Saturday, May 30, 2015


In April 2014, Viktor Tarasov wrote to the head of Ruselectronics, a Russian state-owned holding company, about a critical shortage of military equipment. The Russian military lacked thermal imaging systems — devices commonly used to detect people and vehicles — and Tarasov believed that technology might be needed soon because of the “increasingly complex situation in the southeast of Ukraine and the possible participation of Russian forces” to stabilize the region.

Tarasov, in charge of Ruselectronics’ optical tech subsidiary, was hoping that the head of Ruselectronics would write to the minister of defense for armaments to advance his company 150 million rubles, then about $4 million, to buy 500 microbolometer arrays, a critical component of thermal imaging devices. The money, Tarasov wrote, would allow the company to buy the equipment under a current contract from a French company without the need for signing a new “end-use certificate,” which requires the buyer to disclose the final recipient.

Time was of the essence, he warned, because the West was preparing another round of sanctions against Russia that would slow the purchases and increase costs. Tarasov also claimed that the United States was already providing similar equipment to Ukrainian forces. (Pentagon spokesperson Eileen Lainez confirmed that the Department of Defense had provided thermal imaging devices and night-vision goggles to Ukraine in 2014, along with a variety of other military equipment).

Melton Times letter: First World War battlefield pilgrimages

Each year the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) battlefield tours organise pilgrimages to the battle areas of the First World War. The tours are in August and September covering France and Belgium.

This year we plan to visit the Somme battlefields, The Ypres Salient, Arras, Vimy Ridge & Loos battlefield areas if requested.

This year is the centenary of the second battle of Ypres and also the battle of Loos.

The trips specialise in visiting specific cemeteries of memorials on the above mentioned battlefields as and when they are requested. An experienced battlefield guide will accompany each trip to commentate on the various battles and the many historic events that occurred in the areas that we visit. We can also assist people in the tracing of war graves, from the First World War.

The KOYLI battlefields pilgrimages was formed as a charitable hobby in 1990 by ex-servicemen who have many years of practical experience in conducting visits to the First World War battlefield areas of France and Flanders. We support the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and other institutions.

These trips are open to anyone who might be interested and we welcome all enquiries. Anyone who requires any further information should call John on (01977) 734614.

John Battye

Nixon, Kissinger, and the Madman Strategy during Vietnam War

Nixon, Kissinger, and the Madman Strategy during Vietnam War

Nixon Wanted the "Other Side" to Think He and Kissinger "Might be Crazy"; Signalled Moscow and Hanoi By Pushing "So Many Chips in the Pot" to Suggest He "Might Really Go Further" Even to Nuclear Use

New Book Discloses Top Secret Consideration by Nixon White House of Nuclear Options against North Vietnam in September 1969

White House Ordered Secret Mining Exercises as Threat Signal, Later Uncovered by Walter Pincus When He Was a Senate Investigator

By William Burr and Jeffrey P. Kimball

William is Senior Analyst at the National Security Archive, where he directs the Archives nuclear history documentation project. See the Archives Nuclear Vault resources page;
Jeffrey is professor emeritus, Miami University, and author of Nixon's Vietnam War and The Vietnam War Files.

For more information, contact:

William Burr at 202/994-7000 or
Jeffrey Kimball at 513/523-3640 or

Advance Praise for Nixon's Nuclear Specter

Washington, D.C., May 29, 2015 - President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger believed they could compel "the other side" to back down during crises in the Middle East and Vietnam by "push[ing] so many chips into the pot" that Nixon would seem 'crazy' enough to "go much further," according to newly declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive (
The documents include a 1972 Kissinger memorandum of conversation published today for the first time in which Kissinger explains to Defense Department official Gardner Tucker that Nixon's strategy was to make "the other side ... think we might be 'crazy' and might really go much further" - Nixon's Madman Theory notion of intimidating adversaries such as North Vietnam and the Soviet Union to bend them to Washington's will in diplomatic negotiations

Nixon's and Kissinger's Madman strategy during the Vietnam War included veiled nuclear threats intended to intimidate Hanoi and its patrons in Moscow. The story is recounted in a new book, Nixon's Nuclear Specter: The Secret Alert of 1969, Madman Diplomacy, and the Vietnam War, co-authored by Jeffrey Kimball, Miami University professor emeritus, and William Burr, who directs the Archive's Nuclear History Documentation Project. Research for the book, which uncovers the inside story of White House Vietnam policymaking during Nixon's first year in office, drew on hundreds of formerly top secret and secret records obtained by the authors as well as interviews with former government officials.

