Tag Archive: veterans
Courtesy of a veteran friend I “met” while on JibJab; a considerable amount of my postings came from e-mails received from him.
Willie,Joe, and Bill in WWII
Get out your history books and open them to the chapter on World War II. Today’s lesson will cover a little known but very important hero of whom very little was ever really known. Here is another important piece of lost U.S. History.
Makes ya proud to put this stamp on your envelopes…
Bill Mauldin stamp honors grunt’s hero. The post office gets a lot of criticism. Always has, always will. And with the renewed push to get rid of Saturday mail delivery, expect complaints to intensify. But the United States Postal Service deserves a standing ovation for something that happened last month:
Bill Mauldin got his own postage stamp.
Mauldin died at age 81 in the early days of 2003. The end of his life had been rugged. He had been scalded in a bathtub, which led to terrible injuries and infections; Alzheimer’s disease was inflicting its cruelties. Unable to care for himself after the scalding, he became a resident of a California nursing home, his health and spirits in rapid decline.
He was not forgotten, though. Mauldin, and his work, meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin’s drawings of his muddy,
exhausted, whisker-stubble infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.
Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers he drew for; his gripes were their gripes, his laughs their laughs, his heartaches their heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.
He never held back. Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too close for comfort, superior officers tried to tone him down. In one memorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, who informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons celebrating the fighting men, lampooning the high-ranking officers to stop. Now!
“I’m beginning to feel like a fugitive from the’ law of averages.”
The news passed from soldier to soldier. How was Sgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton? It seemed impossible.
Not quite. Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan: Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe .. Ike put out the word: Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants. Mauldin won. Patton lost.
If, in your line of work, you’ve ever considered yourself a young hotshot, or if you’ve ever known anyone who has felt that way about him or herself, the story of Mauldin’s young manhood will humble you. Here is what, by the time he was 23 years old, Mauldin accomplished:
“By the way, wot wuz them changes you wuz
Gonna make when you took over
last month, sir?”
He won the Pulitzer Prize, was featured on the cover of Time magazine. His book “Up Front” was the No. 1 best-seller in the United States.
All of that at 23. Yet, when he returned to civilian life and grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin, never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, never big-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day.
I was lucky enough to be one of them. Mauldin roamed the hallways of the Chicago Sun-Times in the late 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousness or air of haughtiness than if he was a copyboy. That impish look on his face remained.
He had achieved so much. He won a second Pulitzer Prize, and he should have won a third for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering, on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands. But he never acted as if he was better than the people he met. He was still Mauldin, the enlisted man.
During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it. They didn’t want Mauldin to go out that way. They thought he
should know he was still their hero.
“This is the’ town my pappy told me about.”
Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin. I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally, so Bill would not feel so alone. Soon, more than
10,000 cards and letters had arrived at Mauldin’s bedside.
Better than that, old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to let him know that they were there for him, as he, so long ago, had been there for them. So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list. Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:
“Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002 they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach , California , to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin. They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings. Some wore old garrison caps. Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old. Almost all of them wept as they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation.”
One of the veterans explained to me why it was so important: “You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us.
You had to be reading a soaking wet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons.”
“Th’ hell this ain’t th’ most important hole in the world. I’m in it.”
Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery . Last month, the kid cartoonist made it onto a first-class postage stamp. It’s an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.
What Mauldin would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of the two guys who keep him company on that stamp.
Take a look at it. There’s Willie. There’s Joe.
And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy, quietly observant smile, is Mauldin himself. With his buddies, right where he belongs. Forever.
What a story, and a fitting tribute to a man and to a time that few of us can still remember. But I say to you youngsters, you must most seriously learn of and remember with respect the sufferings and sacrifices of your fathers, grand fathers and great grandfathers
in times you cannot ever imagine today with all you have. But the only reason you are free to have it all is because of them.
I thought you would all enjoy reading and seeing this bit of American
DO NOT HOLD ON TO THIS.
SOMEONE HAS TO HOLD OUR COUNTRY IN THEIR HANDS.
SEND THIS ON, AND ON AND ON
The soldier stood and faced
Which must always come to
He hoped his shoes were
Just as brightly as his
‘Step forward now,
How shall I deal with
Have you always turned the other
To My Church have you been
The soldier squared his shoulders and
“No, Lord, I guess I
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays,
at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills just got too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fears…
sometimes, God, forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.
I know I don’t deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fear.
If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
if you don’t, I’ll understand.
