West Point


08 Aug 2011 11:01 pm

riverandsky.jpg

It’s still really hot in Arkansas. Fires are still burning. I had to go to the river to find a scene like the one above.

Which is the sky and which is the earth?

I needed to look on peaceful water after the news of this weekend. The horrible news that America’s best were taken down by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Two of the Navy Seals came from Arkansas.

What made my soul bleed was the fact that in the initial press reports an “unnamed official” confirmed that those who were killed were from Seal Team 6 and the 160th Avn. Bde., which is the special ops aviation unit. This “unnamed official” asked not to be named because the families had not yet been notified. I could just imagine the agony the families were in knowing that one of their own was most likely killed. In this email to Instapundit John Lucas explains his disgust at the Obama administration official’s callous attitude toward the military families who were waiting for that knock at the door.

I ache for those families - the Mothers, the Fathers, the Wives, and the children. Life will never be the same.

“I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death,” General MacArthur said in his West Point address in 1962, speaking of the fallen American soldier. “They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood and sweat and tears as we sought the way and the truth and the light.”

“However horrible the incidents of war may be,” MacArthur went on to say, “the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.”

Here is a link to help the families of the fallen.

Bad news all around. We’ve been attacked from without and from within. Our economy was downgraded this weekend which was not really surprising. Obama played the blame game today which was also not surprising given that the man either doesn’t have a clue how to lead or has planned this “change” all along.

riverreflections.jpg

America the Beautiful has been brought down low and how fortunate that Gov.Rick Perry was praying for her this weekend. We need bold leaders who are not afraid to stand up for their beliefs and we need prayer.

Especially prayers for the families of our valiant fallen heroes.

20 Feb 2010 02:45 pm

HaigCDT__2_.jpg

Alexander Haig when he was a cadet at West Point

Four star General Alexander Haig was a great man. He died today at the age of eighty five. He was a genuine patriot who will be missed.

Be Thou at peace General Haig and tell President Reagan hi for me.

13 Feb 2010 04:01 pm

Do you know where your Valentine is?

lauralovesbobvalentine.jpg

I made this Valentine for my then boyfriend, Bob when he was a plebe at West Point. We married two weeks after he graduated from West Point.

I don’t claim that this Valentine sealed the deal but it didn’t hurt. After all, ours was a long distance relationship for the four years he was at West Point. We both took advantage of every form of communication that was possible back then. Phone calls, letters and special missives helped us to stay in touch. There were no facebook, twitter, cell phones or text messages back then.

In fact, Bob could not use the phone at West Point very much at all when he was a plebe. The cadets were not allowed phones in their rooms. When Bob was a firstie he was allowed to call me more often, and I told him to call collect. My parents were shocked when they saw the phone bill but I was good for it.

But, it was the specially made Valentine that made an impression I think. When Bob graduated from West Point and moved out of the barracks I found the Valentine in his army footlocker. He had thrown everything else away but the very amateur Valentine.

bathshebaandgabriel.jpg

When I was fifteen I discovered the writer Thomas Hardy through the movie, Far from the Madding Crowd. The film, starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Peter Finch and Terrence Stamp absolutely captivated me.

Julie Christie starred as Bathsheba Everdene, a highly spirited, independent young woman who had inherited a large estate from her uncle and become very wealthy. She had earlier rejected the attentions of the honest, reliable shepherd, Gabriel Oak, played by Alan Bates.

On an impulse, Bathsheba sends a Valentine, sealed with red wax, anonymously to the richest farmer in the county, William Boldwood, played by Peter Finch. On it she writes, Marry Me.

This impulsive act causes heartache and tragedy for both Bathsheba and Boldwood.

The movie inspired me to read all of Thomas Hardy’s books but Far From the Madding Crowd taught me at that early age about steadfast, faithful and selfless love. I witnessed that kind of love everyday with my own parents but seeing it displayed in a movie and reading about it through the richness of Hardy’s prose embedded the eternal ideal in my heart.

