Newsletter 1-1-24

News & Updates


Keep up with host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem & never miss an episode
The Colonel’s Corner
~Comment by the Colonel~
If you haven’t noticed it, for way over a thousand years, radical Muslims have been killing people who don’t agree with them. Given that there are two major “branches” of Islam, much of the murders have been Muslims killing Muslims. Virtually every nation in Europe, Asia, and Africa has had continuing murders as radical Muslims attack those they disagree with. This is very different than the Judeo-Christian culture, where we’re encouraged to “love one another.” Yes, there were times in history when Christians killed “non believers”, but those times were few and isolated and not repeated. Somehow, Jews have been the constant target for murder by radical Muslims from the beginning. Israel has lived with constant radical Muslim attacks since its founding. The targets are innocent civilians–yet, somehow, the rest of the world ignores this. Blowing up a school or hospital or bus full of people is no big thing. Yet, when Israel decides to strike back at the people who hate them and try to kill them, it’s somehow a truly bad thing that needs to be stopped. Why would Israel stop when, if they end the war, within months the terrorists will be killing their people again?  And, yes, innocent people get hurt and killed in war–that always happens. But the people of Gaza aren’t “innocent.” They support and cheer on the Hamas terrorists. Do note that no other Islamic nation in the area or the world is willing to accept anyone from Gaza (or the West Bank) as immigrants into their nation. Wonder why? I don’t. It’s time to support Israel and stand with them as they crush Hamas so that it can’t rise again. Then they need to do the same thing with Hezbollah and the other terrorist groups supported by Iran and China.
The Smiling Ranger – This book is a series of short, mostly funny, stories of my time in uniform (it’s for sale at I was thinking about… my time in Vietnam. I had little experience with a .45 caliber automatic pistol before arriving in country as a second lieutenant, but I quickly found one and carried it along with my rifle. The pistol was WWII vintage and badly worn. It jammed so often I really didn’t consider it reliable. When I’d loan it to a trooper who was going into a tunnel, I warned him that often it was good for only one shot.
After my first Vietnam tour I was assigned to Fort Campbell, KY, where I assumed command of an airborne rifle company. My assigned weapon was, yes, a .45 pistol. It might have been the same one I’d left in Vietnam. It rattled when I fired it, the parts were so worn. Then the division was ordered to deploy to Vietnam, so we all had to qualify with our weapons. For the life of me, I just couldn’t hit all those bulls-eyes with my old rattley weapon. When qualifying with a rifle, the shooter shot at a silhouette, but with the pistol it was a bulls-eye target. After about a hundred tries I finally barely qualified. I deployed with my company to Vietnam—wearing that old pistol. That’s why I own only revolvers today. (I have since been converted and own a Glock and a Sig Sauer today, along with my revolvers.)
If you don’t already have one, order your copy of ‘The Smiling Ranger’ today or one for a friend.
*We should all be proud Americans; despite our current challenges and differences, we live in the best and freest nation in the world. Let’s end all the name calling and appreciate each other and our nation, even if we don’t all agree on everything. Good Americans come in many flavors.
Military History
In the first half of January, during the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans; During WWII, Merrills Marauders were established in Burma, and the Japanese government ordered their pilots to become kamikaze. And we led the UN attack against Iraq when they failed to withdraw from Kuwait.
On 1 Jan 1946, an American soldier accepted the surrender of about 20 Japanese soldiers who only discovered that the war was over by reading it in the newspaper.
On the island of Corregidor, located at the mouth of Manila Bay in the Philippines, a lone soldier on detail for the American Graves Registration was busy recording the makeshift graves of American soldiers who had lost their lives fighting the Japanese. He was interrupted when approximately 20 Japanese soldiers approached him—literally waving a white flag. They had been living in an underground tunnel built during the war and learned that their country had already surrendered when one of them ventured out in search of water and found a newspaper announcing Japan’s defeat.
On 2 Jan 1942, during WWII, the Navy Airship Patrol Group 1 and Air Ship Squadron 12 were established at Lakehurst, N.J. The Navy was the only military service in the world to use airships–also known as blimps–during the war.
