Saturday, March 1, 2014

A_COL's Academy Award Predictions .... and the Oscar goes to:

THE PUBLIC HAS ALREADY VOTED WITH THEIR WALLETS!
I truly appreciate the critics picking best movie of the year and winners in all the other categories but in the ONLY category that really counts – MONEY MADE - appears Gravity wins hands down and by a wide margin bettering the next nearest competitor, Wolf of Wall Street, by over two to one.

When it comes to picking movies, I normally "trust the mob" so here is how the movie going and paying public ranked this year’s movies:

Rank, Movie, Box Receipts
1 Gravity $972M
2 Wolf of Wall Street $450M
3 American Hustle $360M
4 Captain Phillips $324M
5 12 Years a Slave $117M
6 Philomena $114M
7 Dallas Buyers Club $54M
8 Her $32M
9 Nebraska $16M

No contest; ….and the winner is, bank statement Please: GRAVITY

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 District of Columbia Homicide Rate Once Again Inches Out Maryland But Far Out Paces Virginia!

Each New Years Day I anxiously await the Washington Post article exposing the homicide stats for the District of Columbia, our Nation’s Capital, and the surrounding suburbs. For some reason and unlike past years, this year the article was relegated to the Metro Section rather than the Front Page but the full article by Peter Hermann and Lynh Bui “Get in the Street and Hear Our Pain” is available at this link.

Like past years, the WaPo curiously makes no attempt to compare the rates among the various jurisdictions but even a cursory analysis of the stats in the article might reveal a motive for why the Liberal WaPo NEVER attempts any analysis; could it be because it would clearly demonstrate the dramatically inverse relationship between homicide rates and restrictions on gun ownership.

My detailed analysis of the 2012 stats can be found here on my Blog at: http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com/2013/01/district-of-columbia-homicide-rate-has.html but here is the detailed math for the 2013 numbers using the most recent population figures from the US Census Bureau and the Stats in the article:

DC population = 632,323
2013 Homicides = 104 (*Corrected from 103 in WaPo 3 Jan 14)
2013 Homicide Rate = 16.45 / 100,000 people.

Maryland DC-suburbs of Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties
Population = 1,885,847 (Montgomery = 1,004,709; PG = 881,138)
2013 Homicides = 66
2013 Homicide Rate = 3.50 / 100,000.

Virginia suburbs of Alexandria City, and Arlington and Fairfax Counties
Population = 1,485,941 (Alexandria = 146,294, Arlington = 221,045, Fairfax = 1,118,602)
2013 Homicides = 14 homicides
2013 Homicide Rate = .94 / 100,000.

This reveals that a person would be fortunate to live in Virginia where gun ownership is almost unrestricted because a DC resident, where guns are still almost impossible to own, is 17.5 times more likely to be a homicide victim then us Gun Tottin Virginians (16.45/.94 = 17.50). Even a Marylander, with moderately strict gun laws, was 4.7 times less likely to be a homicide victim than a DC resident (16.45/3.5 = 4.70). Much better than DC but a Marylander is still more than 3.7 times more likely to be a homicide victim than one of us Virginia Gun Totters! (3.50/.94 = 3.72)

Now I’m not opposed to registration and some reasonable limits on ownership such as terrorists, ex-cons and the mentally unstable but there should be no restrictions on ownership by average citizens – anywhere in the US. There is a “God-given” right of self protection, especially in one’s own home, and a gun is the only way to exercise that right. If you don’t believe me, just ask any Bostonian who was subject to the “hide in your home” order during the Boston Marathon Bomber manhunt this April. One has to go no further than right here in our own DC-area backyard to clearly demonstrate that contrary to liberal rhetoric, it is an “inconvenient truth” that “guns actually do make us safer.” Case in point, Virginia has by far the laxest gun laws and the least gun violence of any of the surrounding jurisdictions. Additionally, the DC homicide rate only began declining after the Supreme Court ordered the loosing of DC gun ownership laws in 2008. Is the fact that DC’s drop coincided with this landmark court decision coincidence or might there be a cause-effect relationship? Could it be criminals are not so anxious to attack law-abiding citizens if they might be "packing heat?"

The obvious message in these statistics - guns make us more and not less safe!

Here are a few other inconvenient FACTS I’ve mentioned in my previous articles:

In any given year in this country there is one child drowning death for every 11,000 residential swimming pools or 550 children under the age of 10 drown every year in our 6 million pools. Meanwhile there is one child killed by a gun for every one million (plus) guns in this country or with about 200 million guns, approximately 175 children under 10 die. This means a child is over 100 times more likely to drown in a pool than be killed by a gun. Hence, banning residential pools is a much more effective way of protecting children than banning fire arms.

In Switzerland, every male adult is issued an assault weapon for militia duty and required to keep it in his home. As a result, Switzerland has the highest per capita rate of guns in homes in the entire World yet is one of the safest places to live. Fire arm deaths in Switzerland is .56/100,000. Compare that to the United States where Assault Weapons are heavily regulated and automatic ones are outlawed and our rate of fire arm deaths is 2.97/100,000 per year. That means an American is 5.3 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the United States than someone in Switzerland where everyone and their brother has an automatic assault weapon. Go figure!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Remembering President Kennedy - 50 Years After His Assassination!


Back on 21 January 2011, on the fiftieth anniversary of his inauguration, I published my Blog article: Remembering President Kennedy - 50 Years Later! where I praised him for his courage to stand up to Communist aggression in Vietnam which in retrospect arguably saved all of Southeast Asia from falling under Communist domination. Here on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination I feel compelled to update and repost that article.
As a retired Army Colonel who was drafted into Secretary McNamara’s Army, commissioned out of OCS and had the privilege of serving an extended CIB earning Vietnam tour arriving as a new second lieutenant and coming home a seasoned captain, I don’t believe President Kennedy is given sufficient credit for his committed bi-partisan, anti-communist foreign policy and his principled defense of South Vietnam. By sending in U.S. Combat Forces and actually creating the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) on 8 Feb 1962 (as everyone that fought in Vietnam knows, MACV was the US Command that prosecuted the war right up until the end), President Kennedy provided most of the rest of Southeast Asia, and particularly Thailand, the “breathing room” to resist total Communist dominance.

