Military Medley

249th Birthday of the U.S. Army

249th Birthday of the U.S. Army

June 14, 2024, marks a significant milestone as we celebrate the birthday of the United States Army. This day is an opportunity to reflect on the rich history, bravery, and enduring spirit of one of the most storied military forces in the world. The U.S. Army has played a crucial role in shaping the nation's history, defending its freedoms, and promoting peace globally. Historical Beginnings of the U.S. Army The United States Army was officially established on June 14, 1775, by the Continental Congress. This decision came amidst the burgeoning conflict between the American colonies and Great Britain, known as the American Revolutionary War. The need for a unified military force was clear as the colonies sought independence from British rule. General George Washington was appointed the first Commander-in-Chief, laying the foundation for a powerful and respected military institution. In its early days, the Army faced numerous challenges, including limited resources, and inexperienced...

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PFC Jerome Silberman (Gene Wilder), U.S. Army, 1956-1958

PFC Jerome Silberman (Gene Wilder), U.S. Army, 1956-1958

In the glittering world of Hollywood, Gene Wilder remains an iconic figure, celebrated for his comedic genius and unforgettable performances. From his iconic roles in classics like "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" to his collaborations with Mel Brooks in uproarious films like "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," Wilder's legacy is etched in the hearts of movie buffs everywhere. Yet, amidst the laughter and applause, there exists a lesser-known chapter of his life – his service in the United States military. Beyond the screen, Wilder's journey as a soldier reveals a depth of character shaped by discipline, sacrifice, and patriotism. Gene Wilder’s Early Life: From Milwaukee to Basic Training Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, son of Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, a manufacturer and salesman of novelty items. His father was a Jewish Russian immigrant, as were his maternal grandparents. Growing up, Wilder and his...

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VA Updates: Keep Your Life Status Current With the VA

VA Updates: Keep Your Life Status Current With the VA

Many monetary benefits administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) depend on your life status. This is defined as the Veteran's marital status and the number of dependents in the family. To ensure you receive the correct payment – no less or no more – it is essential to have this information accurately reported to the VA at all times. Failure to do so can have consequences that can cause financial hardship for the Veteran. An example demonstrates this. Marriage and Its Effect on VA Benefits Let's start with a male Veteran who is 50 percent service-connected. In this example, he is not married, or as the VA describes it, "alone." Based on the payment schedule for 2024 (you can find this schedule), he will receive $1,075.16 each month. The Veteran marries. Now, for VA purposes, he is considered a "Veteran with Spouse," his monthly payment will increase to $1,179.16, provided this information has been reported to the VA.   The first key point to understand is the...

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I Will Tell No War Stories by Howard Mansfield

I Will Tell No War Stories by Howard Mansfield

Howard Mansfield is an accomplished author and writer of a dozen books. However, his latest, "I Will Tell No War Stories: What Our Fathers Left Unsaid about World War II," is not his story. It belongs to Pincus Mansfield, his father, who lived the stories in the book during World War II. Howard knew his father had flown aboard a B-24 Liberator Bomber during the war, but like many of his generation, mum was the word when it came to talking about his wartime experiences.  "You're not getting any war stories from me," he'd say.  During a visit to England, his son got a taste of what World War II was like for the bomber crews who flew over Nazi-occupied Europe. He joined a British airplane enthusiasts' club for a screening of the 1941 Royal Air Force film "Target for Tonight." During the short film, he watched as bomber crews planned and executed a mission over the Rhine, and he saw just how dangerous his father's wartime profession really was. But he had never heard his father...

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VA Updates: Veteran Home Ownership

VA Updates: Veteran Home Ownership

Homeownership has many positive features for Veterans and their families. A home provides shelter and safety. With planning, a home is an anchor to a strong community with solid schools for children. Connecting to the community can bring purpose and a sense of belonging to replace those experienced in the military. Empowering Veterans Through Homeownership Another positive feature of homeownership is the increase in net wealth, which can happen when the home appreciates in value over time. For example, if you purchase a $500,000 home and sell it later for $600,000, you keep the $100,000 extra that remains once you pay off the old mortgage. This money can be used for many reasons, including children's college education, starting a business, or retirement. For many, including Veterans, your home may be the largest asset in your portfolio. Most people purchase a home with the assistance of a financial institution and a mortgage – an agreement to pay for the purchase monthly over a...