There was a silence all around the
Where the saints had often trod.
the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
“Step forward now, you soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.”
This YouTube video was sent via e-mail. Like those fleeting moments of sunset; we are losing the few remaining ones Tom Brokaw dubbed “The Greatest Generation”.
First seen – Supermarine Spitfire. After the Spitfire, a B-25 “nose shot”, A Grumman F-6-F Hellcat, Odd tail shot of Century series Korean War era Jet belies it’s type. Douglas DC-3′s (AKA C-47′s, “gooney birds”) Head on shot of an F-18 Hornet – Perhaps the Superhornet variant. A group of P-51-D Mustangs – Folks these did not see action until 1944; too bad the B and C models are seldom shown which were the ones to finally turn the tide against the Luftwaffe [Toward the end of this video, there is a very short archive clip of perhaps the C models.] Actual footage of Spitfires, and stills of those valiant ones. AT-6 “Texan Trainer, w/ B-25 in background. A Grumman SBD “Dauntless” divebomber (the ones who sank three Japanese carriers at Midway) and a F4U-4 Corsair to its left, followed by Acrhive shots of them, a most famous and much used footage of a B-17-F Flying Fortress in a banking turn during take-off. The old Vet is by a B-17 -G Flying fortresses; the chin turret was to reduce losses from hair raising head on attacks by Luftwaffe pilots.
An F-4-F “Wildcat” that bore the brunt of the bad days in 42; (Butch O’Hare flew this one)
http://partneringwitheagles.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/butch-and-easy-eddie-true-account/ A Cutiss P-40-E “Kittyhawk” then archive clip of a P-40-B “Tomahawk”, with E models after.
Other gut wrenching memories. I cannot describe the degree of sadness I feel for the loss of life and sacrifices made…
Thanks just isn’t enough….. Cemetery Watchman .
Full dress was hot in the August sun. Oklahoma summertime was as bad as ever–the heat and humidity at the same level–both too high.
I saw the car pull into the drive, ’69 or ’70 model Cadillac Deville, looked factory-new. It pulled into the parking lot at a snail’s pace. An old woman got out so slow I thought she was paralyzed; she had a cane and a sheaf of flowers–about four or five bunches as best I could tell.
I couldn’t help myself. The thought came unwanted, and left a slightly bitter taste: ‘She’s going to spend an hour, and for this old soldier, my hip hurts like hell and I’m ready to get out of here right now!’ But for this day, my duty was to assist anyone coming in.
Kevin would lock the ‘In’ gate, and if I could hurry the old biddy along, we might make it to Smokey’s in time..
I broke post attention. My hip made gritty noises when I took the first step and the pain went up a notch. I must have made a real military sight: middle-aged man with a small pot gut and half a limp, in marine full-dress uniform, which had lost its razor crease about thirty minutes after I began the watch at the cemetery.
I stopped in front of her, halfway up the walk. She looked up at me with an old woman’s squint.
‘Ma’am, may I assist you in any way?‘
She took long enough to answer.
‘Yes, son. Can you carry these flowers? I seem to be moving a tad slow these days.‘
‘My pleasure, ma’am.‘
(Well, it wasn’t too much of a lie.)
She looked again. ‘Marine, where were you stationed?‘
‘ Vietnam , ma’am.. Ground-pounder. ’69 to ’71.‘
She looked at me closer.
‘Wounded in action, I see. Well done, Marine.. I’ll be as quick as I can.‘
I lied a little bigger:
‘No hurry, ma’am.‘
She smiled and winked at me.
‘Son, I’m 85-years-old and I can tell a lie from a long way off.. Let’s get this done. Might be the last time I can do this. My name’s Joanne Wieserman, and I’ve a few Marines I’d like to see one more time..‘
‘Yes, ma ‘am. At your service.‘
She headed for the World War I section, stopping at a stone. She picked one of the flower bunches out of my arm and laid it on top of the stone.
She murmured something I couldn’t quite make out.. The name on the marble was, Donald S. Davidson, USMC: France 1918.
She turned away and made a straight line for the World War II section, stopping at one stone. I saw a tear slowly tracking its way down her cheek.
She put a bunch on a stone; the name was, Stephen X. Davidson, USMC, 1943.
She went up the row a ways and laid another bunch on a stone, Stanley J. Wieserman, USMC, 1944.
She paused for a second and more tears flowed. ‘Two more, son, and we’ll be done‘
I almost didn’t say anything, but, ‘Yes, ma’am. Take your time.‘
She looked confused..