President Kennedy was totally committed to stopping communist expansion and knew not acting decisively in Vietnam by committing US troops would fatally damage U.S. credibility with our allies. As Kennedy so eloquently stated "Now we have a problem in making our power credible... and Vietnam looks like the place.” He went on to reaffirmed his commitment to defend South Vietnam in his 11 May National Security Action Memorandum 52, which became known as "The Presidential Program for Vietnam." Its opening statement reads: “U.S. objectives and concept of operations [are] to prevent communist domination of South Vietnam; to create in that country a viable and increasingly democratic society, and to initiate, on an accelerated basis, a series of mutually supporting actions of a military, political, economic, psychological, and covert character designed to achieve this objective.”

Although initially totally supportive of the Vietnam Catholic minority administration of President Ngô Đình Diệm, the Kennedy administration grew increasingly frustrated with Diệm because his crackdown against protesting Buddhist monks that sparked a Buddhist Revolt where several monks committed self-immolation covered by the world press. Hence, on 1 Nov 1963, with the tacit approval of the Kennedy administration, Vietnamese military officers launch a coup d'état against Diem and on the next day he was assassinated. President Kennedy knew to be successful there needed to be a change in Vietnamese leadership and he was not afraid to make it. By the time President Kennedy was himself assassinated he had established the MACV Command and had 25,000 troops in country with plans for a significant escalation. Although President Johnson presided over the troop increases, he was following the Kennedy blueprint so President Kennedy is due the lion’s share of the credit for saving most of Southeast Asia from Communist domination.

As a student of the Vietnam War who strongly believes holding the line there until the mid 1970s (ground troops left in 1972 and Congress withdrew support allowing the South Vietnamese Government to fall in 1975) actually stemmed the tide of Communist aggression in Southeast Asia, I believe the contributions of President are often overlooked.

Much of the reason for President Kennedy not getting the credit he deserves is due to the works of some misguided liberal Kennedy biographers, most notably Theodore White and Ted Sorensen (neither of whom ever served in the Military although of prime draft aged during US conflicts). In their attempts to revise history after much of their Democrat liberal base turned against the Vietnam War, and without any basis for their assertion, they promulgate the false myth that if Kennedy had lived he would have withdrawn U.S. Forces in his second term and spared the country the agony of Vietnam.

Although no one could ever knows for sure Kennedy’s intentions for Vietnam during a second term, the best indication of his thinking on the subject was provided by the person in the best position to know, his brother Robert. In an interview some five months after JFK’s death, Robert Kennedy (RFK) told an oral-history interviewer that his brother “had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam.” Here was part of that exchange:

Interviewer: “There was never any consideration given to pulling out?”


RFK: “No.”


Interviewer: “. . . the president was convinced that we had to keep, had to stay in there  . . .”

RFK: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “. . . And couldn’t lose it.”

RFK: “Yes.”

President Kennedy himself telegraphed his Vietnam intentions even more strongly during his 12 September 1963 press conferences, just two months before his assassination. Responding to a question about Vietnam, he said his policy was: “to win the war there ….That is why some 25,000 Americans have traveled 10,000 miles to participate in that struggle…we are not there to see a war lost.”

From the beginning President Kennedy’s commitment to Vietnam never waivered and remained consistent. Even way back in a 1956 speech Senator Kennedy called Vietnam “the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike,” adding: “This is our offspring — we cannot abandon it.”

The fact that President Kennedy established MACV and introduced combat troops into South Vietnam in sizable numbers providing the “breathing room” that kept most of Southeast Asia free should be a proud part of the proud Kennedy legacy and I am honored to have been one who was inspired to answer the President’s call “to ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gibson to Deputy VA Secretary and Rooney as Navy Under Secretary - President Appoints Two More Incompetents!

Slone Gibson as VA Deputy Secretary and Jo Ann Rooney as Navy Under Secretary, just what we need to “help” and “lead” our troops after we’ve been engaged in protracted combat for the past 12 years. A ’75 West Pointer that bailed at his first opportunity without ever even serving in a combat zone let alone hearing a shot fired in anger, Slone will have the requisite detachment to continue the VA’s absolute indifference towards Vets. As for Jo Ann, I’m sure her previous 9 month stent (11-12) starting at the top as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness (before which she had never even heard of DOD) along with her years of experience as a college president, tax lawyer and managing director at scandal-ridden Huron (a company akin to Romney’s Bain Capital but with a real “history”) make her well suited to be Under Secretary of the Navy. Thanks Mr. President

Friday, August 2, 2013

WASHINGTON POST FACT CHECKER AWARDS OBAMA, CARNEY & REID EACH 4 PINOCCHIOS FOR SEQUESTER WHOPPERS

PRESIDENT OBAMA, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY “My Invisible Friend Told Me” REID & WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY “the Clown” CARNEY TIED WITH 4 PINOCCHIOS FOR SEQUESTER WHOPPERS!

When it comes to the Sequestration Whoppers Sweepstakes, it appears Senate Majority Leader Harry “My Invisible Friend Told Me” Reid just pulled into a dead heat with President Obama and White House Press Secretary Jay “the Clown” Carney when the Washington Post Fact Checker awarded him FOUR (4) PINOCCHIOS for his 31 July 13 World-class prevarication about sequestration already cutting 1.6 million jobs. Seems that in the Democrat “Crying Wolf” competition, every speaker tries to “out exaggerate” a previous one when it comes to the impact of sequestration. Unfortunately for them, we’re about 6 months into Sequestration and “the sky has not fallen”, airports and airplanes are still operating, and the government is still operating relatively normally (with the exception of the IRS I suppose.)

But it was actually President Obama that kicked off the Whopper competition when he uttered something so outlandish that even the Fact Checker was flabbergasted (See Below Graphic #1 - entire WaPo Obama Whopper article):

“Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.”
President Obama, news conference, March 1, 2013

Now this one was so absurd that the three people in charge of all the Capitol janitorial staff, Stephen T. Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol; Carlos Elias, the Superintendent of the Capitol Building; and Terry Gainer, the Senate Sergeant at Arms; all immediately issued statements contradicting the President to calm their workforce by assuring them that there would be NO pay cuts or furloughing for any of their staffs.

