Military Myths and Legends

Maj Charles Liteky, U.S. Army (1966-1971)

Maj Charles Liteky, U.S. Army (1966-1971)

Charles Joseph Liteky, a former Army chaplain, Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient and peace activist, died of a stroke at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Hospital on Jan. 20, 2017. He was 85-years-old. At The Beginning of Charles Liteky Military Service Charles Liteky was born in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 14, 1931, the son of a crusty career sailor who served 33 years in the Navy, leading to frequent moves as he was growing up. In 1948 when his father was stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, the darkly handsome, 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior was the charismatic quarterback on the Robert E. Lee High School's football team and was known to have broken a whole lot of girls' hearts. Following his graduation from high school, he attended Chipola Junior College and the University of Florida before transferring to an Alabama seminary affiliated with the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. Now known as Trinity Mission, the group is a Catholic congregation...

read more
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 bravely in dangerous situations. Many were awarded personal citations.  Non-military women also served important roles. They provided entertainment and support to the troops through the USO, the American Red Cross, and other humanitarian organizations. Women working as civilian nurses for USAID (US Agency for International Development) participated in one of the most famous humanitarian operations of the war, Operation Babylift, which brought thousands of Vietnamese orphans to the U.S. for...

read more
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 were killed, wounded or missing. Gen. Robert E. Lee's Defeat and Retreat from Gettysburg After three days of battle, Lee retreated towards Virginia on the night of July 4. It was not only a crushing defeat for the Confederacy, but the battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: Gen. Robert E. Lee's defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory, and the beginning of the Southern army's ultimate decline. As had become customary following...

read more
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 of Manifest Destiny. To others, he loomed as an international criminal. In Walker's own mind, he was a conqueror destined to create a Central American empire. His bizarre career would leave a legacy that shadows the relationship between the United States and Central America to this day. Biography of William Walker Walker was born in 1824 in Nashville, Tennessee, to James Walker and his wife, Mary Norvell. His father was the son of a Scottish immigrant. His mother was the daughter of Lipscomb...

read more
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 Gate 1 in Kin Town, Okinawa. Being just a mile away from the gate, his primary customer base was U.S. Marines and had been for a long time.  The Fight For Okinawa The fight for Okinawa was the last major battle of World War II and was also one of the war's bloodiest. On Apr 1, 1945, the United States landed Marines and soldiers on the island. It was the largest amphibious landing of the Pacific War.  For a little over three months, the United States, with Allied naval support, fought...

read more
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 better estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group. Myth of the Vietnam War #3 A common belief is...

read more
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 prosecutor can do whatever they please (within the limits of the law for their jurisdiction), but that doesn't mean the military branches are required to accept such people, and they don't.  The military actually has to know about any run-ins with the law, no matter how minor. All branches of the military-run FBI background checks on all prospective members. However, just because you have a glitch in your past doesn't necessarily mean you can't join the military. Commanders can authorize waivers...

read more
Landmines in Vietnam

Landmines in Vietnam

Horrific stories and pictures from all around the world often show that large numbers of civilians are the main landmine casualties and continued to be so years after the warring factions have left the battlefield. Even today, with a multitude of mine-clearing methods and equipment, de-mining efforts remain challenging and risky. This is particularly true in cases where records were not kept on exact locations for any or all landmines. Because of Landmines, Have to Find Alternatives Ways of Life On land where minefields are known to exist, that land is unusable until the mines are cleared. This means that people who depend on the surrounding region for their livelihoods may have to find alternatives ways of life. Throughout the world, places that have been involved in a war and/or civil strife often have large minefields that still need clearing. In 2013, it was estimated that there was a global average of around nine mine-related deaths every day. The situation is especially dire in...

read more
First WW II Aircraft Crew to Reach 25 Missions

First WW II Aircraft Crew to Reach 25 Missions

1917, and 1918, the United States government issued Liberty Bonds to raise money for our involvement in World War I. By the summer of 1940 when it appeared the United States would be drawn into World War II, bonds again were being sold as a way to remove money from circulation as well as reduce inflation. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the bonds became known at War Bonds. To promote selling the War Bonds, rallies were held throughout the country with famous celebrities, usually Hollywood film stars, sports personalities, and war heroes such as John Basilone and Audie Murphy. Famous American artists, including Norman Rockwell, created a series of illustrations that became the centerpiece of war bond advertising. Although the U.S. Army Air Force sent its individual war heroes to War Bond rallies, it preferred sending 10-man heavy bombers crews. That because the American public knew heavy bomber crews faced death on every mission with only one in four...

read more
The Forces Pin Up – GI Morale Boosters

The Forces Pin Up – GI Morale Boosters

America's entrance into World War II back in 1941 triggered the golden age of pinups, pictures of smiling women in a range of clothing-challenged situations. The racy photos adorned lonely servicemen's lockers, the walls of barracks, and even the sides of planes. For the first time in its history, the US military unofficially sanctioned this kind of art: pinup pictures, magazines, and calendars were shipped and distributed among the troops, often at government expense, to "raise morale" and remind the young men what they were fighting for. The heyday of the pinup was the 1940s and 50s, but pinup art is still around. To this day, pinup fans emulate the classic style in fashion, merchandise, photography, and even tattoos. The Second Most Popular Pin-up Picture in All of World War II Rita Hayworth's famous pose in a black negligee quickly made its way across the Atlantic in 1941, as troops brought the picture with them on the way to war. It ended up as the second most popular pin-up...

read more
Angels of Bataan

Angels of Bataan

When Americans woke up Sunday morning on December 7, 1941, they were stunned to learn Japanese naval aircraft had attacked Pearl Harbor. What they would soon find out that was only the beginning. Pearl Harbor was just one part of the Japanese plan for the day. Within hours, Japanese naval and ground forces attacked and invaded Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Singapore, Honk Kong, Thailand and Burma. Ten hours after the devastating surprise attack that crippled the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Japanese planes launched the first in a deadly series of attacks on the Philippine Islands, bombing and strafing military airfields and bases in and around Manila. Caught in the air raids were ninety-nine army and navy women nurses. Immediately they rushed to their respective hospitals and began assisting with the endless flow of military and civilian casualties. It is almost certain that none ever dreamed they would be thrust into a deadly shooting war. Unknown to them and others was...

read more
Japanese Soldier Surrenders 30 Years After End of WWII

Japanese Soldier Surrenders 30 Years After End of WWII

By the summer of 1945, the Japanese navy and air force were destroyed. Its army had been decimated. The Allied naval blockade of Japan and intensive bombing of Japanese cities had left the country and its economy devastated, it's people suffering. After the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack, factions of Japan's supreme war council favored unconditional surrender but the majority resisted. When the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito told the supreme war council to negotiate the unconditional surrender. To the Japanese his word was that of a god.On Sunday, September 2, 1945, more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay. Just after 9 a.m. on board the USS Missouri General Douglas MacArthur presided over the official surrender ceremony as Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government. General Yoshijiro Umezu then signed for the Japanese armed forces. His aides wept as he made his signature. The most...

read more