Saturday, June 4, 2016

Congress’ Acquisition Priorities for the Navy Don’t Match the Threat By Garry E. Hall

As important as it is to effectively counter the pure evil that is ISIS, Daesh, ISIL, the Islamic State or whatever name we give the gang of thugs who murder innocents in the name of religion, it’s equally critical we keep our eye on the greater threat of enemy-launched ballistic missiles to the homeland, our forces around the world and our Allies.

In this season of congressional budgeting, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said recently, “Protecting our nation from threats to our freedom, democracy, and way of life is the most important responsibility of Congress.”

So why have he and his colleagues charted a course to unilaterally de-fang the U.S. Navy, reducing not only the number of ships in the inventory but also diminishing much needed firepower?

For example, the plan to buy 52 littoral combat ships has been cut to 40. These lightly-armed ships in search of a mission are unlikely to be able to fill the Navy’s offensive requirements outlined in the service’s Distributed Lethality doctrine. Worse, we’re not buying armament for the highly capable guided missile destroyers that arein high demand for both offensive and defensive punch.

Russia and China, as well as Iran and North Korea are threatening the United States and our allies in the Middle East, Europe and Asia with a growing ballistic missile capability. Further, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces are on the move in the Crimea, Ukraine, and now their jets are harassing our ships in the Black Sea as Russian Naval forces attempt to relegate those international waters.

China, whose ballistic missile capability is modern and well regarded, is likewise flexing its military muscles by sponsoring a robust shipbuilding program, altering the balance of naval power in the South China Sea. Besides expanding and upgrading their fleet, they are boldly creating new territory from which they could launch attacks, building artificial islands and threatening the right of free passage while also interfering with the economic zones of its neighbors.

This is not good news for Naval planners who will need more, not less offensive and defensive capabilities in the coming years.

Finally, Iran and North Korea, against the will of other nations, have developed, tested, and successfully launched ballistic missiles capable of delivering devastating destruction on allies and possibly on U.S. territories.

If the threat of ISIS is a problem, the proliferation of ballistic missiles worldwide is extremely troubling.

The U.S. plan to counter this emerging Ballistic Missile threat lies with the development and deployment of the SM3 Missile, capable of intercepting and destroying enemy ballistic missiles, and other threats from space. The United States has already invested $2 billion and the Japanese another $1 billion in the SM3 missile thus far.

But the proposed 2017 Congressional markup has cut the already anemic appropriation for 52 missiles to 35. These missiles not only support Aegis Cruisers deployed worldwide, but also “Aegis Ashore” in Romania today and Poland in 2017 to guard against missile launches by rogue Middle Eastern states such as Iran.

With a growing ballistic missile threat, we cannot afford to jeopardize the production line by continuing to buy this capable and critical weapon system in small quantities that limit their deployment and deterrent effect.

We simply cannot afford to fixate on one target at the expense of another. Let’s get the correct balance of Defense spending, fully funding the right mix of Navy ships and weapon systems, and prepare for the threats we face.

Rear Admiral Garry E. Hall retired from the United States Navy after more than 30 years of service and today is a national security and defense strategic advisor at the Spectrum Group in Washington, D.C.


8 WW I stories passed on through generations in Newfoundland - Newfoundland & Labrador - CBC News

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Do you know any of these "lost Tommies" of World War One pictured 100 years ago?

A soldier (possibly of the Leeds Rifles) sporting an injured hand
A soldier possibly of the Leeds Rifles, West Yorkshire Regiment

Photographs showing the “lost Tommies” of World War One have been given new life in a bid to identify the unknown soldiers.

An expert has stepped in to enhance pictures of British soldiers discovered in an attic in northern France where they had been gathering dust for 100 years.

It is hoped the results will help identify the anonymous heroes shown in the images.

A sample of the best quality images have been painstakingly brought to life by colourisation expert Tom Marshall, 28, from Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

The final results are a haunting testament to the brave but mostly unidentified soldiers from the brutal war .

