Kim Wiley, a guest at the funeral took a photograph of Taylor and posted it to social media. It caught a lot of attention and attracted over six-thousand ‘likes’ in just a few days.
‘It was cold and windy, he was drenched,’ said Wiley, ‘but he proudly stood there…still and tall, until it was time to approach the casket (and) fold the flag,’
Specialist Taylor said he was cold, but happy to show the family the respect all veterans deserve for their service, and that it had been an ‘honour and a blessing’ to be a part of such a tribute to a military veteran.
Annie Ruth McVadon was remembered as a fun-loving, generous woman full of heart-warming wartime stories of big bands and the celebrations that came with the news that the war was over.
Her family confirmed they were pleasantly surprised by all the positive messages that had come with the photograph taken at her funeral as it made its way across the country via social media.
A video has also emerged of Specialist Taylor as he played Taps in the rain.
The tune, Taps, has a long and distinguished military history of its own. It is said to have been inspired by older European tunes used to signal the end of the day.
Historians have pointed to the tradition of the bugle call to be followed by three slow single drumbeats, or ‘taps’, which may be where the tune first found its modern name. The signal was known as the ‘drum taps’ and was subsequently shortened over time.
The tune has its roots in the ‘Scott Tattoo’ used by US forces in the first half of the Nineteenth Century, while its present form has been attributed to Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield.
He was a Civil War General, held a Medal of Honour and commanded the Third Brigade of the First Division in the Fifth Army Corps at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia.
Butterfield wanted to replace a French bugle call that signalled ‘lights out’ with one that was ‘American.’ First played by his own bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, it was picked up and used across the American battle-lines by both Union and Confederate forces within months. You could say that the tune itself ‘went viral’.
It was in 1862 that Taps was first used by Captain John C Tidball for the funeral of ‘a most excellent’ corporal who had been under his command.
Denied approval for a gun salute for military reasons, Tidball’s Battery A, 2nd US Artillery, played Taps instead.
The use of the Taps bugle call spread until in 1874 the tune was given the stamp of approval for use by the US Army.
A proud Tidball later wrote that, ‘Battery A has the honour of having introduced this custom into the service, and it is worthy of historical note’. It became a regulation standard component of military funerals in 1891.
‘Silver’ or ‘Echo’ Taps, where two buglers perform the tune, while tradition at some military colleges, is frowned upon by the US Army who see it as ‘an improper use of bugler assets’.
That is a good question way wasn’t Auschwitz bombed?
On a cold April morning in 1944, two Jewish men somehow found themselves on the right side of the Auschwitz barbed wire.
Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler made their way undetected through Nazi occupied Poland to Slovakia, freedom and were able to tell the world of the atrocities taking place at the death camp.
In May their story reached Rabbi Michael Weissmandl, who sent it to Roswell McClelland at the War Refugee Board in neutral Switzerland.
McClelland sent it on to the Allied Command and also to his headquarters in Washington D.C. along with a plea that Auschwitz be bombed.
McClelland’s boss, John Pehle put the document and recommendation in front of John McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, but he was unable to divert resource at the time, branding such an action ‘unfeasible’.
Allied Air Command, the American War Refugee Board and the Jewish Agency discussed an attack with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was minded to mount a campaign in order to stop further atrocities taking place.
Today we might send in a drone or take the facility out with cruise missiles, unfortunately, seventy-five years ago, the Allies could only dream of such firepower.
The options open to the Allies at the time were far less accurate. Indeed, Auschwitz did suffer damage from a bombing raid, but the bombs that landed were meant for the IG Farben factory. Forty prisoners were killed along with fifteen SS troops.
Estimates suggested by the makers of a recent documentary, ‘Secrets of the Dead: Bombing Auschwitz’ put the number of bombs per crematorium at 220 in order to achieve a ninety per-cent hit-rate.
The documentary is part of a raft of special programs and commemorations surrounding the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Russia’s Red Army on January 27th, 1945.
The date has been enshrined as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with major ceremonies taking place in Israel and around the world.
