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.”
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.
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 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.
“MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
THE BATTLE OF COP KEATING
One of the most desperate battles of the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan led to two Medals of Honor being awarded.
On the morning of October 3, 2009, members of the U.S. Army’s Black Knight Troop (3-61 Cav, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division) were attacked at their base – Combat Outpost Keating – by more than 300 well-armed Taliban soldiers. Located deep within Afghanistan’s remote and mountainous Nuristan province, COP Keating was established in 2006 as a base of operations for U.S. Army personnel seeking to stop the flow of soldiers and munitions arriving from nearby Pakistan and as a place to direct and support counterinsurgency efforts in the nearby villages. The deadly attack on October 3 led to the deaths of 8 U.S. Army servicemen and wounded another 22. The remarkable courage and heroism shown during this desperate battle led to numerous decorations, including Medals of Honor for Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha and Specialist Ty Carter.
These are memories of men I know and some of them, I have worked with
Martin “Marty” Moreno
It’s been a few years since the Huey unit was sent to support “humanitarian efforts” in Somalia. The day we arrived we were greeted with indirect fire, dilapidated tents, and two seater porta potties. Great times!!! It all comes with a cost.
Background: The color picture of the Huey in the stadium was gifted to me by a ground operator take on October 3 or 4th. There is an image of me taken on Oct 2, 1993 with an MH-60 in the background. If you were there and saw the blue jeep, a band of Huey mechanics pulled it from a pile of concertina wire and breathed life back into her. It’s amazing what a role of Copenhagen could get you.
Turning point: It was at this point I knew I wanted to be in Special Operations. I had a good career and am proud of all my accomplishments and mistakes. Without these experiences I would not be the person I am today.
To all that lost their lives or a piece of themselves on this day, you are not forgotten.
Black Hawk Down: Thoughts from my memoirs – 3 October 1993
Last entry in my journal… I would not see it again for several months. (Pic 2)
While today I will not write about the battle but instead remember the fallen. I will continue from my memoirs after the 4th of October but today let’s remember their families and the men that gave all:
MSG Gary Gordon, MSG Griz Martin, SFC Randy Shugart, SSG Daniel Busch, SFC Earl Fillmore, SFC Matt Rierson[killed the next day], CPL Jamie Smith, SPC James Cavaco, SGT Casey Joyce, PFC Richard Kowaleski, SGT Dominick Pilla, SGT Lorenzo Ruiz, SSG William Cleveland, SSG Thomas Field, CW4 Raymond Frank, CW3 Cliff Wolcott, CW2 Donovan Briley, SGT Cornell Houston, PFC James Martin JR.
29 years has passed, some of which have been my darkest days.
29 years of dark decisions, both professionally and personally.
29 years of denial, acceptance, struggle, failure, denial again with even greater struggle and more failures.
But to be here today, 29 years later, I finally feel like the darkness is behind me.
The memories are forever; and thank God for that. I don’t want to forget.
But now I choose which memories I focus on. They are of how they lived and the many life lessons I gained by working for and alongside them. They will always be part of my life and my story. I’m beyond grateful and honored by that. They are the definition of heroes. I will do my best to honor you daily, brothers.
Coming back from Somalia didn’t happen until I was able to face the grief disguised as anger. Hell I still get angry and I still have to work on where to put it. But time has been a great teacher and I’ve learned more about myself since I started facing and fighting my demons than by trying to ignoring them (unsuccessfully at that).
It was a hard road, lots of struggle and hurt people along the way, but I got that chance to get it wrong and try again. I kept going until I could get past my ego and finally make positive changes in my life. Now I choose to share that with anyone who will just ask for it.
I wish I could help each and every hurting soul with my experiences of what not to do in hopes of helping them get on the right path sooner.
I lost a lot 29 years ago.
Friends, innocence, empathy and compassion.
I choose to focus on those things I can get back and honor those I can’t.
To all of you who know. It was an honor serving with you 29 years ago.
Honor all those who can’t, by living a good life.
– Tom Satterly
December 5, 1992, President George Bush orders the U.S. military to join the U.N. in a joint operation known as Operation Restore Hope, with the primary mission of restoring order in civil war torn Somalia.
January 20, 1993, Bill Clinton, takes office as President.
