Teenager Supports Honor Flights, with Bluegrass and Pancakes
| Published: August 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm
The Spontaneous Mountain Boys: From left, Jonathan Dillard on fiddle; his father, David. on mandolin; Gavin Gossett, upright bass; Buddy Greene, vocals and guitar; and Chris Joslin, banjo and dobro. The group’s "Pancakes and Bluegrass" event, initiated by 17-year-old Jonathan, raised enough money for Honor Flights Network in one morning to pay for eight World War II veterans to visit the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C.
Jonathan Dillard is a 17-year-old beekeeper and bluegrass musician from Nashville, Tennessee. This summer, he organized a fundraiser for The Honor Flight Network, which arranges for veterans who otherwise could not afford the trip to travel to Washington, D.C., and visit the memorials to the sacrifices made by them and their comrades. World War II veterans and terminally ill veterans of any of America’s wars presently have top priority, but the Network’s Website says that will gradually transition to veterans of the wars in Korea and Vietnam and all other veterans chronologically.
On a blisteringly hot Tennessee morning, Jonathan and several other musicians performed on an outdoor stage in his Crieve Hall neighborhood to entertain listeners while other volunteers cooked and served pancakes to the crowd. Money from admission and voluntary donations all went to the Honor Flight Network. ArmchairGeneral.com’s editor, Gerald Swick, happened to be present that morning and was struck by this young man’s dedication to helping veterans. He snapped the accompanying photographs and interviewed Jonathan.
Armchair General: Jonathan, we understand you only turned 17 this summer. Sad to say, there aren’t a lot of teenagers who have a great interest in history. How did you come to develop your interest in World War II?
Jonathan Dillard: My whole life I’ve been fascinated with the military. I have veterans scattered throughout my family, and I’ve gotten to hear stories from them. I’ve also visited the Pearl Harbor memorial in Hawaii. As a child I read countless books and watched lots of old war movies. It was just something I was brought up on and taught to appreciate.
ACG: How did you learn about the Honor Flight Network, and why did you decide to get involved in raising funds for it?
JD: I’ve seen TV specials about the organization and known veterans who have flown. I’ve always thought it was a great cause. When I had the opportunity this summer to do something for the community, I couldn’t think of another cause that I was already familiar with and interested in.
Jonathan Dillard and his father, David, raising money to honor veterans.ACG:
Your initial fundraiser was a "Pancakes and Bluegrass" event. How did you come up with that concept?
JD: Honestly, I brainstormed with my parents for a while. My dad and I love playing bluegrass music and have several friends who play, so it wasn’t difficult to find entertainment for the event—and including pancakes just seemed like a natural thing to do.
ACG: How much were you able to raise for the program?
JD: The event raised $3,950—almost enough to send eight World War II veterans to Washington.
ACG: You play bluegrass—impressively, we might add—and given your last name we have to ask: Are you related to The Dillards, the bluegrass group who helped pioneer electrified instruments in bluegrass and played the musical sons of the Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show?
JD: I’ve been asked this a lot! As far as I know of, no, we’re not.
ACG: What are your future plans, once you’ve graduated high school?
JD: This fall, I’m planning to apply to the United States Coast Guard Academy, located in Connecticut. If accepted, I’ll likely make being an officer in the Coast Guard my career!
ACG: Thanks for talking with us and for what you’re doing to help the Honor Flight program. Is there anything you’d like to add?
JD: Thank you! Besides raising funds for Honor Flight, most importantly, this event informed a whole neighborhood about a great cause. Take time and go to the Honor Flight Network Website and read how the organization got started. It’s amazing! What they’re doing is the same as pinning a medal to the chest of every veteran who sacrificed to serve our country.
USS Constitution Sails Again!
| Published: August 21, 2012 at 11:13 am
USS Constitution sets sail for the first time since 1997 during an underway demonstration commemorating Guerriere Day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Achterling/Released)
The USS Constitution sails again! Armchair General received the media release below from the U.S. Navy’s Media Content Service, and we want to share it with our readers.
This sailing of "Old Ironsides" commemorates the USS Constitution’s historic battle and victory over HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812. The Battlefield Leaders article in the January 2013 issue of Armchair General will be “America’s Daring Frigate Captains,” by US Navy Commander BJ Armstrong. This ACG "salute" to the War of 1812 Bicentennial tells how Britain’s powerful Royal Navy met its match in a determined band of US Navy warship commanders. The January 2013 issue of Armchair General goes on sale in November.
From the U.S. Navy’s Media Content Service:
USS Constitution Sails for First Time since 1997
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald, USS Constitution Public Affairs
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) — USS Constitution departed her berth from Charlestown, Mass. Aug. 19, to set sail for the first time since 1997, during an underway demonstration commemorating Guerriere Day.
The underway honored the 200th anniversary of Constitution‘s decisive victory over the HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812, marking the first time a United States frigate defeated a Royal Navy frigate at or nearly equal size. It’s also the battle in which Constitution earned her famous nickname "Old Ironsides."
"I cannot think of a better way to honor those who fought in the war as well as celebrate Constitution‘s successes during the War of 1812 than for the ship to be under sail," said Cmdr. Matt Bonner, Constitution‘s 72nd commanding officer. "The event also ties our past and present by having the ship not only crewed by the outstanding young men and women who make up her crew, but also the 150 chief petty officer [CPO] selectees who join us for their Heritage Week."
More than 150 CPO selectees and CPO mentor chiefs assisted Constitution‘s crew in setting sails. CPO selectees participated in Constitution‘s annual CPO Heritage Weeks, a weeklong training cycle divided by two weeks that teaches selectees time-honored maritime evolutions, such as gun drills, line handling and setting sails. The training is also designed to instill pride in naval heritage in the Navy’s senior enlisted leadership.
"I’m a boatswain’s mate," said Chief (Select) Boatswain’s Mate (SW) Michael Zgoda, assigned to USS Ingraham (FFG 61). "This is the foundation of my rate. Being able to learn from a variety of genuine chiefs and their different perspectives on leadership is overwhelming and important to the chief petty officer transition. I’m extremely honored to be a part of the group that can say they sailed the USS Constitution."