With Madman diplomacy, Nixon and Kissinger strove to end the Vietnam War on the most favorable terms possible in the shortest period of time practicable, an effort that culminated in a secret global nuclear alert in October of that year. Nixon's Nuclear Specter provides the most comprehensive account to date of the origins, inception, policy context, and execution of "JCS Readiness Test" - the equivalent of a worldwide nuclear alert that was intended to signal Washington's anger at Moscow's support of North Vietnam and to jar the Soviet leadership into using their leverage to induce Hanoi to make diplomatic concessions. Carried out between 13 and 30 October 1969, it involved military operations around the world, the continental United States, Western Europe, the Middle East, the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Sea of Japan. The operations included strategic bombers, tactical air, and a variety of naval operations, from movements of aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines to the shadowing of Soviet merchant ships heading toward Haiphong.

To unravel the intricate story of the October alert, the authors place it in the context of nuclear threat making and coercive diplomacy during the Cold War from 1945 to 1973, the culture of the Bomb, bureaucratic infighting, intra-governmental dissent, international diplomacy, domestic politics, the antiwar movement, the "nuclear taboo," Vietnamese and Soviet actions and policies, and assessments of the war's ending. The authors also recount secret military operations that were part of the lead-up to the global alert, including a top secret mining readiness test that took place during the spring and summer of 1969. This mining readiness test was a ruse intended to signal Hanoi that the US was preparing to mine Haiphong harbor and the coast of North Vietnam. It is revealed for the first time in this book.

Another revelation has to do with the fabled DUCK HOOK operation, a plan for which was initially drafted in July 1969 as a mining-only operation. It soon evolved into a mining-and-bombing, shock-and-awe plan scheduled to be launched in early November, but which Nixon aborted in October, substituting the global nuclear alert in its place. The failure of Nixon's and Kissinger's 1969 Madman diplomacy marked a turning point in their initial exit strategy of winning a favorable armistice agreement by the end of the year 1969. Subsequently, they would follow a so-called long-route strategy of withdrawing U.S. troops while attempting to strengthen South Vietnam's armed forces, although not necessarily counting on Saigon's long-term survival.

In researching Nixon's Nuclear Specter, the authors filed mandatory and Freedom of Information requests with the Defense Department and other government agencies and examined documents in diverse U.S. government archives as well as international sources. Today's posting highlights some of the U.S. documents, many published for the first time:

  • A March 1969 memorandum from Nixon to Kissinger about the need to make the Soviets see risks in not helping Washington in the Vietnam negotiations: "we must worry the Soviets about the possibility that we are losing our patience and may get out of control."

  • The Navy's plan in April 1969 for a mine readiness test designed to create a "state of indecision" among the North Vietnam leadership whether Washington intended to launch mining operations.

  • Kissinger's statement to Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin in May 1969 that Nixon was so flexible about the Vietnam War outcome that he was "was prepared to accept any political system in South Vietnam, provided there is a fairly reasonable interval between conclusion of an agreement and [the establishment of] such a system."

  • The top secret warning to the North Vietnamese leadership that Nixon sent through an intermediary Jean Sainteny: If a diplomatic solution to the war is not reached by 1 November, Nixon would "regretfully find himself obliged to have recourse to measures of great consequence and force. . . . He will resort to any means necessary."

  • The Navy's plan for mining Haiphong Harbor, code-named DUCK HOOK, prepared secretly for Nixon and Kissinger in July 1969.

  • The cover page to the Navy's Duck Hook plan for mining Haiphong Harbor, developed in July 1969 at the request of President Nixon and national security adviser Kissinger.
  • A telegram from the U.S. Embassy in Manila reporting on the discovery of the mining readiness test by two Senate investigators, including former (and future) Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus. After learning about aircraft carrier mining drills in Subic Bay (the Philippines), the investigators worried about a possible escalation recalling that Nixon had made such threats during the 1968 campaign.

