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Today in 27 B.C. ; That’s Before Christ, not the laughable ‘BCE’, (before the common era) the Roman Senate granted Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius Thurinus, known to the modern world as Octavian, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, the titles Augustus and Princeps, giving him imperial powers and marking the end of the Roman republic and the birth of The Roman Empire, the effects of which we are still living with over 1500 years after it ended.


On Dec. 27, 1932, the U.S. Patent Office granted Patent Case File No. 1,892,141, for a Semi-Automatic Rifle to one John C. Garand. The rest is history.

Quebec-born Jean Cantius Garand, his name Americanized to John, grew up in Connecticut and learned to shoot after working at a shooting gallery after school as a kid. Working for the United States Bureau of Standards in Washington D.C. during World War I, he became a U.S. citizen in 1920 shortly after he began working at Springfield Armory, the Army’s small arms plant he would call home for 34 years.

His self-loading rifle project, incorporating several novel ideas, would go on to be adopted by the U.S. Army in 1936 as “U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1” to replace several bolt-action models in the same caliber that the military had gone to war with back in 1917.

However, before all that, the patents had to be protected.

The 75-page patent application filled out and filed by Mr. Garand himself is so historical that it is on file and digitized in the U.S. National Archives. Filed in April 1930, it was endorsed by the Secretary of War with W.N. Roach, the Army’s Chief of the Patent Branch of the Ordnance Department, signing the drawing sheets and application forms as Garand’s attorney of record.

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Meet the American who rowed Washington across the Delaware on Christmas: sailor-soldier John Glover
The leader of the remarkable Marblehead militia of Massachusetts, Glover three times saved the cause of American independence

General John Glover delivered a priceless gift to the nation.

He saved the cause of American independence on Christmas Day 1776.

Glover was a Marblehead, Massachusetts, mariner-turned-Revolutionary War hero who led a rugged regiment of calloused New England fishermen.

This famed Marblehead militia ferried George Washington and 2,400 troops in row boats across the ice-choked Delaware River on the night of Dec. 25 with the American rebellion on the brink of collapse.

The daring assault overwhelmed a garrison of 1,400 Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey, who were fighting on behalf of the British crown.

It was a stunning victory that reversed the course of the American Revolution and, ultimately, reshaped world history.

Portrait of John Glover (1732-1797), American Revolutionary officer. Supervised the retreat and troop transport from Long Island and led the advance on Trenton, New Jersey, on Dec. 25, 1776. Original Artwork: Engraving is facsimile of pencil drawing from life by Col. J. Trumbull.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“This was a major military crossing under extraordinarily difficult circumstances,” American Battlefield Trust historian Kristopher White told Fox News Digital.

“More than just men, there were horses, provisions and artillery. Washington came armed for a fight.”

The daring triumph after a year of humiliating losses was, by many accounts, a Christmas miracle.

Officially known as the 14th Continental Regiment, the Marblehead militia was an extraordinary fighting force.

It was a fully integrated unit of Latin, White, Black and Native American troops, and at least one Jewish member, who worked together on the high seas before battling the Brits. About 20 percent of the unit was non-White, according to regimental rolls.

Three races of Glover’s unit are represented in the oarsmen in Leutze’s painting: a Black man by Washington’s knee, rowing on the starboard side; several White militiamen; and a Native American in moccasins and bead-pattern pouch steering the boat in the back.

“Washington relied on Glover to do a lot of very difficult things. And Glover always came through.”

Powering Washington’s assault across the Delaware was only one of three miracles delivered by Glover and his Marblehead men to save the rebellion in that terrible-turned-glorious year of 1776.

“Washington relied on Glover to do a lot of very difficult things,” Pam Peterson of the Marblehead Historical Commission told Fox News Digital.

“And Glover always came through.”

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Let us remember the real ‘reason for the season’ today

Luke 2

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

No, Jesus Was Not a Refugee and He Was Not Homeless

Every Christmas, we hear the same tired refrain from the same charlatans. Jesus, they claim, was a refugee. The implication is that if you are a Christian that you are obligated to welcome refugees because they are pretty much like Jesus.