The Navy was actually behind the times in the use of blimps; it didn’t get around to ordering its first until 1915, at which time even the Army was using them. By the close of WWI, the Navy had recognized their value and was using several blimps for patrolling coastlines for enemy submarines. They proved extremely effective; in fact, no convoy supported by blimp surveillance ever lost a ship.
Between the wars, it was agreed that the Army would use non-rigid airships to patrol the coasts of the US, while the Navy would use rigid airships (which were aluminum-hulled and kept their shape whether or not they were filled with gas) for long-range scouting and fleet support. The Navy ended its construction and employment of the rigid airships in the 1930s after two, the Akron and the Macon, crashed at sea. In 1937, the Army transferred all its remaining non-rigid blimps to the Navy.
On 4 Jan 2012, US Coast Guard Cutter Healy, under the command of CAPT Beverly Havlik, embarked on the first-ever Arctic domestic icebreaking mission while escorting the Russian tanker vessel Renda through 800 miles of Bering Sea pack ice to deliver 1.3 million gallons of fuel to ice-bound Nome, Alaska. After 10 days of intense, close aboard ice escorting, the two vessels safely arrive on 14 January 2012 and began a 60-hour, over-the-ice fuel transfer while hove to in the ice 468 yards offshore of Nome.
On 5 Jan 1945, during WWII, Japanese pilots received the first order to become kamikaze, meaning “divine wind” in Japanese. The suicidal blitz of the kamikazes revealed Japan’s desperation in the final months of WWII. Most of Japan’s top pilots were dead, but youngsters needed little training to take planes full of explosives and crash them into ships. At Okinawa, they sank 30 ships and killed almost 5,000 Americans.
On 6 Jan 1944, during WWII, in Burma, Brigadier General Merrill is designated to command a volunteer unit that becomes known as “Merrill’s Marauders”.
On 6 Jan 2008, five Iranian patrol boats crewed by the Revolutionary Guard approached three US Navy warships in the Strait of Hormuz: In a compilation of video and audio released by the Pentagon of the most provocative moments of the encounter, the radio officer of the destroyer is seen and heard attempting to make radio contact with the Iranian vessels. A few moments later, another voice radioed the USS Hopper saying, “I am coming at you. You will explode in [static] minutes.”  Early US reports indicated that because the Iranian boats continued to circle our warships and had been seen to drop several packages into the water, our ships had no choice but to take the threats seriously and maintain a defensive posture. Pentagon officials said the American ships were about to open fire when the Iranian boats withdrew.
On 8 Jan 1815, two weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, US General Andrew Jackson achieved the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans.
In September 1814, an impressive American naval victory on Lake Champlain forced invading British forces back into Canada and led to the conclusion of peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium. Although the peace agreement was signed on 24 Dec, word did not reach the British forces assailing the Gulf coast in time to halt a major attack.
On 8 Jan 1815, the British marched against New Orleans, hoping that by capturing the city they could separate Louisiana from the rest of the US. Pirate Jean Lafitte, however, had warned the Americans of the attack, and the arriving British found militiamen under General Andrew Jackson strongly entrenched at the Rodriquez Canal. In two separate assaults, the 7,500 British soldiers under Sir Edward Pakenham were unable to penetrate the US defenses, and Jackson’s 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky and Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, General Pakenham was dead, and nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing. US forces suffered only eight killed and 13 wounded.
Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson’s overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War. The Battle of New Orleans was also the last armed engagement between the US and Britain.
On 10 Jan 1779, during our Revolutionary War, the French presented John Paul Jones with a dilapidated vessel, the Duc de Duras. This Jones refits, mounts with 42 guns and renames Bonhomme Richard in honor of Benjamin Franklin. On 19 June 1779, Bonhomme Richard sailed from L’Orient accompanied by Alliance, Pallas, Vengeance, and Cerf with troop transports and merchant vessels under convoy to Bordeaux and to cruise against the British in the Bay of Biscay. Forced to return to port for repair, the squadron sailed again 14 August 1779. Going northwest around the west coast of the British Isles into the North Sea and then down the east coast the squadron took 16 merchant vessels as prizes. On 23 September 1779 they encountered the Baltic Fleet of 41 sail under convoy of HMS Serapis (44) and Countess of Scarborough (22) near Flamborough Head. After 1800 Bonhomme Richard engaged Serapis and a bitter engagement ensued during the next four hours before Serapis struck her colors. Bonhomme Richard, shattered, on fire, and leaking badly defied all efforts to save her and sank at 1100 on 25 September 1779. John Paul Jones sailed the captured Serapis to Holland for repairs.