June 5 1993, 24 Pakistani soldiers under U.N. command are ambushed and killed in an area of Mogadishu controlled by of Mohammed Farah Aidid
June 6, 1993, the U.N. Security Council issues Resolution 837, calling for the arrest and trial of those that carried out the ambush
August 22, 1993, after several attacks on U.S. forces, President Clinton orders an elite military strike force to deploy to Mogadishu to capture Aidid.
August 23, 1993, Task Force Ranger arrives at Mogadishu and begins operations
October 3, 1993, TF Ranger conducts a raid into the Bakaara market in downtown metropolitan Mogadishu in order to capture high value targets associated with Aidid. The raid, expected to be of a short duration, devolves into a protracted overnight fight with the Task Force suffering multiple dead, wounded, missing and captured .
Sergeant First Class Shughart, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. While providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site. Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Sergeant First Class Shughart’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.
Medal of Honor Citation
Master Sergeant Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Master Sergeant Gordon’s sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When Master Sergeant Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, Master Sergeant Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Master Sergeant Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Master Sergeant Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Master Sergeant Gordon used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. Master Sergeant Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew’s weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition, he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. Master Sergeant Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, Master Sergeant Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, “good luck.” Then, armed only with his pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Master Sergeant Gordon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.
Medal of Honor Citation
Documentarians have an obligation to present the facts of history, even if those facts reflect badly on their favorite president.
Early in his new film “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” documentarian Ken Burns claims the United States admitted more Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany than any other country on Earth.
The problem with this statement, according to historian Rafael Medoff, is that it flies in the face of publicly available data on refugees from that period.
Clocking in at six hours, “The U.S. and the Holocaust” begins airing on PBS this week. In recent press interviews, Burns said he attempted to handle Roosevelt “more critically” for “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” compared to the previous, somewhat glowing treatments of FDR in his other documentaries on the period.
Calling Burns “seriously mistaken” about the issue of Jewish refugees, Medoff told The Times of Israel that the discrepancy is connected to several other “well-worn myths” that appear in “The U.S. and the Holocaust.” These myths, said Medoff, run the gamut from why the US could not rescue Anne Frank to Roosevelt’s role in the “St. Louis” affair, alongside the perennial debate on bombing the tracks to Auschwitz.
Medoff is an American professor of Jewish history and the founding director of The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which is based in Washington, DC. He is the author of “America and the Holocaust: A Documentary History,” among other works on the Holocaust and Zionist history.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Continue reading “”
The Most Important Shot
While some matters of self-defense have changed throughout history, getting that first round on-target remains important.
On July 21, 1865, in Springfield, MO, James B. Hickok and Davis Tutt were about to have what, at the time, was generally called a difficulty. Some claim it was over a woman; others claim it concerned a gambling debt, whatever. As was the custom of the day, the two men met to settle their differences.
Tutt, possibly acting a bit hastily, got off the first shot while Hickok was still 75 yards away. Tutt missed. Hickok, who might have been expecting such a move, braced his Colt Navy across his left forearm and fired before Tutt could trigger a second shot. Hickok’s bullet took Tutt in the left side and penetrated his heart. Davis Tutt expired shortly thereafter. As an interesting aside, I would note that Hickok made this 75-yard, one-shot stop with a revolver in the same power and terminal-performance level as a modern .380 ACP.
Fast forward to Dec. 29, 2019, and some folks were worshiping in a church in White Settlement, TX. The service was interrupted when a deranged gunman came in and started shooting people with a shotgun. In a matter of seconds, he killed two men and was about to shoot more when Jack Wilson (no relation to me) responded accordingly. Wilson, part of the church security team, fired one shot from his SIG Sauer P229 from about 15 yards and stopped the lunatic immediately with a head shot.
The significance of these two shootings, 154 years apart, is that some things change in this whole business of personal defense, and some things never change. Let’s take a look at some of each.
During Hickok’s day and for many years to come, it was considered acceptable for a man to arm himself and go confront another who was making threats against him. In addition, there are numerous “Not Guilty” verdicts on file when the deceased was not armed at all … “Well, he usually carried a gun and I saw him reaching for his hip pocket, where he usually carried his gun …” Of course, there was the argument that was often made: “He needed killing.”
One should also realize that the local saloon was the men’s social club of the day. The fact that gambling, guns and booze were all together in one building didn’t seem to bother anyone too much. Apparently, the important thing was to protect one’s honor in spite of how much one had to drink or how many aces one might be holding.