Media Drum WorldAn unknown solider

Unit unknown

Tom said: “I believe that colour can add another dimension to a person’s face and aid in recognising family resemblances in old photographs.

Media Drum WorldAn unknown soldier
Unit unknown

“Hopefully this will help the campaign to identify the lost Tommies.

Media Drum WorldAn unknown solider
Possibly Leeds Rifles

“None of the men in these photographs have been identified, and this is just a tiny selection of the thousands of images in the collection.”

Media Drum WorldA tired looking soldier from the Army Service Corps
Army Service Corps

In 2011 a team of researchers led by journalist Ross Coulthart uncovered a collection of hundreds of photographs from World War One discovered in the attic of a farmhouse.

Media Drum WorldThis man has Two Years Overseas Service chevrons on right sleeve and a Good Conduct chevron on his left sleeve
Unit unknown

The images were taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier during the 1914-18 conflict. They show Allied soldiers who were billeted in the French village of Vignacourt when they were on leave from the trenches.

Media Drum WorldAn unknown solider
Unit unknown

The couple would make some extra money from photographing Tommies, so the solders could send the images home to their loved-ones.

Media Drum WorldAn unknown British Tommy from the 'A' Squadron, the North Irish Horse Regiment
Northern Irish Horse Regiment

For many families at home in Britain, these would be the last photographs they would ever see of their fathers, brothers and husbands before they died in battle.

Media Drum WorldA soldier of the British West Indies Regiment
British West Indies Regiment

Tom was approached to colourise a portion of the collection in the hope this could make identifying some of the soldiers easier for the public.

Media Drum WorldA soldier from the Middlesex Regiment
Middlesex Regiment

He said: “I would encourage anyone who sees these photos to look through the entire photo collection and help to identify these men, many of whom were photographed just weeks before being killed on the front lines.

Media Drum WorldA soldier of the Army Service Corps
Army Service Corps

“I feel it’s important that they aren’t forgotten, and if we can find out more about even one more soldier’s life then they will always be remembered, with a physical record for their family to treasure.

Media Drum WorldA soldier of the Durham Light Infantry sporting the ribbon of the Military Cross
Durham Light Infantry sporting the ribbon of the Military Cross

“The reaction to this project has been overwhelmingly positive.

Media Drum WorldAn unknown British Colonel, wearing the Military Cross medal ribbon
Colonel wearing the Military Cross
Media Drum WorldA Lance Corporal in the Royal Army Medical Corps
Royal Army Medical Corps

“Many people have commented on the sadness in the eyes of the men, or the distant expressions on their faces, as it’s clear that these soldiers saw something very few could imagine today.”

  • Colourised by Tom Marshall, the original images are courtesy of Ross Coulthart, author of ‘The Lost Tommies’ & The Kerry Stokes Collection - Louis & Antoinette Thuillier.

French naval ship plays host to medal ceremony in Cape Town

As part of its first (and final) port call to Cape Town, the French amphibious supply ship La Grandiere played host to the award of a Legion d’Honneur medal to a British World War II veteran residing in Cape Town.

Arriving in Table Bay Harbour from her home port of Port-des-Galets in La Réunion on 28 May 2016, La Grandière, a landing ship with amphibious qualities, is the last ship of its kind in the French Navy and is on her way to France to be decommissioned.

Commissioned on 21 January 1987, the Batral-class La Grandière was the last of five similar ships built for the French Navy, spending its entire service life in the Indian Ocean providing missions such as sovereignty, supply of the Eparses Islands (Mozambique channel), deployment of troops and contribution to the French diplomacy by representation and cooperation as part of the French Armed Forces of South Indian Ocean (FAZSOI). She regularly exercised with forces from nearby countries such as Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and South Africa.

Although her first time in Cape Town, La Grandière has visited both Durban and Richards Bay numerous previously, the most recent being in September/October last year for joint maritime exercise Oxide between South Africa and France.

