The picture above shows soldiers of the 64th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division of the US Army Expeditionary Force in France celebrate at the stroke of the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day of November 1918. This is when the ceasefire armistice went into effect between all of the Allies and the Germans in what was then known as the Great War. They are happy because the survived. For them, the war, with its mustard gas, machine-guns, artillery, and trench warfare was over and it did not claim their mortal vessel.
Today we think of this day as Veterans Day but in 1918 it was Armistice Day. In no less than 70 countries around the world, this day is remembered with somber introspection. Over 37-million lost their lives in that war, including no less than 117,465 Americans.
In fact, the war was so bitter, so ghastly, so abominable, that it led to the Kellogg-Briand Pact ten years later in which in effect, bans all wars. This led, in turn, to the Great War being then known as the “War to End all Wars”.
Although we have lost our last Great War veteran of what we call now World War One, we will still have to mourn new warriors lost in war every year for a foreseeable future.
To them, those hardy Doughboys in 1918, and all those who have fallen and served before and since, we remember.
To the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coastguardsmen, and Marines of today, we toast.
Coast Guard Medevacs Injured Navy Sailor from Submarine. Courtesy Video | U.S. Coast Guard District 11 PADET San Diego | Date: 10.11.2013. SAN DIEGO – An aircrew from U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego approaches a submarine to medevac an injured Navy sailor 160 miles west of San Diego, Oct. 11, 2013. The 22-year-old man was transported to San Diego and transferred to emergency medical personnel for further care. U.S. Coast Guard video by Sector San Diego.
“PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Smilax worked with personnel from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources to recover five cannons and multiple barrel hoops from the Queen Anne’s Revenge in Beaufort Inlet, N.C., Monday.
The Queen Anne’s Revenge was the ship of the pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, for more than a year before the ship ran aground on the shoals in the inlet. The crew of the Smilax, a 100-foot inland construction tender, worked with NCDCR divers to lift the approximately one-ton cannons aboard the Smilax using a combination of flotation bags and the ship’s crane.”
Not bad for the grand old Cosmos-class inland construction tender USCGC Smilax (WLIC-315). She is the Coast Guard’s “Queen of the Fleet”.
Smilax was built by Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works in Dubuque, Iowa. Her keel was laid on 26 November 1943, she was launched on 18 August 1944, and commissioned 1 November 1944. Her first mission included watching out for German U-boats while stationed at Fort Pierce, Florida. Since 2011 she has been the oldest ship in the US Coast Guard and is possibly the last active US military vessel left from World War Two. As an honor, she is the only US military ship with her hull numbers painted in gold and her motto was changed to Natu Maximus Mandatum Traba (Oldest Commissioned Ship).
Homeported in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, she is responsible for maintaining 1,226 fixed aids to navigation such as lights and range markers.
…And salvaging the occasional pirate cannon.
As a 12-year-old kid, I spent every waking hour for a good part of 1986 reading, re-reading, and underlining Red Storm Rising. It was a book that covered the all-out conventional warfare of a Soviet strike on NATO at the height of the Cold War. I followed the USAF met officer running around Iceland hiding from Red Airborne troops. I felt the pain of the young commander who lost his Knox class frigate and went back out in a Perry. The triumph of a plucky Norwegian SSK skipper sinking a giant Red Banner Fleet battle cruiser. I could go on, but I wouldn’t want to ruin the book.
The author of that book went on to write Patriot Games, The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Without Remorse (my personal favorite), and The Sum of All Fears among others.
Thomas Leo “Tom” Clancy, Jr. died Wednesday at age 66.
I would like to think he is just doing research for his next book.
When an Atlanta high school finished their construction project this summer, one of the additions that caused some media heartburn was the addition of an indoor shooting range. But the thing is, there are thousands of these ranges already in schools around the county and has been for years…
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
You have heard of the M3 Grease Gun, the M1 Carbine, the Garand, the Tommy gun, and almost every other firearm that the US military used in World War 2. Nevertheless, one gun you may not have heard of is the quirky little series of subguns produced by H&R. These guns, named after their inventor, Eugene Reising, were one of the great shouldn’t have beens of the War.
In 1940, with the clouds of war gathering on the horizon every arms engineer was looking to build the next great gun. Eugene G. Reising came across the idea to produce a simple submachine gun that could be made cheaper that the then current issue Auto Ordnance M1928A1 Thompson. The Thompson was a beautifully brutal weapon that was made famous in the Prohibition era. The problem with the Thompson was that it was a heavy beast, at nearly 11-pounds empty. Furthermore, beauty was expensive—making the Tommy gun almost $225 per copy, which, over 70 years ago, was a sizable sum. Reising was a pretty clever engineer and had previously worked with John Browning on several designs. He thought he could do better than the Tommy gun and started work on his design….
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com
Using a mash up of technology garnered from WWII, the US military selected a compromise general-purpose machine gun in 1957 that remains in limited service to this day. This gun, officially known as the M60, has been carried my many, loved by most, and hated by some. No matter which one of these categories a soldier fell into though, they all called it ‘the pig’.
In the late 1950s, the US Army was in the process of converting their arsenal from the tried and true .30-06 round (that had gotten it through both World Wars and Korea) to the shorter and more controllable 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. The first step? Replace its WWII era small-arms with more modern equipment to shoot this new round. The vaunted M1 Garand and M1 Carbine were to be replaced by the M14 battle rifle. Then there was the 19-pound Browning M1918 BAR, a myriad of submachine guns, and the 31-pound M1919 Browning Light Machine gun that needed a replacement. The 1950s replacement for all of them was to be the M60.
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com
The United States Coast Guard has, since 1916, been the preeminent maritime law enforcement and search and rescue agency in the country. This odd coin with two very different sides has produced a military force that has to be flexible to meet challenges that no one could imagine a hundred years ago. To stop the myriad of high tech superfast smugglers who try to outrun the fuzz, the Coasties have created a unique unit to take super high-powered rifles to the air. These helicopter borne snipers are the men and women of the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON).
Read the rest where I delve into the weapons of this elite group of coasties at GUNS.com
A Nation that does not honor its heroes, will not long endure- – Abraham Lincoln