Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Invasion of Guadalcanal
7 Aug. 42
And when he gets to heaven, to Saint Peter he will tell: "One more Marine reporting, sir-- I've served my time in hell." -Marine Grave inscription on Guadalcanal, 1942.

Guadalcanal is ninety miles long, averaging twenty-five miles wide, with forbidding terrain of mountains and dormant volcanoes up to eight thousand feet high, steep ravines, deep streams, and a hot, humid climate. It has no natural harbors and the south shores are protected by miles of coral reefs. The only suitable invasion beaches are on the north central coast.

During the campaign on Guadalcanal, there were land, sea and air battles for months, with the forces closely balanced so that the outcome was never preordained. Although it started relatively quietly with a surprise landing, for those who fought there, it was a continuing hell.

On the morning of 7 August 1942, an Allied invasion fleet of 48 combat ships, including the US aircraft carriers Wasp, Saratoga and Enterprise, the new battleship North Carolina, Australian Navy cruisers, and New Zealand Navy ships arrived in the strait between Guadalcanal and neighboring islands, soon to become known as "Iron Bottom Sound". The 19,000 strong U.S. 1st Marine Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, followed heavy naval preparatory fires and landed at Red Beach, a stretch of grey sand near the Tenaru River, with little opposition, the first American landing of World War II. The next day the Marines occupied the airstrip, renaming it Henderson Field. Other nearby islands were simultaneously occupied (Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu and Tanambogo). The Japanese on Tulagi resisted the landing there but were overcome by the end of 8 August.

As supplies and additional troops were being unloaded following the landings, a series of Japanese air and naval attacks out of Rabaul forced the ships to get underway to evade. The catastrophic outcome of the Battle of Savo Island (9 August), with severe losses of American and Australian ships, and the withdrawal of Vice Admiral Fletcher's carriers, forced the big transports and cargo ships to leave on 9 August, with invasion supplies still on board. Supply shortages plagued the invasion for months.

Japanese Reinforce Guadalcanal
Responding to the invasion, the Japanese sent their 17th Army from Rabaul to reinforce Guadalcanal, commanded by Lt. General Hyakutake Haruyoshi, landing when they could evade patrols. The reinforcements sent to Guadalcanal were only lightly armed, on foot, and not sufficient to dislodge the U.S. landings, although they fought aggressively and caused many American casualties. One of the first engagements came at 0300 on 21 August when a force of about 1,000 Japanese attacked the Marines at the Tenaru River (Hell’s Point) in a furious Banzai charge. The Marines held the line and killed most of the Japanese (about 800). Their commander killed himself in shame.

On 24-31 August a series of sea engagements sank a Japanese carrier and repelled the naval threat to the Guadalcanal landing, forcing the Japanese to rely on nighttime delivery of supplies and troops (the "Tokyo Express").

The Japanese landed another 6,000 troops including a force of 3,000 men who marched from the south to mount an attack on the Marines at Henderson Field, resulting in the Battle of Edson's Ridge (aka Bloody Ridge). Colonel Merritt Edson's Marine Raiders were dug in and able to fend off a strong probe on September 12 and an intense series of night attacks on 13/14 September that left thousands of Japanese dead with no territory gained, ending the most serious threat to Henderson Field.

On 18 September, the 7th Marines landed 4,200 reinforcements. On 13 October the 164th Infantry (Americal Division) earned eternal honor as the first U.S. Army unit landing on Guadalcanal, in fact the first Army unit to conduct an offensive operation against the enemy in any theatre during World War II. The 164th and following Army regiments came armed with the then-new M-1 Garand rifle, a significant improvement over the Marine's bolt-action M-1903 Springfields.

The Army reinforcements expanded the east end of the American perimeter with their 6,600-yard sector. During this period, the Japanese were landing about 1,000 reinforcements each night until they had a full division on Guadalcanal with much needed heavy equipment. A naval shelling in the Henderson Field vicinity on 15 October from Japanese battleships, accompanied by artillery fire and bombing, was one of the worst bombardments endured by Americans in World War II. On 23-25 October, the Japanese counterattacked at the Matanikau River with nighttime Banzai charges, backed by armor, artillery, air, and naval support, against both the Army and Marine positions. The American lines held, killing about 1,300 Japanese.

Expanding the Guadalcanal Beachhead
The second phase of operations on Guadalcanal pushed out the Marine perimeter far enough so that Japanese artillery could not reach Henderson Field, with the objective of overrunning the Japanese 17th Army headquarters at Kokumbona, nine miles west of the airfield. On the morning of 1 November, following naval, air, and field artillery fire, Marine units began the attack both east and west, joined by Army units on 4 November. In a major victory during 9-12 November near Koli Point, 1,500 freshly landed Japanese reinforcements were trapped against the sea and killed or driven into the bush.

On 4 November, Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson and two companies of 2d Rangers were put ashore at Aola Bay on the northeast coast of Guadalcanal to build another airfield. When it became clear no airfield was possible there, they were reassigned to harass the Japanese from the rear, remaining in the field on short rations until 4 December. The "Long Patrol" of the 2d Raiders was extremely successful; they killed 488 enemy soldiers at a cost of 16 dead and 18 wounded. although 225 others had to be evacuated due to illness.

The "Tokyo Express" was making almost nightly delivery of supplies by destroyers to the island. On the night of 12-13 November 1942, American and Japanese naval forces fought a classic naval battle, the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. It was a tactical defeat for the Americans with two American rear admirals killed by attacks on their ships. The next day, 14 November, the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal pitted aircraft from the carrier Enterprise and Henderson Field against a large enemy force trying to run "The Slot", the body of water running down the Solomons chain between Guadalcanal and New Georgia. The Japanese lost numerous ships, including ten troop transports. Only 4,000 soldiers, of 10,000, reached land, with much of their equipment lost. It was the last Japanese attempt at a large-unit reinforcement.

