Monday, July 27, 2009

Guadalcanal Campaign
Battle of Guadalcanal

The island of Guadalcanal was the first land offensive (Pacific theater) of World War II. If we had lost the first battle, we could have lost the war. We had great Marine heroes like Don Jardine - and Herman Shirley - on the attack, armed with the old bolt action O3 World War 1 rifles, as members of (B-1-1) B Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Don now lives in San Francisco, and Herman lives in Huntsville, Texas. Don, Herman, and many other veterans of Guadalcanal continued fighting the Japanese on June 15, 1944 at Cape Gloucester, and again on Sept. 15, 1944 on the island of Peleliu. You might want to send them an email with a "thank you" message. Without very brave men like them, we could have been speaking Japanese today.
The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal, was fought between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of World War II. Fiercely contested on the ground, at sea, and in the air, the campaign was the first major offensive launched by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.
On August 7, 1942, Allied forces, predominantly American, initiated landings on the islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida (Nggela Sule) in the southern Solomon Islands with the objective of denying their use by the Japanese as bases to threaten supply routes between the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. The Allies also intended to use Guadalcanal and Tulagi as bases to support a campaign to eventually capture or neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Allies overwhelmed the outnumbered Japanese defenders, who had occupied the islands since May 1942, and captured Tulagi and Florida, as well as an airfield (later named Henderson Field) that was under construction on Guadalcanal.
Surprised by the Allied offensive, the Japanese made several attempts between August and November 1942 to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, five large naval battles, and continual, almost daily, aerial battles, culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November 1942, in which the last Japanese attempt to land enough troops to capture Henderson Field was defeated. In December 1942, the Japanese abandoned further efforts to retake Guadalcanal and evacuated their remaining forces by February 7, 1943.
The Guadalcanal campaign marked the first significant strategic combined arms victory by Allied forces over the Japanese in the Pacific theater. For this reason, the Guadalcanal campaign is often referred to as a "turning point" in the war. The campaign marked the beginning of the transition by the Allies from defensive operations to the strategic offensive, while Japan was thereafter forced to cease strategic offensive operations and instead concentrate on strategic defense.
On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack crippled much of the U.S. battleship fleet and precipitated an open and formal state of war between the two nations. The initial goals of Japanese leaders were to neutralize the U.S. Navy, seize possessions rich in natural resources, and establish strategic military bases to defend Japan's empire in the Pacific and Asia. To further those goals, Japanese forces captured the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, Wake Island, Gilbert Islands, New Britain, and Guam. Joining the U.S. in the war against Japan were the rest of the Allied powers, several of whom, including Great Britain, Australia, and the Netherlands, had also been attacked by Japan.
Two attempts by the Japanese to maintain the strategic initiative and extend their defensive perimeter in the south and central Pacific had been thwarted at the naval battles of Coral Sea and Midway respectively. Midway was not only the Allies' first decisive victory against the previously undefeated Japanese, it significantly reduced the offensive capability of Japan's carrier forces. Up to this point, the Allies had been on the defensive in the Pacific, but these strategic victories provided them an opportunity to take the initiative and launch two offensives in the Pacific.
The Allies chose the Solomon Islands (a protectorate of Great Britain), specifically the southern Solomon Islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida as the first target. The Japanese Navy (IJN) had occupied Tulagi in May 1942 and had constructed a seaplane base near there. Allied concern grew when, in early July 1942, the IJN began constructing a large airfield at Lunga Point on nearby Guadalcanal. By August 1942, the Japanese had about 900 naval troops on Tulagi and nearby islands, and 2,800 personnel (2,200 being Korean and Japanese construction specialists) on Guadalcanal. These bases, when completed, would protect Japan's major base at Rabaul, threaten Allied supply and communication lines, and establish a staging area for a planned offensive against Fiji, New Caledonia, and Samoa (Operation FS). The Japanese planned to deploy 45 fighters and 60 bombers to Guadalcanal once the airfield was complete. These aircraft could provide air cover for Japanese naval forces advancing further into the South Pacific.
The Allied plan to invade the southern Solomons was conceived by U.S. Admiral Ernest King, Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. He proposed the offensive to deny the use of the islands by the Japanese as bases to threaten the supply routes between the United States and Australia, and to use them as starting points. With Roosevelt's tacit consent, King also advocated the invasion of Guadalcanal. When U.S. Army General George C. Marshall resisted this line of action as well as who would command the operation, King stated that the Navy and Marines would carry out the operation by themselves, and instructed Admiral Chester Nimitz to proceed with the preliminary planning. King eventually won the argument, and the invasion went ahead with the backing of the Joint Chiefs.
Guadalcanal would be carried out in conjunction with an Allied offensive in New Guinea under Douglas MacArthur, to capture the Admiralty Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago, including the major Japanese base at Rabaul. The eventual goal was the American reconquest of the Philippines. The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff created the South Pacific theater, with Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley taking command on June 19, 1942, to direct the offensive in the Solomons. Admiral Chester Nimitz, based at Pearl Harbor, was designated as overall Allied commander in chief for Pacific forces.
In preparation for the future offensive in the Pacific in May 1942, U.S. Marine Major General Alexander Vandegrift was ordered to move his 1st Marine Division from the United States to New Zealand. Other Allied land, naval, and air force units were sent to establish bases in Fiji, Samoa, New Hebrides, and New Caledonia. Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, was selected as the headquarters and main base for the offensive, codenamed Operation Watchtower, with the commencement date set for August 7, 1942. At first, the Allied offensive was planned just for Tulagi and the Santa Cruz Islands, omitting Guadalcanal. However, after Allied reconnaissance discovered the Japanese airfield construction efforts on Guadalcanal, its capture was added to the plan, and the Santa Cruz operation was (eventually) dropped. The Japanese were aware, via signals intelligence, of the large-scale movement of Allied assets in the South Pacific area, but concluded that the Allies were reinforcing Australia and perhaps Port Moresby in New Guinea.
The Watchtower force, numbering 75 warships and transports (including vessels from both the U.S. and Australia), assembled near Fiji on July 26, 1942, and engaged in one rehearsal landing prior to leaving for Guadalcanal on July 31. The on-scene commander of the Allied expeditionary force was U.S. Vice Admiral Frank Fletcher (flag in aircraft carrier USS Saratoga). Commanding the amphibious forces was U.S. Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner. Vandegrift led the 16,000 Allied (primarily U.S. Marine) infantry earmarked for the landings.
Bad weather allowed the Allied expeditionary force to arrive in the vicinity of Guadalcanal unseen by the Japanese on the morning of August 7. The landing force split into two groups, with one group assaulting Guadalcanal, and the other Tulagi, Florida, and nearby islands. Allied warships bombarded the invasion beaches while U.S. carrier aircraft bombed Japanese positions on the target islands and destroyed 15 Japanese seaplanes at their base near Tulagi.
Tulagi and two nearby small islands, Gavutu and Tanambogo, were assaulted by 3,000 U.S. Marines. The 886 IJN personnel manning the naval and seaplane bases on the three islands fiercely resisted the Marine attacks. With some difficulty, the Marines secured all three islands; Tulagi on August 8, and Gavutu and Tanambogo by August 9. The Japanese defenders were killed almost to the last man, while the Marines suffered 122 killed.
In contrast to Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo, the landings on Guadalcanal encountered much less resistance. At 09:10 on August 7, Vandegrift and 11,000 U.S. Marines came ashore on Guadalcanal between Koli Point and Lunga Point. Advancing towards Lunga Point, they encountered no resistance except for "tangled" rain forest, and they halted for the night about 1,000 yards (910 m) from the Lunga Point airfield. The next day, again against little resistance, the Marines advanced all the way to the Lunga River and secured the airfield by 16:00 on August 8. The Japanese naval construction units and combat troops, under the command of Captain Kanae Monzen, panicked by the warship bombardment and aerial bombing, had abandoned the airfield area and fled about 3 miles (4.8 km) west to the Matanikau River and Point Cruz area, leaving behind food, supplies, intact construction equipment and vehicles, and 13 dead.
During the landing operations on August 7 and August 8, Japanese naval aircraft based at Rabaul, under the command of Sadayoshi Yamada, attacked the Allied amphibious forces several times, setting afire the U.S. transport George F. Elliot (which sank two days later) and heavily damaging the destroyer USS Jarvis. In the air attacks over the two days, the Japanese lost 36 aircraft, while the U.S. lost 19, both in combat and to accident, including 14 carrier fighters.
After these clashes, Fletcher was concerned about the losses to his carrier fighter aircraft strength, anxious about the threat to his carriers from further Japanese air attacks, and worried about his ship's fuel levels. Fletcher withdrew from the Solomon Islands area with his carrier task forces the evening of August 8. As a result of the loss of carrier-based air cover, Turner decided to withdraw his ships from Guadalcanal, even though less than half of the supplies and heavy equipment needed by the troops ashore had been unloaded. Turner planned, however, to unload as many supplies as possible on Guadalcanal and Tulagi throughout the night of August 8 and then depart with his ships early on August 9.
That night, as the transports unloaded, two groups of screening Allied warships under the command of British Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley were surprised and defeated by a Japanese force of seven cruisers and one destroyer from the 8th Fleet, based at Rabaul and Kavieng and commanded by Japanese Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. One Australian and three American cruisers were sunk, and one American cruiser and two destroyers were damaged in the Battle of Savo Island. The Japanese suffered moderate damage to one cruiser. Mikawa, who was unaware Fletcher had withdrawn with the U.S. carriers, immediately retired to Rabaul without attempting to attack the now unprotected transports. Mikawa was concerned about daylight U.S. carrier air attacks if he remained in the area. Turner withdrew all remaining Allied naval forces by the evening of August 9, leaving the Marines ashore without much of the heavy equipment, provisions, and troops still aboard the transports. However, Mikawa's decision not to attack the Allied transport ships when he had the opportunity would prove to be a crucial strategic mistake.
Initial operations
The 11,000 Marines on Guadalcanal initially concentrated on forming a loose defensive perimeter around Lunga Point and the airfield, moving the landed supplies within the perimeter, and finishing the airfield. In four days of intense effort, the supplies were moved from the landing beach into dispersed dumps within the perimeter. Work began on the airfield immediately, mainly using captured Japanese equipment. On August 12, the airfield was named Henderson Field after a Marine aviator, Lofton R. Henderson who was killed during the Battle of Midway. By August 18, the airfield was ready for operation. Five days worth of food had been landed from the transports, which, along with captured Japanese provisions, gave the Marines a total of 14 days worth of food. To conserve supplies, the troops were limited to two meals per day.
Allied troops encountered a "severe strain" of dysentery soon after the landings, with one in five Marines afflicted by mid-August. Although some of the Korean construction workers surrendered to the Marines, most of the remaining Japanese and Korean personnel gathered just west of the Lunga perimeter on the west bank of the Matanikau River and subsisted mainly on coconuts. A Japanese naval outpost was also located at Taivu Point, about 35 kilometres (22 mi) east of the Lunga perimeter. On August 8, a Japanese destroyer from Rabaul delivered 113 naval reinforcement troops to the Matanikau position.
On the evening of August 12, a 25-man U.S. Marine patrol, led by Lieutenant Colonel Frank Goettge and primarily consisting of intelligence personnel, landed by boat west of the Lunga perimeter, between Point Cruz and the Matanikau River, on a reconnaissance mission with a secondary objective of contacting a group of Japanese troops that U.S. forces believed might be willing to surrender. Soon after the patrol landed, a nearby platoon of Japanese naval troops attacked and almost completely wiped out the Marine patrol.
In response, on August 19, Vandegrift sent three companies of the U.S. 5th Marine Regiment to attack the Japanese troop concentration west of the Matanikau. One company attacked across the sandbar at the mouth of the Matanikau river while another crossed the river 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) inland and attacked the Japanese forces located in Matanikau village. The third landed by boat further west and attacked Kokumbuna village. After briefly occupying the two villages, the three Marine companies returned to the Lunga perimeter, having killed about 65 Japanese soldiers while losing four. This action, sometimes referred to as the "First Battle of the Matanikau", was the first of several major actions around the Matanikau River during the campaign.
On August 20, the escort carrier USS Long Island (CVE-1) delivered two squadrons of Marine aircraft to Henderson Field, one of 19 Grumman F4F Wildcats, the other 12 SBD Dauntlesses. The aircraft at Henderson became known as the "Cactus Air Force" (CAF) after the Allied codename for Guadalcanal. The Marine fighters went into action the next day, attacking one of the almost-daily Japanese bomber air raids. On August 22, five U.S. Army P-400 Airacobras and their pilots arrived at Henderson Field.
Approximately 1,769 U.S. Marines perished on Guadalcanal, and about 420 airmen; but close to 5,000 U.S. sailors died fighting from 27 US Navy warships that were sunk, in histories most savage and furious sea battles, surrounding the Guadalcanal islands.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Korean War ended with
Mexican standoff - 07-27-53
56 years ago

