United States Army

Flag Day and the Army

On June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed this resolution:

 “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The Flag was designed by member of Congress Francis Hopkinson who requested a quarter cask of wine for his services.  Payment was denied him on the sound ground that he was already being paid as a member of Congress.  Two years previously on June 14, 1775, Congress voted to adopt the New England militia army besieging Boston and so the Continental Army was formed.

I have always thought it appropriate that the Flag and the Army share the same birthday.  The Flag is the proud symbol of the nation but without military strength to back it up, it would quickly become a mere colorful piece of fabric.  John Wayne in a brief speech at the end of the movie Fort Apache (1948), part of John Ford’s cavalry trilogy, captured the spirit of the Army:

As did this passage the following year in the second of the cavalry trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon:

 

So here they are: the dog-faced soldiers, the regulars, the fifty-cents-a-day professionals… riding the outposts of a nation. From Fort Reno to Fort Apache – from Sheridan to Startle – they were all the same: men in dirty-shirt blue and only a cold page in the history books to mark their passing. But wherever they rode – and whatever they fought for – that place became the United States.

The song That Ragged Old Flag understands the necessity of men willing to fight for the nation, for the Flag, if the country is to endure: Continue reading

Gee, I Wonder Why Army Morale Stinks?

 

Faithful readers of this blog will recall a recent post about low morale in the Army.  Go here to read about it.  Now we have this story which succinctly demonstrates why the morale is plummeting.

 

On Monday, Army ROTC cadets at an Arizona State University campus were reportedly pressured into participating in an event allegedly designed to promote awareness of sexual violence against women, the Washington Times reported. The event, according to reports, required cadets to walk around campus wearing red high heel shoes.

Last year, the Times said, the Army encouraged cadets to voluntarily participate in what was billed as “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.” This year, however, cadets weren’t given much of a choice, according to many reports. Visitors to Temple University Army ROTC’s Facebook page and other social media sites made it clear the event wasn’t exactly voluntary.

“They were threatened with negative counselling (sic) statements and OERs if they didn’t participate,” one person said on Facebook. “It was pretty much ‘do this or we’ll kill your career before it even starts.’”

“Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want,” one cadet said on social media. “So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow.” Continue reading

Army “Optimism” Program Flops

 

Well this is unsurprising:

More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.

Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as “I rarely count on good things happening to me.” Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.

The results stem from resiliency assessments that soldiers are required to take every year. In 2014, for the first time, the Army pulled data from those assessments to help commanders gauge the psychological and physical health of their troops.

The effort produced startlingly negative results. In addition to low optimism and job satisfaction, more than half reported poor nutrition and sleep, and only 14% said they are eating right and getting enough rest.

Go here to read the rest.  Armies that are fighting and winning and have confidence in their leaders have high morale.  None of this is true for the Army under Obama.  Obama leaves to the next President a hollow military.

I wonder what Patton would have thought of an Army “optimism” program?  I can guess what he would have said, but such language is not fitting for a family blog.  Instapundit puts it well:

You know what helps morale? An Army that fights and wins. You know what doesn’t? A $287 million 6-year “optimism” program. An army overrun with sociology grads, “resiliency directorates,” diversity officers, and the like is not an army that’s focused on fighting and winning. Continue reading

Army Folly

An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!          

Rudyard Kipling, Tommy

The Obama administration demonstrates yet again that the defense of this country is not among their priorities, and that they could care less about the men who fight our wars.

 

 

In a stunning display of callousness, the Defense Department has announced that thousands of soldiers — many serving as commanding officers in Afghanistan — will be notified in the coming weeks that their service to the country is no longer needed.

Last week, more than 1,100 Army captains — the men and women who know best how to fight this enemy because they have experienced multiple deployments — were told they’ll be retired from the Army.

The overall news is not unexpected. The Army has ended its major operations in Iraq and is winding down in Afghanistan. Budget cuts are projected to shrink the Army from its current 520,000 troops to 440,000, the smallest size since before World War II.

What is astonishing is that the Defense Department thought it would be appropriate to notify deployed soldiers — men and women risking their lives daily in combat zones — that they’ll be laid off after their current deployment.

As one Army wife posted on MilitaryFamily.org, “On some level I knew the drawdowns were inevitable, but I guess I never expected to be simultaneously worried about a deployment to Afghanistan and a pink slip because my husband’s service is no longer needed.”

Yet the issues go far beyond thanklessness. The nation should worry about the increased national-security risk of separating such a large pool of combat-experienced leaders. The separated soldiers are those who carry the deepest knowledge base of counterinsurgency operations. Continue reading

Bugles Across America

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;

Rudyard Kipling, Tommy

It never surprises me that when it comes time for a government agency to economize, somehow the fifth assistant briefcase holders never lose their jobs, while this type of idiocy is implemented:

It was then that federal legislation passed stipulating that every honorably discharged veteran had the right to at least two uniformed military personnel to fold and present the flag, and to sound “Taps” at their funeral. Day thought this was good. The bad news, the fine print added, was that if a bugler could not be found, a recording should be used.

Finding a live bugler proved a mathematical impossibility. With 1,800 vets dying every day (at one point, World War II veterans were dying at the rate of one every two minutes), the military had only 500 buglers to share the load. Day estimates there’s considerably fewer now, with general cutbacks and sequestration. Honor guards were thus initially directed to bring boom boxes to funerals, looking to stealthily place CD players behind tombstones, as they prayed the disc didn’t skip or scratch, that the batteries didn’t fail, or worst of all, that instead of “Taps,” they hit the wrong track and accidentally played “Reveille.” “Sounds funny, but it’s happened,” Day growls. 