Vrba and Wetzler were the first witnesses to tell the Allies of the horrors of the Nazi ‘Final Solution’.
The forensic details of their time behind the barbed wire, the beatings, the gas chambers, the forced labour and the starvation made harrowing reading for the Allied command.
While bombing the concentration camp would have certainly killed many Jewish prisoners along with their Nazi guards and torturers, the argument for the bombing raids walked a fine moral line balancing the deaths of those already imprisoned and those that were still to be rounded up.
The documentary searches through this difficult dilemma, dramatizing the arguments that raged on both sides of the Atlantic, taking in first hand accounts from survivors and experts.
Historians also point out that there was a reluctance among politicians at the time to make any special effort on behalf of the Jewish lobby when the war was being waged on so many fronts.
Professor of History and National Security Strategy at Pennsylvania’s US Army War College, Tami Davis Biddle, is certain that there was a level of antisemitism within establishment ranks that also held strategist back from bombing Auschwitz.
But pressure grew on the authorities, Chaim Weizmann and Moshe Shertock took the dossier to Churchill’s Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden who had also received a memo from his Prime Minister.
Meanwhile Phele, coming up against intransigence in Washington, finally leaked the document to the press. The story spread across the Atlantic and reached the Nazi High Command who began dismantling the gas chambers as the tide of the war began to turn against them.
In December 1944 the Washington Post ran an editorial entitled ‘Genocide’ and a month later the terrible truth was revealed when the Red Army liberated Auschwitz Birkenau.
The 27th January 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of that fateful day and the commitment to never forget the Holocaust.
What a great way to honor the memory of Medal Of Honor recipient Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone.
When completed, the ship will be named the John Basilone after the World War II Marine hero.
The keel laying is considered a major event in the construction of a ship. The ship’s sponsors and a welder from Bath Iron Works authenticated the keel with welding arcs on the steel plate.
The keel is traditionally the part of the frame that runs from the fore to the aft of the ship and connects the stem to the stern. In older ships and in wooden ships, the keel runs the entire length of the ship and the various parts of the structure are connected to it.
In modern military ships, the parts of the ships are often created as separate modules which are then connected together in the modern version of a keel laying.
The keel laying is significant because it marks the beginning of the full production of the ship. In commercial vessels, the date of the keel laying locks in the applicable construction standards.
Military vessels have more flexibility, though, and parts of the construction of the ship may change after the keel laying.
Keel laying is of interest to people who study ships. The amount of time between the keel laying and the launch of the ship can indicate how much government support the project received, how complex the engineering and logistics of the ship building are, and how efficient the shipbuilder is.
It is important to note that the keel laying is no guarantee that construction will be completed on the ship. There are numerous examples of ships that were canceled after the keel laying or ships that were converted into other types of ships before they were launched.
This ship is expected to be named for Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone. Basilone served three years in the US Army in the 1930s. It wasn’t until he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in World War II that his actions would make him a legend in Marine history.
During the night of October 24, 1942, Basilone was a sergeant in command of two heavy .30-caliber machine gun sections from the First Battalion, Seventh Marines. They were deployed in Guadalcanal and given the task of defending a narrow pass at the Tenaru River.
A Japanese regiment of 3,000 troops attacked with grenades and mortar fire. The two machine gun sections fought off wave after wave of enemy soldiers until one of the crews was disabled by enemy fire.
Basilone carried 90 pounds of ammunition and weapons to the silenced gun pit over a distance of 200 yards with total disregard to his own safety. Along the way, he dodged enemy fire and killed any Japanese soldiers he met with his Colt .45 pistol.
He then continued to run between the gun emplacements, supplying ammunition and clearing gun jams.
In the heat of the battle, Basilone lost the asbestos gloves which were necessary to hold or replace the searing hot barrels of the machine guns. He barehanded the barrel without hesitation and continued to fire, killing an entire wave of enemy soldiers and burning his hands and arms as a result.
At points during the battle, Marines had to knock down the growing piles of bodies in order to be able to regain lines of fire.
