Great Military Stories

WW2 – Battle of Tarawa

WW2 – Battle of Tarawa

Following the December 1941 Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Wake Island, and other Pacific islands, the U.S. began to halt Japan's aggression expansion with important battle victories at Midway Island in June 1942 and Guadalcanal from Aug. 1942 to Feb. 1943. To continue the progress against the Japanese occupying scattered island chains, Allied commanders launched counter-offensive strikes known as "island-hopping." The idea was to capture certain key islands, one after another until Japan came within range of American bombers. Rather than engage sizable Japanese garrisons, these operations were designed to cut them off and let them "whither on the vine." By themselves, the islands held little value to the Japanese or the Americans. They were situated about halfway between Pearl Harbor and the Philippines and were barely large enough to hold an airfield. But they served as an essential steppingstone across the Pacific: If American bombers wanted to reach Japan,...

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Lt. Michael Murphy, U.S. Navy (2000 – 2005)

Lt. Michael Murphy, U.S. Navy (2000 – 2005)

Lt. Michael Murphy was the Officer in Charge of the SEAL Team On June 28, 2005, deep behind enemy lines east of Asadabad in the Hindu-Kush of Afghanistan, a very dedicated four-man Navy SEAL team was conducting a counter-insurgency mission at the unforgiving altitude of approximately 10,000 feet. Lt. Michael Murphy was the officer in charge of the SEAL team. The other three members were Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell. Their assignment was to capture or kill high-value target Ahmad Shah - a terrorist leader of a Taliban guerrilla group known as the "Mountain Tigers" that had aligned with other militant groups close to the Pakistani border. The mission was in response to Shah's group killing over twenty U.S. Marines, as well as villagers and refugees who were aiding American forces. As the team carefully moved to where they hoped to find Shah, the SEALs were accidentally discovered by an...

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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 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...

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General John Kelly’s Speech About Two Heroic Marines

General John Kelly’s Speech About Two Heroic Marines

Two years ago, when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 "The Walking Dead," and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Haerter, Jordan, LCpl Yale, Jonathan Tyler, Cpl Yale and Haerter Were From Two Completely Different Worlds Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines. The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a...

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BG James “Jimmy” Stewart, U.S. Army Air Forces (1942-1968)

BG James “Jimmy” Stewart, U.S. Army Air Forces (1942-1968)

One of the film's most beloved actors, Jimmy Stewart, made more than 80 films in his lifetime. He was known for his everyman quality, which made him both appealing and accessible to audiences. Stewart got his first taste of performing as a young man. At Princeton University, he was a member of the Triangle Club and acted in shows they produced. Stewart earned a degree in architecture in 1932, but he never practiced the trade. Instead, he joined the University Players in Falmouth, Massachusetts, the summer after he graduated. There Stewart met fellow actor Henry Fonda, who became a lifelong friend.  That same year, Stewart made his Broadway debut in "Carrie Nation." The show didn't fare well, but he soon found more stage roles. In 1935, Stewart landed a movie contract with MGM and headed out west. In his early Hollywood days, Stewart shared an apartment with Henry Fonda. The tall, lanky actor worked a number of films before co-starring with Eleanor Powell in the 1936 popular...

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Maj Audie Murphy, U.S. Army (1942-1969)

Maj Audie Murphy, U.S. Army (1942-1969)

He wanted to join the Marines, but he was too short. The paratroopers wouldn't have him either. Reluctantly, he settled on the infantry, enlisting to become nothing less than one of the most-decorated heroes of World War II. He was Audie Murphy, the baby-faced Texas farm boy who became an American Legend. Biography of Audie Murphy The sixth of twelve children, Audie Murphy, was born in Kingston, Hunt County, TX, on June 20, 1925. The son of poor sharecroppers, Emmett and Josie Murphy, Audie grew up on a rundown farm and attended school in Celeste. His education was cut short in 1936 when his father abandoned the family. Left with only a fifth-grade education, Murphy began working on local farms as a laborer to help support his family. A gifted hunter, he was also able to feed his siblings from game animals he shot. Though he attempted to support the family on his own by working various jobs, Murphy was ultimately forced to place his three youngest siblings in an orphanage when their...

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Vietnam War – Fire Base Mary Ann

Vietnam War – Fire Base Mary Ann

Richard Nixon had campaigned in the 1968 presidential election under the slogan that he would end the war in Vietnam and bring 'peace with honor.' However, there was no plan in place to do this, and the American commitment continued for another five years. The goal of the American military effort was to gradually build up the strength and confidence of the South Vietnamese armed forces by re-equipping it with modern weapons so that they could defend their nation on their own. This policy became the cornerstone of the so-called 'Nixon Doctrine.' As applied to Vietnam, it was labeled 'Vietnamization.' With a renewed U.S. offensive bombing campaign forcing a recalcitrant North Vietnam back to the negotiating table, with resulting progress in the Paris peace negotiations, on January 15, 1973, Nixon announced the suspension of all offensive actions against North Vietnam. This would be followed by a unilateral withdrawal of all U.S. troops. Twelve days later, on January 27, the Paris Peace...

