Springfield Model 1835 (percussion conversion) – William Meriwether, 5th Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers, War with Mexico
Enfield “Three band” rifle, Stephen and William Meriwether (a different William), and Alfred “Pappy” Hays, my great-great grandfather – a member of the Orphan Brigade.
Springfield M1873 “Trapdoor” – Thomas Meriwether, USV, Cuba (his actual rifle)
US Model of 1898, “Krag” – Thomas Meriwether, USV, Philippines (again, his actual weapon).
US Model of 1917, the Auld Soldier’s father, Daddy Jack, WWI.
Thompson Submachinegun – Colonel William Meriwether, Korea, Lieutenant and Lieutenant Colonel Tim Donovan, Korea, Vietnam.
US Rifle, M14, Captain and Major Tim Donovan, peacetime. Me, peacetime.
M3 “Grease Gun” – LTC Tim Donovan, Vietnam, me, peacetime.
M16, LTC Tim Donovan, Vietnam, and me.
I miss the Auld Soldier, and wish I had asked so many more questions. Same is true for Mom. Hell, all of them.
This Memorial Day, reserve a small bit of time to offer up a resounding hymn, as in, “Him, him, *F*CK* him!” to George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and the encouragers, enablers, including subsequent Presidents, SECDEFs, and sundry cabinet members, congresses and pundits who initiated and/or supported-when-politically-convenient the “nation-building” chimeras of Iraq and Afghanistan. All the while doing it on the cheap, without commitment except by the troops, all the while having no real skin in the game. A waste of lives and treasure, ours, Iraqi, Afghan. The giving of hope, only to say “Fukkit, we’re outta here, ya screwed up, ya trusted us.”
As I watch *another* generation of military folk go through what the Auld Soldier did in 1975, watching the end of an unwinnable war that they dedicated their lives, prospects and honor to fight, directed by venal asswipes who acted on political calculation and soaring ego yet with no real personal threat but mildly reputational, and who are revered when they should be ignored, except as bad examples.
I’ve beat this drum since 2003.
Fuck all y’all.
In the KC region, we had three living Holders of the Medal of Honor. COL(Ret) Roger Donlon, who was the first Vietnam awardee, COL(Ret) Don Ballard, and LTC(Ret) Chuck Hagemeister.
Chuck died today.
Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance, In Memoriam.