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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.

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Tag: Veterans Day

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe final minority fighting group that we are featuring in this series is a unique one. The 442nd Infantry Regiment was composed of Nisei (second generation) Japanese American young men who had been caught up with the frenzy of fear following the surprise Japanese attack on our naval and air resources at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By Presidential Executive Order, All Japanese Americans were ordered to Interment Camps located on the west coast of the U.S.

These families were forced to go to these camps, often in very inhospitable climates alien to the experience of these families. One example of these camps was Manzanar in the Owens Valley of California. Many young men interred in these camps were very patriotic Americans who wanted to serve their new country.

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The administration eventually created a self-contained military unit, the 442nd Infantry Regiment composed of only these Nisei young men. They trained at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Following their training, these troops were deployed to Europe where they served with distinction. They earned 21 Congressional Medals of Honor, many Distinguished Service Awards, Purple Hearts, and other honors for their brave combat service. They not only made their country proud, but they also made their families proud.

There is probably no way that we can make up the injustice shown to these Japanese Americans who were displaced and subjected to the Interment Camps. A “I’m Sorry” is totally inadequate; prejudice and fear are contagious. We just need to vow not to let it happen again.

In that light, we have come close to treating Muslim Americans in much the same way after 9-11. We stopped short of putting them in camps, but we have questioned their presence in this great country. We need to be careful of our actions in reaction to attacks.

But now, let’s get started with our exploration of the honorable service given to this country by the 442nd Infantry Regiment by these Nisei soldiers… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3987 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to 442nd Regimental Combat Team:

    

“There were other regiments that could have been used.”
— Sgt. Wally Nunotani

“I always felt safe as long as I had one live Nisei soldier left in my company. They would take care of me.”
— 1st Lt. Robert Foote

“Lt. Marty Higgins, a former “horse soldier” (cavalry), was in command of the Lost Battalion. Higgins formed a strong defensive position on a hill and dug in.”
— Asian-Nation

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe Buffalo Soldiers were groups of African American cavalry fighters during the post-Civil War battles on the western frontier against the Native American tribes who were the original resident of this land. The African American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. They were formed by order of the governor and fought valiantly during the Civil War. The movie, Glory, was based upon this unit’s experiences. They had to overcome the prejudges of the time to serve their country in its time of need.

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What did it for a black man to become a soldier. The backing of abolitionists like Frederick Douglass. It also took the backing of the new president, Abraham Lincoln. It paved the way for another African American regiment, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers (Union) composed of freed slaves, to fight valiantly for the Union cause. Of course, the battle for equality in the military would be an upward battle, but they would eventually integrated into the military with the signature of President Harry Truman in 1948 of Executive Order 8802. The rest, as they say, is History!

But, it is once again time to explore this remarkable unit and its contributions to the Union victory in the American Civil War… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3954 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Volunteers:

    

“If every American donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers.”
— Whoopi Goldberg

“In addition to serving overseas, the Peace Corps’ Crisis Corps Volunteers have helped their fellow Americans.”
— Solomon Ortiz

“Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies and the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another?”
— Thomas Jefferson

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe story of the Tuskegee Airmen is one of the bright spots in the story about segregated minority military units during World War II. This unit was formed against the wishes of many of the Army Air Force leaders who thought that African American soldiers were did not have the intelligence to learn to fly. However, this group was formed and stationed in the middle of the Jim Crow south. They went through their preliminary training with the intent of “washing” them out before they completed their training.

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However, Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady, took up their cause. To demonstrate her confidence in their ability, she took to the air with one of the Tuskegee pilots. Following the successful flight, the pressure was on the training personnel to have them complete their training and be deployed to escort duty in the North African invasion, Operation Torch.

They served brilliantly. Although some of the white pilots refused to allow them to escort their bombers on bombing missions, they gained the reputation of staying with their bombers in the face of German Luftwaffe pilots who attempted to down the bombers. It wasn’t long before they were being requested as escorts by the bomber crews. As the war moved north to the airfields in Italy. They continued flying their support missions and excelled once they were equipped with the new North American P-51 fighters. These planes allowed them to escort their bombers all the way into Germany and back.

You may have seen the excellent movie made that depicted the true heroics of these Tuskegee Airmen. Surviving members of the group were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush in recognition of their outstanding service.

