General’s Dire Warning: Here’s What Afghan Military Faces Without US Help

H/T Western Journal.

We are in a Catch 22 situation in Afghanistan we are Damned if we do leave some US forces there and we are Damned if we do not.

Against the recommendation of military commanders, President Joe Biden recently ordered that all U.S. troops must be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because the Taliban provided al-Qaeda protection as it planned the September 11 attacks. We have been mired there for nearly 20 years with little to show for it.

Currently, there is a force of approximately 2,500 U.S. troops there, along with 7,000 NATO forces who are committed to the same timetable for withdrawing.

While it’s past time we extricated ourselves from the Afghanistan boondoggle, we need to do it in a way that honors the American blood and treasure spent there and prevents the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies from seizing control of the country.

Yet that is precisely what Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command and the top U.S. general for the Middle East and Afghanistan, is concerned will happen under Biden’s withdrawal plan.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, Gen. McKenzie stated that Afghanistan’s military “will certainly collapse” without some continued American support once all U.S. troops are gone, reports the AP. “My concern is the Afghans’ ability to hold ground” without the U.S. forces, McKenzie told the Senate committee.

Last February, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar and negotiated a deal whereby the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan if the Taliban renounced violence and ended its long-standing support for Islamist terror groups like al Qaeda.

The Taliban failed to hold up their end of the bargain. Despite that, President Biden has pledged to completely withdraw our troops by the symbolic, but entirely arbitrary, deadline of September 11.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that the U.S. will maintain the ability to counter terrorists in Afghanistan after the troop withdrawal, but he has provided few details on how he plans to accomplish this, and many in the military and intelligence community doubt it can be done.

Gen. McKenzie told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. wants to be able to conduct counter-terrorism missions from the air through the use of manned and unmanned aircraft.

However, because there is no significant American military presence in the countries surrounding Afghanistan, there is nowhere to base the aircraft. As a result, McKenzie acknowledged that it will take “considerably longer” than four hours to move armed drones in and out of Afghanistan.

This is hardly the sort of backup that the Afghan security forces can rely on.

Most military commanders and intelligence experts believe that without a U.S. military presence in the country, the government in Kabul to collapse and warlords and terrorist groups like al Qaeda will again take hold, leading to the conditions that brought us into Afghanistan in the first place.

According to a recent U.S. Treasury report, al Qaeda is “gaining strength in Afghanistan while continuing to operate with the Taliban under the Taliban’s protection.” The report further states that “al-Qaeda capitalizes on its relationship with the Taliban through its network of mentors and advisers who are embedded with the Taliban, providing advice, guidance, and financial support.”

A recent Pentagon report also highlighted that without the support of U.S. and other NATO allies, the Afghan government has little chance of prevailing against the Taliban once their troops have withdrawn.

And, in its 2021 Threat Assessment, published earlier this month, the U.S. intelligence community reached a similar conclusion, stating that “the Afghan Government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.”

Indeed, The Times reports that after Biden announced that all American troops would be out of Afghanistan in September, a senior Taliban commander taunted that they “are prepared and already present in the battlefield.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley reportedly, according to Vox, urged Biden to maintain a military presence in the country. According to sources familiar with the discussion, Milley made an impassioned plea, arguing that withdrawing troops would “open the door for the Taliban to overtake the country, making life worse for millions of Afghans and imperiling U.S. national security goals,” and would set women’s rights “back to the Stone Age.”

The full U.S. withdrawal also will create a vacuum in the country that ChinaRussia or Iran will fill, and make it harder to restrain aggression from nuclear-armed Pakistan.

President Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 is a case study in what not to do. Obama insisted on withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, even though his military advisors almost unanimously advised against it.

With the Iraqi security forces unprepared to protect the country’s security, Obama’s troop withdrawal allowed ISIS to seize 40 percent of Iraq’s territory, establishing a caliphate.

Within just six months, ISIS had become the world’s most well-funded and best-equipped terrorist army. Its terrorist activities resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people outside of Iraq and Syria, and included mass shootings in San Bernardino, California and Orlando, Florida.

We are now poised to repeat this calamity. We should heed Gen. McKenzie’s warning about what will happen to the Afghan military without U.S. troop support.

Preventing the Afghan military from collapsing would not take a large-scale force, but a small contingent of troops. The bipartisan Afghanistan Study Group said this year that 4,500 American troops would be enough “for training, advising, and assisting Afghan defense forces; supporting allied forces; conducting counterterrorism operations; and securing our embassy.”

Biden has flatly rejected this option, however.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Joe Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Regrettably, it looks like that trend is set to continue.

Without American Support Taliban Steamrolls Afghan Army, Walks Away with Precision US Weapons and Armored Fighting Vehicles

H/T Western Journal.