Nowadays, none of that is OK with most of us who teach defensive techniques. We encourage the armed citizen to be a reluctant participant. If threats are being made, the thing to do is to file a police report and let the authorities handle it. And the best idea is to respond when you see your attacker is armed, not when you think he is armed. Today, the responsible armed citizen doesn’t shoot because they can; they shoot only because they have to.
Some things change and some things never change. For all that, you will note that Hickok and Wilson both solved the problem with a single shot from a .36-caliber pistol.
However, I sometimes wonder if we may sometimes be doing a disservice to today’s armed citizens. Personal-defense training has become a business for some folks, and they vie with each other for the customer’s attention. And maybe some things get complicated when there is really no need for it to be.
A good example would be the late Jeff Cooper’s Color Code. He came up with it to help his students understand and define levels of their own preparedness in the face of potential danger. It wasn’t long at all before others started adding colors to the scheme and using them to define what the attacker was doing instead of the mindset of the armed citizen. This led to confusing the whole thing, because they probably didn’t understand it in the first place.
And, as I have said previously, I think we put too much emphasis on gear. The suggestion, maybe only implied, is often that you won’t survive without this gun, that ammo or a particular holster. Students want to know what we carry and why. I wonder if they always get an honest answer. Too often, we may just be gun enthusiasts interacting with other gun enthusiasts, as opposed to being focused on helping those who are new to personal defense.
In addition to going into all the various defensive stances, techniques and philosophies, we might better spend our time teaching students how to avoid violence whenever possible. Perhaps we would be better off telling our students the importance of learning to handle their chosen gun quickly, efficiently and accurately.
In those two shootings, Hickok and Wilson each took care of business by delivering one well-placed shot to the threat. And that, I think, is the lesson for all of us. For all we can acquire, for all we can learn, for all we can cuss and discuss, the real challenge is to stand as calmly as possible, make a smooth, quick draw and deliver that first, fight-stopping shot.
The coordinated terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 unfolded at nightmarish speed. At 8:46 a.m., the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Sixteen minutes later, a second jet hit the South Tower. At 9:37, an airliner hit the Pentagon. Within hours, thousands had died, including hundreds of first responders who’d rushed to the scenes to help.
But after the events quieted and the scope of the damage came into relief, it became clear that there was at least one element of the al-Qaeda terrorist plot where the damage had been mitigated—with the fatal crash of United Airlines Flight 93.
Like the three other planes hijacked on September 11, Flight 93 was overtaken by al-Qaeda operatives intent on crashing it into a center of American power—in Flight 93’s case, likely the White House or the U.S. Capitol. But instead of hitting its intended target, the United jet went down in a field in rural Pennsylvania. While all 44 people aboard the plane were killed, countless people who might have perished in Washington were spared because of a passenger revolt—a heroic struggle undertaken with whatever low-tech weapons they and the cabin crew members could muster.
Brendan Koerner, author of The Skies Belong to Us, a book about domestic airline hijackings in the 1960s and 1970s, says that in the hundreds of cases he studied for his book, he never came across anything like Flight 93’s passenger revolt.
“The attitude of passengers tended to be that airlines would give the hijackers what they wanted, and so there was relatively little threat to the passengers,” Koerner says. “There aren’t really that many instances of passengers getting involved.”
7:39–7:48 a.m.: The terrorists board, likely one man short
On the morning of September 11, four terrorists boarded United Airlines Flight 93 at Newark International Airport: Ziad Jarrah, a trained pilot; and three others, who were trained in unarmed combat and would help storm the cockpit and control the crowd. All four sat in first class.
There was one fewer hijacker on Flight 93 than the five-man crews that commandeered the other three planes, leading the 9/11 Commission Report to speculate that the United Airlines hijacking operated with an incomplete team. That commission speculated that an intended fifth hijacker—Mohammed al-Qahtani—had been refused entry to the country in early August at Orlando International by a suspicious immigration official, who thought al-Qahtani wanted to overstay his visa and live in the United States.
8:42 a.m.: The flight departs late
UA 93 left its gate at Newark International at 8:01 am, only one minute later than scheduled. But heavy traffic on the runway delayed takeoff for approximately 42 minutes.
As a result, one of the flights (Flight 11) was hijacked nearly half an hour before UA 93 had even left the runway, and both of the World Trade Center towers would be hit before the hijackers on Flight 93 had taken over their plane.
