Great Military Stories

CSM Bennie Adkins, U.S. Army (1956-1978) – Medal of Honor Recipient

CSM Bennie Adkins, U.S. Army (1956-1978) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Presented with the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in 2014, Bennie Adkins distinguished himself as a war hero during three tours of duty between 1963 and 1971, later creating a charitable foundation to help returning veterans to attend further education and settle into civilian life. President Obama said at the time, 'to be honest, in a battle and daring escape that lasted four days, Bennie performed so many acts of bravery we actually don't have time to talk about all of them.' Unfortunately, the popular Vietnam veteran was unable to escape his final battle. Adkins was admitted to the East Alabama Medical Centre in Opelika, Alabama at the end of March 2020. When his condition deteriorated, he was moved to intensive care and put on a ventilator, but despite the best efforts of his medical team he sadly died on April 17th following complications caused by Covid-19, coronavirus. Bennie Adkins in the Vietnam War The veteran Soldier was reported to have killed and injured 135 to...

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Admiral Paul A. Yost Jr, U.S. Coast Guard (1951-1990)

Admiral Paul A. Yost Jr, U.S. Coast Guard (1951-1990)

When Paul A. Yost Jr. assumed the position of Commandant of the United States Coast Guard in 1986, he approached the role with a powerful philosophy: "You have to lead the charge." At the time this was considered as an over-aggressive approach to leading what was viewed as more of a law enforcement agency than a military organization, but Admiral Yost had learned that lesson the hard way - in the jungles of Vietnam. Ever since they discovered a fishing vessel smuggling weapons into Vung Ro Bay in 1965, Coast Guard and Navy personnel had been conducting a joint operation known as 'Market Time.' The goal was to apprehend, attack, or interrupt any smuggling in South Vietnam, to stop the flow of supplies to the Viet Cong. In 1968 the Coast Guard Combat Commander attached to ‘Market Time' billet opened up to volunteers.  Because no one came forward for the position, the command reached out to Commander Paul A. Yost Jr., then on board the cutter Resolute. However, Yost refused...

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The Wreck of the First U.S. Navy Destroyer Jacob Jones  Has Been Found

The Wreck of the First U.S. Navy Destroyer Jacob Jones Has Been Found

Just 40 miles off the coast of the Isles of Scilly, in the southwest of England, a team of expert divers located the wreck of the USS Jacob Jones (DD-61). The Tucker-class destroyer was built prior to WWI and was sunk on December 6, 1917, by a German submarine. Of her crew of seven officers and 103 men, 2 officers and 62 men lost their lives according to the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command. The Jacob Jones was the first American destroyer lost to enemy action. On April 6, 1917, when America declared war on Germany, the USS Jacob Jones was on patrol off the Virginian coast. The next month, on May 7, she set sail for Europe. Ten days after departing her homeport of Boston, Jacob Jones arrived in Queenstown, Ireland and began patrol and convoy escort duties in British waters. Throughout 1917, Jacob Jones conducted several notable rescues. On July 8, the new rescued 44 survivors from the British ship Valvetta when she was sunk by a U-boat. That same month, she rescued...

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Famous Marine Corps Unit: MACV-SOG

Famous Marine Corps Unit: MACV-SOG

Steeped in secrecy and shaped by global Cold War tensions, the Vietnam War was, by all standards of measure, the most clandestine military campaign in US history. After World War II, democratic and communist nations were spoiling for a fight, testing one another, and positioning themselves to gain geographic and political advantage. However, with an indecisive outcome in Korea and escalating international anxiety, further activities became highly secretive on both sides, including CIA involvement in Vietnam beginning in 1953. Leading to covert 1961 combat operations in North Vietnam code-named Operation 34A, these highly classified and largely unsuccessful attacks reflected other events of that time, e.g., the Bay of Pigs (April 1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962). These CIA missions, comprised of air and naval infiltration, led to significant loss of life. To increase the chances of success, the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam- Studies and Observations Group...

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Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, U.S. Navy (1994–Present)

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, U.S. Navy (1994–Present)

As the USS Abraham Lincoln sailed into San Diego Thursday, Aug. 11, with two destroyers in tow and some 6,000 sailors and Marines aboard, it marked the completion of a U.S. military first: Navy Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt has now completed her first mission as the first woman to command a U.S. aircraft carrier. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier left for a routine deployment to the Indo-Pacific region — generally ranging from the Philippines to the South China Sea — on Jan. 3. Over the next eight months, the USS Abraham Lincoln and the other ships encountered everything from the Chinese military to whale-awareness training. For the Marines, the exercise also included the first deployment of F-35C fighters aboard an aircraft carrier. The plane is widely viewed as an innovative weapon capable of both military and intelligence operations. Amy Bauernschmidt Spoke about the Mission In a phone call from aboard the Lincoln, just a day before the strike group returned to Naval Air Station...

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Famous Army Air Force Unit – 336th Fighter Squadron

Famous Army Air Force Unit – 336th Fighter Squadron

The annals of Air Force history are rich with the performance and accomplishments of individual units, but often reflect specific battles, a conflict, or other such moments in time. Due to ever-changing budgets, technology, restructuring, and more, tenure alone is a barrier to the creation of longstanding unit heritage and tradition. Nonetheless, select organizations can trace a significant lineage with associated individual and group exploits. Perhaps not well known to other than their sister units, the 336th Fighter Squadron is one such organization, serving with distinction for eighty years while continually reinventing themselves to embrace advancing fighter aircraft and technology. History of the 336th Fighter Squadron The earliest roots of the 336th Fighter Squadron track to World War II prior to entry of the United States, then known as 133rd Eagle Squadron. The unit was constituted in August 1941 (Coltishall, England) as the third of three British fighter squadrons manned by...