I think it is a big mistake to totally with drawling  all of our troops from Afghanistan as the Taliban will steamroll Afghan troops.

Then the Taliban will be armed with US munitions and other weapons then watch the attack other countries.

Leo Tolstoy wrote that “war is always pernicious even when successful.”

The United States’ ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan demonstrates the truth of this claim.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid announced on Twitter that Taliban fighters overran government security forces with ease this week in the Maidan Wardak Province, just west of Kabul.

His posts included several pictures of booty from the conquest, which included American-made machine guns, rifles, carbines and armored vehicles.

“The enemy fled on seeing the casualties, and a large number of tanks, heavy and light weapons and ammunition fell into the hands of the Mujahideen,” he tweeted.



The Taliban also allegedly shot down a government helicopter, according to Afghan media outlet Ariana News.

News of the Taliban’s successes is merely the latest in the movement’s pernicious campaign to capitalize on the U.S. withdrawal, reassert its hegemony over Afghanistan and reinstate the government that the U.S. overthrew 20 years ago.

Alas, Afghan forces are unlikely to prevent a resurgence of the Taliban without American military presence. Despite the fact that America spent more than $2 trillion on the war effort and committed two decades of training efforts, Afghan security forces are, by all measures, a joke.

Indeed, there is something of a sad understanding on the ground that the Afghanistan government will wholly cave to the Taliban once the U.S. is gone, and a hardline interpretation of Sharia will once more become the law of the land.

“We want an Islamic government ruled by the Sharia,” said Taliban shadow mayor Haji Hekmat, according to BBC News. “We will continue our jihad until [government forces] accept our demands.”

It is a difficult statement to argue with, particularly given the Taliban’s recent acquisition of American-made armament that will now be used to further the violence directed at the Afghan government.

Such is perhaps the inevitable perniciousness of war, however, and despite the coming convulsions in Afghanistan, there is little chance that increasing the number of American troops or weapons in the nation would have any meaningful impact toward fostering peace.

It is a point stated clearly by former Michigan Rep. Justin Amash in a recent tweet.

“No more airstrikes. No more war,” Amash, a libertarian, wrote. “Twenty years of military involvement in Afghanistan — the longest war in U.S. history — provides more than enough evidence that our weapons will not end this conflict, but they will add to the bloodshed and suffering.”

Indeed, Amash is onto something for once.

The violent rush to fill the power vacuum that the U.S. is leaving in Afghanistan is a necessary result of foreign interventionism and a war carried out without meaningful objectives.

If Afghanistan falls to the Taliban or, worse yet, outright collapses, let it be a lesson that all such wars must end similarly.

It is a lesson that the United States appears dead set on learning again and again and again. Maybe this time it will stick.

Reporter Who Uncovered Secret Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Meeting Found Dead

H/T Western Journal.

Another dead body associated to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Another suicide.

Journalist Christopher Sign, who as a Phoenix-based reporter broke the story of a secret 2016 meeting between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is dead at the age of 45.

Sign died Saturday in Hoover, Alabama.

Hoover police Lt. Keith Czeskleba said Sign’s death is being investigated as a suicide, according to


“Our deepest sympathy is shared with Chris’s loving family and close friends,” said Sinclair Broadcast Group Vice President and General Manager Eric Land, according to

“We have lost a revered colleague whose indelible imprint will serve forever as a hallmark of decency, honesty and journalist integrity. We can only hope to carry on Chris’s legacy. May his memory be for blessing,” Land said.

“Chris was a tremendous leader in our newsroom,” WBMA-TV, Sign’s current station, wrote in a tribute to him Saturday.

“He worked with our reporting staff on a daily basis, but also worked behind the scenes with the I-Team and with news managers on coverage of major events,” the tribute stated. “You were very likely to get an email from him with a story idea in the middle of the night. He was passionate about journalism and showed it each and every day as he pushed himself and his colleagues to be the best.”

Sign left Arizona for Alabama in 2017.

Sign wrote a book about the Clinton-Lynch meeting called “Secret on the Tarmac.”

“The plan was perfect. No cameras, no microphones, no prying eyes and plenty of security. The setting for a clandestine meeting could not have been better. Former President Bill Clinton exited Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s private plane 20-minutes after he boarded. Both thought they got away with it. Both were wrong. Amid a heated Presidential race, federal investigations involving emails and Benghazi and society looking for clarity on the future of the country, the secret tarmac meeting would only complicate things,” the book promo on Amazon reads.

In talking about the meeting, which took place as the Justice Department was investigating Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, Sign later told “Fox & Friends” that there was no doubt the meeting was more than the chance get-t0gether Clinton and Lynch claimed it was.

“We knew something had occurred that was a bit unusual. It was a planned meeting. It was not a coincidence,” he said, according to Fox News.

He said his source painted a picture of a well-choreographed event after Clinton arrived in a car that was waiting near Lynch’s plane.

