I ran across this description of the battle of the JAVA Sea, and how roughly the Allies were handled by the Japanese. After Reading this, I can see why. And Our torpedo’s really sucked and I keep wondering how those turds were ever foisted on the Naval services, both the Submarines, Planes and Ship torpedo’s were garbage, now the Japanese Torpedo’s worked exceedingly well. I now know more about the battle of the Java Sea.
The ships left just before sunset on February 26, 1942, passing out of a harbor jammed with wreckage, battered docks, fires, the stench of burning oil, and Dutch women, children, and old men—most of them relatives of the crews heading out—waving their men goodbye and good luck. On the outgoing ships, there were answers back, American sailors cheering, Dutch sailors playing bugles, British and Australian warships hoisting their immense battle White Ensigns fore and aft, the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter’s loudspeaker system blaring a familiar song: “A-Hunting We Will Go.”
A combined force of American, Australian, British, and Dutch warships was heading out to sea from Surabaya Harbor in the Dutch East Indies to stop a massive Japanese force from invading the capital island of the 300-year-old Dutch possession. On this motley collection of warships stood all hope of stopping the Japanese advance.
Since the outbreak of war in the Pacific, Japan’s forces had proved virtually invincible. From Hawaii to Singapore, the emperor’s men had crushed all their opponents, conquering Hong Kong, Malaya, Wake Island, Guam, and most of the Philippines.
Now, like a giant octopus, their tentacles were spreading to surround Java, the administrative headquarters of the Dutch East Indies, their primary target in the invasion of Southeast Asia. Two prongs of Japanese warships, transports loaded with seasoned soldiers and powerful aircraft, were headed for Java’s opposing ends.
As Japan’s swords swung down on Java, the Allies had created their first joint command, called ABDA, for the American, British, Dutch, and Australian forces involved.
This attempt at a unified command turned out to be a disaster from the start because of its improvised nature, the lack of Allied forces, and the onrushing Japanese.
British Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell, commanding ABDA from Java, could only helplessly watch Japanese troops storm into Singapore, Sumatra, the Celebes, Borneo, and Timor before admitting that the idea was a failure. He fled to Ceylon, leaving Dutch Admiral C.E.L. Helfrich in charge of a dwindling and poorly equipped band of British, Dutch, American, and Australian troops, airmen, and sailors.
There were good reasons for that. The Dutch troops in the Indies were among their best, the King’s Netherlands Indies Legion, a veteran force that had policed the colony for centuries, battling native uprisings. And while the Dutch airmen flew poor aircraft like Brewster F2A Buffalo fighters that were easy meat for Japan’s nimble Mitsubishi Zero fighters, their long-service sailors manned modern destroyers, highly effective submarines with torpedoes that worked (unlike their American counterparts), and two tough light cruisers, the East Indies fleet flagship De Ruyter and her older sister Java.
Equipped with two seaplanes, depth charge launchers, torpedoes, and the sophisticated Hazemeyer fire control system for her seven 5.9-inch guns and her 10 40mm antiaircraft guns, De Ruyter was built specifically for East Indies service. Now De Ruyter’s hour had come. She would not be the only defense of Java. The surviving ships of Britain’s Far Eastern Fleet, Australian warships, and the U.S. Asiatic Fleet had been
ordered under Dutch command into “ABDA Float,” which created additional punch.
Among the ships was the heavy cruiser USS Houston, the Asiatic Fleet’s longtime flagship, distinctive by her tall foremast, and HMS Exeter, which had run the German pocket battleship Graf Spee into Montevideo in 1939.
The British provided the light cruisers Danae, Dragon, and Durban, Australia the more modern light cruisers Hobart and Perth, and the Americans the old light cruiser Marblehead and new Boise. The British, Americans, and Dutch also offered a collection of destroyers.
But there were still numerous weaknesses. The British and Dutch destroyers were fairly modern ships. The three elderly British light cruisers were withdrawn. USS Boise ran aground on an uncharted reef, tore up her keel, and had to be sent home, taking her radar with her. Marblehead endured numerous bomb hits and had to depart as well.
When the Japanese attacked Houston with medium bombers, the American cruiser’s crewmen discovered that most of her antiaircraft shells were duds. Before Boise headed for stateside yards, she handed over all her AA ammunition to Houston.
The heavy cruiser badly needed it—she had seen endless action in the weeks since Pearl Harbor. Worse, a Japanese bomb had slammed through her quarterdeck and exploded in the base of her aft 8-inch turret. Quick work by a veteran crew prevented a fire that would have sunk the ship, but the three aft 8-inch guns were put out of action, and Java lacked any facilities to repair them.
To make matters worse for the four navies concerned, they had no common ammunition, language, communications, or procedures. While the British and Australians shared the same procedures, and the Americans, Australians, and British the same language, there were still great differences.
Rear Admiral Karel Doorman, who commanded the surface naval forces of ABDA, had to use simple flag or radio signals to communicate with his ships’ captains. Doorman could signal by blinker light in plain English, but in battle, with smoke and confusion, that was dangerous. He would then relay his orders by high-frequency radio to Houston, where a Dutch liaison officer would translate them to Houston’s skipper, Captain Albert Rooks.
He in turn could relay them by American “Talk-Between Ships” short-range radio to other American vessels, but that did not help the British or Australians, whose flag signals were different from those of the Dutch and the Americans. An American officer called the communications situation “farcical.”
Lieutenant Harold Hamlin of Houston put it bluntly: “Everyone knows you cannot assemble 11 football players who have never seen each other before and go out and beat Notre Dame. Two hours after it assembled, it was out on patrol.”
But that was all the Allies had, and they defied Japanese strength and odds. In January, four ancient American four-stack destroyers swooped in on a collection of Japanese transports anchored off Balikpapan and sank three of them, a morale-boosting victory. American and Dutch submarines knocked off the occasional freighter, and Admiral Doorman himself led a night strike in Badung Strait on Japanese shipping on February 19.
Doorman, 53, a Utrecht native, had been a naval officer since 1910 and a pilot since 1915; he was one of the Dutch Navy’s first flying instructors. In 1938, he headed the Dutch Navy’s air arm. In 1940, he was promoted to rear admiral and assigned to command the fleet forces in the East Indies.
An experienced deck sailor, he had a logical and sound approach to problems and understood the value and impact of airpower in the modern age.
He led his ships to Badung Strait in three packets, relying on darkness to cover his advance, attack, and retreat. Chaos reigned from the start. A Dutch destroyer ran aground. The three packets could not communicate with each other. Allies and Japanese hurled broadsides and torpedoes back and forth, but the only result was the damaging of a Japanese destroyer, the same to the American destroyer Stewart, and the sinking of the Dutch destroyer Piet Hein.
Doorman took his ships home to Java’s main naval base, Tjilatjap, and Stewart was placed in a 15,000-ton floating drydock where she promptly rolled over on her port side, taking the destroyer and the drydock out of the game. The Japanese captured Stewart after conquering Java and use her for the rest of the war as a patrol ship.
The remaining vessels prepared for the next round, but it was difficult. American destroyers’ numbers were being whittled down: Stewart was gone, Whipple was out of action from a collision, Pillsbury and Parrott were out of torpedoes and needed overhaul, and Pope had developed feed-water leaks—she was losing more water from her condensers than they could take in.
The Americans could only marshal four destroyers, all “flush-deckers” from the 1920s: Ford, Edwards, Alden, and Paul Jones. They lacked an elevated forecastle, so they could not fire their forward 4-inch gun in rough seas or at top speed. On Houston, engineers shoved the wrecked after 8-inch turret into normal position and slapped a steel roof over it, hoping to fool the Japanese into believing it was operational.
Meanwhile, the Japanese forces descended on Java. From the west came 56 transports and freighters guarded by four heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and a light aircraft carrier. From the east came 41 transports covered by two heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, and seven destroyers, under Rear Admiral Takeo Takagi, a fairly routine officer by Japanese standards.
Behind this power, as deep cover, was even more power: the mighty carriers that had shattered the American battle line at Pearl Harbor, a battleship, and nine more heavy cruisers.
Takagi’s force got down to business on February 26, forming a two-column convoy with ships a mile apart, the convoy 20 miles long. The merchant ships were handled poorly by ill-trained civilian crews, and Japanese destroyers struggled to keep order.
Among the tin cans shepherding these vessels was the Amatsukaze, under Commander Tameichi Hara, who was annoyed at the merchant vessels’ lack of discipline. They emitted huge clouds of black smoke, ignored blackout regulations, and defied rules on radio silence.
“The weather was beautiful; sparkling sun by day, and bright moonlight silvered the sea every night. Even at night, trained eyes could span the length of the entire force. Five Allied submarines had been observed by our reconnaissance planes, but none menaced our ships. To this day, I do not understand why enemy submarines failed to come out,” Hara wrote later.
Actually, there was a good reason. The American submarines’ torpedoes stubbornly refused to work, so the sub skippers were reduced to reporting on the Japanese movements, which were confirmed by British codebreaking teams operating in Ceylon and London.
With this information in hand, Doorman could prepare. He recalled Exeter, Perth, and three destroyers from Tandjong Priok in western Java to Surabaya, and crewmen on Pope, watching the Anglo-Australian ships steam in, their White Ensigns flying, let out hearty cheers.
When Exeter tied up and shifted colors, her skipper, Captain Oliver Gordon, was summoned with his Perth counterpart, Captain Hector “Hec” Waller, to meet with Doorman and the other senior officers at Dutch naval headquarters, the requisitioned Netherlands Indies Electricity company building. All hands showed up in proper uniform, befitting long-service officers.
Doorman shook hands with every ship captain. He gave the briefing in English, but there was not much to say. He intended to leave harbor and attack the enemy convoy southwest of the Celebes. With Houston’s after gun turret knocked out, she would not be the last ship in line. With the Dutch destroyer Kortenaer suffering leaking boilers, the whole fleet’s top speed would be 25 knots.
On the evening of the 26th, Doorman’s Combined Striking Force sailed from Surabaya, battle flags streaming. Chaos reigned again as De Ruyter collided with a tug and water barge in the harbor, sinking both, but doing no damage to the flagship. They found no enemy forces, and by noon the destroyers were short of fuel. He headed back to Surabaya to refuel, dodging Japanese bomber aircraft on the way home. Houston’s new AA gun load helped fend off the Japanese.
When Doorman reached port, there were messages from Helfrich ordering him back to sea as soon as fueling could be completed. The Japanese were definitely on their way.
Doorman signaled back: “This day the personnel reached the limit of endurance. Tomorrow the limit will be exceeded.” But at 2:27 pm on February 27, the Combined Striking Force headed for sea once again, following a contact report that put the Japanese convoy just 90 miles to the north. Doorman signaled his ships in a plain English semaphore: “Am proceeding to intercept enemy unit, follow me, details later.”
The Striking Force formed up into two columns—one led by Doorman on De Ruyter, with Exeter, Houston, Perth, and Java trailing. The British destroyers steamed ahead of De Ruyter as a screening force, while the American and Dutch destroyers were a separate column on the cruisers’ rear and port quarter, held back by their older engines and kept back because of their weak armor, which made them susceptible to enemy fire.
The American four-pipe destroyers coughed up black smoke.
On the other side, Japanese reconnaissance planes were hard at work searching for Doorman’s force. Takagi had issues of his own. His combat group consisted of heavy cruisers Nachi and Haguro, the light cruiser Jintsu, and eight destroyers, including Hara’s Amatsukaze. The two forces were evenly matched, but Takagi had the burden of escorting 41 transports and freighters.
Takagi followed Doorman’s movements closely, mystified by his slow advance (12 knots) and odd courses.
There was reason for that. As the afternoon wore on and the Allies lost touch with the Japanese, Doorman was concerned that his battered ships and exhausted men might simply get ambushed. He decided to head back yet again for Surabaya and refuel and take on more ammunition.
At 3 pm, Doorman stood on his flagship’s bridge, heading into Surabaya’s outer harbor. At that moment, he received a signal from Helfrich. The Japanese Eastern Force had been sighted north of Surabaya near Bawean Island. Helfrich was ordering Doorman to attack immediately.
Despite his fatigue and that of everyone else in the fleet Doorman followed orders, signaling, “Follow me. The enemy is 90 miles away.” The ships turned back into the preset formation and shuffled north without refueling.
As Doorman’s ships headed north, the Japanese had their eye on them. One of Nachi’s scout planes reported to Takagi: “The enemy fleet has turned around again. The double column formation is now shifting to single column. The enemy is gaining speed and is headed on a course of 20 degrees.” A signal 10 minutes later confirmed the Allied speed: 22 knots.
Takagi reacted immediately. He shot off his cruisers’ remaining observation planes, ordered his minesweepers and patrol craft to herd the transports into order and away from the Allied fleet, and formed battle line: Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka’s light cruiser Jintsu heading the eight destroyers, behind that another flotilla headed by the light cruiser Naka with six more destroyers under Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura, Nachi and Haguro behind them.
