Newsletter 3-18-24

News & Updates


Keep up with host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem & never miss an episode
The Colonel’s Corner
~Comment by the Colonel~
We have now had millions of illegal aliens enter our nation with no checks on who they are, their health, what they are physically bringing with them, what language they speak, or even why they’re coming and what they can contribute to our nation—they’re just here—and many more are coming. And our president apologized for referring to them as illegals. We have laws establishing how non-US citizens can move to this country—and they are violating them—is that not the definition of illegal? Can anyone name one good thing that the admissions of these millions of illegals is good for our nation?
And, I work with young adults at my church. There’s a young man who is here on a student visa; his visa allows him to stay 2-years after he finishes school. He has finished school and has a good job—he speaks our language, loves our nation, and is contributing to our economy; he’s been trying for over a year to get a visa that will allow him to stay here longer—and he’s had no response from our government. Apparently, they’re too busy taking care of the needs of the illegals. This nonsense has to stop.
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 last half of March, during our Revolutionary War, the British were forced to evacuate Boston. The Civil War effectively ended as Gen Lee surrendered to Gen Grant. The US purchased Alaska. The last US forces left Vietnam.
On this day in 1776, during the Revolutionary War, British forces were forced to evacuate Boston following General George Washington’s successful placement of fortifications and cannons on Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the city from the south.
During the evening of March 4, American Brigadier General John Thomas, under orders from Washington, secretly led a force of 800 soldiers and 1,200 workers to Dorchester Heights and began fortifying the area. To cover the sound of the construction, American cannons, besieging Boston from another location, began a noisy bombardment of the outskirts of the city. By the morning, over a dozen cannons from Fort Ticonderoga had been brought within the Dorchester Heights fortifications. British General Sir William Howe hoped to use the British ships in Boston Harbor to destroy the American position, but a storm set in, giving the Americans ample time to complete the fortifications and set up their artillery. Realizing their position was now indefensible, 11,000 British troops and some 1,000 Loyalists departed Boston by ship on March 17, sailing to the safety of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The bloodless liberation of Boston by the Patriots brought an end to a hated eight-year British occupation of the city, known for such infamous events as the “Boston Massacre,” in which five colonists were shot and killed by British soldiers. The British fleet had first entered Boston Harbor on October 2, 1768, carrying 1,000 soldiers. Having soldiers living among them in tents on Boston Common–a standing army in 18th-century parlance–infuriated Bostonians.
For the victory, General Washington, commander of the Continental Army, was presented with the first medal ever awarded by the Continental Congress.
On 19 Mar 2003, the US, along with coalition forces primarily from the United Kingdom, initiated war on Iraq. Just after explosions began to rock Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, President George W. Bush announced in a televised address, “At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” President Bush and his advisors built much of their case for war on the idea that Iraq, under dictator Saddam Hussein, possessed or was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction—which was reasonable as Saddam had used WMD several times in the previous decade.
Hostilities began about 90 minutes after the US-imposed deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq or face war passed.
President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on 1 May 2003. Despite the defeat of conventional military forces in Iraq, an insurgency has continued an intense guerrilla war in the nation in the years since military victory was announced, resulting in thousands of coalition military, insurgent and civilian deaths.
On 22 Mar 1944, during WWII, German Admiral Doenitz ordered all U-boats to disperse from groups and work singly. This decision represents the final victory of the Allied escort forces over the German U-boats. The Germans had decided to give up on convoy attacks until new U-boat designs become available.
On 24 Mar 1944, during WWII, 76 Allied officers escaped Stalag Luft 3. In 1949 Paul Brickall authored “The Great Escape.” The story of Jackson Barrett Mahon (d.1999 at 78), an American fighter pilot, and the Allied POW escape from Stalag Luft III in Germany during WWII. The 1963 film “The Great Escape” starred Steve McQueen, was directed by John Sturges and was based on the true story.
On 24 Mar 1958, Elvis Presley was inducted into the army. Although he had been drafted the previous December, the army granted him a deferral so he could finish shooting his film, King Creole.
On 26 Mar 1941, during WWII, Italy attacked the British fleet at Suda Bay, Crete, using detachable warheads to sink a British cruiser. This was the first time manned torpedoes had been employed in naval warfare, adding a new weapon to the world’s navies’ arsenals.
The British avenged themselves against the Italians, though, by sinking the new Italian cruiser Ulpio Traiano in the port of Palermo, Sicily, in early January 1943. An 8,500-ton ocean liner was also damaged in the same attack.
After the Italian surrender, Britain, and later Germany, continued to use the manned torpedo. In fact, Germany succeeded in sinking two British minesweepers off Normandy Beach in July 1944, using their Neger torpedoes.
On 29 Mar 1865, the final campaign of the Civil War began in Virginia when Union troops of General Ulysses Grant moved against the Confederate trenches around Petersburg. General Robert Lee’s outnumbered Rebels were soon forced to evacuate the city and begin a desperate race west.
