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
Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago at 3:47 pm. Add a comment
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
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:
Posted 5 months, 1 week ago at 2:37 pm. Add a comment
A SPECIAL Special Forces Invite
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.
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.
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 months, 1 week ago at 11:12 pm. Add a comment
Distinctive Unit Insignia
COL Roger Donlon USA (Ret.) is a Medal of Honor recipient, but a unique one. He is the first Special Forces Soldier to receive the medal and the first during the Vietnam war.
Posted 1 year, 1 month ago at 11:10 am. Add a comment
National Medal of Honor Day
Posted 1 year, 1 month ago at 6:09 am. Add a comment
A National Cemetery is Declared
On 15 JUNE 1864 Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton designated 200 acres of the Custis-Lee estate as a national cemetery. The 1,100 acres were owned by Mary Custis who married Robert E. Lee. And on this day a portion of the estate welcomed those who have served in the United States military. The rolling hills would soon be the final resting place for the many who were fighting in the United States Civil War. Who knew what the future would hold for these acres.
The first burials began just a month earlier when PVT William Christman was laid to rest on May 13th. His final resting place is now in Section 27 of Arlington National Cemetery. The location is quite far from where Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs initially wanted the burials to occur – right around Mary Custis’ rose garden, just south of the mansion. On June 15, 1864 Meigs officially gave the orders to continue his mission to bury the dead near the mansion. Though the burials would continue among the newly designated acres. James Parks dug the first graves for these burials to occur.
The First Tomb of the Unknowns
Tomb of the Unknowns
It was dedicated in September 1866 and sits between the rose garden of Mary Custis Lee and the original amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb to the Civil War Unknowns was constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers at the direction of General Meigs. A pit was dug that was about 20 feet deep and 20 feet around. The walls and bottom were brick-lined and compartments were made with mortared brick walls. Each compartment was to hold different body parts. Unknowns were collected from the battlefield of Bull Run and route along the way as the troops retreated to the Rappahannock. The remains of 2,111 Union and Confederate dead were collected and enclosed inside before it was sealed with concrete and dirt. Meigs designed a centagraph to sit on top of the tomb. On one side of the tomb are inscribed the words below:
BENEATH THIS STONE
REPOSE THE BONES OF TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN UNKNOWN SOLDIERS
GATHERED AFTER THE WAR
FROM THE FIELDS OF BULL RUN, AND THE ROUTE TO THE RAPPAHANNOCK,
THEIR REMAINS COULD NOT BE IDENTIFIED. BUT THEIR NAMES AND DEATHS ARE
RECORDED IN THE ARCHIVES OF THEIR COUNTRY, AND ITS GRATEFUL CITIZENS
HONOR THEM AS OF THEIR NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE.
SEPTEMBER. A. D. 1866.
Posted 2 years, 10 months ago at 11:15 pm. Add a comment
A monument is an expressive symbol. A good one, looked at for even a few minutes will remain in memory for years or even for one’s entire lifetime. Monuments are the milestones in a nation’s history — they will not allow other systems and governments to destroy the core values of a national culture.
Posted 2 years, 10 months ago at 5:44 am. Add a comment
Arlington National Cemetery
The Confederate Memorial within Arlington National Cemetery turned 100 on June 4, 2014.
Posted 2 years, 11 months ago at 12:48 am. Add a comment
Old Guard Soldier – Flags In
2014 Memorial Day Weekend is ahead of us. The work has already begun at Arlington National Cemetery. Soldiers from The Old Guard – 3d Infantry Regiment of the US Army are ready. They are equipped with their rucksacks filled with American flags and will spend the next few hours placing a flag in front of every headstone in the cemetery. With 624 acres, over 250,000 flags will soon be fluttering in the gentle breeze across the rolling hills of this national shrine. A tribute of thanks to those who have served and are at rest among the acres. Continue Reading…
Posted 2 years, 11 months ago at 2:53 pm. 3 comments
BG Montgomery C. Meigs
It was May 1864. The United States Civil War was entering the fourth year of the North fighting the South. Casualties were high,
hospitals were overcrowded and the cemeteries surrounding Washington DC were filling up quickly.
Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs was the Quartermaster General of the Union forces. In this position, he was in charged of equipping all Union forces for every need, except ordnance. While in this position, his accomplishments impacted the City of Washington DC in many ways.
It is said that it was his payback to Robert E. Lee that resulted in Arlington National Cemetery. For as the DC cemeteries were full, Meigs ordered that the land surrounding Arlington House on the Custis-Lee estate the home of Mary Custis and Robert E. Lee be used as gravesites.
Apparently, the orders were not completely understood and what happened was much different than what General Meigs expected.
Posted 2 years, 11 months ago at 5:55 am. 1 comment