  • A report from September 1969 on prospective military operations against North Vietnam (referred to unofficially within the White House as DUCK HOOK) included two options to use tactical nuclear weapons: one for "the clean nuclear interdiction of three NVN-Laos passes"-the use of small yield, low fall-out weapons to disrupt traffic on the Ho Chi Minh trail. The other was for the "nuclear interdiction of two NVN-CPR [Chinese People's Republic] railroads"-presumably using nuclear weapons to destroy railroad tracks linking North Vietnam and China.

  • A Kissinger telephone conversation transcript, in which Nixon worried that with the 1 November deadline approaching and major anti-Vietnam war demonstrations scheduled for 15 October and 15 November, escalating the war might produce "horrible results" by the buildup of "a massive adverse reaction" among demonstrators.

  • As part of the White House plan for special military measures to get Moscow's attention, an October 1969 memorandum from the Joint Staff based on a request from Kissinger for an "integrated plan of military actions to demonstrate convincingly to the Soviet Union that the United States is getting ready for any eventuality on or about 1 November 1969." .

  • A Department of Defense plan for readiness actions that included measures to "enhance SIOP [Single Integrated Operational Plan] Naval Forces" in the Pacific and for the Strategic Air Command to fly nuclear-armed airborne alert flights over the Arctic Circle.

  • Navy messages on the 7th Fleet's secret shadowing of Soviet merchant ships heading toward Haiphong Harbor

The thematic focus of Nixon's Nuclear Specter is Madman Theory threat making, which culminated in the secret, global nuclear alert. But as the Kissinger statement to Dobrynin cited above suggested, a core element in Nixon's and Kissinger's overall Vietnam War strategy and diplomacy was the concept of a "decent interval" between the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Vietnam and the possible collapse or defeat of the Saigon regime. In private conversations Kissinger routinely used phrases such as "decent interval," "healthy interval," "reasonable interval," and "suitable interval" as code for a war-exiting scenario by which the period of time would be sufficiently long that when the fall of Saigon came-if it came-it would serve to mask the role that U.S. policy had played in South Vietnam's collapse.
In 1969, the Nixon's administrations long-term goal was to provide President Nguyen Van Thieus government in Saigon with a decent chance of surviving for a reasonable interval of two to five years following the sought-after mutual exit of US and North Vietnamese forces from South Vietnam. They would have preferred that President Thieu and South Vietnam survive indefinitely, and they would do what they could to maintain South Vietnam as a separate political entity. But they were realistic enough to appreciate that such a goal was unlikely and beyond their power to achieve by a military victory on the ground or from the air in Vietnam.

Giving Thieu a decent chance to survive, even for just a decent interval, however, rested primarily on persuading Hanoi to withdraw its troops from the South or, if that failed, prolonging the war in order to give time for Vietnamization to take hold in order to enable Thieu to fight the war on his own for a reasonable period of time after the US exited Indochina. In 1969, Nixon and Kissinger hoped that their Madman threat strategy, coupled with linkage diplomacy, could persuade Hanoi to agree to mutual withdrawal at the negotiating table or lever Moscows cooperation in persuading Hanoi to do so. In this respect, Nixon's Nuclear Specter is an attempt to contribute to better understanding of Nixon and Kissinger's Vietnam diplomacy as a whole.


Document 1A-B: Eisenhower on How the U.S. Ended the Korean War

Document A. Lt. General A. J. Goodpaster, “ Memorandum of Meeting with the President 17 February 1965,” 17 February 1965, Top Secret

Document B. Memo, Benjamin Read to Dean Rusk, subj: Threat of the Use of Nuclear Weapons Against China in Korean War, 4 March 1965, Top Secret


A: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Meeting Notes File, box 1, "[February 17, 1965-10:00AM Meeting with General Eisenhower and Others,]";

B: National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59 [RG 59], Formerly Top Secret Foreign Policy Files, 1964-1966, box 5, Def 12 US.

