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DoD’s historical images of the Korean War, 1950-53

A reminder of how much effort it took to turn back North Korean aggression the last time, courtesy of the Flickr feed from US Army Korea’s Installation Management Command. Some 26,791 Canadians also served in the Korean War, among them one of my great-uncles.

DDE-219 HMCS Athabaskan, one of the three Canadian destroyers sent to Korean waters to serve under General MacArthur, Commanding General for the unified U.N. forces assisting the Republic of Korea in defense against the invasion by North Korean Communist forces. (DoD/National Air and Space Museum, #50-9086-306-PS)

Korean War – HD-SN-50-00936, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

Two North Korean boys, serving in the North Korean Army, taken prisoner in the Sindang-dong area by elements of the 389th Inf. Regt., are interrogated by a U.S. soldier shortly after their capture. September 18, 1950. (US Army/Pfc. Francis Mullin. NARA File #111-SC-348805)

Korean War – HD-SN-99-03153, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

LSTs unloading at Wolmi-do, Inchon, Korea on D-plus and Marine trucks taking supplies to advancing troops. (DoD/NARA File #127-GK-234P-A408288)

Korean War – 127-GK-234P-A408288 LST’S unloading at Wolmi-do, Inchon, Korea , originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

MARINES LAMBASTE ENEMY AT NIGHT—Tanks of the 1st Marine Tank battalion bark death and devastation into the briefly day-lighted Korean night, as Marine tankmen fire a night mission at enemy supply installation somewhere in Korea. (DoD/NARA File #127-GK-233I-A157650)

Korean War – 127-GK-233I-A157650 1st Marine Tank battalion, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

Airview of bombs dropped by U.S. Air Force, exploding on three parallel railroad bridges across Han River, southwest of Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea. Bridges were bombed early in war to delay advance of invading North Korean troops. (DoD/National Air and Space Museum, #50-9025-306-PS)

Korean War – HD-SN-50-00935, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

Hit the Silk—Paratroopers of the veteran 187th Regimental Combat Team jump from FEAF C-46 transports during a training operation carried out in Korea. (DoD/National Air and Space Museum, #82298 AC)

Korean War – HF-SN-98-07354 187th Regimental Combat Team, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

GENERAL MACARTHUR INSPECTS KOREAN WAR FRONT: General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Commander in-Chief, Far East Command, on an inspection tour of the South Korean Forces after the surprise attack by the North Koreans. (DoD/NARA File #111-SC-343024)

Korean War – 111-SC-343024, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

Korean women and children search the rubble of Seoul for anything that can be used or burned as fuel. November 1, 1950. (US Army/Capt. F. L. Scheiber. NARA File #111-SC-351697)

Korean War – HD-SN-99-03162, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

In "Operation Comeback" thousands of Chinese and North Korean Communist POWs were released from Prisoner of War Compoundss, in Korea after renouncing Communism for freedom. Here, at Seoul, Korea crowds are gathered to greet Chinese ex-POWs prior to flight to Formosa. (DoD/National Air and Space Museum, #85043 AC)

Korean War – HF-SN-98-07419, originally uploaded by US Army Korea – IMCOM.

There are literally hundreds more of these images in the Korean War Historical Images set; go have a look.

Category: Historica  Tags: , , , ,  Comments off

ISAF dumping “nonessential” amenities

Bubblehead at The Stupid Shall Be Punished notes an interesting item on the blog of Command Sergeant Major Michael T. Hall, International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan.  ISAF will be shutting down Orange Julius, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen and Military Car Sales concessions.  It it also seeking to reduce the amount of canned and bottled goods coming into Afghanistan, and—strangely—first-run feature films and non-USO entertainment.

There are, no doubt, sound reasons for GEN McChrystal and CSM Hall to make these changes.  Perhaps the rear-echelon areas do need to get re-focused on supporting the warfighter out in the field, far from the big bases.  Perhaps the dangers of road-transporting all this stuff outweighs the benefit; nobody should be getting killed for the privilege of eating Pizza Hut, after all.  This is also why the Air Force flies 165 airlift sorties a month, to lessen the amount of food, gear and people that have to travel along IED-vulnerable roads.

The comments are instructive; there are some positive remarks, but I think it fair to say the vast majority are perplexed if not appalled.  My own sensibilities are ably reflected by a couple of Bubblehead’s commenters, whose thoughts I will reproduce here (any emphases are mine).

What I don’t get about this is, does it take that much more room to ship a BK hamburger over to Afghanistan than a regular ol’ unbranded mess hall one? If they’re putting all the pizzas in cardboard boxes, that sounds like reducible waste, but come on. Food is food, unless everything they eat is dehydrated.

The movie thing seems ridiculous, and likely to backfire as the alternative ways soldiers find to spend their time probably aren’t going to include mastering the violin or reading the classics.

Anonymous, 25 March 2010 1718

No, Nein, Nyet!!

Now, I’ve not done an IA tour, but I see this as a pointless endeavor in trying to make headlines along with fortifying our next SITREP.