“He then sat and waited in his car with the motorcade, her airstairs come down, most of her staff gets off, he then gets on as the Secret Service and FBI are figuring out ‘How in the world are we supposed to handle this? What are we supposed to do?’” Sign said.

Sign said at the time his family received death threats.

“This story isn’t about right or left, Republican or Democrat, it’s about right and wrong and journalism,” he said.

Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot?

H/T Mental Floss.

I used to get in to arguments with friends and family on this subject.

My argument was if it was illegal to drive barefoot it would have been in the drivers manuals.

Summer is here, which can mean trips to the beach, park, or anywhere else that doesn’t require shoes to be worn. That sense of freedom can extend to your car, where some people opt to go barefoot. But is putting the pedal to the metal while shoeless illegal? Can it lead to a ticket?

In most cases and in most states, the answer is no—you can’t be fined as a driver for letting your toes air out inside a motor vehicle. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.

Many states have laws on the books that can complicate your decision to doff sneakers in the event you get into an accident. In Alabama, for example, an investigator could decide that driving barefoot contributed to a crash, which might result in a charge of reckless driving. The same holds true in Arizona, California, and several other states.

Some states, like Ohio, won’t prohibit barefoot driving but may discourage drivers from doing it. In South Dakota, where the legal age for a learner’s permit is 14, they also don’t put up much of a fuss about bare feet.

It’s best to drive wearing a shoe with a good grip, since bare feet might slip off a pedal. Wearing sandals, flip-flops, heels, or shoes with loose laces is likely more potentially dangerous, since an ill-fitting shoe can slip off. It’s likely safer to go without shoes than drive in any of these. And if you’re riding a motorcycle, the rules can be totally different. Some states, Alabama included, mandate shoes for riders.

Check your local laws to be sure, since a city mandate might differ from a state policy. And if you notice your passenger making a funny face, maybe do them a favor and put your shoes back on.

The Many, Many Designs of the Sewing Machine

H/T Smithsonian Magazine.

The history of the sewing machine they do not teach in school.

Rioting tailors, destitute inventors and the court system all got involved in one of the 19th century’s biggest innovations

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In the early years of the 19th century, the invention of the sewing machine was all but inevitable. Factories were filling with seamstresses and tailors, and savvy inventors and entrepreneurs around the world saw the stitching on the trousers.

 There were an incredible number of machine designs, patents, and — some things never change — patent lawsuits.


thomas saint sewing machine

Thomas Saint’s 1790 drawing for a leather sewing machine

Here’s a brief overview describing some of the greatest hits (and misses) to illustrate the heady mix of industrialism, politics and revolutionary rhetoric that surrounded the development of the sewing machine.

The design of the first sewing machine actually dates back to the late 18th century, when an English cabinetmaker by the name of Thomas Saint drew up plans for a machine that could stitch leather. He patented the design as “An Entire New Method of Making and Completing Shoes, Boots, Spatterdashes, Clogs, and Other Articles, by Means of Tools and Machines also Invented by Me for that Purpose, and of Certain Compositions of the Nature of Japan or Varnish, which will be very advantageous in many useful Appliances.”

The rather prolix title partly explains why the patented was eventually lost – it was filed under apparel. It’s not known if Saint actually built any of his designs before he died, but a functioning replica was built 84 years later by William Newton Wilson. Though it’s not exactly practical, the hand-cranked machine worked after a few slight modifications.

first sewing machine

left: Madersperger’s 1814 design, illustration from a circa 1816 pamphlet by the inventor. right: a later Madersperger prototype, possibly his last

In the first half of the 19th century there was an explosion of sewing machine patents – and patent infringement cases. In 1814, Viennese tailor Josef Madersperger was granted a patent on a design for a sewing machine he had been developing for nearly a decade. Madersperger built several machines. The first was apparently designed to sew only straight lines while later machines may have been specially made to create embroidery, capable of stitching small circles and ovals. The designs were well received by the Viennese public but the inventor wasn’t happy with the reliability of his machines and he never made one commercially available. Madersperger would spend the rest of his life trying to perfect his design, a pursuit that would exhaust his last penny and send him to the poorhouse – literally; he died in a poorhouse.

An image of Thimmonier’s sewing machine, from an 1880 issue of Sewing Machine News

In France, the first mechanical sewing machine was patented in 1830 by tailor Barthélemy Thimonnier, whose machine used a hooked or barbed needle to produce a chain stitch. Unlike his predecessors, Thimonnier actually put his machine into production and was awarded a contract to produce uniforms for the French army. Unfortunately, also like his predecessors, he met with disaster. A mob of torch-waving tailors worried about losing their livelihood stormed his factory, destroying all 80 of his machines. Thimonnier narrowly escaped, picked himself up by his mechanically-assembled bootstraps, and designed an even better machine. The unruly tailors struck again, destroying every machine save one, with which Thimonnier was able to escape. He attempted to start over in England but his efforts were for naught. In 185,7 Barthélemy Thimonnier also died in a poorhouse.