Next, the human preparations: sailors put on working uniforms and helmets, officers white dress uniforms; many men went to their ship’s shrines for a quick prayer and to don hachimaki headbands, and finally, immense Rising Sun battle ensigns were broken from every masthead.
At 3:30 pm, the visibility was perfect, the sea was calm, and the two forces pounded toward each other, heading into the biggest surface action since the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
At first the officers on Exeter thought they had spotted the invasion convoy and not its screen, but then Electra reported at 4:12 pm: “One cruiser, unknown number large destroyers bearing 330 degrees, speed 18, course 220 degrees.” Electra had spotted Jintsu and Amatsukaze.
On Amatsukaze, Warrant Officer Shigeru Iwata, one of Hara’s top lookouts, yelled “Enemy ship!” and everyone trained their binoculars to the south. Hara recognized the lead cruiser from his recognition books as De Ruyter, and Iwata confirmed it: “De Ruyter is 28,000 meters [20 miles]. Closing rapidly.”
Hara yelled, “Gunners and torpedomen, get ready. Our target is the lead cruiser in the enemy column!” Hara realized he was heading into his first major sea battle.
At 4:14 Electra reported: “Two battleships, one cruiser, six destroyers.” Before the various officers had time to react, Electra amended the report: “Two heavy cruisers.”
Heavy cruisers they were. At that moment, Nachi and Haguro entered gun range, and at 4:16 pm both cruisers opened a full broadside with a combined 20 8-inch guns at a range of 28,000 yards. The Allied ships answered back, with Houston’s after turret silenced by damage and Exeter’s simply unable to train on the Japanese, who were trying to cross Doorman’s “T,” the oldest naval maneuver to gain tactical supremacy since the invention of gunpowder.
Now the problems of communication came in. In the Royal Navy, ships did not open fire until the senior officer gave the word, and Doorman had not done so yet. On Exeter, Gordon puzzled over what to do. “Had we been in company with a British Senior Officer, I could and probably would, have hoisted a very brief flag signal—if I had received no order—asking permission to open fire but in this case I knew the limitations of inter-ship communication.”
The first Japanese 8-inch shells fell short at 30,000 yards. The Japanese gunners were too excited. This was their first surface action.
Doorman ordered course 20 degrees left to parallel the Japanese ships, putting the three leading British destroyers on the cruisers’ starboard bow. The Japanese hurled shells at Electra, and Doorman ordered the destroyers to head to the Allied column’s port side to await their moment with their torpedoes. He also sent a radio message to Surabaya for air support, but the few bombers the Dutch and Americans had on Java headed straight for the transports.
Now Doorman gave the order, and the two Allied heavy cruisers opened fire. Houston’s shells had a crimson dye to assist spotting, and the blood-red geysers of her first short shots frightened some Japanese officers on Nachi. The concussion of Houston’s guns opening fire hurled Winslow against a bulkhead and ripped his “soup-bowl” steel helmet from his head. Winslow, shaking with excitement, recovered his tin hat and realized that his tension of waiting for battle had ended.
On the Japanese side, Jintsu led her column directly toward Electra. At 18,000 yards, her group opened fire and straddled the British destroyer. Electra and Jupiter opened up at 16,000 yards and straddled the Japanese.
The last ship to open fire was Perth, at the tail of the Allied line, equipped with 6-inch guns. Captain Waller told an officer on the bridge that waiting for his moment to open fire in a surface engagement was more terrifying than enduring the Luftwaffe’s bombing in the Mediterranean.
After eight minutes, Doorman changed course at 4:29 pm to 248 degrees, so that both columns were parallel and the Allied light cruisers could open fire. All of the ships were being straddled. Nobody was scoring any hits yet.
At 4:31, the Japanese scored a hit; an 8-inch shell slammed into De Ruyter’s armored deck and down into her auxiliary engine room where it failed to explode. Four minutes later, Doorman closed the range on a course of 267 degrees, at which point Nishimura, aboard the light cruiser Naka, ordered his seven destroyers forward to unleash 43 “Long Lance” torpedoes at the enemy. The rest of the fleet joined in as well, except Nachi, whose crew had left the stop valve on their compressed oxygen system open too long by accident.
Houston had a reputation as one of the U.S. Navy’s best gunnery ships, but her rangefinders were outdated by World War II’s rapidly advancing standards. She lacked radar and remote-control servo motors to enable crews to train and elevate guns without using sweat and muscle. Ranges were triangulated visually. In the overheated gun houses in the dim red light, 70 gunners cranked wheels to train guns, open breeches, and stuff shells and powder bags.
On the fifth salvo, a fuse box was jarred loose from the Turret One bulkhead, disabling the electro-hydraulic ramming mechanism. The crew now had to load and ram the breech by hand, an almost impossible task in peacetime. But they accomplished it in wartime, almost keeping pace with Turret Two, for 65 salvos until repairs were accomplished.
Up above, Lieutenant Winslow watched the shellfire and saw the dull red glow of exploding shells. Convinced Houston had beaten up the enemy, he yelled down a voice-tube into the turrets, “We’ve just kicked hell out of a 10-gun Jap cruiser.” The men cheered back. One of the enemy cruisers seemed to withdraw.
But then, a frayed electrical lead in the forward main gun director, abetted by the whipping back and forth of the towering foremast housing, caused problems with gunnery deflection adjustments. Houston’s rangefinders and gunners no longer knew where their shells would land.
While this went on, a Japanese shell hit Houston’s main deck aft of the anchor windlass, zoomed through the second deck, and out the starboard side above the waterline without exploding. Another hit ruptured an oil tank on Houston’s port side after, but it failed to explode. The Americans wondered if the Japanese suffered from dud shells, too.
“Salvo after salvo exploded into the sea around us,” Lieutenant Winslow wrote. “I was mesmerized by the savage flashes of enemy guns, and the sigh of their deadly shells flying toward us like giant blackbirds.”
Meanwhile, Exeter took 12 salvos to get a straddle. Then Gordon saw the orange flash of a shell bursting on a cruiser’s superstructure. He yelled, “That’s a hit!” It sure looked like one to everyone, but it wasn’t … the Japanese cruisers suffered no damage in the action. The destroyer Asagumo did—an Allied shell hit her, killing five and wounding 19, disabling her engine.
Exeter, on the other hand, did take hits. At 5:07 pm, a shell passed through the S2 4-inch gun shield and killed the four members of the gun crew. The shell kept going and entered the No. 1 boiler room ventilator and exploded in the boiler room, killing all 10 of its crewmen. Steam vented through the waste pipe, and Exeter began losing speed. It felt like “a mighty can-opener being driven into the ship.”
Six of Exeter’s eight boilers were put out of action. Electrical power failed, and the cruiser’s speed fell to 11 knots. Damage control parties moved in, but the great heat from the explosion and superheated steam made it impossible to enter the boiler room until the next day.
Gordon realized his ship could not hold its place in line at 11 knots, and he altered course to port to get out of the battle line and avoid collision. Unfortunately, the shellfire and concussion had knocked out Houston’s TBS radio and damaged her signal lights. Heavy smoke obscured her alphabet flags and halyards, as well as the Aldis lamps used for signaling. Commander Henry E. Eccles, skipper of the destroyer Edwards, wrote, “From then on, all communication was by flashing lights obscured by gun smoke, smoke screens, and hampered by rapid movements.”
Not knowing what was going on, thinking he had missed an order from Doorman, Rooks followed Exeter in column, turning to port. As Houston turned, the ship had to check fire. On Perth, Waller, seeing the two cruisers ahead of him maneuver and Exeter blow off steam, headed in a counterclockwise loop to the north to cover the heavy cruisers’ retreat with a 30-foot wall of smoke that gave them a reprieve, while Java followed Houston.
Doorman, sailing off without a column behind him, heeled De Ruyter over to port and closed Exeter, signaling, “What is your damage?”
Gordon flagged back: “Hit in one boiler room. Maximum speed 15 knots.” Doorman ordered Exeter to head for Surabaya and reformed the other cruisers on a northeasterly course.
Before anyone had much time to react, smoke, squalls, and fog came down on the action. Doorman retired at 5:20, trying to regroup. Nobody on the Allied side seemed to know what was going on. Eccles wrote later, “The crystal ball was our only method of anticipating the intention of Commander Combined Striking Force.”
Tanaka, however, took advantage of the squalls and Allied confusion, ordering eight destroyers to “to close and charge the enemy” behind his cruiser Jintsu to hurl torpedoes and shells at the nearest Allied ships, the American destroyers.
The Allied ships opened fire at 7,000 meters, and in seconds everybody was covered in smoke—American smoke screens on their side, missed Allied shells on the Japanese side. The Japanese closed to 6,000 meters, then 5,000 meters, and a tense Hara gripped the rail of his bridge, sweat streaming down his face, his knees trembling.
At 5:27, Tanaka ordered his ships to open fire. Hara yelled “Fire torpedoes!” As the Long Lances swished through the water, the Allied ships turned to the west.
The Japanese torpedo salvo finally closed its targets, and at least one smacked home, blasting the Dutch destroyer Kortenaer. The 1928-built destroyer jackknifed in two and sank almost immediately, scattering survivors—including her skipper—across the water. It was the first time the Allies had met up with the Japanese Long Lance torpedo in a surface action, and all hands were stunned.
On Houston, Ensign Smith watched Kortenaer’s two split sections slide into the water, looking like the twin towers of a cathedral.“There was only 15 or 20 feet separating her bow from the stern,” he said later. Another seaman next to Winslow yelled, “Jesus Christ, look at that!” Winslow saw a tremendous geyser of water rising 100 feet into the air.
Lieutenant Commander A. Kroese, commanding Kortenaer, reported later, “On the stern the doctor was sitting, dressed in a khaki suit, life belt and steel helmet. As a result of the explosion, the smoke apparatus had begun to work and heavy white clouds were rising from the ship. The doctor sat in the midst of it all like some kind of fire-god.
“After a short time the stern turned over on its side, and those who were still clinging to it jumped hastily into the sea. Soon half of the Kortenaer sank from sight, but the bows of the ship floated for a long time sticking straight up in the air.
“After the ship had gone down, a number of rafts, sufficient to support all the survivors, began to float up. The Commander gave orders to tie the rafts together so that we would form a group easily visible to a rescuer…. Our situation was far from comfortable, for much of the surface of the water was covered with a heavy film of black fuel oil from the ship’s bunkers.”
With Kortenaer sunk and Exeter severely damaged, Doorman’s battle plan and fleet were in serious trouble, even though the Japanese had scored only one hit out of 64 torpedoes launched. Doorman turned his flagship to join his other ships and regroup. Everybody on the Allied ships wondered how they could have been torpedoed at such an incredible distance from the Japanese warships. Not knowing about the Long Lance, the Allied skippers presumed there were Japanese submarines in the neighborhood.
On the other side, Nishimura’s 4th Destroyer Flotilla maneuvered to port to link back up with Tanaka’s ships for another attack. Doorman responded by ordering his ships to follow him southeast and then northeast, spewing smoke to cover his moves, to put his main force between the enemy and the battered Exeter, giving that cruiser a chance to escape.
As the Japanese regrouped, Doorman realized he had to strike first, sending in his three British destroyers, Electra, Encounter, and Jupiter, to make independent attacks. After doing so, they would join the Dutch destroyer Witte de With and escort Exeter to Surabaya.
On Electra, Commander C.W. May told his men on the main loudspeaker at 5:25, “The Japanese are mounting a strong torpedo attack against the Exeter. So we are going through the smoke to counterattack.” While this went on, Exeter’s crew restored power to the guns and steam to 15 knots. With that, her guns opened fire on Jintsu, which made smoke and maneuvered away from Exeter’s 8-inch shells.
Electra, ahead of her sisters, sprinted forward to the northwest, into the smoke, and emerged through the murk and gloom to find the pagoda-like superstructure and bulbous funnel tops of Jintsu leading six destroyers toward her. Gunner Cain felt naked to the enemy.
The Japanese opened up with dozens of shells, most of which were near misses that rocked the destroyer. Electra returned the fire, gun crews doing so with veteran experience. But a Jintsu shell hit below the bridge, followed by more that broke the after boiler room mains, and Electra slowed to a halt. A Japanese destroyer blazed away at the immobile British ship, but Electra fired torpedoes back—to no avail. All of them missed.
Jintsu poured more shells into Electra, and Gunner Cain fired his turret under local control. Soon the guns were out: A Turret knocked out … B Turret evacuated when a fire started beneath it … the searchlight platforms demolished … a fire started aft that blocked ammunition supply to the X and Y Turrets … the ship’s whaler and motor boat smashed. Commander May ordered “Abandon ship.”