(Unfortunately, 35,000 American troops are still in South Korea protecting the peace.)
Korean War was Noah's last combat
Korean War, conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation. In 1948 rival governments were established: The Republic of Korea was proclaimed in the South and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea in the North.

Relations between them became increasingly strained, and on June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea. The United Nations quickly condemned the invasion as an act of aggression, demanded the withdrawal of North Korean troops from the South, and called upon its members to aid South Korea. On June 27, U.S. President Truman authorized the use of American land, sea, and air forces in Korea; a week later, the United Nations placed the forces of 15 other member nations under U.S. command, and Truman appointed Gen. Douglas MacArthur supreme commander.

In the first weeks of the conflict the North Korean forces met little resistance and advanced rapidly. By Sept. 10 they had driven the South Korean army and a small American force to the Busan (Pusan) area at the southeast tip of Korea. A counteroffensive began on Sept. 15, when UN forces made a daring landing at Incheon (Inchon) on the west coast. North Korean forces fell back and MacArthur received orders to pursue them into North Korea.

On Oct. 19, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang was captured; by Nov. 24, North Korean forces were driven by the 8th Army, under Gen. Walton Walker, and the X Corps, under Gen. Edward Almond, almost to the Yalu River, which marked the border of Communist China. As MacArthur prepared for a final offensive, the Chinese Communists joined with the North Koreans to launch (Nov. 26) a successful counterattack. The UN troops were forced back, and in Jan., 1951, the Communists again advanced into the South, recapturing Seoul, the South Korean capital.

After months of heavy fighting, the center of the conflict was returned to the 38th parallel, where it remained for the rest of the war. MacArthur, however, wished to mount another invasion of North Korea. When MacArthur persisted in publicly criticizing U.S. policy, Truman, on the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff removed (Apr. 10, 1951) him from command and installed Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway as commander in chief. Gen. James Van Fleet then took command of the 8th Army. Ridgway began (July 10, 1951) truce negotiations with the North Koreans and Chinese, while small unit actions, bitter but indecisive, continued. Gen. Van Fleet was denied permission to go on the offensive and end the "meat grinder" war.