When I began to date at the age of sixteen, the young men had to embody the attributes of Gabriel Oak. Very few did.

My West Point cadet did and continues to do so.

For all things having to do with Valentines Day, check out my niece, Marlane’s blog.

Happy St. Valentines Day!

01 Dec 2009 08:34 am

President Obama will be using the window dressing of the United States Military tonight as he delivers his post dither Afghanistan speech. Ralph Peters writes what I have been thinking.

In the art-auction world, the trick to selling a bad painting is to put it in a terrific frame. That’s the logic behind President Obama’s West Point speech tonight.

Condemned by his own vacillation to sketching a picture repulsive to multiple constituencies, Obama will use the impressive frame of West Point to lend his remarks an illusion of glorious leadership.

The event will be impressive: The US Military Academy does pomp and circumstance well. The cadets will be immaculate and perfectly behaved, applauding on cue (no Joe Wilson “You lie!” shout-outs from this hyper-disciplined bunch).

For Barack Obama to use the hallowed halls of West Point as cover for his political use of the military is disgusting but not surprising considering his long distaste for the military.

Still, he should be careful. Cadets have a very busy life and if Obama’s speech is not sterling and inspiring there could be some heads dropping. Vice President Al Gore delivered a speech at West Point when my son was a cadet. He was seated along with some other cadets in his company directly behind Gore. Right in view of the cameras. Gore put him to sleep. Right in view of the cameras.

The Naval Academy was caught recently choosing diversity over merit when they replaced two white male cadets with two female cadets in a color guard that performed at the World Series. Will West Point follow the diversity rule in placement of the cadets who will sit behind Obama? Or will they even take that chance? Cadets do get sleepy.

Another possible big problem Obama could have at West Point? What will he say about the upcoming Army Navy game? It’s coming up December 12th in Philadelphia. I’m surprised that Obama’s handlers haven’t taken that into consideration. I predict he will be neither for or against Army.

Would Obama ever utter those famous four words: Go Army! Beat Navy!

Nah.
He can’t be bothered.

08 Jan 2009 06:09 pm

I discovered this today. My niece is a friend of Sarah, the sister of Ist LT. Tom Martin, who was killed in Iraq October 14, 2007. Sarah, her family and friends have created a book in memory of Tom from the journals he kept from West Point through his Iraq deployment and from his blog. Just reading about it brought tears to my eyes. Tom was a member of the class of 2005 at West Point. He was one of those young Americans who gladly joined the ranks of men and women to defend our country and he did it the hard way. He enlisted.

A little about Tom

First Lieutenant Thomas Martin died during combat operations October 14, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq.

Tom was born October 10, 1980, in Huron, South Dakota. He left South Dakota as a very young boy, went to school for a short time in San Marcos, Texas, and then graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas in 1998. That same year he enlisted in the United States Army completing Basic Training and AIT as a Field Artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma (GREEN). In 2000, after an assignment to Camp Stanley in Korea, Tom was accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy. After attending the United States Military Preparatory School, Tom entered West Point in the fall of 2001 (TO GREY). As a West Point Cadet, Tom started on the Rugby team, was a member of the Military Tactics Team, and earned his Parachutist Badge by graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Tom majored in Military Science and graduated with his class in May 2005. He was commissioned as an Armor Officer (TO GOLD) and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Tom volunteered for Ranger School and graduated earning his Ranger tab in May 2006. He reported to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska in June 2006. Upon arrival, Tom was assigned as the Sniper Platoon Leader in Crusader Troop and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006.

1LT Martin was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart Medal posthumously. His previous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Army Overseas Ribbon w/numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.

As a youth, Tom was active in his church, community, 4-H, high school band, theater, the Boy Scouts of America, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

First Lieutenant Martin was interred in West Point National Cemetery, West Point, New York.

He will forever be remembered as a man with undaunted determination who was fiercely dedicated to his men, his mission, and his country.

Tom Martin will never be forgotten.

Go check out the book.

May God continue to comfort the family and friends of 1st. Lt. Tom Martin.