So things didn’t turn out well for three of the more prominent early enablers of prêt-à-porter apparel in Europe. But what was going on across the pond? What was going on in that upstart nation of go-getters, problem solvers, and destiny manifesters? Well that’s where things get really interesting.

Walter Hunt sewing machine

Drawings from Walter Hunt’s sewing machine patent, dated June 27, 1854.

Walter Hunt was a prolific inventor and was described by Smithsonian curator Grace Rogers Cooper in her 1968 paper, The Invention of the Sewing Machineas a “Yankee mechanical genius.” He designed a nail-making machine, a plow, a bullet, a bicycle and the safety pin, which was designed in three hours to settle a $15 debt. A clever man who was attuned to the tenor of the times, Hunt understood the value of a machine that could sew and set out to built one in 1832. He designed a simple machine that used two needles, one with an eye in its point, to produce a straight “lock stitch” seam and encouraged his daughter to open a business producing corsets. But Hunt had second thoughts. He was dismayed by the prospect that his invention might put seamstresses and tailors out of work, so he abandoned his machine in 1838 having never filed for a patent. But that same year, a poor tailor’s apprentice in Boston named Elias Howe began working a very similar idea.

howe Sewing machine

Elias Howe’s 1846 patent model

After failing to build a machine that reproduced his wife’s hand motions, Howe scrapped the design and started again; this time, he inadvertently invented a hand-cranked machine almost identical to Hunt’s. He earned a patent for his design in 1846 and staged a man-vs-machine challenge, beating five seamstresses with work that was faster and in every way superior.  Yet the machine was still seen as somewhat scandalous, and Howe failed to attract any buyers or investors. Undeterred, he continued to improve his machine.

A series of unfortunate business decisions, treacherous partners, and a trip oversees left Howe destitute in London. What’s more, his wife’s health was failing and he had no means to get back to her in America. He was very close to suffering the same fate that befell Thimonnier, becoming just another dead inventor in the poorhouse. After pawning his machines and patent papers to pay for steerage back to the States in 1849, the distraught Howe returned to his wife just in time to stand by her bedside as she died. Adding insult to injury, he learned that the sewing machine had proliferated in his absence – some designs were almost copies of his original invention while others were based on ideas he patented in 1846. Howe had received no royalties for any of the machines- royalties that likely could have saved his wife’s life. Destitute and alone, he pursued his infringers fiercely, with the single-minded dedication of a bitter man with nothing left to lose. Many paid him his due immediately but others fought Howe in court. He won every single case.

first singer sewing machine

Singer’s machine was featured in the November 1, 1851 issue of Scientific American

Soon after the conclusion of his last court case, Howe was approached with a unique offer. An machinist by the name of Isaac Singer had invented his own sewing machine that was different in almost every way than Howe’s; every way except one – its eye-pointed needle. That little needle cost Singer thousands of dollars in royalties, all paid to Howe, but inspired the country’s first patent pool. Singer gathered together seven manufactures –all of whom had likely lost to Howe in court– to share their patents. They needed Howe’s patents as well and agreed to all his terms: every single manufacturer in the United States would pay Howe $25 for every machine sold. Eventually, the royalty was reduced to $5 but it was still enough to ensure that by the time Elias Howe died in 1867, he was a very, very rich man, having earned millions from patent rights and royalties. Singer didn’t do too bad for himself either. He had a penchant for promotion and, according to American Science and Invention earned the dubious recognition of becoming the first man to spend more than $1 million dollars a year on advertising. It worked though. The world hardly remembers Elias Howe, Walter Hunt, Barthélemy Thimonnier, Josef Madersperger, and Thomas Saint, but Singer is practically synonymous with sewing machine.

The Quest to Find the Perfect Carry Gun

H/T NRA Shooting Illustrated.

A friend of mine is on a quest to find the perfect—for him—carry gun. He has settled on double-action revolvers and is trying to choose between several models from Smith & Wesson and Colt. That he is concerned with DA revolvers is neither here nor there. What is interesting is how he is going about the selection. A selection, by the way, that will work for any of us whether semi-autos or revolvers are what appeal to us.

He has chosen three shooting drills that require a minimum of ammunition. One drill focuses on speed, one on accuracy and the last on long-range performance—out to 50 yards. He shoots the drills only once or twice per range visit and he records the results to compare at his leisure. And, in his case, he has been doing this since about January as time permits.

This is a very analytical approach and one that is giving some positive results. Several guns that he started with just simply didn’t match up to the performance of others, and were soon set aside. Other guns have taken their place in the tests. It is a pretty effective way for a shooter to determine what works for them.

