Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Story of the Pentagon 9-11 Flag

Defense. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.
09/11/2014 10:09 AM CDT

The Story of the Pentagon 9-11 Flag

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 - Anyone who saw the American flag unfurled at the Pentagon on Sept. 12, 2001, knows how Francis Scott Key felt two centuries ago when he was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Soldiers from A Company, 3rd Infantry "The Old Guard" -- gather the giant garrison flag being lowered from the side of the Pentagon, where it had hung beside the impact site of the 9/11 terrorist attack, Oct. 11, 2001. The flag was ceremonially retired. DoD photo by Jim Garamone
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The day after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the scene was still chaotic. Only essential military and civilian workers were required to come to the building. Parking was at Reagan-National Airport, as all U.S. airspace was still closed. As employees got off the Metro train, Pentagon police stood with weapons examining everyone's badge. Those without a Pentagon ID were told to keep traveling on. The conversation in the building was about friends who remained missing.

At the site, firefighters were putting out the final embers that were burning in the roof. Then word came that President George W. Bush wanted to see the damage to the Pentagon himself.

Garrison flag
No one knows who originally came up with the idea for unfurling the flag to the right of the damaged areas on the building, but Army Maj. Gen. Jim Jackson, then the Military District of Washington commander, made it happen.

He sent over to nearby Fort Myer, Virginia, for the largest flag they could find. The U.S. Army Band had a garrison flag the largest authorized for the military and sent it over.
During Bush's visit to the impact site, 3rd Infantry Regiment soldiers and Arlington, Virginia, firefighters unveiled the flag and draped it over the side of the building. Then they stood and saluted.

It was a moment that quickened the heart. The United States had been attacked, the Pentagon had been hit, friends were gone, thousands were killed in New York and Pennsylvania, yet the American flag still flew.

That flag signified the unconquerable nature of the American people. Those inside the building already were preparing to take the battle to the attackers and bring them to justice.
The flag flew on the side of the building for the next month. Each night, workers illuminated it with floodlights. Members of A Company of the 3rd Infantry Regiment -- "The Old Guard" -- took the flag down Oct. 11.

A treasured symbol
The flag is soot-stained and ripped at one spot where it rubbed up against the building. It now is in the care of the Army's Center of Military History.
It is treasured as the 9/11 generation's Star-Spangled Banner, because they, like Francis Scott Key during the British attack on Baltimore in 1814, looked to the flag for inspiration and comfort.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

US Navy History 10 September 1945

1945: USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41) is commissioned as the lead ship of its class. USS Midway is the largest ship in the world until 1955. USS Midway serves for 47 years during the Vietnam War and as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991's Operation Desert Storm. In 1992, USS Midway is decommissioned and is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego, Calif.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My How Times have Changed!

These are all Hollywood Stars from the 40's, 50's and 60's - but did you know . .. these actors, also all served their country and then returned to acting?

If you are under 40 you will likely not recognize many/any of these.  If you are over 40 you will remember a few, if you are over 50 you will remember some, if you are over 60 you will remember most of them, if you are over 70 you remember all of them. 

