new Capital City it was about 28 acres and a few years later with earthworks in place and a solitary artillery piece it was the first defenses of Washington DC.

Continue Reading…


Posted 1 month, 1 week ago at 9:38 am.

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A Groundbreaking Event – The National Museum of the US Army

14 SEP  2016 – Fort Belvoir, VA … On a bright sunny day, a small group assembled at the site of where the new National Museum of the US Army will be built to break ground for this much-needed museum.  Among those present were the following: the Honorable Eric Fanning, Secretary of the Army, General Mark Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the US Army, SMA Daniel Dailey, 15th Sergeant Major of the US Army, General (ret) Gordon Sullivan, Chairman of the Board – Army Historical Foundation and General (ret) William W Hartzog, Vice Chairman of the Board – Army Historical Foundation, who acted as the master of ceremonies for the event.

At the end of the event,  those mentioned above manned the shovels and broke ground for the new museum.



groundbreaking for the national museum of the US ARMY

Watch the entire event HERE


More about the National Museum of the US Army.

the site of the Naional Museum of the US ARMY

An advanced view of what the museum will deliver can be seen  HERE


Posted 1 month, 1 week ago at 2:41 pm.

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2016 US Army Band Concert – 1812 Overture

US Army Band 2016 Concert







The final event of the summer of The US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own”  accompanied by the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3d Infantry Regiment of the US Army – “The Old Guard”is an annual concert on the Washington Mall at the Sylvan Theater (near the Washington Monument) Among appearances by the Herald Trumpets and the US Army Band Chorus, it features the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky – the “Guns Platoon”  providing live cannon fire with their WW II vintage M5’s  – 3″ anti-tank guns.

Watch the Video

If you couldn’t make it to the National Mall for the nearly 90 minutes of music, here is the video provided by the folks at DVIDS…




Posted 2 months, 1 week ago at 8:06 am.

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Who Was General Lesley J. McNair

Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair was commander of ground forces during WW II.  He was killed in France during that war and his remains stayed in France, Where he trained the troops for that war is the only US Army Post in Washington, DC  and is named in his honor.

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair

Images of America - Fort Lesley J McNair

ON POINT is the Journal of the Army Historical Foundation. The Summer 2016 issue of the journal from the Army Historical Foundation contains a review of the book by John Michael “Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair”  Beginning in 1791 when Major Charles Pierre L’Enfant designed the New Capital City of Washington DC.  It began as “Reservation #05”  – only 28 acres where a single artillery tube with earthworks was placed to defend the Capital City.  Over time, the US Army Post was known by many different names – During the Civil War it was Washington Arsenal and where the first federal penitentiary was built – the location of where the Lincoln Assassination conspirators were incarcerated, tried and hanged.  Later it became Washington Barracks and site of the US Army Engineering Schools.  When Roosevelt Hall was built, it became the home of the US Army War College.  A brief time, it was named Fort Humphreys and finally Fort Lesley J. McNair.   Home to the National Defense University and its colleges – including the National War College.  It is also where the Military District of Washington is headquartered and the US Army Center of Military History occupies a building that was first the Quartermaster stables then the post’s movie theater.  When the US Army abandoned Fort Hunt Virginia, the US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own” and the US Army Music School was located at Washington Barracks (Fort Lesley J. McNair) before relocated to Fort Myer by the order of General George C Marshall. Likewise, for many years after the regiment was re-activated in 1948, Alpha and Echo Companies of the 3d Infantry – “The Old Guard” were stationed here.


You can read the review here at the Historic Fort McNair website  An autographed copy of the book is available also here.


Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago at 12:50 pm.

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The American Soldier

MG Robert E Lee Bullard

MG Robert E Lee Bullard


WW I Commander

Major General Robert E. Lee Bullard recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal in WW I … who commanded the First Division, First Corps and Second Army in that war said this of the American Soldier:

“In every army, there are two kinds of soldiers: those who do things because they are ordered to, and those who are always looking for things to do.  It is the latter kind that leavens any army.  And this kind prevails in the American Army to a greater extent than in any ever known.”


At the age of six, he asked his parents to change his name to Robert Edward Lee Bullard in honor of the Civil War General Robert E. Lee.  He graduated from West Point in 1885 with a Cullum Number* of 3084. He was an  Infantryman who first served on the western frontier, in the Philippines and Cuba, in Mexico before serving in WW I.

General Bullard went on later to write a book –

Fighting Generals: Illustrated Biographical Sketches of Seven Major Generals in World War I

*NOTE: The Cullum number is a reference and identification number assigned to each graduate of the United States Military Academy. It was created by Brevet Major General George W. Cullum, USMA Class of 1833, who, in 1850, began the monumental work of chronicling the biographies of every graduate.


Posted 4 months, 1 week ago at 6:31 am.

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Since the inception of the US Army in 1775, there was never a single flag identifying the entire Army,   That changed in 1956 when President Dwight D.


US ARMY FLAG with Streamers

Eisenhower issued an executive order establishing the US Army flag.  What follows below is a fact sheet published by the Quartermaster Corps.

“Office of The Quartermaster General
Washington D.C.
1 June 1957

 The United States Army Flag was officially adopted by order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower through Executive Order No. 10670, on June 12, 1956.

The newly adopted flag was presented by Vice President Richard Nixon to Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker at a ceremony at the Capitol, Washington DC, on June 13, 1956. On the following day, June 14, Flag Day and also the 181st anniversary of the establishment of the Army the United States Army Flag was unfurled at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, in connection with public a public address by Secretary Brucker.