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Operation Ivory Coast – The Son Tay Raid

Operation Ivory Coast – The Son Tay Raid

It has been called the most daring raid of the Vietnam War; Operation Ivory Coast was an effort to rescue prisoners of war who had been held by North Vietnam for years. It did not rescue any of the prisoners, but it did change the way U.S. Special Operations planned and executed its missions.  By 1970, the United States not only knew that hundreds of American POWs were being held by the communist North Vietnamese, but they also knew those prisoners were being subjected to torture and mistreatment - and many had been suffering for years on end.  Special operations planners knew the location of where at least 61 of them were being held, a camp near the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi known as Son Tay. The United States designed a plan to rescue them right out from under the communists' noses.  The mission would not be an easy one. At least six of the prisoners were believed to be near death, and the Son Tay prison was in an area where intelligence planners believed...

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Famous Air Force Unit – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

Famous Air Force Unit – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

To those not deeply immersed in US Air Force operations, the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) may appear a bit of an enigma as Commando is most often associated with ground units. The squadron's title actually derives from roots reaching back to WWII together with hard-fought experience, all leading to a mission that's responsive to contemporary, global needs. Constituted initially as a fighter squadron, the 6th SOS acquired broad skills extending through Vietnam and beyond, keying on counterinsurgency, special operations, and international advisory assignments. Armed with exhaustive training and comprehensive combat aircraft experience, the primary role of the 6th Special Operations Squadron is to assess, train, advise and assist foreign aviation forces in the use of their aircraft throughout the world. Though initially developed and honed in the chaos of a world at war, the unique skill sets provided by the 6th Special Operations Squadron are particularly relevant for...

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The Revolutionary War – The Penobscot Expedition

The Revolutionary War – The Penobscot Expedition

The U.S. Navy has had its wins and losses since its birthday on Oct. 13, 1775. Its victories are too numerous to count. While its losses are few and far between, two devastating losses stand out among all the others.  Its most memorable significant loss is, of course, a day that continues to live in infamy. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor devastated the Navy's Pacific Fleet but did not cripple it. The Navy's first-ever significant is on par with Pearl Harbor but is often forgotten: The ill-fated Penobscot Expedition.  The Ill-fated Penobscot Expedition In 1779, the Revolutionary War was in full swing. An American victory over British forces at Saratoga in 1777 brought recognition of the 13 American colonies from European powers like France and Spain. France allied itself with the new country, and the British Empire was forced to alter its strategy for dealing with the rebels.  A British force under Gen. Francis McLean captured a large portion of Maine, then part of...

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War in Afghanistan – The Fall Of Kandahar

War in Afghanistan – The Fall Of Kandahar

After the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul, and Herat, Kandahar was the last major city under Taliban control. Kandahar was where the Taliban movement had originated and where its power base was located, so it was assumed that capturing Kandahar would be difficult. The city fell after several weeks of fighting to a force of local militia under Pashtun military commanders and their American advisers.  First Wave Of Aerial Attacks Against The Taliban In preparation for the attack of Kandahar, the first wave of aerial attacks against the Taliban was launched on October 7, 2001, at 6:30 pm local time. A group of United States Air Force (USAF) bombers consisting of five B-1s and ten B-52s took off from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. They were complemented by twenty-five United States Navy (USN) F-14s and F/A-18s strike aircraft from the aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Enterprise in the North Arabian Sea. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and USAF provided L-1011s, KC-135, and KC-10s to...

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The Men Who Fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood

The Men Who Fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood

In June of 1918, a fierce battle was waged at Belleau Wood, an ancient hunting-reserve of old-growth oaks, surrounded by wheat fields, located about 60 miles outside of Paris. The Germans were launching their spring offensive to overwhelm the Allies before they were fortified by fresh American troops. The Americans were arriving at a rate of about 250,000 per month. The Battle of Belleau Wood has since achieved near-mythic status in U.S. military history, particularly for the U.S. Marines. Founded in 1775 during the American Revolution, the U.S. Marines Corps had a reputation for discipline, excellent marksmanship, and, as the Germans would find out at Belleau Woods, tenacity. During the Great War, they were also very young. A The New York Times article from July 1918 cites a report stating that "nearly one-third of the recruits obtained by the Marine Corps since the United States entered the war were under twenty-one years of age." The article goes on to quote Secretary of the Navy...

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The Only Woman Ever to Join the French Foreign Legion

The Only Woman Ever to Join the French Foreign Legion

The Legion Etrangere is better known as the French Foreign Legion - a military organization open to men who are foreign nationals. In 1945, however, the Legion made one exception (and so far, the only one) for a very deserving person. Biography of Susan Mary Gillian Travers Susan Mary Gillian Travers was born in London on September 23, 1909, to a wealthy family. Her father was Francis Eaton Travers, a Royal Navy Admiral, who married the heiress Eleanor Catherine Turnbull for her money. Theirs was not a happy home, and Travers later claimed she was happier the further away she was from it. Susan made up for it by becoming a semi-professional tennis player, financed by a doting aunt who helped her become independent. When the Phony War (precursor of WWII) broke out in late 1939, Travers was living in the South of France and loving it. She joined the Croix Rouge -the French Red Cross. It was a decision she regretted immediately. Susan Travers in the Second World War Having lived a...

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