The ship got underway at 9:57 a.m. with tugs attached to her sides and 285 people on board, including special guests, such as the 58th, 59th, 62nd and 65th former commanding officers of Constitution; Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, Commander, Submarine Group Two; Rear Adm. Ted Branch, Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic; Vice Adm. William French, Commander, Navy Installations Command; retired Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner Jr., Medal of Honor recipient; and Dr. Phil Budden, Britain’s Consul General to New England.
At 10:27 a.m., Budden and Bonner tossed a wreath into the ocean to honor and remember Constitution‘s battle with the HMS Guerriere.
When the ship arrived at President Roads, a body of water of Boston Harbor, the crew then set three sails from Constitution‘s main, mizzen and fore masts, and at 12:25 p.m., she detached from her tugs and sailed west under her own power for 17 minutes. She sailed at a maximum speed of 3.1 knots, at an average of two knots, and at a distance of 1,100 yards.
"As the ship’s sail master, I felt a combination of pride and relief that the hundreds of man hours of training and planning over the past year all came together, and we were able to accomplish this goal," said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Conrad Hunt. "I’m really proud that I can say I was a part of this historic occasion."
After tugs reattached to Constitution‘s sides, the ship headed to Fort Independence on Castle Island, where thousands of spectators waited to watch Constitution fire a 21-gun salute toward the fort at 1:14 p.m. Fort Independence is a state park that served as a defense post for Boston Harbor at one time.
Finally, the ship returned to her pier at 2:05 p.m. and everyone departed once the brow was safely set and the ship was clean. Constitution re-opened to the public for tours of the ship’s history at 4 p.m.
"For me, this underway is representative of an incredible amount of work and dedication by not only the crew, but Maintenance and Repair Facility, Naval History and Heritage Command, and all of the partners coming together to make this happen," said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class (AW/SW) Jason Keith, who is the longest-serving crew member currently assigned to Constitution. Keith reported to the ship April 13, 2009 and will depart Aug. 31. "I’ve given tours to thousands of people, shined brass for hundreds of hours, and I’ve climbed the rigging to set and furl these sails over and over again. But sailing USS Constitution on Aug. 19, 2012 is one of the greatest honors I’ve had in my naval career, and I’m truly proud to be a part of this history."
The last time Constitution sailed under her own power was July 21, 1997 to honor the ship’s 200th birthday. It was the first time the ship sailed in 116 years.
"When we sailed the ship, it became clear it was a different experience you can’t have in port," said Lance Beebe, a crew member aboard Constitution‘s 1997 sail. "The ship comes alive, and you truly understand what she is all about. This new crew [2012 Sailors] just joined a group of crew members [1997 Sailors] that also got to experience Constitution under sail, and they became a significant part of her history as a result."
Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today’s Navy. America’s Navy: Keeping the sea free for more than 200 years.
Constitution‘s mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history.
Video of the ship underway can be downloaded here:
Here are links to a selection of photos of the ship underway:
Additional images can be found with a keyword search of "Constitution" here:
25th Anniversary of ‘Full Metal Jacket’ – Yeah, There’s an App for That
| Published: August 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm
"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle. It is your killer instinct which must be harnessed if you expect to survive in combat. Your rifle is only a tool. It is a hard heart that kills."—Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, Full Metal Jacket.
It’s been 25 years since audiences first heard that and other memorable lines in Stanley Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket. For the anniversary, Matthew Modine, who played Private Joker in the movie, has released an iPad App featuring audio commentary from the production diary he kept during filming, over 400 of his behind-the-scenes photos never before made public, plus additional images from other actors and the Stanley Kubrick Estate. Best of all, the proceeds go to support the Wounded Warrior Project.
Entertainment Weekly recently published an interview with Matthew Modine.
To learn more about the app and see sample photos, visit Full Metal Jacket Diary on the iTunes store.
Modine is currently onscreen as Foley, the deputy police commissioner of Gotham City in The Dark Knight Rises.
10 Questions for American Legion National Commander Fang Wong
| Published: July 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm
American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong, who too office in September 2011, is a former Army warrant officer and a Vietnam veteran.
Many years ago, the American Legion’s current national commander, Fang Wong, was attending Chinese school in New York City after arriving in the United States from Hong Kong at age 12. When the American Legion came to honor the school’s top students, young Wong received a scholarship and medal. He was so impressed that he wanted someday to become a member of the organization. Years later, Wong not only achieved his boyhood dream of joining the American Legion, in 2011 he was elected to its top post, national commander.
1. ACG: How did you become the American Legion’s national commander?
WONG: During the Vietnam War, I volunteered for the service; I loved the life, so I stayed for 20 years. Then after I retired, one of the first things I wanted to do was to join that organization that I had been looking forward to all those years. After I got exposed to the order, service, history and the overall organization, I got moved along into various chair positions. I was elected commander for the state of New York back in 2002, six months after 9/11. After getting exposed to the national operation, they asked if I would consider running for national commander, and last year I finally made it.
2. ACG: What does being national commander mean to you?
WONG: I see myself as the representative and spokesperson, and am also the biggest cheerleader internally and externally. Internally, I am a cheerleader when I visit all the different departments throughout this great nation and meet Legionnaires from all walks of life to thank them for their service, support and activities they perform in their respective communities. Externally, I am the biggest cheerleader in advocacy for the veterans’ issues, representing our 2.4 million members and all veterans regardless of whether or not they are members of the American Legion.
Wong leads the American Legion contingent during the 2011 New York City Veterans Day Parade.3. ACG: What are your goals as national commander?
WONG: The goals have already been set with the resolutions approved by our National Executive Committee, and also through our annual national conventions. The American Legion has what we call the Four Pillars – the missions and goals that our forefathers set forward at the very beginning in 1919 when the organization was first formed. The Four Pillars basically represent what we call Veterans, National Defense, Children and Youth, and Americanism.