By the time reinforcements arrived, only John Basilone and two other Marines were still standing. Basilone is credited with killing 38 Japanese soldiers on his own, using the machine guns, his pistol and a machete.
According to Pfc. Nash W. Phillips, who lost a hand in the battle, Basilone kept the machine guns going for three days and nights without sleep, rest or food.
John Basilone received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at Guadalcanal. He was offered the opportunity to spend the rest of the war in Washington but he declined and returned to combat.
On February 19, 1945, he was leading gunners up the beach at Iwo Jima. Basilone and four members of his platoon were killed by an enemy artillery shell. He was 28 years old.
Basilone was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Cross for his actions at Iwo Jima.
I think this a great move and I also feel that Dorie Millers Navy Cross be upgraded to the Medal Of Honor.
Doris Miller was the first black recipient of the Navy Cross and has inspired generations of African American sailors who have followed him into the service.
Ten of the last fourteen US Navy aircraft carriers have been named for US Presidents, all of whom have had military experience, two for Congressmen and one for Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
The fourteenth will be named for a man who achieved the rank of Cook Third Class and seen by many as the first American hero of World War Two.
On that fateful day, December the 7th 1941, when the USA was finally dragged into the global conflagration that became World War Two, Doris Miller was up at six in the morning to serve breakfast on the USS West Virginia.
He was collecting laundry just before eight when the first of nine torpedoes launched from the Japanese Imperial Navy Aircraft Carrier Akagi struck amidships. He immediately scrambled to his battle station but discovered it had been completely destroyed.
Instead, he reported for duty at ‘Times Square’ where he was taken up onto the bridge to assist in the evacuation of the ship’s captain, Mervyn Bennion, incapacitated by a shrapnel wound to his abdomen.
In the melee it was impossible to leave the area with the captain, so he was taken to a less exposed position behind the conning tower.
Here there were two Browning 50 calibre anti-aircraft guns which Miller was ordered to help operate, despite having no formal training.
He was expected to simply load ammunition but instead he took control of the starboard gun and fired until he ran out of ammunition.
‘It wasn’t hard. I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine,’ Miller said. ‘I guess I fired her for about fifteen minutes. I think I got one of those Jap planes. They were diving pretty close to us.’
After the ammunition was gone Miller helped to move the wounded to a place of safety through the smoke and oil and water.
Sadly, Captain Bennion did not survive and the USS West Virginia eventually sank following direct hits from two armour piercing bombs and five aircraft torpedoes.
Following the attack Miller was transferred to the USS Indianapolis and in January the commendations were announced following the action on December 7th.
Miller wasn’t named in the list, but an ‘un-named negro’ was mentioned and it took until March 12th for Miller’s name to become public following a story in the Pittsburgh Courier.
His commendation arrived on April 1st, and on May 27th he was awarded the Navy Cross by Admiral Chester W Nimitz.
The citation read, ‘For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941,’
Despite accusations of tokenism the announcement has been broadly welcomed across the media, with an official ceremony due to take place soon in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the site of Miller’s medal-winning actions.
Acting Navy Secretary, Thomas Modly had wanted to name the carrier after a Navy hero and Miller’s name survived extensive consultations with current and former senior personnel.
The story goes that Mess Attendant 3rd Class Doris Miller, sometimes called Dorie, got his female name from the midwife, who was convinced that after three sons his mother was due a girl. Doris grew up on his parent’s smallholding in Waco, Texas.
Despite a reputation for hard work he dropped out of school after being held back in eighth grade and instead went on to complete a correspondence course in taxidermy.
In 1939, shortly before he turned twenty Miller decided to enlist and was sent to a Naval Training Station in Norfolk Virginia, where at six feet three inches (1.91m) and two-hundred pounds (91kg), Doris’s name didn’t cause him any problems.
Doris Miller continued to serve in the Navy until November 1943 when he was killed by a Japanese torpedo attack on escort carrier USS Liscome Bay shortly after the Battle of Makin.