Once the President quickly earned his Four Pinocchios and especially after senior officials at the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the federal agency that employ janitors on the House side, and the office of the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), which employs janitors on the Senate side, issued statements saying the president’s comments were NOT TRUE, Jay Carney and his White House Press Staff then went into “full damage control” mode and began issuing “clarification” but as each one was exposed as false by the Fact Checker, their narrative continually changed. Still, the White House kept up its spin offensive, finally claiming that there would be a cut in “overtime” and that was a de facto pay cut and thus the president was right — or at least not wrong – which turned out to be wrong also. Then again, I wouldn’t believe Carney “under oath.”  Here is some of how they began to “spin the story” which continually changed as they were caught in one lie after another (See Below Graphic #2 - entire WaPo Press Office Whopper article):

“On the issue of the janitors, if you work for an hourly wage and you earn overtime, and you depend on that overtime to make ends meet, it is simply a fact that a reduction in overtime is a reduction in your pay.” 
— White House spokesman Jay Carney, news briefing, March 4 

And

“You know, those Capitol janitors will not get as much overtime. I’m sure they think less pay, that they’re taking home, does hurt.”
— Gene Sperling, director of the White House economic council, on ABC News’ “This Week,” March 3, 2013

Then when the Fact Checker pointed out that the janitorial staff clocked almost NO overtime the story changed again saying they were talking about the contract janitors. Again, the Fact Checker pointed out that almost all the janitorial staff was Government employees and for the few janitors that were contractors, it would be more costly to cancel contracts than to allow them to continue working.

Realizing they had been caught lying, the White House PR Crowd finally just quite responding and here is how the Fact Checker summed up the fiasco: “… a clean-up brigade shouldn’t simply try to deflect and obfuscate. Apparently, the president assumed — incorrectly — that the janitors on Capitol Hill would get a pay cut. Rather than admit an error, White House aides doubled down on their talking points about overtime being essential to their livelihood, without actually knowing the truth.”

And finally, here is what Senate Majority Leader Harry “My Invisible Friend told Me” Reid (D-NV) chimed in with that scored him his FOUR PINOCCHIOS, enough to pull into a virtual tie with the President and his Chief flake Carney (See Below Graphic #3 - entire WaPo Harry Reid Whopper article):
:
“We have learned that the sequestration already has cut 1.6 million jobs. So we need job creation. We need to help the middle class by creating jobs.”

— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), floor speech, July 31, 2013


And here is how the WaPo Fact Checker characterized Reid’s Whopper which he must have gotten from his same Invisible Friend” that told him about Mitt Romney not paying any Federal Income Tax.  This one was so bad his own staff would even defend it -- they just quit answering his Senate office phones!

“While the dust has not settled on the impact of the sequester on employment this year, the available evidence shows that Reid’s claim that 1.6 million jobs already have been cut this year appears wildly off course.”


This has just been the Reader’s Digest version which doesn’t do justice to the full story so I’ve included all three full Washington Post Fact Checker articles below.

Graphic #1 - President Obama





Graphic #2 - Carney & His White House Press Office Crowd



Graphic #3 - What Harry Reid's Invisible Friend (Harvey) Told Him





Thursday, August 1, 2013

ARMY TASK FORCE FAITH PREVENTS 1ST MARINE DIVISION ANNIHILATION AT CHOSIN RESERVOIR IN 1950 KOREA



AFTER YEARS OF MARINE CORPS DENIAL, IN DECEMBER 2000 THE WASHINGTON POST FINALLY REVEALED THAT THE ARMY’S 31ST REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM (TASK FORCE FAITH) SAVED THE MARINE 1ST DIVISION FROM DESTRUCTION AT THE CHOSIN RESEVOIR IN 1950 DURING THE KOREAN WAR!

In the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson played Marine Corps Colonel Nathan R. Jessep  and the climax of the movie is when Jessep erupts in the Courtroom with his famous “Truth, You can't handle the truth!” speech.  In the case of the Marine Corps withdrawal from the Chosen Reservoir during the early stages of the Korean War, it seems it is most of the Corps that “can’t handle the truth” when it comes to acknowledging the Army’s contribution to the very survival of the First Marine Division when they were in “grave danger” of annihilation but, I believe the Army, in Jessep’s words, “would rather (Marines) just said ‘thank you,’ and went on (their) way.”

Below in a December 2000 Washington Post major article, Steve Vogel revealed the details of how Task Force Faith, a Army small force of about 2500 Soldiers, managed to hold off a force of six Red Chinese Infantry Regiments with about 20,000 soldiers for four days and five nights.   This heroic stand of Task Force Faith against the relentless Chinese onslaught, fending off terrifying night attacks in hand-to-hand combat, bought the time with their lives that enabled the 1st Marine Division to escape.  At the end of the fight, 1000 Americans had been killed, 400 wounded and 300 were captured but they had managed to kill an estimated 10,000 Chinese in the process!

So why did it take 50 years for the Marines to finally acknowledge the contributions of Task Force Faith?  In the United States a Navy chaplain who had served at Chosin with the Marines wrote an article and gave interviews falsely accruing Army soldiers of cowardice and so many Task Force Faith officers were killed that there were few voices left to defend the men or even to say what really had happened.  Appears at least one Navy Chaplain didn’t believe in “not bearing false witness” or “not speaking ill of the dead!”

Then, Army units were initially included in paperwork for the Presidential Unit Citation that was given to the 1st Marine division in 1952, but General O.P. Smith, the commander who led the Marine breakout directed that they be removed which perpetuated the lie.  Many Army Chosin veterans magnanimously excused Smith’s denial of honors to the very Army unit that had fought itself to death protecting the flank of his Marines with the excuse that he made the decision ignorant to the full extent of what the Army faced or accomplished but given Smith’s intense hatred of the Army dating back to World War II, this explanation rings hollow.