The war's unpopularity played an important role in the presidential victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had pledged to go to Korea to end the war. Negotiations broke down four different times, but after much difficulty and nuclear threats by Eisenhower, an armistice agreement was signed (July 27, 1953).

Casualties in the war were heavy. U.S. losses were placed at over 33,000 dead and 142,000 wounded. While Chinese had nearly 900,000 casualties, including 150,000 killed. North and South Korea killed and wounded: (military and civilians) over 3 million.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr.
Lewis B. Puller, Jr. (August 18, 1945 - May 11, 1994) was an attorney, Pulitzer prize winning author and officer in the United States Marine Corps. He was severely wounded in the Vietnam War.

Life and career
Lewis Burwell Puller Jr. was the son of General Lewis "Chesty" Puller, the most decorated Marine in the history of the Marine Corps. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a Marine officer. Puller graduated high school from Christchurch School in Christchurch, Virginia. Upon graduation from the College of William and Mary in 1967, Puller was shipped to Vietnam, where he was badly wounded when he tripped a booby-trapped howitzer round on October 11, 1968, losing both legs and most of his fingers in the explosion. The shell riddled his body with shrapnel, and he lingered near death for days with his weight dropping to 55 pounds, but Puller survived. Those who knew him say that it was primarily because of his iron will and his stubborn refusal to die. Because of his wounds, Puller was medically discharged from the Marine Corps. During his short active-duty military career, Puller earned the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.

For years after he returned to a reasonably sound physical condition, the emotional ground underneath him remained shaky, though he got a law degree, had two children with the woman he had married before going to Vietnam, and raised a family. He even mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1978, representing eastern Virginia. Throughout the years, he battled black periods of despondency and drank heavily until 1981, when he underwent treatment for alcoholism. Despite that treatment, Puller continued to suffer severe depression and occasional bouts of alcoholism.

In 1991, Puller told the story of his ordeal and its aftermath in a book titled Fortunate Son, an account that ended with Puller triumphing over his physical disabilities, and becoming emotionally at peace with himself. It won the Pulitzer Prize. This autobiography also became the basis for the later song "Fortunate Son" by Bruce Hornsby.

According to friends and associates, Puller spent the last months of his life in turmoil. In the days leading up to his death, Puller fought a losing battle with the alcoholism that he had kept at bay for 13 years, and struggled with a more recent addiction, to painkillers initially prescribed to dull continuing pain from his wounds.

Death and aftermath
On May 11, 1994 Puller died due to a self-inflicted gunshot. He and his wife, Linda T. (Toddy) Puller, had separated shortly before his death.

He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. A caisson drawn by six white horses and led by a seventh escorted his remains to the grave. As is the custom, the casket was draped in a U.S. flag. A Marine Corps honor guard led the way through the cemetery as members of the Marine Corps Band kept time. National, state and local lawmakers joined nearly 700 people paying their respects. An overflow crowd spilled out onto the grounds of Fort Myer Chapel. More than a dozen of the attendees were in wheelchairs, as Puller had been before his death. At that service, recalled the Reverend Robert W. Prichard, who delivered the homily, "He said he envied those people who had a faith that came without any sorrow, faith that came without wavering. He envied it for others, but he couldn't claim it for himself." Prichard said that most of the people who knew Puller wished that his life had been different, that his book, "Fortunate Son," would have propelled him from his despair. "We all wanted it that way," Prichard said. "From weakness to strength, from height to height, from victory to victory." But that was not to be.

Though wounded in the Vietnam War, Puller's name is not listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is reserved for those died or who are listed as missing in action. Instead, the nearby In Memory Memorial Plaque, represents those veterans, like Puller, who "...died after their service in the Vietnam war, but as a direct result of that service, and whose names are not otherwise eligible for placement on the memorial wall."

Terry Anderson, a former Associated Press journalist, who was held hostage in Lebanon, recalled the same hope he had had for his friend, Puller. "This is a man who had so many burdens, so many things to bear. And he bore them well for 25 years," he said. "What did I miss?" Anderson asked. "I was his friend. I thought he was winning."

Noah H. Belew’s comment: About a year before Lewis’ death, I wrote him a letter telling him that his father was my Commanding Officer during World War II and the Korean War. I also told Lewis that I attended his father’s retirement party at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and his father gave me his tag bearing three stars from the front of his government vehicle, and I would like to send it to him. Lewis answered my letter and asked that I keep it for myself. He also sent me an autograph copy of his book, Fortunate Son. His last comment was that he was returning to Vietnam for a short visit. He did go and returned safely.

In a statement, Puller's wife, Toddy said, "Our family has been moved and humbled by the outpouring of affection for Lewis. The many acts of kindness from our friends across the country have helped us in this very difficult time. It is clear that Lewis affected the lives of people in ways that we never knew." Of her deceased husband, she said, "To the list of names of victims of the Vietnam War, add the name of Lewis Puller ... He suffered terrible wounds that never really healed." Toddy Puller had been elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991.

In addition to his wife, Puller's survivors included their two children, Lewis III and Maggie, his twin sister, Martha Downs, and sister, Virginia Dabney.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Burning of Washington
War of 1812
The War of 1812, between the United States of America and the British Empire , was fought from 1812 to 1815.There were several immediate stated causes for the U.S....between the British Empire and the United States of America. British forces occupied Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. , formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the Capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790....and set fire to many public buildings. The facilities of the U.S. government, including the White House.

White House

The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., it was built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the late Georgian architecture and has been the executive residence of every U.S...., were largely destroyed, though strict discipline and the British commander's orders to burn only public buildings are credited with preserving most residences. Some historians assert that the attack was in retaliation for the American looting of York, Upper Canada.
York, Upper Canada
York was the name of Toronto, Ontario, between 1793 and 1834 and second capital of Upper Canada.... (now Toronto)

Toronto is the List of the 100 largest municipalities in Canada by population in Canada and the Provinces and territories of Canada Provincial and territorial capitals of Canada of Ontario....after the Battle of York.

Battle of York
The Battle of York was a battle of the War of 1812 fought on April 27, 1813, at York, Upper Canada, which was later to be renamed Toronto. An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the town and Naval Shipyards, York 1813, and the burning down of the Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada. However, the British Army commanders said the goal was to attack Washington "on account of the greater political effect likely to result," and did not mention York. A suggestion of retaliation comes from the fact that Governor-General Sir George Prevost of Canada had written to the Admirals in Bermuda calling for a retaliation for the American sacking of York. He needed their permission and provision of naval resources. At the time, it was considered against the civilized laws of war to burn a non-military facility and the Americans had not only burned the Parliament but also some private warehouses which were also looted. Further proof of the retaliation was that after the limited British burning of some facilities of Washington, the British left. There was no territory that they wanted to occupy and no military facility that they had planned to attack.The White House was set ablaze causing extensive damage. Only the exterior walls remained, and they had to be torn down and mostly reconstructed due to weakening from the fire and subsequent exposure to the elements, except for portions of the south wall. A legend emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. This is unfounded as the building had been painted white since its construction in 1798. Of the many spoils taken from the White House when it was ransacked by British troops, only two have been recovered — a painting of George Washington.

George Washington
George Washington was the leader of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War and served as the List of Presidents of the United States President of the United States of the United States of Americas ....rescued by then-first lady Dolley Madison.

Dolley Madison
Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the spouse of the 4th President of the United States, James Madison, and was First Lady of the United States from 1809 to 1817....and a jewelry box returned to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 by an old man who said his grandfather had taken it from Washington.

