What Is A Veteran? (Attributed to Father Denis Edward O’Brian, USMC)
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them, a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?
A vet is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel.
A vet is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th Parallel.
A vet is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
A vet is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back at all.
A vet is the drill instructor who has never seen combat – but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account punks and gang members into marines, airmen, sailors, soldiers and coast guardsmen, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.
A vet is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
A vet is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
A vet is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.
A vet is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now and aggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
A vet is an ordinary and yet extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
A vet is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more that the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say, “Thank You.” That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.
Again, two little words that mean a lot to any Veteran – “THANK YOU.”
A Senate vote Tuesday could be key for the future of the A-10 Thunderbolt, which the Air Force wants to retire over the objections of infantry troops and lawmakers. An annual defense policy bill scheduled for a vote by Senate Republican leadership – and facing staunch Democratic opposition — would require the service to maintain 171 of the A-10s and bar it from spending any money on retirement efforts over the coming year.
The House passed the measure Thursday but Democrats rallied against it. Republicans were unable to get enough votes to protect the bill from a threatened White House veto. The Air Force hopes to save money by retiring the 1970s-era aircraft and make way for advanced aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which remains in development. But supporters of the so-called Warthogs, especially former A-10 pilot Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., said there are no good replacements for now and phasing it out could risk U.S. security and lives on the battlefield.
“These aircraft are critical to our local economy as well as our current military efforts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, where A-10s are deployed to train with our NATO allies and deter Russian aggression,” McSally said in a released statement. “We absolutely cannot afford to see these capabilities sidelined prematurely, and I will continue to work tirelessly to prevent that.”
Airborne: A family tradition. All the way.
The US Army was established on 14 June 1775. On that date, the Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of riflemen to serve for a period of one year. It is the senior US military service.
“This We’ll Defend.” That rather sums up 240 years of history quite nicely.
New York Times breaks Operation Overlord
Jonathon Risen, New York Times Dateline: France June 1, 1944
The New York Times, always first with breaking news, has discovered that a daring invasion is planned on the coast of France on June 5 in an effort to liberate the courageous and valiant French citizens from the Nazis. If the weather conditions are not right, we have learned that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower may delay the invasion for a day.
Operation Overlord will be a massive Allied invasion of Western Europe that will include simultaneous landings on five beachheads by U.S., British, and Canadian forces.
When Eisenhower’s chief meteorologist, James Martin Stagg, informs the general of a break in the weather, Eisenhower will announce — “O.K. We’ll go.”
Within hours of the decision to go, an armada of 3,000 landing craft, 2,500 other ships, and 500 naval vessels–escorts and bombardment ships–will began to leave English ports. At night, 822 aircraft, carrying parachutists or towing gliders, will roar overhead to the Normandy landing zones. They will be just a fraction of the air armada of 13,000 aircraft that will support “D-Day.”
The largest of the D-Day assault areas, Omaha Beach, stretches over 10 km (6 miles) between the fishing port of Port-en-Bessin on the east and the mouth of the Vire River on the west. The western third of the beach is backed by a seawall 3 metres (10 feet) high, and the whole beach is overlooked by cliffs 30 metres high.
Utah Beach is the westernmost beach of the planned five landing areas. It will be assaulted by elements of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. In the pre-dawn hours, units of the 82nd and 101st airborne division will be airdropped inland from the landing beach. Their plan is to isolate the seaborned invasion force from defending German units.
Sword Beach is the easternmost beach of the five landing areas of the planned invasion. It will be assaulted by units of the British 3rd Division, with French and British commandos attached. Shortly after midnight on D-Day morning, elements of the 6th Airborne Division will launch a daring glider-borne assault, hoping to seize bridges inland from the beach and also silence artillery pieces that could threaten the seaborne landing forces.
H-Hour (the time the first assault wave is to land) at Gold Beach is set for 0725 hours, one hour later than the scheduled landings on the American beaches owing to the direction of the tide, which move from west to east and bring high water later to the British beach.
Juno Beach is the second beach from the east among the five landing areas of the invasion. The Canadian 3rd Infantry Division will invade Juno Beach.
Sources have told us that this invasion could be the beginning of the end for the Nazis. Although Times editors held a meeting to discuss whether this information should be reported, it was decided unanimously that it is news and our first obligation is to journalism and reporting the story. We do hope, of course, that Allied casualties are kept to a minimum.
Count on the New York Times for all your war coverage. If it’s news, we will have it first.
Imagine the outcome if the NY Times actually did this.