Nixon's Madman Theory—the principle of threatening excessive or extraordinary force—had its origins the brinkmanship of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, under whom Nixon had served as vice president, and Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles. Claims about how nuclear diplomacy had brought the Korean War to an end against an obstinate Chinese foe became part of Republican Party lore and eventually the conventional wisdom in the United States. Nixon, in particular, would take the lesson to heart.

In 1955 Admiral C. Turner Joy contended that the Communist side had made concessions at the negotiating table in response to the Eisenhower government's nuclear threats against China in May of 1953. In 1956, Life, the mass-market magazine, published a supporting story in which Secretary of State Dulles claimed to have delivered an unmistakable and effective nuclear warning to Beijing on Eisenhower's behalf in 1953. As the story goes, when Dulles traveled to New Delhi, India in May, he told Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that if the armistice negotiations failed the United States “would probably make stronger . . . military exertions and that this might well extend the conflict,” and if the fighting became more intense, “it is difficult to know what [the] end might be.” To underline this veiled threat, Washington apparently sent secret messages to Beijing through other intermediaries to the effect that failure to reach an armistice would lead Washington to remove constraints on types of weapons and targets.

On 17 February 1965, almost a decade later, Eisenhower repeated the story about the Dulles-Nehru meeting to then President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had invited him to the White House to hear his “thinking concerning the situation in South Vietnam.” As summarized by State Department Executive Secretary Benjamin H. Read, Eisenhower told Johnson and the others in attendance that “he had sent a message to Nehru in 1953, warning that we would use nuclear weapons against China if the Korean War continued, and that he believed this warning played a decisive part in terminating the Korean War.”

Secretary of State Rusk—probably at Johnson's or McGeorge Bundy's request—tasked Read to investigate the claim. But Read and his staff could “find no documentary support in such specific terms,” except for “messages which indicate that certain signals were passed both to Nehru and to [Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav] Molotov, which could conceivably have been so interpreted.” According to Dulles' notes, he had told Nehru in New Delhi on 21 May 1953 that if the armistice negotiations failed, the “U.S. would probably make stronger, rather than lesser, military exertion and that this might well extend area conflict (I [Secretary Dulles] assumed this would be relayed to Chinese).”

Even if Molotov or Nehru told Chinese leaders about the Eisenhower administration's signals and interpreted them in the way the administration wanted them to be understood, the warnings were probably not critically important in ending the war. Other considerations were far more relevant to Mao Zedong's decisions. Nevertheless, Eisenhower’s belief that his threats were relevant had an impact on the thinking of his vice president, Richard M. Nixon, who believed that threats could change the conduct of adversaries.

Document 2: Memorandum from Al Haig to Henry Kissinger, "Memorandum from Secretary Laird Enclosing Preliminary Draft of Potential Military Actions re Vietnam," 2 March 1969, enclosing a memorandum from Secretary of Defense Laird to Kissinger, 21 February 1969, and report [excerpts] from Joint Staff, Top Secret/Sensitive, with Kissinger's Memo Reply to Laird, 3 March 1969, Top Secret

Source: NSCF, box 1007, Haig Vietnam Files, Vol. 1 (Jan - March 1969)

From the first weeks of 1969 through much of the rest of the year, Nixon and Kissinger considered how they could apply “maximum pressure” on North Vietnam and the VC/NLF in South Vietnam, which would have the goal of altering the military situation in their favor, enable them to bargain from a position of strength, and persuade the other side to concede key terms to the U.S. and RVN in negotiations.

The subject of military pressure came up early in the new administration at a 27 January late luncheon meeting in the Pentagon between the president, Kissinger, JCS Chairman General Earl Wheeler, and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. During the discussion, someone—probably Nixon or Kissinger—brought up “the possibility of working out a program of potential military actions which might jar the North Vietnamese into being more forthcoming at the Paris talks.” The Joint Staff of the JCS soon set about the task of preparing a set of “indicator actions” designed “to create fear in the Hanoi leadership that the United States is preparing to undertake new highly damaging military actions against North Vietnamese territory, installations, and interests.”