With semi-autos, one might compare several makes of striker-fired guns, or 1911s or DA semi-autos. Or, you might even mix and match—see which of the different platforms work best for the individual.

The three shooting drills cover the challenges that the armed citizen is most likely to have. Obviously, speed is required for those nasty in-your-face attacks. But, a fellow would want good accuracy should he have to make a head shot on a crook that was holding a family member hostage. And, finally, there may be times that a person has to reach out there and deal with a problem beyond 25 yards.

My friend and colleague Ed Head writes the Skill Checks column for Shooting Illustrated. Plenty of excellent shooting drills can be found there. Give it some thought and then set up some head-to-head drills between the guns that interest you the most. You may be shocked. You may be surprised. But it’s an excellent way to find the gun that suits you.

A Bicycle Troop Peddled Through Minefields To Help Defeat The Germans

H/T War History OnLine.

When we think of the D-Day landings, the last thing most of us envision are bicycle troops taking the lead and scouting ahead, yet these troops played a pivotal part in the operation.


During WWII, the British Army under the request of Winston Churchill established the No. 10 Commando. No. 10 Commando was a multinational unit, consisting of volunteers from all over German-occupied Europe.

The unit was highly trained and would assist in spearheading amphibious landings. Their multilingual abilities made them exceptionally useful in the war across Europe, and their own personal experiences gave them extreme motivation to take down the German war machine.

The birth of X Troop

No. 10 Commando was divided into individual sub-units of recruits from different areas, which were referred to as troops. One of the most interesting of these groups was No. 3 Troop, also known as “X Troop.” X Troop contained 130 men from enemy countries who were technically “enemy aliens.”

One of X Troop’s members was Peter Masters, who had fled Vienna with his family in 1939. As Austrian Jews, they were persecuted by the Nazis and anxiously awaited the dreaded knock at their door from the SS. While in Vienna, they had to report hourly to local authorities. Once the family saw a car belonging to the Gestapo outside their home, they made the wise decision to flee.

Peter Masters and other members of X Troop enjoying some downtime, circa 1941.
Peter Masters and other members of X Troop enjoying some downtime, circa 1941. (Photo Credit: Imperial War Museums)

While preparing to escape, Peter’s grandfather bravely chose to stay, as he believed he would slow the family down. He would eventually be arrested and murdered by the Nazis, a testament to his extreme bravery, but it also shows the terrifying proximity to this same fate the rest of the family was in if they hadn’t escaped.

After successfully fleeing continental Europe and reaching England, Peter’s hopes of joining the fight against the Nazis were destroyed when he was subsequently locked away as an enemy alien.

Luckily for him, he was offered to join the top-secret X Troop, which finally gave him the opportunity to fight for his home and his family, many of whom were still in Austria. Each man in the unit had to adopt an entirely new British life story for themselves, which included changing their name. Peter had changed to his more British-sounding name from Peter Arany.

After extensive training, Peter found himself returning to Europe on June the 6th 1944 as part of the D-Day invasion.

Bicycle Troop on D-Day

X Troop never operated in combat as a single force, as its members were instead attached to other units participating in actions. On D-Day, Peter was attached to a bicycle troop, as this would enable him to move much faster than the massive numbers of men landing on the beaches.

Troops of the Canadian 3rd Division, leaving their ship with their bicycles, at Juno beach along the coast of Normandy, France on D-Day.
Photo Credit: G. Milne/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

He exited the landing craft with his Thompson submachine gun, a bicycle, and a pack laden with grenades, ammunition, a 200-foot rope, and a pickaxe. He reached the blood-stained sand and paused, catching his breath and processing the horrific sights all around him, despite being instructed to move inland as fast as possible.

Joining the death and chaos was legendary figure Brigadier Lord Lovat, coming ashore behind Peter. Next to him was his piper Bill Millin, who Lovat had told to play his pipes during the assault, something which was banned by military command.

Lovat defied these orders and said to Millin, “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.” This sight inspired the men, including Peter, to move, following Lovat and Millin across the beach.

Bill Millin, piping for the troops in June 1944
Bill Millin, piping for the troops in June 1944. (Photo Credit: War Office official photographer, Evans, J L)

After crossing the beach, Peter’s personal mission began, linking up with the rest of his bicycle troop rapidly heading inland and leaving the scene on the beach behind. Their destination was Pegasus Bridge that spanned the Caen Canal, which, if all had gone to plan, would have already been captured by a small group of British paratroopers.

As the bridge was far behind enemy lines, the men would need reinforcements as soon as possible. The Bicycle Troop encountered Lord Lovat once again before continuing on past the mined, cratered, and flooded landscape that was Normandy at the time.