Pearl Harbor vet Joe Walsh passed away at the age of 100 years old on December 21, 2019. Walsh was a veteran of the Marines who was serving at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when it was attacked by the Japanese. The attack would lead to the US entering World War II.
In 1987, Walsh helped found the North County chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association in San Diego. He felt that the troops that served during that surprise attack “deserved to be remembered.”
He was the president of the chapter for many years and the last surviving active member when co-founder John Quier passed away in February at the age of 98.
Walsh organized services every year on December 7th to remember those who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack. He never missed a single service including the one held exactly two weeks before his death.
His daughter, Joan Culver, said that she felt he was holding on just to make it to that service because it meant so much to him.
During Walsh’s 100th birthday party last March, he said that he still remembered every detail from that day in 1941. He was a Marine in the 3rd Defense Battalion back then.
The Japanese attacked while he was attending a color guard ceremony in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. Along with three other Marines, Walsh manned an anti-aircraft gun and began to try to defend the American battleships from the invading planes.
He said that there was no time to be scared. He just did what he was told to do and tried to stop as many attacking planes as he could.
Shortly after the attack, Walsh was assigned to the Johnston Atoll in the South Pacific. There, he helped build air defenses. He then attended Navy flight school and spent the rest of the war in the Marine Corps’ VMO-8 observation squadron.
After nine years in the Marines, Walsh retired with the rank of gunnery sergeant. He returned to active duty during the Korean War and served as a drill sergeant at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
Though Walsh is proud of his service, he was grateful that his sons never had to serve during a war.
When Walsh joined the Marines in 1938, it wasn’t a sense of duty or adventure that called him. Instead, it was the promise of a steady paycheck during the Great Depression.
He made $19 per week and sent $10 of it home to his mother. She had raised Walsh and his siblings by herself after their father left them when Walsh was 5.
Walsh met his wife, LaVonne “Bea” Phaneuf, while attending the wedding of a fellow Marine in 1945. The two were married for 73 years and had six children.
Bea was also a veteran of the Marines. She was one of only 23,000 women who enlisted during World War II. She served in the Aviation Women’s Reserve Squadron 21 at Brown Field in Quantico, Virginia.
Walsh didn’t talk about his wartime experiences until he was invited to speak to schoolchildren in the 1980s. He was stunned to learn that the children had not been taught about Pearl Harbor.
Shortly after, he helped found Chapter 31 and began planning the annual memorial ceremonies.
In 2006, he and Bea and Quier convinced the city to install a monument at Oceanside Harbor’s small-craft fishing pier.
After WWII, Walsh earned his business degree from Seton Hall. Other than his return to active duty in the Korean War, he worked the rest of his career for Prentice Hall Publishing.
He traveled throughout the Southwest selling legal and tax books to judges, lawyers and CPAs. Walsh retired in 1986 at the age of 67.
I can not think of a better way to honor the 1,177 men lost on the USS Arizona and the 429 men lost on the USS Oklahoma on December 7,1941.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced that two new Virginia-class submarines will be named after the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma in honor of the sailors that died on those vessels during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The two names will return to service 78 years after the surprise attack on December 7, 1941. The majority of the US casualties in that attack came from those two ships.
The next two Virginia-class nuclear fast-attack subs, SSN-802 and SSN-803, will be named USS Oklahoma and USS Arizona respectively.
Modly called on residents of the states of Oklahoma and Arizona to understand and celebrate as the US Navy memorializes the 1,177 lives that were lost on the Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 that were lost on the Oklahoma (BB-37).
He went on to say that he knew of no greater honor than for the Navy to build and commission two state-of-the-art warships to carry the spirit of those heroes.
Around 1.8 million people visit the Pearly Harbor National Memorial each year. The larger memorial contains memorials to the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and USS Utah.
It also contains six officer bungalows, three mooring quays and the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center.
The Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, released a statement calling it a “proud day for Arizona.” He said that the name “USS Arizona” holds a special place for the country and for the people of Arizona. “Today,” he said, “that legacy begins a new chapter.”