Electra’s self-sacrifice saved Exeter and scored a single hit on Jintsu that killed one man and injured four, and also bought time for Encounter and Jupiter to pop through the smoke and hurl torpedoes at the Japanese.
Encounter’s skipper, Lt. Cmdr. Morgan, saw the hordes of Japanese ships and heeled his destroyer hard over after launching torpedoes, followed by Jupiter and Witte de With. The three tin cans formed up around Exeter to escort the battered cruiser out of harm’s way. On the way, Witte de With was damaged when one of her depth charges broke loose in the maneuvering, fell overboard, exploded abaft, and shook the ship like a hammer blow.
Up on De Ruyter’s flag bridge, Doorman faced more impending disaster. As Exeter steamed off, she took six 8-inch guns, half of Doorman’s such armament. With Electra and Kortenaer sunk, Doorman was down to six destroyers.
Doorman reformed his line to find himself on the Japanese side of the smoke screen, parallel to the heavy cruisers Nachi and Haguro. The Japanese cruisers closed the range and opened fire, aiming at Houston.
Now it was the American ship’s turn to be in trouble, as she was running short on ammunition. Houston had sortied without time to rebunker her magazines, and now had fired off 303 rounds per turret, leaving only 50 rounds per gun.
Most importantly, the remaining shells were in the aft magazine for the useless No. 3 Turret. Chief Petty Officer Otto Schwarz and his shipmates hauled greasy shells out of storage racks abaft and hand carried the 260-pound projectiles in slings through the narrow passageways and up ladders, across decks, and into the two forward handling rooms.
In addition, the life of an 8-inch gun of the time was about 30 rounds. That level had been exceeded, and the liners of the gun barrels had crept out of the guns an inch or more. The gun casings were so hot it would be hours before they could be touched.
Doorman would not give up. Neither would the Japanese. The Japanese ordered their transports to turn south and head for Java’s beaches while the combatant ships polished off the Allied Striking Force.
At 6 pm De Ruyter’s after port lookouts spotted Jintsu. The Dutch cruiser opened fire, but the gathering dusk and smoke obscured the Japanese. The Japanese closed to 4,400 yards of the Allied ships and launched torpedoes. The Japanese ships heeled over to avoid the shells that their officers knew would be returned. Doorman, realizing the danger, ordered his ships to turn south, and the torpedoes shot harmlessly past his ships.
At 6:21, the sun set on the battle, but the fighting went on through twilight. In the dark, Allied communications worsened—signal lights were broken from shellfire damage, and flags were useless. At 6:06, De Ruyter signaled Edwards with her signal lamps to “Counterattack.” Moments after Edwards acknowledged the order, De Ruyter flashed “Cancel counterattack,” followed by “Make smoke.”
Commander Binford of Edwards was baffled. As leader of the American destroyers, he had taken them on the requested counterattack course. Then came a last signal: “Cover my retirement.” Binford was even more puzzled. Did that mean make smoke? Steam protectively across Java’s stern as it turned away? Binford decided that the only way to cover a cruiser column’s retirement was with the greatest U.S. Navy tradition: attack, even though his ships were 32 years old.
Binford’s tin cans charged toward two ships visible in the dusk to the northwest—the cruisers Nachi and Haguro, which were guarding the invading transports. On the U.S. destroyer Alden’s bridge, a sailor said, “I always knew these old four-pipers would have to go in and save the day.”
Up on Nachi’s bridge, Takagi saw the American destroyers advance. He could also see Surabaya’s lighthouse in the distance, its glass windows reflecting in the sunset.
Binford ordered his destroyers by flag signal to make a torpedo attack. The tin cans raced through the smoke, nearly colliding. They sprinted through and cracked on top speed, set up for broadside torpedo attack on the Japanese cruisers to starboard, and Binford ordered the fusillade of fish. Then Binford’s destroyers changed course 180 degrees, maintaining full speed to fire their port tubes at the Japanese.
Incredibly, all the American torpedoes missed. The Japanese changed course to “comb” the American torpedo tracks and avoided damage.
Binford ordered his ships to full speed to clear the area, steaming off at 32 knots into the darkness toward Doorman. As the destroyers closed with Doorman, Binford saw a new signal from the Dutch admiral: “Follow me.”
Binford was happy to comply but wondered what was going on now.
The American torpedo attack had accomplished little materially but put a little fear into Takagi. The American counterthrust had not damaged any of his ships but showed that they were still fighting and could inflict more damage. They were not routed.
Takagi tried to figure out what Doorman would do next: he might break off and head for Surabaya for fuel and ammunition or head around to the north and attack the transports. Worrying about the latter possibility, Takagi broke off the action and turned away to guard his transports.
Doorman saw Nachi and Haguro turn back and at 6:30 radioed Helfrich at Lembang: “Enemy retreating west. Where is convoy?” Helfrich radioed that he had no current information.
Across the water, the Japanese were confused, too. Amatsukaze’s skipper, Tameichi Hara, wrote, “Almost every man in Tanaka’s Destroyer Squadron 2 was disgruntled at the order to break off action. Our ships had not expended as much ammunition as the others and I also felt that we had forfeited a chance of giving hot pursuit and finishing off the enemy.”
Even so, Takagi took advantage of the break to recover his five seaplanes—a difficult task in peacetime, let alone wartime—which left them nearly immobile when Doorman’s force reappeared.
At first, Takagi and his crews thought the approaching ships were the Japanese battleships Haruna and Kirishima of Battleship Division 3, which had been in the Indian Ocean only two days before. It was unlikely such ships, no matter how powerful their engines, could have reached the Java Sea in such time.
On Nachi’s bridge, an officer asked that very question, and Commander Ishikawa screamed in rage, “Damn! Those are enemy ships, and four of them are heading toward us. They are only 12,000 meters away.”
Takagi’s men were no longer at action stations, and it took him three minutes to realize the situation. Biting his lip, Takagi ordered his men back to action stations. Bugles and loudspeakers gave the order, warship engines cranked up to battle speed, and the heavy cruisers made smoke to hide their movements. It took three minutes for the fleet to haul in the last seaplane and power its engines up. With only two cruisers against four Allied cruisers, Takagi knew he was outnumbered. And the enemy might be headed for his transports.
Doorman had set off to the northeast, then to the northwest, groping in the dark to find the enemy. He had no idea Takagi’s ships were sitting there, recovering aircraft. He was down to four cruisers and the British destroyer Jupiter in column; Exeter and her two escorts were headed for Surabaya. The four American destroyers were in a separate column, trying to keep up, lacking torpedoes and running short of fuel.
The new skirmish broke out when Jintsu dropped a flare to illuminate the target. At 7:33 PM, Perth and Houston opened fire, but their shells fell short.
The Japanese hit back with star shells to further illuminate their target. On Perth, Waller saw the flashes in the enemy column and assumed they were torpedoes. He ordered a harsh turn to starboard, and all the Allied ships did the same. Both sides checked fire. On Houston, Winslow and his shipmates saw the flares burst over their heads with an eerie, greenish light. “Helpless as pinioned ducks in a shooting gallery, we stood by, fearful that the enemy was closing in for the kill,” he wrote later.
Doorman, it is thought, was influenced by his lack of information about the location of the Japanese convoy, so he feared that the convoy would head southward and make landfall. He chose to reverse course and head for the Java coast to be in a better position to intercept the convoy.
At 7:55, the Allied force swung south to the coast of Java amid increasing moonlight. At about 9 pm, the force turned to starboard to parallel the coast. Behind Doorman’s column of cruisers, Binford’s four American destroyers puffed along, gulping fuel. Binford told the officer of the deck on Edwards, “I’m not going in there after Doorman. That Dutchman has more guts than brains.” He ordered his ships to head for Surabaya to refuel and reload ammunition. Unable to contact Doorman directly, he radioed the shore bases and asked them to relay the message to Doorman. They didn’t. So Doorman steamed along, unaware that four of his destroyers were no longer under his command.
With that going on, the night was rent at 9:25 pm when a gigantic explosion tore into the hull of Jupiter, the destroyer at the tail of Doorman’s column, sending fire and smoke into the air. Jupiter’s skipper signaled: “I am torpedoed.” Actually, Jupiter wasn’t. The destroyer had smacked into a stray Dutch mine, part of a field laid only that day, which had blasted open her forward bulkhead in the engine room and sent water gushing in. Damage control parties kept the destroyer afloat for four hours. That enabled Jupiter’s crew to abandon ship properly, using lifeboat davits and Carley floats. Some 78 members of her crew survived the sinking and piloted their boats to the nearby Java coast.
Doorman received this latest piece of bad news and altered course north, entering an area littered with life rafts from the earlier losses at 10:17. On Houston, Winslow had been relieved as officer of the deck and had gone to the forward AA director tower in the mainmast to take a few minutes’ nap before the next stage of the battle. He had just closed his eyes when he heard shrill whistles and shouting to starboard. He leaped to his feet and saw groups of men in the drink, yelling in Dutch.
Doorman ordered Encounter to release itself from escorting Exeter and race back to the scene to pick up survivors. Houston fired off flares to mark the area, and Encounter found 113 survivors of Kortenaer, including their commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. A. Kroese.
Back in Surabaya, Exeter and Witte de With arrived by 11 pm and began repairs and refueling. Binford and his four ships were about to enter the harbor when he received a message from Doorman through the complex communications chain to head for Tanjong Priok to refuel and rearm. Binford turned about and then realized the futility of such action. He conferred with his other skippers, and they agreed that racing to Batavia in the face of Japanese ships and planes without ammunition and fuel would lead to disaster. He ordered his ships into Surabaya to refuel and rebunker and then head south out of the Java Sea.
Back on De Ruyter, Doorman was headed for the last and most dramatic hour of the battle and his life. Lacking destroyer protection, short on ships and ammunition, the Allied force was steaming north on a slight zigzag course. Headed on a slightly converging course but southerly direction was Takagi, still trying to keep between the Allied ships and the transports. Nobody knew where the other side was, as both sides lacked radar and reconnaissance planes.
At 11 pm, both sides sighted each other, with Nachi and Haguro heading south, De Ruyter, Perth, Houston, and Java headed north, in order. Bright moonlight illuminated the battle, and both sides opened fire at extreme range. After a full afternoon of combat action and steaming, neither side’s gun crews were effective. Both sides closed the range to 8,000 yards.
At 11:22 pm, Nachi launched eight torpedoes and Haguro hurled four at the Allied column. One of them hit De Ruyter a few minutes after 11:30 pm and set off an explosion that enveloped the flagship’s stern in a sea of flame. The fire hit the pyrotechnics locker and sent flares and rockets flying into the night sky in a garish and ghastly fireworks display. De Ruyter’s crew raced to their ship’s bow to flee the explosion.
De Ruyter “blew up with an appalling explosion and settled aft, heavily afire,” Waller observed. “It happened with the suddenness and completeness that one sees in the functioning of a good cigarette lighter—a snap and a burst of flame.” A Perth sailor said, “I thought it would fry us. It was so close you could smell burning paint and a horrible stink like burning bodies.”
On Perth, behind De Ruyter, Paymaster Commander Owen watched the fire before him and thought it was the most fearsome thing he had ever seen. On Perth’s bridge, Waller threw his cruiser into a tight turn to avoid colliding with De Ruyter, which threw Owen off his feet. Perth barely missed smacking into the flagship. On Houston, Rooks took evasive action as well.
As the two cruisers maneuvered, another Japanese torpedo hit Java, setting off a massive fire in the other Dutch cruiser. Crewmen on Perth felt the heat.
Java slid to a halt, and Captain P.B.M. Van Staelen ordered his men to abandon ship. Water flooded Java’s compartments, and the cruiser rose up almost vertically. Dutch sailors scrambled and leaped over the sides and into the water as the cruiser went to the bottom.
More than 500 sailors survived Java’s sinking and the oil-soaked waters, giving three cheers for their ship and Queen Wilhelmina.
On De Ruyter another massive explosion rocked the cruiser, and the ship’s distinctive superstructure vanished. The ship’s 40mm antiaircraft ammunition started exploding, and a senior officer ordered the crew to abandon ship.
As De Ruyter sank, Doorman sent off one last signal: all ships were not to stand by but to leave survivors and make for Batavia. Admiral Karel Doorman then joined 344 officers and men of the Royal Netherlands Navy and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Otto F. Kolb of his staff at the bottom of the Java Sea. Another American sailor was luckier. Signalman First Class Marvin E. Sholar slid into the water and was pulled from the drink by the U.S. submarine S-37, which was returning from a patrol.
On Perth Waller realized he was now senior officer present afloat and in the best traditions of the Royal and Royal Australian Navies took decisive action. He ordered Perth and Houston to break off action, feint southeast, and then steam at high speed to Tanjong Priok for fuel, ammunition, and orders.