The latest edition comes from Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg is one of those people who, despite living an immoral and dissolute lifestyle explicitly condemned by Scripture (that would be the proscription on homosexual acts) and in direct disobedience to the words of Christ (see Matthew 19:4-6), takes it upon himself to lecture everyone else about what it means to be a Christian.

This is patent nonsense.

First, at no point in Scripture, or, if you are Catholic, in Sacred Tradition is there any intimation that Jesus was born in poverty. Tradition holds that Saint Joseph was a carpenter. Lately there has been a debate among lefty theologians over his occupation, rendered by Matthew as “tektori,” and whether than meant “carpenter.” Tektori can mean any skilled artisan. There is a hint, based on the procedures laid out for a census in 1st Century Egypt, that Joseph might have had some property interest in Bethlehem that would have required him to register for the census there. The upshot is that Joseph was a skilled craftsman and while probably not affluent, he most likely provided a home for his family that was a bit above the poverty line for Judea in the 1st Century AD.

Jesus was not homeless. He was born in a manger because his parents arrived in a Bethlehem in the midst of an influx of people there to register for the census. There were no rooms to be had. It was the manager or nothing. The Holy Family had a home in Nazareth.

Finally, Jesus was not a refugee.

Joseph and Mary and Jesus were citizens of a province of the Roman Empire. When the Massacre of Innocents took place, they fled to Egypt and stayed, we think, in the rather sizable Jewish community there. Egypt was also part of the Roman Empire. The odious Reverend James Martin claims that Jesus was a refugee based on the UN High Commissioner on Refugees definition

refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Martin, by the way, is probably the most dishonest non-televangelist pastor/priest in any denomination. There is literally no lie he will not tell to warp Scripture to fit his personal goal of mainstreaming homosexuality. Here is the central lie in his argument:

The Holy Family, as Matthew recounts the story, was fleeing because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” because of their “membership in a particular social group,” in this case people with young children living in Bethlehem. I am not sure how you could get any clearer than that.

This is [also, ed.] patent nonsense. A birth cohort is not “membership in a particular social group.” The Holy Family were refugees in exactly the same way that anyone today on the run from state authorities would be called a refugee. The move from one region of the Roman Empire to another is not even remotely similar to that of a modern refugee. At a stretch, He could be classed as an internally displaced person, with an emphasis on the singular form of “person” because there were no others similarly situated. The period of time in which the Holy Family was away from Nazareth was fairly short. Herod the Great died no more than a year or two after the birth of Christ and then the family returned home. By age 12, we know the Holy Family was traveling openly to Jerusalem for Passover pilgrimage (again, not a mark of a family in poverty).

The truth here is very simple. Christ is not a metaphor for whatever political cause you are flogging. The Nativity is not a primarily a reminder of illegal immigrants or the poor or the social justice cause you are pushing. The Nativity is the a demonstration of God’s love for the world and his desire that we all be saved…………

The Authenticity of the Virgin Birth

F. F. Bruce is one of those scholars I have had to spend a lot of time reading in seminary. He researched and wrote some of the best material on the history of the Bible and its accuracy. In studying the ancient texts that we have, Bruce has noted that there are only around nine or 10 manuscripts of Caesar’s Gallic War, which was composed between 58 and 50 B.C. The oldest manuscript we have originates from 900 years later.

Bruce writes: “The History of Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC) is known to us from eight (manuscripts), the earliest belonging to circa A.D. 900, and a few papyrus scraps, belonging to about the beginning of the Christian era. The same is true of the History of Herodotus (c. 488-428 BC). Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest (manuscripts) of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals.”

Take, as well, something like Homer’s Iliad, which people passed one to another over the centuries by oration, until it was finally written down. Until the 19th century, most people presumed Troy a myth. Then, archeologists found it. The “rage of Achilles” was probably true. In the centuries before the printing press — even before monks and script — people preserved their histories through accurate recitation over generations. Apply this all to scripture.