Now with access to former enemy military historical files, historians know that the Army’s 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT) (minus a tactical battalion) took on two full Chinese Divisions (the 80th and 81st CCF Divisions) and a regiment from a third (94th CCF) division. With such a large enemy force on the Chosin Reservoir east shore, it is now the opinion of most Military experts that the delaying action of the 31st RCT was crucial to the very survival of the Marines because if this avalanche of Chinese manpower had bypassed the 31st RCT to initially attack East Hill at Hagaru-Ri, instead of spending nearly five days laying siege to this strategically inconsequential Army Force, Hagaru would probably have fallen which would have tragically trapping the First Marine Division at Yudam-ni.

For a full account of the Chinese Intervention Nov 50 – Jan 51, and especially the heroic actions of two Army officers posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the Marines during their retreat,  I would recommend a visit to this Website: http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/kw-chinter/chinter.htm.  The two Army Officers are LTC Don Faith, who led that 31st RCT Task Force Faith and LTC John U.D. Page who led a composite Marine and Army force’s withdrawal when the Chinese had managed to cut the road near Sudong, about ten miles south of Koto-ri.  Leading the force, Page and another Army officer beat back the enemy which and they made their way to the port of Hangnam for Naval evacuation.

Finally after all those years this wrong was finally rectified when, on 14 September 1999, Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig authorized the below Army units to be included in the Navy PUC and at a reunion that June in Lancaster, PA, Task Force Faith soldiers stood at attention as a Marine general presented them with the citation “for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty.”

Headquarters (-), 31st Infantry (at Advance Command Post)
Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry
Medical Company (-), 31st Infantry
Service Company (-), 31st Infantry
3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry
1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry
Platoon, Heavy Mortar Company, 32nd Infantry
Detachment, Medical Company, 32nd Infantry
57th Field Artillery Battalion (Less Battery C)
Battery D(less 2nd Platoon), 15th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion
Company C, 13th Engineer Combat Battalion
Detachment, 4th Signal Battalion

 

50 Years Later, an Army Force Gets Its Due
By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 11, 2000

Lt. Jerry McCabe was wounded and unconscious, riding in the back of a freezing Army truck, when he was awakened by the coming slaughter.
For four days and five nights 50 years ago at North Korea's Chosin Reservoir, an Army force of more than 2,500 soldiers had faced a relentless Chinese onslaught, fending off terrifying night attacks in hand-to-hand combat. Now, as the Army troops withdrew, the Chinese had blocked the convoy, turning the road into a killing zone.

Around him, McCabe could hear screams as Chinese troops attacked the convoy, shooting wounded soldiers in the backs of trucks. "I slithered out of the truck," said McCabe, 74, a resident of St. Mary's County. "I hobbled and crawled. We were just sitting ducks for the Chinese."

Severely frostbitten, McCabe linked up in the dark with several other soldiers, and they fought and staggered on foot across the bleak frozen landscape for miles before reaching U.S. lines the next day.

Many others were not so lucky. About 1,500 Army troops were lost, many of them slaughtered in trucks, taken prisoner or left to die in the cold. When it ended in December 1950, only 385 of the soldiers were combat able.

The fate of Task Force Faith, as the Army force is known, was one on the cruelest to befall U.S. troops in any war. Its story was little noted, and to the extent that it was, the Army force on the east side of the reservoir was said to have disgraced itself. There were claims that U.S. soldiers had thrown down their weapons and run or feigned injuries.

But tomorrow, when hundreds of veterans gather at the Navy Memorial in Washington for a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Chosin, survivors of Task Force Faith will be among them, having finally achieved redemption that had been denied them for half a century.

Task Force Faith earlier this year was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, a high honor given in 1952 to the Marines but turned down at the time for the Army.

For Marines, Chosin has become legend, one of the proudest campaigns in Corps history.

The 1st Marine Division fought its way out, carrying its wounded and dead, after being surrounded by Chinese forces on the west side of the reservoir.

But a number of historians and some Marine veterans of Chosin now believe that the 1st Marine Division might have been destroyed had the poorly armed, ill-trained soldiers of Task Force Faith not brought time by keeping the Chinese from sweeping south. Chinese papers reviewed in recent years by military scholars have shown that the Army task force fought a significantly larger enemy force than commonly understood.

"Up to that tine, a lot of people just thought the Army folks collapsed, they were overrun and didn't hold themselves up well," said retired Marine Col. Robert Parrott, a Fairfax County resident who served at Chosin. After being convinced that Task Force Faith has been unjustly treated, Parrott led an effort by Marine and Army veterans of Chosin to push the Pentagon to award the citation.

"Maybe I'm talking to you now because of what the Army did," said Parrott, who was wounded in the fighting.

McCabe, a modest and self-effacing man who retired from the Army as a colonel in 1974, has never been bitter over the disparaging treatment given soldiers.  “I was there,” he said. “I know what happened.  The things that were said we knew were said by people who wern’t there and didn’t know.”

McCabe was 23, a self-described “wet-nosed lieutenant” serving in the U.S. occupation army in Japan when the Korean War broke out in June 1950.  McCabe was soon on his way to Korea with the 7th Infantry Division while his wife, Peg, pregnant with their first child returned to Maryland.

After the dramatic success of the Inchon landing in September 1950, United Nations forces were driving north to push North Korean forces into Manchuria, an offensive that General Douglas MacArthur believed would put a quick end to the war.  The U.S. X Corps, including the 1st Marine Division and the Army’s 7th Division, was sent north into the rugged terrain around the Chosin Reservoir for a final drive to the Yalu River.

The Marines, 25,000 strong, were positioned on the west side of the reservoir.  The Army hastily cobbled together a much smaller force, designated the 31st Regimental Combat Team, to take positions on the east side.


Although the Marines included many seasoned World War II combat veterans, the Army’s 7th Division was filled with poorly trained and ill-equipped conscripts or soldiers who had been pulling cushy occupation duty in Japan.

“There really wasn’t any comparison said retired Army Lieutenant General William McCaffrey, an Alexandria resident who served at Chosin with X Corps and who remains “outraged” over the poor leadership given the Army soldiers.

