The Doolittle Raid

I wrote here https://freshairsnipe.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/those-who-have-gone-before-2/ about the Doolittle raid. Today is its anniversary. That raid was a textbook example of interoperability and joint service cooperation.

The Naval History blog has an article about it today.

http://www.navalhistory.org/2014/04/18/doolittle-raid-lesson-in-joint-innovation-resilience

My first link sums up my opinion quite well. I couldn’t say it better again if I tried.

Five to six men got promoted or earned awards based on that action. We showed what we could do.

Success here set up our success in the Battle of Midway. I encourage you to read the links.

Please remember. That is all. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

Today in Navy History

March 9

1798 – Appointment of first surgeon U.S. Navy, George Balfour-water and Motrin soon found to be a cure-all
1847 – Commodore David Connor leads successful amphibious assault near Vera Cruz, Mexico-“The Halls of Montezuma ”
1862 – First battle between ironclads, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia
1914 – Test of wind tunnel at Washington Navy Yard-now the wind tunnels are found a few blocks over.

The Greatest Generation

Sixty-nine years ago today, a group of US Marines accompanied by a Navy Corpsman raised a flag on Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima. The associated five week battle was quite bloody. Of the six men that raised the flag, only 3 survived the battle. Ira Hayes is one of the most famous thanks to Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, both of which sang a song about him. Most of the Native Americans I have served with hold Ira Hayes in a high reverence.

In the Battle of Iwo Jima, nearly 7000 US troops were killed. The Japanese lost almost 19000. The little known fact is that there were 2 flag raisings. The second is the most famous. The flag raising was intended to be a signal to the others that the mountain was secure.

Men like these are the men my generation of sailors look up to. They fought in one of the bloodiest battles of World War 2. The survivors became celebrities and were sent home to sell war bonds.

The battle itself turned out to be somewhat of a strategic blunder. The Army and Navy had no use for that particular island. The PR that came from the flag raising was extremely invaluable.

As always, we must strive to remember “those that have gone before, to defend freedom and democracy around the world”.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Day of Infamy

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. 72 years ago today we were attacked by the Japanese on a Sunday. My rate didn’t exist back then. There were Ship fitters, Molders, and Metal smiths. There was mass confusion. There were questions of whether or not it was a drill.

Many people in the chain of command lost their minds. Some got fired. Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John William Finn won what was widely considered to be the first Medal of Honor to be awarded during World War 2. His citation reads as follows:

The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to

FINN, JOHN WILLIAM

Lieutenant, USN.

for service set forth in the following Citation:

For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lieutenant Finn promptly secured and manned a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine-gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and return the enemy’s fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first-aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning airplanes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

In the Hollywood blockbuster Pearl Harbor, a character resembling him makes an appearance. He fought back with what he had. I am willing to bet he didn’t think twice. His friends were in danger and he acted. He had sailors under his command who needed a Chief’s protection. He did his best to protect them. He later became an officer in the USN. That is why his citation reads Lieutenant and not Chief. By the time his citation was approved, he was an LT.

It is a good day to take stock. If my base was attacked, what would I do? Men like AOC Finn are my heroes. They faced the enemy and did it well. He is still spoken of with reverence in training sessions about honor and valor.

Pearl Harbor Day is often swept under the rug. Not in this house. We are watching a documentary on Pearl Harbor. We talk about it with Pocket Monkey and his buddies. It is my mission to never forget.

We attended a Christmas party today. It was found amusing by some that it was held on Pearl Harbor Day. Pocket Monkey got some good swag, and we gave some to our friends.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Veteran’s Day 2013

I am enjoying this Veteran’s Day by spending my time with my wife, son, and friends. Those who I fight for. We don’t fight because we hate what’s in front of us. We fight because we love what’s behind us. Please support us and stand by us. If that’s not your thing, by all means, try to stand in front of us. Woe betide the wolf when I stand guard at the door.

I am not yet a veteran. As I am still active duty, I am more like a veteran in training. I chose to forego any of the free stuff, so that a vet in need might be able to take my spot.

Mrs. Snipe can testify that I usually get very emotional on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Many of the vets that shaped my life have passed on. Some relatives, some teachers, all men of honor. Just last week, my Naval Science Instructor from high school passed away. Yet another name to add to my personal honor roll. A Vietnam vet and true renaissance man. He was one of the many reasons I chose to join the Navy.

Today, we chose to enjoy the freedoms that previous generations of vets have earned for us. We went to the park. We passed a football. We hiked. We had a discussion about veterans with Pocket Monkey’s favorite accomplice, whose parents are both vets.