An award ceremony was held aboard on Wednesday 1 June 2016 in honour of Leonard Harries (91), a former British soldier who was awarded La Legion d’Honneur for his efforts in Normandie, France, during the Second World War in 1944. He is a British citizen residing in South Africa.

The French government has been awarding the Légion d’honneur, the highest French order for military and civil merits, to D-Day veterans from many different countries for several years as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War

Harries, who father served in both the First and Second World Wars, joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) at the age of eighteen and served in an anti-aircraft unit and later an anti-V1 flying bomb unit. In August 1944, he embarked on a LCT (Landing Craft Tank) and crossed the English Channel to France. There he passed through Amiens, Cambrai and Belgium before entering Germany.

Accepting the award, Harries noted that he was “well aware of the great honour that has been bestowed upon me.”

Reflecting on the occupation of Europe by Germany, Harries observed that it must have been a very cruel time for the proud French people.

“We in England only just escaped the same fate,” Harries said, “I can imagine that the French people would have been very thankful that that period came to an end.”

After 72 years, Harries recalled going through the small French town of Albert, located in the WW I poppy fields in the department of Somme: “I remember telling that to my father, who thirty years earlier had trodden the same ground in the First World War.”

As for Lt-Cdr Nicolas Napal (Commanding Officer of La Grandière), the final trip to France is very emotional. “It is an honour to be the last commander of the ship and to bring her to France,” he said.

Appointed as Commanding Officer in July 2014, the one event which stands out for Napal was his second mission he made with the ship. Undertaking a replenishment trip to the Eparses Islands in the Mozambique Channel, they were their way back to La Réunion when they caught illegal fishers from Madagascar and Comoros near Glorioso Island in the North Mozambique Channel. This resulted in the fishermen being arrested for illegally fishing in French waters.

Departing Cape Town on 2 June, the La Grandière will be visiting the DRC, Senegal, Canary Islands and Lisbon in Portugal before arriving in the port of Brest, France on 11 July.


Rusty Ships and Unused Aircraft Carriers: the Other Side of Asia’s Militaries By Bloomberg

The victory at Midway was enabled by superb intelligence, advanced by sound decision-making, and assured by the skill and courage of those who sailed and flew in harm’s way.

June 4 marks the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the greatest naval battle in American history and the turning point of World War II in the Pacific. Midway is without equal for significance and drama. Its lessons for war planning, war fighting, and war winning are as applicable today as they were in 1942. At Midway, a superior Japanese fleet was surprised and defeated by smaller, less combat-experienced U.S. naval forces. The U.S. victory ensured the Japanese would never again conduct effective large-scale, offensive naval operations during the war. It was a victory enabled by superb intelligence, advanced by sound decision-making and assured by the skill, courage, and sacrifice of those who sailed and flew in harm’s way.

At the outbreak of World War II the Japanese Navy seemed unstoppable. Led by Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, with task force commanders like Adm. Chūichi Nagumo, who spearheaded the Pearl Harbor attack, its successes spanned one-third of the globe from Hawaii to Ceylon. U.S. military forces were down following the attack at Pearl Harbor and surrender in the Philippines, but demonstrated they were not out when Lt. Col. James Doolittle’s B-25 bombers conducted a daring raid on Tokyo in April 1942. Surprised and embarrassed by the raid, Yamamoto erroneously reasoned Doolittle flew from the United States stronghold of Midway, 1,500 miles west of Hawaii. He never considered the raid was actually launched from the USS Hornet. Yamamoto wanted to attack and occupy Midway, believing these actions would lure the U.S. Pacific Fleet and its aircraft carriers for a decisive engagement. Once the U.S. fleet was exposed, Yamamoto’s kido butai, or mobile striking force consisting of four aircraft carriers, would spring its trap to defeat the Americans and maintain Japanese maritime superiority. By comparison, the United States had only three carriers in the central Pacific in the spring of 1942: Yorktown, Enterprise, and Hornet.