4. ACG: Who is eligible to join the American Legion?
WONG: One day’s active duty with federal armed forces is all that is required. We have been around for 93 years, have 14,000 posts throughout the country, and are more than a veterans’ organization – we become involved in lives and the community. The organization has transformed into the 21st century, and we have a great website at legion.org which amazes visitors when they see what we are involved in – the different legion leaders in different states doing great things. And you see 80- and 90-year-old folks out there still doing things, and the same with those 40 to 50, and now we start getting the 20- and 30-year-olds, the young veterans coming home, joining their community, and buying into what we are doing. The organization is important not just to veterans but also to each community, because in many areas we are a vital part of their community.
5. ACG: Why should those who are eligible join the American Legion?
WONG: We are a big supporter for veterans in the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) because those are the two main pillars of our program. But we are also the biggest critic of both departments and the government if the policies and practices are not, in our view, up to the standard or acceptable to the best interest of this country or to the veteran. So we play the good guy/bad guy. We go to VA and are critical if their service does not meet what we believe is required. But we also go to Congress and lobby to make sure veterans get proper funding for all their programs. Same thing with DOD – we support them, but we are critical if we believe their policy and practice are not for the benefit of the soldiers.
Wong visits with troops in Afghanistan, Nov. 1, 2011.6. ACG: What programs would you particularly emphasize?
WONG: We’re very concerned about post-traumatic stress (PTS), and we appointed a committee about a year ago to do a study on what some call the signature illness of this war. Even with the technological advancement of medicine, we cannot seem to get a better handle on it. We invited various experts from medical fields and treatment facilities, and we want to come up with our own study and recommendations as to what should be done to get this thing under control so that we can better take care of the warriors. Another issue that we took the lead on last year is recognizing that our current armed forces are no longer just male, obviously, and female soldiers are up to double-digit numbers now. That brings up a lot of subjects as far as health, both mental and physical, so we did the surveys and published findings regarding shortcomings within the government treatment facilities, and the VA is making changes so that female warriors will be treated in an accommodating and suitable fashion.
7. ACG: What is your vision for the future?
WONG: The long-range goal is that we could have a better funding system that will allow the VA more flexibility and resources to provide the kind of services needed to take care of the veterans’ needs. Right now, I know that the resources are not there. But knowing what the warriors have gone through, I believe this country owes them that much, and we need to make sure that in the future the money has to be found, prepared and on time. The other thing obviously is jobs. Veterans need jobs, and it is very frustrating when we cannot get the private sector and the government sector to work together and make it easier for veterans to find jobs.
Wong talks with American Legion riders at Empty Sky 9-11 Memorial, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, N.J., before the 9-11 Ride 2 Recovery Remembrance Ride8. ACG: What historical leader do you most admire?
WONG: I would say General Patton. He’s straightforward, takes charge the way he sees it, and as a general he’s unbeatable. He just kind of stands out in my mind as what we should be – speak up and do the right thing. Sometimes it might take a little bit of extreme action, but sometimes it’s necessary.
9. ACG: What do you consider the main traits of outstanding leaders?
WONG: I think they have to be honest, straightforward, and should not be afraid of taking any action as long as they know they are doing the right thing. If you believe in what you are doing and are on the right course, then stay with the course regardless of what other people say.
10. ACG: Are you interested in military history?
WONG: Yes, I am interested in China since they have been fighting for 2,000 years in different forms. I am also interested in the Civil War and World War II, having read a lot of novels involving those periods. Some of the things that happened were fascinating, and so that ties in when I have a chance to go to some of the history books, memoirs and biographies of different people, and you can try and relate to it.
John Ingoldsby, president of IIR Inc. (ingoldsbyIR.com), a Boston public relations and media firm, conducted this interview.
WWII Foundation – Interview with Chairman Tim Gray
| Published: July 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Tim Gray speaking at a Washington, DC, fundraiser hosted by Tom Ridge (right), Spring 2011.Tim Gray is chairman of the WWII Foundation, a group that is working to preserve the memories of World War II veterans. Its logo urges, "Educate. Honor. Inspire." Its board members include Ken Rendell, Director of the Museum of World War II; Lt. Col. (ret) James Megellas, the most decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division; retired Marine captain Dale Dye, whose company works with filmmakers and actors to help them depict military operations with greater accuracy; former Pennsylvania governor and director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge; and a number of other well-known actors, athletes, historians, etc.
Tim left a successful career in broadcasting to found a company that produces corporate media but that also produces World War II–themed documentaries. The first two such documentaries from the Rhode Island–based company received New England Emmy awards for writing and production. The Foundation and Gray have been featured in news stories on CBS This Morning, American History TV on CSPAN3, and Fox News, as well as print publications that include The Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Weider History Group’s own World War II magazine.
In this exclusive interview, Armchair General put seven questions to Tim about the WWII Foundation and his documentary work.
Armchair General: First of all, tell us about the WWII Foundation. Its motto is "Educate. Honor. Inspire." When was it formed, and what is its focus?
Tim Gray: The Foundation was formed under the umbrella of Tim Gray Media in 2006 with our first World War II documentary film, D-Day: The Price of Freedom. We became an official 501 c3 in the spring of 2011. Since 2006 we have produced four films, with a 5th currently in post-production and a sixth just recently written and waiting to be edited. We have three more films in the works for the rest of 2012 and into 2013, including a project on a Holocaust survivor we recently took back to Poland and Germany. The goal is to donate all our films upon their completion to American Public Television (PBS) so people across the country can hear the stories of these amazing men, women and survivors of World War II. We also donate all of our films to schools and libraries across the country.
ACG: The Foundation initiated the Richard Winters Leadership Project. What is the focus of that project?
TG: Phase one of the project was the creation of a monument, a statue featuring the likeness of Major Richard "Dick" Winters, to honor leadership on D-Day. Phase two is an upcoming documentary on leadership of men in combat, focusing on the 10 principles of success developed by Dick Winters during his time in battle and how those characteristics of leadership translate to civilian life as well. The film will be narrated by Damian Lewis, who played Major Winters in Band of Brothers. The documentary will be donated to schools and libraries in Pennsylvania on behalf of the late major and his wife, Ethel. A leadership award will also be announced in Major Winters’ name at his alma mater, Franklin and Marshall College. The annual award will go to a student there who displays leadership qualities while in college.