Regarding the Old Testament, it is perhaps the most accurately reproduced ancient text in the entire world. Scribes took great care because they were writing God’s word. We know the accuracy of the text has been beyond reproach for at least 2,500 years. The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls confirms this.

Regarding the New Testament, we possess enough of the writings of early church leaders who wrote within about 100 years of Christ’s resurrection to be able to reproduce the gospels and letters of Paul and John. There are over 20,000 handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament from the first few centuries of Christianity, written in Coptic, Greek, Latin, Syriac, and other languages. There are 5,700 New Testament Greek manuscripts known to exist, and some of those were written within about 100 years of Christ’s resurrection.

We do not, to our knowledge, have the original New Testament texts as actually written by Luke, Paul, John and others. But we have the copies of them from very close in time to the originals. The scribes of the New Testament — sometimes working at a furious rate to outpace Roman soldiers — made occasional errors. But those errors were mostly in grammar and punctuation, not errors of substance.

Bart Ehrman is one of the scholars on whom Biblical skeptics rely. Ehrman was a fundamentalist Christian but now considers himself an agnostic atheist. He studied under Bruce Metzger, who, like F. F Bruce, is noted for his scholarship on the Biblical texts. Ehrman writes that though he has textual criticism of scripture, his criticism “does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.” When an agnostic atheist like Ehrman agrees with a highly respected Christian scholar like Metzger — who was Ehrman’s professor — that “the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants,” you should pay attention.

One of those essential Christian beliefs is the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It is as foundational a belief to the Christian faith as the resurrection. In fact, I suspect the very people who doubt the miracle of the virgin birth also doubt the resurrection. I believe both are true. We celebrate Christ’s birth this Christmas season in communion with more than 2 billion other Christians globally who accept the virgin birth as true. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us, a Son is given, And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Capitol, Washington D.C. 12:30 p.m., EST December 8th, 1941


Happy 100th Birthday Eugene Stoner!

Indiana’s own Eugene Morrison Stoner cut his teeth in small arms as a Marine Corps armorer in World War II and left the world some of the most iconic black rifles in history.

Born on Nov. 22, 1922, in the small town of Gosport, just outside of Bloomington, Indiana, Stoner moved to California with his parents and graduated from high school in Long Beach. After a short term with an aircraft company in the area that later became part of Lockheed, the young man enlisted in the Marines and served in the South Pacific in the Corps’ aviation branch, fixing, and maintaining machine guns in squadrons forward deployed as far as China.

Leaving the Marines as a corporal after the war, Stoner held a variety of jobs in the aviation industry in California before arriving at ArmaLite, a tiny division of the Fairchild Engine & Airplane Corporation, where he soon made his name in a series of ArmaLite Rifle designs, or ARs, something he would later describe as “a hobby that got out of hand.”

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To repost a story about the Jonestown cult for our newer readers.

On this day in 1978, Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones led hundreds of his followers in a mass murder-suicide at their Jonestown commune in Guyana. This introduced the term “…drink the Kool-Aid”, since drinking cyanide poisoned Flavor Aid caused most of the deaths.

For many years, I worked with a man who had a slight connection with the cult. But slight as it was, he was right concerned enough to violate company policy and start carrying a S&W .357 magnum afterwards. Seems he was a HAM amateur radio operator who had corresponded with the Jonestown shortwave radio station. He showed me a QSL card – postcards that acknowledge short wave listener ‘DX’ reports – mailed to him documenting that and from it, knowing his name and address, he decided he wasn’t going to take any chances.

I didn’t blame him a bit, and possibly SWB management looked the other way.

Strange thing, we speculated was some gnostic religious thing.
The QSL card didn’t have the first letter of his first & last name on the address line. It had to be purposeful, since those letters were used elsewhere in the address.

All Hallows Eve

It is said that Pope Gregory III established November 1st as ‘All Saints Day’ also called ‘All Hallows Day’ sometime in the 8th century.  So, as the evening before would be ‘All Hallows Eve’ – ‘eve‘ being a contraction of evening  – and even more contracted; Hallowe’en, we know how the name came to be.