Give the folks on the ground who are pounding sand a break wouldja’ please?! Those simple things like pizza hut and theaters are a biggy for those who serve over there. Umm, what useful purpose does it serve to minimize these areas of comfort?

What?…do you need more room? Is that it? You’re in the middle of the stinkin’ desert. You have more “potential” real estate than you know what to do with. Ever flown in to Vegas? For those who have not been there, I can say when you look out the starboard porthole of the plane while descending to McCarran Airport, you see nothing more than desert. Vegas is in the middle of the desert. You have ample square footage to build on.

Now back to the sand box across the seas. You have more than enough room if needed. There is no reason to take away the comforts of home. Again, I’ll admit I’ve never been there, but please don’t fuck it up for all the ground troops who are sweating it out so you can look good for your next Eval.

MT1(SS) WidgetHead, 25 March 2010 1801

If the purpose is to remember that the focus is on winning the war, perhaps there should be austerity programs back home too.

Rationing, warbonds, etc.

It seems the US People have lost the focus, not the soldiers.

Anonymous, 26 March 2010 0452

The last quote says it all, really.  The people that need to be reminded that there is a war on are not the men and women who are already deployed to the Sandbox.  It is the citizenry back home in North America who are blessedly far removed from any hardship, privation and danger.

RELATED: Mr. Brooks of The Torch has cogent thoughts as well.

Category: National Defence  Tags: , , ,  Comments off

Bacon for the infidel amongst the ummah


Navy Times brings good news to hungry warfighters stationed in the pork-free lands of the Prophet:

What’s the worst thing about being deployed to a Muslim country? The flying lead? The 120-degree heat? No bacon?

If you’d pick “no bacon,” here’s good news.

A Seattle-area business is concerned that Marines don’t have enough bacon on deployment. The owners of J&D’s Down Home Enterprises are pushing their new product — “Bacon Salt.” It’s a “vegetarian and kosher seasoning salt that makes everything taste like real, delicious bacon,” according to the manufacturer.

Apparently the company was contacted by a bacon-craving Marine stationed at a small base in Anbar province.  While the larger military facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq do provide bacon, there are many small camps and FOBs that cannot.

The company has launched “Operation Bacon Salt“, aiming to provide the additive to warfighters in Southwest Asia.  As Justin Esch—one the company’s owners—wrote Navy Times, ““We hope that by supporting the troops in our own way we can help inspire other companies (with much larger budgets) to do the same.”

“This is noble fat” update: The New York Times‘ Edward Schneider weighs in on traditional (i.e. porcine) bacon, and its many treatments and forms.

Fruit of the Pig update: The Stranger‘s Lindy West searches out Seattle’s best bacon.

Category: Deorum Cibus Est, National Defence  Tags: ,  Comments off

This is why the motto is “Semper Fidelis”

Brought to you by the obnoxious buffoon who thought a foreign country owed her criminal ass right of entry.

Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin, who can turn the air blue when shouting chants against American Marines called out for the Marines in front of Marine Recruiting offices in Berkeley yesterday.

…“While we were at the protest in Berkeley from 12 to 4 p.m., a white Volvo drove by and a man spat upon CodePink,” Kelley wrote in an email to MAF’s Melanie Morgan.  “They chased him down the street and got into a verbal altercation.  The police were NOWHERE in sight.

“That’s not the best part, ready for this?

“Medea Benjamin yelled and I quote “Marines!” She actually yelled for our help because this man had stepped out of his car.  I even asked her if she was yelling Police and she told me, “I said Marines” then put her arm around my friend Allen (the Marine Vet).  Ironic?”

— Judi McLeod, “When in danger, call for the US Marines.  That’s what CodePink’s Medea Benjamin did“.  Canada Free Press, February 28th, 2008.

Yes, you too can be a hilarious hypocrite in the kabuki theatre of anti-war activism.  This is more or less the textbook example of the adage “There are no atheists in foxholes”.  You want to prevent people from joining the Marine Corps, but at the same time—when it looks like you might have your own ass handed to you—you call on… the Marines.  With a fairly high degree of confidence that they are going to overlook all of your juvenile shenanigans and come bail you out anyway.

Shine on you crazy effin’ pink diamond.  And Semper Fi to longsuffering Bay-area Marines.

(via Classical Values )

RELATED:  I don’t typically have a lot of time for Michelle Malkin, but this is an interesting account of what might justifiably be called the War on Military Recruiters.

Action vs. Implosion vs. Principle

Some more thoughts on the UK-Iran crisis.

  • Ghost of a flea posts a cri de coeur for Britain to rally herself and stand fast in defense of her principles.
  • Kat at The Middle Ground has a lengthy and fascinating examination of Iran’s economic situation.  Recent sanctions against Iran may portend economic disaster, and the end of the Islamic revolutionary government.

While I tend to agree with Kat’s analysis, I think there is a pretty strong argument for punitive military action against the Iranian Navy and IRGC.  Getting the RN people back is the primary objective, but the secondary objective should be to reinforce the principle that you can’t just grab foreign sailors and marines outside your territory any old time you feel your back is against the wall.  There are consequences for doing so, and one of those consequences is (or ought to be) the destruction of assets that make such piracy possible.

