Military Myths and Legends

Emperor of Nicaragua

Emperor of Nicaragua

On November 8, 1855, in front of the Parroquia Church in the town square of the Nicaraguan city of Granada, a line of riflemen shot Gen. Ponciano Corral, the senior general of the Conservative government. Strangely, the members of the firing squad hailed from the United States. So did the man who had ordered the execution.  His name was William Walker. Though later generations would largely forget him, in the 1850s, he obsessed the American public. To many, he was a swashbuckling champion...

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Leadership And the Janitor

Leadership And the Janitor

William "Bill" Crawford was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our Squadron janitor.While we Cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades, and room inspection, or never-ending leadership classes-Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or...

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“Go for Broke”

“Go for Broke”

Immediately after Japan's December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and other American bases in the Pacific, the United States declared war on Japan. Several days later Nazi German and Italy declared war on the U.S., embroiling the world into World War II. The war heightened American prejudice against German Americans and Italian Americans but the racism directed against Japanese Americans was particularly vicious. The calculated response culminated in the forced removal and unconstitutional...

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The Ship That Wouldn’t Die

The Ship That Wouldn’t Die

The USS Laffey (DD-724) was laid down 28 June 1943 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine. She was launched 21 November; sponsored by Miss Beatrice F. Laffey, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient S1c Bartlett Laffey. Commissioned 8 February 1944, Cdr. F. Julian. Becton as her first "Captain". Commander Frederick Julian Becton, Captain of the Destroyer USS Laffey After shakedown, the Laffey traveled the world in the war effort. She was off the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Off Cherbourg, France...

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Common Myths of the Vietnam War

Common Myths of the Vietnam War

Myth of the Vietnam War #1 Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.  Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers. Myth of the Vietnam War #2 Common belief that the media reported suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.  Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a...

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The Battleship in Union Square

The Battleship in Union Square

In 1917 the U.S. Navy built a full-size battleship in New York City's Union Square Park near the entrance to the subway and faced south. It would stay there for the next three years. The ship - USS Recruit - was commissioned as a normal seagoing ship, under the command of Acting Captain C. F. Pierce and with a complement of thirty-nine bluejackets from the Newport Training Station. It functioned as a recruiting office and training center with sailors training on the ship to demonstrate a small...

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Gen George S. Patton, U.S. Army (1915-1945)

Gen George S. Patton, U.S. Army (1915-1945)

Patton had his first real taste of battle in 1915 when leading cavalry patrols against Poncho Villa at Fort Bliss along the Mexican border. In 1916 he was selected to aide John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in Mexico. In Mexico, Patton impressed Pershing by personally shooting Mexican leader Julio Cardenas during the Battle of Columbus. Pershing promoted Patton to captain and invited him to lead Pershing's Headquarters Troop once they left Mexico. In 1917, during...

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Five Military Myths Busted

Five Military Myths Busted

There are many misconceptions and myths about the military floating around out there. Here are five common myths busted. Military Myth #1 If you get in trouble with the law, then your only option is the military. Ever heard the old saying, "Go to Jail or Go to the Military."  Can a criminal court judge sentence a person to military service as an alternative to jail? Can a prosecutor mandate that someone joins the military as an alternative to criminal prosecution? Well, a judge or...

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Civil War – Andersonville Prison

Civil War – Andersonville Prison

There were 150 prison camps on both sides in the Civil War, and they all suffered from disease, overcrowding, exposure, and food shortages. But Andersonville was notorious for being the worst. Some men agreed to freedom and fought for the South as galvanized soldiers, fearing the dangers of imprisonment to be greater than those of the battlefield. Officially named Camp Sumter, the most notorious Civil War stockade was hastily constructed in early 1864 near the town of Andersonville in...

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Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison

There were 150 prison camps on both sides in the Civil War, and they all suffered from disease, overcrowding, exposure, and food shortages. But Andersonville was notorious for being the worst. Some men agreed to freedom and fought for the South as galvanized soldiers, fearing the dangers of imprisonment to be greater than those of the battlefield. Officially named Camp Sumter, the most notorious Civil War stockade was hastily constructed in early 1864 near the town of Andersonville in...

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