But now it’s time to get into our exploration of the trials and successes of these Tuskegee Airmen… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3264 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Veterans Day:

    

“I had an idea of who they were, but not to the extent of their contributions.”
— Captain Gonzales

“The more I learned about it, the more I knew that (flying) was what I wanted to do.”
— Captain Edwards, Recruiter

“Their story shouldn’t be reserved just for February. Their story should be celebrated throughout the year.”
— Captain Gonzales

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbIt is incredible sometimes to see how some groups can take sour lemons and end up with lemonade. One such group that accomplished this transformation was the Buffalo Soldiers. During the Civil War, they were designated as the United States Colored Troops (USCT) and made up about a tenth of the manpower of the Union Army. They distinguished themselves in battle. Following the end of the Civil War, the Congress created the 10th Cavalry Regiment as one of the permanent units of the Army.

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They fought bravely during the Indian Wars in the west. Their fierceness as solders led the Cheyenne to refer to them as Buffalo Soldiers, derived from one Black soldiers fighting off 70 Indians by himself until help came. The Indians referred to him as the type of soldier who "who had fought like a cornered buffalo; who like a buffalo had suffered wound after wound, yet had not died; and who like a buffalo had a thick and shaggy mane of hair.” They fought as separate units until President Harry Truman issued an order that integrated the military services.

These fighting Black units distinguished themselves whenever they entered combat just as the Tuskegee Airmen did during World War II. The earned many medals, including a substantial number of Congressional Medals of Honor for their distinguished bravery. During the early post-Civil War period, these newly freed Black men did well to demonstrate their ability to fight just as well as the white units; they still suffered inequality and were looked at as second class citizens and soldiers. They were NOT!

But, now is the time to proceed to our exploration of these Buffalo Soldier units and see why they deserve our praise, respect, and equality… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3559 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Buffalo Solders:

    

“Race lines must be obliterated in the South, and the old theory of the natural inferiority of the Negro must give way to the demonstration of Negro capacity.”
— George Washington Williams

“In the 1920s and 1930s, as black newspapers and civil-rights groups anxiously monitored the process, soldiers from the four regiments were increasingly used as laborers and service troops.”
— Buffalo Soldiers, Handbook of Texas Online

“None of the buffalo soldier regiments went to France during World War I, though they provided a cadre of experienced noncommissioned officers to other black units that did go into combat.”
— Buffalo Soldiers, Handbook of Texas Online

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbJust like the Code Breakers at Bletchley Park were hidden from outside view, so was our secret code weapon in the Pacific theatre of World War II. What weapon was this? The Atomic Bomb? Well, that was hidden from the Japanese, but I am referring to the use of the Navaho language and Native-speakers of that language from the reservations in Arizona. This language was not known to those outside of the reservation and the use of it by those learning it as adults was distinguishable from those who learned it in their youth. It was, therefore, an ideal vehicle for transmitting tactical command information between those in the trenches on the Pacific Islands and those commanders on board of naval vessels.

Navajo Code Talkers 2

What was the advantage of using these Cold Talkers? For one thing, the code association of military materiel, such as tanks, even if written down and lost to the enemy, would not enable the enemy to know what was being transmitted between ship and shore. Additionally, the Code Talkers could speak directly over a phone link without fear of being intercepted and translated since the enemy did not understand the Navaho language, or even know that the Navaho language was being used. Finally, effective communication could be maintained and tactical information shared without fear of compromise. This was an almost ideal situation for our troops!

The unfortunate outcome was that these brave men were not publicly recognized until 1982 when Ronald Reagan recognized their contribution. After the war, they returned to their reservations and led their normal lives without reward or even a “Thank You” from our government. By the time that their deeds were recognized, many of their numbers had died. We need to be more sensitive to the contributions of these minority groups who provide so much to the protection of our great country.

But, let’s proceed with our exploration of the Code Talkers and the techniques that they employed… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2783 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Code Talkers:

    

“Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”
— Major Howard Connor

“Navajo Code Talkers played an important role in creating a code that the Japanese could not break.”
— Katrena Wells, suite101.com

“(1) It is an unwritten language of extreme complexity. (2) It’s syntax , tonal qualities and dialects make it extremely baffling to anyone who hasn’t been taught it. (3) And, they were fast!”
— Major General Clayton B. Vogel on the Navajo language

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbTo all the Veterans in this country who have served their country in times of armed conflict. Wars should not be used as a first reaction to conflicts between nations, but sometimes they are inevitable. Our country is not imperialistic. But we do stand for democratically-elected governments that are prepared to take their place in the family of nations. There must be a means for settling conflict besides through military action, such as though deliberative bodies such as the United Nations.

korean war combat4

But when war is unavoidable, then we must be able to support our troops with the best weapons and safety equipment. But an unfortunate side-effect of armed conflict is that some will lose their lives on the field of battle. Others will sacrifice parts of their body on these same fields of battle. Still others will suffer the stress of the battlefield and will return to their loved ones with conflicts still to be resolved. This day is one on which we must honor all of our brave men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives. May we take off our hats to those who have fought for our country.

Please take a few minutes on this special day to say Thank You to those who have served us. They are special people. And if you live close to a National Cemetery, take a few minutes to visit these sacred sites in the memory of those who have fallen on the field of battle. They gave their all to defend our freedom!

But now let us focus on this special holiday and those who served so valiantly in the service of our country… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2370 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Veterans Day:

    

“The most persistent sound which reverberates through men’s history is the beating of war drums.”
— Arthur Koestler

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
— Cynthia Ozick

“It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.”
— Dick Cheney

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbFollowing the events of September 11, 2001, the United States along with the United Kingdom and some support from NATO, fought the War on Terrorism. Yesterday, we dealt with the initial thrust against Al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Two years later, the US took evidence (which may have been only partially true) that Saddam Hussein and Iraq was developing Weapons of Mass Destruction to use as a terror weapon. both within the region and internationally. The UN Security Council eventually passed Resolution 1441. With that resolution in hand, George W. Bush proceeded to prepare for the invasion of Iraq even though he did not have an Arab coalition behind him.

Bush_announces_Operation_Iraqi_Freedom_2003

The Iraq War of 2003 was named Operation Shock and Awe. It was designed to neutralize the Iraqi Republican Guard with a coordinated attack by stealth fighters, cruise missiles, and motorized heavy armor. After the initial victory over the government of Saddam Hussein, the war turned into an ongoing battle to keep the peace. The Iraqi opposition groups fought using a variety of modern weapons, and a new type of weapon — the IED, Improvised Explosive Device. These devices caused a bulk of the injuries and deaths among our service personnel.

Was this a just military action? Personally, I do not think so. Our goals in entering Iraq were not based upon the proffered discovery of Weapons of Mass Destruction. But, that is my opinion; I admonish you to examine this military action, that has lasted ten years now, to determine for yourself if it was justified. None the less, those brave men and women who have been injured, lost limbs, or have given their lives for their country should be welcomed back home with open arms and given the respect of one who has put his or her all on the line of battle.

But now let’s jump into the exploration of the Iraq War, and determine if it really fought against the spread of terrorism in the world… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3834 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Veterans Day:

    

“This was not an act of terrorism, but it was an act of war.”
— George W. Bush

“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.”
— Noam Chomsky

“If Clinton had only attacked terrorism as much as he attacks George Bush we wouldn’t be in this problem.”
— Dennis Miller

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe War of Terror started shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia. We all stood in disbelief when those airliners, filled with aviation fuel and passengers, crashed into these two iconic structures. We mourned for those lives lost when the two towers collapsed with many people inside them. It was unbelievable that such a surprise attack could occur. It brought on shades of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The territorial integrity had been breached and we sought out the group behind it — Al-Qaeda.

Inbound_Choppers_in_Afghanistan_2008

Unlike the First Persian Gulf War (1990) or the War in Iraq (2003), President George W. Bush put together only a loose coalition to seek out and attack Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. No attempt was made to obtain an UN Security Council Resolution to allow us to take military action in Afghanistan; we acted as if that country was responsible for the attacks. Being attacked by another country was the only legitimate grounds for taking independent military action according to the United Nations Charter, which we had agreed to by ratifying it. It would seem that we were taking illegal action, playing the 800 pound Gorilla going after a weak, third-world country.

To date, we have been fighting in Afghanistan for longer than any other war in which we have been involved. We ignored the previous experience of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1975. They fought hard to claim control of that country over the approximately ten years that they were there. We have been no more successful than the Soviets in bringing a stable government to that land of opium poppies and ancient Silk Road legacy.

What have we gained from this experience? We have found that we are hard-pressed to supply troops to two country-wide war zones concurrently. We have also found that the cost of waging two wars is very expensive. We have found that our guerrilla tactics are not as sophisticated as we might have thought. We have also realized that finding the location of a small band of terrorists willing to live with few creature comforts is beyond our intelligence agencies. But we have found that using drone aircraft, such as the Predator, can be a valuable asset in battle and surveillance.