“Different phase” coming if Iran doesn’t make nice

We may see Prime Minister Blair take a more aggressive stance on this problem after all.  As expected, the Brits have GPS data to verify the positions of their personnel, but are trying to settle this out of the public eye before they take it all public and, presumably, raise a really big stink.

“What we are trying to do … is to pursue this through the diplomatic channels and make the Iranian government understand these people have to be released and that there is absolutely no justification whatever for holding them,” [British PM Tony] Blair said.

“They have to release them. If not, then this will move into a different phase,” he told Britain’s GMTV television.

Blair’s spokesman said the next step London could take would be to publish proof, in the form of global satellite positioning (GPS) records, that the sailors had not entered Iranian waters.

“We so far haven’t made explicit why we know that because we don’t want to escalate this,” he said.

A government source in London told Reuters British officials were showing Iran data on the sailors’ exact position when seized.

— Paul Hughes, “Blair warns Iran of ‘different phase’“.  Reuters | UK, 27 March 2007.  [Emphasis mine]

Hopefully that phase involves an ultimatum and more proactive measures to secure the release of the captives.  And no small punitive action against the IRGC and Iranian Navy.  You’re not just seeking the release of fifteen captives, but reminding Iran that she may not trespass on another country’s territory at will, and abduct a third party’s sailors and marines because it is politically convenient.

Unus et Omnes


The Bombardment of Algiers, 27 August 1816
George Chambers, Sr.  1836, oil on canvas.

On Friday, eight sailors and seven marines from HMS Cornwall (F99) were in Iraqi waters, conducting a routine search of a vessel suspected of smuggling automobiles.  Cornwall is the flagship of Combined Task Force 158, a surface action group comprised of Royal Navy and allied destroyers, frigates, coast guard cutters and patrol boats.  CTF 158 is tasked with performing maritime interdiction operations (MIOs) in Iraqi waters, in support of UNSC 1723.  Upon completing their search, Cornwall’s sailors and marines were set upon by six boats from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and taken hostage by the Iranians.

The Revolutionary Guard Corps pulled a similar stunt in July of 2004, kidnapping two sailors and six marines they claimed had strayed into the Iranian side of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway.  The men were released three days later, having been subjected to mock execution and a forced apology on Iranian television.

Iran has made a habit of hostage-taking brinkmanship, and it may be instructive to look at the Royal Navy’s historical dealings with others who did the same.

Two hundred years ago on March 25, 1807, George III gave royal assent to An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, forbidding Britain’s many colonies, dominions and territories from trading in slaves with Africa.  Instigated by an alliance of Quakers and evangelical Protestants, led by one William Wilberforce (a Tory MP), the Act was the culmination of many years of effort.  Until he finally succeeded in 1807, Wilberforce had introduced motions for the abolition of slavery in every session of Parliament since 1791.  The British Empire finally legislated the eventual emancipation of all its slaves in 1833, one month after Wilberforce passed away at the age of seventy-four.

As abolitionist ideas became more prevalent, the Empire began to use the globe-spanning Royal Navy as an instrument to wipe out slavery.  Squadrons were dispatched to remedy not only the plight of African slaves, but that of Europeans taken by Barbary State corsairs.  Peculiar in England’s case, because she had a long-standing alliance with Barbary; a formal treaty had been signed and a consul posted to Algiers since the end of the 17th century.

England’s reasons were fairly obvious; no Christian ally existed in the Mediterranean, and Catholic Spain, France and Italy were judged to be equally hostile.  English warships and merchants, therefore, turned to Algiers, Tunis and Morocco for resupply.

In the eighteenth century there were additional reasons for avoiding any serious quarrel with the Barbary States. For, while France and Spain were still likely to be hostile, the provisioning of Gibraltar made a new problem. In order to secure food for the garrison, which could only come from the African coast, numberless insults were overlooked and countless presents made. With the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, the need for procuring supplies in Barbary became intensified as the English forces in the Mediterranean grew in numbers…

The Peninsula War rather intensified than lessened the demand for supplies from Africa, and to the very end of the war the English Government would make any sacrifice to preserve the alliance with Algiers, Tunis and Morocco. With the end of the fighting, the situation altered. Troops and ships were withdrawn from the Mediterranean, and there was no longer any need for supplies. England had, besides, a variety of allies from whom future supplies could be obtained. The Algerines had, without knowing it, suddenly ceased to be useful. It was not long before they were made to realize the fact.

— Parkinson, C. Northcote.  Edward Pellew: Viscount Exmouth, Admiral of the Red.  London, UK: Methuen & Co., Ltd, 1934.

So it was that in early 1816, Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, 1st Baron Exmouth, Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean, was dispatched with a squadron of warships and transports to Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers.  His orders were to negotiate the release of Christian slaves on behalf of their respective national governments; they were mostly poor fishermen of Spain and Italy.  England had leased the right to fish in Barbary waters, and then licensed that right to foreign nationals in the Mediterranean.  Those licensed fishermen were considered to be under her protection.

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