Newsletter 3-1-23


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The Colonel’s Corner
~Comment by the Colonel ~
About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2000 years earlier.
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the people will always vote for those who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed thro0ugh the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith.
2. From spiritual faith to great courage.
3. From courage to liberty.
4. From liberty to abundance.
5. From abundance to complacency.
6. From complacency to apathy.
7. From apathy to dependence.
8. From dependence back into bondage.”
It’s time for us to look at our nation and decide if we are following this pattern and, if so, where we are on this list.
The Smiling Ranger – This book is a series of short, mostly funny, stories of my time in uniform: I was thinking… …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.
If you don’t already have one, order your copy 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
A number of very significant things happened in early March including the first parachute jump from an airplane and our nation getting a national anthem. Our war with Mexico began and the first naval battle of ironclads took place.
On 1 Mar 1912, Captain Albert Berry made the first parachute jump from an airplane at Jefferson barracks, Missouri. Captain Berry had a 36 ft. parachute packed into a metal case beneath the fuselage. The parachute had a trapeze bar for him to hold on to as he jumped and descended to the ground.
On 1 Mar 1954, baseball great Ted Williams fractured collarbone in 1st game of spring training after flying 39 combat missions without injury in Korean War.
On 3 Mar 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional act making “The Star-Spangled Banner” our nation’s official national anthem.
On 14 Sept 1814, Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the massive overnight British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812. Key, an American lawyer, watched the siege while under detainment on a British ship and penned the famous words after observing with awe that Fort McHenry’s flag survived the 1,800-bomb assault. After circulating as a handbill, the patriotic lyrics were published in a Baltimore newspaper on 20 Sept 1814. Key’s words were later set to music. Throughout the 19th century, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was regarded as the national anthem by most branches of our armed forces and other groups, but it was not until 1916, and the signing of an executive order that it was formally designated as such. In March 1931, Congress passed an act confirming it, and on March 3 President Hoover signed it into law.
On 8 Mar 1862, during the Civil War, the Confederate ironclad Virginia wrecked-havoc on a Yankee squadron off Hampton Roads, Virginia.
The CSS Virginia was originally the USS Merrimack, a forty-gun frigate launched in 1855. The In early 1860, the ship was decommissioned for extensive repairs at the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. It was still there when the war began in April 1861, and Union sailors sank the ship as the yard was evacuated. Six weeks later, a salvage company raised the ship, and the Confederates began rebuilding it.
They built an ironclad upon the Merrimack’s hull. A new gun deck was added, and an iron canopy was draped over the entire vessel.
The Virginia was launched on 17 Feb 1862. On 9 March, it steamed from Norfolk toward Union ships guarding the mouth of the James River at Hampton Roads. Rumors of the ironclad had circulated for several days among the Yankee sailors, and now they saw the creation first-hand. They soon wished they hadn’t. Three ships were sunk. The other Union ships fired back, but the shots were, in the words of one observer, “having no more effect than peas from a pop-gun.” Ninety-eight shots hit the Virginia, but none did significant damage.
It had been the worst day in US naval history, and it signaled the end of the wooden ship era. But help was on its way–the next day, the Virginia fought the most famous naval duel in history with the USS Monitor, a Union ironclad that was able to fight the Confederate ship to a draw.
On 8 Mar 1945, Phyllis Mae Daley received a commission in the US Navy Nurse Corps. She was the first African-American nurse to serve duty in WWII.
On 9 Mar 1847, during the Mexican-American War, US forces under General Winfield Scott invaded Mexico three miles south of Vera Cruz. Encountering little resistance from the Mexicans massed in the fortified city of Vera Cruz, by nightfall the last of Scott’s 10,000 men came ashore without the loss of a single life. It was the largest amphibious landing in US history and not surpassed until WWII.