Winslow wrote, “The Houston and Perth raced on into the night. Behind us blazed the funeral pyres of our comrades-in-arms, whom we deeply mourned.”
The Battle of the Java Sea, the biggest surface naval battle since Jutland, was over. The Japanese had won easily; their invasion of Java had been delayed by exactly one day. And now there was no longer any Allied naval force capable of contesting the Japanese invasion of Java.
Soon there would no longer be any Allied naval force. With ammunition and fuel running short, leadership gone, and two cruisers badly damaged, it was time to flee.
Perth and Houston left first, fueling at Tandjong Priok on February 28 and heading out that afternoon, trying to slip through the Sunda Strait by darkness. Instead they met up with a Japanese force invading Java from the west and blazed away in a doomed “Fireaway-Flanagan” for nearly two hours.
The Allied cruisers damaged three destroyers while sinking a minesweeper and a transport and forcing three transports to beach themselves. But a broadside of Japanese guns and torpedoes tore apart Perth and Houston, sinking both. A total of 307 Perth men and 368 Houston men survived to endure the horror of Japanese POW camps.
At Surabaya, Exeter refueled and repaired. Joined by Encounter and Pope, which still had a full torpedo load, having missed the Java Sea battle, Exeter sailed late on February 28. She headed northeast and then west, hoping also slip through Sunda Strait. The three ships never got there. Four Japanese cruisers ambushed the ships and overwhelmed all three. Only 800 men survived the two British ships, and 149 men from Pope survived.
Binford’s four American destroyers had a better fate. They left Surabaya late on February 28, and sailed through the Bali Strait eastward and reached Fremantle in Australia on March 4. All four ships spent the rest of the war on convoy duties in the Pacific and Atlantic.
On the night of February 28, Japanese troops landed on Java and began moving on their objectives. Despite the best efforts of American artillery, British tanks, and Australian and Dutch troops, the defenses collapsed. On March 9, the Dutch East Indies surrendered. The Japanese had expected to conquer the oil- and resource-rich archipelago in six months. They did it in three.
Many things contributed to the failure of the Allies at the Battle of the Java Sea. Foremost was the inferiority of Allied numbers and power to the Japanese force. The Japanese vessels were modern, equipped with powerful torpedoes, and had crews well trained in using them. The Allied sailors were long-service veterans, but they had not trained or worked together for any length of time and were operating elderly ships with inefficient weapons.
The American destroyers dated back to 1916, and their torpedoes did not detonate.
Most importantly, the command structure in the Dutch East Indies was the first such attempt by the Allies to create a unified multinational force. It lacked unity, cohesion, common communications procedures, and clear chains of command and authority.
Later in the war, when multinational Allied forces invaded Sicily, Italy, France, Burma, and Germany, the command procedures were more authoritative and clear, weaponry and communications unified, tactics simplified. The multinational Allied fleet that returned to Java to bombard and shell Japanese installations and oil fields in 1944 would bear little resemblance to the fleet that went down at the Java Sea beyond the national flags that flew over the attacking warships.
Now just imagine doing this in some Sunny Clime like say Burma. With its 90 plus degrees and almost 100% humidity.
Plus just to make it more fun. Throw in a mess of Bugs whose sole mission in life is to make you super sick & or dead asap!
There is a reason why we admire these Folks so much! Grumpy
Wall-to-Wall counseling has been around longer than the American military.
Many famed units used it as their primary motivational tool, and some used nothing else. It’s still prevalent in many hardened military units.
The citizens of the city-state of Sparta, Greece, didn’t mess around. Wall-to-wall counseling was the order of the day among the Spartan. The Spartans believed in hard training and hard discipline, and wall-to-wall counseling is about the hardest kind of discipline that there is. The Spartans were feared both in war and at peace, and they worked hard to maintain their image. Babies were quality controlled at the time of their birth, and any not meeting the standards were put on the sides of mountains to die Needless to say, until the day when wall-to-wall counseling completely erased the desire of the citizens of Sparta to perpetuate the race, nobody screwed with these people.
General George S. Patton, the famed World War II tank corps commander was a great fan of wall-to-wall counseling. It showed in the, way he led his troops. He never used a kind word when a foul one would do just as well. One of his most famous wall-to-wall counseling sessions occurred in a field hospital Patton believed that combat fatigue was cowardice, and promised to shoot anyone exhibiting it. On a trip through a field hospital, he ran across a shell-shocked private. When the private claimed that he could hear the shells flying overhead but not exploding, Patton became furious He slapped the soldiers in the head, waved a loaded pistol in his face and called him a pussy. Then he ordered him back to the front to fight “so the brave soldiers in this hospital won’t be contaminated by this coward.” That Patton was not punished as severely as he should have been for this deed shows that wall-to-wall counseling has a place in the US Army.
US Soldiers In action around the world in action!
The South Korean Army
The Army of the Republic of Korea uses wall-to-wall counseling in its daily operation. It is sanctioned and approved by the Ministry of Defense. South Koreans feel that the harsher peacetime is, the less the soldier will notice the hardships of combat with North Korea Wall-to-Wall counseling rises to its zenith with the ROK discipline board This group wall-to-wall counseling session is convened for offenses that would result in punishment by court-martial in the US Army. The soldier walks into the discipline board. Is wall-to-wall counseled, and is carried out of the board, either on a stretcher or on ice. While US Army waIl-to-wall counseling is not likely to result in serious death to the soldier, the Korean discipline board is a model to be emulated by all US Army units.
When should you wall-to-wall counsel?
You should wall-to-wall counsel a soldier when he needs it And all soldiers occasionally need wall-to-wall counseling.
Determining when this most severe of leadership techniques is warranted requires the leader to intimately know his soldiers and be aware of when a soldier is far enough gone that a swat in the head is the only thing that will adjust his behavior.
Simple infractions can be dealt with quickly by a simple ass-beating. Soldiers appreciate this, as it saves them the hassle of having to visit the commander for UCMJ action.
Soldiers arriving late for military functions should be screened carefully before being wall-to-wall counseled. A soldier who has never before been late would not benefit from having the shit beat out of him; indeed, it will only destroy his motivation. A soldier who has been late for the past four months, on the other hand, is possibly incorrigible and a well-deserved ass-beating would not only be profitable, but enjoyable. Especially if the soldier has caused you to visit the company commander on less-than-friendly terms.
Soldiers who have proven themselves incapable of performing the demands of their chosen profession may indeed be candidates for wall-to-wall counseling. The source of their incompetence must be determined before harsh measures are implemented, though. If a soldier has just graduated from Initial Entry Training and has never performed his job, corporal punishment would not be a good idea. If, on the other hand, he has performed his MOS for the last two years and still does not know shit from Shinola, the soldier deserves his ass beat and it should be performed at the earliest possible opportunity.
Challenging or defying Authority
Soldiers who harass their leaders are prime candidates for ass-beating. In this case, the soldier should not be given an opportunity to try to pull anything on you the second time. If the soldier harasses or ignores you, kick the shit out of him. Enough said.
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Off Soldiers who fart off should be treated the same as those who fuck with their leaders. Any soldier found sleeping in the back seat of their vehicle in the motor pool instead of working on it should be immediately taken in front of his whole platoon and have the shit kicked out of him. No slack can be placed on soldiers of this nature. The rest of the platoon will appreciate you.
Soldiers found guilty of major transgressions will be punished by the military authorities.
A soldier who kills another soldier will probably be shot. However, long wall-to-wall counseling sessions prior to the arrival of the military police are appropriate in cases where the transgression was against another soldier, and are best conducted in the presence of the wronged soldier. If the wronged soldier is still alive, he or she should be invited to join in to the session, as he or she will feel that revenge is called for and participating in the session will help to heal mental wounds caused by the perpetrator.
No offense is as damaging to the victim as rape. Murder does not come close, since the victim is dead and knows nothing. A raped soldier will have psychological scars for the rest of his or her life. A male soldier who is the victim of a homosexual rape is especially damaged, and many commit suicide rather than live with this burden immediate wall-to-wall counseling is required, and it must be so severe that bones are broken. Dimension lumber must be used during this session, and the minimum length of the session is three hours. If any part of the rapist’s body has not been hit with the board, the session is not complete. At least one arm and one leg will be broken during the session and the testicles will be hit at least ten times.
Coming close to rape in its severity is murder. The victim will not be able to participate in the counseling, of course. A long counseling session with a baseball bat and jackboots will be initiated and will continue only until the perpetrator is unconscious. Then the murderer must be revived and beat on some more.
Arson, of course, affects us all. Besides the possibility of losing your life, seeing all your shit go up in smoke and having to sleep in the street for the next three years, arsonists steal unit morale, cohesion and esprit de corps. After all, if you can’t trust someone to not burn your place down, how can you trust him in a combat situation? Arsonists are very simple to counsel. They are to be placed in the burning building and the doors are to be locked.
Robbery, burglary and barracks thievery
These crimes also affect unit morale. When a soldier rips off your stuff, all you want to do is kill him. Well, if it’s your shit, go ahead and do him in. In fact, do more than that. If however, it wasn’t your shit he took, you should let the wronged do the little shit head. Popular punishments for barracks thieves include the soldier falling down the stairs twenty or thirty times. Soldiers have also been penned into their rooms and tear gas powder blown under the door with a hair dryer. Anything cruel is good barracks thieves. In fact, it is best if you hold a formation to make the entire battalion observe the barracks thief being killed. People who do shit like this do not deserve to live, as they are far below contempt. I would rather have Russians distroing message traffic than a barracks thief in the company. And I definitely do not want Russians pulling WSC.
Other serious offenses
There are many serious offenses that require only moderate amounts of wall-to-wall counseling.
These are normally simple offenses, but are compounded by their circumstances. WaIl-to-wall counseling is demanded before these things get out of hand.
Failure to make coffee for the dayhos
A coffeeless dayho is a grouchy dayho, and grouchy dayhos tend to think of stupid shit for us to do. Any trick worker aware that the dayho coffeepot is empty who does not take steps to remedy this condition will immediately be hit in the head with dimension lumber. If they do it twice, they will be sent to ORMA for the next six months to make coffee and type memorandums which forbid trick workers to breathe.
Excessive errors on reports
Reporters who make excessive errors on their reports cause extra work for their QCs. All reporters who are found to have made more than three errors on a report will be hit on the side of the head with a base ball bat.
Some soldiers believe that they are God’s gift to the Army. They believe that they do not need to do Army things, like going to formation and doing PT. Some are so bad, they think they are better than their superiors. This is especially bad when the soldier in question is a college graduate and the super-visor is a high school graduate. These soldiers believe their leaders are bone headed morons and will not listen to them. Others believe that the only measure of a soldier is whether that soldier has been to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. The linguist-nonlinguist battle occasionally gets so bad that there are verbal abuses thrown around in several languages, none of them clean. What is the leader to do? The leader has no one to blame but himself if he does not use wall-to-wall counseling to correct this problem. A quick Jap slap will straighten out this bullshit before it gets any worse.
Determining when wall-to-wall counseling is inappropriate
Although an effective technique when properly used, there are some places where wall-to-wall counseling is the wrong thing to do.
Conducting a wall-to-wall counseling session in front of the 7th Army commander, for instance, would probably not be the wisest decision, as it would probably lead to the initiation of a relief for cause NCOER. However, the presence of high level VIPs should not be the only determinant in the decision to delay or withhold a wall-to-wall counseling session.
Soldier’s physical size
Always consider the size of the soldier before initiating a wall-to-wall counseling session. If the soldier is twice your size and his forearms are bigger than your thighs, and the soldier still requires wall-to-wall counseling, a partner will be required. Details on selecting a partner will be covered in the chapter titled “Preparing for a wall-to-wall counseling session.”
Soldier’s hobbies and interests
While leadership actions rarely require you to take into account the soldier’s hobbies, this is one place where knowledge of what the soldier does for fun may prove immensely helpful. If the soldier is heavily involved in kick boxing, martial arts or just happens to be the world heavyweight wrestling champion, a simple wall-to-wall counseling session may turn into a trip to the hospital for both the leader and his assistants. In such cases, restraint and discipline will prove profitable for all concerned.
Wall-to-wall counseling after drinking binges
Leadership actions should never be conducted while you are impaired by alcohol. Ass-beatings given after a six-pack have three drawbacks:
The soldier will not realize the purpose of the session. He will, instead, believe that you got wasted and beat the shit out of him for no reason whatsoever. You will lose respect m the soldier’s eyes as well as in the eyes of the rest of your unit. The soldier may decide to reciprocate and wall-to-wall counsel you at a later time on your transgression. Since wall-to-wall counseling is a tool only the wise leader who knows his troops intimately can properly use, its use by subordinates who may decide to rashly apply it is inadvisable.