To add greater insult, the Defense Department then introduced what it calls “ceremonial bugles.” In the venerable Pentagon procurement tradition of the $435 hammer or the $600 toilet seat, the digital bugles cost $530 a throw, and many purists/people-with-taste consider them abominations. Day’s volunteers, when they call them anything printable, tend to refer to these as “fake bugles,” while Day himself just calls it “The Device.” As one Navy musician tells me, “This is it, it’s the last song. Your veteran is dead. And it looks like you’re playing him off with something from Toys’R’Us.”

Just dead servicemen after all.  Unless they reside in Chicago they won’t be eligible to vote in future elections.  So far, so disgraceful.  But then 73 year old Marine Tom Day came to the rescue: Continue reading

You Catholic Extremist!

army-extremism

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Your tax dollars at work:

A slideshow presentation shown to US Army Reserve recruits classifies Christians, including both evangelicals and Roman Catholics, as religious extremists, placing them in the same category as skinheads, the Ku Klux Klan, Hamas and Al Qaeda.

The presentation also warned that members of the military are prohibited from taking leadership roles in any organization the Pentagon considers ‘extremist,’ and from distributing the organization’s literature, whether on or off a military installation.

The opening slide warns that ‘the rise in hate crimes and extremism outside the military may be an indication of internal issues all [armed] services will have to face.’

Citing a Southern Poverty Law Center report as evidence that extremism is on the rise, the Army Reserve presentation blames ‘the superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories,the changing racial make-up of America and the prospect of 4 more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.’

Nice to know that the Army has people in it who are paranoid as some of the loonier far Left web sites.  The resulting furor caused the Pentagon to issue this statement:

An Army spokesperson said the presentation “was  produced by an   individual without anyone in the chain of command’s knowledge  or   permission.” The Army removed the offending  slide after receiving   complaints.

The person responsible for the presentation, the spokesperson said,   “was  not a subject matter expert, and produced the material after   conducting  Internet research.” Continue reading

Yeah, I Feel So Much Safer Now

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  The United States Army has a long and proud history of defending this country, often engaged in combat in the most deadly situations imaginable against very tough adversaries.   I was proud in my misspent youth to wear Army green for a few years.  Today the Army finds itself facing severe financial cuts from the Obama administration, troop strength is at its lowest ebb since the Fifties, and it is entirely possible that a war with Iran might occur anytime this year.  Not to worry!  The Army has time for this:

The Army is ordering its hardened combat veterans to wear fake breasts and empathy bellies so they can better understand how pregnant soldiers feel during physical training.

This week, 14 noncommissioned officers at Camp Zama took turns wearing the “pregnancy simulators” as they stretched, twisted and exercised during a three-day class that teaches them to serve as fitness instructors for pregnant soldiers and new mothers.

Army enlisted leaders all over the world are being ordered to take the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training Exercise Leaders Course, or PPPT, according to U.S. Army Medical Activity Japan health promotion educator Jana York.

Nothing I could possibly say is half so apropos as what was said by Hilaire Belloc long ago: Continue reading

This is Still America, Isn’t It?

 

In my mispent youth I wore Army green for a few years.  My main contribution to the nation’s defense was when I was discharged, but I have always retained a fondness for the Army.  Therefore I have very strong feelings about the attempt by the Obama administration to censor Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the Catholic Archbishop for the military services in the US.

 

On Thursday, January 26, Archbishop Broglio emailed a pastoral letter to Catholic military chaplains with instructions that it be read from the pulpit at Sunday Masses the following weekend in all military chapels. The letter calls on Catholics to resist the policy initiative, recently affirmed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, for federally mandated health insurance covering sterilization, abortifacients and contraception, because it represents a violation of the freedom of religion recognized by the U.S. Constitution.

The Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains subsequently sent an email to senior chaplains advising them that the Archbishop’s letter was not coordinated with that office and asked that it not be read from the pulpit.  The Chief’s office directed that the letter was to be mentioned in the Mass announcements and distributed in printed form in the back of the chapel.

Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese stand firm in the belief, based on legal precedent, that such a directive from the Army constituted a violation of his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech and the free exercise of religion, as well as those same rights of all military chaplains and their congregants.

Following a discussion between Archbishop Broglio and the Secretary of the Army, The Honorable John McHugh, it was agreed that it was a mistake to stop the reading of the Archbishop’s letter.  Additionally, the line: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law” was removed by Archbishop Broglio at the suggestion of Secretary McHugh over the concern that it could potentially be misunderstood as a call to civil disobedience.
The AMS did not receive any objections to the reading of Archbishop Broglio’s statement from the other branches of service. Continue reading

Audie Murphy: American Hero

“I never liked being called the ‘most decorated’ soldier. There were so many guys who should have gotten medals and never did–
guys who were killed.”

Audie Murphy

In the Fifties actor Audie Murphy achieved stardom, mainly in Westerns.  Murphy looked like a typical Hollywood “pretty boy” but he was anything but.  From a family of 12 in Texas, he was the sixth child, Murphy had dropped out of school in the fifth grade to help support his dirt poor family after his worthless father ran off.    His mother died in 1941.  In 1942 he enlisted in the Army at 16, lying about his birthday, partially to help support his younger brothers and sister and partially because he dreamed of a military career.  He served with the Third Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.  By the end of the War, just after  his 19th birthday, he was a First Lieutenant and had earned, in hellish combat, a Medal of Honor, a Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, a French Legion of Honor, a French Croix de Guerre, a Belgian Croix de Guerre, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.  He was the most decorated soldier of the US Army in World War 2.  Here is his Medal of Honor Citation  which helps explain why Murphy entitled his war memoir  To Hell and Back:

Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective. Continue reading

Follow The American Catholic
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .