Saturday, November 19, 2016

Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War reviewed by David F. Beer

Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War

by David M. Lubin

Oxford University Press, 2016

Horace Pippin, "The End of the War: Starting Home", 1930–33;
Childe Hassam, "Flags, Fifth Avenue", 1918 (Detail)
On its back cover Alexander Nemerov states that Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War is "the most thoughtful and imaginative book ever written about the art of the First World War." In my opinion, Nemerov is right on. In fact, this book took me to places I'd never dreamed of. Who knew, for example, that some of the best known WWI recruiting posters evolved from earlier artistic depictions and traditions, that Alfred Stieglitz's famous 1917 photograph of a urinal would be seen as an artistic "rejoinder against the appalling naïveté of Americans who were ecstatic about sending their young kinsmen to war" (p. 122), or that Horace Pippin, an artist and veteran of the famous Harlem Hellfighters, tellingly painted his black soldiers as almost invisible on a dark foreground as they overcome a group of Germans in his "The End of the War"?

David Lubin has produced an encyclopedic work which involves not only paintings but also posters, film, photography, sculpture, architecture, and to a certain extent, literature. In the course of ten richly illustrated chapters the author offers interpretations and connections that make this a truly interdisciplinary work. He shows how in their craft artists of all kinds strove — sometimes blatantly and sometimes more indirectly — to debunk many of the illusions held by Americans about the war. He also shows us how artistic response to the war was not only varied but also widespread and long lasting.

Harry R. Hopps, Enlistment Poster, 1917; John Singer Sargent, "Gassed", 1919 (Detail)
So much of this book was enlightening and revelatory for me. John Singer Sargent's famous 1919 painting "Gassed" is an example. Preceded by a detailed account of the Anglo-American artist's background, we're introduced to how this painting came to be. Then the painting itself: the significance of the sky's color and tone, the ten blinded men with their bandaged eyes (one tumbling out of line to presumably vomit, another raising his leg needlessly high to move onto a duckboard), other suffering men around them, the setting sun, and, perhaps most pathetic but easily missed, the game of football being played in the faint background. Allusion to Bruegel's 1565 painting of the blind leading the blind is inevitable, but Sargent was to make this point more subtly three years later in his group portrait of 22 generals entitled "Some General Officers of the Great War."

Less subtle is John Steuart Curry's "Parade to War, An Allegory," where a familiar street scene of soldiers marching, crowds watching, bayonets gleaming, flags and ribbons flowing, seems at first glance energized and patriotic—until we notice that the soldiers' faces are "cadaverous, skull-faced figures of death" (p. 253). Countering such art, and illustrating how severely the nation was divided on getting involved in the European war, are the paintings of Childe Hassam and others (including the poster artists). A member of the Preparedness movement and an Anglophile from New England, Hassam was well known for his 30 patriotic flag paintings. Two are shown and discussed by the author, one a mass of various flags fluttering over Fifth Avenue and the other, "Allies Day, May 1917", a similar scene from a quite different angle.

With numerous examples, Professor Lubin shows how the various fine arts of the time reflect the familiar WWI themes of trench fighting, death, hideous wounds, shell shock, fear, conscientious objection, German atrocities, the plight of returning soldiers, and, not least, American dissension about the war. Few aspects of the conflict failed to become a subject of art in one form or another, and often the connections were complex and surprising. Some, like King Kong, are still with us today. Thus Grand Illusions is an impressively rich and rewarding read for anyone interested in the Great War and how it manifested in the rich world of art. A splendid book, indeed!

David F. Beer

Editor's Notes:

1. The author of Grand Illusions, Professor Lubin, is the principal advisor for the new exhibition World War I and American Art, which opened on 4 November at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. After it closes next April, the exhibit will move to the New York Historical Society and then Nashville's Frist Center for the Visual Arts for the remainder of 2017. The exhibition presents approximately 160 works, most of which are discussed in Grand Illusions.

2. Grand Illusions would make a great Christmas gift for anyone interested in the cultural dimensions of the Great War and 20th-century America.

Original Page:

Sent from my iPad

Recommended: Air Force Magazine's World War I Collection of Articles

If you have any interest in the aviation aspect of the war, Air Force Magazine, published by the Air Force Association, has a great resource for you. They now provide online over two dozen articles that they have published over the years on WWI aviation. Here's a selection from the article the magazine presented on the contribution's of legendary New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who has both an airport and a Broadway musical named for him.

La Guardia in Flying Gear

In 1918, Fiorello La Guardia was, concurrently, a member of Congress and a captain on active duty with the Army Air Service in charge of American airmen on the Italian Front in World War I. He flew five combat missions himself, during his time in Italy. In between his military duties, he made speeches and had dinner with King Victor Emmanuel III. He constantly upset army bureaucrats on behalf of his airmen and more often than not, he prevailed. It seems unlikely that anyone other than La Guardia could have done it.

Fiorello ("Little Flower" in Italian) was born in 1882 in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. His father, a recent immigrant from Foggia in Italy, was a musician. He joined the army as a band leader when Fiorello was a few months old. Fiorello grew up on army posts, mainly Ft. Huachuca and Whipple Barracks in Arizona. When his father retired, the family moved to Trieste, where his mother had been born. Young La Guardia entered U.S. consular service in Europe and returned to the United States in 1906 to work as an interpreter at Ellis Island by day and attend New York University School of Law by night. He eventually became deputy attorney general for the state, assigned to the New York City bureau.

In 1915, "having convinced myself that we were going to get into the war, I decided that I wanted to go into our Air Corps," La Guardia said. A friend, Sicilian immigrant Giuseppe Bellanca, ran a small flying school at Mineola, Long Island. The trainer aircraft was a light Blériot monoplane with a three-cylinder engine. It was a single-seater, so the student was alone in the aircraft.

Training began with "grass cutting" runs of about a mile and a half on the ground. The student then got out, turned the plane around, and taxied back. Once the student was able to keep the machine straight, La Guardia said, "the next step was a straightaway hop on the same course. We would lift the machine about 15 to 100 feet in the air and then land. This simple instruction went on for quite a while before we were allowed to circle the field."

La Guardia was elected to Congress in 1916. He introduced a bill to make the fraudulent sale of war materials a felony punishable by imprisonment in peacetime and by death in time of war. It never got out of the Judiciary Committee.

When the United States entered the war, La Guardia supported the administration's request for a military draft. "I had told the young men in my district that if I should vote for putting them into the Army, I would go myself, and personally I was eager to get into action," La Guardia said. "I was 34 years old, physically fit, but too short to become a foot soldier. Whatever further war measures might be needed could easily pass the House without my vote. So I was ready to go to the front and determined to do so." In July 1917 he applied for a direct commission.

He saw no reason to resign from Congress. Some members who joined the military did resign their seats; others did not. "I felt it would be good for Congress and good for the Army to have some of us serving abroad," La Guardia said.

As he told the story in his memoirs, he put nothing on his application blank to indicate he was a member of Congress. The officer who interviewed him was "impressed by the fact that I had some little flying training," he said, and offered him a commission as a lieutenant. A few days later, he reported to the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps and was taken to see Maj. Benjamin Foulois, soon to be chief of air service for the American Expeditionary Force.

Foulois "asked me if I was related to Congressman La Guardia," he said. "I asked him if that would make any difference one way or the other. "No, not at all," he said."

La Guardia and Italian Aircraft Designer Giovanni Caproni

Foulois knew, of course, exactly who La Guardia was. A contingent of 150 aviation cadets was to be sent to Italy for pilot training. The United States had only 26 pilots and a few military airfields. Most training had to be done abroad, in France, Britain, and Italy. By amazing coincidence, the site chosen for training in Italy was Foggia, which was La Guardia's father's hometown.

La Guardia was assigned to Mineola, where the cadets were being assembled for overseas deployment. He was promoted to captain and assistant to the contingent commander.

One of La Guardia's first tasks in Mineola was to make travel arrangements. The War Department order specified use of "any passenger liner sailing from the port of New York." La Guardia booked 156 first class passages on the Cunard liner SS Carmania. He took the position that he had helped shape the law that created the cadets and knew that the intent of Congress was to provide them first-class passage. The ship left New York on 11 September.

"Our boys soon took over the ship and were running all over the decks," La Guardia said. The colonel in command of all Army personnel aboard was furious and ordered the cadets sent down to steerage because they were not yet officers. Fiorello took exception, arguing that they had first class tickets and the status of commissioned officers.

"It came out that I was a member of Congress," he said. The colonel continued to fume, but "we managed to win the argument," La Guardia said.