Unveiling the Richard Winters Leadership Monument that honors leadership on D-Day. Click to enlarge.
The Richard Winters Leadership Monument was dedicated in Normandy on June 6th, 2012. We were honored to have the event hosted by Governor Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, and Major General James McConville, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Association. We worked closely with the French in Normandy who had a special relationship with Major Winters after World War II. The 12-foot-high statue is located just outside of the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, on the main road (the D913) to Utah Beach. He was the perfect choice for this leadership monument based on the location it is in.
ACG: There are some people, including some on our ACG forums, who feel Richard "Dick" Winters is being exploited or that he and the "Band of Brothers" get too much attention. How would you respond to those opinions?
TG: We left it up to Major Winters prior to his passing in 2011 if he wanted the leadership monument to proceed, and he said yes. We also made is very clear that while the statue was a likeness of Richard D. Winters and utilized a quote from him about men who respond to the call from their nation to serve, the monument itself was focused on leadership on D-Day.
All the American Army divisions and corps that took part on June 6, 1944, are recognized prominently on the monument. That’s the only way Dick Winters would have given his ok to this, if everyone was recognized. He was a very humble man. Books, movies and television shows that share stories of men like Dick Winters, Audie Murphy, George Patton, Jim Gavin, John Basilone, Eugene Sledge, Robert Leckie and Pappy Boyington keep the World War II conversation moving forward. We all need heroes.
Interviewing Lt. Col. (ret) James Megellas, the most decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Divsion.
Everyone who fought in World War II has his, or her, own individual story; many however are never shared and too many veterans pass away without leaving behind their own personal experience, many of which would make great films, books or TV programs. Dick Winters was a hero to many people, including 11-year-old Jordan Brown
of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who led a team that raised $100,000 for the monument. Jordan was something special. He enabled us to look at Major Winters through the eyes of a boy who just wanted to honor a 92-year-old man he admired and respected.
I wish I had 100 Jordan Browns involved in all our projects. I encourage everyone to honor the men (and women) of World War II they feel are their heroes in life. I wish I could build monuments and produce films honoring them all. Twenty years from now when all these veterans are gone, many others will feel t
ACG: It’s been written elsewhere that you developed your interest in World War II when you picked up a World War II encyclopedia and couldn’t put it down. What was it that grabbed you about the topic and why has it remained so important to you all these years?
TG: It’s all the individual stories of those caught up in the drama of World War II. Everyone who fought or was involved, as a survivor or combatant, has his or her own individual story from that time, whether serving on the front lines or on the home front. Everyone experienced the war in a different way. Our films are focused on bringing these people back to the places where they experienced World War II—Europe, Pacific or the home front. It is amazing what can be recalled in these situations by a veteran or survivor when they revisit places like Normandy, Bastogne, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima or Auschwitz-Birkenau or Treblinka.
ACG: You walked away from a successful career as a television sportscaster and reporter in order to make documentary films. What prompted you to make such a leap of faith?
Tim Gray with Lt. Col. (ret) James Megellas at the Waal River.TG:
I had more of a passion for preserving the stories of World War II then I ever had doing television. Not even close. Our films are airing across the country on PBS stations and we have won several Emmy Awards for our projects, but the greatest satisfaction comes from situations like standing with Jim Megellas of the 82nd Airborne Division at the Waal River as he recounts the carnage of the crossing there in September of 1944. Priceless.
ACG: Documentaries don’t have the reach of big-budget movies or even some independent films. How can our readers view some of your work?
TG: They can check with their local PBS stations or visit our WWII Foundation Website to see some samples of the non-profit work we do. We are running out of time to interview this generation. The window is closing so fast that it makes me sad that some of the best and most inspirational stories from the war will pass on quietly as the veterans and survivors leave us.
ACG: What lies down the road? What are some of your future projects, and what would you like to see the WWII Foundation doing 10 years from now?
TG: We have to keep raising money to keep our mission moving forward. That’s the hardest part of what I do. Out of every 100 people I reach out to, maybe one or two really understands what we are trying to do. The goal in 10 years is to have as many of these films airing free across the country as possible. I just can’t tell you how important this is. When we say goodbye to our last living World War II veteran we will all look around and say, “Where did they all go?” I want to make sure we keep as many of their stories around as possible so that future generations have free access to learn what courage and sacrifice was about at that decisive time in world history.
A Petition to Restore February 22 as Washington’s Birthday
| Published: July 03, 2012 at 5:36 pm
The Father of Our Country deserves a day of his own!
George Washington’s birthday was long observed officially on February 22, the actual anniversary of his birth. First celebrated in the country while Washington was still living, it became a federal holiday in 1885 during the presidency of Chester A. Arthur.
Then, in 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act that moved the day of observation for some holidays in order to create a uniform system of Monday holidays. When the law took effect in 1971, the official observance of Washington’s birthday was moved to the third Monday in February. Although never officially re-named President’s Day (or Presidents Day), it now frequently appears that way on calendars and is widely held to be a day combining the observances of the birthdays of Washington and Abraham Lincoln (born February 12). Some feel it should be a day for celebrating all the presidents of the United States.
Washington Deserves His Own Day
George Washington—leader of the Continental Army that won independence from England, the first president of the United States—deserves his own day of prominence in American society. Congressman Frank Wolf (R–Va) has introduced a bill, H.R. 2268, in the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize February 22, Washington’s actual birth date as a national holiday.
if you would like to support restoring February 22 as the day for official recognition of the Father of Our Country, click on the link below and sign the petition.
Historian Max Hastings to Receive Pritzker Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing Award
| Published: June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm
Armchair General salutes historian Sir Max Hastings on this lifetime achievement honor.
* * *
HISTORIAN MAX HASTINGS TO RECEIVE 2012
PRITZKER MILITARY LIBRARY LITERATURE AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
$100,000 Award to be Presented by Pritzker Military Library
CHICAGO, June 19, 2012 – British Historian Sir Max Hastings has been named the recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The $100,000 honorarium, citation and medallion, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation, will be presented at the Library’s annual Liberty Gala on October 27, 2012. The video announcement was made today at pritzkermilitarylibrary.org.