The soldier may decide he has been assaulted and call the military police. Since the MPs take a dim view of leaders who get drunk off their asses and beat up on subordinates, you may find yourself facing a court-martial you never intended to face.
Perhaps most importantly, the leader may have gotten so drunk that the subordinate is able to turn the counseling session into a first-rate ass beating directed against the leader.
Since the hospital will treat your injuries as an “alcohol related incident,” they will call your commander (who may have never read this field manual) who will enroll you in the detox program. The detox program, especially if they put you on Track III (residential treatment facility) rates in the entertainment department right up there with getting checked for the clap.
When counselee is counselor’s sexual partner
In the section about conducting wall-to-wall counseling while under the influence of alcohol, we pointed out that the leader must know his troops intimately in order to effectively counsel them. When the leader knows the counselee too intimately, though, there are bound to be inherent problems with the session. First, you can safely figure that you will never again get into this lady’s pants after the session is done. Second, she will probably tell the commander what the two of you have been doing for the last six months, and then you will have some very heavy explaining to do. Third, but not least, she will tell every other female on post what you did, and then you will get no more pussy for the rest of the time you are stationed at that post…even in the red light district with a fifty dollar bill pinned to your jacket. Therefore, the best advice at this stage of the game is: don’t sleep with your subordinates.
Preparing for a wall-to-wall counseling session
More counseling sessions have been ruined by poor preparation than by anything else.
Wall-to-wall counseling is no different from any other counseling in this respect. However, wall-to-wall counseling imposes its own special considerations due to its violent nature.
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Dress for success–mean and lean
A leader must be properly dressed to gain the respect and confidence of his subordinates. A wall-to-wall counselor’s dress must also inspire confidence. The soldier must be very confident not only that he is going to get his ass beat, but that this man who is standing in front of him preparing to beat his ass is in fact the one who will do it. A military uniform is very much the wrong garment to wear to a waIl-to-wall counseling session, though. More radical dress is called for. A stop by a clothing store catering to members of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club is in order. Basically, you want to look like Attila the Hun. Full leathers are good for extra protection should the soldier attempt to fight back. Proper jewelry is important. Spiked wristlets not only enhance the terror you want to instill in the soldier, but if properly weighted can increase the pain and damage which a sidearm blow to the solar plexus can cause. Wearing a large Eric the Red biker’s ring will not only make you look tough, but the half pound of metal it contains will increase the effectiveness of punches. Wearing a Hell’s Angels’ deaths-head earring, though, isn’t such a good idea. Although it’s an intimidating item, the counselee may grab it and pull, and then you are in a world of hurt. If you plan to conduct many wall-to-wall counseling sessions, interesting in some large tattoos of Vikings beheading people with blood-covered swords would be a good idea. Additionally, the pain endured while they are being done will toughen you up and make you a more effective counselor. Watching films like The Road Warrior; The Last Boys and Conan the Barbarian will give you more apparel ideas.
The room in which waIl-to-waIl counseling sessions are conducted has a great deal to do with the success of the session. Not only do you not want to be interrupted during the session, but you do not any large objects behind which the soldier can hide or which the soldier can push you into and hurt you.
Modern construction standards, in which large amounts of sheet rock are used, have changed the face of waIl-to-wall counseling. When was were built of plaster and lath, you could bounce the soldier off the walls a few times, kick him in the nuts once or twice, swat him in the head and that would be the end of it There were no worries that the room would survive the counseling session, because you knew that it would. However, you can easily throw a soldier through a sheet rock wall. The Army will make you pay for any walls you damage during counseling. Therefore, you want a large, strong room to conduct your wall-to-wall counseling sessions in.
Before calling the soldier in for his wall-to-wall counseling session, inspect the room thoroughly. Make sure the door is of good quality and is equipped with a working door lock. The lock is important not only to keep the session from being interrupted prior to its conclusion, but also to hinder the soldier’s leaving prior to having received the full impact of the lessons you are teaching him. Try to find a room without any windows.
If this cannot be attained, windows placed high on the wail are acceptable. Not only will the lack of windows prevent others from looking in and observing the wall-to-wall counseling session, but if the session gets really intense, the soldier could accidentally push you into the window, breaking it and injuring you. The purpose of a wall-to-waIl counseling session is to impart the maximum learning and pain upon the counselee with the least amount of damage to the counselor’s body, and a glass shard in your ass is a poor reason to prematurely terminate a session.
However, in a windowless room lighting takes on prime importance. You need to see the soldier so that you know where to hit him next, and the soldier needs to see you hitting him. Make sure the lights work and that the light switch is covered with a piece of green tape to prevent the soldier from easily turning the lights off.
Inform the soldier
After the area is selected and prepared, but before you dress for the session, find the soldier inform him of the time and place of the session. Also give a reason for the session. Don’t approach the soldier and tell him “You’re a fuck up and I’m going to beat your ass at 1530 in the first sergeant’s office.” This puts the soldier on the defensive. Instead, tell the soldier “Meet me in the first sergeant’s office at 1530. I want to talk to you about your performance at NTC last month.” (You can tell him that he’s a fuck up and is going to get his ass beat when he gets to the first sergeant’s office.)
Find counseling assistants
You usually want to conduct wall-to-wall counseling sessions on a one-to-one basis. This is fine you’re counseling a 120 pound basic trainee who doesn’t know shit anyway. If, however, you’re counseling the captain of the Fort Hood Boxing Team and you are a 135-pound woman, you may want to get two or three assistants.
It is simple to find them. Visit the gymnasium and go to the weight room. If you see someone is there putting many fifty-pound plates on a bar and then doing curls and 20 bench presses then you’ve found your man. It’s even better if he is in your unit and hasn’t yet been instigated in an assault case.
If you can’t find anyone like that, though, look for boxers, wrestler or anyone else who fights for fun. The ideal waIl-to-waII counselor has a six-foot reach, fists the size of volleyballs, can bench 35-pounds, runs ten miles a day and has over 20 knockouts.
If you can’t get Mike Tyson to assist you in your counseling session, though, anyone who maxs his PT test would be good too.
The wall-to-wall counselor’s toolkit
Although many successful wall-to-wall counselors have conducted sessions using nothing but their bare hands, a small toolkit will ease your job, especially in those critical first few sessions.
A wall-to-wall counseling toolkit does not have to be elaborate or expensive. In fact, you probably have all materials in your unit right now, and all that it takes to use them is a little imagination.
No leader can consider himself a wall-to-wall counselor without possessing a good baseball bat technique. A regulation baseball or softball bat is good. Wood or aluminum, short or long, any bat will do as long as it is not splintered. A splintered bat may break during those long swings. Viewing the film The Untouchables will give you ideas on baseball bat technique. You can invent new techniques as you go along.
Although dimension lumber is usually used in the same manner as baseball bats, other techniques for its use are easily devised. A two-by-four is a handy thing to have. Cut two of them. One needs to be three feet long, while the other should be four to five feet long. Drive six nails into the longer one so that the sharp ends of them stick out of the board. This is nailed high on the wall of the counseling morn and is primarily there for shock effect.
If a baseball bat is also available, have your assistant grab the counselee’s arms and pull them be-hind his back. Place the board even with the elbows, pull the arms dawn to the body and secure with green tape. This prevents the soldier from attempting to assault his leader.
If two-by-twelves can be obtained, get one about six feet long. While it is not suitable for swinging, the counselee can be secured to it with green tape, lifted high in the air with the aid of your assistant and dropped.
Pool cues are quickly falling out of favor among the modern wall-to-waIl counselor. It is still effective for barroom brawls when the proprietor will not allow you to bring in your toolkit. It is also good for when immediate wall-to-wall counseling is called for and you can’t go out to your car to get a tire iron or a jack handle.
The pool cue sits in a strange and unenviable position among weapons: If held so that it can do some good, it is easily broken; if it is held so that it will not break during blows, it is not long enough to do much good. It is also more expensive than either a two-by-four or a baseball bat. In all, the baseball bat is a much more satisfying tool than the pool cue.
Although wall-to-wall counseling is much more challenging and rewarding when a soldier is free to move and fight back, many counselors prefer the expediency of beating someone’s ass while he is tied up.
By taping the arms to the sides as detailed in the Dimension Lumber section, counseling may be accomplished quicker and with less hassle. Many items may be used for restraints; here we list but a few.
Available at all police supply stores, handcuffs are an easy, effective way to restrain the counselee. Two pairs should be used if no assistant is available. One end of the cuffs is attached to the soldier, the other to a pipe or other support. The soldier may also be hand cuffed to an object by putting his hands behind the object and the cuffs snapped on from there. The new “cable-tie” style handcuff is a cost-effective and useful restraint. It is usually long enough to secure the feet and is available for mere pennies. Its only drawback is that it is only usable once; it must be cut off cut off after the session and thrown away.
The Army standby, green tape, better known as hundred-mile-an-hour tape, is effective as a short-term restraint, providing the soldier is not strong enough to break it. It is available in several widths; the standard 2″ width is sufficient for most soldiers. The almost-unobtainable 6″ width is not good for wall-to-wall counseling due to its extreme width and liability to twist at the slightest provocation. It is also more expensive.
Ropes are only marginally acceptable as restraints, but are good for tying the soldier to trees in the field and for dangling him from fire escapes by the ankles or wrists. If the counselor intends to hang the soldier from a fire escape, though, special care must be taken in the selection of the rope to insure that the weight of the soldier will not break the rope and cause him to land on his head and die. Army issue rappelling rope is the best obtainable wall-to-wall counseling rope due to its high strength and easy availability.
Conducting the wall-to-wall counseling session
Wall-to-wall counseling can be conducted in many ways.
For on-the-spot counseling, a quick swat across the back of the head with a closed fist or a slap in the face will probably be sufficient. For prolonged periods of misconduct by the soldier, prolonged periods of wall-to-wall counseling are in order. All wall-to-wall counseling sessions, though, are notable for their intensity and aggressiveness. The counselor should have a broad range of counseling methods available to him. He would be wise to study boxing manuals for additional suggestions. Enrolling in a martial arts class would also be a good idea, if he has the time to spare. In addition to improving counseling skills, the martial arts teach patience, discipline and self-control…all desirable traits for any leader.
The basic blows used in wall-to-wall counseling are the jab, hook, uppercut and knee to the nuts. These are also basic street fighting techniques
The jab is performed by pulling the closed fist back and striking the counselee with a generally straight motion. It is a quick and handy technique. Which will find much use in your daily counseling.
A hook is a sideways-curving stroke. It may be performed with either hand. It is best to know which hand the counselee prefers, so that you can use the same band to hit him with. In this manner, the danger of the counselee blocking your shot is greatly reduced. It is another blow which will prove itself worthy of inclusion in your counseling repertoire.
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Similar to the book, the uppercut is an upward-curving stroke. It is best used on the solar plexus and the jaw. If the counselee sticks his tongue out at you, the best cure is a swift upper-cut. If you are sufficiently forceful, you can succeed in clipping off the counselee’s tongue, and therefore prevent him from talking back, at least until they sew it back on. Although a good blow, the jab and hook are generally more useful and therefore should receive more of your training hours. However, the uppercut will find use in your sessions, and so you must be prepared to use it.
Knee in the nuts
Needless to say, this doesn’t work very well with female soldiers! However, most wall-to-wall counselees are male, and on them it is probably your most effective blow. Just flex the knee upward until it hits the balls. Alternately, if you can get your foot up that high, you can kick them in the balls with it. If you have performed this hard enough, the counselee will immediately drop to his knees. It will be the only blow you will need. If the soldier does not drop to his knees, you are counseling either an extremely flat and ugly woman or a eunuch. In neither case will this blow work, and in both cases you have just entered a world of shit.
Advanced blows include the Jap slap, boot to the head and tool techniques. These are effective, but more-limited, counseling techniques.
Everyone has seen karate movies, How can the jap slap, which is performed by slapping the soldier on one side of the face and immediately following it with a backhand to the other side of the face, be considered an advanced move? Simple. Both blows must be of equal intensity to have the greatest effect. If one blow knocks the head out of the socket, the other must put it back in. The backhand is usually the most intense blow, and is performed last. It takes much practice to make them equal.
The ideal object to practice with is the heavy punching bag found in all Army gymnasiums. On any given day, you will find many wall-to-wall counselors practicing their Jap slaps against this bag, so you may need to wait in line. Rest assured that the wait is well worth it.
If your unit’s leaders embrace wall-to-wall counseling as a common leadership technique, you may be able to convince the Unit Fund Council to install its own heavy bag. If you are in an in an infantry unit or are in charge of many O5Ks, though, the sheer number of counselees will provide sufficient opportunity to practice and hone your technique. Still, there is no substitute for the heavy bag. Not even an 05K can rep lace it, though some of the new ones come dose.