What provided the United States a strategic advantage at Midway was superior intelligence derived from decrypting parts of the Japanese navy’s code. Code-breaking is fragmentary, painstaking labor, especially without high computing power. It took an elite team of specialists months of work around the clock to fuse these signals with other sources of information and prepare them in a timely, relevant product for their commander. The leaders of this team of professionals were Cmdr. Joseph Rochefort — the officer in charge of station HYPO, a communications center packed with cryptologists, linguists, translators, and all source intelligence analysts, in the basement of a Pearl Harbor headquarters building — and Cmdr. Edwin Layton, Adm. Chester Nimitz’s director of intelligence. Rochefort and Layton first met in 1929 en route Tokyo to study Japanese language, beginning a lifelong professional admiration and friendship. The two reunited in Hawaii in 1940 where they employed their deep cultural and linguistic understanding of the enemy to maximum advantage. Their effectiveness working together is still considered the gold standard of professional teamwork by modern day intelligence officers and cryptologists.

U.S. Navy Torpedo Squadron Six (VT-6) TBD-1 aircraft are prepared for launching on USS Enterprise (CV-6) at about 0730-0740 hrs, 4 June 1942.

Also on Layton’s staff was Lt. Jasper Holmes, who devised a plan to pass false information on a radio broadcast announcing Midway was having trouble distilling water as a ruse to confirm a vital information gap. The belief that the Japanese were referring to Midway as “AF” was confirmed when a subsequent Japanese transmission relayed, “AF is short on water.”

Nimitz, then-U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, placed full trust in his intelligence team following its accurate predictions of Japanese actions at the Battle of the Coral Sea the month prior. When pressed for specifics on current Japanese intent, Layton declared that the attack would occur on the morning of June 4 from the northwest on a bearing of 325 degrees, 175 miles from Midway at 0600. Nimitz directed his Midway task force commanders to employ their limited forces to inflict maximum damage on the Japanese fleet based upon this intelligence estimate and delegated specific battle plans to them. “The whole course of the war in the Pacific may hinge on the next 2-3 days,” declared an anxious Nimitz as battle approached. At dawn on June 4, U.S. scout planes located the Japanese fleet, after which Nimitz drolly remarked to his N2, “Well you were only five miles, five degrees and five minutes off!”

Initial air strikes by Midway-based Navy, Marine Corps and U.S. Army Air Force planes against Japanese ships were unsuccessful and at great cost, but significantly disrupted Japanese decision-making and operations. Torpedo planes were the first carrier-based aircraft to make runs at four Japanese carriers. Despite their magnificent devotion to mission, none of their weapons impacted a Japanese ship. However, they likely diverted Japanese defenses just in time for dozens of U.S. carrier-based dive-bombers to arrive when the Japanese carriers were most vulnerable while refueling and rearming their planes. Within the span of several minutes, American bombs tore into the flight decks, superstructures, and hangar bays of the four Japanese carriers and all were eventually sunk with 322 aircraft and over five thousand sailors. By comparison, the U.S. only lost one aircraft carrier: Yorktown.

After Midway, the Japanese lost their aura of invincibility and the ability to effectively maintain the offensive. Victory at Midway enabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt to focus on his grand strategy of “Europe First” knowing that the tide had turned in the Pacific.

Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma, photographed from a USS Enterprise (CV-6) SBD aircraft during the Battle of Midway, after she had been bombed by planes from Enterprise and USS Hornet (CV-8).

There were many random events and miscues that occurred during Midway that some historians attribute to luck. However, such occurrences are commonplace in battle. What cannot be attributed to luck — when preparation met opportunity — was the tireless effort to break Japanese code and deliver operational intelligence, or Nimitz’s absolute trust in his subordinates and delegation of authority to task force commanders, and the incredible heroism displayed by American sailors and airmen in the face of withering fire. These are lessons worth remembering today. Rochefort left a legacy to his successors with this simple axiom, “An intelligence officer has one task, one job, one mission. This is to tell his commander, today, what the [enemy] is going to do tomorrow.” In modern parlance that is termed “battlespace awareness,” which along with “assured command and control,” and “integrated fires,” form the pillars of today’s Navy’s information warfare efforts. The axiom is as true in today’s combustible security environment as it was in 1942 during a world war.

