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Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

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 1 month 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 2 months ago at 2:17 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 4 months 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 4 months, 4 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 5 months, 2 weeks 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

Continue Reading…

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Posted 5 months, 3 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.

Continue Reading…

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Posted 5 months, 4 weeks ago at 6:57 am.

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A General’s View on America

“Americanism”

Leonard Wood

MG Leonard Wood

“Americanization must be taken up earnestly and systematically. America first must be stamped upon every heart. There should be but one language in the public grade schools — the language of the Declaration of Independence, of Abraham Lincoln, of Theodore Roosevelt. A common language is one of the strongest influences for building up a spirit of national solidarity. We must emphasize that hand in hand, with equality of privilege and opportunity, goes equality of obligation in war and in peace, in fair weather and in storm.

“There is no room in this country for any flag except our own. There is no room for the Red flag. It is opposed to everything our government stands for. It stands for anarchy, chaos, and ruin. Smash it! True liberty is found within the law. Law and order are the foundation on which rests business, confidence, and prosperity, without which there cannot be prosperous labor conditions, and without these we cannot have increased efficiency, and that increased production which is a great remedy for the high cost of living.

“The war is over. We are confronted with the problems of peace, and organization for the extension of our trade. We must spread the war burden over a longer period of years. We must relieve business of any taxation which strangles enterprise. We must look to the establishment of a merchant marine, the maintenance of a small but highly efficient army and a first-class, every-ready navy, and the development of a sound policy of national defense — a policy which places the obligation of service in war squarely upon all classes of our citizens.

“This country must never be allowed to fall into such a condition of helplessness that it cannot immediately become a force for right. We want peace. We believe in arbitration. We shall have more of peace, and more successful arbitration, if we are not only just and righteous, but also strong. We must be prepared to meet the organized strength of wrong with a [desperate] strength of right. We must cultivate the spirit of service and sacrifice. The motto of every American should be: I serve. In considering the questions of labor and property, we should remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “Let not him who hath no house pull down the house of his neighbor, but rather let him industriously strive to build one for himself, thus by example, showing confidence that his own, when built, shall stand.”

“Let us do all we can to help labor. Give it a square deal — an honest and generous wage for an honest day’s work. Labor is neither a commodity or a chapel; it’s human. Let us inject more of the human element into our dealings with labor and with those of others. Remember, you cannot legislate this into the souls of men. Without it, there never can be harmony, cooperation, and the progress we want.

“Let us build up an intense American spirit — not selfish, but helpful to a world in trouble, backed for the right kind of an American conscience. Avoid loose-fibered internationalism as you avoid death, for it means national death. America has a great mission in the world, one which she can only perform by being a strong, united, upstanding people.”

WHO WAS LEONARD WOOD?

A Medal of Honor recipient, MG Leonard Wood (October 9, 1860 – August 7, 1927) was a United States Army officer. He served as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Military Governor of Cuba, and Governor General of the Philippines.  He was also a candidate for President in 1920.

The above words on “Americanism” were recorded during his campaign for the Republican nomination.leonard wood recording

 

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Posted 6 months, 1 week ago at 7:07 pm.

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Four Things

Henry Van Dyke

“Four things a man must learn to do
If he would make his record true:
To think without confusion clearly;
To love his fellow-men sincerely;
To act from honest motives purely;
To trust in GOD and HEAVEN securely.“

— Henry Van Dyke

 

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Posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago at 7:30 am.

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Rangers Lead the Way – A Ranger is Laid to Rest

29 November 2016 – Beaufort National Cemetery

In a military honors ceremony, a hero was laid to rest today.   One who gave more than his twenty years of service in the US Army.

major gerard m devlin

MAJOR Gerard “Jerry” M. Devlin USA Ret. fought in two wars – Korea and Vietnam – it was a tour in Vietnam where he earned the Distinguished Service Cross awarded for his gallantry and valor during that conflict.  Beyond his service to the United States – his twenty years in the US Army, he became an author and military historian.

I met Jerry at an event commemorating Operation Dragoon, the second invasion of France during WW II.  He was introduced as the author of the book Paratrooper considered “The Bible of the Airborne”.  As I was in midst of completion of my first book Images of America  – Fort Myer, I shared that I was a new soon-to-be-published author. That was the beginning of a great friendship which was much more with his sage advice and insights.

 

I secured a copy of Paratrooper and immediately delved into the book.  I found it to be well presented and very informative.   Since Jerry lived in South Carolina and I was heading there in a few months, I contacted him to get the book autographed. What was supposed to be “over coffee” turned out to be a rather significant meeting. It also included LTG E. M. “Fly”  Flanagan, who commanded the Special Forces of the US Army in 1968 to 1971 and the author of the book Airborne.

The friendship continued and the coaching about the publishing world along with tips about successful book promotion came along with it.  Much sage advice was provided.  My annual trips to South Carolina always included some time with Jerry.  He also expanded my network in many ways, including befriending the command historian of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

We had what I believe a very symbiotic friendship. My second book,  Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair has been a great success with the insights and coaching from Jerry.   While he was working on a book about LTG William P. Yarborough,  The Father of the Modern Green Berets, I would locate items that might have been of interest or spoken to someone who had contact with the general.

I am thankful to have met him and shared many wonderful minutes with him.  He’ll be sorely missed.

I set up a memorial to Jerry on Find-A-Grave’s website

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Posted 7 months ago at 2:00 pm.

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