When the ship docked in Liverpool, there was a change of plans. The cadets were sent to British flying schools, and La Guardia went to Paris, where he met a different group of 125 cadets and took them by train to Foggia, about 150 miles southeast of Rome. La Guardia's detachment arrived on 17 October. Forty-six American cadets were already there, under command of Maj. William Ord Ryan and training as pilots on Farman biplane pushers. La Guardia was the second-ranking American officer at Foggia.

Continue reading the full article about La Guardia's service in Italy and access the full WWI collection of Air Force Magazine here:

Original Page:

Sent from my iPad

A Puzzling War Memorial

Below is a memorial for both World Wars located in Ettlingen near Karlsruhe, Germany.  A few years ago I posted it on our newsletter, the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire, and asked for an explanation of the symbolism of the lower section from our readers. (The upper "Grim Reaper" part is pretty clear.) Unfortunately, no explanation was forthcoming. I was very disappointed. 

Since I'm still seeking an explanation I've decided a) to present it to our readers at Roads to the Great War and b) offer a prize for the winning submission.  Information on contest prize and rules are below.  ***Additional detail added 18 Nov 2016:  We have learned through one of our helpful readers that the reference to 1939-1945 was added to the original 1927 sculpture after WWII. Consequently, the lower portion's symbolism was originally linked somehow to the Great War.***


The winning entry will receive our World War I Centennial Hit Parade CD.  Play list and details can be found HERE.


1.  The winning entry will be the best explanation/interpretation of the 1939-1945 section of the Karlsruhe War Memorial. At his discretion the judge may award multiple prizes. (Or not award any prizes at all.)

2.  The winning entry must include explanations of who the combatants are, whether they are fighting each other or some snake-like monster, what the bowling ball-like object represents, what exactly the thingamajig on the far right is, and why both parties are red-headed.

3.  Entries must be posted in the comments section of the article with emails included for contact information. Entries close at midnight Pacific Standard Time, 24 November 2016.

4.  Needless to say, all decisions by the judge are final.  

5.  The winning entry (if any) will be published on Roads to the Great War on 27 November 2016.

Original Page:

Sent from my iPad

100 Years Ago: After 142 Days the Battle of the Somme Ends

The Battle of the Somme ended on 18 November 1916. The final three weeks of the Somme featured some efforts by the British Army to tidy up the front lines and pretty-up a costly venture that had actually failed to achieve any of its original strategic aims. Two actions during the period were microcosms of the full battle. These were the attacks on a man-made hill, the Butte de Warlencourt, and the village of Beaumont Hamel. 

The Butte de Warlencourt, a prehistoric burial mound on the side of the Albert to Bapaume Road, was, during the 1916 Battle of the Somme, a position of great strength for the Germans. It was fortified with barbed wire, riddled with tunnels, defended by machine guns and mortars, and stood as a sentinel in front of the major German trenches called Gird Trench and Gird Support. 

The View from Atop the Butte de Warlencourt Today

As the British Army clawed its way forward over the Somme battlefield during the summer of 1916, the Butte, towering over the surrounding countryside, was of immense value to the Germans. By late September 1916 the front line had been pushed toward the nearby village of Le Sars. 

It was not until 5 November that an all-out effort was made to take the Butte. This was undertaken by the 7th, 8th, and 9th Durham Light Infantry of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. The attack by the Durhams was undertaken in appalling conditions. Despite heavy casualties, the 9th Durhams managed to take the Butte, only to be driven off by German counterattacks. Casualties in the three battalions amounted to 273 men killed plus many other wounded (over 80 of the fatalities are now buried in the nearby Warlencourt British Cemetery.) 

The View from Atop the Butte de Warlencourt in 1917

Other than its brief capture, the Butte remained under German control throughout 1916. It was not until the German retirement to the Hindenburg Line in February 1917 that the Butte passed into British hands. 

Beaumont Hamel had been attacked on the first day of the Somme by the 29th Division. The attack had failed comprehensively despite the detonation of the large Hawthorn mine on the ridge overlooking the village. The line did not move an inch for almost 20 weeks. 

Beaumont Hamel Was Leveled in the Battle

This failure was an embarrassing, constant reminder that the Somme offensive had never gone according to plan. As the winter approached, Sir Douglas Haig, who was scheduled to attend an Allied planning conference, needed some indicator that the situation was improving. He ordered the capture of Beaumont Hamel, committing more artillery to the sector than was available on 1 July. Also, since some of the mining tunnels were still open under Hawthorn Ridge, the big mine was reloaded. The front line over it had been re-fortified by the unsuspecting defenders. 