“Max Hastings is a gifted narrative historian who has made a significant contribution to the way we understand military conflict from a global perspective,”said Colonel (IL) J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), Founder of the Pritzker Military Library and Tawani Foundation. “He has a keen ability for connecting the plans of world leaders with the battlefield actions of individual soldiers. Perhaps most importantly, his accessible style of writing brings the story of the Citizen Soldier to a broad audience and makes him popular amongst scholars and the casual reader.”
The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award recognizes a living author for a body of work that has profoundly enriched the public understanding of American military history. A national panel of writers and historians – including previous recipients James M. McPherson, Allan R. Millett, Gerhard L. Weinberg, Rick Atkinson, and Carlo D’Este –reviewed and recommended candidates for final selection by the Tawani Foundation Executive Council.
“I am over the moon to be honoured by the Pritzker Library in this way,” said Hastings. “Military history has been a big part of my life, and the Pritzker’s contribution to its study has been enormous. I am so touched that as a British writer, a great American institution should recognise my work. The previous winners are all people for whom I have a huge admiration, and am proud to count as friends and colleagues. I feel as if I was joining a very select club, and simply hope that in the future I will be able to make an ongoing contribution to the Pritzker culture.”
Sir Max Hastings
Sir Max Hastings is hailed as an accomplished journalist, writer, historian and editor. He is the author of 23 books, the most recent of which include Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945
, Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940-45
, Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45
and Nemesis: The Battle for Japan 1944-45
. Hastings has reported on eleven conflicts, including Vietnam and the 1982 South Atlantic war. He was the Editor and later Editor in Chief of the Daily Telegraph
for 9 years and of the Evening Standard
for 4 years.
He has received numerous awards, both for his books and journalism, including the Somerset Maugham Prize for Bomber Command: The Myths and Reality of the Strategic Bombing Offensive, 1939-1945 and Journalist of the Year and Reporter of the Year in the 1982 British Press Awards, and Editor of the Year in 1988. He received the Westminster Medal of the Rusi for his lifetime contribution to military literature in 2008 and the Edgar Wallace Trophy of the London press club in 2009. Today Hastings continues to write for the Daily Mail and Financial Times and reviews books for the Sunday Times and The New York Review of Books.
The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing was established in 2007. The recipient’s contributions may be academic, non-fiction, fiction, or a combination of any of the three, and his or her work should embody the values of the Pritzker Military Library.
ABOUT THE PRITZKER MILITARY LIBRARY
The Pritzker Military Library, located at104 S. Michigan Ave,is a non-partisan, non-profit research institution founded byColonel (IL) J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), in 2003. The Library features a collection of over 65,000 items including books, films,posters, photographs, medals, uniforms, and other artifacts covering the full scope of American military history. The Library has produced over 300 programs including lectures, interviews, and panel discussions on military topics. Programs are webcast live, available for audio podcast download,and broadcast on public television. To learn more, visit www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org.
ABOUT TAWANI FOUNDATION
Founded by Colonel (IL) J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), Tawani Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) grant-making organization whose mission is: to enhance the awareness and understanding of the importance of the Citizen Soldier; to preserve unique sites of significance to American and military history; to foster health and wellness projects for improved quality of life; and to honor the service of military personnel, past, present and future, through an awards program that includes the JROTC/ROTC Award for Military Excellence and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.
To learn more about the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, visit www.tawanifoundation.org/LTA.
70th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway
| Published: June 05, 2012 at 2:32 pm
June 4–7, 2012, mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, often called the turning point in the Pacific War and "the miracle at Midway." U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) John Antal, who has authored a number of articles for Armchair General, sent us a link to this Department of Defense picture in which a Navy and Marine Corps color guard display the colors on the USS Arizona Memorial as participants sing the national anthem during a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway in Honolulu, June 4, 2012. World War II veterans, civilian guests and service members assigned to military bases on Hawaii gathered at the memorial for the event.
Click on this link to the Naval History & Heritage Command page to learn more about the Battle of Midway and see more images.
Glorieta Pass – Civil War Battle and Reenactment in New Mexico
| Published: May 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm
Picture 1 of 14
Glorieta Pass Battlefield. The crest of Artillery Hill where Lt. Ira Claflin placed three mountain howitzers from the Fort Union command of U. S. Regulars. The large boulders provided protection.
On May 4–6, 2012, reenactors, historians and interested spectators from throughout the west gathered at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a three-day commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in New Mexico. The first day was largely given over to setting up reenactors’ camps.
The Reenactment of the Battle of Glorieta Pass
The New Mexico Civil War Commemorative Congress sponsored the event that drew more than 200 military and civilian reenactors from as far away as Illinois who camped, demonstrated and skirmished to the delight of hundreds of spectators who attended public events on May 5 and 6. Northern and Southern camps were established on the expansive museum grounds and opened to visitors for most of the weekend. Demonstrations included Civil War medicine, company drilling and ladies’ fashions of the 1860s. A collection of equipment used by the Buffalo Soldiers of New Mexico Territory and a locally produced documentary on the Civil War in New Mexico drew much attention.
A significant element of the event was an invitation-only Grand Ball for the reenactors. But for most reenactors, and the public as well, the highlight of the weekend was the series of battle reenactments. Skirmishes were fought to represent the early part of the campaign into the Far West by Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s Texans.
The Civil War in New Mexicoâ€¨
Sibley’s ambitious plans included capturing the mines of Colorado and the ports of Southern California and enlisting Confederate sympathizers in the region. After skirmishing with and then bypassing the Federal enclave at Fort Craig—consisting of U. S. Regulars and New Mexico volunteers under colonels Edward. R. S. Canby and Kit Carson—the Texans took Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
The Confederate advance needed to take Fort Union in northeast New Mexico to clear the route to Colorado. However Colorado volunteers made a difficult winter march south to reinforce Fort Union. Thus, when the two forces first discovered each other on the Santa Fe Trail at Apache Canyon on March 26, each had a combat strength of about 2,500 men. The skirmish at Apache Canyon resulted in the "Pike’s Peakers" surprising a Confederate encampment and taking a large number of prisoners. The rest of the Rebels retreated to their base at Johnson’s Ranch.
