Hitting about on the average, we have 10 Medals for this day in history. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 1 November”
“Some days back a friend asked me what we have learned twenty years after 9/11. I sent these answers:
1) That our enemies have taken our measure, and we never took theirs. Bin Laden’s strategic predictions vis a vis Afghanistan and the United States have been vindicated: 9/11 was for the other side a massive, generational strategic success.
2) That the entire American governing apparatus is incapable of real strategic thought.
3) That the federal government of the United States is much more inventive, determined, and relentless in curbing its own citizenry than it is in curbing those who would slaughter that citizenry.
4) That the federal government of the United States will allow foreign-power interests — specifically Saudi and Pakistani — to override and eclipse the just interests of the American citizenry.
5) The preceding item exists, of course, because we are ruled by an elite with much stronger social ties to other elites than to the people of our republic.
6) That our generational response to 9/11 guarantees that 9/11 will happen again and again.
This twentieth anniversary is even more depressing and cruel than they usually are. We didn’t suffer as a lot of Americans did that day — my wife made it out of Lower Manhattan alive, for one thing — but because we are Americans, we suffered. Our leadership class was utterly incompetent to the moment, and remained so for the succeeding generation. Today we have inflicted upon us the twin bookends of blundering who mark the two-decade span. In Pennsylvania, President George W. Bush speaks: the man who cared more for Saudis than Americans while the fires still burned, who abandoned the hunt for the immediate perpetrator mere weeks after the massacre, and who cynically leveraged the moment to pursue his own disastrous projects. In Manhattan, President Joe Biden speaks: the lone figure of significance who opposed the raid to get Osama Bin Laden, and the man who presided over the shameful humiliation of defeat in Afghanistan.
A healthy and virtuous republican citizenry would shun them, and erase their names from the record.
Some questions arise. Now that we’ve decided it’s fine for Al Qaeda and the Taliban to have a country of their own again, can we at least abolish the TSA? Now that we’ve given Al Qaeda and the Taliban a stupendous cache of arms and ammunition, can we eliminate all federal gun-control law? Now that we’ve decided we have a community of interest with the Taliban — including its Al Qaeda elements — can we release everyone jailed on account of January 6th?
Hey, just asking. It hardly seems unreasonable for Americans to ask Washington, D.C., for treatment as generous as Washington, D.C., accords the terrorist movements who slaughtered thousands of us in our own streets.
Eric Paliwoda is dead, and for what.
Kim Hampton is dead, and for what.
Classmates are maimed, and for what.
Friends are wracked with PTSD, and for what.
What did we learn?
Twenty years later, we learn that the enemy won — and our ruling class was on their side.”
To all, oh, six of you.
Giving Afghanistan back to the Taliban has made me very sad. Not because Biden, Austin, and Milley are incompetent tools, but because two good friends veteran sons suicided that week, one on the anniversary of his 16th “Alive Day,” and an Afghan vet buddy suicided the week after.
I’ve totally lost the jones. Which, of course, is exactly what Joe, Lloyd, and Mark want. For us to shut up, accept that they are the be-all and end-all of competence, and accept the boot.
Heh. They *are* the end-all of competence.
I do need to pick back up on the Medal of Honor posts, but, fukkit.
It’ll be weird, when I do put the Medal posts back up – because I’ll date them for the event dates, which means they’ll fill in in front of this post like they were always there. That’s all about the SEO aspect of things.
Heh. I even shut off my Facebook page today – so that Zuckertool won’t make a dime off of me, and I won’t get even sadder because of the day. I did get the flag to half-staff.
Oh – yeah, you guys don’t know this. In the military, if you are recalled from retirement or administratively punished after retirement for some UMCJ-punishable act, they can administratively reduce your rank to the last rank at which “you served honorably”. The most recent example of which is the formerly-MG(R) Grazioplene, who was convicted in civil court of sexual abuse of a child (his daughter). The statute of limitations had run out on the military side. I don’t believe the final decision on grade has been made yet, but since the abuse started when she was very young, he might well end up 1LT(R) Grazioplene, with the concomitant pay.
So, given the utter balls-up by the senior political and military leadership of the United States this last 20 years (and really long before that) I have administratively reduced the “government” to the last time it performed honorably. Meaning, until I get over myself (this is all ego-driven, I know) I’m only flying the 48-star flag here at the Castle.
No knock on ODS or Vietnam vets – ODS was a campaign, not a war, and the political and military leadership arguably ended it too soon. Any of you who were over there as trigger-pullers or SCUD-bait did what you were told to do as the Vietnam vets did – this is all aimed, quixotically, at a leadership who will never notice and wouldn’t understand it, regardless.