The attack toward Kokumbona resumed on 18 November with Marine and Army units. After advancing only one mile against strong opposition, the attack stalled on the 25th and was called off. On the night of 30 November, another Japanese supply convoy was intercepted in the Battle of Tassafaronga Point in which more U.S. Navy ships were lost than Japanese, but which marked the end of Japanese attempts to fully support Guadalcanal. Thereafer, the poorly supplied Japanese troops were pushed into ever smaller territory by U.S. land offensives.

On the Move to Kokumbona
In December, the battle-hardened but disease-wracked 1st Marine Division was withdrawn, leaving the Americal commander, Maj. Gen. Alexander M. Patch in command of all American units on the island, reorganized as XIV Corps. Patch planned to take Mount Austen to secure both Henderson Field and his left flank for the next push toward Kokumbona. Starting on 17 December, American units engaged the Japanese in a series of small but tough battles against the Gifu position and other strong points, securing Mount Austin on 2 January 1943. On 10 January they moved west across the Matanikau River against a hill called Galloping Horse, a major Japanese strong point. It took courage and determination to overcome the enemy, the terrain and water shortages, but by the afternoon of 13 January Galloping Horse was secure.

After taking Galloping Horse, Sea Horse, the Gifu position and other strong points, by 18 January U.S. forces had pushed two miles west of the Matanikau River and over four miles inland, killing 1,900 Japanese while losing fewer than 200 killed and 400 wounded. Enemy survivors not yet immobilized by malaria or starvation were reeling back toward their last stronghold on Guadalcanal, 17th Army headquarters at Kokumbona.

Patch sent a small blocking force to cut off a possible enemy withdrawal over a 20-mile-long native trail to the Beaufort Bay area. To complete the destruction of Japanese forces on Guadalcanal, Patch planned a follow-up offensive after a reorganization and reorientation of forces to compensate for combat losses and the ravages of tropical diseases.

After a heavy artillery and naval gunfire bombardment, XIV Corps moved out toward Kokumbona at 0630 on 22 January. During the initial drive, Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins noticed the Japanese offered much less opposition than expected and rushed a regiment forward, by nightfall gaining over three miles and occupying the high ground overlooking Kokumbona. Other units along the coast pushed toward Kokumbona, trapping enemy units in a pocket, eliminating resistance and entering the town by midafternoon on the 23rd. They found the Japanese had departed abandoning 17th Army documents and equipment.

The campaign became a race between Japanese survivors trying to reach Cape Esperance, eighteen miles west of Kokumbona, and XIV Corps attempting to trap and annihilate them. On 9 February, the blocking force advancing from the southwest and the main force from Kokumbona met on Cape Esperance but found only a few Japanese stragglers. Abandoned enemy equipment and landing craft on the beach revealed that the Japanese had evacuated most of those who had reached Cape Esperance, about 13,000 troops in all.

Aftermath of Guadalcanal
"Before Guadalcanal the enemy advanced at his pleasure-- after Guadalcanal he retreated at ours."
Admiral "Bull" Halsey
The total cost of the Guadalcanal campaign to the American ground combat forces was 1,598 officers and men killed, with 4,709 wounded. Of these 1,152 Marines were lost and 2,799 wounded. Marine aviation casualties were 147 killed and 127 wounded. The Japanese in their turn lost close to 25,000 men on Guadalcanal, about half of whom were killed in action and the rest lost to illness, wounds, and starvation.

At sea, each side los about the same number of fighting ships. The Japanese losses of 2 battleships, 3 carriers, 12 cruisers, and 25 destroyers could not be replaced by new construction while the Allied losses were more than replaced. In the air, at least 600 Japanese planes were shot down with the death of 2,300 experienced pilots and aircrew men. The lost fewer than 300 planes.

Even though the main body of their troops had been evacuated from Guadalcanal, the Japanese continued to attack Allied ships and positions from the huge Japanese bases in southern Bougainville and from Rabaul on New Britain. These attacks were not seriously diminished until the operations in the Northern Solomons, starting with the invasion of New Georgia in June 1943 and continuing into 1944 on Bougainville.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lewis B. 'Chesty' Puller, USMC
What would have Chesty done in the Vietnam War? What would have Chesty done in the Iraq War? Judging from his long career in the Corps, and the many wars he was part of, not loosing any of them, he would have made a difference in the wars I just mentioned. The Korean War was his last. The war was not lost, it was a Mexican standoff. The United States has not won a major war since World War II.

The following is part of the history and life and death of Chesty and his family.

Korean War and later career
At the outbreak of the Korean War, Puller was once again assigned as commander of the 1st Marine Regiment, with which he made a landing at Inchon on Septembe 15, 1950. In November of that year, Puller earned his fifth Navy Cross for action during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. It was during that battle when he made the famous quote, "We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things." Promoted to Brigadier General and made assistant division commander in January 1951, he completed his tour in Korea in May of that year.

General Puller subsequently achieved promotions to Major General and Lieutenant General, and served in various command capacities until his retirement due to health reasons on November 1, 1955.

In 1966, he requested to be reinstated in the Corps in order to see action in the Vietnam War, but the request was denied on the basis of his age.

He died in 1971, at the age of 73, in Saluda, Virginia. He is buried in Christchurch Parish Cemetery on the southeast side of Christchurch School off Highway 33 (also called "General Puller Highway") in Christchurch, Virginia. General Puller's widow, Virginia, died in 2006 at the age of 97 and was buried next to him.