Georgia Supreme Court Allows Residents to Sue to Keep Confederate Statues

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that residents may sue county governments for removing Confederate monuments, but people who do not live in the county do not have the standing to sue.

The court on Tuesday upheld an appeals court dismissal of lawsuits filed by Sons of Confederate Veterans against Newton and Henry counties because the group lacked standing — because its members do not live in the community.

However, the court upheld the case brought by Newton County resident T. Davis Humphries, who sued after her county voted in 2020 to remove a Confederate statue.

Constantine’s Vision of the Cross ~ Early Accounts and Backstory


Constantine’s great victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place on October 28, AD 312. The day before — October 27 — is the date traditionally given for the miraculous vision and dream which Constantine experienced prior to the battle. This vision has been the subject of debate in both scholarly and popular imagination for hundreds of years. But what really happened on that day 1,705 years ago that changed forever the course of human history?

As a prelude to the famous accounts of this vision, it should be noted that Constantine also seems to have had pagan theophany in the early years of his reign. Writing sometime between AD 307 and AD 310, an anonymous Gallic panegyricist describes Constantine’s presence on the frontier as almost miraculous in restoring order after a barbarian incursion. He explains the reason why as follows:

“Fortune herself so ordered this matter that the happy outcome of your affairs prompted you to convey to the immortal gods what you had vowed at the very spot where you had turned aside toward the most beautiful temple in the whole world, or rather, to the deity made manifest, as you saw. For you saw, I believe, O Constantine, your Apollo, accompanied by Victory, offering you laurel wreaths, each one of which carries a portent of thirty years. For this is the number of human ages which are owed to you without fail—beyond the old age of Nestor.”
[In Praise of the Later Roman Emperors, page 248-50]

This reputed vision of Apollo took place at least two years prior to Constantine’s more famous vision of a cross in the sky. Interestingly, this vision fits in well with the Christian accounts of later events.


Daniel 5

1Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.
9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
10 Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:
11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;
12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel; Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?
14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:
16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.
20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
25 And this is the writing that was written, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.
26 This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27 Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28 Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

Hello, Columbus—Celebrate The Great Man!

What if Christopher Columbus hadn’t sailed the ocean blue in 1492?

Woke critics of the great mariner insist that the world would be a better place if he’d stuck closer to the shores of Europe and that, moreover, Columbus himself is unworthy of the great admiration heaped upon him in previous times.

He is the ultimate exemplar of white, male privilege in the woke view. They are wrong.

Columbus remains an inspiring historical figure for those who have not dissolved into a frenzy of hatred of the West. Several columnists are giving us excellent advice on this Columbus Day: David Marcus urges, “Happy Columbus Day, Say It Loud, Say It Proud,” Dave Seminara argues in City Journal that we “Don’t Defend Columbus—Celebrate Him,” and the Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman examines the historical record in “The Truth about Columbus.”

As Marcus sees it, Columbus was the first person in history to exemplify the American Dream—he did this before we had America:

Christopher Columbus wasn’t just the man most responsible for opening up the New World to the Old; he was also an example of the American Dream centuries before our nation was born.

The son of a tradesman, he was mainly self-taught in the ways of words and letters and began acquiring his sailing chops as early as age 10. This wasn’t a privileged young man, but rather one who through pluck, will and a healthy Catholic faith, rose far above his humble origins and became one of humanity’s greatest and most ­famous heroes.

At a time when the world is battling a global pandemic and the economic catastrophe of lockdowns, Columbus offers an example to us about balancing the fear of death against the immortal human ­longing for prosperity, achievement and discovery.

Columbus, Marcus writes, contributed to the creation of the modern world—and that’s the rub. Wokesters seek to tear down the modern world. Hence it is only natural that, to the degree they care which statues they pull down (the destruction itself is primary), Columbus is a natural target. Read Marcus’ entire column. Continue reading “”

In western France, the moslem conquest (the ‘left hook’) from Spain into Europe was stopped, but cold.