On 10 Jan 1944, during WWII, the GI Bill of Rights, first proposed by the American Legion, was passed by Congress. The Bill, more formally known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, was intended to smooth demobilization for America’s almost 16 million servicemen and women. Postwar college and vocational school attendance soared as more than 50 percent of honorably discharged veterans took advantage of education benefits of up to $500 a year for tuition, plus a living allowance. When they returned home to marry and start families in record numbers, veterans faced a severe housing shortage. The home loan provisions of the GI Bill provided more than 2 million home loans and created a new American landscape in the suburbs. In 1990, President George Bush summed up the impact of the GI Bill: “The GI Bill changed the lives of millions by replacing old roadblocks with paths of opportunity.”
On 14 Jan 1861, during the Civil War, Union troops garrison Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida. In reaction to Florida’s secession, Capt. John Brannon occupied the fort, placing it in Union hands. Key West was an important outpost for the Union because numerous blockade-running ships were detained at Key West harbor and guarded by Fort Taylor’s cannons. The 10-inch Rodman and Columbiad cannons at the fort had a range of three miles. This was an impressive deterrent to the Confederate navy, preventing them from attempting to take the fort or the island of Key West. Proving to be a severe loss for the South, Fort Taylor remained in Union hands throughout the Civil War. By the time the three-story fort was finally finished in 1866 (21 years after it was begun), there were many impressive features included. Items such as sanitary facilities flushed by the tide and a desalination plant which produced drinking water from the sea were available as early as 1861. A total of 198 guns and a large supply of ammunition were on hand to secure the fort.
On 14 Jan 1960, Elvis Presley was promoted to Sergeant in the US Army.
On 16 Jan 1991, at midnight in Iraq, the UN deadline for the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait expired, and the Pentagon prepared to commence offensive operations to forcibly eject Iraq from its five-month occupation of its oil-rich neighbor. At 4:30 p.m. EST, the first fighter aircraft were launched from Saudi Arabia and off US and British aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf on bombing missions over Iraq. All evening, aircraft from the US-led military coalition pounded targets in and around Baghdad as the world watched the events transpire in television footage transmitted live via satellite from Baghdad and elsewhere. At 7:00 pm, Operation Desert Storm, the code-name for the massive US-led offensive against Iraq, was formally announced at the White House.
On the weekend of Jan 6-7, Navy SEAL Capt John Doolittle will discuss life as a SEAL. And Chuck Dinerstein from the American Council on Science and Health will discuss the non-science being presented as science. And we’ll discuss the severe weather damage at Ft. Campbell.
And on the weekend of Jan 13-14, Concerned Veterans for America will discuss some of our nation’s military challenges. Then we’ll talk with Andre Archie about race issues in our military and nation. And Gil and Skip will discuss the Border and a Book.
~ Humor/Puns ~
*A painter was hired to whitewash a church. Unfortunately, he thinned the paint too much, causing it to wash away entirely during the first rain. The minister complained, and the painter asked what he should do about it. Repaint, said the minister, and thin no more.
*What is a line of men waiting to get a haircut? A barberqueue.
*Three years ago my doc told me I was going deaf; I haven’t heard from him since.
*People say that hard work never killed anybody. But have you ever heard of anyone resting themselves to death?
*Scientists got tired after watching the earth rotate for 24 hours, so they called it a day.
*I’m so relieved that I got my last electric bill today; it said: Final Notice.
*I wanted to be a biologist, but all the coursework on hearts and lungs and kidneys made it seem like one long organ recital.
*Adam & Eve were the first to ignore the Apple terms and conditions.
*Why did the doughnut maker retire? He was tired of the hole business.
*My dating app bio says I have a corner office with a view of the entire city, drive a $500,000 vehicle and get paid to travel. You should see my date’s faces when I tell them I’m a bus driver.
Have a Very Happy New Year.
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