Newsletter 7-16-23


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The Colonel’s Corner
~Comment by the Colonel~
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s successful efforts to create a friendship between Saudi Arabia and Iran this year leaves China as the most influential player in the Mideast. Saudi and Iranian oil help fuel the Chinese economy, which has real problems. And the ending the feud between the two countries benefits China both economically and politically.
China is Saudi Arabia’s top customer when it comes to oil and it’s also Iran’s top customer.
Our nation and Israel come out as the biggest losers here. China filled the vacuum we created as our nation turned away from the Middle East. Israel finds that its chances for normalized relations with Saudi Arabia have really diminished.
The Abraham Accords, signed during the Trump administration to bring normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors is very much weakened.
This disaster was likely fueled by President Biden going out of his way to alienate Saudia Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
It’s going to take a lot to get us out of this mess; I’m not sure how we’d start.
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…one of the most useful classes I ever attended while in the Army. I was a company commander in the 101st Airborne Division and was sent to a week-long class on maintenance of vehicles and equipment. I was sent because one of the things we officers were often assigned to do was, in teams, be sent to inspect other unit’s maintenance and procedures.
Well, one day they wheeled this large trailer into the class area; it had a big collapsible tower on it; the tower had a propeller on it. No one had any idea what it was or what it did. We were then asked what we would do it we were sent to inspect a unit that had a bunch of these things. None of us had a clue. Then they opened our eyes. Yes, we all had trailers and knew how to inspect wheels, tires, hitches and the like. Good start. Then we were told to ask for the operator and ask him to get his whatever-it-was ready to operate. Finally, we’d ask him to operate it while we questioned him about how he maintained his equipment. He never had to know that we didn’t know what his thing-a-ma-jig was until he explained it.
I became a bit smarter that day. Another team of sergeants had made me a better officer. By the way, the thing measured wind velocity at airfields
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 July, the makings for the atomic bombs that would be used on Japan during WWII were shipped to the Pacific. The US military was desegregated after WWII, the fighting in the Korean War ended, and the Detroit Riots required the use of our military to control.
On 16 Jul 1862, during the Civil War, David Glasgow Farragut, in recognition of his victory at New Orleans, was promoted to Rear Admiral, the first officer to hold that rank in the history of the US Navy. The act provided that ”The three senior rear admirals [Farragut, Goldsborough, and Du Pont] shall wear a square blue flag at the mainmast head; the next three at the foremast head, and all others at the mizzen.” Rear Admirals were to rank with Major Generals in the Army.
On 16 Jul 1945, during WWII, the Cruiser USS Indianapolis left San Francisco with an atom bomb to be used against Japan.
On 16 Jul 1957, Marine Major John Glenn set a transcontinental speed record when he flew a jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds.
On 18 July 1918, during WWI, three days after a German offensive near the Marne River in France failed, Allied forces launched a major counterattack ending the Second Battle of the Marne and decisively turning the tide of the war toward an Allied victory.
Casualties were staggering, with Germany losing 168,000 soldiers to death or injury, compared with 95,000 for the French, 13,000 for the British and 12,000 for us. After this disaster, German General Ludendorff was forced to call off a planned offensive further north, in the Flanders region, which he had envisioned as Germany’s best hope of victory. In the end, the Second Battle of the Marne marked the last large-scale German offensive of WWI.
On 21 July 1861, the Civil War erupted on a large scale in the east when Confederate forces under PT Beauregard turned back Union General Irvin McDowell’s troops along the Bull Run stream in Virginia. The inexperienced soldiers on both sides slugged it out in a chaotic battle that resulted in a humiliating retreat by the Yankees and signaled, for many, the true start of the war. At the insistence of President Lincoln, McDowell set out to attack Manassas Junction, a key rail center 30 miles from Washington, DC. On July 18, the Yankee advance was halted in a small skirmish on Bull Run. McDowell paused for three days preparing to move around the Rebels. This allowed Joseph Johnston’s forces to join Beauregard. A brigade commanded by Thomas Jackson was among the reinforcements.
McDowell attacked the center of the Confederate line, but his main attack came around their left flank. By noon, the Confederates retreated. Then McDowell attacked Henry Hill, the key to the battle. But he didn’t send a big-enough force, and that allowed Beauregard to get strengthened. McDowell now faced a much stronger Confederate position.
General Barnard Bee led his Confederates to reinforce Jackson. He was reported to have characterized Jackson as “standing like a stone wall.” The nickname “Stonewall” stuck. Jackson’s men held their ground. Later he counterattacked and broke McDowell’s force triggering a panicked retreat. The inexperienced Federals found their escape route clogged by the buggies of spectators who came from Washington to watch the action. The green Union troops had a difficult time, but the equally green Confederates didn’t pursue.
Casualties shocked the nation. The Union lost 2,800, including 460 killed, and the Confederates 1,900, with nearly 400 dead. Although future battles would make these numbers appear small, they were a wake-up call to the people, in both the North and the South, unprepared for such a bloody conflict.
On 25 Jul 1866, the rank of Admiral was created. David Farragut was appointed the first Admiral in the US Navy. And Ulysses Grant was named General of the Army, the first officer to hold that rank.