The attack was to be carried out by the Fifth Army with the 2nd Corps South of the Ancre River bank and the Vth Corps north of the river. The Vth Corps attack would have the 63rd Division on the right, 51st Highland Division and 2nd Division in the center, and the 3rd Division on the left with the 37th Division in reserve. 

Rebuilt Beaumont Hamel from No Man's Land of 13 November 1916

The attack had been originally planned for 24 October, but primarily because of torrential rain there were a number of delays until the attack was eventually scheduled for 13 November. The mine went off at 05:45, and the 51st Highland Division overran the German line and captured the village, Y-Ravine, and what is now known as Newfoundland Memorial Park. It was the only success of the broader assault that day. For the next five days the British divisions along the Ancre inched along the river banks, but by 18 November there was no point in proceeding as winter was on the way. The Battle of the Somme had come to its end. 

This article is just one of 15 features presented in the November 2016 issue of our free monthly newsletter, The St. Mihiel Trip-Wire.  Click HERE to read all our articles and subscribe.

Original Page:

Sent from my iPad

Makin Island, 11th MEU, Malaysian Armed Forces Conduct Exercise Tiger Strike

Email this story to a friend   Print this story

By Petty Officer 1st Class Mathew J. Diendorf, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

LAHAD DATU, Malaysia (NNS) -- Sailors aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and Marines with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) joined members of the Malaysian armed forces for Exercise Tiger Strike 16 in Lahad Datu, Malaysia, Nov. 10-13.

Tiger Strike 16, formally known as Malaysia-United States Amphibious Exercise (MALFEX), is a Malaysia-led, bilateral training exercise between the Malaysian forces and U.S. forces with emphasis on increasing combat readiness and conducting amphibious operations within the context of a stability and security operations. Tiger Strike allows participating forces to share their best training practices across a wide variety of military skills, conduct a bilateral amphibious landing, and improve communication and coordination.

Makin Island Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Melson said the amphibious assault ship brought added training value to the exercise.

"With Makin Island's ship-to-shore capability, U.S. and Malaysian forces were able to rehearse the planning and execution of a variety of amphibious scenarios, whether that was a combat operation or humanitarian assistance mission," said Melson. "It was an honor to participate in this exercise with Malaysia, and I am confident both countries learned a great deal from one another."

Members of the Makin Island and 11th MEU medical departments, along with embarked Fleet Surgical Team 5 personnel, provided medical facility tours and familiarization events aboard Makin Island. U.S. and Malaysian medical personnel also conducted a bilateral medical civil affairs project at a local clinic near Lahad Datu.

"Our ability to receive patients via air and surface, and provide life-saving surgical treatment here on board means we bring a critical capability to any area we operate within," said FST 5 Officer-in-Charge Capt. John Crabill. "The embarked team of medical professionals and Makin Island's full medical suite allowed U.S. and Malaysian forces to exchange best practices and lessons learned about at-sea medical operations, including casualty reception, combat trauma care, and operational stress."

Aboard Makin Island, the 11th MEU conducted operational planning evolutions with their counterparts of the 7th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment. While training ashore, Marines and soldiers focused on jungle survival, non-lethal weapons, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, helicopter loading and off-loading drills, landing zone security and control, and combat service support.

"Tiger Strike was an opportunity for U.S. Marines and Sailors to interact with soldiers from the Malaysian armed forces and share best training practices across a wide variety of military skills," said Col. Clay C. Tipton, commanding officer, 11th MEU. "These bilateral exercises allow our militaries to increase combat readiness and enhance coordination and communication between forces, which are important steps to maintaining regional security and stability."

The exercise included approximately 300 soldiers from the 7th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment, and 300 U.S. Marines and Sailors from the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 11th MEU.

"This side-by-side training with our counterparts is invaluable," said Melson. "Relationships become stronger, and both sides gain skills and knowledge that enable coordinated and effective bilateral operations."

Makin Island, the flagship of the Makin Island ARG, is operating with the embarked 11th MEU in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The MKI ARG/11th MEU provides senior U.S. military leadership and coalition partners with a flexible force which can rapidly respond to contingencies and crises within a region. With ships, aircraft, troops, and logistical equipment, the ARG/MEU is a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of conducting everything from combat operations to providing humanitarian assistance.