  • Stewart Hayden, US Marines and OSS, Smuggled guns into Yugoslavia and parachuted into Croatia.
  • James Stewart, US Army Air Corps, Bomber pilot who rose to the rank of General.
  • Ernest Borgnine, US Navy, Gunners Mate 1c, destroyer USS Lamberton. 
  • Ed McMahon, US Marines, Fighter Pilot (Flew OE-1 Bird Dogs over Korea as well.)
  • Telly Savalas, US Army.
  • Walter Matthau, US Army Air Corps, B-24 Radioman/Gunner and cryptographer
  • Steve Forrest, US Army, Wounded, Battle of the Bulge.
  • Jonathan Winters, USMC, Battleship USS Wisconsin and Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard, Anti-aircraft gunner, Battle of Okinawa.
  • Paul Newman, US Navy Rear seat gunner/radioman, torpedo bombers of USS Bunker Hill
  • Kirk Douglas, US Navy, Sub-chaser in the Pacific, Wounded in action and medically discharged.
  • Robert Mitchum, US Army.
  • Dale Robertson, US Army, Tank Commander in North Africa under Patton, Wounded twice, Battlefield Commission.
  • Henry Fonda, US Navy, Destroyer USS Satterlee.
  • John Carroll, US Army Air Corps, Pilot in North Africa, Broke his back in a crash.
  • Lee Marvin US Marines, Sniper, Wounded in action on Saipan, Buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Sec. 7A next to Greg Boyington and Joe Louis.
  • Art Carney, US Army, Wounded on Normandy beach, D-Day, Limped for the rest of his life.
  • Wayne Morris, US Navy fighter pilot, USS Essex, Downed seven Japanese fighters.
  • Rod Steiger, US Navy, was aboard one of the ships that launched the Doolittle Raid.
  • Tony Curtis, US Navy, Sub tender USS Proteus, In Tokyo Bay for the surrender of Japan.
  • Larry Storch, US Navy, Sub tender USS Proteus with Tony Curtis.
  • Forrest Tucker, US Army, Enlisted as a private, rose to Lieutenant.
  • Robert Montgomery, US Navy.
  • George Kennedy, US Army, Enlisted after Pearl Harbor, stayed in sixteen years.
  • Mickey Rooney, US Army under Patton, Bronze Star.
  • Denver Pyle, US Navy, Wounded in the Battle of Guadalcanal, Medically discharged.
  • Burgess Meredith, US Army Air Corps.
  • De Forest Kelley, US Army Air Corps.
  • Robert Stack, US Navy, Gunnery Officer.
  • Neville Brand, US Army, Europe, Was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
  • Tyrone Power, US Marines, Transport pilot in the Pacific Theater.
  • Charlton Heston, US Army Air Corps, Radio operator and aerial gunner on a B-25, Aleutians.
  • Danny Aiello, US Army, Lied about his age to enlist at 16, Served three years.
  • James Arness, US Army, as an infantryman, he was severely wounded at Anzio, Italy.
  • Efram Zimbalist, Jr., US Army, Purple Heart for a severe wound received at Huertgen Forest.
  • Mickey Spillane, US Army Air Corps, Fighter Pilot, and later Instructor Pilot.
  • Rod Serling, US Army, 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific, He jumped at Tagaytay in the Philippines and was later wounded in Manila.
  • Gene Autry, US Army Air Corps, Crewmember on transports that ferried supplies over "The Hump" in the China-Burma-India Theater.
  • William Holden, US Army Air Corps.
  • Alan Hale Jr., US Coast Guard.
  • Harry Dean Stanton, US Navy, Battle of Okinawa.
  • Russell Johnson, US Army Air Corps, B-24 crewmember who was awarded Purple Heart when his aircraft was shot down by the Japanese in the Philippines.
  • William Conrad, US Army Air Corps, Fighter Pilot.
  • Jack Klugman, US Army.
  • Frank Sutton, US Army, Took part in 14 assault landings, including Leyte, Luzon, Bataan, and Corregidor.
  • Jackie Coogan, US Army Air Corps, Volunteered for gliders and flew troops and materials into Burma behind enemy lines.
  • Tom Bosley, US Navy.
  • Claude Akins, US Army, Signal Corps, Burma and the Philippines.