After a relatively quiet March 27, Lieutenant Colonel William Scurry moved out with his force from Johnson’s Ranch early on the morning of March 28. They drove the Federals under Colonel John P. Slough back toward their forward camp at Pigeon’s Ranch, a stagecoach rest stop on the Santa Fe Trail. Confederate flanking maneuvers forced the Federals back a mile beyond the ranch, but the advance ran out of steam when the Texans learned their supplies at Johnson’s Ranch had been captured and destroyed by a Union expedition led over the mountains by Col. John Chivington. The Texans quietly withdrew back to Santa Fe and eventually to Texas leaving Sibley’s objectives unmet.
The "Gettysburg of the West," as the Battle of Glorieta Pass is often called now because of the turn of Confederate fortunes, was reenacted on each of the weekend afternoons by the Civil War New Mexico reenactors. The terrain for the battle provided by the museum was ideal, and the Confederate and Federal interpreters did a wonderful job recreating the historic event and delighting the spectators.
Santa Fe and El Rancho De Las Golondrinas
Some visitors, including this correspondent, traveled to the capital city of Santa Fe, a charming center of history and art. In the middle of Santa Fe Plaza, the old town square complete with cathedral and historic shops, stands a monument to the Federal defenders who drove the Sibley expedition back to Texas. Thirty miles further east is the Glorieta Pass Battlefield. The park, a unit of Pecos National Historic Park, has developed a marvelous walking tour that encompasses much of the original battlefield of March 28, the third and pivotal day in this historic action.
El Rancho De Las Golondrinas is a living history museum that features buildings and historic lifestyles of the 18th and 19th century Spanish colonial period in New Mexico. Besides the Civil War event, held annually, there are many entertaining and educational events held at the museum to demonstrate daily life in New Mexico during Spanish colonial rule. The museum also holds several other significant events annually. The reaction by reenactors and spectators to the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in New Mexico, however, demonstrated the excitement that is carrying through Civil War Sesquicentennial events through the country. Civil War interpreters are turning out in great numbers to share this important milestone with comrades, while making new friends among participants who have traveled far or are just beginning to discover the hobby. It is a great time for Civil War enthusiasts throughout the country, including those in the American Southwest.
(Editor’s note: Sadly, based on information on the New Mexico Civil War Commemorative Congress Website, it appears the May 2012 event may have been the swan song for Civil War reenactments of this size in New Mexico for the foreseeable future. We hope that will not be the case.)
About the Authorâ€¨
Jay Wertz is the producer-director-writer of the award-winning 13-part documentary series Smithsonian’s Great Battles of the Civil War for The Learning Channel and Time-Life Video. He authored The Native American Experience and The Civil War Experience 1861-1865 and co-authored Smithsonian’s Great Battles and Battlefields of the Civil War with prominent historian Edwin C. Bearss. His most recent publications are the award-winning War Stories D-Day: the Campaign Across France and War Stories: The Pacific, Vol. I, Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal, published by Weider History Publications.
Another Honor for ‘War Stories: World War II Firsthand – D-Day, the Campaign Across France
| Published: May 23, 2012 at 9:34 am
War Stories: World War II Firsthand – D-Day, the Campaign Across France, which recently was honored with a Silver Medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) in the World History category, has also been named the winner in the History: Military category of USA Book News International Book Awards.
Weider Publishing took first place in the History: Military/Political category of the International Book Awards in 2011 with WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – THE PACIFIC – Volume One – Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal.
Click here to see a complete list of this year’s honorees in the International Book Awards.
The Weider Online Store is offering a 20% discount on either or both books through June 30, 2012. Click on the titles below. At checkout use the coupon code wsaw20 to receive the discount.
Click the titles below to learn more about these books.
WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – THE PACIFIC – Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal
WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – D-DAY: The Campaign Across France
Sioux War Dispatches: Rallies, Repulses, and ‘Villainous Falsehoods’ – Book Excerpt
| Published: May 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm
Back in July of 2011, Sioux Wars researcher and writer Marc H. Abrams provided Armchair General with an article titled "Charles St. George Stanley—Artist, Writer, ‘Indian Fighter,’" based on information from his book, Crying for Scalps: St. George Stanley’s Sioux War Narrative.
Recently, he sent us this excerpt from his latest publication, Sioux War Dispatches: Reports from the Field, 1876–1877, published by Westholme Publishing, to share with our readers. Click on the title to download a pdf of "Rallies, Repulses, and ‘Villainous Falsehoods.’"
Abrams has also published Newspaper Chronicles of the Indian Wars, Including A Comprehensive Account of the Sioux War of 1876. Delving into newspaper accounts of the period has been a Herculean effort on his part—he’s been at this for 35 years—and it provides a sense not only of what happened but how the news was presented to Americans at the time.
A Silver Award for ‘War Stories: World War II Firsthand – D-Day, The Campaign Across France’
| Published: May 03, 2012 at 4:30 pm
WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – D-DAY: The Campaign Across France, the second volume in a series published by Weider History Publications, has been honored with a Silver Medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) in the World History category. The author is Jay Wertz, whose insights into historical programming on television can frequently be found on ArmchairGeneral.com and our partner site, HistoryNet.com.
Armchair General‘s editor in chief, Col. Jerry D. Morelock, who edited the award-winning book, had this to say:
"It’s been my privilege to work with author Jay Wertz—and the entire Weider History Group book production team—and serve as the editor for each of the two volumes (of a planned 10-volume series) in Weider History Group’s outstanding War Stories book series. Wertz is an outstanding and accomplished author with a finely-honed “feel” for the flow of historical events. The result is his superbly crafted narrative that propels the story of America’s role in World War II. The carefully chosen veterans’ accounts give each book a “you are there” feel that makes readers virtual eyewitnesses to the war as it unfolds. All of us on the War Stories books production team are extremely proud that the War Stories books have received the recognition that they so clearly deserve. We highly recommend adding these books to your military history library."—Jerry D. Morelock, Editor in Chief, Armchair General Magazine
Bill Breidenstine, publisher for the series, said, "I am honored that our D-Day book won a Silver Medal award in the History (World) category of the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all involved in the WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand project. In particular, I want to thank the World War II veterans themselves who came forward and shared their experiences with us. It is because of them that this endeavor of ours to preserve their legacy is truly worthwhile."
