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.
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The first of four open house events of 2017 at Grant Hall on historic Fort Lesley J. McNair.
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.
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
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.
“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.”
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.
“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
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 “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
It was COL Neale Crosby who wrote some very touching words about “Why We Guard the Tomb” Recently Senator Tom Cotton shared the following words with the Sentinels who have and are guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns:
“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
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.
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.
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.
P.S. Yes, that is my latest challenge coin awarded by Brigadier General E. John Deedrick, Jr.