  • Chuck Connors, US Army, Tank-warfare instructor.
  • Harry Carey Jr., US Navy.
  • Mel Brooks, US Army, Combat Engineer, Saw action in the Battle of the Bulge.
  • Robert Altman, US Army Air Corps, B-24 Co-Pilot.
  • Pat Hingle, US Navy, Destroyer USS Marshall
  • Fred Gwynne, US Navy, Radioman.
  • Karl Malden, US Army Air Corps, 8th Air Force, NCO.
  • Earl Holliman, US Navy, Lied about his age to enlist, Discharged after a year when they Navy found out.
  • Rock Hudson, US Navy, Aircraft mechanic, the Philippines.
  • Harvey Korman, US Navy.
  • Aldo Ray, US Navy, UDT frogman, Okinawa.
  • Don Knotts, US Army, Pacific Theater.
  • Don Rickles, US Navy aboard USS Cyrene.
  • Harry Dean Stanton, US Navy, Served aboard an LST in the Battle of Okinawa.
  • Robert Stack, US Navy, Gunnery Instructor.
  • Soupy Sales, US Navy, Served on USS Randall in the South Pacific.
  • Lee Van Cleef, US Navy, Served aboard a sub chaser then a minesweeper.
  • Clifton James, US Army, South Pacific, Was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.
  • Ted Knight, US Army, Combat Engineers.
  • Jack Warden, US Navy, 1938-1942, then US Army, 1942-1945, 101st Airborne Division.
  • Don Adams, US Marines, Wounded on Guadalcanal, and then served as a Drill Instructor.
  • James Gregory, US Navy and US Marines.
  • Brian Keith, US Marines, Radioman/Gunner in Dauntless dive-bombers.
  • Fess Parker, US Navy and US Marines, Booted from pilot training for being too tall, joined Marines as a radio operator.
  • Charles Durning, US Army, Landed at Normandy on D-Day, Shot multiple times, Awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, Survived Malmedy Massacre.
  • Raymond Burr, US Navy, Shot in the stomach on Okinawa and medically discharged.
  • Hugh O'Brian, US Marines.
  • Robert Ryan, US Marines.
  • Eddie Albert, US Coast Guard, Bronze Star with Combat V for saving several Marines under heavy fire as pilot of a landing craft during the invasion of Tarawa.
  • Cark Gable, US Army Air Corps, B-17 gunner over Europe.
  • Charles Bronson, US Army Air Corps, B-29 gunner, wounded in action.
  • Peter Graves, US Army Air Corps.
  • Buddy Hackett, US Army anti-aircraft gunner.
  • Victor Mature, US Coast Guard.
  • Jack Palance, US Army Air Corps, Severely injured bailing out of a burning B-24 bomber.
  • Robert Preston, US Army Air Corps, Intelligence Officer
  • Cesar Romero, US Coast Guard, Participated in the invasions of Tinian and Saipan on the assault transport USS Cavalier.
  • Norman Fell, US Army Air Corps, Tail Gunner, Pacific Theater.
  • Jason Robards, US Navy, was aboard heavy cruiser USS Northampton when it was sunk off Guadalcanal, also served on the USS Nashville during the invasion of the Philippines, surviving a kamikaze hit that caused 223 casualties.
  • Steve Reeves, US Army, Philippines.
  • Dennis Weaver, US Navy, Pilot.
  • Robert Taylor, US Navy, Instructor Pilot.
  • Randolph Scott, tried to enlist in the Marines but was rejected due to injuries sustained in US Army, World War 1.
  • Ronald Reagan, US Army, was a 2nd Lt. in the Cavalry Reserves before the war, His poor eyesight kept him from being sent overseas with his unit when war came so he transferred to the Army Air Corps Public Relations Unit where he served for the duration.
  • John Wayne, declared "4F medically unfit" due to pre-existing injuries, he nonetheless attempted to volunteer three times (Army, Navy and Film Corps) so he gets honorable mention.
  • And of course, we have Audie Murphy, America's most-decorated soldier, who became a Hollywood star because of his US Army service that included his being awarded the Medal of Honor.

