The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

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...

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The War of 1812

The War of 1812

The War of 1812 is a relatively little-known war in American history, but it is also one of its most important. It lasted from June 1812 to February 1815, and was fought between the United States of America and the United Kingdom, its North American colonies, and its Native American allies. It also defined the presidency of James Madison, known as the "Father of the Constitution." Despite its complicated causes and inconclusive outcome, the conflict helped establish the credibility of the...

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The Battleship in Union Square

The Battleship in Union Square

In 1917 the U.S. Navy built a full-size battleship in New York City's Union Square Park near the entrance to the subway and faced south. It would stay there for the next three years. The ship - USS Recruit - was commissioned as a normal seagoing ship, under the command of Acting Captain C. F. Pierce and with a complement of thirty-nine bluejackets from the Newport Training Station. It functioned as a recruiting office and training center with sailors training on the ship to demonstrate a small...

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War in the Pacific – Battle of Tarawa

War in the Pacific – 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...

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Philippine-American War

Philippine-American War

After its defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Treaty of Paris (1898) transferred Philippine sovereignty from Spain to the United States, ending centuries of Spanish control over the politics and economy of its longstanding former colony. Filipino leaders, however, did not recognize America's authority and had no intention of ceding their homeland to a new colonial power. The decision by U.S. policymakers to annex the Philippines was not without domestic controversy, either....

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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Backtracking in Brown Water by Rolland E. Kidder

Backtracking in Brown Water by Rolland E. Kidder

The market is flooded with books written about Vietnam. Many follow the same path in their storytelling, beginning with their youth, entry into the military, their war experiences, returning home, and how they feel today about that journey. This book does some of that, but it is different in more ways. The author takes us on a voyage spanning his wartime service as a U.S. Navy patrol boat officer in Vietnam's Mekong Delta to his recent return trip to Vietnam and finally, to the most poignant...

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Heroes of Hill 488

Heroes of Hill 488

During the Vietnam War, one of the 1st Marine Division's primary area of operation was the southern two provinces of I Corps - Quang Tin and Quang Ngai, located in the southern portion of South Vietnam's I Corps Military Region. Astride the boundary between Quang Nam and Quang Tin provinces is the populous, rice-rich Que Son Valley, considered as strategically important in controlling South Vietnam's five northern provinces. For that reason, it was a principal focus for the Marines in I...

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LCdr John (Jackie) Cooper, U.S. Navy (1943-1982)

LCdr John (Jackie) Cooper, U.S. Navy (1943-1982)

Born in Los Angeles in 1922, Cooper was born into a family of entertainers and became a child actor while very young, accompanying his grandmother to her auditions. His first actual credit was in 1929, in the short film Boxing Gloves, part of the Our Gang series of comedic films directed by Hal Roach. Jackie’s stock rose and he took larger and larger roles in these shorts, leading in The First Seven Years (1930) and When The Wind Blows (1930). In 1931 Cooper’s uncle, director Norman Taurog,...

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PO3 Robert E. Bush, U.S. Navy (1944–1945) – Medal of Honor Recipient

PO3 Robert E. Bush, U.S. Navy (1944–1945) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Robert Eugene Bush wasn't old enough to join the Navy when the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was still in high school. His neighbor in his hometown of Raymond, Washington, was a Fireman aboard the USS Arizona. "He's still on board the Arizona," Bush said in a Veterans History Project Interview. Bush could barely stand the wait to join the war. He wouldn't be old enough until his 17th birthday in the Fall of 1943. He and a friend from school dropped out and enlisted...

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