Boot to the head
This is just what it sounds like…you kick the standing soldier in the side of the head with your foot. Whether you have a boot on will depend on the circumstances. If you are counseling a soldier during a field problem, you most definitely will have on a boot, and the extra mud caked in the sole will enhance the effectiveness of the blow. If, however, you find a soldier smoking grass in the barracks, you may not have a boot on, though you might want to go put one on. In fact, you might not have anything at all on. It’s obvious why this is an advanced blow: can you raise your foot six feet in the air without falling on your ass? Martial arts training is a definite asset to counselors employing this technique.
These include baseball bat blows, dimension lumber work, and chains. They also include the use of restraints. They are easy to use but also require great discipline to ensure that the soldier survives the counseling. No directions will be given here. We leave that for the counselor to figure out for himself. Creativity is one of the hallmarks of a good leader.
Using these techniques
Wall-to-wall counseling is much like any other counseling.
You choose the place, inform the counselee, meet him there, counsel him until his problem is solved and conduct follow-up actions. In wall-to-wall counseling, though, how you determine when his problem is solved is when he screams for mercy. Then you hit him once or twice more to reinforce the counseling session and make sure the problem stays solved, and only then end the counseling session.
Determining how much wall-to-wall counseling is enough
The successful wall-to-wall counselor needs to be able to determine how much wall-to-wall counseling to give. A soldier who misses one formation can be sufficiently counseled by hitting them once in the back of the head. A soldier who missed every formation since he arrived at the unit two years ago, however, will require counseling with dimension lumber and a baseball bat. The counselor will quickly learn the proper amount of counseling to give.
Of course, if the soldier is a rapist, robber or murderer, just start your wall-to-wall counseling session and continue until the military police arrive.
No counseling is complete without follow-up actions. This is especially true in wall-to-wall counseling. Following up a wall-to-wall counseling session is covered in the chapters entitled “Triage” and “Legal problems.”
The counselor should be prepared to wash his hands of the whole matter, especially if the session drew blood. The counselor should, therefore, place a bar of Lava soap in the latrine prior to the session. Its gritty consistency will remove all traces of blood from your fingers, and it will help to dean off your baseball bat, too.
The soldier may need immediate medical attention following a wall-to-wall counseling session, especially if you used a baseball bat during it.
If the soldier is a true fuck up, broken bones, internal injuries and hemorrhaging may have occurred. Inspect the soldier to make sure he is still conscious, still breathing and does not appear to have any external damage or signs of internal damage (blood or cranial fluid leaking from the ears is generally a sign that the counseling session was a little too thorough). One of the three is generally sufficient. If the soldier can still move following the session, immediately restrict him to his room. If he is not breathing and will not obey a direct order to resume breathing, perform rescue breathing and then beat his ass some more after you revive him. If his heart stops, apply CPR and then recounsel him for inability to remain alive during a counseling session. Not hitting the soldier right over the heart or the top of the head may cut down on the frequency and severity of death among your counselees.
If the soldier beats your ass during counseling, though, there is little you can do. If you aren’t fucked up too badly, you can just lick you wounds and hope the bruises heal before your wife sees you. If you need to be ambulanced off to the hospital, though, you can tell the judge that the soldier hit you first. If the judge believes your integrity (and he should…after all you outrank the soldier who kicked your ass. If you don’t, you may be in deep kimchi…) you should be all right, especially if the soldier actually did hit you first If you hit the counselee first and he still beat you up, then you need to spend more time in the gym.
Some unenlightened legal personnel, including the MPs and JAG, may not have read this manual.
Therefore, they might not recognize the corrective nature of your actions and instead term them “brutal, heartless assault,” which is also true. The solution to this problem is preparedness: Requisition sufficient copies of this manual so that everyone on post that can legally fuck you over can have one. Once these people have read this manual, they will respect you for having made the wise and just decision to wall-to-wall counsel.
If, on the other hand, you are dumb or overanxious and hold a wall-to-wall counseling session without having made the proper preparations, you need to be prepared for the worst. Simply bring this manual to your court-martial. After the judge reads it, you are certain to be acquitted.
There is one very large proviso, though: if you have to bring the soldier back from the dead as a result of your wall-to-wall counseling session, however, you are up shit creek and have no paddle. If you succeed in killing the soldier and he stay dead no matter how strict your order to resume living is, then you way be certain that you are going to jail. In this case, you will not get fucked with too badly. Just inform all the inmates that you are in jail because you beat another man to death with your bare hands and no one will even think about touching or going near you. No one likes the idea of being the next in line.
Wall-to-wall counseling is an effective leadership technique when it is properly applied.
Unfortunately, not every situation is the same. What works well in one instance way get you killed under other circumstances. We present some sample situations for your perusal and study.
Soldiers who are armed (for example, military police) with loaded weapons present special challenges and problems to the wall-to-wall counselor. The problem is the gun. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a favorite slogan of the National Rifle Association. No shit. However, the gun is going to be used to kill you if you start beating on the soldier who has it. Therefore, the first step in this counseling session is to get the gun away from the soldier. If the soldier will voluntarily surrender his gun, he is a disciplined individual. He is also a stupid motherfucker. If the soldier is dumb enough to give you his gun, he deserves to have his ass beat. If the soldier is not dumb enough to give you his gun you will be forced to take it from him. The best things to use for this are larger guns and partners. Your partner can hold the soldier from behind in a full-nelson while you relieve the soldier of his lethal burden. If you have no partner, larger guns are handy. If the soldier carries a .38-caliber revolver, pull out a .45 auto. If the soldier has a .45, you need an M-16. If he has an M-16, you need an M-60 machine gun (If the soldier is the gunner on a Vulcan, Chaparral missile system or field artillery piece, you’re really fucked…) Once the soldier is free from things that can kill you, feel free to beat the living fuck out of him.
Most lieutenants require daily wall-to-wall counseling for the first three years of their Army career. Unfortunately, the Army frowns on beating up lieutenants in your chain of command. In fact, it disapproves of beating up any lieutenants. Something about them outranking you. Therefore, the easiest solution is to find someone in another unit to come over in civilian clothes and counsel your lieutenant.
Dayhos a-re especially fun to wall-to-wall counsel because they act like they are God. In fact, God has decreed that we beat up dayhos whenever they fuck up. For some, this is two or three times a day. For others, it’s hourly. And then you have the dayhos who are really stupid mother fuckers. The only distinction you need to make is whether the dayho out ranks you. If he does not, feel free to beat the holy shit out of them. If they do on rank you, only counsel them once a day, whether they need it or not They usually do.
The problem with wall-to-wall counseling civilians is that there are actually such a thing as civilian policemen, and they will actually throw you in a civilian jail where you will be immediately considered fresh meat and fucked right up the ass by some AIDS-infested Hell’s Angel, and then you will die. Therefore, it may be a good idea to bring the civilian on post, where civilian cops have no jurisdiction. Then you are more than welcome to work them over in any manner you like. A big secondary problem is that some civilians carry guns and/or do drugs. People carrying guns fall into two categories: those who are members of the police and those who are not. Those who are police are generally more disciplined but are better trained in the use of their guns. This means that they might not shoot at you but will definitely hit you if they do. Drug pushers, bank robbers, murderers and other common rabble will probably shoot at you but may not hit you. Unfortunately, some well-heeled cruds are buying black market submachine guns and carrying them under their jackets. These guns, whose ranks include the Uzi and the Ingram MAC-10, are equipped with large-capacity magazines and can pump out more lead per minute than an M-60 machine gun. When the criminal pulls one of these, he will use it to hose down targets of opportunity, which in this case means you.
If you feel the urge to wall-to-wall counsel a drug dealer, use a shotgun. It’s easier and faster. It does make a mess, but you can console yourself with the fact that you are helping to make America a safer place.
Wall-to-wall Career Counseling
Every leader has been through it. We all know the soldier who can’t seem to make up his mind as to what he wants to do with his life. One day he wants to be an Airborne Ranger. Two days later he wants to go to DLI to study Urdu. And the next week he wants to get out of the Army and grow marijuana in 0regon. What do you do? What can you say? This is what you do and what you say.
When the soldier makes the eighteenth decision on the same day, you take him behind the racks, grab his collar, slam him into a rack door, and yell in his face, “What the fuck are you doing? Make up your God-damned mind what you want to do! Now!” In those words, and at the top of your voice. Swat him twice across the head for GP and put him back to work. I can more than guarantee he will decide to stay in the Army within ten minutes and figure out what he wants to do within twenty minutes, especially if you inform him you are going to kick his ass some more in an hour if he does not.
Wall-to-wall child care and upbringing
There is no parent alive or dead who has not been faced with a child who wants to do nothing but cause his parents and everyone around him grief. From their incessant “Momma, can I have a puppy?” whine to the temper tantrums they throw when they’re not allowed to stay up to watch Behind the Green Door on the Playboy Channel at three in the morning, their entire life seems to be designed to piss off everyone around them. And the worst part is that they don’t learn when you spank them. In fact, some of the more incorrigible youths of today seem to become more rebellious when you spank them or ground them. And with the overcrowding in our prisons as bad as it is, having the police pick them up usually won’t help, as they’ll be released on their-own recognizance in an hour.
However, there is an easy, quick way to deal with your frustrations and anxieties caused by the upbringing of undisciplined little brats. Needless to say, it involves wall-to-wall counseling. First, leave this manual on the coffee table so that they can read it and learn what you will do to them the next time they fuck up. Then, next time they make even the slightest slip, let them have it with both barrels. Baseball bats, dimension lumber, hundred-mile-an-hour tape, bare fists, anything you can think of is good. The only thing you need to be aware of is that wall-to-wall counseling a child to death is quite a bit easier than with that private you hit in the privates this morning. So go a little easy on them But just a little.
“It shouldn’t hurt to be a child,” the AFN commercial admonishes. Well, it shouldn’t hurt to be a parent, either! After you wall-to-wall counsel your children two or three times, your life will become much easier. And if you counsel your little girl on top of the head enough times, her head will become flat, and she will be able to get a lot more boyfriends. So it works out better for everyone.
A sample wall-to-wall counseling session
The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
SGT Joe Snuffy was out with his friends across from a small Army base in a foreign country. After having a few beers, but not enough to cloud his judgment, he observed a soldier in the small restaurant he was in acting like a fool. The soldier was being obnoxious, yelling at the top of his lungs, embarrassing the women in the restaurant, and generally degrading the image of the Army. SGT Snuff decided to take action.
SGT Snuffy had SPC John Holmes summon the obnoxious soldier to come outside the restaurant for a simple talk. The soldier, SPC Jack Meoff, came outside in a very belligerent manner. SPC Meoff took off his jacket in a threatening manner and unprofessionally swore at SGT Snuffy. SPC Meoff was rip roaring drunk. He hit and pushed SGT Snuffy, SPC Holmes, and several of their friends. He even hit two of them with a plastic chair. SGT Snuffy took action. He wall-to-wall counseled SPC Meoff striking him with two punches. SPC Meoff fell to the ground. The MPs came and took the unrestrained SGT Snuff to the MP station in a squad car. SPC Meoff had to be cast into irons for his trip to the MP station.
Lessons learned by this wall-to-wall counseling session:
1) Never conduct a wall-to-wall counseling session when you are drunk, unless you have to.
2) Never conduct one in plain sight of the front gate of a military installation.
3) And, most importantly, when wall-to-wall counseling is called for, DO IT.
The most decorated dog of WWI is preserved in the Smithsonian for his heroism.
The bravest dog of World War I started his military career as a stray who wandered onto Yale Field, and became the mascot of the 102 Infantry 26th Yankee Division. Yet unlike most mascots, Stubby, a pit bull mix named for his short tail, went to war and experienced 17 major battles on the Western Front.
Following training with his division, the beloved dog was snuck onboard by his unit’s soldiers. After being discovered, Stubby won over the commanding officer by sitting and saluting with his paw at the command to “Present Arms.”
He stayed with the soldiers for 18 months, once being hospitalized for mustard gas, another time being injured by a German grenade. He proved an invaluable compatriot as he could warn of mustard gas attacks, hear incoming missiles before the men, and find the living wounded in No Man’s Land.
He even caught a German spy hiding in the bushes, for which he was promoted to Sergeant, the only dog to have such a position in the US Army at that time.
The most decorated dog of World War I returned to his country a hero, met with presidents and was draped with medals that he wore on his coat.
With his longtime master Robert Conroy, he went on to attend Georgetown University Law where he continued to raise morale as the school mascot, even learning to push around a football on the field at halftime to the cheers of the crowd.