I’m reading The Afghanistan Papers, by Craig Whitlock. I recommend it. For those of you who read the old blog since 2003… I told you so. But did they listen? Nope.
In Vict’ry the Generals, statesfolx, and politicos get promoted, fete’d, fawned over, bemedalled and bedecked with honors, write books with massive advances, and enjoy cushy retirements and high-paying second careers as “warfighting experts”, while the soldiers get a parade, some free beers, and hassled by the VA C&B folk, then get to fade away to the VFWs, nursing the PTSD, creaking joints, and a fading indifference, committing suicide, until the next “Great Personage” has a Grand Idea! “War-War is better than Jaw-Jaw! Follow those guys to Glory for Me, there’s a Good Lad!”
In Modern America, In defeat, the Generals, statesfolx, and politicos are promoted, fete’d, fawned over, bemedalled and bedecked with honors, write books with massive advances and enjoy cushy retirements and high-paying second careers as “warlosing experts” while the soldiers get some free beers (offered by their veteran predecessors) and hassled by the VA C&B folk, and get to fade away to the VFWs, nursing the PTSD, achey creaking joints, NSAID-ravaged kidneys, and a fading indifference, committing suicide, until the next “Great Personage” has a Grand Idea! “War-War is better than Jaw-Jaw! Follow those guys to Glory for Me, there’s a Good Lad!”
Dulce et Decorum Est
BY WILFRED OWEN
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
The Medal opens with one of those mass of awards with little detail that happen now and again in the Civil War, Indian Campaigns, and the Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection, when the Medal was about the only decoration in play. This is for a mass of troopers from the 8th Cavalry dated August 13, 1868, in “the vicinity of the Black Mountains, Arizona, USA. The citation is sparse: “Bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.” Some of the recipient dates (but not all) cover a range from 13 August to 31 October. It seems simplest to treat them all as a single event. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 13 August”
Today the Medal first appears during the tail end of the Indian Campaigns with some Buffalo Soldiers from the 9th Cavalry. Sergeant Jordan is cited for his conduct in two separate fights. Today’s awards also includes one of the “catch-up” awards made during 2014 stemming from the review of the possible impacts of racism in the awards process.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 9th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., 14 May 1880; at Carrizo Canyon, N. Mex., 12 August 1881. Entered service at: Nashville, Tenn. Birth: Williamson County, Tenn. Date of issue: 7 May 1890. Citation: While commanding a detachment of 25 men at Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., repulsed a force of more than 100 Indians. At Carrizo Canyon, N . Mex., while commanding the right of a detachment of 19 men, on 12 August 1881, he stubbornly held his ground in an extremely exposed position and gallantly forced back a much superior number of the enemy, preventing them from surrounding the command.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 9th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Carrizo Canyon, N. Mex., 12 August 1881. Entered service at: Pike County, Mo. Birth: Covington, Ky. Date of issue: 7 December 1890. Citation: Forced the enemy back after stubbornly holding his ground in an extremely exposed position and prevented the enemy’s superior numbers from surrounding his command.
The Medal stays low on this day until Vietnam, when it again appears.
*ALVARADO, LEONARD L.
Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam on August 12, 1969. On that day, as Specialist Four Alvarado and a small reaction force moved through dense jungle en route to a beleaguered friendly platoon, Specialist Four Alvarado detected enemy movement and opened fire. Despite his quick reaction, Specialist Four Alvarado and his comrades were soon pinned down by the hostile force that blocked the path to the trapped platoon. Specialist Four Alvarado quickly moved forward through the hostile machinegun fire in order to engage the enemy troops. Suddenly, an enemy grenade exploded nearby, wounding and momentarily stunning him. Retaliating immediately, he killed the grenadier just as another enemy barrage wounded him again. Specialist Four Alvarado crawled forward through the fusillade to pull several comrades back within the hastily-formed perimeter. Realizing his element needed to break away from the hostile force, Specialist Four Alvarado began maneuvering forward alone. Though repeatedly thrown to the ground by exploding satchel charges, he continued advancing and firing, silencing several emplacements, including one enemy machinegun position. From his dangerous forward position, he persistently laid suppressive fire on the hostile forces, and after the enemy troops had broken contact, his comrades discovered that he had succumbed to his wounds. Specialist Four Alvarado’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
*WORLEY, KENNETH L.
Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Bo Ban, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 12 August 1968. Entered service at: Fresno, Calif. Born: 27 April 1948, Farmington, N. Mex. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gunner with Company L, 3d Battalion, in action against enemy forces. After establishing a night ambush position in a house in the Bo Ban, Hamlet of Quang Nam Province, security was set up and the remainder of the patrol members retired until their respective watch. During the early morning hours the marines were abruptly awakened by the platoon leader’s warning that “grenades” had landed in the house. Fully realizing the inevitable result of his actions, L/Cpl. Worley, in a valiant act of heroism, instantly threw himself upon the grenade nearest him and his comrades, absorbing with his body, the full and tremendous force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved his comrades from serious injury and possible loss of life although 5 of his fellow marines incurred minor wounds as the other grenades exploded. L/Cpl. Worley’s gallant actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
*Indicates posthumous award.
The Medal didn’t surface on this day in history until the Vietnam War.
*WHEAT, ROY M.
Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 11 August 1967. Entered service at Jackson, Miss. Born: 24 July 1947, Moselle, Miss. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. L/Cpl. Wheat and 2 other marines were assigned the mission of providing security for a Navy construction battalion crane and crew operating along Liberty Road in the vicinity of the Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province. After the marines had set up security positions in a tree line adjacent to the work site, L/Cpl. Wheat reconnoitered the area to the rear of their location for the possible presence of guerrillas. He then returned to within 10 feet of the friendly position, and here unintentionally triggered a well concealed, bounding type, antipersonnel mine. Immediately, a hissing sound was heard which was identified by the 3 marines as that of a burning time fuse. Shouting a warning to his comrades, L/Cpl. Wheat in a valiant act of heroism hurled himself upon the mine, absorbing the tremendous impact of the explosion with his body. The inspirational personal heroism and extraordinary valor of his unselfish action saved his fellow marines from certain injury and possible death, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
I have my usual nit to pick with the citation. Lance Corporal Wheat gave his life for his buddies. Country didn’t enter into it.
You enlist (or don’t flee the draft) because of country. In combat – only the fanatics die for that reason. The rest of us die because we got an unlucky draw from the statistics pool, or we do it for our buddies. The job is to make sure the *other* guy gets the unlucky draw. No knock on Wheat, I just don’t like this phraseology in the citations. Too much “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” in it for my non-Victorian tastes. It is a much more common feature of Sea Service citations than Army or Air Force.
*Indicates a posthumous award.
Today we open with the Civil War, and one of the opening battles – this one being nearly a local one to the Castle – Wilson’s Creek, near Springfield, Missouri. Wilson’s Creek was a saga of opportunities lost or squandered by both sides, and in microcosm displayed the fissures that would eventually doom the southern cause in Missouri and Arkansas – the squabbles amongst the generals. The Federals lost an able general when Lyons was killed, and saddled with a mediocre one in Franz Sigel – who’s greatest contribution overall to the war effort was his ability to get the German immigrants in Missouri and elsewhere to enlist in the Union army. Wilson’s Creek also marks the rising of the star of John Schofield, who would reach great heights and make a mark in American history.
Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 1st Iowa Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: Burlington, Iowa. Born: 14 November 1842, Germany. Date of issue: 16 February 1897. Citation: Voluntarily left the line of battle, and, exposing himself to imminent danger from a heavy fire of the enemy, assisted in capturing a riderless horse at large between the lines and hitching him to a disabled gun, saved the gun from capture.
IMMELL, LORENZO D.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company F, 2d U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Ross, Ohio. Date of issue: 19 July 1890. Citation: Bravery in action.
SCHOFIELD, JOHN M.
Rank and organization: Major, 1st Missouri Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Born: 29 September 1831, Gerry, N.Y. Date of issue: 2 July 1892. Citation: Was conspicuously gallant in leading a regiment in a successful charge against the enemy.
WHERRY, WILLIAM M.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company D, 3d U.S. Reserve Missouri Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Born: 13 September 1836, St. Louis, Mo. Date of issue: 30 October 1895. Citation: Displayed conspicuous coolness and heroism in rallying troops that were recoiling under heavy fire.
WOOD, H. CLAY
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 11th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: Winthrop, Maine. Birth: Winthrop, Maine. Date of issue: 28 October 1893. Citation: Distinguished gallantry.
And our last Medal of the day was awarded for actions during the First World War. Mestrovitch’s brothers soldier on today.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 111th Infantry, 28th Division. Place and date: At Fismette, France, 10 August 1918. Entered service at: Pittsburgh, Pa. Birth: Montenegro. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Seeing his company commander lying wounded 30 yards in front of the line after his company had withdrawn to a sheltered position behind a stone wall, Sgt. Mestrovitch voluntarily left cover and crawled through heavy machinegun and shell fire to where the officer lay. He took the officer upon his back and crawled to a place of safety, where he administered first-aid treatment, his exceptional heroism saving the officer’s life.
*Indicates a posthumous award.