The author, Jay Wertz, also won top honor in the USA "BEST BOOKS 2011" AWARDS in the History: Military/Political category for the first book in the series, WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – THE PACIFIC – Volume One – Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal. Tom Brokaw, of NBC News, praised THE PACIFIC – Volume One as “a stunning and evocative reminder of the personal heroism and epic battles over and on seas, island, and mainland, as told by those who were there. Magnificent." (UPDATE MAY 23: WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – D-Day: The Campaign Across France has received top honor in USA "BEST BOOKS 2012" AWARDS in the History: Military category.)
Upon learning that D-Day, The Campaign Across France, had won a silver IPPY award, Wertz said, "We’re pleased that the importance of preserving and putting in perspective the unique experiences of these veterans has been recognized as an important work."
Prior to his work on the War Stories series, Wertz authored three books—The Native American Experience, The Civil War Experience: 1861-1865 (both now in their second edition), and co-authored Smithsonian’s Great Battles and Battlefields of the Civil War. His television credits include the award-winning 13-part documentary series Smithsonian’s Great Battles of the Civil War.
The Independent Publisher Book Awards—IPPYs—are now in their 16th year. They were conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. The contest is presented by Jenkins Group and IndependentPublisher.com.
The group’s media release for 2012 says, "The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles published each year … The IPPY Awards reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing. Independent spirit and expertise comes from publishers of all sizes and budgets, and books are judged with that in mind."
Weider is honored to have published a work deemed worthy of such an award.
In recognition of that honor, the Weider Online Store is offering a 20% discount on either or both books through June 30, 2012. Click on the titles below. At checkout use the coupon code wsaw20 to receive the discount.
Click the titles below to learn more about these books.
WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – THE PACIFIC – Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal
WAR STORIES: World War II Firsthand – D-DAY: The Campaign Across France
National War of 1812 Bicentennial Kick-off in Baltimore
| Published: April 14, 2012 at 11:57 am
The Eagle 2. Click to enlarge.
The War of 1812 is sometimes called America’s forgotten war, overshadowed by other conflicts in American history. It isn’t going to be forgotten during its bicentennial.
The national launch of the War of 1812 bicentennial takes place in June with a week-long event in the Baltimore region and Chesapeake Bay area. Dubbed the Star-Spangled Sailabration, its special features will include an international maritime festival with tall ships on the water and a Star-Spangled Air Show featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Several free public ship tours will be available over the course of the event.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels.Overture For 2012
, a new symphony composed by world-renowned musician and Baltimore native Philip Glass, will have its world debut June 17, performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. And for collectors, the U.S. Mint has issued two special coins, one gold and one silver.
For more information, go to http://www.starspangled200.com/events_list and http://www.wbaltv.com/entertainment/30837061/detail.html#ixzz1s1s5d2Ic.
Armchair General and the Colby Symposium in 2012
| Published: April 02, 2012 at 3:54 pm
As the Executive Director, I’m very pleased to announce that Armchair General will again support the 17th annual William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, to be held at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont on 11-12 April 2012. As a part of the symposium the sixth annual Armchair General Award will be presented at a dinner at Norwich the evening of April 12.
Since 2007 Armchair General has been a dedicated supporter of the only program of its kind held at an American university. A more complete description of the Colby Symposium is in the program, of which a Pdf. is attached.
Afghanistan and America’s Endless War on Terrorism
After nearly 11 years of military involvement in Afghanistan, growing and often violent opposition to the U.S. and NATO presence there has cast the future of the war and its possible solutions in grave doubt. America’s role in Afghanistan, our troubled relations with Pakistan, and possible outcomes to the hostilities will be the main subjects of discussion at the 2012 Colby Symposium.
Ralph Peters is a writer, strategist, media commentator and retired military officer. He is the author of 28 books and approximately 1,000 columns, articles, essays and reviews. Uniformed service, personal interests and research have taken him to 70 countries and six continents. He served in the U.S. Army for 22 years, first as an enlisted man, then as an officer, retiring shortly after his promotion to lieutenant-colonel to write. Ralph has published seven books on strategy and military affairs: Endless War, Wars of Blood and Faith, Never Quit the Fight, Beyond Baghdad, Beyond Terror, Fighting for the Future, and New Glory. Lines of Fire, a collection of his most-enduring writings of the past two decades was published in September 2011. His latest book published this year and the subject of great reviews is a novel of the Civil War, Cain at Gettysburg.
Nathaniel Fick is the chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security, a national security research organization in Washington DC, and an operating partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm. He served as a Marine Corps infantry officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, and his book, One Bullet Away, won the Colby Award in 2006. Nate earned a Classics degree from Dartmouth, and an MBA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Barrie Dunsmore covered foreign affairs for ABC News for thirty years, reporting from Washington and abroad on the policies of seven U.S. presidents from Johnson to Clinton. He traveled with them all overseas and was a regular on the planes of their secretaries of state. From 1965–95 he reported from more than 100 countries on virtually every major international event from wars to summits to diplomatic shuttles. Following retirement from ABC, Dunsmore became a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard where he conducted a study of the potential consequences of live television of war. The Next War-Live was published by Harvard in 1996.
James Hornfischer is the author of three outstanding works of naval history. The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (2004) won the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature and was recently named by Naval History magazine as one of a dozen all-time naval classics. His second book, Ship of Ghosts, about the cruiser USS Houston, was a Main Selection of the History Book Club and the Military Book Club and was chosen by Proceedings magazine as a Notable Book of 2006. His latest book is Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal (Bantam, 2011) is an acclaimed new account of the Guadalcanal naval campaign. A former editor at HarperCollins, and now president of the literary agency, Hornfischer Literary Management, he has handled a number of nonfiction bestsellers, including the #1 New York Times bestseller and Colby Award winner Flags of Our Fathers.