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The Defiant One: Col Robin Olds, U.S. Air Force (1942-1973)

The Defiant One: Col Robin Olds, U.S. Air Force (1942-1973)

Robin Olds was Built for War Fighter pilots used to say that there was a glass case in the Pentagon building to the precise dimension of then-Colonel Robin Olds, who would be frozen in time and displayed wearing his tank-less flight suit, crashed fore and aft cap, gloves, and torso harness with .38 pistol and survival knife. Beside the case was a fire ax beneath a sign reading: "In case of war, break glass." Biography of Robin Olds It was something of an exaggeration, but it contained an element of truth: Robin Olds was built for war. And he was born to fly. It was imprinted in his genes. Born July 14, 1922, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Robin Olds was the son of then-Capt. (later Maj. Gen.) Robert Olds and his wife Eloise, who died when Robin was four. The oldest of four, Olds spent the majority of his childhood at Langley Field, Virginia where his father was stationed as an aide to Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell. In 1925 when he was only three, he accompanied his father to Mitchell's famed...

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WW2 – Sugar Loaf Hill, Okinawa

WW2 – Sugar Loaf Hill, Okinawa

After the Battle of Midway in the summer of 1942, the United States launched a counter-offensive strike known as "island-hopping," establishing a line of overlapping island bases. As each Japanese-held island fell, U.S. forces quickly constructed airfields and small bases, then moved on to surrounding islands, one after another, until Japan came within range of American bombers. The volcanic island of Iwo Jima was a crucial location for the island-hopping campaign to succeed. The island's proximity would make it possible for Marianas Island-based B-29 Superfortresses to refuel on their way to bomb Japanese targets and surrounding islands. It was also ideal for bombers damaged during the raids to find safety and medical attention on their way home from bombing Japan. Three airstrips, which the Japanese had been using for their suicidal Kamikaze attacks to destroy U.S. Navy warships, also made Iwo Jima a primary target. With the island captured, the Kamikazes would have to operate from...

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Korean War – Pork Chop Hill

Korean War – Pork Chop Hill

On Sunday, June 25, 1950, just before as sunrise, South Korean soldiers and their American advisors awakened to what they expected to be just another routine day guarding the demarcation line separating South Korea from Communist North Korea. Instead, they woke up to North Korean artillery blowing apart their positions, followed by heavy tanks and thousands of screaming North Korean soldiers. Outnumbered and outgunned, the UN forces were powerless to rout the invaders, forcing them into a disorderly withdrawal south. Never able to get their footing, UN forces continued moving south down the Korean peninsula, fighting delaying actions in Seoul, Osan, Taegu, Masan, P'ohang, and the Naktong River. Their withdrawal took nine days, ending at the southeastern-most tip of South Korea near the port city of Pusan on the Sea of Japan. Exhausted and on the brink of defeat, they hurriedly set up the 'Pusan Perimeter' to make their final stand against the determined North Korean army. Fighting...

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Indian Wars – The Nez Perce War

Indian Wars – The Nez Perce War

Shortly after purchasing the Louisiana territory from France in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson ordered an expedition to explore and map the newly acquired territory and establish an American presence before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it. The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and establish trade with local Native American tribes. To lead the expedition of U.S. Army volunteers, Jefferson chose his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, an intelligent and literate man who also possessed skills as a frontiersman. Lewis, in turn, solicited the help of Second Lieutenant William Clark, whose abilities as draftsman and frontiersman were even stronger. Lewis and Clark's expedition began on May 21, 1804, when they and 33 soldiers and others departed from their camp near St. Louis, Missouri. The first portion of the expedition followed the route of the Missouri River, during which...

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WW1 – Meuse-Argonne Offensive

WW1 – Meuse-Argonne Offensive

World War I will be remembered as one of the bloodiest wars in human history. Millions of soldiers died on both sides, and whole generations of young men were wiped out. Armies were bogged down in impenetrable trenches, resulting in thousands dying in futile assaults against fortified enemies. The war also introduced new and terrible weapons, such as the machine gun, which made the war even more horrific and bloody. There were many terrible battles, but the worst one for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. On August 30, 1918, the supreme commander of Allied forces, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, arrived at the headquarters of General John J. Pershing's 1st US Army. Foch ordered Pershing to effectively shelve a planned offensive against the St. Mihiel salient as he wished to use the American troops piecemeal to support a British offensive to the north. Outraged, Pershing refused to let his command be broken apart and argued in favor of moving forward with...

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