27 Sep 2008 06:45 am

Joni_and_Drew_in_black_and_white__2_.jpg

Drew and his wife, Joni at my daughter’s wedding.

It’s almost been a year since our son, Drew returned from his year long deployment to Iraq. His birthday is approaching in late September. It will be the first time he has been home to celebrate his birthday in two years. The deployment took him away from home longer than a year, the training was six months long or so.

Drew and Joni are going to his ten year reunion at West Point this October. Time has flown. I remember my husband’s ten year reunion as if it were yesterday.

Recently my son had this to say about being home for his birthday…

September 27th of this year will be the first birthday for me at home in two years. On the 27th of September in 2006 I swiped my card in Kuwait, we flew in on the 26th around 9pm Kuwait time, took the long ride to the camp with a stop at some place to use the latrines and drink some water and a smoke break, ended up standing in line at the camp at midnight and swiped my card on my birthday.

The year after in 2007 on the 27th I split a pizza and a bunch of Dr. Peppers with 2LT Rusty Fontenot, 1LT Tim Dean, Maj Mike Henderson, and CPT Kovar Petersen, all guys from 875th HQ, at Fort McCoy Wisconsin having been back for 6 days in the states, the first night I had absolutely nothing to do in the deployment but goof off.

The next day all we had on the plate was an awards ceremony, turning in our leave forms, and packing up for the final flight home. The first one was a pretty tiring birthday filled with lots to do and anticipation of what we needed to get done for our final link up with the RIP unit in Iraq.

The second was filled with sitting in the barracks, talking to good friends, and looking out the window to see the green grass and totally relaxing cool breeze coming in the open doors anticipating finally stepping off the bus at Jonesboro to see my family.

Pretty interesting birthdays for me.

01 Dec 2007 12:15 pm

bobandrearussians.jpg

Two cadets at West Point in the seventies

Back when my husband, Bob was a cadet at West Point he had many ways of combating the daily drill of class, formation, constant study and walking the area. (he was an area bird)

Bob and some of his fellow cadets in Company D-2 spent some time messing with the Army officers. One such instance was wearing Russian Army uniforms and taking a “tour” of West Point. Bob was able to acquire the uniforms for a report he had to do. He and his roommate, the great painter, Andre Reynolds posed in the uniforms. Afterwards, Bob put the uniforms up for safe-keeping. While he was out of the room, Andre put on the uniform and started walking around the grounds of West Point. When Bob discovered one of the uniforms was gone he started looking for Andre. He found him talking to an Army officer, bluffing his way out of trouble by using a Russian accent. The officer actually thought Andre was a Soviet Army officer and he asked Bob if he was supposed to be escorting him. Bob said, yes but he had gotten away from him. The officer dressed Bob down, telling him to do a better job.

Another successful bluff for Andre. Bob could never prove it but he suspected that Andre was the legendary “Fly.”

Today the Army-Navy game will be played. It’s the one game I look forward to all year, not because of the power and success of each team, because both of the teams’ records in recent years have been less than satisfactory. This game represents the best in football or what I think football should be. Each cadet and midshipman does more than practice football. They have to do their military training, and make the grade in their studies. When they graduate, they won’t be going to the NFL to play football, instead, they will be training to go to war.

sinknavy.jpg

This year Army is a 14 point underdog. This will just make the Army victory that much sweeter.


I love this video. Hat tip: Cassy Fiano

Army got the goat. Hat tip: Blackfive


05 Nov 2007 03:20 pm

A Minnesota woman shot an Albino deer on the opening weekend of Deer Season in Minnesota.

On this season’s deer opener, a Minnesota woman shot one of the rarest kinds around; an albino deer. Mary Rakotz of Avon got the 6-point buck on Saturday in Mille Lacs County.

She said it was thrilling to see the rare animal, but 100 times more exciting to be able to actually take it home.

“I had heard that it might be in the area, so I thought that here was my chance of a lifetime. So I had to creep a little bit, probably about 40 yards, to get a good place where I could steady myself a little bit. But then I did that and shot and it went right down,” said Rakotz.