The troops had spent a relatively cheery Thanksgiving eating turkey and hearing projections for a quick victory.  “We were all thinking we’d be home for Christmas,” said McCabe, who was serving as the fire control officer for a heavy mortar company that was better equipped and trained than many other units in the task force.

MacArthur and his high command had dismissed indications of a Chinese Red Army buildup in North Korea as inconsequential.

But on the night of November 27-28, a Chinese force of 120,000 soldiers launched a massive surprise attack against the Marines and Army forces on both sides of the reservoir.  At its position near the reservoir’s northeast tip, McCabe’s company was roused by gunfire.

The Chinese were attacking the Army positions with 20,000 troops, a force eight times larger than the Army task force, Chinese papers show. To worsen matters, an early Siberian winter sent temperatures plummeting to 35 degrees below zero, so cold that the metal plates cracked on the mortars fired by McCabe's company.

“Terror was a nice word," McCabe said. "It was prevalent.  Notwithstanding terror, we did our job."

The first night's assault was staved off, but it grew worse on the succeeding nights, as the Chinese launched human wave attacks to break though the U.S. defensive perimeter, with desperate hand-to-hand combat ensuing.

"I learned the value of the old Army-issued 45's, because if you hit something, it goes down," McCabe said. "The picture of it is a blur. You only have snapshots of the square foot of ground you were on.

"There were dead Chinese lying all around us, and they were frozen in place. They thought they would get into the perimeter and destroy us. For two nights, that didn't happen. They had taken horrible casualties. We stopped them and bloodied them so badly they couldn't encircle the Marines."

But by the time the order came Dec 1 to withdraw to Hagaru-ri at the southern tip of the reservoir, the Army task force was itself reeling from heavy casualties and dwindling ammunition. Tanks sent to rescue the task force failed to break through, while ammunition parachuted to the troops floated into Chinese lines.

Late in the afternoon, as McCabe directed fire, he was hit in the arm and leg by a Chinese mortar. He lay unconscious in the snow for several hours before a soldier found him and put him in a truck.

The cohesion that the Army units had fought to maintain was disintegrating into an every-man-for-himself panic.

The commanding officer, Col. Alan MacLean, had been lost in the fighting, the highest-ranking U.S. officer killed in action during the Korean War. His replacement, Lt. Col. Don Faith, would also be killed and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts to get his men out alive.

As the convoy wound down the road carrying 600 wounded soldiers, the Chinese blew up bridges, leaving the trucks trapped about five miles from Hagaru-ri. From the hills overlooking the road, they rained fire on the task force.

"I woke up pretty quickly", McCabe said. "Somehow I got out of the truck. It was pitch black, and the convoy had stopped. There was fighting all around me."

Many wounded soldiers were abandoned, some to be bayoneted by the Chinese, others taken prisoner and other freezing to death in the darkness.

McCabe, who had no feeling in his feet, crawled into a ravine. Teaming up with several other soldiers, they made a break for Marine lines at Hagaru-ri. "I would die before I was taken prisoner," McCabe said.

During the night they took fire several times and returned it until they spent their last rounds of ammunition. Shortly before dawn, they reached the Marines. McCabe's feet were so so black from frostbite that he was evacuated on a plane to Japan to have his toes amputated. Doctors managed to save them, though they remain numb to this day.

"Its hallmarks were misery, soul-crushing cold, privation, exhaustion, heroism, sacrifice, leadership of high merit at times, but finally, unit and individual disaster," historian Roy Appleman wrote of the Army's experience at Chosin.

"It would be hard to find a more nearly hopeless or more tragic story in American military history," Appleman wrote.

Press bulletins had kept the world hanging on the fate of the Marines, but little attention was given to Task Force Faith. "The first reports were they were a bunch of cowards who ran, or were stupid and inept," said Merrill Needham Jr., a Rockville scholar who has researched the battle east of Chosin.

In the United States a Marine chaplain who had been at Chosin wrote an article and gave interviews accruing Army soldiers of cowardice.  So many Task Force Faith officers were killed that there were few voices left to defend the men or even to say what had happened.

The Army units were initially included in paperwork for the Presidential Unit Citation that was given to the 1st Marine division in 1952, but General O.P. smith, the commander who led the Marine breakout directed that they be removed.

“Smith denied honors to the unit that had fought itself to death protecting the flank of the Marines,” Needham said.

Smith made the decision not knowing the full extent of what the Army faced or accomplished, senior Chosin veterans now say.

“At first the Marines had nothing but contempt for the 7th Division,” McCaffrey said.  “They now understand if it hadn’t been for that group of leaderless kids fighting up there for their lives, they probably would have been overrun.”

Leaders of the Chosin Few, an organization of Marine and Army veterans of the battle, began working several years ago to gain recognition for Task Force Faith.  Retired Marine General Raymond Davis, who had received the Medal of Honor for his critical role in the Marine breakout, endorsed the request, calling the Army’s actions at Chosin “essential” to the Marines efforts.

Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, who oversees the Marines, approved the citation in September 1999.  At a reunion in June in Lancaster, PA, Task Force Faith soldiers stood at attention as a Marine general presented them with the citation “for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty.”

“Some of those old soldiers had tears in their eyes,” said retired Army Colonel John gray, president of the Army chapter of the Chosin Few.  “This is closure at least, after all these years.”

McCabe was among them and was gratified.  But even after 50 years he does not feel like a hero.

“So many people did so much more than I,” said McCabe.  “You come out and say, ‘Why the hell did I survive?’”

Medal of Honor recipient from grim Korean War battle to be laid to rest at Arlington

 

By Fredrick Kunkle and Steve Vogel, Published: April 16, 2013  Washington Post


In the bleak winter landscape of North Korea more than six decades ago, a small U.S. Army task force trapped on the shore of the Chosin Reservoir was under relentless attack by the Chinese and on the verge of destruction.

The outnumbered task force, part of an American drive to the Yalu River during the first year of the Korean War, had been caught by surprise and overrun by wave after wave of Chinese troops.

Blowing shepherd’s horns, spraying burp guns and flinging grenades, more than 20,000 Chinese massed in four consecutive nighttime attacks, swarming over the American foxholes and engaging in savage hand-to-hand combat in such bitter cold that the frozen earth would not allow survivors to bury the dead.