Decorations and honors
Puller was the most decorated U.S. Marine in history and one of only two people to receive the Navy Cross, the Navy's second highest decoration, five times (the other being Navy submarine commander Roy Milton Davenport). With five Navy Crosses and a Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second highest decoration, Puller received the nation's second highest military decoration a total of six times.

While exact counts of Puller's total number of decorations vary from source to source, an accepted number of 52 separate, subsequent, and foreign awards is commonplace. The reason for difficulty in assigning an exact total comes from the variety of foreign decorations that each carry different protocols in regard to wear and display.

Chesty's wife
Virginia Montague Evans of Saluda was 16 and Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller was 27 when they met at a cotillion in nearby West Point.

Puller, who would become the most-decorated Marine in the corps' history, was smitten, said their daughter, Virginia Dabney of Lexington."

My father said that winning her hand was his hardest battle," Dabney said. For years, he'd go on Marine Corps assignments and return to Saluda to ask Virginia to marry him.

She finally said "yes" when she was 29 and he was 40 and a Marine captain.

They married in a military wedding on Nov. 13, 1937, at Christ Church, the Episcopal church in Christchurch where generations of her family had worshipped.

Mrs. Puller, who was widowed in 1971, died at her home in Saluda. She was 97.

One of three children born to a lawyer's family, she grew up at Evanslea, a big house in Saluda that had 52 windows, said her daughter Martha Downs of Alexandria. She graduated in the early 1920s from St. Mary's School in Raleigh, N.C.

"She was everything he ever wanted. They were everything each other ever wanted," Dabney said. "They were absolutely devoted to each other. He sent her roses all the time and they wrote love letters."

Puller "did the Marine Corps. He thought it was the greatest thing and the best way to take care of us," Downs said. "Mother did everything else."

"She bought cars and houses and life insurance, and she did it beautifully. But she didn't want anyone to know she was doing those kinds of things. She wasn't sure it was ladylike. She wanted people to think Father was doing all that.

"She was a genteel Southern lady, but an iron lady," Downs said. "If you didn't have manners when you were coming in the house, you did when you left."

Mrs. Puller accompanied her husband on a tour of duty in China in 1940. She and her infant daughter, Virginia, left on the last American dependents' ship before the Japanese took Shanghai in 1941 during World War II, said Dabney.

She also followed him to Hawaii and across the U.S. mainland but returned to Saluda during his combat tours in World War II and the Korean War.

When he retired in 1955 as a lieutenant general, the couple settled in Saluda."

She really loved the Marines," Dabney said. "She fed hundreds of them. She knew how much it meant to Father. He would bring Marines home off the street if he met them at a gas station."

She found Marine husbands for her daughters.

At Christmas, she would be "graciously serving a Southern lunch to sergeants at this end of the table and generals at that end," Downs said. "When my father would get tired, she would say, 'The general needs a nap.' "

Mrs. Puller loved history, historical restoration projects and going to old homes and plantations. She was a member of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

A son, Lewis B. Puller Jr., died in 1994.

In addition to her daughters, survivors include seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II; born August 4, 1961 is the junior United States Senator from Illinois. He is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election, and the first African American to be a major party's presumptive nominee for President of the United States.

A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizer and practiced as a civil rights attorney before serving in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. From 1992 to 2004, he also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in January 2003. After winning a landslide primary victory in March 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote.

As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, he cosponsored legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In the current 110th Congress, he has sponsored legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for returned U.S. military personnel. Since announcing his presidential campaign in February 2007, Obama has emphasized withdrawing American troops from Iraq, increasing energy independence, decreasing the influence of lobbyists, and promoting universal health care as top national priorities.

Early life and career
Main article: Early life and career of Barack ObamaObama was born on August 4, 1961, at the Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Obama, Sr., a Black Kenyan of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Siaya District, Kenya, and Ann Dunham, a White American from Wichita, Kansas. His parents met while both were attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was enrolled as a foreign student. They separated when he was two years old and later divorced. Obama's father returned to Kenya and saw his American-born son only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982. After her divorce, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Soetoro's home country of Indonesia in 1967, where Obama attended local schools in Jakarta until he was ten years old. He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents while attending Punahou School from the fifth grade in 1971 until his graduation from high school in 1979. Obama's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972 for several years, then returning to Indonesia for her fieldwork. She died of ovarian cancer in 1995.

Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at Occidental College for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. Obama graduated with a B.A. from Columbia in 1983, then worked at Business International Corporation and New York Public Interest Research Group.

After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer for three years from June 1985 to May 1988 as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side. During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from 1 to 13 and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute. In mid-1988, he traveled for the first time to Europe for three weeks then Kenya for five weeks where he met many of his Kenyan relatives for the first time.

Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988 and at the end of his first year was selected as an editor of the law review based on his grades and a writing competition. In his second year he was elected president of the law review, a full-time volunteer position functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the law review's staff of 80 editors. Obama's election in February 1990 as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review was widely reported and followed by several long, detailed profiles. He graduated with a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991 and returned to Chicago where he had worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley & Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990.

The publicity from his election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led to a contract and advance to write a book about race relations. In an effort to recruit him to their faculty, the University of Chicago Law School provided Obama with a fellowship and an office to work on his book. He originally planned to finish the book in one year, but it took much longer as the book evolved into a personal memoir. In order to work without interruptions, Obama and his wife, Michelle, traveled to Ball where he wrote for several months. The manuscript was finally published as Dreams from My Father in mid-1995.

Obama directed Illinois Project Vote from April to October 1992, a voter registration drive with a staff of 10 and 700 volunteers that achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans in the state, leading Crain's Chicago Business to name Obama to its 1993 list of "40 under Forty" powers to be.

Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, as a Lecturer for four years (1992–1996), and as a Senior Lecturer for eight years (1996 -2004).

In 1993 Obama joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 12-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.

Obama was a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife, Michelle, became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago in early 1993. He served on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund Obama's DCP, from 1993–2002, and served on the board of directors of The Joyce Foundation from 1994–2002. Obama served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 - 2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995–1999. He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.

State legislator, 1997 - 2004
Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from the 13th District, which then spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park-Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn. Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan's payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures, and in 2003, Obama sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations.

Obama was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, and again in 2002. In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Ruby by a margin of two to one.

In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority. During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the US Senate.

2004 U.S. Senate campaign
In mid-2002, Obama began considering a run for the U.S. Senate, enlisting political strategist David Axelrod that fall and formally announcing his candidacy in January 2003. Decisions by Republican incumbent Peter Fitzgerald and his Democratic predecessor Carol Moseley Braun not to contest the race launched wide-open Democratic and Republican primary contests involving fifteen candidates. Obama's candidacy was boosted by Axelrod's advertising campaign featuring images of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and an endorsement by the daughter of the late Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator for Illinois. He received over 52% of the vote in the March 2004 primary, emerging 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival.

Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004.

In July 2004, Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. After describing his maternal grandfather's experiences as a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the New Deal's FHA and G.I. Bill programs, Obama spoke about changing the U.S. government's economic and social priorities. He questioned the Bush administration's management of the Iraq War and highlighted America's obligations to its soldiers. Drawing examples from U.S. history, he criticized heavily partisan views of the electorate and asked Americans to find unity in diversity, saying, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America." Broadcasts of the speech by major news organizations launched Obama's status as a national political figure and boosted his campaign for U.S. Senate.
In August 2004, with less than three months to go before Election Day, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan. A long-time resident of Maryland, Keyes established legal residency in Illinois with the nomination. In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%, the largest victory margin for a statewide race in Illinois history.

U.S. Senator, 2005 present
Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005. Though a newcomer to Washington, he recruited a team of established, high-level advisers devoted to broad themes that exceeded the usual requirements of an incoming first-term senator. He hired Pete Rouse, a 30-year veteran of national politics and former chief of staff to Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, as his chief of staff, and economist Karen Kornbluh, former deputy chief of staff to Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, as his policy director. He recruited Samantha Power, author on human rights and genocide, and former Clinton administration officials Anthony Lake and Susan Rice as foreign policy advisers.

The Senate historian lists Obama as the fifth African American Senator in U.S. history, and the third to have been popularly elected. He is the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus. CQ Weekly, a nonpartisan publication, characterized him as a "loyal Democrat" based on analysis of all Senate votes in 2005–2007, and the National Journal ranked him as the "most liberal" senator based on an assessment of selected votes during 2007. Asked about the Journal's characterization of his voting record, Obama expressed doubts about the survey's methodology, blaming "old politics" labeling of political positions as "conservative" or "liberal" for creating predispositions that prevent problem-solving.

gislationConsistent with his interests in conservation, Obama voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Obama took an active role in the Senate's drive for improved border security and immigration reform. In 2005, he cosponsored the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" introduced by Republican John McCain of Arizona. He later added three amendments to the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act", which passed the Senate in May 2006, but failed to gain majority support in the House of Representatives. In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act, authorizing construction of fencing and other security improvements along the United States–Mexico border. President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law in October 2006, calling it "an important step toward immigration reform."

Partnering with Republican Senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Obama successfully introduced two initiatives bearing his name. "Lugar–Obama" expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines. The "Coburn–Obama Transparency Act" authorized the establishment of www.US Aspending.gov, a web search engine launched in December 2007 and run by the Office of Management and Budget. After Illinois residents complained of waste water contamination by a neighboring nuclear plant, Obama sponsored legislation requiring plant owners to notify state and local authorities of radioactive leaks. A compromise version of the bill was subsequently blocked by partisan disputes and later reintroduced. In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the "Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act," marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor.

In January 2007, Obama worked with Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets by lobbyists to members of Congress and require disclosure of bundled campaign contributions under the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act," which was signed into law in September 2007. He introduced S. 453, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, including fraudulent flyers and automated phone calls, as witnessed in the 2006 midterm elections. Obama's energy initiatives scored pluses and minuses with environmentalists, who welcomed his sponsorship with McCain of a climate change bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds by 2050, but were skeptical of his support for a bill promoting liquefied coal production. Obama also introduced the "Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007," a bill to cap troop levels in Iraq, begin phased redeployment, and remove all combat brigades from Iraq before April 2008.

Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges, and calling for an official review following reports that the procedure had been used inappropriately to reduce government costs. He sponsored the "Iran Sanctions Enabling Act" supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry, and joined Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska in introducing legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism. A provision from the Obama–Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program providing one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.

Obama held assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works and Veterans' Affairs through December 2006. In January 2007, he left the Environment and Public Works committee and took additional assignments with Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He also became Chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on European Affairs.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama has made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In August 2005, he traveled to Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. The trip focused on strategies to control the world's supply of conventional weapons, biological weapons, and weapons of mass destruction as a first defense against terrorist attacks. Following meetings with U.S. military in Kuwait and Iraq in January 2006, he visited Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. At a meeting with Palestinian students two weeks before Hamas won the legislative election, Obama warned that "the U.S. will never recognize winning Hamas candidates unless the group renounces its fundamental mission to eliminate Israel." He left for his third official trip in August 2006, traveling to South Africa, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Chad. In a speech at the University of Nairobi, he spoke about political corruption and ethnic rivalries. The speech touched off controversy among Kenyan leaders, some formally challenging Obama's remarks as unfair and improper, others defending his positions.