Midway is commemorated annually by the U.S. Navy, but often overlooked by the American public due to the lack of familiarity with Midway’s remote location and its anniversary nearly coinciding with D-Day in Europe on June 6. While Midway is a staple at Navy and World War II museums, surprisingly there are only three small official government monuments honoring the valor of those who participated in this history-changing event: Chicago, where the city’s original airport was renamed after World War II; the U.S. Naval Academy; and the island itself, which was declared a national memorial in 2000.

So if you’re looking for something to do this June 4, or on any other national patriotic day: Remember Midway.

Rusty Ships and Unused Aircraft Carriers: the Other Side of Asia’s Militaries By Bloomberg


By David Tweed and Kristine Servando (Bloomberg) — As China spends billions to upgrade and reorganize the People’s Liberation Army, the deficiencies in competing Asia-Pacific militaries are coming into focus. And even some of China’s much heralded military advances are drawing attention for their shortcomings. Here is a snapshot of some of Asia’s less illustrious […]

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Argentine Navy Ship Damaged in Collision With Tanker By Mike Schuler

Damage to the ARA Espora (P-41). Credit:

An Argentine Navy patrol ship has been damaged after dragging anchor and colliding with a tanker in strong winds near the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base in Argentina. Local media reports that the incident occurred Tuesday night when the fisheries patrol ship ARA Esporta, anchored in the outer harbor of the naval base, began dragging anchor in […]

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Gulf of Aden - USS Gonzalez (DDG 66)

Guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) transits the Gulf of Aden. Gonzalez is deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Pasquale Sena/Released)



Friday, June 3, 2016

Rating system of the Royal Navy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Remembering Dad on Memorial Day By Louie Marsh


Remembering Dad on Memorial Day

June 1, 2016 Leave a comment


This month I’m doing the opposite of what we usually do. Normally if there’s a big holiday coming up we talk about it before it happens to prepare for it, or on that day so we can be timely and relevant. This month I’m neither timely or relevant because I’m going to talk about the Memorial Day holiday that we just celebrated.

Come to think of it being late is relevant for Parker, since we are rarely on time around here anyway. I remember when I first moved out here I was told about “Parker Time.” Parker Time, I was informed, is about 15 minutes behind everyone else’s time.

It didn’t take me long to discover just how true that is. I caught on to it and even though I’m the type of person who hates being late, I relaxed about everyone else. For years now I’ve told people who apologize for being late to church or whatever the same thing. “No one is ever late around here, you’re just less early!”

Hence my “less early” thoughts on Memorial Day.


Memorial Day is both historical and personal to me. Being the son of a World War Two veteran of course it’s personal. Being a member of the Marine Raider Association (due to my father of course) and its Chaplain etc. also makes it very personal to me.

We don’t have very many World War Two Raiders left. According to statistics released by the Veteran’s Administration, our World War II vets are dying at a rate of approximately 492 a day. This means there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II.

In the last few years I’ve lost a lot of Raider friends, and most of the men who knew my Dad well or served with him have passed away. Thankfully the Marine Corps have brought the Raiders back by reflagging the three MARSOC (Marine Special Operation Command) battalions as Raiders. So even though the original Raiders will soon be gone their legacy will be upheld and expanded by new generations.

If that’s not enough, since I’ve been hosting the Ultimate Sacrifice on KLPZ 1380am on Wednesday mornings recently, I think about veterans and their sacrifices more than ever.

Did you know that this year on the same day we celebrated Memorial Day here in the United States the UK and Germany also marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland? Never heard of it? Jutland was the largest naval battle of World War One and the largest battle between battleships in history.

The German navy lost 11 ships at Jutland, including a battleship and a battle cruiser, and suffered 3,058 casualties; the British sustained heavier losses, with 14 ships sunk, including three battle cruisers, and 6,784 casualties. But since the German navy retired and never really challenged the Royal Navy again it’s considered a British victory.