Always remember. Someone’s son or daughter earned the freedoms that you enjoy today. As previously stated, a large chunk of my family tree and blog roll are veterans. Some left parts and pieces behind. Some still have night terrors. Some came out OK. We owe them all an immeasurable debt.

I encourage you to find a vet and buy them a sandwich or a coffee. It is a small gesture, but still appreciated. I never know what to say when someone thanks me for my service when I am wearing a military hat. I imagine most vets find themselves in a similar boat.

Please don’t let their sacrifice be for naught. Use and cherish your freedoms. Never be too busy to remember.

That is all. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

Those That Have Gone Before

http://williamlopez1984.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/the-medal-of-honor-a-handful-of-hereos/ has a post that really opened my eyes. It expounds on how few people can name a Medal of Honor winner and how many people can name all 5 Kardashians.

The Medal of Honor(not the Congressional Medal of Honor) is this nation’s highest award for military valor. It calls for service above and beyond the call of duty. For men whose call of duty includes rescuing comrades from burning rooms, and surrendering only as a last resort, above and beyond is some next level valor. Like Mr. T, Duke Nukem, and GI Joe rolled into one awesome fighting man.

I have met a few Medal of Honor winners and heard others of them speak. They are some of the most humble farm boys I have ever met. I couldn’t quite picture them charging machine gun nests with flamethrowers, or organizing desperate last stands. The historical record shows that they did just that. They took lives and saved lives. It was their call, and they answered.

There are two Navy Seals who recently earned that medal that now have ships named after them. One jumped on a grenade, which is a movie cliché, but a real life choice. The other exposed himself intentionally to enemy fire while calling in reinforcements.

On a whim, I gave Mrs. Snipe a quiz. I asked her how many Kardashians she could name, and she named one. I asked how many American Idol winners she could name, and she named five. I asked her how many Medal of Honor winners she could name, and I got a blank stare in return. I can name three. It would have been four, but I forgot Woody’s last name. He is from my home state, and spoke at my church once. He is the basis for my flamethrower example above.

I posted earlier about what constitutes courage. These men, and their brothers, had it in spades. Even if they were scared to death, they manned up, and did what was required of them. These men are real heroes. The ones I have met or heard speak, downplay their actions. They will say they hid in a foxhole like a good LT. They almost always skip the part where they stood up, guns blazing, in the face of a numerically superior enemy, to give their men time to reorganize and counterattack.

That is what Americans should be honoring. Not some tart who is famous because she is famous. Audie Murphy and Sergeant York were two of my heroes growing up. Not a ballplayer or celebrity. Two men, who in their respective wars, earned an amazing amount of awards for valor. To further prove my point, it is worth noting that Alvin York was a pacifist, who entered the war only reluctantly. When he realized that his squad was in grave danger, he hunted humans like he hunted ducks. He didn’t find it proper to let men die because he didn’t want to kill. It seems to me that most men of that caliber find themselves in similar circumstances.

If you can name more celebrities than Medal of Honor winners, please reevaluate your priorities. I, for one, proudly represent the fighting spirit of those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world. It is my mission to learn about them, and to tell their stories.

Always remember, fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Happy Birthday, WV

Today marks the founding of my home state. In the grand tradition of the Founding Fathers, a bunch of folks in Wheeling told Virginians how they really felt about secession. No matter how far I go, West Virginia is still my home. Spelling errors left in the state song lyrics. Credit to http://50states.com

West Virginia Hills
Words by Mrs. Ellen King,
Music by H. E. Engle

1. Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand,
With their summits bathed in glory, Like our Prince Immanuel’s Land!
Is it any wonder then, That my heart with rapture thrills,
As I stand once more with loved ones On those West Virginia hills?

CHORUS:

Oh, the hills, beautiful hills, How I love those West Virginia hills!
If o’er sea o’er land I roam, Still I’ll think of happy home,
And my friends among the West Virginia hills.

2. Oh, the West Virginia hills! Where my childhood hours were passed,
Where I often wandered lonely, And the future tried to cast;
Many are our visions bright, Which the future ne’er fulfills;
But how sunny were my daydreams On those West Virginia hills!

CHORUS

3. Oh, the West Virginia hills! How unchang’d they seem to stand,
With their summits pointed skyward To the Great Almighty’s Land!
Many changes I can see, Which my heart with sadness fills;
But no changes can be noticed In those West Virginia hills.

CHORUS

4. Oh, the West Virginia hills! I must bid you now adieu.
In my home beyond the mountains I shall ever dream of you;
In the evening time of life, If my Father only wills,
I shall still behold the vision Of those West Virginia hills.

CHORUS

Submitted by: Chip Hendricks from Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Just for the record, Chip is a band director/music teacher in the great state of West Virginia!