The Battle of Tours: When the West ‘Manfully Resisted’ Islam

Today in history, on October 10, 732 A.D., an epic battle saved Western Europe from becoming Islamic.

Precisely one hundred years after the death of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in 632 — a century which had seen the conquest of thousands of square miles of formerly Christian lands, including Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain — the scimitar of Islam found itself in the heart of Europe in 732, facing that continent’s chief military power, the Franks.

After the Muslim hordes, which reportedly numbered 80,000 men, had ravaged most of southwestern France, slaughtering and enslaving countless victims, they met and clashed with 30,000 Frankish infantrymen under the leadership of Charles Martel, on October 10, somewhere between Poitiers and Tours.  An anonymous medieval Arab chronicler describes the battle as follows:

Near the river Owar [Loire], the two great hosts of the two languages [Arabic and Latin] and the two creeds [Islam and Christianity] were set in array against each other. The hearts of Abd al-Rahman, his captains and his men were filled with wrath and pride, and they were the first to begin to fight. The Muslim horsemen dashed fierce and frequent forward against the battalions of the Franks, who resisted manfully, and many fell dead on either side, until the going down of the sun.

Entirely consisting of wild headlong charges, the Muslim attack proved ineffective, for “the men of the north stood as motionless as a wall, they were like a belt of ice frozen together, and not to be dissolved, as they slew the Arab with the sword. The Austrasians [eastern Franks], vast of limb, and iron of hand, hewed on bravely in the thick of the fight,” writes one chronicler.  The Franks refused to break ranks and allow successive horsemen to gallop through the gaps, which Arab cavalry tactics relied on. Instead, they tightened their ranks and, “drawn up in a band around their chief [Charles], the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove their swords down to the breasts [of the foe].”

Military historian Victor Davis Hanson offers a more practical take:

When the sources speak of “a wall,” “a mass of ice,” and “immovable lines” of infantrymen, we should imagine a literal human rampart, nearly invulnerable, with locked shields in front of armored bodies, weapons extended to catch the underbellies of any Islamic horsemen foolish enough to hit the Franks at a gallop.

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Staff Sergeant Clinton L. Romesha distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Section Leader with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Combat Outpost Keating, Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009. On that morning, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of the complex, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms fire. Staff Sergeant Romesha moved uncovered under intense enemy fire to conduct a reconnaissance of the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action with the support of an assistant gunner. Staff Sergeant Romesha took out an enemy machine gun team and, while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, inflicting him with shrapnel wounds. Undeterred by his injuries, Staff Sergeant Romesha continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he again rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers. Staff Sergeant Romesha then mobilized a five-man team and returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Romesha continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire, as he moved confidently about the battlefield engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets, including three Taliban fighters who had breached the combat outpost’s perimeter. While orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforce key points of the battlefield, Staff Sergeant Romesha maintained radio communication with the tactical operations center. As the enemy forces attacked with even greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and recoilless rifle rounds, Staff Sergeant Romesha identified the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters. After receiving reports that seriously injured Soldiers were at a distant battle position, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his team provided covering fire to allow the injured Soldiers to safely reach the aid station. Upon receipt of orders to proceed to the next objective, his team pushed forward 100 meters under overwhelming enemy fire to recover and prevent the enemy fighters from taking the bodies of their fallen comrades. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were critical in suppressing an enemy that had far greater numbers. His extraordinary efforts gave Bravo Troop the opportunity to regroup, reorganize and prepare for the counterattack that allowed the Troop to account for its personnel and secure Combat Outpost Keating. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s discipline and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
Medal of Honor Citation