As the unit approached the village of Bénouville, the lead cyclist was killed by gunfire. The troop’s commander ordered the men to take cover, and chose Peter to scout ahead in the village and establish the situation. Peter was likely chosen by this officer due to being an Austrian, which made many in the British ranks uncomfortable and regard the men of X Troop as cannon fodder.

Peter Masters (right) with other members of X Troop, circa 1941.
Peter Masters (right) with other members of X Troop, circa 1941. (Photo Credit: Imperial War Museums)

After explaining he would circle around the village to gather information, the officer ordered him to take the main approach into the village, which Peter saw as a suicide mission. However, with his orders, he headed into Bénouville.

On his way, he believed the best odds of success were if he came in with the confidence of a man with overwhelming forces behind him, something he didn’t have in reality.

In German, he shouted into the village “All right! Surrender, all of you! You are completely surrounded and don’t have a chance! Throw away your weapons and come out with your hands up if you want to go on living. The war is over for all of you.”

After a brief pause, the Germans in the village responded with gunfire. Unleashing a burst from his weapon, Peter’s weapon jammed and he dove for cover. Alone and defenseless, he thought this would be his end — until he saw the Bicycle Troop charging into the village to meet the Germans with fixed bayonets, most of whom fled at this sight.

Leaving the village, they dashed to Pegasus Bridge, which thankfully they discovered was in British hands upon their arrival. Just under an hour after, Lovat and his men would also arrive.

Later, Peter would interrogate a German officer and march 40 prisoners of war to British lines.

After fleeing his home to escape the Nazis in 1939, Peter returned to Europe four years later, taking the fight to them and doing his bit on one of the most decisive days of the war.

The ‘Wild’ History Behind America’s Counterintelligence Service

H/T War History OnLine.

R.I.P. William “Wild Bill” Donovan 

William “Wild Bill” Donovan is widely known as the “father of American Intelligence.” His determination to create a centralized counterintelligence unit paved the way for the modern CIA. Despite pushback from various government agencies and personnel, he persevered, showing everyone the meaning behind his infamous moniker.

A decorated war hero

Bill Donovan fought with the 165th Regiment during WWI. He’s said to have been a demanding leader who often pushed his troops to the limit. His team was an integral part of the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918, and their presence was noted during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October 1918.

It’s rumored that Bill got his nickname during the war. Legend has it that he made his battalion run a three-mile obstacle course, after which the men fell to the ground, out of breath. The 35-year-old chastised them, saying, “What the hell’s the matter with you guys?” to which a soldier responded, “But hell, we are not as wild as you are, Bill.” From that day on, he was known as Wild Bill, a moniker he publicly denounced, but secretly loved.

Donovan walking along railway tracks during WWI
Donovan during WWI. (Photo Credit: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons)

When the war came to an end in November 1918, Bill had been injured a total of three times. He’d risen to the rank of full colonel and had become one of the war’s most honored and decorated soldiers. Not only did he receive two Purple Hearts, but he was also awarded the Silver Star, the Medal of Honor, and the Distinguished Service Medal, among others.

A need for central intelligence

When WWII broke out in 1939, intelligence operations in the U.S. were split between nearly a dozen government agencies. They didn’t get along and viewed each other as rivals, especially when it came to getting a portion of the government’s annual budget. This didn’t go unnoticed by other nations, with Britain in particular pointing out it would impact America’s effort during the war.

In the summer of 1940, Bill Donovan, by then a successful lawyer, was invited by Canadian airman William Stephenson to be the President’s envoy to Britain. President Franklin D. Roosevelt hoped the trip would allow the war hero to see if the U.K. had the capabilities to withstand an attack by the Nazis. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also saw an advantage in the trip, as he hoped Donovan could convince Roosevelt to provide more aid in exchange for intelligence information.

Bill Donovan presents a medal for merit to William Stephenson
Donovan presenting a medal of merit to William Stephenson, 1946. (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

Donovan was briefed on Britain’s new Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) unit, designed to infiltrate occupied Europe and help anti-Nazi resistance groups. It provided them with supplies and directed them in attacks against German communication and supply lines, hindering their primary method for spreading propaganda.

Upon his return to the U.S., Donovan met with Roosevelt to share his belief that the country needed something similar to the British unit. While the president was cautious about the idea, the other intelligence agencies were against it, with F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover calling the idea “Roosevelt’s folly.”

The creation of the Coordinator of Information

On June 18, 1941, President Roosevelt used his executive powers to create the Office of the Coordinator of Information (C.O.I.), with Bill Donovan at the helm. His plan was for the agency to gather and analyze information that would then be used to engage in secret operations.

Headquartered in a nondescript building overlooking the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, the C.O.I. was a largely civilian operation. With control over the hiring process, Donovan brought aboard associates, those with travel experience, and individuals with knowledge of global affairs.