On August 24, 1814, the advance guard of British troops made a march to Capitol Hill; they were too few in number to occupy the city, so General Robert Ross intended to eliminate as much of it as possible. He sent a party under a flag of truce to agree to terms, but they were attacked by partisans from a house at the corner of Maryland Avenue, Constitution Avenue, and Second Street NE. This was to be the only resistance the soldiers met. The house was burned, and the Union Flag.

Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the national Flag of the United Kingdom. Historically, the flag was used throughout the former British Empire....was raised above Washington.The buildings housing the Senate
United States Senate.

The United States Senate is the upper house of the Bicameralism United States Congress, the lower house being the United States House of Representatives....and House of Representatives.

United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives, commonly referred to as "the House", is one of the bicameralism of the United States Congress; the other is the United States on the trademark central rotunda of the Capitol.

United States Capitol

The United States Capitol serves as the seat of government for the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States....had not yet begun—were set ablaze not long after. The interiors of both buildings, including the Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the de facto national library of the United States and the research arm of the United States Congress. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and holds the largest number of books...., were destroyed, although the thick walls and a torrential rainfall preserved their exteriors.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the List of Presidents of the United States President of the United States , the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence , and one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States....later sold his library to the government to restock the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the de facto national library of the United States and the research arm of the United States Congress. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and holds the largest number of books.....) The next day Admiral Cockburn entered the building of the D.C. newspaper.

National Intelligencer
The National Intelligencer newspaper was published in Washington, D.C. from about 1800 until 1867.Until 1810 it was named the National intelligencer, and Washington advertiser...., intending to burn it down; however, a group of neighborhood women persuaded him not to because they were afraid the fire would spread to their neighboring houses. Cockburn wanted to destroy the newspaper because they had written so many negative items about him, branding him as "The Ruffian." Instead he ordered his troops to tear the building down brick by brick making sure that they destroyed all the "C" type so that no more pieces mentioning his name could be printed. The troops then turned north down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House.

First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States is the unofficial title of the hostess of the White House. Because this position is traditionally filled by the wife of the President of the United States, the title is sometimes taken to apply only to the wife of a sitting President....Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison
Dolley Payne Todd Madison was the spouse of the 4th President of the United States, James Madison, and was First Lady of the United States from 1809 to 1817....remained there after many of the government officials — and her own bodyguard — had already fled, gathering valuables, documents and other items of importance, notably the Lansdowne Portrait

Lansdowne portrait
The Lansdowne portrait is an iconic Oil painting portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. The portrait was commissioned in April 1796 by United States Senate William Bingham of Pennsylvania—one of the wealthiest men in the U.S...., a full-length painting of George Washington.
George Washington
George Washington was the leader of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War and served as the List of Presidents of the United States President of the United States of the United States of Americas .... by Gilbert Stuart.

Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Charles Stuart was an American Painting from Rhode Island.Gilbert Stuart is widely considered to be one of America's foremost portraitists..... She was finally persuaded to leave moments before invading soldiers entered the building. Once inside, the soldiers found the dining hall set for a dinner for 40 people. After eating all the food, they took souvenirs (e.g., one of the president's hats) and then set the building on fire.Fuel was added to the fires that night to ensure they would continue burning into the next day; the flames were reportedly visible as far away as Baltimore and the Patuxent River.

Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between the two.....The British also burned the United States Treasury building and other public buildings. The historic Washington Navy Yard.
Washington Navy Yard
The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and Weapon plant of the United States Navy in Washington, D.C. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S.... founded by Thomas Jefferson and the first federal installation in the United States, was burned by the Americans to prevent capture of stores and ammunition, as well as the 44-gun frigate.

A frigate is a warship. The term has been used for warships of many sizes and roles over the past few centuries.In the 18th century, the term referred to ships which were as long as a ship-of-the-line and were square rig on all three masts , but were faster and with lighter armament, used for patrolling and escort....Columbia.

USS Columbia
Nine United States Navy ships have been named USS Columbia, after the personification of the United States, also after the city of Columbia, South Carolina....which was then being built. The United States Patent Office building was saved by the efforts of William Thornton.

William Thornton
Dr. William Thornton was an American physician, inventor, painter and architect who designed the United States Capitol. He also served as the first Architect of the Capitol and first Superintendent of the United States Patent Office....—architect of the Capitol and then superintendent of patents—who convinced the British of the importance of its preservation. Also spared were the Marine barracks.

United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing Military power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver Marine Air-Ground Task Force....

Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.
Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. is located at 8th and I Streets SE in Washington, D.C. Established in 1801, it is a registered historical site, the oldest post in the United States Marine Corps and home to the Commandant of the Marine Corps...., which some attribute as a gesture of respect for their conduct at Bladensburg.

Battle of Bladensburg
The Battle of Bladensburg was a battle fought during the War of 1812. The defeat of the United States forces there allowed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to capture and burn Washington, D.C....Less than a day after the attack began, a hurricane.

Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm characterized by a large low pressure system center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and flooding rain.... which included a tornado

A tornado is a violent, rotating column of air which is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.... passed through, damaging the invaders and putting out the fires. This forced the British troops to return to their ships, many of which were badly damaged by the storm, and so the actual occupation of Washington lasted about 26 hours. President Madison and the rest of the government quickly returned to the city.


Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock Particle size . Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust ....walls of the White House survived, although scarred with smoke and scorch marks. Reconstruction of the White House began in early 1815 and was finished in time for President James Monroe.

James Monroe
James Monroe was the List of Presidents of the United States President of the United States . His administration was marked by the acquisition of Florida ; the Missouri Compromise , in which Missouri was declared a slave state; the admission of Maine in 1820 as a free state; and the profession of the Monroe Doctrine , declaring U.S....'s inauguration 1817. Madison resided in The Octagon House for the remainder of his term. Reconstruction of the Capitol did not begin until 1815, and it was completed in 1864.

The British raid on Washington successfully diverted the attention of the government, and was designed to land a humiliating blow to the Americans. The attack was not as demoralizing as Cockburn intended, for it caused outrage among many previously neutral or anti-war Americans, and diverted forces the British needed in their failed invasion of New York state. A popular, if apocryphal, story claims that the Presidential Mansion acquired the "White House" nickname as a result of the new white coating it received after its restoration. In reality, the term had been used at least since 1811.

Monday, July 20, 2009

James A. Bland
African-American Songwriter
The song "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" was written in 1879 by James A. Bland. It was originally a minstrel mockery of a spiritual song sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, however Bland's version surpassed the Fisk song in popularity. Although the song sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers was performed long before its publication in 1880, "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" receives credit for being the first published and is thought to be the original by some.

This popular American song was written after the Civil War, during the period of Reconstruction (Levene). Songs created during this period reflect the attitudes of the authors as well as the audience. James A. Bland was an African-American composer who lived through slavery and saw it outlawed following the Civil War (Congress). In his song, "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers," Bland does not reflect the emotions of a disgruntled person, rather, the lyrical content conveys joy and a time of celebration. Instead of harboring grudges from the past, Bland celebrates the end of slavery and hope for a better future.

One important factor contributing to the song's existence also accounts for its early popularity. It was originally performed in the minstrel theatre as well as by traveling troupes of minstrel performers (Chase). These African-American troupes were often known as "Georgia Minstrels" and performed a variety of music in addition to the early minstrel tradition. "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" was also introduced on the variety stage and became a vaudeville favorite. Theatrical plays became customary to the American lifestyle, giving rise to the popularity of many minstrel songs (Gill).

"Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" consists of three stanzas and a refrain. The instrumental composition is typically performed by piano (Foster). The melody leaps from low to high pitches and vice versa while the tempo of this melody is fast. The fabric of the music is homophonic with harmonic support. The lyrics are also simple, telling the story of a man who is absorbed in his prized possessions, including his long tailed coat, long white robe, banjo, and most importantly his golden slippers. The narrator talks about going to some place in his chariot, which is a conventional metaphor for escaping slavery. His destination is a question, but it could possibly be heaven or up north or simply off the plantation of slavery.

"Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" became notable in the late 1800's along with many other minstrel songs. Its contribution to American music has impacted the old tradition of minstrel musicals vaudeville favorites.

Oh, Them Golden Slippers
Oh, my golden slippers am laid away
'Cause I don't spect to wear 'em til my wedding day
And my long tailed coat, that I love so well
I will wear up in the chariot in the morn
And my long white robe that I bought last June
I'm goin' to get changed 'cause it fits too soon
And the old grey hoss that I used to drive
I will hitch him to the chariot in the morn

Oh, dem golden slippers
Oh, dem golden slippers
Golden slippers I'se goin' to wear
Because they look so neat
Oh, dem golden slippers
Oh, dem golden slippers
Golden slippers I'se goin' to wear
To walk the golden street

Oh, my old banjo hangs on the wall
'Cause it ain't been tuned since way last fall
But the darks all say we'll have a good time
When we ride up in the chariot in the morn
There's ol' brother Ben and his sister, Luce
They will telegraph the news to uncle Bacco Juice
What a great camp meetin' there will be that day
When we ride up in the chariot in the morn
So, it's good-bye, children I will have to go
Where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow
And yer ulster coats, why, you will not need
When you ride up in the chariot in the morn
But yer golden slippers must be nice and clean
And yer age must be just sweet sixteen
And yer white kid gloves you will have to wear
When you ride up in the chariot in the morn

1854 - James Alan Bland was born on the 22nd of October in Flushing, New York.
1866 - When he was 12, and living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he saw an old black man playing a banjo and singing spirituals.
1868 - He was so talented and had become so proficient with the banjo that he was entertaining professionally at private parties and in hotels and restaurants from the time he was 14.
- At Howard University, he met a young lady named Mannie Friend.
1873 - Bland graduated from Howard University.
- Write songs "In the Evening by the Moonlight," O Dem Golden Slippers.
1878 - Published "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" was the offical State Song of Virginia.
1911 - James A. Bland died of tuberculosis on 5th March in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1970 - James Bland was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 - September 22, 1776) was a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Widely considered America's first spy, he volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission, but was captured by the British. He is best remembered for his speech before being hanged following the Battle of Long Island, in which he said, "I only regret that I have but one life to give my country." Hale has long been considered an American hero and, in 1985, he was officially designated the state hero of Connecticut. A statue of Nathan Hale is located at the headquarters of the CIA in Langley, Arlington County, Virginia.

Captain Nathan Hale was born in Coventry, Connecticut in 1755. In 1768, when he was thirteen years old, he was sent with his brother Enoch to Yale College. Nathan was a classmate of fellow patriot spy Benjamin Tallmadge. There is a long history between Yale and the intelligence service of the United States, the CIA in particular. This connection still exists today. The Hale brothers belonged to the Yale literary fraternity, Linonia, which debated topics in astronomy, mathematics, literature, and the ethics of slavery. Graduating with first-class honors in 1773, Nathan became a teacher, first in East Haddam and later in New London. After the Revolutionary War began in 1775, he joined a Connecticut militia and was elected first lieutenant. When his militia unit participated in the Siege of Boston, Hale remained behind, but, on July 6, 1775, he joined the regular Continental Army's 7th Connecticut Regiment under Colonel Charles Webb of Stamford. He was promoted to captain and in March 1776, commanded a small unit of Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton's Rangers defending New York City. They managed to rescue a ship full of provisions from the guard of a British man-of-war.

During the Battle of Long Island, which led to British victory and the capture of New York City, via a flanking move from Staten Island across Long Island, Hale volunteered on September 8, 1776, to go behind enemy lines and report on British troop movements. He was ferried across on September 12.

During his mission, New York City (then the area at the southern tip of Manhattan around Wall Street) fell to British forces on September 15, and Washington was forced to retreat to the island's northern tip in Harlem Heights (what is now Morningside Heights). On September 21, a quarter of the lower portion of Manhattan burned in the Great New York Fire of 1776. The fire was later widely thought to have been started by American saboteurs to keep the city from falling into British hands, though Washington and Congress had already rejected this idea. It has also been speculated that the fire was the work of British soldiers acting without orders, intending to punish and/or intimidate any remaining Patriots in the city — with unintended consequences, however. In the fire's aftermath, more than 200 American partisans were rounded up by the British.

An account of Nathan Hale's capture was written by Consider Tiffany, a Connecticut shopkeeper and Loyalist, and obtained by the Library of Congress. In Tiffany's account, Major Robert Rogers of the Queen's Rangers saw Hale in a tavern and recognized him despite his disguise. After luring Hale into betraying himself by pretending to be a patriot himself, Rogers and his Rangers apprehended Hale near Flushing Bay, in Queens, New York. Another story was that his Loyalist cousin, Samuel Hale, was the one who revealed his true identity.

British General William Howe had his headquarters in the Beekman House in a rural part of Manhattan, on a rise between 50th and 51st Streets between First and Second Avenues Hale reportedly was questioned by Howe, and physical evidence was found on him. Rogers provided information about the case. According to tradition, Hale spent the night in a greenhouse at the mansion.

According to the standards of the time, spies were hanged as illegal combatants. On the morning of September 22, 1776, Hale was marched along Post Road to the Park of Artillery, which was next to a public house called the Dove Tavern (at modern day 66th Street and Third Avenue), and hanged. He was 21 years old. Bill Richmond, a 13-year-old former slave and Loyalist who later became famous as an African American boxer in Europe, was reportedly one of the hangmen, "his responsibility being that of fastening the rope to a strong tree branch and securing the knot and noose."

The speech
By all accounts, Hale comported himself eloquently before the hanging. Over the years, there has been some speculation as to whether he specifically uttered the famous line:

I only regret that I have but one life to give my country.

But may be a revision of:

I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged that my only regret is that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service.

The story of Hale's famous speech began with John Montresor, a British soldier who witnessed the hanging. Soon after the execution, Montresor spoke with the American officer William Hull about Hale's death. Later, it was Hull who widely publicized Hale's use of the phrase. Because Hull was not an eyewitness to Hale's speech, some historians have questioned the reliability of the account.

If Hale did not give the famous speec, it is possible he instead repeated a passage from Joseph Addison's play, Cato, an ideological inspiration to many Whigs:

How beautiful is death, when earn'd by virtue! Who would not be that youth? What pity is itThat we can die but once to serve our country.

No official records were kept of Hale's speech. However, Frederick MacKensie, a British officer, wrote this diary entry for the day:

He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet

death in whatever shape it might appear.

It is almost certain that Nathan Hale's last speech contained more than one sentence. Several early accounts mention different things he said. These are not necessarily contradictory, but rather, together they give us an idea of what the speech must have been like. The following quotes are all taken from George Dudley Seymour's book, "Documentary Life of Nathan Hale", published in 1941 by the author.

From the diary of Enoch Hale, Nathan's brother, after he went to question people who had been present, October 26, 1776: "When at the Gallows he spoke & told them that he was a Capt in the Cont Army by name Nathan Hale."

From the Essex Journal, February 13, 1777: "However, at the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defence of his injured, bleeding Country."

From the Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, May 17, 1781: "I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged, that my only regret is, that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service."

From the memoirs of Captain William Hull, quoting British Captain John Montresor, who was present and who spoke to Hull under a flag of truce the next day: “’On the morning of his execution,’ continued the officer, ‘my station was near the fatal spot, and I requested the Provost Marshal [the infamous William Cunningham] to permit the prisoner to sit in my marquee, while he was making the necessary preparations. Captain Hale entered: he was calm, and bore himself with gentle dignity, in the consciousness of rectitude and high intentions. He asked for writing materials, which I furnished him: he wrote two letters, one to his mother and one to a brother officer.’ He was shortly after summoned to the gallows. But a few persons were around him, yet his characteristic dying words were remembered. He said, ‘I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country.’

Coincidentally, Hull is better known as the brigadier general who later surrendered the entire U.S. northwestern army to the British during the War of 1812.

Two early ballads also attempt to recreate Hale’s last speech. They are probably more imaginative than accurate, but are included here for completeness:

From Songs and Ballads of the Revolution, collected by F. Moore (1855), "Ballad of Nathan Hale" (anonymous), dated 1776: "’Thou pale king of terrors, thou life’s gloomy foe, Go frighten the slave; go frighten the slave; Tell tyrants, to you their allegiance they owe. No fears for the brave; no fears for the brave.’"

From "To the Memory of Capt. Nathan Hale" by Eneas Munson, Sr. written "soon after" Hale’s death:

Hate of oppression’s arbitrary plan, The love of freedom, and the rights of man; A strong desire to save from slavery’s chain The future millions of the western main, And hand down safe, from men’s invention cleared, The sacred truths which all the just revered; For ends like these, I wish to draw my breath,’ He bravely cried, ‘or dare encounter death.’ And when a cruel wretch pronounced his doom, Replied, ‘Tis well, —for all is peace to come; The sacred cause for which I drew my sword Shall yet prevail, and peace shall be restored. I’ve served with zeal the land that gave me birth, Fulfilled my course, and done my work on earth; Have ever aimed to tread that shining road That leads a mortal to the blessed God. I die resigned, and quit life’s empty stage, For brighter worlds my every wish engage; And while my body slumbers in the dust, My soul shall join the assemblies of the just.

Munson had tutored Hale before college, and knew him and his family well, so even though the particulars of this speech may be unlikely, Munson knew firsthand what Hale’s opinions were.

Quotes about Hale
Hale is in the American pantheon not because of what he did but because of why he did it. Nathan Hale spied on the British because the general's tent was right next to his schoolhouse. On his way back to the Continental Army, the British broke into his school house and attacked him.

* Former CIA chief Richard Helms

And because that boy said those words, and because he died, thousands of other young men have given their lives to his country.

* Edward Everett Hale, great-nephew of Nathan Hale, at the dedication of the Hale statue in New York, 1893.

Hanging site(s)
Besides the site at 66th and Third, there are two other sites in Manhattan that claim to be the hanging site:

* A statue designed by Frederick William Macmonnies was erected in 1890 City Hall Park at what was claimed to be the site.

*A plaque erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) hangs on the Yale Club at 44th and Vanderbilt by Grand Central Terminal saying the event occurred there.

Nathan Hale's body has never been found. An empty grave cenotaph was erected by his family in Nathan Hale Cemetery in South Coventry, Connecticut.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Maj. Gen. William Joseph"Wild Bill" Donovan (1883 - 1959)

William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan was the stuff of heroic legend. For forty years he was a preeminent figure in the American establishment, having distinguished himself in two world wars. In World War I, he led the valiant soldiers of the old "Fighting 69th" New York Irish brigade (165th Infantry). That force's record in France was astounding in that it fought and was victorious in more battles than any other unit of the American Expeditionary Army under General John Pershing. And it lost more than two thirds of its men achieving that record.

Colonel Donovan in St. Mihiel, France,
September 1918
At war's end, Donovan wandered weeping through the empty billets of his lost generation of soldiers, then murmured to his brother Vincent: "When I think of all the boys I have left behind me who died out of loyalty to me… it's too much." That same loyalty would be demonstrated by those who served Donovan in World War II when he headed the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

Donovan, who participated in the heavy hand-to-hand action, was severely wounded and received the Congressional Medal of Honor. When he and what was left of the old 69th returned from France and marched down the streets of New York, he was lionized before the world, as was his regimental chaplain, the unforgettable and equally heroic Father Francis Duffy whose battle-garbed statue still stands in New York City's Times Square.

Donovan was born in Buffalo, New York on January 1, 1883. His middle-class family could not afford to send him to college so Donovan worked his way through Columbia University, earning a law degree in 1907. He operated a successful law firm and organized a regiment of cavalry in Buffalo as part of the National Guard. Donovan rose to the rank of captain. He married Ruth Rumsey in 1914.
Col. Donovan and Father Duffy
of the Fighting 69th
Donovan's reputation as a fair-minded, intelligent lawyer, one who could accomplish difficult tasks with seeming ease, brought him to the attention of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1916. The Foundation asked him to travel to Europe, without compensation, in setting up war relief supplies and medical attention for the displaced persons of Poland. He accepted with alacrity. When arriving in England, however, Donovan was informed by British naval authorities that Germany's blockade of the seas would prevent the Rockefeller supplies from getting to Poland. Donovan then joined the Belgium Relief organization, headed by future president, Herbert Clark Hoover, to feed ten million starving refugees in Belgium

This was Donovan's first introduction to espionage. Before going behind the German lines to bring food to the starving displaced Belgians—American was neutral in 1916—Donovan met in London with a Canadian officer working for British intelligence, William Samuel Stephenson, who would later be known under the code name "Intrepid." It was this meeting, one which Donovan denied to his dying day but was evident in Stephenson's biography and Donovan's correspondence, which started Donovan on the road to being a spy.

He received some brief espionage training in London before going to Belgium and it is believed that while Donovan was working to aid refugees, he also gathered information on German supplies, troop reserves and other important military information. This he managed to pass to the British before their great offensive which resulted in the devastating battle of the Somme where the British lost 420,000 men in killed, wounded and missing—60,000 on the first day of the offensive—the "flower of British manhood," as it was later stated.
It was alleged that without Donovan's information, the British might have lost considerably more men. It was Stephenson, assigned to Washington, D.C. in 1940, who would put forth the strongest recommendation that Donovan head America's first full-fledged intelligence agency, the OSS. Just as the Somme offensive took place, Donovan was suddenly recalled to the U.S., his old cavalry unit activated and ordered to join General Pershing in an Expeditionary mission into Mexico in pursuit of the bandit Pancho Villa who had raided the small town of Columbus, New Mexico.

Villa had lead a force of 1,500 Mexicans on the raid, in search of cash and supplies to fuel his revolution in northern Mexico. He had attacked the U.S. Army camp of the 13th Cavalry, killing nine U.S. citizens and eight troopers. The cavalry had pursued Villa, killing fifty of his men inside the U.S. and seventy more inside Mexico. Now, Pershing was to lead a full-scale punitive invasion of Mexico in an undeclared war against Pancho Villa.

Donovan put his cavalry through severe training at McAllen, Texas. He got his men up one hour before any other unit and ordered them to sleep one hour after all other units were in bed. He double-drilled them, forced them to hike and march on greater distances than any other commander would expect. He was unpopular which he knew but he was unconcerned. He had been in northern France and seen the rigors of deadly warfare. He also knew that America would eventually become involved and he wanted his troops trained as well as they could be, to be as tough as the veteran front-line Germans. This he achieved.