It’s a century old now and how many people even know it happened? Like everything, the memory of past sacrifices slips away as that generation dies. We are watching the same thing happening now regarding World War Two. As that generation dies the memory of it tends to slip away as well.

This is inevitable unless we actively do something to stop it. Like the law of gravity, it always works unless you constantly push against it. Our memories slip with the passing of time, and unless we record history we will lose it. Of course recording it doesn’t mean anyone will actually pay attention to it, but at least it’s there for those who choose to honor the sacrifice of our veterans by learning about what they did.

My father died in 2008, an unbelievable eight years ago. Even while I can’t really believe he’s been gone so long, my memories of who he was and what he did do not fade. And having his webpage with his history of the Raiders online ( keeps the memory alive also.

To me, Memorial Day is largely personal because it focuses my mind even more than usual on Dad. There’s isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and my Mom of course. But on Memorial Day I try and spent a little time meditating on what he did in the two wars he fought in for this country.

He wasn’t a famous historical figure, of course. He was just one of millions who served, did what they could as well as they could, and then when it was all over went back to their private lives. Dad was in many ways a typical veteran of his wars. Yet when you add them together, these men and women changed the world. They liberated millions, and when you count all their descendants that number swells to hundreds of millions at the very least.

Memorial Day is both personal and historical. It’s about remembering those who died to both make the world better and to give that better to us as their final and lasting gift.

I don’t believe I’m worthy of such a gift, but I am so grateful for it. May we all strive to live lives that will make the most of what they have paid such a price to give us.

# # #

Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.

D-Day Memorial foundation holds trove of World War II items

Down in a basement in a brick building on East Main Street in Bedford is a treasure trove of artifacts and stories from World War II and D-Day veterans themselves.

It’s so hidden even John Long, education director of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, said it is one of Bedford’s “best kept secrets.”

Long, with D-Day Education Coordinator Maggie Mitchell and two interns, Will Harris and Tyler Harris — no relation to one another — work tirelessly to process more than 10,000 items families have donated to their archival storage room.

Items include military uniforms, weapons, maps, books, correspondence, photographs, photo albums, souvenir items from Germany and even prisoner of war guidebooks advising what to do if a soldier was captured.

The building at 133 E. Main St. is home to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation — about 2 miles from the actual D-Day Memorial. Unlike the Memorial, the archives are not open to the public.

The team said they are constantly mesmerized by the things dropped off.

“People bring in donations all the time,” Tyler Harris said. “Usually they are kind enough to stop in and tell us what it is but sometimes things are just dropped off on the stoop and we have to figure out what it is.”

Not too long ago, family members of Robert “Bob” Slaughter, who helped establish the D-Day Memorial, brought by several items owned by the veteran in the war.

Not a “Bedford Boy” but a “Roanoke Boy,” Slaughter, who died in 2012, is described by Will Harris as unique because he served from D-Day all the way to the end of the war and was only wounded twice.

“By the end of the World War II, the entire 116th Infantry Regiment had pretty much 100 percent casualties, everyone was either wounded or killed,” he said.

Company A, which was part of the 116th Infantry, was home to 35 Bedford men.

Proportionately, Bedford, a community of 3,200 in 1944, suffered the nation’s highest losses on D-Day with 19 killed.

Of Slaughter’s things, one particularly struck the attention of the team — a complete and original “Order of the Day” from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower with all the signatures of the men in Slaughter’s platoon.

All American personnel received this order before the invasion and Slaughter carried this in his pocket on D-Day and throughout the rest of the war, Tyler Harris said.

The foundation is in the process of creating a master plan for an education center where there will be museum space to exhibit items currently in the archive storage room — which is full.

The center will not be built for several years, and Long added it is going to take more money and fundraising.

Some of the items go on loan to other museums, such as the Marshall Museum on the campus of the Virginia Military Institute.