9:24 a.m.: Airline dispatcher warns United 93 about cockpit intrusion
With multiple hijackings unfolding across the country, United Airlines dispatcher Ed Ballinger sent a text message warning to pilot Jason Dahl: “Beware any cockpit intrusion—two a/c [aircraft] hit World Trade Center.”
Dahl, seemingly confused, wrote back, “Ed, confirm latest mssg plz—Jason.”
While flying 35,000 feet above eastern Ohio, United 93 suddenly lost 7,000 feet as the terrorists rushed the cockpit. In the cockpit, the captain or first officer could be heard shouting “Mayday!” and “Get out of here!” into a radio transmission.
Sometime before 9:30 a.m.: Hijackers kill a passenger in first class
Tom Burnett, a first-class passenger on the flight, called his wife from the back of the plane at 9:30 to report the hijacking. On the call, Burnett told his wife, Deena, that a passenger had been knifed in front of the other passengers. On a subsequent call a few minutes later, he told her the passenger had died.
9:32 a.m.: Hijacker Ziad Jarrah threatens the passengers via the intercom
“Ladies and Gentlemen: Here the captain, please sit down keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board. So, sit.”
9:35 a.m.: Jarrah redirects the jet’s autopilot toward Washington, D.C.
At approximately the same time, recordings from the cockpit capture the sound of a flight attendant pleading for her life, then falling silent.
9:35–9:55 a.m.: Passengers and crew call their loved ones
For approximately 20 minutes, passengers and crew relayed information about their hijacking…and received word of the grim news on the ground. Planes had, by this point, struck both of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. The passengers knew they were staring down a similar fate.
Passenger Jeremy Glick told his wife Lyz that passengers were voting on whether or not to storm the cockpit in an attempt to take back the plane.
“I have my butter knife from breakfast,” he reportedly joked.
Burnett told his wife that the passengers were going to wait until they were above a rural area before attempting their action.
Flight attendant Sandra Bradshaw boiled water, to throw on the hijackers.
Those on the flight who couldn’t get through to their loved ones left heart-wrenching voicemails instead. Flight attendant CeeCee Lyles called her husband, told him she loved him, and asked that he take care of her children.
“Are you guys ready?” one of the passengers, Todd Beamer, could be heard saying to the others while on a call with a telephone operator. “Let’s roll.”
9:57 a.m.: The passenger revolt begins.
The cockpit voice recorder captured the sound of passengers attempting to break through the door: yelling, thumping and crashing of dishes and glass. In response, Jarrah tried to cut off the oxygen and began pitching the plane left and right, to knock the passengers off balance.
9:58 a.m.: Jarrah instructed another hijacker to block the door.
9:59 a.m.: Jarrah began pitching the plane up and down, again hoping to neutralize the passenger assault.
10:00 a.m.: The hijackers discuss crashing early
Still approximately 20 minutes away from their target, the hijackers recognized that they would soon lose control of the aircraft.
“Shall we finish it off?” Jarrah asked one of the other hijackers in the cockpit.
“Not yet,” was the reply. “When they all come, we finish it off.”
In the background, a passenger screamed to another, “In the cockpit. If we don’t, we’ll die!”
10:01 a.m.: The hijackers decide to crash the plane
Jarrah again asked the other hijacker if he should crash the vehicle. This time, he was told, “Yes, put it in it, and pull it down.”
Jarrah pulled the control wheel hard to the left, causing the plane to fly upside down, and then to crash into the ground at a speed of 580 miles per hour.
It was 10:03 a.m.
On September 11th 2001, a committed gang of moslem Al Qaeda fanatics hijacked 4 U.S. commercial airliners and crashed 3 of them into the Pentagon and Towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center. Through the valiant efforts of the passengers and crew, the 4th plane was diverted from its target in Washington D.C., and crashed in Pennsylvania.
Time heals all wounds, but as time marches on, we should never forget that the enemies of peaceful civilization, both foreign and domestic, religious and secular, are still working.
玉音放送 “The Jewel Voice Broadcast”
At 12 Noon Japan Standard Time, 15 August 1945, NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation aired a speech Emperor Hirohito had recorded the previous day, accepting the Allies demand to surrender, or else.
And even after two “or else’s ” at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it still took the Emperor himself to make the decision and force his cabinet to accept the surrender. That’s just how much the Japanese goobermint, especially the military, didn’t want to quit, but were forced to.