We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France


First American Combat Jump: 70 years ago today
8 November 2012, 07:00
Filed under: 509th, Doyle Yardley, Edson Raff, Paratroopers | Tags: , , , ,

On the morning of the 8th of November, 1942, the first American combat jump occurred in North Africa. LTC Edson Raff and 555 paratroopers had departed England late on the 7th, traveling over 1500 miles in 39 C-47s. Their task was to sieze two French airfields at Tafaraoui and LaSenia to deny their use by enemy fighters during Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.

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Weekend Wanderings: NCAA Opening Weekend 2012

While I haven’t made a Wandering post in a while, it is always nice to share what I find out there.

  • One of my favorite films was the 13th Warrior, with Antonio Banderas. For a lyrical review that paints the imagery of the film, see The Village Smith.
  • The military blogging community lost one of its brightest lights, Neptunus Lex. By chance, I spoke with one of his classmates who was stunned at both his passing and that he’d still been flying fighters at this age. The Captain was a great writer and I think it would behoove any of my readers to peruse his beliefs. The world is a poorer place without him.
  • As you know, I love my puppy, so I was overjoyed to see a story about an Army Sergeant First Class by the name of Zeke who helps out his comrades in their time of need. (Hat tip to CDR Salamander – http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/)

In continuing support of our dogs-in-arms….



Research Days

I’m so excited! Today and tomorrow, I’ll be up in Carlisle to see Dr Geoffrey Megargee give a talk on the German High Command in World War II and conduct some of my own research. The Army Heritage and Education Center is located in Carlisle, so there are loads of records stored there. I’m going to start by looking at records from Fort Bragg in regards to his time in the Special Forces. I’ll also be doing some research on LTG William Pelham Yarborough, who commanded the 509th later in the war and, like so many airborne officers, had his future in the Special Forces.



Program for 2012 Operation Dragoon Event

Each year, the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division, Outpost Europe, hosts an Operation Dragoon commemoration and seminar. It’s always a fantastic event. We are honored that many veterans attend and provide their insights and remembrances. There will be a few veterans I’ve never met as well as others I will be overjoyed to see again. It’s truly an event not to be missed.

Operation Dragoon – The “Forgotten D-Day”
The Allied Landings in Southern France and the Southern France Campaign
15 August 1944-14 September 1944

Outpost Europe, Society of the 3rd Infantry Division
The Embassy of France to the United States

When: 19-22 July 2012 (Thursday-Sunday)

19 July: 1 to 3 PM – registration; 5 to 8 PM – historical seminar
20 July: 9 AM to 5 PM – historical seminars and veterans’ remembrances
21 July: 8:30 to 1200 AM – ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery; 5 to 9:30 PM – Banquet
22 July: 8:30 to 11 AM – historical seminars

Where: Sheraton National Hotel, 900 South Orme Street, Arlington, VA 22204

Who: Veterans of the 6th Army Group; 7th Army; 6th Corps; 3rd, 36th, and 45th Infantry Divisions; 1st Allied Airborne Task Force; 1st Special Service Force; US Army Air Corps; US Navy and Coast Guard, and their families; French Army Veterans; Veterans from Poland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Greece, Canada, and France who served in the supporting Air Forces and Navy; and their friends and families.

List of participating veterans includes:

Medal of Honor recipients MSG Wilburn K. Ross, T5 Robert D. Maxwell, and COL Roger Donlon (Viet Nam)

LTG Richard Seitz, LTG David Grange, MG Lloyd Ramsey, COL Morton Katz, COL Henry Bodson, Bill Davis, and Darryl Egner.

Why: To honor the veterans of the Forgotten D-Day, to preserve history, to educate the public, and to pass on the torch of their proud legacy.

Room Reservations: Price – $89 per night, one day prior to event and one day after. Reservations: 1-888-627-8210
Reservation Group Name: Operation Dragoon
Cut off date for reservations: Friday, 6 July 2012

Point of Contact: Monika Stoy, President, Outpost Europe, Society of the 3rd Infantry Division, monikastoy@yahoo.com, RSVP by 30 June 2012

REGISTRATION: Event registration – $30. Banquet – $35. (Free for Dragoon Vets)

Shuttle to/from airport provided by hotel, so no rental car required.

Update: I had been especially excited to have the chance to meet Colonel Van T. Barfoot, who made national news with a dispute over flying the flag in his front yard, but unfortunately, the Colonel passed away in March.



Do harsh environments produce strength?