As a tribute to his memory, his ashes were placed inside a taxidermy of the dog, which is now front and center in the “Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Know Before You Go
All military dogs have one rank above their handlers. This is to maintain order and discipline among soldiers so that if they abuse, neglect or even fail to heed the feedback of the dog (especially with bomb or drug sniffers) the soldiers can get UCMJ (punishment)
I am a huge fan of Robert A Heinlein, his book “Star-ship trooper” is still to me the best military SCIFI out there….with apologies to Peter whom to me writes some really good books in his own right. I really like the part of Star-ship trooper that to be a citizen and to vote was to first serve. Only serving do you understand the responsibility of being a citizen and what it entails. This speech was given to the United States Naval Academy in 1973 during the aftermath of the first hippie movement.
I shamelessly clipped this in its entirety from Matt Bracken via twitter/Facebook I had read the entire thing and it did resonate with me, the thought of patriotism and willing to sacrifice for the greater good…and not in the feel good hippie bullcrap kind of way.
Robert Heinlein, speech at the Naval Academy on patriotism, 1973.
(To the Brigade at large:)
Why are you here?
(To a second plebe:)
Mister, why are YOU here?
Never mind, son; that’s a rhetorical question. You are here to become a naval officer. That’s why this Academy was founded. That is why all of you are here: to become naval officers. If that is NOT why YOU are here, you’ve made a bad mistake. But I speak to the overwhelming majority who understood the oath they took on becoming midshipmen and look forward to the day when they will renew that oath as commissioned officers.
But why would anyone want to become a naval officer? In the present dismal state of our culture there is little prestige attached to serving your country; recent public opinion polls place military service far down the list.
It can’t be the pay. No one gets rich on the pay. Even a 4-star admiral is paid much less than top executives in other lines. As for lower ranks, the typical naval officer finds himself throughout his career just catching up from the unexpected expenses connected with the last change of duty when another change of duty causes a new financial crisis. Then, when he is about fifty, he is passed over and retires… but he can’t really retire because he has two kids in college and one still to go. So he has to find a job… and discovers that jobs for men his age are scarce and usually don’t pay well.
Working conditions? You’ll spend half your life away from your family. Your working hours? ‘Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.’ A forty-hour week is standard for civilians – but not for naval officers. You’ll work that forty-hour week, but that’s just a starter. You’ll stand a night watch as well, and duty weekends. Then with every increase in grade your hours get longer – until at last you get a ship of your own and no longer stand watches. Instead you are on duty twenty-four hours a day… and you’ll sign your night order book with: ‘In case of doubt, do not hesitate to call me.’
I don’t know the average week’s work for a naval officer but it’s closer to sixty than to forty. I’m speaking of peacetime, of course. Under war conditions it is whatever hours are necessary – and sleep you grab when you can.
Why would anyone elect a career which is unappreciated, overworked, and underpaid? It can’t be just to wear a pretty uniform. There has to be a better reason.
As one drives through the bushveldt of East Africa it is easy to spot herds of baboons grazing on the ground. But not by looking at the ground. Instead you look up and spot the lookout, an adult male posted on a limb of a tree where he has a clear view all around him – which is why you can spot him; he has to be where he can see a leopard in time to give the alarm. On the ground a leopard can catch a baboon… but if a baboon is warned in time to reach the trees, he can out-climb a leopard. The lookout is a young male assigned to that duty and there he will stay, until the bull of the herd sends up another male to relieve him. Keep your eye on that baboon; we’ll be back to him.
Today, in the United States, it is popular among self-styled ‘intellectuals’ to sneer at patriotism. They seem to think that it is axiomatic that any civilized man is a pacifist, and they treat the military profession with contempt. ‘Warmongers’ – ‘Imperialists’ – ‘Hired killers in uniform’ – you have all heard such sneers and you will hear them again. One of their favorite quotations is: ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ What they never mention is that the man who made that sneering remark was a fat, gluttonous slob who was pursued all his life by a pathological fear of death.
I propose to prove that that baboon on watch is morally superior to that fat poltroon who made that
wisecrack. Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics. But in the present decadent atmosphere patriots are often too shy to talk about it – as if it were something shameful or an irrational weakness. But patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor is it something dreamed up by demagogues.
Patriotism is as necessary a part of man’s evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual. A man who is NOT patriotic is an evolutionary dead end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic.
To prove that patriotism is a necessity we must go back to fundamentals. Take any breed of animal – for example, tyrannosaurus rex. What is the most basic thing about him? The answer is that tyrannosaurus rex is dead, gone, extinct.
Which brings us to the second fundamental question: Will homo sapiens stay alive? Will he survive?
We can answer part of that at once: Individually h. sapiens will NOT survive. It is unlikely that anyone here tonight will be alive eighty years from now; it approaches mathematical certainty that we will all be dead a hundred years from now as even the youngest plebe here would be 118 years old by then – if still alive.
Some men do live that long but the percentage is so microscopic as not to matter. Recent advances in biology suggest that human life may be extended to a century and a quarter, even a century and a half – but this will create more problems than it solves. When a man reaches my age or thereabouts, the last great service he can perform is to die and get out of the way of younger people.
Very well, as individuals we all die. This brings us to the second half of the question: Does homo sapiens AS A BREED have to die? The answer is: No, it is NOT unavoidable. We have two situations, mutually exclusive: Mankind surviving, and mankind extinct. With respect to morality, the second situation is a null class. An extinct breed has NO behavior, moral or otherwise.
Since survival is the sine qua non, I now define ‘moral behavior’ as ‘behavior that tends toward survival.’ I won’t argue with philosophers or theologians who choose to use the word ‘moral’ to mean something else, but I do not think anyone can define ‘behavior that tends toward extinction’ as being ‘moral’ without stretching the word ‘moral’ all out of shape.
We are now ready to observe the hierarchy of moral behavior from its lowest level to its highest. The
simplest form of moral behavior occurs when a man or other animal fights for his own survival. Do not belittle such behavior as being merely selfish. Of course it is selfish… but selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won’t even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she’ll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college – and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child… and it is still moral behavior even when it fails.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for a group larger than the unit family – an extended family, a herd, a tribe – and take another look at that baboon on watch; he’s at that moral level. I don’t think baboon language is complex enough to permit them to discuss such abstract notions as ‘morality’ or ‘duty’ or ‘loyalty’ – but it is evident that baboons DO operate morally and DO exhibit the traits of duty and loyalty; we see them in action. Call it ‘instinct’ if you like – but remember that assigning a name to a phenomenon does not explain it.
But that baboon behavior can be explained in evolutionary terms. Evolution is a process that never stops. Baboons who fail to exhibit moral behavior do not survive; they wind up as meat for leopards. Every baboon generation has to pass this examination in moral behavior; those who bilge it don’t have progeny. Perhaps the old bull of the tribe gives lessons… but the leopard decides who graduates – and there is no appeal from his decision. We don’t have to understand the details to observe the outcome; baboons behave morally – for baboons.
The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called ‘patriotism.’
Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to hope that h. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will NEVER die. Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But those astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong’s first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’ Let us note proudly that eleven of the Astronaut Corps are graduates of this our school. And let me add that James Forrestal was the FIRST high-ranking Federal official to come out flatly for space travel.
I must pause to brush off those parlor pacifists I mentioned earlier… for they contend that THEIR actions are on this highest moral level. They want to put a stop to war; they say so. Their purpose is to save the human race from killing itself off; they say that too. Anyone who disagrees with them must be a bloodthirsty scoundrel – and they’ll tell you that to your face. I won’t waste time trying to judge their motives; my criticism is of their mental processes: Their heads aren’t screwed on tight. They live in a world of fantasy.
Let me stipulate that, if the human race managed its affairs sensibly, we could do without war. Yes – and if pigs had wings, they could fly. I don’t know what planet those pious pacifists are talking about but it can’t be the third one out from the Sun. Anyone who has seen the Far East – or Africa – or the Middle East – knows or certainly should know that there is NO chance of abolishing war in the foreseeable future. In the past few years I have been around the world three times, traveled in most of the communist countries, visited many of the so-called emerging countries, plus many trips to Europe and to South America; I saw nothing that cheered me as to the prospects for peace. The seeds of war are everywhere; the conflicts of interest are real and deep, and will not be abolished by pious platitudes. The best we can hope for is a precarious balance of power among the nations capable of waging total war – while endless lesser wars break out here and there. I won’t belabor this. Our campuses are loaded with custard-headed pacifists but the yard of the Naval Academy is not one place where I will encounter them. We are in agreement that the United States still needs a navy, that the Republic will always have need for heroes – else you would not be here tonight and in uniform.
Patriotism – Moral behavior at the national level. Non sibi sed Patria. Nathan Hale’s last words: ‘I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.’ Torpedo Squadron Eight making its suicidal attack. Four chaplains standing fast while the water rises around them. Thomas Jefferson saying, ‘The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots” A submarine skipper giving the order ‘Take her DOWN!’ while he himself is still topside. Jonas Ingram standing on the steps of Bancroft Hall and shouting, ‘The Navy has no place for good losers! The Navy needs tough sons of bitches who can go out there and WIN!’
Patriotism – An abstract word used to describe a type of behavior as harshly practical as good brakes and
good tires. It means that you place the welfare of your nation ahead of your own even if it costs you your life. Men who go down to the sea in ships have long had another way of expressing the same moral behavior tagged by the abstract expression ‘patriotism.’ Spelled out in simple Anglo-Saxon words ‘Patriotism’ reads ‘Women and children first!’
And that is the moral result of realizing a self-evident biological fact: Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on… as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you’ve had it, you’re done, you’re THROUGH! You join tyrannosaurus rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.
I must amplify that. I know that women can fight and often have. I have known many a tough old grandmother
I would rather have on my side in a tight spot than any number of pseudo-males who disdain military service. My wife put in three years of active duty in World War Two, plus ten years reserve, and I am proud – very proud! – of her naval service. I am proud of every one of our women in uniform; they are a shining example to us men.
Nevertheless, as a mathematical proposition in the facts of biology, children, and women of child-bearing age, are the ultimate treasure that we must save. Every human culture is based on ‘Women and children first’ – and any attempt to do it any other way leads quickly to extinction.
Possibly extinction is the way we are headed. Great nations have died in the past; it can happen to us. Nor am I certain how good our chances are. To me it seems self-evident that any nation that loses its patriotic fervor is on the skids. Without that indispensable survival factor the end is only a matter of time. I don’t know how deeply the rot has penetrated – but it seems to me that there has been a change for the worse in the last fifty years. Possibly I am misled by the offensive behavior of a noisy but unimportant minority. But it does seem to me that patriotism has lost its grip on a large percentage of our people. I hope I am wrong… because if my fears are well grounded, I would not bet two cents on this nation’s chance of lasting even to the end of this century. But there is no way to force patriotism on anyone. Passing a law will not create it, nor can we buy it by appropriating so many billions of dollars. You gentlemen of the Brigade are most fortunate. You are going to a school where this basic moral virtue is daily reinforced by precept and example. It is not enough to know what Charlie Noble does for a living, or what makes the wildcat wild, or which BatDiv failed to splice the main brace and why – nor to learn matrix algebra and navigation and ballistics and aerodynamics and nuclear engineering. These things are merely the working tools of your profession and could be learned elsewhere; they do not require ‘four years together by the Bay where the Severn joins the tide.’
What you do have here is a tradition of service. Your most important classroom is Memorial Hall. Your most important lesson is the way you feel inside when you walk up those steps and see that shot-torn flag framed in the arch of the door: ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship.’ If you feel nothing, you don’t belong here. But if it gives you goose flesh just to see that old battle flag, then you are going to find that feeling increasing every time you return here over the years… until it reaches a crescendo the day you return and read the list of your own honored dead – classmates, shipmates, friends – read them with grief and pride while you try to keep your tears silent.
The time has come for me to stop. I said that ‘Patriotism’ is a way of saying ‘Women and children first.’ And that no one can force a man to feel this way. Instead he must embrace it freely. I want to tell about one such man. He wore no uniform and no one knows his name, or where he came from; all we know is what he did.
In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it.
One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her. But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman’s foot loose. No luck.
Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free… and the train hit them. The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and died later, the tramp was killed – and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself. The husband’s behavior was heroic… but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that’s all we’ll ever know about him.
THIS is how a man dies. This is how a MAN . . . lives!
‘They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old;
age shall not wither them nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them”
Army and Air Force
Navy and Marine Corps
The Presidential Unit Citation (PUC), originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Uniformed services of the United States, and those of allied countries, for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941 (the date of the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the start of American involvement in World War II). The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign.
Since its inception by Executive Order on 26 February 1942, retroactive to 7 December 1941, to 2008, the Presidential Unit Citation has been awarded in conflicts such as World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan.
The collective degree of valor (combat heroism) against an armed enemy by the unit nominated for the PUC is the same as that which would warrant award of the individual award of the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Navy Cross. In some cases, one or more individuals within the unit may have also been awarded individual awards for their contribution to the actions for which their entire unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. The unit with the most Presidential Unit Citations is the USS Parche (SSN-683) with 9 citations.