On 21 February, Laird sent a “working copy” of the Joint Staff's proposed “dramatic steps,” which could take the form of either actual or feigned operations—“each developed over an adequate period of time to be picked up by the communists”:

  1. A combined airborne/amphibious operation against several objectives in NVN.
  2. Punitive airborne/airmobile expeditions against enemy lines of communications (LOC) and base areas in Laos and Cambodia.
  3. Renewed and expanded air and naval operations against NVN to include closure of Haiphong and the blockade of NVN.
  4. Subversion of the population and preparation for active resistance by the people against the Hanoi regime.
  5. A technical escalation.
Each of the proposed military measures was “keyed” to political and diplomatic maneuvers designed to increase the potential for a jarring impact. The proposal for a “technical escalation,” the most startling of them all, amounted to a threat to use atomic and/or biological or chemical weapons and included a “visit” by chemical-biological-radiological weapons experts to the Far East. Haig's paraphrase of that option, however, focused on a nuclear escalation: “A plan for actual or feigned technical escalation or war against [the] North (nuclear).” The visit by weapons experts would be accompanied by political moves such as a U.S. diplomatic “hint” of a “possible technical escalation of the war” and a statement by a senior military official that the “Pentagon periodically examines moves by which new and more modern weapons” could be introduced into the Vietnam conflict.

Laird dutifully passed on the Joint Staff's proposals to Kissinger, but he disassociated himself from them in his cover memorandum. Not only was this paper “preliminary,” but General Wheeler and other members of the Joint Chiefs had not reviewed it; nor had Laird's staff. Laird suggested his own skepticism when he wrote that “I must confess to you being more impressed . . . with the potential disadvantages of the proposals than with the possibility of achieving movement in Paris by such means.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Navy: Hospital Ship Collision Did Not Damage ‘USS Arizona Vessel’

Navy: Hospital Ship Collision Did Not Damage ‘USS Arizona Vessel’


A photo of USNS Mercy near the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii shortly after a tug pushing the ship may have struck the iconic white pavilion. Photo courtesy
A photo of USNS Mercy near the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii shortly the ship may have struck the iconic white pavilion. Photo courtesy
The Tuesday accident that damaged the floating dock of the USS Arizona Memorial did not damage the sunken World War II battleship grave of 1,102 sailors and Marines who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy said late Thursday.

U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), which likely collided with the talk when transiting near the memorial, did not suffer obvious damage, according to the combined statement from the U.S. Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, the National Park Service and Navy Region Hawaii.

The iconic white memorial suffered minor damage.

The service is still unsure how the dock was damaged and the Coast Guard and the Military Sealift Command are mounting investigations.

According to the statement:

Mercy was being maneuvered by two tugboats to transit Pearl Harbor from its berth at Hotel Pier as it prepared to go to sea. As the Mercy turned to head out to the channel, the ship may have made contact with the floating dock leading to the USS Arizona Memorial. Strong prop wash from the ship pushed the floating dock and access structure (brow) approximately ten feet toward the memorial, damaging handrails and the dock’s infrastructure.”
The service has started repair work on the dock with hopes of reopening the memorial next week.

“We are hoping to have all repairs done by June 3 so the memorial can be reopened to visitors June 4,” said Capt. Stan Keeve, Commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, in the statement.

The following is the complete May 28, 2015 statement on the USS Arizona collision from Navy Region Hawaii, U.S. Coast Guard, the National Park Service and Military Sealift Command.

There was no damage to the remains of the USS Arizona vessel and no apparent damage to the Mercy. The memorial experienced minor superficial damage. There were no injuries.

The Navy removed the brow and immediately began repairing the above-water floating dock and access structure and evaluating the underwater mooring system of chains and concrete block anchors.

“We are hoping to have all repairs done by June 3 so the memorial can be reopened to visitors June 4,” said Capt. Stan Keeve, Commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“We certainly appreciate the understanding of veterans, visitors and kama’aina,” he added. “Rest assured – we’re working closely with our partners at the National Park Service to safely reopen the USS Arizona Memorial as soon as we possibly can.”