The "Border Days," as Donovan later referred to this experience, proved to be some of the happiest of his life. He loved the rough and tumble life, the banjo campfire parties, eating carrot stews on the mesas under the stars. The discipline of his troops was superb and he had never been in better physical condition. After six months of unsuccessfully chasing the will-of-the-wisp Villa, Donovan and his unit were withdrawn from Mexico, one of the last U.S. forces to return from the expedition.
No sooner did he return than Donovan, commissioned a major, was named to head the 69th New York Irish battalion, which became the 165th Infantry in the Rainbow Division. Again, Donovan proved to be a severe taskmaster in training his tough New Yorkers. They were boated to France and went into action for the first time on February 18, 1918 at Luneville. One of Donovan's men was Joyce Kilmer, who had worked for the New York Times and was considered one of the finest American poets of the day. Donovan promoted Kilmer to the rank of sergeant and made him his intelligence clerk.

Donovan instructed Kilmer to keep a running daily log of everything heard and seen along his front. Dutifully, Kilmer described unusual smoke formations, noises of digging (underground tunnels for German sappers laying mines), rockets exploding from the German lines, their colors and configurations, artillery fire and the type of shells used, the sound of German patrol dogs. All of this seemingly trivial information was extremely useful to American military intelligence. By studying such information, the Americans could determine how the Germans were reinforcing their trenches, laying mines (which meant a defensive posture instead of mounting an offensive), different colored rockets and flares which would signal forthcoming artillery barrages. Kilmer would be killed, a loss deeply felt by Donovan, as were those of all of his men.

Following an eight-day epic battle that resulted in an American victory, Donovan and only one half of his regiment survived. For this action Donovan was to receive the Distinguished Service Cross and, subsequently, the Congressional Medal of Honor. A few days after this battle, regimental chaplain Father Duffy, overheard three of Donovan's doughboys arguing in a trench as to the worthiness of their commander. Said one: "Well, I'll say this—Wild Bill is a son-of-a-bitch, but he's a game one!"
By the time the doughboys returned from France, Donovan, along with Sergeant Alvin C. York, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and General John Pershing, were the four great heroes of World War I. Although there were many who wanted Donovan to run for the presidency in 1920, he refused any chance at political office and went into private law practice in Buffalo, N.Y. In 1920, Donovan was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Buffalo district. His main chore was enforcing the unpopular Prohibition law. He eagerly prosecuted dozens of rumrunners and sent them to federal prison.

In 1925, Donovan became Assistant U.S. Attorney General under his Columbia University mentor Harlan Fiske Stone. One of his chores was to help clean up the Department of Justice and its Bureau of Investigation, which had been corrupted by the Teapot Dome crooks in the administration of President Warren G. Harding. One of Donovan's first jobs was to review the work and background of J. Edgar Hoover, who had been temporarily named to head the Bureau of Investigation, after William J. Burns had been removed from that office.

The Bureau, its name having been changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), had, under Harding's regime, been corrupted by several agents working for Burns, men like Gaston Bullock Means, an agent whose job with the Bureau in the early 1920s, consisted of blackmail, bribery and other dirty deeds on behalf of the venal Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty and his cronies. Hoover cleaned his own house, purging the Bureau of these boondogglers. In turn, Donovan studied Hoover's background and new procedures and then gave him the approval that led to Hoover's permanent appointment.
J. Edgar Hoover, who was to become the all-powerful director of the FBI, had very little contact with Donovan. The two never became friends and were never seen together throughout their long careers in Washington. Not until Donovan's appointment to head the newly formed OSS in 1940 did J. Edgar Hoover again significantly appear in Donovan's life, and he came not as an old friend but a wily, vicious antagonist.

Donovan served the Justice Department until 1929, when he returned to private practice, successfully arguing many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He ran as a Republican against Herbert Lehman for the governorship of New York in 1932, and was soundly beaten. Again, Donovan returned to private practice, becoming one of the most successful appeals lawyers in the country. He prospered but suffered a great tragedy in 1940 when his 22-year-old daughter Patricia, a student at George Washington University, was killed when her car overturned in a rainstorm. She was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, an honor given to her as the daughter of a Medal of Honor winner.

Donovan had doted on his daughter, his only child, and her death caused his hair to turn white almost overnight. William Samuel Stephenson called Donovan two-month's after the death of his daughter, while he was in New York City, having just arrived from London. He was one of the leading British intelligence figures of the day and operated under the code name "Intrepid". His job was to convince President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to aid England in its war against Germany and he asked Donovan to help. Through Donovan's friend, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, President Roosevelt approved of a clandestine trip Donovan was to make to England.

With government credentials and a letter of credit for $10,000. Donovan flew to war-torn England. There he met with King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the British chiefs of staff and the war cabinet. He also conferred with British spymaster, Colonel Stewart Menzies, chief of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).
Menzies confided to Donovan innumerable secrets, including the details of its most secret operations, the British code and cipher service that operated under the name of Ultra. This was extraordinary for the usually close-mouthed Menzies but he had been obviously instructed to cooperate in every way with Donovan in the hopes that Donovan would do his utmost to urge FDR to aid England. Even more extraordinary was the fact that England's top secrets were imparted to a private citizen on a temporary state visit.

Donovan returned to the U.S. to report to President Roosevelt that England would continue its fight against Hitler but that it desperately needed the tools of war, particularly destroyers, having lost many such warships in its sea battles for control of Norwegian waters. A short time later FDR responded by establishing his so-called "Lend-Lease" deal with England, giving that country fifty old American destroyers on the absurd condition that, after having used them, England would return these warships to the U.S.

Oddly, the British intelligence system had vastly overrated Donovan's political standing in Washington. In a secret memorandum, Sir Alexander Cadogan, undersecretary of state for England, sent a note to the British foreign secretary which described Donovan as a man who could turn the tide for England. According to Cadogan, Stephenson had convinced Menzies that Donovan had "Knox in his pocket." and that if Churchill would be completely frank with Donovan in future talks then Donovan "would contribute very largely to our obtaining all that we want of the United States."
Donovan did return to England to meet with Churchill who candidly outlined his plan for the defeat of Nazi Germany. Then the SIS conducted a VIP tour for Donovan of the British war stations from North Africa to the Middle East. During this tour, Donovan visited many heads of state, acting unofficially for FDR, attempting to persuade neutral countries from joining the Axis Powers. All through this period, Donovan, with the urging of his British intelligence friends, formulated a plan to create a new super-intelligence agency for America, one which would collect, collate and evaluate all military intelligence. The agency would be organized similar to England's SIS.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"The Dublin" - Embassy Marines in Ireland
This story was published in the Marine Leatherneck Magazine in July 2009 - written by P.T. Brent

The Marine Security Guard Detachment commander, SSgt Christopher Piazza, routinely coordinates with all the staff at the American Embassy in Dublin, including the ambassador. Ambassador Thomas Foley (seated) completed his service as United States Ambassador to Ireland on Jan. 22 of this year.

The French call it je ne sais quoi: an alluring and mysterious quality, one which lacks clear definition. Our Marines in Ireland understand it because they possess it. The Irish, of course, also have it; and, if you don't feel or "get it," you may never.

Think about it. Ireland's No. 1 export has been its gifted people. Throughout the world each and every year on March 17 everyone wishes he were Irish. A case in point: 21 U.S. Presidents claim Irish heritage. Among those, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt claimed County Donegal, and Ronald Reagan claimed County Tipperary.

