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Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

The Most Dangerous Man in America

September 2, 1945, on the USS Missouri

all the world was on alert …

 

Serendipity is key in my exploring.  Those that know me, know that I nearly always have something to read in my hands, be it a book, a newsletter, a pamphlet, phone or …  I am a voracious reader.  It was something instilled in me by my family.   Many years ago, my parents signed me up for a “Book of the Month” club for young readers.  The books — there were two that arrived each month — were devoured immediately after arrival and finished off in a few days.  Sometime later, I received a letter in the mail from the club President — sending his regrets — I had exhausted their entire collection and they would not be sending me any more books.   So I discovered libraries and now it’s rare that I will leave these cathedrals of knowledge without at least a few books.

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Posted 2 weeks, 3 days ago at 6:02 am.

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Ronald Reagan’s thoughts on Constitutions

“I had a copy of the Soviet Constitution and I read it with great interest. And I saw all kinds of terms in there that sound just exactly like our own: ‘Freedom of assembly’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and so forth. Of course, they don’t allow them to have those things, but they’re in there in the Constitution. But I began to wonder about the other constitutions — everyone has one — and our own, and why so much emphasis on ours. And then I found out, and the answer was very simple — that’s why you don’t notice it at first. But it is so great that it tells the entire difference. All those other constitutions are documents that say, ‘We, the government, allow the people the following rights,’ and our Constitution says ‘We the People, allow the government the following privileges and rights.’ We give our permission to government to do the things that it does. And that’s the whole story of the difference—why we’re unique in the world and why no matter what our troubles may be, we’re going to overcome.”

~Ronald Reagan

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Posted 1 month ago at 2:12 pm.

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The Eve of Decoration Day

First Decoration Day at

Arlington National Cemetery

Established in 1864 at the height of the US Civil War,  Arlington National Cemetery was

Major General John Alexander Logan - Decoration Day

Major General John Alexander Logan

carved out of the 1,100 acres of what was the Custis-Lee estate – the land owned by Mary Parke Custis, even after her marriage to Robert E. Lee.  The land was seized when she didn’t show up in-person to pay the taxes.   General Montgomery Meigs then ordered that fallen soldiers be buried on the grounds.

It was after the war that Major General John A. Logan, who was commander-in-chief of the Army, on 05 MAY 1868 issued General Order #11 which created Decoration Day on  May 30, 1868 (it later became Memorial Day) and the first Decoration Day was then observed at Arlington National Cemetery.

Following Decoration Days inspired patriotic expressions in many ways.  Samuel Francis Smith, who was known for the poem set to music “America” (more well known by its first few words: “My country ’tis of thee.“) wrote the following poem in honor of Decoration Day.

 

The Eve of Decoration Day

Samuel Francis SmithSweet in the innocence of youth,
Born of the brave and free,
They wove fair garlands while they sang,
” My country, ‘t is of thee; ”
How every bosom swelled with joy,
And thrilled with grateful pride,
As, fond, the whispering cadence breathed,
” Land where my fathers died. “

Fair flowers in sweet bouquets they tied, —
Breaths from the vales and hills, —
While childish voices poured the strain,
” I love thy rocks and rills; ”
Each face grew radiant with the thought,
” Land of the noble free; ”
Each voice seemed reverent, as it trilled
” Sweet land of liberty. “

And bud, and bloom, and leaf they bound,
And bade the living keep,
Unharmed and pure, the cherished graves
Where brave men calmly sleep
And thus while infant lips begin
To lisp ” sweet Freedom’s song, ”
Manhood’s deep tones, from age to age,
Shall still ” the sound prolong. “

I hailed the promise of the scene;
Gladness was in the strain;
The glorious land is safe, while love
Still swells the fond refrain.
And what shall be our sure defence,
Who guards our liberty?
Not men, not arms alone, — we look,
” Our fathers’ God, to Thee. “

by Samuel Francis SmithTomb of the Unknowns

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Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago at 3:27 pm.

