Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

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


Posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago at 2:00 pm.

Add a comment

Senator Cotton Speaks to the Society of the Honor Guard

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tom Cotton 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:

Continue Reading…


Posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago at 2:37 pm.

Add a comment

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 9 months, 3 weeks ago at 7:48 pm.

Add a comment

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 10 months ago at 11:12 pm.

Add a comment

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 10 months, 2 weeks ago at 2:26 pm.

Add a comment

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 11 months ago at 9:38 am.

Add a comment

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 11 months ago at 2:41 pm.

Add a comment

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 1 year ago at 8:06 am.

Add a comment


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 1 year ago at 12:50 pm.

Add a comment

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 1 year, 1 month ago at 6:31 am.

Add a comment