The Mexican-American War began with a dispute over the US government’s 1845 annexation of Texas. In January 1846, President James Polk, a strong advocate of westward expansion, ordered General Zachary Taylor to occupy disputed territory between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers. Mexican troops attacked Taylor’s forces, and on May 13, 1846, Congress approved a declaration of war against Mexico. In March 1847, General Scott’s forces landed near Vera Cruz, and by March 29, with very few casualties, the Americans had taken the fortified city and its massive fortress, San Juan de Ulua. In April, Scott began his devastating march to Mexico City, which ended on September 14, when U.S. forces entered the Mexican capital and raised the American flag over the Hall of Montezuma.
In February 1848, representatives from the US and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, formally ending the Mexican War, recognizing Texas as part of the US and extending the boundaries of the US west to the Pacific Ocean.
On 9 Mar 1974, the last Japanese soldier, a guerrilla operating in Philippines, surrendered, 29 years after WWII ended.
On 12 Mar 1824, Marines of the Boston Barracks quelled a Massachusetts State Prison riot. Inmates rioted and holed up in the mess hall with a guard as hostage, Marines from the Boston barracks came to help. Major RD Wainwright led 30 Marines into the mess hall to confront 283 armed and determined prisoners. Wainwright ordered his men to cock and level their muskets. “You must leave this hall,” he told the inmates. “I give you three minutes to decide. If at the end of that time a man remains, he will be shot dead. I speak no more.” In two and a half minutes, “the hall was cleared as if by magic.”
On 12 Mar 1999, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic formally joined NATO in a ceremony at Independence, Mo., where President Truman announced in 1949 the formation of the Atlantic alliance for defense against the Soviet bloc.
13 Mar 1836, less than a week after the disastrous defeat of Texas rebels at the Alamo, the newly commissioned Texan General Sam Houston began a series of strategic retreats to buy time to train his ill-prepared army. Revolutionary Texans had only formally announced their independence from Mexico 11 days earlier. On March 6, 1836, the separatists chose Sam Houston to be the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary army. Houston immediately departed for Gonzales, Texas, where the main force of the revolutionary army was stationed. Before Houston could prepare his troops to rush to aid the defenders, however, word arrived that Santa Anna had wiped them out on March 6. Scouts reported that Santa Anna’s troops were heading east toward Gonzales. Houston began a series of strategic retreats designed to give him enough
time to whip his army into fighting shape. Finally, after nearly a month of falling back, Houston ordered his men to turn around and head south to meet Santa Anna’s forces. On April 21, Houston led his 783 troops in an attack on Santa Anna’s force of nearly twice that number near the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River. With the famous cry, “Remember the Alamo,” the Texans stormed the surprised Mexican forces. After a brief attempt at defense, the Mexican soldiers broke into a disorganized retreat, allowing the Texans to isolate and slaughter them. In a stunning victory, Houston’s army succeeded in killing or capturing nearly the entire Mexican force, including General Santa Anna, who was taken prisoner. Only two Texans were killed and 30 wounded. Fearful of execution, Santa Anna signed an order calling for the immediate withdrawal of all Mexican troops from Texas soil. The Mexicans never again seriously threatened the independence of the Lone Star Republic.
13 Mar 1969, in Vietnam Navy Lt. John Kerry rescued Jim Rassman on the Bay Hap River while under Viet Cong fire; he was decorated for heroism. Further investigation showed that there was no enemy fire.
On 15 Mar 1919, the American Legion was founded in Paris by 1000 veterans of the American Expeditionary Force who met to discuss transition to civilian life and what veterans could do to help each other adjust and to work together to further the rights of veterans.
~ Humor/Puns ~
“To get back to my youth I would do anything in the world, except exercise, get up early, or be respectable.” – Oscar Wild
“The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.” – Will Rogers
“We must recognize that, as we grow older, we become like old cars – more and more repairs and replacements are necessary.” – C.S. Lewis
“Old age comes at a bad time.” – San Banducci
“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.” – Jennifer Yane
“Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you are aboard there is nothing you can do about it.” – Golda Meir
“I’m so old that my blood type is discontinued.” – Bill Dane
“The older I get, the more clearly I remember things that never happened. – Mark Twain
“Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes, age just shows up all by itself.” – Tom Wilson
“Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your retirement home.”- Phyllis Diller
“I don’t plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have face-lifts until my ears meet.” – Rita Rudney
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