Virginia-class submarines are manufactured by General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
They carry Tomahawk missiles with twelve VLS tubes and MK48 torpedoes with four torpedo tubes. Newer versions of the sub are featuring two VPT tubes which can each fire six Tomahawk missiles. This allows for simplified construction, less acquisition costs, and more payload flexibility.
A nuclear reactor provides the power for the sub which can move at 25+ knots.
The crew for one of these vessels includes 15 officers and 117 enlisted sailors.
Rather than use the traditional periscopes, the Virginia-class subs have photonics masts with visible and infrared digital cameras.
The first USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship that was commissioned in 1916. It stayed Stateside during World War I. She was bombed 15 minutes into the attack on Pearl Harbor.
900 of the 1,177 killed could not be recovered and remain on board the ship where they died. The ship itself still sits where she sank in about 40 feet of water off the coast of Ford Island.
The USS Oklahoma was a Nevada-class battleship which was also commissioned in 1916. During WWI, she worked to protect convoys from German U-boat attacks as they crossed the Atlantic.
The Oklahoma was hit by eight torpedoes at the beginning of the surprise attack.
In under twelve minutes, the Oklahoma rolled over until her masts hit the bottom. Nearly 500 sailors were trapped inside. Only 32 of those trapped were rescued.
The attack on Pearl Harbor led to the US declaring war against Japan. Germany then declared war on the US as the Germans were allies with the Japanese. With that, the US was officially a participant in World War II on the side of the Allies.
Lt.General George S.Patton Jr was a very devout man.
Many stories of heroism, devotion to duty, and faith have come out of the Battle of the Bulge that was fought 75 years ago this month. One of the most enduring of these stories is of Patton’s prayer.
In December 1944 the Allies, while sure to win the War in Europe against Germany, were in trouble. The Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, the longest engagement ever fought by the U.S. Army, was still raging and the Allies’ advance to Germany was proceeding extremely slowly due to bad weather and stretched supply lines.
The German Army, for the first time since Frederick the Great, launched a major winter offensive. In Germany, the battle was called the Ardennes Counteroffensive but it became popularly known as the Battle of the Bulge and the goal was to split the Western Allied armies so that they would sue for a separate peace with Germany.
The Germans were initially successful in the counterattack and the Allies were hampered by poor weather even before the offensive began.
To combat the cold weather Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Commander of the Third United States Army, called in Third Army Chaplain Msgr. Francis O’Neill. Patton told Chaplain O’Neill to compose a prayer for fair weather for battle. In an hour, Chaplain O’Neill completed a tough theological task and came up with a Biblically appropriate prayer to match the General’s request. The prayer read:
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.”
Patton loved the prayer and had it distributed as the first portion of a two part Christmas greeting that he had sent to the Third Army. The second, Christmas message read:
“To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. -G.S. Patton, Jr. Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.”
Not long after the prayer was written and distributed, the Third Army began to pray in greater intensity. The weather began to get better and, the day after Christmas, Patton’s Army reached the famed 101st Airborne Division whom had been surrounded and valiantly defending the city of Bastogne, Belgium. While still more battles were to be fought, the Germany offensive was on its way to defeat.
The prayer of the Third Army, commissioned by General Patton, is a strong reminder of the power of prayer and also shows the boldness of an Army seeking God’s assistance in battle; not for vengeance but to establish His justice among men and nations. It is hard to imagine that such a prayer would not be quashed in the present day; not by the enemy on the field of battle, but rather crushed by the forces of political correctness.
Such leaders as General Patton, while often rocking the boat, are important in any organization especially one as resistant to change, and in need of prayer, as our beloved Army. As MSGR James O’Neill, who composed Patton’s Prayer, said about the General, “He had all the traits of military leadership, fortified by genuine trust in God, intense love of country, and high faith In the American soldier. He had no use for half-measures.”
There is much to be gained from Patton’s Prayer and may his message from 75 years ago this month continue to be a guide for United States forces throughout the world, this Christmas season and always, to victory.