The United States Army came into being by the action of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, and two years later, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress officially adopted the Stars and Stripes as the Flag of the United States.

Although various elements of the Army, from groups and corps down to separate battalions, have their own colors and distinguishing flags, none has previously served the  US Army as a whole. The new United States Army flag is designed to meet the need for a flag which will represent the entire Army on appropriate occasions.

The Army flag is made up in the National colors red, white, and blue, with a yellow fringe.  It is the standard size for colors: 4 feet, 4 inches hoist and 5 feet 6 inches fly.  It bears 145 streamers (Note: as of 1998, there are 172 streamers)of ribbons representing the campaigns in which the Army has participated since its inception.  (As of 2016  there are 189 campaign streamers.)

The flag is made of white silk, upon which is embroidered in blue, a replica of the official seal of the War Office. Beneath the seal is a broad scarlet scroll bearing the inscription in white letters, “United States Army”.  Beneath the scroll blue Arabic numerals, is “1775”, the year in which the Army was created with the appointment of General George Washington as Commander-in-Chief.

The original War Office seal, constituting the central design of the Army Flag was authorized by the Continental Congress on May 8, l779.  The seal is thus described:

“A cannon in front of a drum with two drumsticks; below the cannon three cannon balls. A mortar on a trunion and below the mortar two powder flasks. In the center a Roman breastplate over a jupon (leather jacket).  Above the breastplate rises a plain sword with the pommel and guard supporting a Phrygian cap between an espontoon (pike) and an organizational color on one side and a musket with a fixed bayonet and the National color on the other side.  Above is a rattlesnake holding in its mouth a scroll inscribed, ‘This We’ll Defend’ “.

The cannon balls and powder flasks are of the Revolutionary War type.  The Phrygian cap is the traditional symbol of liberty.

The War Office was at first officially known as “A Board of War and Ordnance.”  The third such Board appointed by Congress was succeeded on February 7, 1781, by a Secretary at War, which position was filled by the appointment of Major General Benjamin Lincoln on October 30 of the same yearHenry Knox was elected Secretary at War by Congress on March 8, 1785. He served through the period of the Articles of Confederation until the office was established as an executive department under the United States Constitution.  He thereby became the first Secretary of War.

The Department of War was created by Congress on August 17, 1789, and so remained until it was retitled Department of Army under the Unification Act of July 26, l947. Since the beginning, however, the seal of the War Office has continued to serve the Department of War and Department of the Army.US Amry flag with campaign streamers

The campaign streamers are attached below the spearhead of the flagstaff. Each steamer is 2 3/4 inches in width and 4 feet in length.  They are designed in the colors of the respective campaign ribbons and are embroidered with the designations of the campaigns and the years in which they took place.  The following colors are employed in design of the streamers representing major campaigns:

Revolutionary War: scarlet with a white stripe
War of 1812: scarlet with two white stripes
Mexican War: green with one white stripe
Civil War: blue and grey, equally divided
Indian Wars: scarlet with two black stripes
War with Spain: yellow with two blue stripes
China Relief Expedition: yellow with blue edges
Philippine Insurrection: blue with two red stripes
Mexican Expedition: Yellow with two green stripes and a blue stripe
World War I: double rainbow
World War II:
     American theater — blue with two groupings of white, black, red, and white stripes; with blue, white, and red in the center.
     European-African-Middle Eastern Theater — green and brown with two stripe groupings, one of green, white, red and the other of white, black, and white stripes; with blue, white, and red stripes in the center.
     Asiatic-Pacific Theater — orange with two white, red, and white stripe groupings; with blue, white, and red stripes in the center.
Korean Service: Light blue bordered on each side with white; with a white center stripe.


The Army flag was designed by the Heraldic Branch, Office of Research and Engineering, Office of The Quartermaster General. Research on background material was begun in July 1955, when a requirement for a United States Army flag was indicated by the Secretary of the Army. Several tentative designs were developed and from among these the design as adopted was selected by Secretary of the War Brucker.

The flag presented by Vice President Nixon to Secretary Brucker was hand embroidered by expert women needleworkers at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot. Other hand embroidered flags were presented to President Eisenhower; the Chief Of Staff, U.S. Army; and for display in the Pentagon building corridor near the entrance to the office of the Secretary of the Army.

A limited number of additional flags have been made at the Philadelphia Depot. These additional flags, however, have the design appliqued rather than embroidered. The appliqued flags, without campaign streamers, were assigned to the various Army headquarters, service schools, and other locations designated by the Secretary of the Army”


Since this fact sheet was published, additional streamers have been added to identify additional campaigns.  These include

Vietnam: Yellow with green borders and three red stripes centered
Armed Forces Expeditions:
     Panama Light blue with a narrow blue, white and red stripe in the center. On each edge is a narrow green, yellow, red, and black stripe.
     Dominican Republic Light blue with a narrow blue, white and red stripe in the center. On each edge is a narrow green, yellow, red, and black stripe.




Here are a couple of books for further exploration

United States Army: The Definitive Illustrated History

AND from the Army Historical Foundation

U.S. Army A Complete History



Posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago at 6:33 am.

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GEN Eisenhower’s D-Day Words to the Troops

2016 JUN 6 –


It was seventy-two years ago that GEN Dwight D Eisenhower  issued the words below to the troops ready to execute D-Day…


A eisenhower letter 6 JUN 1944


This and more photos can be viewed in the exhibit prepared by the US National Archives.


Posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago at 1:20 pm.

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