The Army citation was established by Executive Order 9075 on 26 February 1942, superseded by Executive Order 9396on Dec. 2, 1943, which authorized the Distinguished Unit Citation. As with other Army unit citations, the PUC is in a larger frame than other ribbons, and is worn above the right pocket. All members of the unit may wear the decoration, whether or not they personally participated in the acts for which the unit was cited. Only those assigned to the unit at the time of the action cited may wear the decoration as a permanent award. For both the Army and Air Force, the emblem is a solid blue ribbon enclosed in a gold frame.
The Air Force PUC was adopted from the Army Distinguished Unit Citation after the Air Force became a separate military branch in 1947. By Executive Order 10694, dated Jan. 10, 1957 the Air Force redesignated the Distinguished Unit Citation as the Presidential Unit Citation. The Air Force PUC is the same color and design as the Army PUC but slightly smaller, so that it can be worn in alignment with other Air Force ribbons on the left pocket following personal awards. As with the Army, all members of a receiving unit may wear the decoration while assigned to it, but only those assigned to the unit at the time of the action cited may wear the decoration as a permanent award or if any member of a receiving unit had it their last duty station prior to being either discharged or retired they may continue to wear the decoration as prescribed.
The Citation is carried on the receiving unit’s colors in the form of a blue streamer, 4 ft (1.2 m) long and 2.75 in (7.0 cm) wide. For the Army, only on rare occasions will a unit larger than battalion qualify for award of this decoration.
Navy Presidential Unit Citation pennant and ribbon.
The Navy citation was established by Executive Order9050 on 6 February 1942.
The Navy version has navy blue, yellow, and red horizontal stripes, and is the only Navy ribbon having horizontal stripes. To distinguish between the two versions of the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy version which is more often referred to simply as the Presidential Unit Citation, is referred to as the Navy Presidential Unit Citation and sometimes as the “Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation”, the Army and Air Force version is referred to by the Army and Air Force as the Army Presidential Unit Citation and Air Force Presidential Unit Citation. The ribbon is worn by only by those Navy and Marine service members who were assigned to the unit for the “award period” of the award. In the Army, those who join the unit after the “award period” may also wear it while assigned to the unit. ALNan 137-43 states that the first award has a blue enameled star on the ribbon and additional stars for subsequent awards. In 1949, the award changed with no star for the first award and bronze stars for subsequent awards.
To commemorate the first submerged voyage under the North Pole by the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus (SSN-571) in 1958, all members of her crew who made that voyage were authorized to wear their Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of a gold block letter N.
As of 2014, the same device may be awarded for the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal for those personnel who work in direct support of ICBM operations who serve 179 non-consecutive days dispatched to a missile complex.
To commemorate the first submerged circumnavigation of the world by the nuclear-powered submarine Triton during its shakedown cruise in 1960, all members of her crew who made that voyage were authorized to wear their Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of a golden replica of the globe.
United States Coast Guard units may be awarded either the Navy or Coast Guard version of the Presidential Unit Citation, depending on which service the Coast Guard was supporting when the citation action was performed.
The current decoration is known as the “Department of Homeland Security Presidential Unit Citation”. The original Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation was established under the authority of Executive Order 10694 (signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 10, 1957), and amended by Section 74 of Executive Order 13286 (signed by President George W. Bush on February 28, 2003) to transfer the award of the USCG PUC to the Secretary of Homeland Security.
A Coast Guard version of the award was awarded to all U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel responding to Hurricane Katrina by President George W. Bush for rescue and relief operations. All who received the award for responding to Hurricane Katrina are authorized to wear the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of the internationally recognized hurricane symbol.
U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
A reconnaissance and intelligence unit (1st Bn.) of the 394th Infantry Regiment, on the 16th December 1944 at Losheimergraben, found itself in a situation which turned into a decisive battle with an overwhelming German Paratrooper Bn. Almost 40 years later their heroic fight was awarded with the Presidential Unit Citation Order No. 26 in 1981. The memorial plaque is mounted on a stone at the N626 at the infamous WW2 Losheimergraben crossroads.
Memorial plaque for Presidential Unit Citation near Losheimergraben
Erected in honor of the 1st Bn., 394th Infantry Regiment and attached units of the 99th Division, whose valor and heroic action at this location on Dec. 16th, 1944, was recognized by award of the Presidential Unit Citation No. 26 
Says Captain John Della-Giustina, “For their exploits, the I&R Platoon, 394th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, would later become “the most heavily decorated platoon for a single action in World War II.” 
Two units of the Free French Forces were awarded Presidential Unit Citations during World War II. The first was the 2nd Armored Division, which received the award after the liberation of Strasbourg; the second was the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment, which received it in 1946 with the inscription ‘Rhine-Bavarian Alps’.
On April 22, 1986, the 1st Fighter Group Força Aérea Brasileira (the Brazilian Air Force) was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions in the Po Valley region of Italy in World War II. The Brazilians, operating in Italy in support of Allied forces, destroyed in one day (April 22, 1945) over 45 vehicles, strafed pontoon bridges on the River Po (hampering a German retreat) and harassed fixed positions of the German forces. From the citation:
The casualties that they suffered reduced their pilot strength to about one half that of the United States Army Air Force squadrons operating in the same area, but they flew an equal number of sorties as their US counterparts … Eleven missions of 44 sorties were flown destroying nine motor transports and damaging 17. Additionally, they destroyed the facilities of a motor pool, immobilized 35 horse vehicles, damaged a road bridge and a pontoon bridge, destroyed 14 and damaged three enemy-occupied buildings, and attacked four military positions and inflicted much other damage.
The 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment and Troop C, 170th Independent Mortar Battery of the British Army were both awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their defence of Hill 235 whilst surrounded by Chinese forces during the Battle of the Imjin River. The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment were awarded the citation for their actions during the Battle of Kapyong, shortly afterwards.
One Belgian-Luxembourgian battalion of the Belgian United Nations Command (now the 3rd Parachute Regiment,) was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation once for actions during the Battle of the Imjin River.
The Colombia Battalion received the citation while attached to the American 21st Infantry Regiment in 1951.
One Dutch unit, the Netherlands Detachment United Nations, part of the Regiment Van Heutsz, was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation twice for actions during the Korean War. The first citation was awarded after the battle near Wonju and Hoengson in February 1951. The unit was awarded a second time for its bravery during the Soyang River Battle in May–June 1951.
President Harry Truman signed a Distinguished Unit Citation (now the Presidential Unit Citation) on July 11, 1951, for the Turkish Brigade‘s acts of heroism. It reads: “The Turkish Brigade, a member of the United Nations Forces in Korea is cited for exceptionally outstanding performance of duty in combat in the area of Kumyangjang-ni, Korea, from 25 to 27 January 1951.”
The Greek Expeditionary Force (Korea), Sparta Battalion, received its first US Presidential Unit Citation in February 1952 for the capture of Scotch Hill. It was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the second time for their actions in the defense of Outpost Harry while vastly outnumbered by Chinese forces, June 18, 1953. The 13th Flight Greek air forcereceived a US Presidential Unit Citation for its participation in the evacuation of US Marines at Hagaru-ri in December 1950.
The French battalion of the UN forces in Korea, attached to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, US 2nd Infantry Division (“Indian Head”), received 3 Distinguished Unit Citations in 1951 : on February 20, July 11 (actions in Chipyong-Ni) and August 9 (as part of the 2nd Infantry Division).
The 2 Squadron SAAF of South Africa was awarded the honour, which was presented in August 1956. 41 Commando,(Independent) Royal Marines was awarded the US Navy and Marine Corps PUC for its actions at the Chosin Reservoir while attached to the 1st Marine Division.
The 17th Bombardment Group was awarded the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for the period May 24, 1952 – March 31, 1953 and Distinguished Unit Citation for actions December 1, 1952 – April 30, 1953.
Lyndon B. Johnson awarded a Presidential Unit Citation to 1st Brigade 101st Airborne June 2–22 during Operation Hawthorne Dak To Province elements of 1st 327th Tiger Force & Attached Recon of A troop 17th Cavalry also were awarded a south Vietnamese Presidenyial Citation from President Nuygen Cao Ky for extraordinary Heroism the 2nd 327 also received a second Presidential citation from Lyndon Johnson at the battle of Tou Mourong 1966
A Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to D Company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, on 28 May 1968, for the unit’s actions at Long Tân, Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu, South Vietnam on 18 August 1966.
In 1968, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the 3d Marine Division (Reinforced) “for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty” … “from 8 March 1965 to 15 September 1967.” See MCBul 1650 for included units list.
In 1969, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to USS Harnett County (LST-821) by President Nixon, for Extraordinary Heroism during the period 12 December 1968 to 30 April 1969 supporting Operation Giant Slingshot on the Vam Co Dong River. <Award Citation>
In 2012, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the 4th contingent, CDT3 [Clearance Diving Team 3], Royal Australian Navy for service during the Vietnam War in 1968/69.
In 1977, the Presidential Unit Citation was presented to New Zealand’s 161 Battery in 1977 for service during the Vietnam War in 1965-66.
In 1971, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the 3d Armored Cavalry Squadron, Army of the Republic of Vietnam and attached U.S. Advisor/Liaison Personnel for extraordinary heroism during the period 1 January 1968 to 30 September 1968 in actions in Pleiku and Binh Dinh Provinces. (DA General Order No. 24, 27 April 1971.)
In 2001, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the Republic of Vietnam Air Force 219th Helicopter Squadron (South Vietnam), Danang, Republic of Vietnam while assigned or attached to MACV-SOG for extraordinary heroism, great combat achievement and unwavering fidelity while executing unheralded top secret missions deep behind enemy lines across Southeast Asia during the period 24 January 1964 to 30 April 1972. (DA General Order No. 25, 8 June 2001.)
In 1966, the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the 514th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Republic of Vietnam Air Force for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in combat against an armed enemy of the Republic of Vietnam throughout the period 1 January 1964 to 28 February 1965.
In 1968 and 1970 the Air Force’s 56 Special Operations Wing (56 SOW) was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty while conducting Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in North Vietnam and Laos as well as strike, interdiction and Forward Air Control (FAC) operations against hostile forces.<reference needed>
Units of the Army, 3rd battalion, 16th Artillery were awarded the presidential unit citation for actions during the January, 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam. They provided sustained artillery fire under severe conditions that protected their own troops and prevented the attacking forces of North Vietnam and the Viet cong from retreating. The support they provided lasted for 72 hours, during which time the troops had no sleep and no time to eat. Some units of the 16th artillery received sniper and mortar fire but continued supporting troops in spite of the risks involved.
In 1973 the PUC was awarded to Carrier Air Wing Nine and USS Constellation for extrarodinary heroism. On May 10, 1972 VF-92 and VF-96 shot down 7 Migs tying the single day record of any air unit. Wing pilots received 5 Navy Crosses, and 24 Silver Stars.
On December 7, 2004, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-South, known as Task Force K-BAR, a special collection of U.S. and international special forces units, was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. This award, for service between 17 October 2001 and 30 March 2002, was very unusual in that it was made to multiple international units fighting in the War in Afghanistan.
The following units were recognized:
In the Presidential Unit Citation for Task Force K-BAR, Major General W. Semianiw, Chief Military Personnel For the Chief of the Defense Staff, stated:
Operating first from Oman and then from forward locations throughout the southern and eastern regions of Afghanistan, successfully executed its primary mission to conduct special operations in support of the United States’ efforts to destroy, degrade, and neutralize the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leadership and military. During its six-month existence, this Task Force was the driving force behind extremely high-risk missions and unconventional warfare operations in Afghanistan. The sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines and coalition partners of CJSOTF-South established benchmark standards of professionalism, tenacity, courage, tactical brilliance, and operational excellence while demonstrating superb esprit de corps and maintaining the highest measures of combat readiness. By their outstanding courage, resourcefulness and aggressive fighting spirit in combat against a well-equipped, well-trained, and treacherous terrorist enemy, the officers and enlisted personnel of CJSOTF-South/Task-Force K-BAR reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Armed Forces.
In 2012, the Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation was awarded and presented at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra to two members of the Australian Army for service as embedded members of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan for outstanding performance in action against enemy forces from 29 May 2009 to 12 April 2010, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
^ Jump up to:abcdFrank, Benis M.; Shaw, Jr, Henry I. (1968), “Appendix N- Unit Citations”, Victory and occupation(PDF), History of U.S. Marine Corps Operation in World War II, V, Washington, D.C.: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, transcription also available here
Jump up^Department of the Navy (31 Jan 2014). “NAVMC 2922”(PDF). Quantico, VA: Manpower Management Division, HQMC Military Awards (MMMA); Department of the Navy, Headquarters United States Marine Corps. Retrieved Apr 17,2014.[permanent dead link]