The 7th Fleet area of operations includes more than 48 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, running from the international dateline to the eastern coast of Africa, and from the Antarctic to the Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan.

While in 7th Fleet, the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU will be assigned to Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.

For more information about Tiger Strike 16, please contact the 11th MEU Public Affairs Officer Maj. Craig Thomas at, or Amphibious Squadron 5 PAO Lt. David Gardner at

For more information, visit,, or

For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit,, or

For more news from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, visit, or

Original Page:

Sent from my iPad

USS Sampson to Support New Zealand—led Forces Responding to Earthquake

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy is supporting recovery efforts in response to the earthquake in New Zealand. In addition to a maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, USS Sampson (DDG 102) and its two embarked MH-60R Seahawk helicopters is now, at the request of the New Zealand government, on its way to Kaikoura to support disaster relief efforts.

USS Sampson, a U.S. Navy destroyer whose crew just days ago conducted a passing exercise with Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship (HMNZS) Endeavour, a Royal New Zealand Navy fleet replenishment oiler, has altered course to join the New Zealand-led task force efforts.

"American presence matters, as shown yet again today," said Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command. "Our prayers go out to our friends in New Zealand as they deal with another devastating earthquake on the South Island. But more than that, our help also goes out. At the request of the New Zealand government, the USS Sampson and her two embarked MH-60R helicopters will join the U.S. P-3 (maritime patrol aircraft) that's already on station there in support of the disaster relief effort in New Zealand."

Sampson was already transiting the Western Pacific en route to Auckland, New Zealand, to participate in the Royal New Zealand Navy's International Naval Review commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Sampson's visit to New Zealand will be the first in 30 years for a U.S. Navy ship.

Sampson is assigned to U.S. 3rd Fleet and is currently on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. Though operating in the Western Pacific, an area historically controlled by the 7th Fleet commander, Sampson will remain assigned to the 3rd Fleet commander.

A P-3C Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 was participating in Exercise Mahi Tangaroa as part of the New Zealand International Naval Review when the earthquake struck and has been tasked with assessing the area surrounding Kaikoura. The P-3C was operating from Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland in Whenuapai.

VP-47 is a U.S. Navy squadron based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The P-3C Orion is a four-engine, turboprop maritime patrol aircraft with the endurance and ability to conduct wide-area maritime search operations, which gives the aircraft an advantage for search-and-rescue missions.

The U.S. Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy regularly operate and train together in engagements such as the U.S.-led biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise and the annual Pacific Partnership disaster response preparedness mission. Our militaries also participate in the New Zealand-led biennial Southern Katipo exercise and the annual Tropic Twilight humanitarian assistance/disaster relief exercise.

For more information, visit,, or

For more news from U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit

Original Page:

Sent from my iPad

China indicts fourth Japanese over alleged spying

A Japanese man in his 70s has been indicted in China after he was detained in Beijing in June last year for allegedly spying, informed sources told Jiji Press.

With the latest move, all four Japanese detained in China last year for suspected espionage have been indicted.

While details about their charges have not been unveiled, trial procedures have begun for one or some of them, the sources said Friday.

Separately, a Japanese man who is an executive of a Japan-China exchange organization was detailed in Beijing in July this year. Chinese authorities are believed to be investigating him for allegedly damaging national security.

The fourth person indicted is a resident of Hokkaido. He has frequently visited China and has wide connections with the country's business community.

Of the other three, two are men detained in May last year in the northeastern province of Liaoning and the eastern province of Zhejiang and a woman detained in Shanghai in June last year.

The four were formally arrested by early this year.

Under the initiative of President Xi Jinping, China has been taking a tougher stance against spying activities by foreign individuals and organizations.

Original Page:

Sent from my iPad

Documents describe Romanian reactions to Hungarian revolt in 1956

WATCH: Huntington Ingalls Launches Latest Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer

WATCH: Huntington Ingalls Launches Latest Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer

By gCaptain on Nov 17, 2016 10:09 am

Photo: Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (NYSE:HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has launched Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), the company’s 31st and latest Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer. Paul Ignatius was translated via Ingalls’ rail car system to a floating dry dock, which was moved away from the pier and ballasted to float the ship last Saturday. Ingalls […]

The post WATCH: Huntington Ingalls Launches Latest Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer appeared first on gCaptain.