The foundation began collecting artifacts after descendants started donating them in 1995 even before the memorial was built or dedicated.

Once donated, the items are processed, researched, given a description, preserved in a box and wrapped in paper if necessary.

“The goal is to keep it in the condition it came in because things don’t tend to get better, they tend to get worse,” Mitchell said.

His favorite item, a pair of binoculars, comes from Frank Draper, a Bedford Boy.

“When you know the story behind a veteran and you get to see that, because he was wearing those binoculars when he died. I mean, how can you not get emotional about that?” Mitchell said.

There is a hat from a French POW worn in a concentration camp, boots worn on D-Day that went across Omaha Beach, propaganda leaflets used to convince the Germans to surrender, a parachute, a 49-star flag that was issued for only a year, and a watch worn by James Foster that stopped the moment he hit the water and presumably died.

“It’s assumed to have stopped [at] the time of his death, when he was exiting the craft,” Mitchell said.

With the room just about at full capacity, some items have to be turned down, but not if they can be used for educational purposes.

Mitchell said they have so many ration stamps — which are not rare — it gives children an opportunity to touch something.

“That helps leave an impression with them,” she said.

Last summer, an item that had never been donated before came into the office — a gold star banner.

When a solider went off to war, families would put a blue star banner in their window. When that solider died, they would replace it with a gold star banner.

The banner was in remembrance of Daniel Womack of Lynchburg, who served in Company B in the 116th Infantry.

“What I like about artifacts is they come with stories,” Long said. “But we do have to do a lot of research to find out more information.”

When asked what Long would love to see come in the archives room, he had his hopes set high.

“The Higgins boat,” he said jokingly.

A Higgins boat, known to the Navy as a landing craft, vehicle and personnel, was used in World War II to carry troops onto a beach, as on D-Day.

Actually what he really would like is something much smaller — a clicker used by Allied paratroopers for identification on D-Day.

“In the dark, you hear someone coming and you click once, and if they were American, they would click twice,” he said. “If they didn’t click back you knew they were German.”



Amesbury library hosts author of World War II survival story

The 378-foot freighter/passenger ship Heredia was carrying bananas, coffee and 62 passengers from South America to New Orleans when it was torpedoed by a German submarine in the Gulf of Mexico in May 1942. Courtesy / Steamship Historical Society of America

If you believe the ocean provides protection for the U.S. from its enemies, that World War II was fought in Europe and the Pacific, and that American civilians weren’t affected by combat, come to Amesbury Public Library on Thursday, June 9 at 7 p.m. That’s when author Alison O’Leary will present "So Close to Home," the true story of men and women pitted against the sea during World War II ― a portrait of the determination of the human spirit that will challenge popular knowledge of the war.

“We were surprised by how much we didn’t know about World War II,” O’Leary said about researching the book with co-author Michael Tougias, who also wrote “The Finest Hours.” “The fact that German U-boats came across the Atlantic and were so deadly to ships along our coast was a revelation.”

Central to the presentation is the story of an average American family seeking to get ahead, says O’Leary. From Texas, Ray and Ina Downs were hard-working people raising a young family in 1941 when they decided to take a chance on moving to South America for a well-paying position with United Fruit Company. On the way back in 1942 the U.S. was at war with Japan and Germany and the family’s path intersected with that of a German submarine prowling the Gulf of Mexico.

“People are shocked that the submarines were able to reach the mouth of the Mississippi River, that they were so effective at sinking dozens of ships there, and that they were able to lay in wait for ships to come to them,” O’Leary says. “We were fortunate to find the German submarine commanders’ war diaries that show where they were, what they were thinking and how they handled the situations.”

One survivor, Ray “Sonny” Downs, remembers the night of May 19, 1942 well. Another family member provided the authors with an audio recording of his mother’s survival story because the family, including two children, were separated in the chaos of the sinking ship and each was left to fight for survival individually. Tougias and O’Leary also uncovered a local hero, Roy Sorli, a merchant mariner from Lynnfield, who saved 11-year-old Lucille Downs. They interviewed Sorli’s son for more information on his story.