We have finally assassinated Osama bin Laden in his enclave in Pakistan and we are now starting to drawdown our troop levels. But we will leave behind a country that is not much better off than they were ten years ago! What have we accomplished, then?

Let’s get into an exploration of the War on Terror as it has gone on in Afghanistan… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4524 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Veterans Day:

    

“This was not an act of terrorism, but it was an act of war.”
— George W. Bush

“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.”
— Noam Chomsky

“If Clinton had only attacked terrorism as much as he attacks George Bush we wouldn’t be in this problem.”
— Dennis Miller

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbIn 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and occupied Kuwait, an independent, oil producing state on the Persian Gulf. Saddam Hussein sought to recapture the rich oil fields of this small state; Kuwait had formerly been part of Iraq before the British Protectorate given by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 made it an independent state. Iraq needed the funds that the oil fields would bring to replenish their treasury after the Iran-Iraq War. After ignoring numerous UN Security Council Resolutions, the United States, under the leadership of President George H. W. Bush, formed a coalition of countries, including Saudi Arabia, to prepare to liberate Kuwait. During the troop build-up, this was named Operation Desert Shield. The action phase started on January 17, 1991.

3_AD_Iraq

Bush took great care to establish a working coalition before invading Kuwait. When they struck, it was similar to the Blitzkrieg used by Nazi motorized units and armored units during the early days of World War II. Our stealth fighters took out the Iraqi radar installations and generally sought to disrupt the Iraqi Command and Control Structure. Our action caught the Iraqis “asleep” and the actual battle lasted only a few days. Between our tank tactics and the use of our aircraft and cruise missiles capped the process.

Upon withdrawing from Kuwait, the Iraqis started fires on the oilfields to do as much damage as possible. The coalition planes decimated the troops trying to withdraw to Bagdad. Iraqi tanks and vehicles lined the main highway out of Kuwait. The coalition decided that the task was done once Kuwait had been liberated, despite the military’s desire to destroy Hussein’s special Republican Guard troops. But this was not carried through due to the lack of coalition consensus to do so.

It is unfortunate that George W. Bush, when he became president in 2000, did not heed his father’s wisdom. We will deal with the War on Terrorism over the next two days. We have suffered, as a country, due to that lack of international support, but instead have carried out two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, concurrently basically by ourselves.

But it is time now to get into the meat of today’s exploration of the First Persian Gulf War… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3929 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Veterans Day:

    

“Remember, George, this is no time to go wobbly.”
— Margaret Thatcher

“I can tell you this: If I’m ever in a position to call the shots, I’m not going to rush to send somebody else’s kids into a war.” — George H.W. Bush

“By God, we will make the fire eat up half of Israel if it tries to do anything against Iraq.”
— Saddam Hussein

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe Vietnam Conflict was another of our undeclared wars. While the Korean and the Iraq Conflict (2002) were conducted by coalitions operating under United Security Council Mandates. Vietnam evolved from the First Indochina War between the French and Vietnamese communists under Ho Chi Minh. It became an American action under President Kennedy who provided military advisors to the non-communist government in Saigon, South Vietnam. Then, in the summer of 1965, President Johnson sent in large numbers of American troops under the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, not a declaration of war.

On the face of it, we were in South Vietnam to prevent it from from falling to the communist insurgent Viet Cong. The theory was that if Vietnam fell to the communists, it would be the start of a domino effect throughout southeast Asia. We fought in those jungles until 1975, when we brought our forces home.

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After being involved in South Vietnam for at least fifteen years, our pull-out caused some problems. Those Vietnamese who had worked for the American forces in the country tried to escape in any way they could; they became the “boat people” who resettled in the United States as well as Australia. They have become good citizens and assets to the communities into which they settled. While Vietnam is still trying to become responsible citizens in the family of nations, it has far to go. However, it is trying to build its infrastructure and educate its citizens, as I saw first-hand when I was there in 1996 on a teaching assignment.

If you are interested in more detail than I could provide in this space, please check the Reference section below. Vietnam has been fighting one war against foreign occupiers for decades. But, it is again time to launch into our exploration of the Vietnam War… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4965 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Vietnam War:

    

“You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”
— Ho Chi Minh to the French, late 1940s

“If in order to avoid further Communist expansion in Asia and particularly in Indo-China, if in order to avoid it we must take the risk by putting American boys in, I believe that the executive branch of the government has to take the politically unpopular position of facing up to it and doing it, and I personally would support such a decision.”
— Richard M. Nixon, speech, April 16, 1954.

“You have a row of dominoes set up; you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is that it will go over very quickly.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

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