Superintendent Paul DePrey said, “The National Park Service is working hard to provide visitors to Pearl Harbor with the most meaningful experience possible while the dock at the USS Arizona Memorial is being repaired. Harbor boats are still leaving every 15 minutes for Battleship Row, where the battleships were moored on December 7th, 1941. The public can view the USS Arizona from the boat. Visitors should also know that there are many other special Pearl Harbor historic sites to visit: the USS Oklahoma Memorial, the Pacific Aviation Museum, the USS Bowfin Submarine and the Battleship Missouri. Travelers should still expect to have a quality experience when they come out to Pearl Harbor.”

According to the Park Service, if visitors are seeking a contemplative experience at a Pearl Harbor memorial, another option is the USS Oklahoma Memorial, located on Ford Island adjacent to the Missouri Battleship. The normal $3 shuttle bus fee to Ford Island will be waived during the time that repairs are in progress at the USS Arizona Memorial. Visitors should inquire at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center for complimentary shuttle tickets to access the USS Oklahoma Memorial.

The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy work in partnership to bring the public out to the USS Arizona Memorial. During the duration of the time that visitors won’t be able to disembark at the memorial, park rangers will be on the boats to provide historic interpretation and to answer questions. Visitation onto the memorial will resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Military Sealift Command will lead the Navy’s investigation.

The Coast Guard is currently conducting a marine casualty investigation. Maritime casualties involving credentialed mariners fall under the jurisdiction and authority of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Submarine Veterans Keep Memories, History Alive

On a little outcropping of land, four miles inland from where the Toms River spreads out and feeds water from the Pinelands into Barnegat Bay, a bell-ringer tugged a rope, ringing a small bell hanging from a wooden cross, as the shimmering river smacked against the bulkhead just a few feet away.

Once. Twice. Three times. Sixty-five times in all.

One ring for each of the 65 submarines that went out to sea and never came home, over the history of the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet.

The members of the Jersey Shore Base of the U.S. Submarine Veterans marked Memorial Day for the 10th straight year in South Toms River, at the memorial installed to honor those who lost their lives serving aboard submarines.

The memorial -- a Mark 14 torpedo from World War II mounted on a base, surrounded by stones and bricks inscribed with names of those who sponsored the memorial or honoring someone’s memory, with small stone columns and a heavy chain -- was established by the borough of South Toms River in 1997.

Part of the reason it was based there, however, is historical: some of the earliest tests of submarine theories occurred in the Toms River, conducted by Simon Lake.

Lake’s name has been overshadowed in submarine history by that of John Holland, Bob Cloupe of Lanoka Harbor, vice commander of the Jersey Shore Base, said. But Lake played a crucial role in the development of submarines and the U.S. Navy’s fleet. Holland -- for whom the Holland Tunnel between New Jersey and New York is named -- won the first submarine building contract with the Navy in the 1890s, according to an article by Edward C. Whitman on the U.S. Navy’s website titled “The Submarine Heritage of Simon Lake.”

Lake, who was born in Pleasantville, moved to Toms River with his family when he was a boy and attended public school in Toms River, according to his autobiography, “Submarine: The Autobiography of Simon Lake,” as told to Herbert Corey. In the book he recounts flipping over a canvas canoe in the Toms River to see how long he could breathe in air trapped beneath it, then lamenting how he didn’t think to accurately record the amount of time.

Those early tests and his early drawings led to the development of the Argonaut, the first submarine vessel to travel a great distance under water. He sailed it from Norfolk, Va., to Sandy Hook, in 1898, partly on the surface, but also beneath the surface, including riding out a storm on the bottom of the ocean, according Whitman’s article. That feat resulted in a congratulatory telegram from Jules Verne, author of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” which had inspired Lake as a boy, according to, a website maintained by Lake’s great-grandson. The telegram can be seen on that website here.

While Lake was primarily interested in marine salvage, his designed influenced modern submarines, Whitman said.

The submarine memorial in South Toms River honors another piece of local Naval history: the heavy chain that surrounds the memorial came from Admiral Farragut Academy, the former military prepatory school that sat on the banks of the Toms River in Pine Beach for decades.

That school -- which was founded in 1933 but closed in 1994 as enrollment dwindled -- boasted a few prominent alumni, but none more famous than astronaut Alan Shepherd, the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on the moon.