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John Michael – Appointed to Colonel of Rangers

FORT BELVOIR, VA – A New Colonel of Rangers

SATURDAY 22 APR 2017

A Colonel of Rangers Awarded

It came as a very pleasant surprise that John Michael was awarded a distinguished rank of Colonel of Rangers within the Mosby Rangers after delivering an outstanding briefing about Fort Myer and the unique book “Images of America – Fort Myer” to an audience of nearly one hundred of the 310th TAACOM at their annual meeting at the Fort Belvoir Officers Club.

The Evolving Fort Myer Briefing

Even before it was published, John Michael developed and presented a briefing about the then upcoming book “Images of America – Fort Myer”.  Over time, the briefing has remained fresh and vibrant to tell the story of the “Center of Innovation” – Fort Myer.  Its life began over 150 years ago when it was first known as Fort Whipple – designed by General John Gross Barnard, class of 1833 West Point.  The fort was part of the seventy plus fortifications that comprised the Defenses of Washington. He designed most of them.  Fort Myer, renamed in honor of General Albert J. Myer, who was the first chief signal officer of the US Army, is still carrying on its mission some near 160 years later of defending the Capital City.

Have Briefing Will Travel

Over the years, John Michael has had the distinct privilege of delivering the briefing about Fort Myer among many to include The Rocks of Washington DC,  Military Order of World Wars, the 3d Infantry Regiment – The Old Guard, 441st Counterintelligence Corps, Military Officers Association of America, Elder Study Group of Mary Washington University, Throckmorton Library of Fort Bragg, Monarch at Sea Pines and many more.

310th TAACOM

 As the 310th Theater Army Area Command, the senior combat service support element of the Army Reserve, was headquartered at the John S. Mosby Army Reserve Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The 310th Theater Army Area Command was the all-important backstage player making sure those out front had everything they needed to succeed. The 310th Theater Army Area Command had units in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. These included the 55th Materiel Management center, the 4th Movements Region, the 300th Area Support Group, the 131st Chaplain Support Team, and the 201st Public Affairs Detachment.

Deploying in support of real-world missions had already been becoming more and more common for Army Reservists by the 1990s. In late 1996, the 310th Theater Army Area Command deployed about 115 Reservists from 5 of its subordinate units, including the 4th Movements Region, 201st Public Affairs Detachment, 55th Materiel Management Center, 300th Area Support Group, and 2 detachments from the Command’s headquarters. The 201st Public Affairs Detachment, a 310th Theater Support Command (Provisional) unit, deployed to support the 1st Armored Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, during Operation Joint Endeavor. The unit returned home on 13 February 1997 after an 8-month deployment.

TAACOM’s Distinctive Unit Insignia

310th SustainmentCommand

Description/Blazon

A gold color metal and enamel device consisting of a background saltirewise blue and scarlet bearing at the center a gray confederate cavalry hat with a black band and plume on a white saltire with lower ends passing under and upper ends extending slightly beyond a gold, all enclosing, triple folded scroll inscribed “VICTORY THROUGH SUPPORT” in black letters.

Symbolism

The plumed gray confederate cavalry hat alludes to Colonel Mosby, CSA and his Rangers after whom the John Singleton Mosby USAR Center in Alexandria, Virginia, was named and where the unit was formerly located. The saltire is a symbol of support; the saltire also appeared on the Confederate Battle Flag and in this instance refers to Virginia, the area in which Mosby and his Rangers operated. Blue, red, and white are the National colors.

Background

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 310th Field Army Support Command on 8 May 1973. It was redesignated for the 310th Support Command (Theater Army Area) on 10 May 1982. The insignia was redesignated effective 16 September 2007, for the 310th Sustainment Command with description and symbolism updated.

Colonel of Rangers Awarded

After a successful briefing of the 310th TAACOM unit, John Michael was then awarded the rank of Colonel of Rangers within the Mosby Rangers.  The replica of the certificate is below.
MOSBY'S RANGERS - Colonel of Rangers

Fort Lesley J. McNair

John Michael is also the author of another outstanding book about the 3rd oldest US Army Post – since 1791 –  “Images of America  – Fort Lesley J. McNair”   –   Purchase an autographed copy on his website.

