Military History

#1

YorkVol

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#1
Is there a Military History thread already? I searched but couldn't find one.

I thought it would be interesting to post articles and items regarding our military history. I know there are a lot of history buffs on VN and figured this was better than arguing along the same political lines all the time.

The attached article sparked my interest this morning. I used Combat Weather Teams from the Air Force my entire career and had the good fortune of having the same "Weather 6" across a couple of assignments. He and his team were worth their weight in gold. The guys in this article are the best of the best, both from a warrior stand point as well as "no BS I need a weather window to get in/out of a situation now" perspective. But even with my experience with these guys and my interest in all things military history, even the obscure, I had never heard of Keith Grimes. He is a certified bad arse in my book. Anyway, enjoy, discuss etc.



Grimes held three degrees, spoke four languages and went on to become one of the most important commandos in Air Force history. He became the first true SOWT, and implemented the broader vision of warriors first, weathermen second.
In June 1965 Grimes deployed to an air base in Udorn, Thailand, dressed in civilian clothes and posing as a scientist. The war had started but it wasn’t going well. For the past year American-backed bomber pilots had been following a finger of the Annamite Mountains and, just as the Pentagon had feared, they were getting “socked in” by storms. As many as half their missions were aborted because of weather.

So, to get these sorties on target, Grimes hiked into the Annamites himself, accompanied by a band of Laotian guerillas. From a mountaintop, he could see for 50 miles around, and he would monitor the sky. When he saw a storm collapse, he would call in a strike by code word, coaching the pilots through this hole in the clouds or that sun-drenched valley.

He watched the bombs fall.

“We’d be waiting, hiding in the grass, or the jungle, or up on top of some rocks, or in some cave,” he later recalled, “and before the North Vietnamese could regain their composure and get organized in any fashion we’d overrun the position. Then we’d do it somewhere else two or three days later.”
Send in The Weathermen - NBC News
 
#2

malinoisvol

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#2
Thanks York for posting this. I have started showing your post to some friends of mine and, shamefully, none of us have heard of his name or story, and were all retired USAF.

A lot of civilians and members of all service branches (including Air Force) don't realize the many combat rolls within the USAF. Most believe we're "buzz boys" only.

Thanks
 
#3

Toujours Pret

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#3
I'm a big military history buff, mainly Pre 1865 but I dabble in everything. I've taken to swinging through the goodwill book section fairly regularly, found some good material.

Current books are one on the Canadians at the Gothic Line in Italy, and one about the Plantangenet dynasty. I pick them both up for a bit each day.
 
#6

PKT_VOL

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#6
I tend to like the eccentrics of military history.

Declassified report: Two nuclear bombs nearly detonated in North Carolina - CNN.com

On a January night in 1961, a U.S. Air Force bomber broke in half while flying over eastern North Carolina. From the belly of the B-52 fell two bombs -- two nuclear bombs that hit the ground near the city of Goldsboro.

A disaster worse than the devastation wrought in Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have befallen the United States that night. But it didn't, thanks to a series of fortunate missteps.

Or, as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it back then, "By the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted."

The B-52 was flying over North Carolina on January 24, 1961, when it suffered a "failure of the right wing," the report said.

As the plane broke apart, the two bombs plummeted toward the ground. The parachute opened on one; it didn't on the other.

"The impact of the aircraft breakup initiated the fuzing sequence for both bombs," the summary of the documents said.

In other words, both weapons came alarmingly close to detonating.

Weapon 1, the bomb whose parachute opened, landed intact. Fortunately, the safing pins that provided power from a generator to the weapon had been yanked -- preventing it from going off.

Weapon 2, the second bomb with the unopened parachute, landed in a free fall. The impact of the crash put it in the "armed" setting. Fortunately -- once again -- it damaged another part of the bomb needed to initiate an explosion.

The MK39 bombs weighed 10,000 pounds and their explosive yield was 3.8 megatons. Compare that to the bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki: They were 0.01 and 0.02 megatons.
 
#8

Grand Vol

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#8
An interesting note of history about my own career field.

The base defense portion of the modern USAF Security Forces can find its roots in WWII after USAAF planners saw how the RAF had created the RAF Regiment. The Regiment, an 85,000 strong unit, was specifically tasked only with base defense after the German Blitzkrieg captured entire airfields whole during their march across Europe.