Back in my sentimental days I loved it when I saw a deer in the woods. But that was usually a rare occasion and before a deer almost destroyed my family.

Back in late October, 1997, my youngest daughter and I traveled up to Pennsylvania and New York to see my son, who was a cadet at West Point and my oldest daughter, who was attending Washington and Jefferson in Pennsylvania. We went to see an Army football game in the afternoon and after the game went out to dinner. On the way back to West Point, it was dusk. We were staying at the Thayer Hotel so we could be near our cadet, and were driving on Route 17, when out of nowhere, to the right of the car, a big deer was heading right for us.

This is one reason why I am glad I learned to shoot pool.

I had only enough time to put a little English on my car and turned the car a little to the left, hitting the deer squarely on the right front end of my car. It bounced under the right side mirror. I didn’t stop the car because there was a lot of traffic. I continued on my way to West Point, angry and determined to get us back. I was worried that some damage was done to our car and in shock about what had happened. I had a feeling that the car was in bad shape and I was hoping it would make ten more miles.

When we arrived at West Point, I pulled over at the West Point Museum, just outside the gates. We got out of the car to inspect the damage and there was quite a bit. Plus, I could tell that the radiator was busted.

We got the attention of a local policeman and told him about the accident. I was concerned about leaving the deer on the side of the road. The policeman told me that I had done the right thing. When I called our insurance adjuster she mentioned to me that had I swerved to avoid the deer instead of hitting it, our insurance would not have covered the accident completely. (we would have had to pay the five hundred dollar deductable.) Hitting a deer is considered an act of God.

My daughter and I had to fly home because the car had to be left for repairs. As it happened, we had originally planned to leave the car with my son and take a rental car home anyway. He had to wait a few months before it was repaired.

I was very careful driving down interstate 40 last week because I knew it was near deer season. I saw several of the deer on the side of the road.

The worst thing happened this weekend. A family at my husband’s school (K through 12th grade) traveled up to Farmington, Arkansas to see the school’s football team play Farmington and on the way home, in an attempt to avoid hitting a deer, the father crashed their truck. Even though the kids had on their seatbelts, the ten year old son, Matt was thrown out of the truck and killed. His twin sister, Katelyn is in critical condition at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The Dad was treated and released. The family is devastated. Please pray for the Russell family.

So when I read that a hunter has killed a deer, whether it’s a rare albino deer or not, I know that at the very least, the deer has been kept out of the road. I’m convinced that had I not turned my car just a little, the deer would have come through the windshield. It was so close that there was no way I could have avoided it.

10 Sep 2007 10:31 pm

petraeusgestures

General David Petraeus couldn’t be surprised by the nasty ad placed by MoveOn.org in the New York Times which accused him of cooking the books for the White House, or by the attacks by Democrat Representatives, Bob Wexler and Loretta Sanchez at the Joint House hearing today.

These nitwits are essentially the same people who protested the Vietnam War when Petraeus was a cadet at West Point.

Back in 1970 when any event at West Point was open to the public, hippie females from local womens colleges (Vassar) were there to protest the war. My husband, Bob, as I have mentioned before, was a classmate of Dave Petraeus.

As the cadets were outside their halls going to class the female protesters handed them flowers in protest of the war. Then they spit on them, calling them baby killers. One Army football player took a flower offered to him and proceeded to eat it.

That caused a big stir and a news reporter who just happened to be on the scene asked the West Point liaison officer if the act of eating the flower was meant to be symbolic and the officer answered, “No. He was probably just hungry.”

The girls school protesters were infuriated but the cadets couldn’t have cared less about what they thought.

So that sorry, shameful season is back upon us. But yesterday’s flower children are today’s Code Pink.

Confederate Yankee reports that the New York Times possibly gave MoveOn.org a special rate for their ad.

I wouldn’t put it past them.

Those who learn nothing from history are damned to repeat it.