World War One: Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness lays wreath at Flanders battlefield - BBC News

California poised to adopt ultra-leftist K-12 history curriculum

On World War II:

The account skips lightly over American victories, concentrating instead on the loss of Bataan, "one of the most grievous defeats in American military history." Somehow the new framework has contrived to teach World War II, America's greatest military victory, in such a way as to have students concentrate on America's most grievous military defeat.

Walking in footsteps of WWI Marines By Sgt Melissa Kamath


Walking in footsteps of WWI MarinesSgt. Melissa Karnath

Lance Cpl. Escamilla Emmanuel, protocol clerk, drinks water from the Devil Dog Fountain in Belleau, France, May 26, 2016. More than 70 Marines walked in the footsteps of the original Devil Dogs while touring the battle fields of the Battle of Belleau Wood during a professional military education trip. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melissa Karnath/Released)

Marine Corps University sponsored the five-day PME trip for Marines with Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall, and Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. After a full day of travel, a day in Paris and a day at Normandy, the Marines spent the fourth day at Belleau.

Led by Mr. Ray Shearer, a Marine veteran and director and chairman of the American Oversees Memorial Day Association, the day began at Les Mares Farm, in the countryside near the town of Belleau. Marines learned the Marines of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments arrived without adequate food, water, equipment or maps of the terrain and area.

Marines continued the tour by bus then hiked from the roadside through a trail and local farm fields to Hill 142. With the trail leading into woods, Marines explored trenches that were once fighting positions for Marines during World War I.

“There’s no better way to educate than by walking on the battlefield,” said Shearer.

By bus, the next stop was a wheat field to continue learning about the battle. Throughout the day, three Marines each spoke about the heroic acts of Marines during the Battle of Belleau Wood.

From the wheat field, Marines walked down the road to a small town of Lucy le Bocage. From a hill in the town, a house in the distance of the countryside was pointed out as the headquarters for the 6th Marine Regiment.

“Being able to walk and see some of these sights that still exist after almost 100 years,” said Cpl. Joshua Bettis, a distribution management office outbound counselor. “To me it’s unbelievable; there’s still trenches dug out by the Marines who came before us.”

After a short bus ride, the Marines continued the tour on foot, walking to the town of Bouresches, continuing along the edge of farm fields into the woods of Belleau. While in the woods, Marines paused to look at trenches, holes and impressions in the ground from fighting holes and enemy shelling.

“For me I had goose bumps all day getting to see these places,” said Sgt. Curtis Dunham, operations noncommissioned officer in-charge, Administrative Resources Information.

After hiking for more than an hour through the woods passing by a bunker and fortification, Marines stood in a clearing of Belleau Wood where the final attack of the battle took place. Marines took photos of the Marine Monument with a life-size sculpture of a World War I Marine surrounded by cannons. A tree with a huge knot also stands in the clearing. Under the knot is a shell which the tree has grown over. Marines also collected dirt, bark and leaves.

From the Belleau Wood Marine Monument, Shearer led the Marines down a trail to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial where more than 2,200 American service members are interred. Each service member is honored with a white marble marker of a cross or Star of David.

Marines had time to tour the chapel over looking each service member’s final resting place. Evening colors took place with Marines lowering two American flags as the Navy Hymn, Eternal Father Strong to Save, was sounded from the chapel, followed by God Bless America.

“The colors ceremony is something I will never forget. To see the colors come down at Belleau Wood, I’ll never forget that,” said Dunham. “Being at the Belleau Wood Memorial and Cemetery gave me a tingle up my spine.”

Following the path lined with neatly trimmed trees, bushes of flowers and immaculately cut, lush, green grass, Marines traveled to take a quick drink from the Devil Dog Fountain a short distance down the road.

“Our memories dim with time and the best way to honor the service members who fought here for freedom, our liberties and France is to educate our young troops today,” said Shearer.

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