The Army Air Force at the time copied the specific mission of the unit, but with an interesting twist: the units were entirely composed of African-American soldiers drafted into the military.

On 12 February 1942 Gen. George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, approved an apportionment of 53,299 blacks to the Army Air Forces with “the stipulation that air base defense units ‘for the number of air bases found necessary’ be organized and that Negro personnel be used for this purpose as required.” Thus, formation of the AAF air base security battalions beginning in June 1942 was influenced by racial as well as military considerations. Designed to defend against local ground attacks, these units were armed with rifles, machineguns, and 37-mm guns.

(Source: Air Base Defense in the Republic of Vietnam 1961-1973, Roger P. Fox

and original citation:

Memo (OCS 20602-249), DCS/G-3, US. Army, 12 Feb 42, quoted in Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops in United States Army in World War I1 (OCMH, DA, 1966), pp 115-16.
Later in the war these units were disbanded since the threat of German ground or airborne attack decreased and the soldiers were sent to other units to serve out the remainder of their time. But for a period of time, the majority of pilots in white units were protected on the ground by units comprised of black soldiers.
 
#9

Grand Vol

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#9
One thing to add though York, if you follow up any post with:

"This state produces more acorns than the rest of them..."

I'm likely to go bonkers on your AFN behind.
 
#11

Toujours Pret

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#11
Ran into an older gentleman wearing a Pathfinder hat with a jump wing badge, being naturally inquisitive I asked about them, turns out he was a Pathfinder (naturally) in 2/504. Sicily, Anzio, Normandy, Market Garden, and the Bulge. He said he's tired of hearing people ***** about the cold, as we can all go inside to warm up when we feel like it instead of standing in our own **** in a foxhole. I suppose it's all about perspective. Thanked him for all he'd done, happy to have met a legitimate hero today.
 
#14

Grand Vol

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#14
Ran into an older gentleman wearing a Pathfinder hat with a jump wing badge, being naturally inquisitive I asked about them, turns out he was a Pathfinder (naturally) in 2/504. Sicily, Anzio, Normandy, Market Garden, and the Bulge. He said he's tired of hearing people ***** about the cold, as we can all go inside to warm up when we feel like it instead of standing in our own **** in a foxhole. I suppose it's all about perspective. Thanked him for all he'd done, happy to have met a legitimate hero today.
I used the same situations when briefing some of my troops that would ***** about being deployed for "OMG six months!" when we were in the sandbox.

Those guys in WWII knew they were there until it was over or they were dead. And did a job because it needed to be doing. And didn't whine about being there while they were there.

It truly is about perspective.
 
#15

Rasputin_Vol

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#15
Simple misunderstanding I suppose.

The Nepalese soldier, who is in his early 20s, apparently made the decision to remove the head in a misunderstanding over the need for DNA evidence of the kill.

His unit had been told that they were seeking a ‘high value target,’ a Taliban commander, and that they must prove they had killed the right man.
 
#20

Toujours Pret

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#20
What's folks favorite era? Through my mother's ancestry digging, and being within 3-4 hours of most sites, I've become a whore for the various battles of the New England Ranger outfits in the French and Indian War. The Civil war is probably my most versed subject, simply because of the huge amount of quality writing on it.
 
#21

Dave1967

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#21
What's folks favorite era? Through my mother's ancestry digging, and being within 3-4 hours of most sites, I've become a whore for the various battles of the New England Ranger outfits in the French and Indian War. The Civil war is probably my most versed subject, simply because of the huge amount of quality writing on it.
On my dad's side of the family my granddad's side fought for the Union while my grandma's side fought for the Confederacy.
 
#22

VolunteerHillbilly

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#22
What's folks favorite era? Through my mother's ancestry digging, and being within 3-4 hours of most sites, I've become a whore for the various battles of the New England Ranger outfits in the French and Indian War. The Civil war is probably my most versed subject, simply because of the huge amount of quality writing on it.
Well, guess.
 

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#23

Grand Vol

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#23
What's folks favorite era? Through my mother's ancestry digging, and being within 3-4 hours of most sites, I've become a whore for the various battles of the New England Ranger outfits in the French and Indian War. The Civil war is probably my most versed subject, simply because of the huge amount of quality writing on it.
World War II. Nothing has defined the modern world quite like it has. And still defining it in some ways.
 

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