Many Americans had given up any hope of survival, including Arthur Mercier, who was then a 23-year-old Army sergeant.

But then Army Lt. Col. Don Carlos Faith Jr., who had assumed command of the task force when his superior was killed, called his surviving officers together to outline a desperate plan to break out of the trap.

“We’re not through here,” Faith told Mercier and the other soldiers. “We’re going home.”

But Faith’s homecoming never came — until now.

The 32-year-old Army officer from Washington, Ind., who was mortally wounded while leading the breakout attempt on Dec. 1, 1950, later was awarded the Medal of Honor for the heroic but largely futile effort to save his men. On Wednesday, he will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in a ceremony to be attended by some of his former men and by his daughter, who was just 4 when he died.

For decades, Faith’s remains lay in an unmarked mass grave in North Korea alongside members of what became known as Task Force Faith, following one of the grimmest episodes in American military history. His remains, located by a joint U.S.-North Korean team in 2004, were identified last year through DNA testing.

“He’s been lying in an unmarked grave, not even buried with dignity, in hostile territory,” said retired Army Col. John Edward Gray, who served as a platoon commander. “Now the soldier is coming home.”

The burial preparations also come at a tense moment, as North Korea is threatening to reignite the war, this time with nuclear weapons. The recovery of Faith’s remains has also renewed debate about a little-known chapter in the Forgotten War, as some have called the Korean conflict. Despite questions about the Army’s tactics, few question Faith’s valor.

“He was what I call a soldier’s soldier,” said Mercier, who was Faith’s radio man, weeping at the memory. “He’s a real hero to me.”

Driven to enlist

Now and then, Barbara Ann “Bobbie” Broyles slips into a way of speaking about her father as if he were still alive, emphasizing the presence of a man whom she has known only through the most poignant absence.

“Father will arrive Sunday morning at 11:15 a.m.,” she said last week. “I want to be there to see him off the plane.”

Broyles, 66, who lives in Baton Rouge and has a small psychotherapy practice there, has sparkling blue eyes and an earnest, engaging manner. Her voice has a soft Southern twang as she discusses the sense of loss that has shadowed her life, especially after her mother died of cancer when Broyles was a teenager.

Yellowing photographs of her father reveal a handsome man with a chiseled jaw.

Faith had wanted to be a soldier like his father. At 6 feet tall, he was lively, fun-loving, fit and athletic, as much at ease astride a polo horse as he was at the poker table. Denied admission at West Point after he failed the physical, he studied at Georgetown, appealed his medical denial and enlisted.

“He just wouldn’t take no for an answer,” she said.

Faith became an aide to Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway and performed several parachute drops, including on D-Day. After World War II, Faith was stationed with the Army’s 7th Infantry as part of the U.S. occupying force in Japan. When U.S. troops were rushed to South Korea after North Korea’s surprise invasion in June 1950, Faith went, too.

After reversing the early North Korean advance with a landing at Inchon in September, Gen. Douglas MacArthur moved north toward the Chinese border, hoping to wrap up a quick victory and end the war by Christmas.

Maj. Gen. Ned Almond, commander of the Army’s X Corps, ordered an attack to start Nov. 27 along the Chosin Reservoir, about 40 miles from the Chinese border. MacArthur and Almond dismissed intelligence suggesting that China had entered the war.

Even after Chinese forces had appeared in sizable numbers and inflicted serious damage, Almond remained dismissive. Almond pinned a Silver Star on Faith’s parka and departed. Faith, disgusted, ripped the medal off and hurled it into the snow.

“What a damned travesty,” Faith said, according to eyewitness accounts.

After four nights of hellish fighting had ground down Task Force Faith and attempts to rescue and resupply it had gone awry, the task force commander, Col. Allan MacLean, ordered a withdrawal. When MacLean was shot by Chinese soldiers and dragged off, Faith took command and tried to rally the men to break out, even calling on the wounded to take up weapons and fight. After a truck convoy carrying hundreds of the most seriously wounded was hit by napalm dropped by American fighter planes, Faith, brandishing a .45-caliber handgun under enemy fire, worked to rally the demoralized unit.

“He just took it upon himself — ‘If I’m going to fight to the death, let it be trying to save my command,’” recalled Gray.

Faith also led an attack to clear a roadblock that had stopped the convoy and was hit in the chest by shrapnel from a grenade. Other soldiers put the mortally wounded officer in the cab of a truck to stay warm, but the convoy again was halted at a destroyed bridge. Chinese forces soon overran the column, shooting and bayoneting wounded soldiers. Those who survived found safety by walking across the frozen reservoir to American lines.

“He did his all. He paid the full price, for duty, honor and country,” said Gray.


WWW.ARMY.MIL  THE OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY

After 62 years, Korean War Medal of Honor recipient rests in American soil

17 April 12013


WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 17, 2013) -- Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr., a World War II and Korean War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., today.

Faith, who commanded 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was killed Dec. 2, 1950, by communist forces.

But it would take decades and a lot of help from other Soldiers and Defense civilians before his remains were finally recovered in North Korea and identified. Only then could his family finally have the closure they so desperately wanted.

HAPPY MEMORIES

Barbara Broyles, or "Bobbie," as she likes to be called, was only four years old when Faith left for Korea. She was young but still remembers. It would be the last time she would see her father alive.

"What I recall most about my father was that he was happy. I still can hear him laughing. He enjoyed life. And above all, he enjoyed the Army," she said.

Bobbie said her father used to read to her from his own childhood books, a collection of six volumes titled "My Book House." She said when he left for Korea, her mother, also named Barbara, read those books to her. She still has them.

Later, President Harry S. Truman presented the Medal of Honor, posthumously, to Bobbie.

Faith was born in 1918 and grew up in China, the Philippines, Fort Benning, Ga., and Washington, D.C., since his father was in the Army. After the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, many Americans flocked to recruiting stations. However, Faith had decided to join the Army months before, while a student at Georgetown University.

In February 1942, he received his commission and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, where he served with great distinction in the North Africa campaign and later in Europe. He was awarded two Bronze Star Medals.

Following the war, Faith served in China and then Japan. He was in Japan when the war in Korea started in the summer of 1950.

A lieutenant colonel at that time, he was given command of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry, a unit that would soon be in the thick of the fighting.

MEDAL OF HONOR

Some of the fiercest fighting of the war took place in the vicinity of a place called Chosin Reservoir in North Korea in November and December 1950. That's where Faith and his battalion were when the Chinese decided to enter the war. The Chinese sent thousands of troops south across the Yalu River into Korea.

The entry of China into the war and their drive south into Korea surprised the Americans who were quickly outnumbered and outgunned.

Faith's Medal of Honor citation describes the action he took during this attack, noting that he "personally led counterattacks to restore (the battalion's) position" and link up with other units, as they'd been disbursed by the enemy's "fanatical attack."

"Although physically exhausted in the bitter cold, (he) organized and launched an attack which was soon stopped by enemy fire," the citation reads. "He ran forward under enemy small-arms and automatic weapons fire, got his men on their feet and personally led the fire attack as it blasted its way through the enemy ring.

"As they came to a hairpin curve, enemy fire from a roadblock again pinned the column down. Lt. Col. Faith organized a group of men and directed their attack on the enemy positions on the right flank. He then placed himself at the head of another group of men and in the face of direct enemy fire led an attack on the enemy roadblock, firing his pistol and throwing grenades.

"When he had reached a position approximately 30 yards from the roadblock, he was mortally wounded, but continued to direct the attack until the roadblock was overrun.

"Throughout the five days of action Lt. Col. Faith gave no thought to his safety and did not spare himself. His presence each time in the position of greatest danger was an inspiration to his men. Also, the damage he personally inflicted firing from his position at the head of his men was of material assistance on several occasions. ..."

FAITH'S REPATRIATION

Faith was killed Dec. 2, 1950, in the vicinity of Hagaru-ri, North Korea. He was 32 years old at the time.

What follows is an account of his repatriation, the process of returning his remains to the United States. Leading the effort was Faith's daughter, Bobbie. She was helped by a lot of dedicated men and women of the Department of Defense.

In the decades that followed the Korean War, thousands of remains of service members missing in action in Korea were recovered and returned home. In September 2004, some remains were excavated in the vicinity of Chosin Reservoir by the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command, or JPAC.

Among the remains were those of Faith, according to Michael J. Mee, chief, Identifications Past Conflict Repatriations Branch, Human Resources Command.

Once those remains were recovered, they were sent to JPAC's Central Identification Lab, or CIL, located in Joint Base Pearl/Hickam, Hawaii for identification. The CIL confirmed the identification using DNA, dental, anthropological and physical evidence. Positive DNA matches came from samples donated by Faith's brother and daughter.

A team of 20 Army civilians from the Past Conflict Repatriations Branch collect DNA samples from MIA relatives if they are willing to provide them. The samples are processed and maintained at the Armed Forces DNA Lab, Mee explained, in case remains are ever found.
He said the procedure for gathering the DNA is painless, involving a simple cheek swab.

As an aside, since the 1990s, all service members' DNA is on file at the lab.

Faith's remains were among the last to come out of North Korea, said Mee, because in 2005, the following year, JPAC teams were barred from doing their work there and have not been allowed to return there since.

The process of obtaining the remains of service members in North Korea has always been peculiar, Mee said.

The North Koreans "rarely ever let us go to a primary burial site," he said. "They would take remains from a primary burial location and rebury them somewhere else.

"Then, they'd come up with a witness who would tell the JPAC team members, 'look over here, dig here.' Whatever their rationale was, I can't explain it," he said.

Despite this peculiar custom, Mee said the JPAC team members were nonetheless happy to get remains out of the country. He said he hopes one day the North Koreans will again let the teams do their work there.

Because of the challenges inherent in identifying co-mingled remains, Faith's remains were not positively identified until Aug. 14, 2012, Mee said. Of the 101 bone samples recovered from the burial site, 19 were eventually associated with Faith.

He said sorting through the remains is laborious work and that members of JPAC liken the process to putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle without first seeing a picture of how it's supposed to eventually look.

Sorting the remains of service members from North Korea is a particularly daunting task, he added, not just because they are re-interred in secondary grave sites, but also because the records North Koreans provide are often not reliable.

Mee cited an example of the difficulty.

In the mid-1990s, the North Koreans turned over 208 boxes to the United Nations, he said. Those boxes, which are referred to as K208, were full of remains that were co-mingled. The lab is still working today on identifying some of those remains.

Using DNA samples alone can be challenging, since so many people share similar snippets of DNA, Mee said. If teeth are found, that is much more reliable, he said. But the lab can only work with what they get, which often is very little.

Working to bring home all or most of those still missing in action will take years, if not decades.

"Most Americans don't realize that there are 87,000 unaccounted-for service members who never came home from America's 20th-century wars," Mee said. That number includes around 83,000 from World War II, Korea and Southeast Asia, primarily Vietnam, the Conflicts "mandated by Congress."

MEETING BOBBIE

Over the years, Bobbie has been in close contact with the accounting community, which includes the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, JPAC, AFDIL and other organizations.

In the 1990s, Bobbie got to meet the men who were in Faith's battalion when she was invited to Fort Drum, N.Y., for the christening of the headquarters building in her father's name.

Bobbie said meeting the survivors of the battle left a deep and lasting impression on her.

"They told me, 'we would have followed him anywhere. We would have followed him to hell and back,'" she said, adding that many of the veterans said they are alive today only because of him.

Mee, who has been with the program since 2009, said he had the honor of calling Bobbie with the good news that the remains of her father were positively identified. He said she had been in contact with the accounting community for years, hoping they could locate the remains of her father and return them to the United States.

Within just days of telling Bobbie the good news, Mee scheduled a meeting with her in October 2012 in her home in Baton Rouge, La.

Mee and two casualty specialists who work for him meet with the next of kin whenever remains are positively identified. The meeting takes at least three hours, he said.

During that meeting, relatives are given an in-depth briefing of how and where the remains were found. The team uses skeletal diagrams, for instance, to illustrate the condition of the remains recovered. Additionally, the team reviews the entire repatriation procedure -- from lab to eventual burial.

