Military Myths and Legends

Japanese Tried A Second Raid on Pearl Harbor

Japanese Tried A Second Raid on Pearl Harbor

Everyone knows about the first bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Less well known, however, was the second attack. And there was almost a third. The first one was just a warm-up. The Imperial Japanese Navy planned several more attacks on the U.S. mainland - starting with California and Texas. It was called Ke-Sakusen (Operation Strategy), better known as "Operation K." Its aim was four-fold: (1) to assess the damage at Pearl Harbor; (2) to stop the ongoing rescue and salvage...

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Is the M2 “Ma Deuce” An Illegal Weapon of War?

Is the M2 “Ma Deuce” An Illegal Weapon of War?

The M2 Browning .50-caliber machine gun has been a favorite heavy infantry weapon since the end of World War I. That the weapon has remained in the U.S. arsenal for so long is a testament to its power and flexibility. And no wonder - it was designed by the legendary John Browning himself.  Although the M2 has come in many variants over the years, it has still proven an effective weapon from the last days of World War l, into World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and into the...

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Women Of The Vietnam War

Women Of The Vietnam War

It has been estimated that as many as 11,000 women served in Vietnam or in other locations, but over 90% served as nurses. Women Of The Vietnam War served as nurses in evacuation hospitals, MASH units and aboard hospital ships. Others worked in support roles in military information offices, headquarters, service clubs, and various other clerical, medical, and personnel positions. Servicewomen in Vietnam experienced many of the same hardships as their male counterparts and served...

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The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address

From July 1 to July 3, 1863, the invading forces of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army clashed with the Army of the Potomac under its newly appointed leader, General George G. Meade at Gettysburg, some 35 miles southwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Casualties were high on both sides: Out of roughly 170,000 Union and Confederate soldiers, there were 23,000 Union and 28,000 Confederate casualties; more than one-quarter of the Union army's effective forces and more than a third of Lee's army...

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BG William Douglas Dunham, U.S. Air Force (1941-1970)

BG William Douglas Dunham, U.S. Air Force (1941-1970)

Brigadier General William Douglas Dunham was a highly decorated US Air Force hero. His achievements during World War II and beyond are well-documented. However, his most notable act arguably concerns an act of kindness rather than aggression. William Douglas Dunham Spared His Enemy's Life Back when he was a Major in 1944, Bill "Dinghy" Dunham - approaching his mid-twenties - was at the controls of a Republic P-47D. Flying over the Philippine Sea, he had a clear shot at a Japanese parachutist...

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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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Taco Rice and the Legacy of Marines on Okinawa

Taco Rice and the Legacy of Marines on Okinawa

In 1984, Matsuzo Gibo added traditional Mexican-style spices to ground beef and put the spicy meat mixture on a bed of rice, then added lettuce and shredded cheese. He started selling it from his food stall as a quick lunchtime meal. The simple dish, now known the world over as "taco rice," conquered Okinawa faster and with far less resistance than the U.S. military did during World War II.  Gibo, who died in 2014, was the owner of the Parlor Senri food stall outside of Camp Hansen's...

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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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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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