2008 presidential campaign
In February 2007, standing before the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Describing his working life in Illinois, and symbolically linking his presidential campaign to Abraham Lincoln's 1858 House Divided speech, Obama said: "That is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America." Speaking at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) meeting one week before the February announcement, Obama called for putting an end to negative campaigning. Since announcing his presidential campaign Obama has emphasized ending the war in Iraq, increasing energy independence, and providing universal health care as his top three priorities.

Obama's campaign raised $58 million during the first half of 2007, topping all other candidates and exceeding previous records for the first six months of any year before an election year. Small donors, those contributing in increments of less than $200, accounted for $16.4 million of Obama's record-breaking total, more than any other Democratic candidate. In the first month of 2008, his campaign brought in $36.8 million, the most ever raised in one month by a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries.

With two months remaining before the first electoral contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, and national opinion polls showing him trailing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama began directly charging his top rival with failing to clearly state her political positions. Campaigning in Iowa, he told The Washington Post that as the Democratic nominee he would draw more support than Clinton from independent and Republican voters in the general election.

Among the first four DNC-sanctioned state contests, Obama won more delegates than Clinton in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina while winning an equal number in New Hampshire. On Super Tuesday, he emerged with 20 more delegates than Clinton. He broke fundraising records in the first two months of 2008, raising over $90 million for his primary campaign while Clinton raised $45 million in the same period. After Super Tuesday, Obama won the eleven remaining February primaries and caucuses. Obama and Clinton split delegates and states nearly equally in the March 4th contests of Vermont, Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island; Obama closed the month with victories in Wyoming and Mississippi.

In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama's former pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright. After ABC News broadcast clips of his racially and politically charged sermons, Obama responded by condemning Wright's remarks and ending Wright's relationship with the campaign. Obama delivered a speech, during the controversy, entitled "A More Perfect Union" that addressed issues of race. After Wright reiterated some of his remarks in a speech at the National Press Club, Obama strongly denounced Wright, who he said "[presented] a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for." Obama resigned from Trinity on May 31, 2008, after Catholic priest Michael Pfleger gave a guest oratory that disparaged Hillary Clinton. Obama stated his resignation was to avoid an impression that he endorsed the entire range of opinions expressed at that church.

During April, May, and June, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota held primaries; Obama won North Carolina, Oregon, and Montana, and Clinton won the rest, with an aggregate result of Obama remaining ahead in pledged delegates after these contests. During the same period, Obama received endorsements from more superdelegates than did Clinton. On May , the Democratic National Committee agreed to seat all of the Michigan and Florida delegates at the national convention, each with a half-vote, narrowing the delegate gap between the two Democrats and increasing the number of delegates needed to win the nomination. On June 3, with all states counted, Obama passed the 2118 delegate mark and became the Democratic presumptive nominee. On that day, he gave a victory speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, paying tribute to his rival Clinton, who suspended her campaign and endorsed him on June 7. Obama is the first African American to be the presumptive nominee of a major political party.

On June 19, Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing since the system was created after the Watergate scandal.

Policies and proposals
On the role of government in economic affairs, Obama has written: "We should be asking ourselves what mix of policies will lead to a dynamic free market and widespread economic security, entrepreneurial innovation and upward mobility [...] we should be guided by what works." Speaking before the National Press Club in April 2005, he defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, associating Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security with social Darwinism. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Obama spoke out against government indifference to growing economic class divisions, calling on both political parties to take action to restore the social safety net for the poor. Shortly before announcing his presidential campaign, Obama told the health care advocacy group Families USA that he supports universal healthcare in the United States, the same kind of health care that Members of Congress give themselves.

A standard method that political scientists use for gauging ideology is to compare the annual ratings by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) with the ratings by the American Conservative Union (ACU). Based on his years in Congress (i.e. 2005, 2006, and 2007), Senator Obama has a lifetime average conservative rating of 7.67% from the ACU, and a lifetime average liberal rating of 90% from the ADA.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Obama announced an $18 billion plan for investments in early childhood education, math and science education, and expanded summer learning opportunities. Obama's campaign distinguished his proposals to reward teachers for performance from traditional merit par systems, assuring unions that changes would be pursued through the collective bargaining process.

At the Tax Policy Center in September 2007, he blamed special interests for distorting the U.S. tax code. His plan would eliminate taxes for senior citizens with incomes of less than $50,000 a year, repeal income tax cuts for those making over $250,000 as well as the capital gains and dividends tax cut, close corporate tax loopholes, lift the $102,000 cap on Social Security taxes, restrict offshore tax havens, and simplify filing of income tax returns by pre-filling wage and bank information already collected by the IRS. Announcing his presidential campaign's energy plan in October 2007, Obama proposed a cap and trade auction system to restrict carbon emissions and a 10 year program of investments in new energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. Obama proposed that all pollution credits must be auctioned, with no grandfathering of credits for oil and gas companies, and the spending of the revenue obtained on energy development and economic transition costs.

Obama was an early opponent of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq. On October 2, 2002, the day President Bush and Congress agreed on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally in Federal Plaza, speaking out against the war. On March 16, 2003, the day President Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Obama addressed the largest Chicago anti-Iraq War rally to date in Daley Plaza and told the crowd "It's not too late" to stop the war.

Obama sought to make his early public opposition to the Iraq War before it started a major issue in his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign to distinguish himself from his Democratic primary rivals who supported the resolution authorizing the Iraq War, and in his 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign, to distinguish himself from four Democratic primary rivals who voted for the resolution authorizing the war (Senators Clinton, Edwards, Biden, and Dodd).

Speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in November 2006, Obama called for a "phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq" and an opening of diplomatic dialogue with Syria and Iran. In a March 2007 speech to AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby, he said that the primary way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is through talks and diplomacy, although not ruling out military action. Obama has indicated that he would engage in "direct presidential diplomacy" with Iran without preconditions. Detailing his strategy for fighting global terrorism in August 2007, Obama said "it was a terrible mistake to fail to act" against a 2005 meeting of al-Qaeda leaders that U.S. intelligence had confirmed to be taking place in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He said that as president he would not miss a similar opportunity, even without the support of the Pakistani government.

In a December 2005 Washington Post opinion column, and at the Save Darfur rally in April 2006, Obama called for more assertive action to oppose genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. He has divested $180,000 in personal holdings of Sudan-related stock, and has urged divestment from companies doing business in Iran. In the July–August 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, Obama called for an outward looking post-Iraq War foreign policy and the renewal of American military, diplomatic, and moral leadership in the world. Saying "we can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission," he called on Americans to "lead the world, by deed and by example."

Obama has encouraged Democrats to reach out to evangelicals and other religious groups. In December 2006, he joined Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) at the "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" organized by church leaders Kay and Rick Warren. Together with Warren and Brownback, Obama took an HIV test, as he had done in Kenya less than four months earlier. He encouraged "others in public life to do the same" and not be ashamed of it. Before the conference, 18 anti-abortion groups published an open letter stating, in reference to Obama's support for legal abortion: "In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren's decision to ignore Senator Obama's clear pro-death stance and invite him to Saddleback Church anyway." Addressing over 8,000 United Church of Christ members in June 2007, Obama challenged "so-called leaders of the Christian Right" for being "all too eager to exploit what divides us."
Obama made several statements in a campaign video released in October 2007 related to defense spending and nuclear weapons. In addition to promising to end the war in Iraq, Obama stated that he will enact budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars. He stated that he will stop investing in missile defense systems, that he will not weaponize space, that he will "slow development of future combat systems," and that he would work towards a world without nuclear weapons. To achieve this goal, Obama wishes to end development of new nuclear weapons, to reduce the current U.S. nuclear stockpile, to enact a global ban on production of fissile material, and to seek negotiations with Russia in order to take ICBMs off high alert status.
Obama is a sponsor of the Global Poverty Act, which "requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive policy to cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015 through aid, trade, debt relief, and coordination with the international community, businesses and NGOs." The legislation, if approved, dedicates 0.7 percent of the U.S. gross national product to foreign aid, which over 13 years he said would amount to $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

Family and personal life
Obama met his wife, Michelle Robinson, in June 1989 when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. Assigned for three months as Obama's adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial offers to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992. The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born on July 4, 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001.

Applying the proceeds of a book deal, the family moved in 2005 from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to their current $1.6 million house in neighboring Kenwood. The purchase of an adjacent lot and sale of part of it to Obama by the wife of developer and friend Tony Rezko attracted media attention because of Rezko's indictment and subsequent conviction on political corruption charges unrelated to Obama.

In December 2007, Money magazine estimated the Obama family's net worth at $1.3 million. Their 2007 tax return showed a household income of $4.2 million, up from about $1 million in 2006 and $1.6 million in 2005, mostly from sales of his books.

In a 2006 interview, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family. "Michelle will tell you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it's like a little mini-United Nations," he said. "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher." Obama has seven half-siblings from his Kenyan father's family, six of them living, and a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, the daughter of his mother and her Indonesian second husband. Soetoro-Ng is married to a Chinese Canadian. Obama's mother is survived by her Kansas-born mother, Madelyn Dunham. In Dreams from My Father, Obama ties his mother's family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, president of the southern Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team. He is left-handed, but prefers his right hand for some tasks. Before announcing his presidential candidacy, he began a well-publicized effort to quit smoking. Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "I've quit periodically over the last several years. I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I do not succumb."

In The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he "was not raised in a religious household." He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents (whom Obama has specified elsewhere as "non-practicing Methodists and Baptists") to be detached from religion, yet "in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known." He describes his Kenyan father as "raised a Muslim," but a "confirmed atheist" by the time his parents met, and his Indonesian stepfather as "a man who saw religion as not particularly useful." In the book, Obama explains how, through working with black churches as a community organizer while in his twenties, he came to understand "the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change."

Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, was published before his first run for political office. In it he recalls his childhood in Honolulu and Jakarta, college years in Los Angeles and New York City, and his employment as a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s. The book's last few chapters describe his first visit to Kenya, a journey to connect with his Luo family and heritage. In the preface to the 2004 revised edition, Obama explains that he had hoped the story of his family "might speak in some way to the fissures of race that have characterized the American experience." In a 1995 review, novelist Paul Watkins wrote that Dreams "persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither." The audiobook edition earned Obama the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album of 2006.

His second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was published in October 2006 and soon rose to the top of The New York Times Best Seller hardcover list. Its title came from a sermon delivered by Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. The paperback edition currently ranks fourth on The New York Times nonfiction list. The Chicago Tribune credits large crowds that gathered at book signings with influencing Obama's decision to run for president. Former U.S. presidential candidate Gary Hart said the book's self-portrayal presents "a man of relative youth yet maturity, a wise observer of the human condition, a figure who possesses perseverance and writing skills that have flashes of grandeur." Reviewer Michael Tomasky writes that it does not contain "boldly innovative policy prescriptions that will lead the Democrats out of their wilderness," but does show Obama's potential to "construct a new politics that is progressive but grounded in civic traditions that speak to a wider range of Americans." In February 2008, he won a Grammy award for the spoken word edition of Audacity. Foreign language editions of the book have been published in Italian, Spanish, German, French, Danish and Greek.

Cultural and political image
With his Kenyan father and white American mother, his upbringing in Honolulu and Jakarta, and his Ivy League education, Obama's early life experiences differ markedly from those of African American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement. In January 2007, The End of Blackness author Debra Dickerson warned against drawing favorable cultural implications from Obama's political rise: "Lumping us all together," Dickerson wrote in Salon, "erases the significance of slavery and continuing racism while giving the appearance of progress." Film critic David Ehrenstein, writing in a March 2007 Los Angeles Times article, compared the cultural sources of Obama's favorable polling among whites to those of "magical negro" roles played by black actors in Hollywood movies. Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is "black enough," Obama told an August 2007 meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that the debate is not about his physical appearance or his record on issues of concern to black voters. Obama said, "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong."

In a December 2006 Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "The Man from Nowhere," Ronald Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan advised "establishment" commentators to avoid becoming too quickly excited about Obama's still early political career. Echoing the inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, Obama acknowledged his youthful image, saying in an October 2007 campaign speech, "I wouldn't be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation."

A prominent part of Obama's political image is a belief that Obama's rhetoric and actions toward political reform are matched with a political savvy that often includes a measure of expediency. In a July 2008 The New Yorker feature article, for example, Ryan Lizza wrote, "(Obama) campaigns on reforming a broken political process, yet he has always played politics by the rules as they exist, not as he would like them to exist."

Although Obama is Christian, July 2008 polls have shown that some Americans believe incorrectly that he is Muslim or was raised Muslim (12% and 26%, respectively, in Pew and Newsweek polls). Cited the latter poll by CNN's Larry King, Obama responded, "...I wasn't raised in a Muslim home," and said that advancement of the misconception insulted Muslim Americans.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

United States presidential election, 1789
George Washington
John Adams
(became VP)
Home state

The United States presidential election of 1789 was the first presidential election in the United States of America. Elections held in this manner were described by Article II, Sec. 1, Clause 3 of the newly established Constitution. Before this time, the United States had no Presidential office but instead invested limited power in the unelected office of President of the United States in Congress Assembled under the Articles of Confederation. This position was the chair of the United States Congress and can be best compared to the current position of the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate.

For all intents and purposes, George Washington ran unopposed for election as President. Under the system then in place, each voting elector cast two votes, and the recipient of the greatest number of votes was elected President, providing they equaled or exceeded half the total number of electors. The runner-up became Vice President. At that time, the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution had not been passed and thus the electoral system for that era differs from most elections. Washington was now very popular, as he successfully presided over the Philadelphia Convention and made the US, which was weakened by the Articles of Confederation, much stronger through the new US Constitution.

The recipient of 34 electoral votes, John Adams of Massachusetts, finished second in voting and as such was elected Vice President of the United States.
The Candidates
Adams, former Minister to Great Britain from Massachusetts
James Armstrong, politician from Georgia
George Clinton, Governor of New York
Robert H. Harrison, judge from Maryland
John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts and former President of Congress Samuel Huntington, Governor of Connecticut
John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs from New York
Benjamin Lincoln, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
John Milton, Secretary of State of Georgia
John Rutledge, former Governor of South Carolina
Edward Telfair, former governor of Georgia
George Washington, retired Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army from Virginia

General election
In the absence of conventions, there was no formal nomination process. The framers of the Constitution had presumed that Washington would be the first President, and once he agreed to come out of retirement to accept the office, there was no opposition to him. Individual states chose their electors, who voted all together for Washington when they met.

Electors used their second vote to cast a scattering of votes, many voting for someone besides Adams (a carefully organized scheme originating in New York) less out of opposition to him than to prevent Adams from matching Washington's total.[citation needed}

Only ten states out of the original thirteen cast electoral votes in this election. North Carolina and Rhode Island were ineligible to participate as they had not yet ratified the United States Constitution. New York failed to appoint its allotment of eight electors because of a deadlock in the state legislature.

Popular vote
Popular Vote(a), (b), (c)
Federalist electors
Anti-Federalist electors
(a) Only 6 of the 10 states casting electoral votes chose electors by any form of popular vote.(b) Less than 1.3% of the population voted: the 1790 Census would count a total population of 3.0 million with a free population of 2.4 million and 600,000 slaves in those states casting electoral votes in this election.(c) Those states that did choose electors by popular vote had widely varying restrictions on suffrage via property requirements.

Electoral vote
Presidential Candidate
Home State
Popular Vote(a), (b), (c)
Electoral Vote(d), (e), (f)
George Washington
John Adams
John Jay
New York
Robert H. Harrison
John Rutledge
South Carolina
John Hancock
George Clinton
New York
Samuel Huntington
John Milton
James Armstrong(g)
Benjamin Lincoln
Edward Telfair
Needed to win

Thursday, July 10, 2008

William Ward Burrows I
Lieutenant Colonel William Ward Burrows I (January 16, 1758 – March 6, 1805) was the second Commandant of the Marine Corps. His son, William Ward Burrows II, was a decorated officer in the United States Navy.

Burrows was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He served in the American Revolutionary War with the state troops of South Carolina, but later become a citizen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 12, 1798, the day following the approval of an act of Congress establishing a permanent United States Marine Corps, President John Adams appointed him as Major Commandant of the newly created organization which consisted of 881 officers, noncommissioned officers, privates and musicians. (Samuel Nicholas was in charge of the Continental Marines and by tradition is considered the first Marine Commandant.)

The Marine Corps, as well as the Navy, had had its humble beginning a short time prior to its actual authorization as a Corps and both were formed to meet an impending national crisis. The first Marine units to be organized by Major Burrows were ship detachments for newly acquired vessels of the American Navy, which were being hurriedly placed in commission at Philadelphia and hurried off to sea to fight cruisers and destroy commerce in the Quasi-War with France. During the first several months that he was Commandant, his principal concern was the supplying and keeping up to strength the Marine detachments for the vessels of the Navy.

Headquarters of the Corps was in camp near Philadelphia until the national capital began its move to Washington in 1800. A small detachment of Marines was sent to the new capital in March of that year to protect the newly-established navy yard, while Major Burrows, with his staff and headquarters troops, moved to Washington in late July and set up their camp.

Major Burrows was promoted to lieutenant colonel on May 1, 1800. The Quasi-War with France continued until September of that year, when matters were finally adjusted. The insistence of Congress that the cost of the naval establishment be immediately reduced caused considerable embarrassment to Burrows in his effort to establish the Marine Corps on a peacetime basis. The Barbary Wars broke out soon afterwards and the main concern of the Corps was to supply detachments to naval vessels for duty in the Mediterranean.

Lieutenant Colonel Burrows is credited with beginning many of the Corps' institutions, including, most notably, the U.S. Marine Band, which he financed in part by levying contributions from his officers. He demanded high standards of professional performance and personal conduct of his officers and these have become hallmarks of the Corps. Ill health forced his resignation on March 6, 1804.

Lieutenant Colonel Burrows died in Washington, D.C.. He was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Georgetown, in the District of Columbia. His remains were re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery on May 12, 1892.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

John Paul Jones
"I have not yet begun to fight."
Father of the United States Navy

It took nearly a century for the body of John Paul Jones, Revolutionary War hero and father of the U.S. Navy, to be returned to his adopted country after his death in Paris in 1792. On July 19, 1905, his remains were entombed at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., after having been escorted back from France by United Sstates Marines to this country by a naval squadron and placed in a brick vault next to Bancroft Hall, the Midshipmen's dormitory. Since 1913, his body has lain in an imposing subterranean crypt beneath the academy's memorial chapel.

The Revolutionary War career of Jones is familiar (or once was) to Americans. His legendary victory came while commanding a converted French merchant ship named Bon Homme Richard to honor the author of the popular Poor Richard's Almanac, Benjamin Franklin. Leading a small raiding force, Jones encountered the heavily armed frigate HMS Serapis off the Yorkshire coast of England. In the bloody engagement, the British captain demanded that Jones surrender the Bon Homme Richard, to which Jones famously replied, "I have not yet begun to fight."

Despite the desperate condition of his ship, Jones maneuvered her alongside the British vessel and ordered his crew to board Serapis. A hand-to-hand fight ended with the capture of the British frigate. As Bon Homme Richard sank beneath the sea, Jones sailed his captive ship to a neutral port.

Jones' sea-green Italian marble sarcophagus is a tribute to the memory of the leader recognized as a major influence in establishing the U.S. Naval Academy 15 years before the Civil War, a conflict in which many graduates fought on both sides. He died a half-century before the school's founding, but had been a strong advocate for professional education of Midshipmen at special schools ashore, a concept new in his time.

Like many Colonists, Jones was an immigrant. Born in 1747, he arrived in Virginia from his native Scotland by way of the West Indies on the eve of the Revolution. An experienced merchant-marine captain, he offered his service to the Continental Congress. He was given the rank of lieutenant and command of a small warship. He won several victories over vessels of the far superior Royal Navy before the fight with the Serapis.

Jones remained in the Navy after the Revolution, but eventually became embroiled in bureaucratic disputes over seniority. At the time, the grade of captain was the Navy's top rank. Then, as now, the date of appointment was important. When the decision over seniority did not go his way, Jones resigned and went into self-imposed exile in Paris. Eventually, Catherine the Great offered him the rank of admiral in the Russian navy. He saw service in a campaign on the Black Sea against the Ottoman Turks. But his disillusionment over court intrigue and rivalry led him to resign and return to Paris.

Not long thereafter he began to suffer from a kidney ailment that was then untreatable. He died alone in his apartment on July 18, 1792. His body was discovered by a Revolutionary War friend, Col. Samuel Blackwell, who made final arrangements that included a state funeral and interment in a Protestant cemetery outside the walls of Paris. Blackwell expected the body of the naval hero eventually would be returned to his adopted country, so he had the remains embalmed and buried in a metallic casket.

It would be more than a century before action would be taken to bring Jones' remains back to the United States. This was accomplished by a private group of prominent citizens, including Theodore Roosevelt. The arrangements proved difficult and time-consuming.

Ambassador Horace Porter, a Civil War general and aide to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, took the lead in France. Finding the Protestant cemetery took time, as the burial ground long had been abandoned. When discovered, the site was found covered with modern construction. This necessitated protracted negotiations with owners and expensive drilling and excavating.

The search started in 1899 and was not brought to fruition until 1905. Eventually, three metallic caskets were exhumed. Two held the remains of unknowns. The third contained Jones' desiccated corpse. The body was examined by French anthropologists and forensic specialists who reported that the remains were definitely those of Jones.

Once verification was established, Roosevelt (by then president) ordered a squadron of Navy cruisers to France to bring back the remains for burial at the Naval Academy. After a ceremony at Cherbourg, the casket, enclosed in a mahogany case, was placed aboard the USS Brooklyn for Jones' final journey aboard ship. As the cruisers approached U.S. waters, they were met by an armada of other Navy vessels to proceed up the Chesapeake Bay and anchor off Annapolis. On July 19, 1905, the casket was brought ashore and, following a brief ceremony, entombed in the brick vault. A more formal ceremony, with Roosevelt the speaker and witnessed by U.S. and foreign dignitaries and the brigade of Midshipmen, was held April 26, 1906.