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Posted 4 months, 4 weeks ago at 2:17 pm.

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Farrier’s Daughters Return to Fort Myer

15 APR 2017 – Fort Myer, Caisson Stables

The past history of the US Army has a deep reliance upon the horse. That past was celebrated when Fort Myer was designated in 1887 through general order to become the showcase for the cavalry.  General Philip H Sheridan had the vision and the US Army had the horses among the cavalry and field artillery.  And the post became that showcase with the numerous cavalry and field artillery units. They were occupying the historic acres which once was part of the Custis-Lee estate.  Fort Myer still celebrates that legacy with the Caisson Platoon of the 3d Infantry – The Old Guard.

Caretakers of Some Equine Celebrities

The Caisson Platoon, besides having the distinction of being the only remaining US Army platoon with horses, has another. Over time it has cared for some major celebrity horses.

When the Army Moved by Horse

From 1908 until 1948 the US Army Remount Service was activated to provide the horses and mules needed by various parts of the army, mostly the cavalry and field artillery. Several “remount depots” were activated across the United States.  Among them were:

The last one and largest at 22,000 acres is where “Blackjack” was foaled.  He was the last of the remount horses.  Named after General John J “Blackjack” Pershing, he wore the brand of his Army serial number 2V56 on the left side of his neck.  His role was as a caparisoned (riderless) horse. His celebrity came from among the more than 1,000 full honor funerals, the most visible of them was the state funeral for President John F Kennedy.   Blackjack is buried in a special grave on the east side of Summerall Field on Fort Myer, VA

A Man on a White Horse

On 19 MAY 1964, Warrant Officer McKinney mounted Conversano Beja and rode out of Madison Garden in New York City.  The Spanish Riding School of Vienna Austria had just donated this white stallion to the US Army.  It was in appreciation of saving of the horses toward the end of WW II.   General George S Patton, Jr. authorized a mission to rescue the Lipizzaner horses from the Nazis. Over the next years, Conversano Beja participated in events with the Caisson Platoon.  Upon the horse’s passing, it was also buried on Fort Myer.

It’s More Than Ketchup

For many years, the H. J. Heinz Company utilized a team of eight Percheron horses combined with an antique wagon as part of their ongoing marketing campaign.  On 16 AUG 2007 that all changed when the company donated the horses to the US Army with the Caisson Platoon of the Old Guard as the caretakers   Since then, the horses have provided service during the many funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.  One of them, named Klinger has even been honored with his own book.

 

3d Infantry Caisson Platoon – An Open House

The Old Guard’s Caisson Platoon had their “Spring Open House” with over 1,400 people attending throughout the event.  The day, however, began with a strong look back in history thanks to the daughters of a 3rd Cavalryman while George S. Patton, Jr was commander of both Fort Myer and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

Historic Revisit to Fort Myer

The last time they were on the post is when they were young girls and the MPs chased them away from the apple trees. Elaine Weber and her sister Joan returned to Fort Myer to make a donation of memorabilia and an album of their father’s photos from that era – including among them was the 16th Field Artillery which shared Fort Myer with the “Brave Rifles “ of the 3rd Cavalry  Their father was a farrier.  In February 1942 when the 3rd Cavalry was sent to Fort Oglethorpe to get mechanized, the farrier and his family headed south with the regiment.

CPT Austin Hatch awards Elaine Weber a Caisson Challenge Coin

 

PAGES AND PAGES of PHOTOS

Part of the time spent included a look back of decades ago showing glimpses of when the horse was a main “resident” of Fort Myer.  The Old Guard Soldiers of the Caisson Platoon enjoyed examining another chapter of their history – those that preceded them.

 

CPT Austin Hatch awarded Elaine Weber the Caisson Platoon’s challenge coin in appreciation of her selfless gift and her father’s service to the United States.

