Military Campaign Stories

Operation Top Cover, a Year On The Dew Line By Arthur Wayland

Operation Top Cover, a Year On The Dew Line By Arthur Wayland

During the Cold War, the United States relied on three radar lines to detect incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles that might come from the Soviet Union. The most important and most capable of the three was the Distant Early Warning Line - affectionately known as the DEW Line.  About the Author of Operation Top Cover In Cape Lisburne, Alaska, Arthur Wayland was manning the 711 Aircraft Control and Warning station. It was a very remote radar station, the westernmost site of the DEW Line. His job was to warn the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) of any enemy aircraft that crossed into U.S. airspace.  Wayland spent a year on the DEW Line between 1969 and 1970. His book, "Operation Top Cover: A Year on the DEW Line," recounts his time spent there.  It was an eventful year for the Cold War. Richard Nixon was elected as President of the United States, the Apollo 11 astronauts won the Space Race by landing on the moon, and Nixon implemented the "Madman...

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Service Reflections of SP4 Orlando Maione, U.S. Army (1958-1961)

Service Reflections of SP4 Orlando Maione, U.S. Army (1958-1961)

I was 22 years old and just finished my fourth year as a student in a five-year program for a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, IN. In June of that year, I received my draft notice. I went to the local draft board with my university catalog showing the program I was in was a five-year program; my parents canceled the check for the fifth-year tuition and explained that I didn’t want to get out of the draft. I was perfectly willing to serve but wanted to finish my college education and a one-year deferment.

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WW2 – The Heroes Of Eager Beavers

WW2 – The Heroes Of Eager Beavers

In 1943, several U.S. airmen went on a suicide mission. Two men, who were part of Eager Beavers, on the mission were awarded a Medal of Honor - the only time in WWII that two men received the same award for the same engagement. Interestingly, their careers didn't start out well. Biography of Lt Col Jay Zeamer Jr. Jay Zeamer, Jr. got his wings in 1941 at Langley Field. All his classmates became pilots and got their own planes and crews, but not Zeamer. Although he could fly and had a passion for it, he just didn't have what it took to be a pilot. Still, he could fly, so when America entered the war, they made him a co-pilot. In March 1942, they sent him to Australia where he again tried to become a pilot but again failed. They sent him to the Solomon Islands - the same thing. Zeamer was to spend WWII as a co-pilot, navigator, gunner, and anything else; just not a pilot. Biography of 2nd Lt Joseph Raymond Sarnoski Joseph Raymond Sarnoski met Zeamer at Langley. Sarnoski got his wings,...

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Was Mr. Rogers a Vietnam-Era Sniper?

Was Mr. Rogers a Vietnam-Era Sniper?

At some point in their military career, U.S. troops will likely hear the rumor that television's Mr. Rogers, host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," was a death-dealing, hardcore Vietnam-era sniper in either the Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, or the Marine Corps.  Fred Rogers and his past are just one more file to add to the mounting list of military myths and urban legends. It might be fun to think of a man as smart and wholesome as Fred Rogers picking off a North Vietnamese general or Viet Cong guerrilla, but that's just not the case.  Who is Mr. Rogers? In reality, Rogers was a Presbyterian minister before the Vietnam War ever started, and during the war, he was studying Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh. He helped develop his first children's show in 1955, and by 1968, he was the host of the now-famous "Mister Rogers Neighborhood."  Since the show ran on PBS for 33 years, and Fred Rogers was the showrunner, he had little time to pop rounds off at...

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War in Afghanistan – The Battle of Kunduz

War in Afghanistan – The Battle of Kunduz

The Battle of Kunduz took place from April to October 2015 for control of the city of Kunduz, located in northern Afghanistan, with Taliban fighters attempting to displace Afghan security forces. On September 28, 2015, the Taliban forces suddenly overran the city, with government forces retreating outside the city. The capture marked the first time since 2001 that the Taliban had taken control of a major city in Afghanistan. The Afghan government claimed to have largely recaptured Kunduz by October 1, 2015, in a counterattack, although local sources in the city disputed the claim made by government officials. Twelve hospital staff of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) and ten patients, including three children, were killed on October 3rd by a prolonged series of U.S. airstrikes on Kunduz Trauma Centre, an emergency trauma hospital run by the agency. Thirty-seven people were injured including nineteen staff members The Initial Attack of the Battle of Kunduz The Taliban...

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Famous Navy Unit: USRC Harriet Lane

Famous Navy Unit: USRC Harriet Lane

The USRC Harriet Lane (1857) was a vessel serving in the United States Revenue Cutter Service from 1861–1881; builder: William Webb, New York, length: 180 ft., navigation draft: 10 ft., beam: 30 ft., propulsion: sail & steam: brigantine-rigged & side wheel paddles; inclined, direct-acting steam engine. Its descendants since then have included USCGC Harriet Lane (WSC-141), a 125-foot cutter in US Coast Guard service 1926-46, and USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC-903), a medium-endurance cutter in USCG service commissioned in 1984. It was named after the niece, official hostess, and designated First Lady of President (1857-1861) James Buchanan under the auspices of the United States Treasury Department. The 619-ton copper-plated steamer could make speeds of up to eleven knots. Her battery consisted of three thirty-two-pounder and four twenty-four-pounder howitzers.  The Inception of the Revenue Cutter Service Immediately following our Revolutionary War, the United States struggled...