Specialist Ty M. Carter distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Scout with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009. On that morning, Specialist Carter and his comrades awakened to an attack of an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of Combat Outpost Keating, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms fire. Specialist Carter reinforced a forward battle position, ran twice through a 100 meter gauntlet of enemy fire to resupply ammunition and voluntarily remained there to defend the isolated position. Armed with only an M4 carbine rifle, Specialist Carter placed accurate, deadly fire on the enemy, beating back the assault force and preventing the position from being overrun, over the course of several hours. With complete disregard for his own safety and in spite of his own wounds, he ran through a hail of enemy rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire to rescue a critically wounded comrade who had been pinned down in an exposed position. Specialist Carter rendered life extending first aid and carried the Soldier to cover. On his own initiative, Specialist Carter again maneuvered through enemy fire to check on a fallen Soldier and recovered the squad’s radio, which allowed them to coordinate their evacuation with fellow Soldiers. With teammates providing covering fire, Specialist Carter assisted in moving the wounded Soldier 100 meters through withering enemy fire to the aid station and before returning to the fight. Specialist Carter’s heroic actions and tactical skill were critical to the defense of Combat Outpost Keating, preventing the enemy from capturing the position and saving the lives of his fellow Soldiers. Specialist Ty M. Carter’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
Medal of Honor Citation

DoD’s Report on the Investigation into the 2017 Ambush in Niger

On October 4, 2017, four U.S. Army Green Berets and four Nigerien soldiers were killed in action during an ambush of a joint U.S.-Nigerien mission outside the village of Tongo Tongo, Niger. On May 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) released a detailed video-graphic depiction of the ambush and an eight-page summary of a much longer classified report on the events leading up to, during, and immediately following the ambush. Given the new information provided by DoD, the public has the opportunity to consider the risks U.S. forces were operating under, as well as the lessons DoD has derived from the events and the recommendations the investigation generated.

Q1: Why did DoD conduct this investigation?

A1: The ambush marked the highest-casualty event in Africa for the U.S. military since the Black Hawk Down incident in 1993, when 18 Army Rangers lost their lives. Sergeant First Class (SFC) Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sergeant (SSG) Bryan Black, SSG Dustin Wright, and Sergeant (SGT) LaDavid Johnson were all killed in action during the engagement with militants from the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).

Immediately after the ambush, the U.S. media and some members of Congress conveyed surprise that U.S. forces were in harm’s way in Niger and wanted to know why the unit was so vulnerable in the case of an attack. Furthermore, the recovery of Sgt. LaDavid Johnson’s remains was delayed by 48 hours. Senior leaders at DoD stated that the purpose of the investigation was to understand whether mistakes were made and to provide more details to the families of the fallen. In a press conference approximately three weeks after the attack, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained what DoD wanted to know:

We owe the families of the fallen more information, and that’s what the investigation is designed to identify. The questions include, did the mission of U.S. forces change during the operation? Did our forces have adequate intelligence, equipment and training? Was there a pre-mission assessment of the threat in the area accurate? Did U.S. force—how did U.S. forces become separated during the engagement, specifically Sergeant Johnson? And why did they take time to find and recover Sgt. Johnson?

Q2: Who conducted the investigation?

A2: U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted the investigation. Major General Roger Cloutier, AFRICOM’s chief of staff, was the lead investigator. The draft was then reviewed by General Thomas Waldhauser, commander of AFRICOM, and General Dunford before being approved by Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Q3: Why were U.S. forces in Niger in the first place?

A3: The Trump administration, in a report required by the National Defense Authorization Act, states that U.S. forces are in Niger to “train, advise, and assist Nigerien partner forces.” During his October press conference, General Dunford was more expansive in his explanation: “Service members in Niger work as part of an international effort, led by 4,000 French troops, to defeat terrorists in west Africa. Since 2011, French and U.S. troops have trained a 5,000-person west African force and over 35,000 soldiers from the region to fight terrorists…affiliated with ISIS, Al Qaeda and Boko Haram.” The summary report echoes these statements and adds that the unit involved in the ambush were deployed to train and equip “a new Nigerien Counter Terrorism (CT) Company” and to conduct operations “with a separate Nigerien unit, until the new CT Company reached full operational capacity.” At a press conference presenting the summary report to the public, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert Karem stated that the U.S. military presence in Niger “is necessary because the establishment of terrorist safe havens in the Sahel could pose a significant risk to U.S. national security interests.” Karem also noted that the United States supports ongoing French CT operations in the region.

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