Filed under: Conferences, Marines, Veterans | Tags: Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima, James Mattis, Marines, Veterans, WWII
The Iwo Jima Association of America is holding it’s 70th Reunion and Symposium on 18-22 February 2015 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel. It’s always a magnificent event, with the opportunity to mix with Iwo Jima veterans, active duty and retired Marines, descendants and historians.
The base schedule is:
18 February – Registration (2-6pm) and welcome reception (6-8pm)
19 February – Ceremonies in DC/Arlington (8am-3:30pm) and a hospitality evening (6-8pm)
20 February – National Museum of the Marine Corps tour (8am-3:30pm) and Show & Tell (6-8pm)
21 February – Symposium and Panel Discussion (8:30am-3:30pm), Luncheon (noon-1pm, with a briefing by a senior Marine representative), reception (5-6pm, cash bar) and Banquet (6-11pm)
22 February – Farewells and departures
I can’t say enough about how well-run and well-attended this event is. As the touchstone event in the history of the Marine Corps, senior Marine leadership is actively in attendance and support. The Commandant will be the guest of honor at the Banquet and one of the top-level officers will speak at the luncheon. I have to admit that meeting and getting my photo with General Mattis two years ago was a true highlight. There are always several authors in attendance, selling and signing their books. They also usually have both a raffle and a silent auction to help support the organization. The band for the Banquet is our favorite big band, Radio King Orchestra, who do swing better than anyone else (and donate their time for this performance).
You MUST register by the 21st of January to ensure your space. After that, it is ‘space available’. Registration can be done online or by mail. In either case, best to download the event brochure, which details the schedule and provides the mail-in registration form.
Filed under: Marines, Veterans | Tags: Improvise Adapt Overcome, Leatherneck, Marines, Obituaries, Puci Blevins
Vester Elvin “Puci” Blevins passed away recently. He’d spent over 30 years serving as the Superintendent of the Oneida, Tennesseee, Water Department and on the local school board, but what struck me most was his determination. No, I’d not met Puci, but I did read his obituary in Leatherneck this month.
The Battle of Iwo Jima included some of the fiercest fighting in World War II. Some 21,000 Japanese soldiers stationed there fought ferociously, with only about 1,000 of them surrendering. Puci Blevins landed on the first day and fought there for all 38 days of the battle. He would have landed on either the Red or Green beaches and may have assaulted up Mount Suribachi – at the very least, he would later say that he “saw the first Iwo Jima flag raising from the foot of Mt. Suribachi.”
Blevins must have transferred from the 5th Marine Division, as he was in the 2nd Marine Division for the occupation of Japan, with his obituary noting Sasebo and Nagasaki.
The part that really caught me in his obituary in Leatherneck was that when Puci enlisted in 1943, it was his third attempt to enlist. He’d been rejected twice due to his poor eyesight. When he went in for the third time, Blevins followed a Marine mantra. Marines are often at the tail end when it comes to new equipment, so many units use “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” as their mantra.
- Not being able to see the eye chart clearly, Puci improvised.
- His adaptation was memorization of the eye chart.
- A true leatherneck in his heart, he overcame the obstacle.
Semper Fi, Puci.
The Old Jarhead pointed me to the story of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Karl Trenker, 48, who was shot three times by two men who stole a gold chain his fiancee was trying to sell via Craigslist. They swiped the chain when he showed it to them and took off running. He drove around the neighborhood looking for them. When he found them, he gave them a chance to just put the necklace down and walk away. They ran again. The good Colonel pursued, for which they shot him three times. He merely plugged the holes with his fingers and called her to let her know he’d been shot. He told NBC that “If he [the gunman] didn’t have a pistol I would’ve whipped his butt.”
Filed under: Books, Marines, Weekend Wanderings, WWII | Tags: Bagram, Bears, Fallujah, Iraq, Marines, OSS
I haven’t posted a set of Wanderings of late, but have been accumulating some interesting links. Hopefully, you didn’t over-eat on Thanksgiving or, if you are not a celebrant, on a lovely fall weekend.
- Patrick O’Donnell, who wrote We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah based on his time embedded with a platoon of Marines in Iraq, followed up with his Marines in an article for the National Review. As with all of his writing, this is particularly moving.
- We’ve talked about the Poles fighting in World War II, but I never realized they had an unfair advantage – they had a bear on their side! Hat tip to theglyptodon for pointing this one out.
- Over at One Marine’s View, there’s a nice photo of the Occupy Bagram folks….
- On Forbes, Chandlee Bryan dispensed some good advice on cover letters for job seekers when she wrote about Steve Adams, who wrote The Perfect Cover Letter, proposing that the OSS drop him into the Italian Alps during World War II.
Filed under: Henderson, Leadership, Marines, Officers | Tags: Leadership, Marines
While it didn’t happen in World War II or Korea, I’d like to note that LTC Anthony Henderson (USMC) was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his leadership of 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment in the fight for Fort Jugroom near Garmsir in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
The 19th century British fort “sits at a crossroads and along a river, letting those holding it dominate much of southern Helmand.” The Taliban had held off an attack by the Royal Marines in January of 2007. 15 months later, in April of 2008, the US Marines were on duty in Helmand, so 1/6 was tasked with clearing the fort. Henderson’s men fought a close quarters battle against 200-400 Taliban fighters, through tunnels, bunkers, minefields and buildings. As the Marines of 1/6 fought their way in, the Taliban attacked them from behind, making it a 360-degree battle. Chesty Puller might have said, “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.” As darkness fell, Henderson knew that the heat would continue and that he’d best pull his men back to a defensive position. When they headed in the next morning, Fort Jugroom was empty, the Taliban having stolen away in the night, in hopes of living to fight another day.
In the tradition of Chesty Puller and Jim Gavin, Henderson took a hands-on approach to leadership. “My desire was to be as far forward as I could be without interfering with the small unit leader’s ability to fight his fight against the enemy.”
Lieutenant Colonel Henderson was in a staff position with the Joint Chiefs in DC this fall. “It’s humbling and fulfilling to lead Marines,” reflected Henderson. “I have a constant yearning to be back there and amongst them.”