The Farrier’s Daughters with some members of the Caisson Platoon

John Michael Sees Stars – 48 of them!

During the Caisson Open House, John Michael was awarded the 48-star American colors by Elaine Weber.

 

More about the Military Horse

An excellent book about the horse Blackjack

 

Rescue of the Lipizzaner Stallions

 

Klinger – A Caisson Platoon Horse

 

 

Mounting the Cavalry with America’s Finest Horses

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Posted 5 months ago at 1:28 pm.

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US Army MSG Receives Distinguished Service Cross

27 FEB 2017  at The PENTAGON

MSG Henry F BeckDuring an event hosted by the US Army Chief of Staff,  General Mark A Milley,   MSG Henry F Beck USA (Ret) was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon.  While members of the MSG Beck’s family and friends looked on, the Chief of Staff cited the actions in Vietnam while with the 327th Infantry of the 101st Division which resulted in MSG Beck’s award of the Distinguished Service Cross.

During MSG Beck’s career with the US Army, he also served with the 5-0th Infantry and the 5th Group of the Special Forces. He was also a Pathfinder instructor.

The ceremony was held in the Hall of Heroes within the Pentagon.

Also in attendance, was the Secretary of the Army, many active duty Soldiers including the Commander and Command Sergeant Major of the 327th Infantry Battalion from Fort Campbell plus several members of the Special Forces Association, Chapter XI – Washington Capital Region.

 

 

The Ceremony

wait for the slide show….

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The Distinguished Service Cross

The Distinguished Service Cross was established by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by Act of July 25, 1963), 10 U.S.C. 3742. It is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguishes himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal Distinguished Service Crossof Honor while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing Armed Force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his comrades.

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Posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago at 8:12 pm.

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Grant Hall Open House at Fort McNair – 1st of 2017!

Grant Hall Where the Lincoln Conspirators Were Tried

The first of four open house events of 2017 at Grant Hall on historic Fort Lesley J. McNair.

Grant Hall

Grant Hall Open House 04 FEB 2017

 

Grant Hall Courtroom

 

READ MORE BELOW

 

JBM-HH announces quarterly Grant Hall Public Open House

 

BUY THE BOOK   FORT McNAIR

Images of America - Fort Lesley J. McNair

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair

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Posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago at 4:00 pm.

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Reading to Advance Yourself

book reading

 

BUY THE BOOK   FORT McNAIR

 

 

Images of America - Fort Lesley J. McNair

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair

 

BUY THE BOOK   FORT MYER

Images of America – Fort Myer is a pictorial chronicle of the first one hundred years of history containing over two hundred photographs, maps, and images.  Beginning in the 1860s and carrying through the 1960s it provides a view of what was over time.  An autographed copy of the book can be purchased at BUY THE BOOK.

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Posted 8 months, 1 week ago at 9:02 pm.

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ARMY MAGAZINE JANUARY 2017

ARMY MAGAZINE JANUARY 2017

Starting 2017 – ARMY Magazine January 2017

It is an honor to announce a recent profile in this wonderful magazine of the Association of the US Army written by Chuck Vinch which highlights some of my current projects.  I look back at the last 16 plus years and cherish the time I’ve been allowed to spend

I look back at the last 16 plus years and cherish the time I’ve been allowed to spend among the US military –  from the US Army’s Special Forces, the 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard” and its fine soldiers along with the specialty platoons – Presidential Salute Battery,  Caisson Platoon.  Then there’s the Golden Knights – The US Army’s Ambassadors from the Sky – several rides in their airplane and BLUE, BLUE SKIES!   The US Army Band – TUSAB – “Pershing’s Own” and so much more.

I’ve highlighted two gems of the US Army’s crown in the books I’ve written:

and this website continues to deliver some of the unique items I find along the way

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Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago at 3:47 pm.

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Challenge Coins of 2016

It began in 2000 when my journey among the US military commenced.  I had visited Fort Myer for the first time and photographed my first final honors – it was for a retired Chief of Staff of the US Army – at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago at 6:57 am.

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