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The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost is the heartbreaking and inspiring story of one of America's deadliest battles during the war in Afghanistan, acclaimed by critics everywhere as a classic. At 5:58 AM on October 3rd, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating, located in frighteningly vulnerable terrain in Afghanistan just 14 miles from the Pakistani border, was viciously attacked. Though the 53 Americans there prevailed against 40 Taliban fighters, their casualties made it the deadliest fight of the war for the fight for the U.S. that year.  Four months after the battle, a Pentagon review revealed that there was no reason for the troops at Keating to have been there in the first place. In The Outpost, Jake Taber gives us the powerful saga of COP Keating, from its establishment to eventual destructions, introducing us to an unforgettable cast of soldiers and their families and to a place and war that has remained profoundly distant to most Americans. Reviews of The Outpost "The Outpost is a mind-boggling,...

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Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. According to her son, Luca Dotti, "The war made my mother who she was."  Audrey Hepburn's war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor's assistant during the "Bridge Too Far" battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem's most famous young ballerina.  Audrey's own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime...

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On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides

On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides

On October 15, 1950, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of UN troops in Korea, convinced President Harry Truman that the Communist forces of Kim Il-sung would be utterly defeated by Thanksgiving. The Chinese, he said with near certainty, would not intervene in the war. As he was speaking, 300,000 Red Chinese soldiers began secretly crossing the Manchurian border. Led by some 20,000 men of the First Marine Division, the Americans moved deep into the snowy mountains of North Korea, toward the trap Mao had set for the vainglorious MacArthur along the frozen shores of the Chosin Reservoir. What followed was one of the most heroic - and harrowing - operations in All US Air Force operations are oriented around the official Air Force Doctrine. Responsibility for developing doctrine rests on the Curtis E Lemay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Doctrine exists to guide the Air Force in the effective American military history, and one...

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Cobra Talon by Patrick Sydor

Cobra Talon by Patrick Sydor

Nick Parker is a Combat Security Police Flight Chief at Ko Kha Air Station, a remote radar outpost on the Thailand-Laos border. As the war in Vietnam draws to a close, he is suddenly thrust into a dark, secret war taking place in Thailand and must devise an effective defense for his small but important radar station, one that serves both the Air Force and the CIA.  Ever the joker, Nick finds himself competing with his boss, who was expected to take the assignment. Nick Parker's life isn't all about war, however. He struggles with the injuries he sustained during the war, the ready availability of drugs and alcohol, and – tragically – the suicide of a close friend and fellow soldier. Nick has to defend his radar station while grappling with a murder accusation and being torn between his love back home and the one he potentially finds while at war.  It's not often we get to review works of fiction by veteran authors, but "Cobra Talon," the first in a series of novels by Vietnam...

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Col Edward McMahon, U.S. Marine Corps (1941-1966)

Col Edward McMahon, U.S. Marine Corps (1941-1966)

Ed McMahon, the iconic television personality and beloved sidekick to Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show," was not only a legendary entertainer but also a dedicated patriot who served his country with honor and distinction. Let’s review the remarkable life and military service of Ed McMahon, a man whose laughter resonated across generations. Ed McMahon’s Early Life Born on March 6, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan, Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. grew up in a modest household during the Great Depression. His childhood revolved around traveling from town to town with his parents, as his father was a professional fundraiser for charity projects. At a young age, McMahon worked for three years as a carnival barker in Mexico, Maine, before serving as a fifteen-year-old bingo caller in the state. As a boy, he dreamed of becoming an entertainer and did impersonations of stars, using a flashlight as his microphone and his dog, Valiant Prince, as his audience. At 17, McMahon landed his first job as a...

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Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a battlefield interrogator, and participated in a concentration camp's liberation. Although he was an American soldier, less than ten years before, he had been an enthusiastically patriotic German-Jewish boy. Rejected and threatened by the Nazi regime, the Angress family fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution and death, and young Angress then found his way to the United States.  In Witness to the Storm, Angress weaves the spellbinding story of his life, including his escape from Germany, his new life in the United States, and his experiences in World War II. A testament to the power of perseverance and forgiveness, Witness to the Storm is the compelling...

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VA Updates: What If My Veteran Dies?

VA Updates: What If My Veteran Dies?

End-of-life planning is uncomfortable, which is why so many people avoid it. I know this from personal experience. What Happens When My Veteran Dies My father was a wonderful man – a career Army Officer and patriot, a loving husband, and a strong and tough mentor to four children. He was also a lifelong cigarette smoker. So we were not surprised when they discovered he had lung cancer. During his final two years, he put off all efforts to address issues that required he acknowledged he wouldn't live forever.  After he died, I spent hours helping my mother with paperwork and taxes, tasks that could have been easily handled when he was alive. Even years later, she still receives inquiries related to his affairs. As we worked through these, I often joked that this was his plan, so she would never forget him. With this experience, I always admire Veteran spouses when they ask me, "What happens when my Veteran dies?" There are many aspects to a complete answer, but two points...

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