Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™



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

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Posted 1 year, 1 month ago at 3:47 pm.

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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


Posted 1 year, 2 months ago at 2:00 pm.

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Remembering General Y

It was 06 DEC 2005 – Ten Years Ago that the world lost a man who had given much …

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Posted 2 years, 2 months ago at 8:11 pm.

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A Milestone in Special Forces is Finally Honored

It WAS October 12, 1961, when a visit by then-President John F. Kennedy to Fort Bragg, North Carolina that would turn the tide and raise the awareness of these elite Soldiers of the US Army and award them officially their badge of honor – “The Green Beret”.   The President met General William P Yarborough and saw the Special Forces in action at McKellars Pond.

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Posted 5 years, 10 months ago at 7:12 am.


48 Years Ago…

Fort Bragg, NC –  An historic meeting occurred that changed the US military – specifically the US Army forever.  For it was on this day,  12 OCT 1961 a visit was arranged that forged a lasting effect that continues until this day –  Presidential validation of the Special Forces – “The Green Berets”

To understand the history though,  one must look back nearly 200 years before, one state south and consider “The Swamp Fox”…

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Posted 8 years, 4 months ago at 1:25 pm.


A FLASH of Color…

A few weeks ago, I had a trip to Fort Bragg to witness and record the induction of three retired Special Forces soldiers as “a distinguished member of the Regiment.” While there, I met and spent some time with the Director/Curator of the JFK Warfare Museum and she furthered my knowledge about the origins of the Flashes that are used behind the insignia of rank, certain badges or the regiment.
I had earlier learned that LTG Wm P. Yarborough when confronted with the comment by his commander that the Parachutist Badge which he designed and presented to his commander that “… they’re too … small!” Then Captain Yarborough, with a spark of creative genius used pieces of colored felt that were put behind the badge to make it appear bigger. That same concept was applied for the Special Forces Group Flash.
Originally, a consideration was a “rosette” similar to the ones awarded to recipients of the Purple Heart shown below (now discontinued)

or a Medal of Honor recipient …

Many of the colonial troops wore a rosette in their tricorn hats.
Instead of the rosette, a small piece of colored material to provide “A flash of color…” was the General’s answer…

Shown below are the 1st, 5th and 7th Group flashes worn on their green berets…


Posted 9 years ago at 12:37 am.

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Special Forces – A Special Day!

Green Beret with Distinctive Unit Insignia and FlashI was whisked down to Fort Bragg, NC – home of the 82d Airborne and Special Forces to witness and participate in a rather distinctive event of The Regimental First Formation of the Special Forces.

Three noted members of the Special Forces were inducted as “Distinguished Members of the Special Forces Regiment” and awarded plaques. These include:

    • Colonel Ola Lee Mize – Medal of Honor Recipient


    • Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Aycock


  • Command Sergeant Major Ronnie A. McCan


After the induction & awards, the soldiers who have been immersed in their Special Forces training reached the point where they were allowed to put on and wear their Green Berets for the first time. (The following day was graduation…)

I also reconnected with a General who I had met several years ago and I updated him on the progress I’ve made (he’s gone from 1 star to 3 stars … so I believe he’s making great progress!) When I showed him the array of offerings that I now have, he turned to his Aide-de-Camp. The next thing we were shaking hands and I found what’s below in my palm.

Thank you General for recognizing my work!

Later, I once again re-visited the JFK Warfare Museum and spent some time with the Director / Curator. It was a very informative several minutes which I wished would have never ended. She shared some rather interesting background on the development of uniforms and heraldry items that LTG Wm P. Yarborough orchestrated.

I later walked the halls where the General and those who have followed his footsteps have walked. It was a great feeling.

In the distance, I heard the echoing sounds of the GUNS… they were having live fire on one of the ranges on FT Bragg.






Posted 9 years ago at 12:08 am.

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Some words to think about…

“If a man has a tent of linen without any apertures… he can throw himself down from any great height without injury. “
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

In 1940, General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the US Army, directed the formation of airborne forces be investigated. Major William C. Lee was assigned to implement the possible development of a parachute group. Major Bill Lee was about to become known as the “Father of the U.S. Airborne”, he would also command the “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division. First Lieutenant William T. Ryder was the first commander of the Parachute Test Platoon.

Man flying like a bird and jumping from the skies…

Often the impossible is possible!


Posted 9 years, 1 month ago at 10:12 am.

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I’ve just added three listings on EBAY to sell composites, greeting cards, & notecards of the collage of President John F. Kennedy meeting then BG William P. Yarborough on 12 OCT 1961.

Here’s where you can get the listings and purchase them.



Posted 9 years, 4 months ago at 4:02 pm.

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The origins of the US Army Special Forces came from the First Special Service Force – A WW II combined United States – Canadian unit and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). It was the initial efforts of Major General Robert A. McClure that brought about special warfare within the US Army and the Special Forces in the early 1950s.

Those early SF troops surreptitiously wore the green beret as a way of distinguishing themselves from the rest of the Army.

In the early 1960s, then Brigadier General William P. Yarborough had the future vision of the role of the Special Forces in winning the war. Much as he tried to work with the chain of command to make it happen, he couldn’t get “THE BRASS” to move in that direction. His classmate from West Point, Major General Chester V. Clifton just so happened to be President Kennedy’s military aide. The two Generals orchestrated a visit on this day 12 OCT 1961 to Fort Bragg, NC – the home of the 82d Airborne Division. The real mission was to see the Special Forces in action.   The entire XVIII Airborne Corps which at that time included also the 101st Airborne Division – the “Screaming Eagles” and US Army Special Forces greeted the President –  they were in formation on Pope Field which is adjacent to Fort Bragg.

The men provided President Kennedy a demonstration of their tactics. And during the review, they all wore their GREEN BERETS. The President was much impressed by this display and when he asked BG Yarborough how the men liked their green berets, the General responded that they liked them very much. It was that day with words most remembered that President Kennedy acknowledged that the US Army Special Forces were Special and authorized the wearing of the green berets.

The composite below highlights the historic meeting (47 years ago today!) and includes the autographed copy of the collage that President Kennedy sent to LTG Yarborough.

A print of the above composite including the autographed collage that hung in LTG Yarborough’s office for over 30 years is available for purchase.


Posted 9 years, 4 months ago at 9:58 am.

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