Bergdahl trial postponed until May; defense says there’s no cure for Trump

Bergdahl trial postponed until May; defense says there's no cure for Trump
// CAAFlog

Maybe the timing of these developments is just a coincidence, but from one news report (here) we learn that trial in the Bergdahl case will be delayed until May because:

Prosecutors filed a motion in October requesting a trial delay. They cited the pace at which they're able to get approval to give the defense classified evidence as a main reason for the delay.

And from another news report (here) we learn that the defense is positively giddy because it sees the election of Donald Trump to the presidency as an uncurable error:

"We're deadly serious about seeking a dismissal," Eugene R. Fidell told The Fayetteville Observer on Wednesday. "There's never been a presidential candidate who singled out a military member for this kind of abuse before. It's never happened."

Deadly serious is an unfortunate choice of words considering that the classified evidence addressed first report includes evidence of soldiers who were allegedly injured during search and rescue missions for Bergdahl:

Former Army Spc. Jonathan Morita also testified Monday, according to the AP, describing when an unexploded rocket-propelled grenade smashed into a rifle he was holding with the force of a hammer onto his hand.

"I looked at it, and I thought, 'That's going to hurt in the morning.' I didn't feel it. Too much adrenaline," he testified, according to the AP report.

Defense attorneys have said it was the Taliban, not Bergdahl, who caused the injuries.

And then there's this (from the second news report):

[Retired Army JAG and law professor Victor M.] Hansen said the bigger challenge for Bergdahl's lawyers may be to overcome the intense pretrial publicity. Bergdahl was the subject of the second season of a popular podcast, "Serial," that played tapes of an interview Bergdahl did with a filmmaker explaining he walked off his base to cause a crisis that would catch the attention of military brass.

Deep in the category of it's never happened before is Bergdahl's decision to talk with filmmaker Mark Boal for long enough to produce 25 hours of recorded conversations. Conversations that were shared with the Serial podcast (presumably with Bergdahl's permission). Conversations that include some incredibly damaging statements, as discussed in our #8 Military Justice Story of 2015.

But Bergdahl has a Trump card.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 14, 2016

Maritime Monday for November 14th, 2016

Maritime Monday for November 14th, 2016


'Idle Women' – the land girls of the waterways Most people are familiar with the 'Land Girls'; women who volunteered to work the land to aid the war effort during World War Two. Less well known, however, are their canal-based equivalents; known undeservedly as the 'Idle Women'. This nickname, derived from the initials 'IW' (for […]

The post Maritime Monday for November 14th, 2016 appeared first on gCaptain.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Skipjack's Nautical Living: Ancient skeleton discovered on Antikythera Shipwreck

Sent from my iPad

Gunmen Seize Six Crew from Bulk Carrier in Philippines

Gunmen Seize Six Crew from Bulk Carrier in Philippines

The vessel is reported to be the Vietnamese-flagged Royal 16, pictured here.MANILA, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Gunmen abducted six Vietnamese sailors and shot another on Friday when a bulk carrier was intercepted in Philippine waters off a southern island stronghold of the militant Abu Sayyaf group, the coastguard said. The cargo ship was bound for Davao City in another part of the province of Mindanao, but […]

The post Gunmen Seize Six Crew from Bulk Carrier in Philippines appeared first on gCaptain.


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Secretary Mabus Names Newest Arleigh—Burke Class Destroyer

Secretary Mabus Names Newest Arleigh—Burke Class Destroyer
// U.S. Navy News Top Stories

In a ceremony Nov. 9, at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the Arleigh Burke—class destroyer, DDG 121, will be named Frank E. Petersen Jr., in honor of the Marine Corps lieutenant general who was the first African—American Marine Corps aviator.

Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Argument Preview: Whether members were excluded on the basis of rank in United States v. Bartee, No. 16-0391/MC

Argument Preview: Whether members were excluded on the basis of rank in United States v. Bartee, No. 16-0391/MC
// CAAFlog

CAAF will hear oral argument in the Marine Corps case of United States v. Bartee, No. 16-0391/MC (CAAFlog case page), on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. The case presents a single issue that challenges the selection of members for the court-martial:

The systematic exclusion of individuals by rank from the member-selection process is prohibited. Here, the military judge dismissed the panel for violating Article 25, UCMJ, but the convening authority reconvened the exact same panel the same day. Is this systematic exclusion based on rank reversible error?