If this past November's 233rd Birthday Ball was any indicator, Marine security guard detachments are welcomed warmly in the magical land of leprechauns, shamrocks and Guinness. In a special moment that enhanced a memorable evening, Sergeant Cameron Baxter read the celebrated Birthday message by the 13th Commandant, General John Archer Lejeune (Luh-Jern), whose mother claimed Irish ancestry.

One reason this Ball was so flawless was the many hours of rehearsal on a cold and rainy tennis court, resulting in a perfect color guard the night of the Ball. Asked how long the color guard would be drilling in preparation, the detachment commander issued a typical Marine response: "Until they get it perfect."

American embassies and consulates world­wide proudly make Nov. 10th a time to share the tradition of the U.S. Marine Birthday. The guest of honor at the Dub­lin Ball was Ambassador Thomas Foley. Other foreign embassies were in attendance, as well as an ebullient "expat" Ma­rine contingent, including Father James Crofton, a graduate of Marine Corps Recruit De­pot Parris Island, S.C., and now a parish priest in Dublin. Everyone came to honor America and the leatherneck tradition. Ambassador Foley said, "It is unbelievable. The long hours, the dedication and the good spirit we enjoy from our Ma­rines here in Ireland."

Why is it such a distinctive event? One reason: It is Ireland, and, like all Marines, these embassy Marines make the Corps' Birthday a distinguished event. The Ma­rines, with no financial support, commit their time to host one of the most tasteful Balls ever attended.

"The Dublin" aka "The Dub"
Embassy Marines in Ireland were awarded the title "The Dublin" in a spirit filled with good humor. They recently bested "The Hague," embassy Marines based in the Netherlands. "The Dublin: Ma­rines publicly petitioned their command­ing officer for the honor during a formal military dinner, held in Limerick, with the late Colonel John Ripley in attendance.

Hailing from Missouri City, Texas, Sgt Joel Powell, an aviation ordnance technician with the military occupational special­ty (MOS) 6531, is a watchstander in Ireland. He joined the Corps in Houston after Sept. 11, 2001, because he ?wanted to be with the best of the best. In two and one-half years I have been to 24 countries, and I get to live in a beautiful old mansion in Ireland.?

At embassies around the world, the quarters that house detachment Marines are referred to as "Marine House" and are usually superb accommodations. Powell?s first embassy was Vienna, Austria, then East Africa's Bujumbura, Burundi, with his last mission in Ireland. He is the supply noncommissioned officer for the detachment and proud to be part of The Dublin.

A Virginian, Sgt Andrew Kim (traffic management specialist, MOS 3112), stands Post One on his second MSG assignment. His first was Nicosia, Cyprus. Sgt Kim is in charge of the Marine House mess. He joined the Corps because he knew "Marines were the first into Iraq and Afghanistan and because President Reagan said: 'Marines make a difference.' "

Prior to Marine Security Guard School, Sgt Baxter (helicopter crew chief, MOS 6174) was awarded two air medals in Af­ghanistan and authorized to wear the combat "V." The sergeant also worked recovery operations during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Why did Sgt Baxter join the Marine Corps? "I wanted to be with the best outfit." He told his friends back in Los Ange­les: "Where else can I live in a $50 million mansion [Marine House, Dublin], interact with locals and learn a great deal on many subjects and get paid for it?" His first MSG post was Bamako, Mali, in West Africa. He is the assistant detachment com­mander for the Dublin Det.

Corporal Noel Bertrand is from Portland, Ore., with an administrative clerk occupational specialty, MOS 0121. After successfully completing the tough curriculum at MSG School, he headed to Doha, Qatar. During his second year, he was based at the embassy in Caracas, Vene­zuela, and now is serving on his final embassy assignment as the Dublin detachment's morale, welfare and recreation NCO and Birthday Ball NCO. Bertrand reflected: " "The Dub" was a godsend. The detachment commander is outstanding, and the other Marines are awesome."

The newest arrival at Marine House, Ireland is Cpl Robert Spahn from Tampa, Fla., also an admin clerk. "When I enlisted, I did not want to mess around. The Marine recruiters told it square. MSG duty is a great step forward; we get a security clearance, Marine security guard duty offers good contacts, and the brotherhood at MSG is strong." This young corporal's first posting was Kuwait, and he is the training NCO in Dublin.

Staff Sergeant Christopher Piazza, an infantry (0369) Marine, has one of the best jobs in the Corps. He enlisted right after high school. Piazza has received two meri­torious promotions and is a qualified Ma­rine Corps martial arts instructor trainer.

Deployed to Nasiriyah, Iraq, and later assigned to the antiterrorism battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he then deployed to the U.S. Embassy/Green Zone in Baghdad. Accompanied by his family, he is on the first of two tours as an MSG detachment commander. His wife works at the embassy in Ireland and is a former Marine lieutenant. She joined the Corps because she noticed that "Marines love their jobs, and all I ever wanted was to love my work, so I became a Marine."

SSgt Piazza said, "This is a great chance to learn the field administration side of being a staff NCO."

The U.S. State Department has had a long and special relationship with the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps Embas­sy Security Group (MCESG) headquarters is located aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. It is a unique command: one that rivals some of the world's most prominent multinational corporations. The commanding officer, much like a CEO, has a daunting worldwide task.

His area of operations spans 18 time zones in 133 countries with detachments of Marine security guards standing post in 148 locations.

With nine regional commands located in five countries around the world, Col Vince Cruz's command has a mission that many other leaders would consider extremely challenging, to include operation of one of the most prestigious schools in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Standards are high, and training is rigorous. The Marines selected for the Marine security guard program must have a personal and professional history that can stand the scrutiny required for a high-level security clearance. These Marines attend a six-week school. Their training includes security protocol, defensive tactics and weapons training, as well as an awareness of an embassy lifestyle, social etiquette and a country's local customs.

The qualified Marines, who complete this physically and mentally demanding school, spend the following three years at various posts around the globe. Some may be hardship posts and more austere than others, but all have the risks of danger and terrorist threats.

The days of the architecturally splendid embassies are history; the current security environment demands new and more complex State Department facilities, which are designed to meet the ever-changing force-protection standards. Ask our U.S. Em­bassy in Dublin's Regional Security Officer (RSO), Michael Rohlfs. He shows respect for Marines by stating with all sincerity: "Marine security guards are the steel spine of every embassy's security program. As individuals, Marine security guards serve as ambassadors, on both a professional and social level, to each coun­try in which they are assigned and continue to do so with professionalism and honor."

The mission for protecting embassies around the world is growing and so is the Marine headquarters tasked with providing trained Marines to U.S. embassies. A new MSG Training Center will have facilities modeled after a real embassy. The Training Center will replicate the environment the Marines will experience and defend when they stand watch at the traditional Post One in a place far from home.

Perhaps now you "get it," and you understand je ne sais quoi, that mysterious quality. Indeed, it is our splendid American Marines who embody the French phrase. When weary and stressed U.S. citizens who are troubled in a faraway clime and place arrive at our embassy or consulate, their first sight will be a welcomed one. It will be a disciplined warrior'a diplomat attired in dress blues and standing tall at Post One.

Author's note: A heartfelt fair winds to the late Col John Ripley, who made his last journey to Ireland to speak at the MSG mess night in Limerick and inspired this story, as well as to Col Vince Cruz and his MSG leathernecks, who motivate all who meet them.

Editor's note: Patrick "P.T." Brent, an infantry Marine, served with 2/24 and as a UPI military correspondent, embedded in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.