The buildings of Admiral Farragut are long gone now, and its presence is fading from the memories of many -- much like the fading memories of those who served in World War II and the Korean War.

“I joined the submarine veterans in 1995 because I wanted to hear about it (World War II ) from the men who were there,” Base Commander Michael Bost said after Monday’s service. “I wanted to hear their stories before we lose them.

“Now we’re starting to lose the Korean War veterans too,” Bost, of Howell, said.

That is why the ceremony on Memorial Day is important, the veterans said, to keep the memories alive.

It began with the sounding of the dive horn by secretary Charlie Gromek, and a benediction from Dick Rieger. A prayer was read by Douglas Ripley, chaplain of the South Toms River Police Department.

Bost then read off the names of the submarines lost in combat as well as in accidents at sea, with Dan Staruch ringing the small bell for each ship lost.

South Toms River Mayor Oscar Cradle thanked the veterans for their service, and said it was important to honor the dead, ”who gave their lives in the ultimate sacrifice for this country.”

Bost then read “A Submariner’s Poem,” and a bugler played taps.

Run silent, run deep/ For freedom we fought to keep/ How we spent so many days/ Beneath the shimmering waves
A terrible foe we fought/ And our lives; and freedom bought/ Now our souls forever lie/ Restlessly beneath the waves/ So silent now, so deep
For it is not enough for you to weep/ For we shall not have died in vain/ Lest you forget what we gave/ We gave our lives, freedom to save
For if you forget our deeds/ Then we shall never sleep/ Though we lie so silent, so deep
Cloupe said the group has been working on an addition to the memorial that will include a stone engraved with the names of the submarines that have been lost along with the names of submarine veterans who’ve received the Medal of Honor.

Fundraising for the addition is “about 95 percent done,” Cloupe said, and the Jersey Shore Base expects to unveil the addition on Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11. (You can contact him by email at to assist in the fundraising or to donate to the effort.)

Commemorations set to focus on World War I

As commemorations such as the Memorial Day ceremony at Grandview Cemetery Monday mark the final year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, attention will next turn to remembering the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I.

Speaking during Monday’s commemoration, which carried a decidedly heavy Civil War theme, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 108 Commander Robert Leach said that World War I will play a greater role in Memorial Day events in the coming years to mark the United States’ entry into that conflict in April of 1917. That entry was brought about in part by unrestricted submarine attacks by German U-boats on passenger and merchant ships as war raged in Europe, which resulted in the loss of several American lives. Also contributing to American involvement was a German attempt to entice Mexico into a fight with the United States that was uncovered before it could gain traction.

World War I has a special place in the institutional memory of Chillicothe, Leach noted, since the city played host to Camp Sherman, one of the premier training grounds for soldiers in that war. More than 40,000 U.S. troops were trained at the grounds beginning in 1917. Randy Davies, president and CEO of the Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce, said discussions are just getting under way looking at several potential ways the anniversary can be marked in the community during 2017, with a likely kickoff to the commemoration sometime in 2016.

With the World War I focus in the future, however, a large crowd of attendees for this year’s Memorial Day commemoration at the cemetery were welcomed by music from the Civil War period played by the Union army-clad 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regimental Band.

Leach opened the commemoration by laying out why he feels the Grandview Cemetery ceremony is the best in the United States every Memorial Day – one of the main ones being the fact it is held in a cemetery that contains those who served in every conflict the country has been involved with going back to the Revolutionary War.

Veteran Jack Clark offered the Memorial Day address.

“Today, we come together as individuals drawn to this place by a common purpose -- not to remember those who fell in a single battle, but to remember all too many who died from too many wars,” Clark said. “To remember that our nation's freedom was purchased at a very high price. We gather as free men and women, regardless of color, because we all share one creed: We are all proud Americans."

Clark said the commemoration is also a time to carry on a sacred tradition of honoring those who have fallen that spans generations and that will continue with generations to come.

Following a three-volley salute from the Ross County Veterans Honor Guard, attendees followed members of the regimental band to four veteran gravesites in the cemetery – Civil War General Joshua Sill's, Confederate soldier Mordecai Hopewell's, Civil War African-American soldier Alex Roberts' and Union Army soldier and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Richard Enderlin's. At each site, attendees were told a little about each man, rifle salutes by the Co. K Sharpshooters from the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry unit were fired and "Taps" was played.

Why can't we face up to the true horrors of the first world war? - WWI

I recently wandered into the gift shop at a National Trust property and peered into the bargain bin. Most of the products being sold off cheap were first world war centenary souvenirs: Horrible Histories first world war magnets, Red Baron Post-it notes, a strange collection of 21st century images of a 20th century war.

It seems the time for remembering was last year. Britain invested so much energy in marking the centenary of the Great War’s outbreak, that we are now giving much more muted attention to the four years of terrible events that followed. The bargain bin full of last year’s memorial cash-ins is an indication of how hard it is to genuinely understand, face, and do justice to the enormity of the 1914-18 war and what it did to the modern world.

No wonder attention fades in and out (it will be aroused again by the centenaries of the biggest battles, as Australia was engrossed recently by Gallipoli), for we can’t actually face too much of the reality of that war. We can’t even face the reality of its art. One attempt at keeping commemoration alive this year is a Radio 3 series that airs in June. The Essay: Minds at War looks at cultural responses to the Great War including Richard Cork on Picasso’s ballet designs and Arthur Smithon the dada Cabaret in Zurich in 1916. Yet its curiously bland and polite choice of art typifies our inability to really comprehend the scale and monstrosity of the war.

I mean – Picasso’s ballet designs?

Pablo Picasso was to create the greatest modern history painting when Guernica was bombed during the Spanish civil war, but in 1914 he was not politically engaged. He was Spanish and Spain was not in the war. He does suggest the madness of the times in his great 1915 painting Harlequin, and later he was to plan a monument to the poet Apollinaire who died in the war. But the ballets he designed, beginning with Parade in 1917 with Erik Satie composing the music, and also including a string of postwar triumphs with the Ballets Russes, are fantastical, playful creations. Parade is about America, cinema and vaudeville – not war.

Dada is another matter. This cacaphonic anti–art revolution was an explicit rejection of a civilisation murdering its sons.

Yet concentrating on dada’s whacky Zurich origins, where Hugo Ball declaimed deliberate nonsense and Richard Huelsenbeck banged out a wild drumbeat at the Cabaret Voltaire, is a copout. The really angry, explicit, political phase of dadacame in Berlin at the end of the war when Georg Grosz, John Heartfield and others invented photomontage and used its violence to depict a world in pieces. These artists exploit grisly parallels between the fragmentation of images in modern art and the destruction of people by modern war.

Human cost …  soldiers depicted by Henry Tonks.
Human cost … soldiers depicted by Henry Tonks. Photograph: Martin Argles/Guardian

Otto Dix, mixed collage with painting to depict a society of the maimed and disfigured. All the world is wounded, in his macabre masterpieces. The grotesque realism of Dix’s pictures was anticipated by the German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in his great one handed 1915 Self Portrait as a Soldier (Kirchner’s real wounds were mental, not physical). Meanwhile Max Beckmann drew horrific scenes on the front line and painted his allegory of a world become sick, The Night. British artists too represented the war’s horrors. Paul Nash painted the blasted landscape of the western front. Henry Tonks sensitively portrayed men with facial wounds. In France, the Cubist Fernand Legersaw the war as an inhuman battle of robotic machine men. Marcel Duchamp, whose beloved brother Raymond Duchamp-Villon died on the western front, showed his contempt for the rational machine civilisation that killed so many by exhibiting a urinal in an art exhibition in 1917. For all the memorials we don’t seem able to imagine the Great War sufficiently, to comprehend it sufficiently. There is an urge in Britain – influenced by revisionist histories and political cheerleaders – to remember it as somehow creative as well as destructive, a fascinating though sad story with heroes and triumphs as well as horrors.
Baloney, says the art it provoked. This was a carnage that shattered Europe and spoiled the idea of “civilisation” forever. Real memory would not be at the ballet but looking at the savage art of Dix and the truth told by Tonks.

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