He was also not a typical leader. He urged his employees to be creative and think outside of the box, and he wanted them to find innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Franklin D. Roosevelt standing in front of a building
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1930. (Photo Credit: Unknown Author / Wikimedia Commons)

Once he had his staff, the first order of business was to evaluate incoming information that in-house propagandists could use to demoralize the German Army. He also set up espionage schools; oversaw the invention of new guns, bombs and cameras; hired female spies; and made connections globally — all to engage in his unorthodox version of warfare.

On the outside, the C.O.I. was simply gathering information and releasing propaganda. However, the public was not informed of these espionage activities, as the U.S. had not officially entered the war. That changed after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The COI becomes the Office of Strategic Services

A few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, on July 11, 1941, President Roosevelt changed the C.O.I. to the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.). While Donovan was allowed access to more government funding to “wage secret war around the globe,” it meant it was no longer a White House agency.

Placed under the rule of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the O.S.S. began allowing military personnel into its ranks. While still considered a civilian agency, its staff was three-quarters military. It was during this time that Donovan donned his uniform and rejoined the U.S. Army as it officially joined the war.

Bill Donovan sitting at his desk
Donovan, 1945. (Photo Credit: National Archives / Wikimedia Commons)

The espionage work done by the O.S.S. allowed for many successes during the war. It allowed for the successful Allied Invasion of North Africa in 1942, and it was credited with the 1944 Allied landing on the French Riviera.

However, despite this success, the O.S.S. did have its detractors. While initially the inspiration behind its inception, the U.K. was suspicious of the agency and incredibly distrustful of any O.S.S. operations occurring on British soil. The Philippines also blocked the O.S.S. access, on account of General Douglas McArthur’s antipathy.

The C.I.A. emerges during the Cold War

Donovan was interested in keeping some version of the O.S.S. around after the end of the war. In November 1944, he sent a memo to Roosevelt, requesting the establishment of a permanent worldwide intelligence agency.

The O.S.S. would be dismantled after the war, but another central counterintelligence agency replaced it: the CIA. It emerged a few years into the Cold War and was similar to its predecessor in many ways — it was even operated by old O.S.S. members.

However, there was one key difference, in that then-President Truman refused to allow Bill Donovan to head the agency. Instead, he gave the position to Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter.

The C.I.A. floor seal at its original headquarters
The C.I.A.’s seal was created in February 1950. (Photo Credit: Duffman / Wikimedia Commons)

Donovan continued to aid in the CIA’s formation behind the scenes and offered them intelligence whenever he could. This was to the disapproval of Truman, who considered him a “meddler.” He was eventually offered the position of American Ambassador to Thailand, which he accepted, before returning to his law career.

While stationed in Thailand, Donovan started showing signs of dementia, which ultimately took his life on February 8, 1959. In his memory, a statue was placed within the lobby of the C.I.A.’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, honoring his role in the agency’s history.

Soldier MIA During The Korean War Returned Home

H/T War History OnLine.

R.I.P. Cpl. Ralph Boughman it has been a long journey home to rest.

The remains of Cpl. Ralph Boughman have been missing since 1950, when he was killed during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. For the 70 years since then, his family has remained in the dark about the location of his body. After North Korea agreed to release the remains of U.S. servicemen who were killed during the conflict, Boughman’s remains have finally returned home.

Boughman in Korea

At the age of just 19, Boughman joined the U.S. Army in August of 1948, after being inspired by his older brothers’ involvement in WWII. He began basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, before being transferred to Fort Lawton, Washington. From there, he was sent to Japan. He stayed in Japan for a year, after which he was shipped over to Korea.

In Korea, Boughman was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 32 Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. The 7th Infantry Division was heavily involved in the fighting at the Chosin Reservoir, when the Chinese launched a surprise attack against UN forces in late November 1950. This battle lasted just over two weeks and was fought in bitterly cold temperatures on tough terrain.

Frostbitten members of the First Marine Division and Seventh Infantry Division who linked up in the Chosin Reservoir area in a desperate attempt to break out of Communist encirclement
Members of the First Marines and Seventh Infantry in the Chosin Reservoir, circa December 1950. (Photo Credit: Department of Defense)

Boughman and his unit battled the Chinese on December 2nd. Unfortunately, Boughman was killed during this action, and his comrades were unable to retrieve his body. Without a body, he was declared missing in action.

His family received a telegram in early 1951 informing them that he was MIA, which left the family heartbroken. It wasn’t until December 1953 that they learned he was officially declared dead, four days before Christmas. Later, his family was given Boughman’s personal possessions from his time in the Army. This included a mechanical pencil, sewing kit, silk jacket, a baseball, a Japanese flag, one ring, one bracelet, and three pennies.

The lack of closure meant his family held out hope for the discovery and return of his remains, which eluded them for seven decades.