    Clearly times have changed!  

    Monday, September 8, 2014

    An "Oh Sh*t!" Moment for the US Navy in 1923

    The Honda Point Disaster

    The Honda Point Disaster was the largest peacetime loss of U.S. Navy ships. On the evening of September 8, 1923, seven destroyers, while traveling at 20 knots (37 km/h), ran aground at Honda Point, a few miles from the northern side of the Santa Barbara Channel off Point Arguello on the coast in Santa Barbara County, California. Two other ships grounded, but were able to maneuver free of the rocks. Twenty-three sailors died in the disaster.

    The fourteen ships of Destroyer Squadron 11 (DESRON 11) made their way south from San Francisco Bay to San Diego Bay in the late summer of 1923. The squadron was led by Commodore Edward H. Watson, on the flagship destroyer USS Delphy. All were Clemson-class destroyers, less than five years old. The ships turned east to course 095, supposedly heading into the Santa Barbara Channel, at 21:00. The ships were navigating by dead reckoning, estimating their positions by their headings and speeds, as measured by propeller revolutions per minute. At that time radio navigation aids were new and not completely trusted. The USS Delphy was equipped with a radio navigation receiver, but her navigator and captain ignored its indicated bearings, believing them to be erroneous. No effort was made to take soundings of water depth. These operations were not performed because of the necessity to slow the ships down to take measurements. The ships were performing an exercise that simulated wartime conditions, hence the decision was made not to slow down. In this case, the dead reckoning was wrong, and the mistakes were fatal. Despite the heavy fog, Commodore Watson ordered all ships to travel in close formation and, turning too soon, went aground. Six others followed and sank. Two ships whose captains disobeyed the close-formation order survived, although they also hit the rocks.

    Earlier the same day, the mail steamship SS Cuba ran aground nearby. Some attributed these incidents in the Santa Barbara Channel to unusual currents caused by the great Tokyo earthquake of the previous week.

    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    Great Places To Eat! - Lake Charles, La

    Last month I traveled to Lake Charles to interview an engineer for a job at L&W.  He lived in Lake Charles so he set up a lunch meeting for us at Pujo St. Cafe, in downtown Lake Charles.

    Now in my 40+ years of running the roads between New Orleans, Lafayette, and Houston I have traveled through Lake Charles at least 100 times and never ventured into the downtown area.  What a pleasant surprise I found in downtown Lake Charles at the Pujo St. Cafe.  The food, atmosphere, and service at Pujo's is worth the drive.  If you are passing through anyway and its around lunch or dinner, skip the fast food places on I-10 and venture downtown for a great experience.

    Pujo St.
    901 Ryan Street
    Lake Charles, La. 70601


    Saturday, August 2, 2014

    The USS Indianapolis - Sunk after delivering the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombs, July 1945

    In late July of 1945, the Japanese Submarine, I-58, sank USS Indianapolis (CA 35), northeast of Leyte.  316 of her crew of 1199 survived. The USS Indianapolis, was on her way on a super secret mission, a high speed transit from California to Tinian Island to deliver atomic bomb parts.  

    Tinian Island is part of the Marinas Island chain and was the launching point of both atomic bombs that essentially brought the end of World War II.  Due to the secrecy of the Indianapolis' mission she was operating on strict radio silence, consequently the loss of the Indianapolis went unnoticed until survivors were seen from a passing aircraft on August 2, 1945

    I first learned of the Indianapolis and its mission from the movie Jaws.  Mr. Quinn, the shark hunter tells the story one night on the Orca, while hunting for the big shark!  From that I found the book Abandon Ship, a very painful but poignant story about the Indianapolis tragedy. 

    Please remember our veterans and their contribution to the wonderful world we live in today.  Where would the World be, without the unselfish commitment of United States of America? And all we have ever asked in return is a simple thanks and a place to bury our dead!

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    On this Day in WWII in 1942

    On This Day In The Navy:
    1942: USS Terror (CM 5), the first minelayer built as such, is commissioned. During World War II she participates in Operation Torch, the Battle for Iwo Jima, and the Okinawa Invasion, where she is struck by a kamikaze on May 1, 1945.
    Name:USS Terror
    Builder:Philadelphia Navy Yard
    Laid down:3 September 1940
    Launched:6 June 1941
    Commissioned:15 July 1942
    Decommissioned:6 August 1956
    Reclassified:MM-5, 7 February 1955
    MMF-5, October 1955
    Struck:1 November 1970
    Honours and
    battle stars (WWII)
    Fate:Sold for scrapping, 1971
    General characteristics
    Displacement:5,875 long tons (5,969 t)
    Length:454 ft 10 in (138.63 m)
    Beam:60 ft 2 in (18.34 m)
    Draft:19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
    Propulsion:2 × General Electric double-reduction geared steam turbines, 2 shafts, 22,000 shp (16,405 kW)
    Speed:20.3 knots (37.6 km/h; 23.4 mph)
    Armament:• 4 × 5"/38 caliber guns
    • 4 × quad 1.1 in (28 mm) guns (replaced by 4 × quad 40 mm guns in May 1943)
    • 14 × 20 mm guns