‘Where’s the Vietnam section, son? I seem to have lost my way.‘
I pointed with my chin.
‘That way, ma’am.‘
‘Oh!’ she chuckled quietly.
‘Son, me and old age ain’t too friendly.‘
She headed down the walk I’d pointed at. She stopped at a couple of stones before she found the ones she wanted. She placed a bunch on, Larry Wieserman, USMC, 1968, and the last on Darrel Wieserman, USMC, 1970.
She stood there and murmured a few words I still couldn’t make out and more tears flowed.
‘OK, son, I’m finished. Get me back to my car and you can go home.‘
Yes, ma’am. If I may ask, were those your kinfolk?‘
‘Yes, Donald Davidson was my father, Stephen was my uncle, Stanley was my Husband, Larry and Darrel were our sons. All killed in action, all Marines.‘
She stopped! Whether she had finished, or couldn’t finish, I don’t know.
She made her way to her car, slowly and painfully.
I waited for a polite distance to come between us and then double-timed it over to Kevin, waiting by the car.
‘Get to the ‘Out’ gate quick.. I have something I’ve got to do.‘
Kevin started to say something, but saw the look I gave him. He broke the rules to get us down the service road fast. We beat her.
She hadn’t made it around the rotunda yet.
‘Kevin, stand at attention next to the gatepost.
Follow my lead.‘
I humped it across the drive to the other post. When the Cadillac came puttering around from the hedges and began the short straight traverse to the gate, I called in my best gunny’s voice:
I have to hand it to Kevin; he never blinked an eye–full dress attention and a salute that would make his DI proud. She drove through that gate with two old worn-out soldiers giving her a send-off she deserved, for service rendered to her country, and for knowing duty, honor and sacrifice far beyond the realm of most.
I am not sure, but I think I saw a salute returned from that Cadillac.
Instead of ‘The End,’ just think of ‘Taps.‘
As a final thought on my part, let me share a favorite prayer:
‘Lord, keep our servicemen and women safe, whether they serve at home or overseas.
Hold them in your loving hands and protect them as they protect us.‘
Let’s all keep those currently serving and those who have gone before in our thoughts. They are the reason for the many freedoms we enjoy. ‘In God We Trust.’ Sorry about your monitor; it made mine blurry too.
If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under! [Ronald Reagan]
New project earns highest accolades from legendary tough guy
A movie debuting Friday, “Last Ounce of Courage,” already is a one-of-a-kind as the only film ever to earn the “Chuck Norris Seal of Approval.”
The veteran martial arts champion, action movie and “Walker, Texas Ranger” star loves it so much it’s the only film he’s promoted, aside from the ones in which he appeared.
Actor Marshall Teague, who plays the lead in the movie, told WND that when he gave his longtime friend Norris a rough cut of the movie to review, he was hoping for some advice.
What he got from Norris was even more than an unqualified endorsement, as the legendary tough guy asked for permission to promote the film.
How much did it impact Norris?
“When we finished the film, I must say Carlos was misty,” Teague told WND.
Wait, that can’t be. Chuck Norris Fact No. 16 says, “Chuck Norris never uses a stunt double, except during crying scenes.”
Or maybe what Teague was seeing was just the result of Fact No. 93, “Chuck Norris uses Tabasco sauce for eye drops.”
The movie, Teague tells WND, is about faith, family and freedoms.
“I’m talking about the freedoms we as a nation enjoy every day, speech, religion, the freedom to gather,” Teague said.
The story revolves around the mayor of a small town, where Bob Revere, played by Teague (“Roadhouse,” “The Rock” and “Armageddon”) is challenged by the apathy that is eroding America’s basic freedoms.
It’s bound to be a success.
“This is the only movie in my life that I’ve ever promoted that I’m not in,” Norris said in an interview about the project. “I just want to encourage … everyone to go see this movie. You will not be disappointed.”
See the interview:
Teague told WND that the U.S. is the greatest country on earth, but people have stopped noticing.
“Wake up people,” he said. “Take a moment of your day and realize what you have, what has been given to you by people, our forefathers. They saw in the future how great this country could be.”
In a commentary for WND, Norris wrote: “I will also let you in on a little secret about the movie: The mega-inspiring speech given by Marshall Teague’s character near the end of the movie from atop a downtown building was unscripted and flowed from his patriot passion in a way that rivals the best patriotic or faith orator.”