On 25 Jul 1898, during the Spanish-American War, US forces launch their invasion of Puerto Rico, the 108-mile-long, 40-mile-wide island that was one of Spain’s two principal possessions in the Caribbean. With little resistance and only seven deaths, US troops under General Nelson Miles secured the island by mid-August. After the signing of an armistice with Spain, our troops raised the US flag over the island, formalizing US authority over its one million inhabitants. In December, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Spanish-American War and officially approving the cession of Puerto Rico to the US. Beginning in 1948, Puerto Ricans could elect
their own governor, and in 1952 the US Congress approved a new Puerto Rican constitution that made the island an autonomous U.S. commonwealth, with its citizens retaining American citizenship.
On 25 Jul 1944, during WWII, our 1st Army began “Operation Cobra”. The main attack was made west of St. Lo by the US 7th Corps with 8th Corps on the right flank and 13th Corps on the left. A massive bombardment preceded the assault. Over 3000 planes were involved, including 1500 heavy bombers of our 8th Air Force. Our forces make good progress.
On 26 Jul 1945, during WWII, the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis delivered the Uranium-235, needed to assemble the first operational atomic bomb, to the American base on Tinian.
On 26 Jul 1948, President Harry Truman in Executive Order No. 9981 called for “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” The US military was desegregated.
On 27 Jul 1909, Orville Wright tested the US Army’s first airplane, flying himself and a passenger for 1 hour, 12 minutes and 40 seconds over Fort Myer, Virginia.
On 27 July 1953, after three years of a bloody and frustrating war, the US, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea agreed to an armistice, bringing an end to the fighting in Korea. The armistice ended our first experiment with the Cold War concept of “limited war.”
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when communist North Korea invaded South Korea. Almost immediately, we secured a resolution from the UN calling for the military defense of South Korea against the North Korean aggression. In a matter of days, our land, air, and sea forces had joined the battle. Our intervention turned the tide of the war, and soon US and South Korean forces were pushing into North Korea and toward that nation’s border with China. In November and December 1951, hundreds of thousands of Red Chinese troops began heavy assaults against American and South Korea forces. The war eventually bogged down into a battle of attrition.
The war cost the lives of millions of Koreans and Chinese, and over 50,000 Americans. It had been a frustrating war for Americans, who were used to forcing the unconditional surrender of their enemies. Many could not understand why we had not expanded the war into China or used our nuclear arsenal. As government officials were well aware, however, such actions would likely have prompted World War III.
On 23 July1967, in the early morning hours, one of the worst riots in US history broke out on 12th Street in the heart of Detroit’s predominantly African American inner city. By the time it was quelled four days later by 7,000 National Guard and US Army troops, 43 people were dead, 342 injured, and nearly 1,400 buildings had been burned. By the summer of 1967, the predominantly African American neighborhood of Virginia Park was ready to explode. Some 60,000 poor people were crammed into the neighborhood, living in squalor in divided and sub-divided apartments. The Detroit Police, which had only about 50 African Americans, was viewed as a white occupying army. At night, 12th Street was a center of Detroit inner-city nightlife, both legal and illegal. At one corner, William Scott operated an illegal after-hours club on weekends out of the office of the United Community League for Civic Action, a civil rights group. The police vice squad often raided establishments like this, and at 3:35 am, they moved against Scott’s club. That night, they were hosting a party for several veterans, including two recently back from Vietnam, and the bar’s patrons were reluctant to leave. Out in the street, a crowd gathered as police waited for paddy wagons to take the 85 patrons away. An hour passed before the last prisoner was removed, and about 200 onlookers lined the street. Suddenly, bottles were thrown, including one through the window of a patrol car. The police fled as a riot erupted. Thousands of people spilled out onto the street. Looting began. Around 6:30 am, the first fire broke out, and soon much of the street was ablaze. By midmorning, every policeman and fireman in Detroit was on duty. On 12th Street, officers fought to control a mob of 3,000. Firemen were attacked as they tried to battle the flames. Detroit Mayor Cavanaugh asked Michigan Governor Romney to send in the state police, but these 300 more officers could not keep the riot from spreading to a 100-block area. The National Guard was called in but didn’t arrive until evening. By the end of the day, over 1,000 were arrested, but the riot kept growing. Five people were dead. On Monday, 16 people were killed, most by police or guardsmen. Snipers fired at firemen, and fire hoses were cut. Governor Romney asked President Lyndon Johnson to send in US troops. Nearly 2,000 army paratroopers arrived on Tuesday and began patrolling the streets. Ten more people died that day, and 12 more on Wednesday. On Thursday, order was finally restored. Over 7,000 people were arrested; 43 were killed. Some 1,700 stores were looted and nearly 1,400 buildings burned, causing $50 million in property damage. Some 5,000 people were left homeless. The so-called 12th Street Riot was the worst US riot in 100 years.
On 28 Jul 1931, Congress made “The Star-Spangled Banner” our national anthem.
On 31 July 1777, during the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.
~ Humor/Puns ~
Did you hear about the man who fell into an upholstery machine? He’s fully recovered.
Why didn’t the melons get married? Because they cantaloupe.
What kind of egg did the evil chicken lay? A deviled egg.
Why did the coach go to the bank? To get his quarter back.
Why does Snoop Dogg always carry an umbrella? Fo’ Drizzle.
What did the fisherman say to the magician? Pick a cod, any cod.
What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta.
Which is faster, hot or cold? Hot, because you can catch a cold.
How do you organize a space party? You planet.
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