When you visit a vineyard, especially in France, one of the shocking things is often how difficult and unforgiving the soil appears. Often, rocky, sloped hillsides that drain water like a sieve, lying exposed to the sun produce the grapes and, thus, the wines of greatest character. In Bordeaux, the sweet wines are the product of what winemakers call “noble rot”. In difficult environments, the skilled winemaker makes magnificent wines.

I recently attended the US Naval Institute’s Honors Night, at which it honors authors of articles and books published by the Naval Institute. I believe that it was in VADM Daley’s remarks that mention was made of the current fiscal situation and looming belt-tightening in the Navy. As I sat, I thought about the recent talk Dr. David Ulbrich gave in the Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series up in Carlisle (you can watch it), which is based on his book on Thomas Holcomb, Commandant of the Marine Corps in the lead up to WWII. Lean times in the Marine Corps, yet the source of many of the ideas that formed the framework of the wartime Marine Corps.

I think about Marine boot camp. It is not by gentle guidance that they turn civilians into Marines. It is by forcing them through the crucible that they produce a finely-honed blade.

So, while the money may be tight, I have faith that our military will dispense with nonsense and trivia, concentrate mental effort on the mission and produce the leaders and the guidelines that we will need moving forward.

Of course, it ain’t gonna be easy, but if anyone told you life was going to be easy, they were lying.



Colmar Pocket Seminar Schedule (Updated 24 October)

UPDATED: The schedule has been updated, as Wreaths Across America will be taking place at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday. The wreath-laying will occur Sunday morning.

Once again, Outpost Europe of the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division and the Embassy of France will be hosting our Colmar Pocket Seminar and Commemoration. It will be held at the Sheraton National Hotel, 900 South Orme Street, Arlington, VA 22204. Special guests include GEN Frederick J. Kroesen, veteran of the Colmar fighting, (video from last year) and GEN Gordon Sullivan, former Army Chief of Staff and current President of the Association of the United States Army.

This little remembered battle was so vigorously contested that 10 American soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor: Audie Murphy, Charles P. Murray, Ellis Weicht, Bernard Bell, Keith L. Ware, Gus Kefurt, Eli Whiteley, Russell Dunham, Forrest Peden and Jose Valdez. There will be a number of veterans in attendance and their commentary and insights are priceless. The cost for the seminars is a mere $30 and further donations to support the event are always welcome. (Veterans of the Colmar pocket do not pay for the seminars or the banquet.)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

1400-1600 Registration

1730-2100 Reception and Historical Seminar Session I

Friday, 9 December 2011

0900-1130 Seminar Session II

1130-1300 Lunch (no host)

1300-1700 Seminar Session III

1700-1800 Dinner (no host)

1815-2100 Documentary film presentation

Saturday, 10 December 2011

0900-1200 Seminar Session IV

1200-1600 Open Time

1600-1700 Cocktail Hour (no host)

1700 Banquet ($35 per person, separate from the seminar fee)

11 December 2011

0900 Depart for Arlington National Cemetery

0930-1130 Wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, 3rd ID Monument and Audie Murphy gravesite

 

Room reservations at the Sheraton are available at a discounted rate. The hotel is located near National Airport (DCA) and there is a free shuttle, so a rental car is not necessary to attend the seminar or to participate in the wreath-laying. There is also a restaurant located in the hotel that many attendees use for the convenience.

Contact Monika Stoy, President of Outpost Europe via email: monikastoy@yahoo.com



Whither Mark Clark?

I must admit to knowing very little about Mark Clark – so little that I learned some things by reading his wikipedia entry. That said, he has been characterized as somewhat distant and self-serving in some things that I’ve read – in particular for his efforts to sieze Rome in early June of 1944 against orders. He is also often criticized for Monte Cassino, Anzio and Salerno.

However, the reason I thought to mention him today is that I was utilizing a new Google tool. It’s their “Ngram” Viewer.

When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g., “British English”, “English Fiction”, “French”) over the selected years.

I had entered a collection of officers just to see how they fared: Chesty Puller, Smedley Butler, George Patton, and Mark Clark. While Chesty Puller’s name has never appeared often, his legendary status among Marines always brings him into play. Smedley Butler is slowly fading as he becomes just another General from the past. However, the interesting part for me is how Clark spikes so much higher, including a second spike that is likely related to his Korean War service, but now seems to be slipping as Patton continuesd a steady ascent (though both have dropped in recent years).

Very interesting. I also checked Audie Murphy and John Basilone together.




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