Unfortunately, those who learned something from history are damned to be assailed by those who never learned a damn thing.

18 Jun 2007 02:11 pm

patton1.jpg

The United States Military is a special organization of men and women who share a camaraderie that many civilians have a very difficult time understanding. Who among typical work-a-day Americans could find the phrase, duty, honor, country anything more than just a phrase?

It is so much more to those who are under arms. Soldiers know that they are part of something bigger. They understand that they are the guardians of our Republic. They serve under an ethos of loyalty, leadership and brotherly love. Especially in a time of war.

Consider the words of Retired Col. Clark Welch, a highly decorated veteran, speaking at Fort Drum at a seminar in 2006.

What possesses men to stand up and move forward when the men to the left and right of him are getting killed?” Welch asked rhetorically of the camaraderie between Soldiers. “How you keep Soldiers alive? You love them. You love them, and you lead them.”

I’ve been on the periphery of this camaraderie for the thirty plus years I have been an army wife and I’ve witnessed the selfless service of countless soldiers, in officer and enlisted ranks.

I’ve recently discovered a perfect example of the noble American soldier linked at Blackfive. It was an email of a post by Chaplain Jim Higgins on 5/14/07 from LSA Anaconda, Iraq:

“I recently attended a showing of “Superman 3″ here at LSA Anaconda.

We have a large auditorium we use for movies as well as memorial services and other large gatherings.

As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through the National Anthem the music stopped.

Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States?

I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.

Here, the 1,000 soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped [mid-anthem].

What would you expect to happen?

Even here I would imagine laughter as everyone sat down and expected the movie to start.

Here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every soldier stood at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers:

‘And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?’

It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq.

I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here.

When my husband, Bob was a cadet at West Point he went to the post theater to see the premier of the movie, Patton.

Movies were a privilege at West Point so all cadets who could, were thrilled to go. Every movie began with the National Anthem as it did in every military post at that time. The cadets understood they must stand at attention for the National Anthem. The audience was made up of cadets, some officers and some dates of the senior cadets.

Bob was with a bunch of cadets. On this particular day, the projection started differently.

Normally when the National Anthem began, the movie screen would depict a flag waving on a flagpole. Suddenly the movie screen showed a gigantic flag covering the whole screen. There was no sound at all. All the cadets stood up and assumed the position of attention as they waited for the music of the National Anthem.

Bob just thought they had changed the format as did many others. But, the music didn’t start. Nothing. Just silence. Then, it sounded like someone was walking, with the footsteps getting louder and louder. The sound of a bugle. Suddenly, George C. Scott’s helmet appeared and it looked like he was walking onto the stage.

He came to the center of the picture and he looked around the theater as if he were inspecting the cadets. Then he said, “Be seated.”

All the cadets sat down. Patton began his speech.

Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.

He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

Men all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war is a lot of horse dung.

Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.

When you were kids you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big-leagueball players, the toughest boxers.

Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time.

I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.

Now an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap.

The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.

Now we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world.

You know, by God, I actually pity those poor bastards we’re going up against.

By God, I do.

We’re not just going to shoot the bastards, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel.

Now, some of you boys, I know are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty.

The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them! Spill their blood! Shoot them in the belly! When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s face you’ll know what to do.

There’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying we are “holding our position. “We’re not “holding” anything. Let the Hun do that.

We’re advancing constantly. We’re not interested in holding on to anything except the enemy.

We’re going to hold on to him by the nose and kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell
out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!

Now there’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home.

And you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside

with your grandson on your knee and he asks you: “What did you do in the great World War ll?”

You won’t have to say: “Well, I shovelled shit in Louisiana. “All right, now, you sons of bitches. You know how I feel. I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere.

That’s all.

When he finished he turned and walked off the stage. As he turned, the cadets all stood back up to attention. One of the female dates in the row behind my husband said, “Wow, this gives me chills.” And as Scott playing Patton left, the cadets errupted in cheers.

Needless to say, the movie was a hit with the cadets.

Next Page »