However, in 2018, North Korea handed over the remains of U.S. servicemen who were killed during the Korean War after a summit with the President of the United States. Unknown to his family at the time, Boughman’s previously missing remains were inside one of the boxes returned to the U.S.

The remains were sent to Hawaii, and with the use of DNA were officially identified as Boughman’s in April 2020. In that same month, his nephew, Larry Boughman, received a phone call from the Army to inform him of the discovery.

Larry said “It was chilling,” and “I could hardly believe it.”

Ralph Boughman’s memorial

His remains arrived in North Carolina in May 2021, where a memorial was held for his burial at Rosemont Cemetery. His family talked about Ralph Bowman during the service, his childhood, his life on the farm and working with his father at a sawmill.

File Photo of Ralph Boughman
Photo Credit: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

At the service, Boughman’s coffin was topped with the American flag, which was folded up and given to his sister, Pansy Boughman Bourne. Pansy, 89, is one Ralph’s nine siblings, all of whom except her have passed away.

Of the service, Pansy said, “I am so surprised we had such a good turnout and appreciate everyone coming.” She added, “It is great and wonderful he (Ralph) is here at last and just a few miles from his home place. I am so glad the Lord let us find him. I prayed for it, and he answered my prayers.”

Glenn Boughman, one of Boughman’s nephews, also spoke about Ralph and the return of his remains.

“From that day the family was first notified, there was a great unknown for the family about what happened to him,” he said. “When his remains were found and identified and released from Korea to here, it took many steps and a chain of events.”

Another nephew, Ernie Boughman, remembers when the family was notified Boughman was MIA.

“Even though I was not quite 6 years old, I remember the family gathering and just remember grandmother was heartbroken,” he said of this difficult time. “She broke down and cried, and there was just sadness in the whole house.”

The Army held a ceremony for Boughman the previous day, where they presented Pansy with Ralph’s long list of medals: the Purple Heart, Gold Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Marksmanship Badge, Korean Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Citation, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Services Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and Army Presidential Unit Citation Medal.

Also in attendance of his memorial were the Patriot Guard Riders, who upon invitation will protect and bolster the ranks at military burials, and the Rolling Thunder organization, who aim to bring greater attention to U.S. service members who are prisoners of war or declared missing in action.

South Carolina: Correcting Record on Second Amendment Package

H/T AmmoLand.

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U.S.A. -( This session, the South Carolina General Assembly passed the strongest Second Amendment legislation in the last 25 years. Governor Henry McMaster signed it into law promptly. Unfortunately, those who are supposed to be working towards the common goal of protecting and advancing Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens are spreading lies against the lawmakers who were instrumental in passing this bill. These legislators were also critical in advancing the ultimate goal of constitutional carry in South Carolina.

House Bill 3094 made South Carolina the 46th state where citizens may open carry a handgun, and eliminated the $50 fee for a Concealed Weapons Permit. These are important reforms that allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun in the manner of their choosing that best suits them, and eliminate a cost barrier to exercising this right.

The representatives ensured that the House concurred with the Senate to guarantee the Second Amendment advances in South Carolina. The House already passed H. 3096, the constitutional carry bill supported by these legislators. Though the Senate did not take action on it in 2021, it currently remains alive in the Senate for next year.

NRA once again thanks the representatives that supported constitutional carry by voting in favor of H. 3096. If your state representative voted for H. 3096, you may click the button below to thank them too.

Rita Allison, F. Lucas Atkinson, William Bailey, Nathan Ballentine, Bruce Bannister, Linda Bennett, Jeffrey Bradley, Thomas Brittain, J. Mike Burns, Jerry Carter, Micah Caskey, William Chumley, Neal Collins, Bobby Cox, Westley Cox, Heather Crawford, Vic Dabney, Sylleste Davis, Jason Elliott, Cal Forrest, Russell Fry, Craig Gagnon, Leon Gilliam, Patrick Haddon, Kevin Hardee, William Herbkersman, W. Lee Hewitt, Jonathon Hill, David Hiott, Chip Huggins, Max Hyde, Jeffrey Johnson, Stewart Jones, Jay Jordan, Mandy Kimmons, Randy Ligon, Steven Long, Phillip Lowe, Jay Lucas, R. Josiah Magnuson, Rick Martin, RJ May, D. Ryan McCabe, John McCravy, Sandy McGarry, Tim McGinnis, Travis Moore, Adam Morgan, Dennis Moss, Steve Moss, Christopher Murphy, Brandon Newton, Weston Newton, Roger Nutt, Melissa Oremus, William Sandifer, Murrell Smith, Garry Smith, Mark Smith, Tommy Stringer, Bill Taylor, Anne Thayer, Ashley Trantham, John West, W. Brian White, William Whitmire, Mark Willis, Christopher Wooten, and Richard Yow.