"If any material effects were found, watch, ring, dog tags, uniform items, coins, lighter, insignia, toothbrush, eyeglasses and so on, we try to return them to the family," he explained.

Accompanying Mee at the visit was a casualty assistance officer from nearby Fort Polk.

The meeting with Bobbie "was a big deal for her and her family," Mee said. "We've known for years that she was looking forward to this day."

He added that Bobbie was especially appreciative of the very detailed briefing which was given to her at her home.

"These people (the accounting community) are absolutely astounding," Bobbie said.

Bobbie said she hopes others who are waiting for the return of their loved ones will find a measure of peace and closure, like she has.

And for his part, Mee said he hopes to help make that happen.

"Repatriation is one of the most rewarding and honorable missions I've ever performed," he said. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Comments on Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman GEN Dempsey's 4 July 13 WaPo Opinion Piece: “The military needs to reach out to civilians”

In his 4 July 2012 Washington Post Opinion piece: “The military needs to reach out to civilians” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/general-dempsey-the-military-needs-to-reach-out-to-civilians/2013/07/02/b10c3bb0-e267-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html) Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey provides his explanation of why the disconnect between the general US population and the Military and offers some solutions. He contends: “The last decade of war has affected the relationship between our society and the military. We can’t allow a sense of separation to grow between us. As the all-volunteer force enters its fifth decade, civilians and the military need to maintain the shared understanding necessary for a healthy relationship.”

As someone drafted in 1966 as a high school grad who attended OCS with a US serial number, went to Vietnam as a young second lieutenant not yet old enough to legally drink and extended to return home a mature captain with a CIB; and who commanded four companies, was a combat battalion XO and a combat battalion commander leading both Draftee and VOLAR soldiers in peace and war, I bring a little different perspective to this discussion. I do agree there is a disconnect between today’s military and the average civilian but I believe the reason might be the difference in magnitude of the wars.

Let’s stipulate that all modern conflicts pale in comparison to World War II where the US population was “all in” and almost everyone was touched in some way by the war. The US lost almost half a million men out of a 1940 US population of 132 million. The 36-day Iwo Jima assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead while the 82-day Battle for Okinawa, by far the bloodiest battle of the Pacific Campaign, lasted from early April until mid-June 1945 and U.S. (5 Army and 2 Marine Corps Divisions) casualties were over 62,000 with over 12,000 killed. And the Pacific was a side show compared to the casualties suffered in the European Theater. The Battle of the Bulge alone lasted 40 days (16 Dec 44 – 25 Jan 45) with over 81,000 U.S. casualties and 19,000 killed. This was ALL OUT WAR!

But since WWII, the US has engaged in several conflicts varying in scope from Korea to Afghanistan but a review of the significant ones might provide some insight into why the average American has become so increasingly disengaged. Discounting the skirmishes between Vietnam and our present wars where our military saw minor combat in Grenada (total lost from all causes = 19), Panama (24), and The Gulf War (293), since WWII the US has committed major combat formations in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Korean War lasted just over 3 years (37 months) and total in theater losses were 36,516 or 32.4 killed per day and the 1950 US population was 151 million. Korea was fought initially by the peacetime draft-lapsed Army but quickly resorted to both calling up the reserves and National Guard and the Draft. Hence, most Americans were deeply involved and likely knew someone in combat and even someone killed.

Although The Vietnam War lasted 10 years, 51,585 of the total 58,220 killed occurred during the real 5 years (1966-70) of the war when we were heavily engaged (at the height of that war in 1968 we were losing 50+ a day killed and in May 1968 alone we had 2416 Killed!). For comparison, 1967-69 were the years of heaviest combat where 39,361 were killed in theater or 35.9 killed per day; and the 1965 US population was 191 million. Very few reserves and National Guard were called up for the war and the military did rely heavily on the draft although the Washington Post in a 1986 in depth examination of who actually fought the Vietnam War entitled "The Myth of the Vietnam Vet" stated: "The man who fought in Vietnam is typically depicted as a draftee, unwilling and probably black. In fact, 73 percent of those who died were volunteers and 12.5 percent were black (out of an age group that comprised 13.5 percent of the male population)." Regardless, most American communities were touched by the War, either knowing a causality or in fear of a loved one being drafted and sent to War.

Our latest Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are much different than these previous conflicts in that they are being waged with a totally volunteer force and the causalities are so much lighter than before. The US Military was engaged in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 and US losses were 4486 from all causes out of a 2010 US population of 309 million. For comparison the three most combat intense years were 2005-07 where 2573 were killed or an average of 2.35 per day. Afghanistan causalities have been even lighter and since 2001 to present 2229 have been killed. Again for comparison, the three years of heaviest combat were 2009-2011 with 784 total killed or an average of .72 killed per day.

I believe every service member’s life is precious so I wouldn't diminish the death of a single one but since 1972 we’ve had an “all Volunteer” Military so those of us who served signed up for it knowing the dangers so I hope none of us is looking for sympathy. My point, over the years we Warriors have become detached from the general population. Fewer serve because fewer are needed. Because our engagements result in fewer causalities, very few Americans even know a Soldier let alone one that has been killed. When GEN Dempsey says “Children of those in the military are far more likely to join than the children of those who are not.” He is stating something that has always been true. In my case, the Military was “the family business;” my father was a career Officer and my immediate family of father, brothers and my kids have well over 100 years of active duty in uniform. And I just come from the typical “military family.”

I would make one final observation as someone who over a 30 year career went from draftee Private to Full Colonel: over the 238 years the US Army has existed, weapons and tactics might have changed but soldiers are soldiers and they have not. The draftee I led in Vietnam and the Volunteer I saw when I was in Afghanistan or the many I served with in the intervening years have all shown the same dedication and professionalism that I suspect were exhibited by all those of previous generations of service members. Although maybe a little more disconnected from the general population than those of some previous conflicts, they are Americans first and we should all be proud of those who serve.

In writing this I am not trying to offer a solution or even suggesting we need a return to the Draft, I’m just offering an alternate perspective as to why the disconnect exists between the military and American population exists.