THE COLBY AWARD
Established in 1999, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the under-standing of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs. Through the generous support of James N. Pritzker (Col. Illinois National Guard, Ret.) and the Tawani Foundation in Chicago, the winner of the Colby Award receives $5,000.
20 DISTINGUISHED WORKS IN 13 SEASONS
2011 Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
2010 If Not Now, When? by Jack Jacobs
2009 Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell
2009 The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
2008 Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for the Hearts and Minds in Iraq by R. Alan King
2007 Six Frigates: The Epic history of the Founding of the American Navy by Ian W. Toll
2007 Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors: Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945 by John A. Glusman
2006 One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick
2006 Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral by Kevin J. Weddle
2005 Hope and Honor by MG Sid Shachnow USA (Ret.) & Jann Robbins
2005 Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham
2004 The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division by Bing West & MG Ray L. Smith, USMC (Ret.)
2004 No Gun Ri: A Military History of the Korean War Incident by Robert L. Bateman
2003 Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers by Bryan Mark Rigg
2002 The Last Battle by Ralph Wetterhahn
2002 Beyond Valor by Patrick K. O’Donnell
2001 Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers
2000 Stolen Valor by B.G. Burkett & Glenna Whitley
1999 A Road We Do Not Know: A Novel of Custer at the Little Big Horn by Fred Chiaventone
1999 Circle William by Bill Harlow
2012 COLBY AWARD WINNER
A Nightmare’s Prayer by Michael Franzak
Armchair General Award
In 2007, Armchair General founder and publisher, Eric Weider, and Editor-in-Chief, Jerry D. Morelock, began an association with the Colby and Norwich University. Armchair General donates $500 annually (a figure matched by Norwich) to an outstanding student in military history who enrolls in the Norwich Master of Arts in Military History online graduate program. The award will be presented at the Colby “Meet the Authors” dinner at Norwich on April 12, 2012. My sincere thanks to both Eric and Jerry for their generous support. It is yet another example of AG’s growing contributions to the field of military history.
YOUR PARICIPATION WELCOME
The Colby Symposium is also open to the public and anyone interested in attending is cordially invited to do so. Further information can be found at the Colby website: colbysymposium.org Or contact Cara L. Butterly, 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield VT 05663 ; Office: (802) 485-2811; Fax: (802) 485-2802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the event, a limited number of autographed 2012 full color Colby posters will be available for sale, each signed by the authors attending this year’s event. Posters from previous years are also available at a nominal fee. Contact is Cara Butterly.
Armchair General With Dale Dye At Iwo Jima
| Published: March 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Editor’s Note: Dale Dye, Captain, USMC, ret. is well known to ACG readers from his many film roles, books and his tremendous work as founder of Warriors, Inc. (warriorsinc.com), his innovative company that’s been responsible for the superb historical accuracy of films such as “Saving Private Ryan” and the acclaimed HBO series “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” On his latest tour of Pacific World War II battlefields, Dye took along his subscriber’s copy of the May 2012 issue of Armchair General magazine – as this photo from Iwo Jima with Mount Suribachi in the background attests. Dye’s third entry in the File Series of his exciting Gunner Shake Davis novels, “The Chosin File,” is scheduled for publication this summer, while shooting for his next film, “No Better Place to Die” with Dye directing, is slated to begin in Europe mid-summer. Along with the photo from Iwo Jima, Dye sent along this trip report.
February 1945. Marines take cover in the black volcanic sand of Iwo Jima as they try to advance off the beach. Mount Suribachi can be seen in the background. (National Archives)
I just returned from a flying visit to Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima with a group of returning World War II vets. During the trip with The Greatest Generations Foundation (tggf.us
), we took 12 World War II in the Pacific veterans back to the battlefields. We teamed up with Colonel, USMC, ret. Warren Wiedhahn’s Military Historical Tours (miltours.com
) for the Iwo Jima leg of the trip. Also along for the ride and the experience were two professors and a dozen military history students from The Ohio State University. Saipan and Tinian were clearly the highlights. I did use your Saipan article [You Command Solution
to “Japanese Defense of Saipan, 1944,” May 2012 ACG] as talking points with the OSU students. It was very helpful and I was able to copy the pertinent pages as a hand-out.
This marked my third visit to Iwo Jima (once on active duty and twice thereafter) and the changes this time were sobering. About all that’s available to returning veterans, history buffs and vets’ families are the black sand landing beaches and one lone road to the top of Mount Suribachi. The Japanese have plowed many of the caves and defensive positions under and planted most of the island with tropical bush. In short, there’s not much to actually see, especially for the history student seeking insight to Japanese defensive construction methods, etc. The old history buff business of standing on the ground and studying the struggle from the enemy’s point of view is very, very difficult now and many of the island’s most significant battle sites are simply "off limits" with guards posted to restrict exploration. The flag-raising monument erected by the 5th U. S. Marine Division remains atop Mount Suribachi, but the American flag no longer flies, even during veteran visits.
My third book in the File Series of Gunner Shake Davis novels (The Chosin File) is finished and due for publication this summer. All movie projects are proceeding apace.
Best from Here,
Help Out a Civil War Site – A ‘Take Pride in America’ Event
| Published: March 09, 2012 at 5:35 pm
We received a media release about the annual Park Day, when people who may not have time to volunteer year-round pitch in to help out at a Civil War park or historic site. The ways you can help are many and varied: painting, repairing fences, cleaning up litter. With budget cutbacks and the economy affecting financial contributions, your help at these sites is especially important.
Since 1996, the Civil War Trust has sponsored Park Day, an annual hands-on preservation event to help Civil War battlefields and historic sites take on maintenance projects large and small. Park Day 2012 will be held on Saturday, March 31, at participating sites. This nationwide effort is recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a "Take Pride in America" event.
For more information, go to http://www.civilwar.org/aboutus/events/park-day/
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