He continued: “There is no more perfect time than right now for the release of ‘Last Ounce of Courage,’ being roughly two months away from electing a new president. It can help us take back America. In particular, it can help motivate the 30 million evangelical Christians who stayed home during the 2008 election when Obama won the presidency by 10 million votes.
“This general election could be our last chance to save our republic as our founders created and knew it, and it’s going to take all of our last ounces of courage to do it.”
See the movie’s trailer:
THIS CLIP WAS GEARED FOR CHURCHES… To hell with PC; this is the trailer that lays it on the line! “X”:
TODAY IS THE 14TH. FIND OUT IF YOUR CITY IS SHOWING THE FILM HERE: [CLICK ON THE "FIND THEATERS" TAB]
Teague told WND there have been changes in the U.S., people converse via computer rather then speaking face-to-face, events are moving faster, and there are so many more deadlines and pressures.
But, he said, Americans “need to stop … and really take time and go meet your neighbor, and say hello.”
The mutual relationship that can result, he said, is called “respect.”
It’s needed now more than ever, because, as Ronald Reagan said, freedom is never more than one generation away from being lost, Teague said.
“Our country was formed by a people who saw the future,” he said. “It is our responsibility to keep this nation great and stand by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
He continued: “When one voice connects to another, and another, and another … what you end up with is a choir of voices that can be heard across the nation.”
Teague said the project also honors the nation’s military, whose sacrifices have continued to protect freedom, as well as the youth, through the character who challenges Teague in the movie.
It’s a Veritas Communications project by the film company dedicated to making films with a purpose.
In a statement released announcing the decision to award “The Chuck Norris Seal of Approval” to the movie, Norris said, “I neither star in, nor do I have an above-the-line credit on, or other affiliation with, ’Last Ounce of Courage. ‘
“Yet allowing the use of my ‘Official Seal of Approval’ is the least I can do to support a project so consistent with my core values and life principles. In addition to the film’s basic reminder that our precious freedoms are not always free, Marshall Teague gives the performance of his career as a small-town mayor who is inspired by his grandson to take a stand when a public religious display honoring his fallen son in Iraq is targeted for removal. No one should miss the message of this motion picture or his moving performance.”
ANOTHER CLIP FOR VETERANS:
CIA book review. For the historical record…
As President George W. Bush’s top speech writer, Marc Thiessen was provided unique access to the CIA program used in interrogating top Al Qaeda terrorists, including the mastermind of the 9/11 attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM).
Now, his riveting new book, “Courting Disaster”, How the CIA Kept America Safe (Regnery), has been published.
Here is an excerpt from “Courting Disaster”:
“Just before dawn on March 1, 2003, two dozen heavily armed Pakistani tactical assault forces move in and surround a safe house in Rawalpindi . A few hours earlier they had received a text message from an informant inside the house. It read: “I am withKSM.”
Bursting in, they find the disheveled mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in his bedroom. He is taken into custody. In the safe house, they find a treasure trove of computers, documents, cell phones and other valuable “pocket litter.”
Once in custody, KSM is defiant. He refuses to answer questions, informing his captors that he will tell them everything when he gets to America and sees his lawyer. But KSM is not taken to America to see a lawyer Instead he is taken to a secret CIA “black site” in an undisclosed location.
Upon arrival, KSM finds himself in the complete control of Americans. He does not know where he is, how long he will be there, or what his fate will be.
Despite his circumstances, KSM still refuses to talk. He spews contempt at his interrogators, telling them Americans are weak, lack resilience, and are unable to do what is necessary to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals. He has trained to resist interrogation. When he is asked for information about future attacks, he tells his questioners scornfully: “Soon, you will know.”
It becomes clear he will not reveal the information using traditional interrogation techniques. So he undergoes a series of “enhanced interrogation techniques” approved for use only on the most high-value detainees. The techniques include waterboarding.
His resistance is described by one senior American official as “superhuman.” Eventually, however, the techniques work, and KSM becomes cooperative-for reasons that will be described later in this book.
He begins telling his CIA de-briefers about active al Qaeda plots to launch attacks against the United States and other Western targets. He holds classes for CIA officials, using a chalkboard to draw a picture of al Qaeda’s operating structure, financing, communications, and logistics. He identifies al Qaeda travel routes and safe havens, and helps intelligence officers make sense of documents and computer records seized in terrorist raids. He identifies voices in intercepted telephone calls, and helps officials understand the meaning of coded terrorist communications. He provides information that helps our intelligence community capture other high-ranking terrorists, KSM’s questioning, and that of other captured terrorists, produces more than 6,000 intelligence reports, which are shared across the intelligence community, as well as with our allies across the world.