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Service Reflections of Sgt Thomas Hewell, U.S. Air Force (1972-1976)

Service Reflections of Sgt Thomas Hewell, U.S. Air Force (1972-1976)

In June of 1971, I graduated from Oconee County High School, and a friend of mine helped me get a job as a Laboratory Technician in Plant Pathology and Genetics at the University of Georgia starting in July of that year. It sounded like a neat job at first, but after a few months of looking through a microscope in a small room, I quickly realized that was not what I wanted to do long-term. I had always thought about serving in the military because of the men in my family who had served in the different military branches and some friends of mine from High School who had immediately enlisted right after graduation. The Vietnam War was on the news constantly, and I just felt the need to serve. Although the draft was still in place, my draft number was 340, so I probably would never have been drafted, but I wanted to do my part to serve my country.

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B-17 Bomber Crews of World War II

B-17 Bomber Crews of World War II

Even at the time, the idea was kind of crazy. Untold numbers of heavy bombers, flying in massive formations without any kind of fighter escort, would fly to heavily-defended targets inside Nazi Germany to drop a 6,000-pound bomb load and come home – all during broad daylight.  If that sounds like an incredibly dangerous mission to you, you're correct. "Masters of the Air," a new limited series from Executive Producers Tom Hanks and Steven Speilberg, will debut on January 26, 2024, on Apple TV+ and will show viewers just how devastating air combat over Nazi Germany really was. Masters of the Air — Official Teaser | Apple TV+ The Harsh Realities of B-17 Bomber Crews A B-17 Flying Fortress crew had a 50-50 chance of coming home alive during a bombing mission. The average age of a bomber crew was just 25 years old, and they were expected to fly over a target 25 times before they could go home. Needless to say, there were a lot of airmen (and aircraft) that never made it to 25 missions....

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US Navy C-130 Hercules Plane Lands & Takes Off From An Aircraft Carrier

US Navy C-130 Hercules Plane Lands & Takes Off From An Aircraft Carrier

Aircraft carriers are enormously important. They serve as mobile bases for warplanes at sea. They have flight decks for planes to take off and land. They carry equipment for arming warplanes and recovering planes that have been damaged. An aircraft carrier is considered a capital ship, the most important ship. This is because the Navy can use it to extend its power anywhere in the world. Countries that want to exercise influence need to have aircraft carriers. History of the C-130 Hercules Plane Aircraft carriers arose from cruisers that had been converted to carry aircraft in the early twentieth century. They were important during World War II, especially in the Pacific. Nowadays, they are some of the largest ships on the water and carry all kinds of aircraft, including helicopters, fighters, reconnaissance planes, and strike aircraft. They are, of course, enormously expensive to build. When on duty, and especially in war zones, they are protected by other ships. When it comes to...

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Ending the Battle of the Bulge

Ending the Battle of the Bulge

In December 1944, the German Wehrmacht launched what would be its last offensive of World War II, a last-ditch, all-out effort to throw the Western Allies back from Germany's borders. It would take the Allies almost six weeks to blunt the effort and force the German Army back, but for a time, it looked like the Nazi offensive might actually succeed in splintering the Allied invasion of Europe.  Germany threw everything it could into the effort, including an estimated 410,000 men, 1,500 armored vehicles, a thousand combat aircraft, and thousands of artillery guns. The response to such an assault would turn the Battle of the Bulge into the largest and one of the deadliest battles in U.S. military history.  The Ardennes Offensive: The Battle Unleashed Only in January 1945 did it become apparent the offensive had failed and that Germans would spend the rest of World War II in retreat.  On the morning of Dec. 16, 1944, the German Army achieved total surprise against an Allied force...

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Tales from My Sea Bag by Luis Sung

Tales from My Sea Bag by Luis Sung

There's a good chance that anyone in the Navy could fill a book of short stories with their own personal sea stories, no matter what their rating was. That's pretty much the greatest thing about joining the Navy: you get multiple lifetimes of experiences crammed into such a short amount of time. Of course, slots on aircraft carriers and submarines are limited, and sailors couldn't talk much about those experiences anyway. Author Luis Sung was stationed aboard the Amphibious Transport Dock USS Trenton (LPD 14) between 1980 and 1984. He chronicles his adventures of being deployed with his shipmates and their U.S. Marine Corps passengers and the challenges of being at sea. From Childhood in Hawaii to Naval Adventures Sung spent some of his early life in Florida but says his childhood really started when his family relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii, in the 1970s. It wouldn't last. The family eventually moved back to Florida, where Sung spent most of his life – when he wasn't in the Navy, of...

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Did Ronald Reagan Scare Iran Into Freeing Hostages?

Did Ronald Reagan Scare Iran Into Freeing Hostages?

For 444 days between 1979 and 1981, 52 American citizens and diplomats who once worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran were held hostage by Iranian college students loyal to Iran's revolutionary Islamic cleric, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Though no hostages died, the incident severed U.S.-Iranian relations that have never been restored. It is the date the hostages were finally released that leads many to believe it was more than negotiations that caused their release. Reagan's Inauguration: The Ronald Reagan Effect All 52 hostages were released the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States. Legend has it that the Gipper's rhetoric and forcefulness struck such fear into the hearts of the Ayatollah's revolutionary government that they were immediately compelled to send the hostages home. It's true that the hostages were released on January 20, 1981, the same day Reagan was inaugurated as President, but it had nothing to do with fear of Ronald Reagan. ...

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