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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 1 month, 2 weeks ago at 6:02 am.

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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 5 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 6 months ago at 1:28 pm.

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Too Busy to Read? – GEN Mattis Doesn’t Think So

TIME TO READ – General Mattis Thinks So!

In my exploring, I came across an interesting article penned by Geoffrey Ingersoll, who at that time worked for the “Business Insider”  It included an email from US Marine Corps General James Mattis commenting on how there’s always time to read – in fact a necessity!  I offer it to you with links to the books mentioned in the email with a couple of suggestions of my own at the end of the blog entry.

Thank you Geoffrey Ingersoll!

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Posted 1 year, 9 months ago at 2:34 pm.

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Remembering Patton

We Lost A Hero Today – Patton Dies

It was 21 December 1945 when GEN George S. Patton Jr. died from the injuries he sustained in an automobile accident.  Seven decades have passed since that day.  He was buried with full military honors on Christmas Eve day at The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Hamm, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg in Belgium.

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Posted 1 year, 10 months ago at 7:37 am.

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Here comes the Book

Here comes the Book … Here comes the Book!

 

After months of research, finding just the right photographs, images and map,  complemented by extensive writing, it’s finally here!

On 04 MAY 2015,  “Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair” was released.  It proudly joins John Michael’s other book “Images of America – Fort Myer”  ( The FIRST BOOK about that Civil War era fort which was once known as Fort Whipple).  Fort Lesley J. McNair is the third oldest US Army post in continuous operation established in 1791 when Major Pierre Charles  L’Enfant designed the new Capital City of Washington, DC.

Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant

Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant

What became Fort McNair started off small.  The first 28 acres were designated “Reservation #05”  by L’Enfant – a slip of land first known as “Turkey Buzzard Point”. It was  later renamed to Greenleaf Point when James Greenleaf, a real estate investor from Boston purchased the surrounding land hoping to profit from the new Capital of the United States.

Over the years, as needs grew, the single artillery piece that L’Enfant placed at the tip of the peninsula was exchanged for many as the area became Washington Arsenal which provisioned the US Army during two wars – The War of 1812 and the US Civil War.  During the War of 1812, when the British invaded and burned Washington DC, the arsenal was also invaded and destroyed.  The British incurred several casualties from that invasion, due to their inquisitive nature to find what was down at the bottom of a dry well.  It was the only time that the acres experienced an invasion.

Washington Arsenal During the US Civil War

As one of the main delivery hubs during the US Civil War,  Washington Arsenal provided ordnance and ammunition.  Women working among the buildings of the arsenal were turning out on a daily basis up to 125,000 rounds of ammunition.   While in the workshops, arsenal workers were crafting gun carriages and limbers to draw the artillery to the battles.

"Images of America - Fort Lesley J. McNair"

“Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair”

 

Ir’s been named Fort Humphreys. Washington Barracks, Army War College and finally Fort Lesley J. McNair over the years. We could tell you more, but then there’s so much more about the history of this US Army Post in the book.

 

This new addition of  this book serves as another milestone in the mission,”Preserving the memories so others will remember…” ™   You may purchase an autographed copy on the website for the book –  Historic-FortMcNair.com

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Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 6:22 am.

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Flags In – A tradition at Arlington National Cemetery

Old Guard Soldier - Flags In

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…

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Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 2:53 pm.

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Arlington National Cemetery: The Beginnings

BG Montgomery C. Meigs

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.

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Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 5:55 am.

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THE Gates of Arlington National Cemetery

From the Scenes of Arlington National Cemetery Collection

From the Scenes of
Arlington National Cemetery
Collection

 

 

As Arlington National Cemetery continued to expand, over time there were gates erected that marked the various entrances to this national shrine where the heroes of the United States are at rest in their final sleep…

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Posted 4 years, 8 months ago at 11:01 pm.

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Guns Run Long – 4th of July 2012

For the last three years, I have watched and captured the outstanding 50 GUN Salute to the nation on the 4th of July – Independence Day.  It’s an amazing event that has been precisely executed by one of the elite platoons in the US military – The Presidential Salute Battery…

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Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at 12:07 pm.

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