In one of these reports, KSM describes in detail the revisions he made to his failed 1994-1995 plan known as the “Bojinka plot” to blow up a dozen airplanes carrying some 4,000 passengers over the Pacific Ocean .
Years later, an observant CIA officer notices the activities of a cell being followed by British authorities appear to match KSM’s description of his plans for aBojinka-style attack.
In an operation that involves unprecedented intelligence cooperation between our countries, British officials proceed to unravel the plot.
On the night of Aug. 9, 2006 they launch a series of raids in a northeast London suburb that lead to the arrest of two dozen al Qaeda terrorist suspects. They find a USB thumb-drive in the pocket of one of the men with security details for Heathrow airport, and information on seven Trans-Atlantic flights that were scheduled to take off within hours of each other:
*United Airlines Flight 931 to San Francisco departing at 2:15 p.m.;
*Air Canada Flight 849 to Toronto departing at 3:00 p.m.;
*Air Canada Flight 865 to Montreal departing at 3:15 p.m.;
*United Airlines Flight 959 to Chicago departing at 3:40 p.m.;
*United Airlines Flight 925 to Washington departing at 4:20 p.m.;
*American Airlines Flight 131 to New York departing at 4:35 p.m.;
*American Airlines Flight 91 to Chicago departing at 4:50 p.m.
They seize bomb-making equipment and hydrogen peroxide to make liquid explosives. And they find the chilling martyrdom videos the suicide bombers had prepared.”
Today, if you asked an average person on the street what they know about the 2006 airlines plot, most would not be able to tell you much.
Few Americans are aware of the fact al Qaeda had planned to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 with an attack of similar scope and magnitude.
And still fewer realize the terrorists’ true intentions in this plot were uncovered thanks to critical information obtained through the interrogation of the man who conceived it: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
This is only one of the many attacks stopped with the help of the CIA interrogation program established by the Bush Administration in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Editor’s Note: For other foiled terrorist plots, see page 9 of “Courting Disaster.”
In addition to helping break up these specific terrorist cells and plots, CIA questioning provided our intelligence community with an unparalleled body of information about al Qaeda Until the program was temporarily suspended in 2006, intelligence officials say, well over half of the information our government had about al Qaeda-how it operates, how it moves money, how it communicates, how it recruits operatives, how it picks targets, how it plans and carries out attacks-came from the interrogation of terrorists in CIA custody.
Former CIA Director George Tenet has declared: “I know this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than what the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.”
Former CIA Director Mike Hayden has said: “The facts of the case are that the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer. It really did work..”
Even Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, has acknowledged: “High-value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.”
Leon Panetta, Obama’s CIA Director, has said: “Important information was gathered from these detainees. It provided information that was acted upon.”
And John Brennan, Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor, when asked in an interview if enhanced-interrogation techniques were necessary to keep America safe, replied : “Would the U.S. be handicapped if the CIA was not, in fact, able to carry out these types of detention and debriefing activities? I would say yes.”
On Jan. 22, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13491, closing the CIA program and directing that, henceforth, all interrogations by U.S. personnel must follow the techniques contained in the Army Field Manual.
The morning of the announcement, Mike Hayden was still in his post as CIA Director, He called White House Counsel Greg Craig and told him bluntly: “You didn’t ask, but this is the CIA officially nonconcurring”. The president went ahead anyway, over ruling the objections of the agency.
A few months later, on April 16, 2009, President Obama ordered the release of four Justice Department memos that described in detail the techniques used to interrogate KSM and other high-value terrorists. This time, not just Hayden (who was now retired) but five CIA directors -including Obama’s own director, Leon Panetta — objected. George Tenet called to urge against the memos’ release. So did Porter Goss. So did John Deutch. Hayden says: “You had CIA directors in a continuous unbroken stream to 1995 calling saying, ‘Don’t do this.’”
In addition to objections from the men who led the agency for a collective 14 years, the President also heard objections from the agency’s covert field operatives. A few weeks earlier, Panetta had arranged for the eight top officials of the Clandestine Service to meet with the President. It was highly unusual for these clandestine officers to visit the Oval Office, and they used the opportunity to warn the President that releasing the memos would put agency operatives at risk. The President reportedly listened respectfully-and then ignored their advice.
With these actions, Barack Obama arguably did more damage to America ‘s national security in his first 100 days of office than any President in American history.