Time was running out for Lee, though. His army was dwindling in size to about 55,000, while Grant’s continued to grow–the Army of the Potomac now had over 125,000 men ready for service. On 25 March, Lee attempted to split the Union lines when he attacked Fort Stedman, a stronghold along the Yankee trenches. His army was beaten back, and he lost nearly 5,000 men. Grant seized the initiative, sending 12,000 men past the Confederates’ left flank and threatening to cut Lee’s escape route from Petersburg. Fighting broke out there, several miles southwest of the city. Lee’s men could not arrest the Federal advance. Two days later, the Yankees struck at Five Forks, soundly defeating the Rebels and leaving Lee no alternative. He pulled his forces from their trenches and raced west, followed by Grant. It was a race that even the great Lee could not win. He surrendered his army on 9 April at Appomattox Court House.
On 29 Mar 1973, two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last US combat troops left South Vietnam as Hanoi freed the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. America’s direct 8-year intervention in the Vietnam War was at an end. In Saigon, some 7,000 Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam.
In January 1973, representatives of the US, North and South Vietnam, and the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the direct US military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of US forces, the release of prisoners of war, and the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new elections were held, and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further nor be reinforced.
On 30 April 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, accepting the surrender of South Vietnam later in the day, remarked, “You have nothing to fear; between Vietnamese there are no victors and no vanquished. Only the Americans have been defeated.” The Vietnam
War was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in US history and cost 58,000 American lives. As many as two million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed during that period; many more South Vietnamese were killed by the victorious North Vietnamese as punishment for opposing them.
On 30 Mar 1867, Secretary of State William Seward signed a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s folly,” “Seward’s icebox,” and President Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.”
The czarist government of Russia, which had established a presence in Alaska in the mid-18th century, first approached the US about selling the territory during the administration of President James Buchanan, but negotiations were stalled by the outbreak of the Civil War. After 1865, Seward, a supporter of territorial expansion, was eager to acquire the tremendous landmass of Alaska, an area roughly one-fifth the size of the rest of the US. He had some difficulty, however, making the case for the purchase of Alaska before the Senate, which ratified the treaty by a margin of just one vote on 9 April 1867. Six months later, Alaska was formally handed over from Russia to the US. Despite a slow start in US settlement, the discovery of gold in 1898 brought a rapid influx of people to the territory, and Alaska, rich in natural resources, has contributed to American prosperity ever since.
On 31 Mar 1991, the Warsaw Pact spent the last day of its existence as a military alliance.
On 31 Mar 1992, the UN Security Council voted to ban flights and arms sales to Libya, branding it a terrorist state for shielding six men accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 and a French airliner. Of course, this accomplished nothing.
On 31 Mar 1992 – USS Missouri (BB-63), the last active American battleship was decommissioned.
On 31 Mar 2003, in the 13th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom US-led troops fought pitched battles with Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard within 50 miles of the capital. B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers struck communication and command centers in Baghdad, and cruise missiles set Iraq’s Information Ministry ablaze. Casualties from the war to date US total: 40 dead, 7 captured, 18 missing; British total: 25 dead. Of 8,000 precision bombs dropped since the war began, 3,000 fell in the last 3 days. Port operations at Umm Qasr looked to be delayed for weeks.
On the weekend of March 23-24, Sculptor Sabin Howard and Gen Michael Flynn will discuss the soon to be presented WWI memorial. Former Green Beret Scott Venema will discuss his service. Adam Lalone will discuss getting our nation food independent. And Gen Chris Petty will present the Battle of the Month.
And on the weekend of March 30-31, Jack McManus, the President of Vietnam Veterans of America will present the VVA. Army vet Richard Sebree will discuss the 2nd Amendment. And Diane Raver from the Garden State Film Festival will present the Movie of the Month.
~ Humor/Puns ~
Does working for UPS make you a professional boxer?
War does not determine who is right. It determines who is left.
When my ice-house falls apart igloo it back together.
Marine biologists never make mistakes on porpoise.
The surgeon really did not know how to perform quick surgeries on insects, but he did one on the fly.
Swimming can be easy or hard. It deep-ends.
Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.
I tried to sell the antique string instrument cause I needed the lute.
To be arrested without a visa is a borderline infraction.
I’ve been having issues with the roof leaking into the storage space below it. It’s being very problem attic.
The Loch Ness monster eats fish and ships. Why do the French eat snails? They don’t like fast food.
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The Frontlines of Freedom Newsletter is published twice monthly;
the dates of publication each month depend on the events and history of that month.

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