The appellant, Lance Corporal (E-3) Bartee, was convicted contrary to his pleas of not guilty, by a general court-martial, of making a false official statement and larceny. He was sentenced to confinement for 20 months and a dishonorable discharge.

Bartee wanted to be tried by a court-martial composed of members with enlisted representation. Article 25 states that a convening authority must select members who, "in his opinion, are best qualified for the duty by reason of age, education, training, experience, length of service, and judicial temperament." Rank – while often (but certainaly not always) a convenient proxy for some of these factors – is not one of the Article 25 criteria. However, it played a significant role in the selection of members in Bartee's case.

The convening authority's Staff Judge Advocate solicited members from subordinate units for Bartee's court-martial, but limited this solicitation to:

officers in paygrade O-4 and above and enlisted personnel in paygrade E-8 and above." (J.A. 22.) The Staff Judge Advocate solicited the senior Marines because, in his experience, those members "possess[] the requisite qualifications"—age, education, training, experience, length of service and judicial temperament. (J.A. 22, 26-27.)

Gov't Br. at 3. The members ultimately selected for Bartee's panel were all officers in pay grade O-4 and above and enlisted members in pay grade E-8 and above.

Bartee objected to the panel and the military judge ruled that the members were "improperly selected due to the exclusion of certain ranks from the selection process." App. Br. at 5. The convening authority then selected a new panel. However, that panel contained the exact same members as the first panel:

The court reconvened at 0809 the following morning with General Court-Martial Convening Order 1c-13. There was no change in the panel from the day before. During the previous afternoon, the Government produced a new convening order that

1. deleted all the members,
2. added the same members it had just deleted, and
3. finalized the list of now-deleted and re-added members.19

App. Br. at 5. Nevertheless, the military judge found that this second panel was properly selected.

Bartee then elected to be tried by military judge alone, with his defense counsel stating that

in light of the Court's ruling, it is the defense's position at this time, that because we still believe there to be a defect of the panel, that we are forced to abandon our request for trial by members with enlisted representation, and we are requesting, and Lance Corporal Bartee is requesting, trial by military judge alone.

App. Rep. Br. at 3 (quoting record). The military judge threatened to deny this request on the basis that it was not voluntary, stating:

I doubt very much that I will find his foregoing of his right to a trial by members to be knowing, intelligent, and voluntarily; particularly voluntarily, if he is going to tell me he is doing it because he feels like he is forced to by the panel that he has here.

App. Rep. Br. at 4 (quoting record). Defense counsel then asserted that there was an additional, but confidential, reason to select trial by military judge alone. Gov't Br. at 7. The military judge approved the request and Bartee was tried and convicted.

Bartee raised the panel selected on appeal but the NMCCA found no error, concluding: "We do not find any cause to question the fairness of the panel based on the processes used by the CA to generate convening order #1c-13." United States v. Bartee, No. 201500037, slip op. at 8 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. Jan 12, 2016) (link to slip op.).

CAAF then granted review of Bartee's case and of another case raising substantially the same issue: United States v. Tso, No. 16-0497/MC (grant discussed here).

Last year, in United States v. Ward, 74 M.J. 225 (C.A.A.F. Jun. 11, 2015) (CAAFlog case page), CAAF held that an accused must be provided both a fair panel and the appearance of a fair panel. Bartee puts that standard of review to the test of a difficult fact pattern where the convening authority replicated a defective convening order. The case may also force CAAF to squarely address a persistent fiction in the selection of members by a convening authority, as revealed in this portion of the Government's brief:

Contrary to Appellant's assertion, (Appellant's Br. at 11), there was no systemic exclusion of members based on rank. Indeed, after receiving the Convening Authority's statement, the Military Judge found no systematic exclusion because the Convening Authority (1) had access to the Alpha Roster containing all 8,000 members of his command when he made his selections, and (2) selected the Members because he knew them personally and they met the Article 25, UCMJ, criteria.

Gov't Br. at 11. While there is no reason to doubt the convening authority's professed personal knowledge of the members who were selected, the notion that he gave any meaningful consideration to other members of his command because he had access to a roster of 8,000 names is absurd.

Case Links:
NMCCA opinion
Blog post: CAAF to revisit the exclusion of members on the basis of rank
Appellant's brief
Appellee's (Government) brief
Appellant's reply brief
Blog post: Argument preview


Shared via my feedly newsfeed

Sent from my iPad

Naval Search Engine

Total Pageviews

Find-A-Grave Link

Search 62.2 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: