A Victory! This great Nation & Its People

The Humble Heroes of Sutherland Springs & the Guns of the Most Deadly Church Massacre by WILL DABBS

Real superheroes don’t wear spandex. On November 5, 2017, the real superhero was taking a nap.

In November of 2017, Stephen Willeford worked as a plumber at the children’s hospital in San Antonio, Texas. He lived in Sutherland Springs, population 600, about an hour away. The commute was onerous, but Stephen was a small-town sort of guy.

Trained as a plumber, Stephen Willeford was just a regular guy.

Stephen was, like many of us, just a responsible American who enjoyed shooting. He was an NRA certified firearms instructor and member of the nearby Church of Christ. On Sunday morning November 5, 2017, however, he was facing a long week on call at the University Hospital. As a result, he played hooky from his own church to take a nap. He lived with his family across the street from the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

The Monster Among Us

Something about Devin Kelley just wasn’t wired correctly. Trouble followed him everywhere.

Devin Patrick Kelley was the antithesis of Stephen Willeford. Devin Kelley was a card-carrying professional loser. Raised in New Braunfels some 35 miles away, Kelley was suspended seven times during high school for infractions ranging from insubordination and profanity to drug offenses.

Kelley spent time in an inpatient behavioral health facility due to his persistent criminal and antisocial behavior.

Kelley enlisted in the Air Force in 2009 upon graduation from high school. Three years later he was charged with assaulting his wife and fracturing his toddler stepson’s skull. He threatened the charging officer with physical violence and was admitted to an inpatient behavioral health treatment facility.

Tessa Brennaman, Kelley’s first wife, lived in constant fear of him.

His wife later reported that he had held a loaded handgun to her head and waterboarded her over stuff like speeding tickets. They divorced in short order. In 2014 after a fairly long trek through the military justice system, Kelley was separated from the Air Force with a bad conduct discharge.

Danielle was Devin’s second wife. They married after he returned home from the Air Force. Danielle’s family was a regular part of FBC Sutherland Springs. Devin had a fulminant relationship with his mother-in-law.

Leaving the military did little to improve Kelley’s rancid disposition. He was investigated for assault and rape within months of his arrival back in Texas. In 2014 Kelley married a high school friend whose family attended the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

Arming the Animal

Kelley was not legally authorized to own firearms, yet he easily acquired them due to the systemic failure of a variety of flawed gun control mechanisms.

The nature of Kelley’s discharge from the military and his domestic violence history should have prevented his passing the background check required to buy a gun, but this information was not entered into the NICS system. As a result, Kelley lied on a variety of official forms and bought weapons through legal channels. He even landed a job as a security guard.

Kelley bought an EAA revolver (like this one) legally at Holloman Air Force Base.

Kelley bought a SIG SAUER P250 and European American Armory Windicator .38 revolver at the Base Exchange at Holloman Air Force Base. In April of 2016, he falsified his 4473 at an Academy Sports store in San Antonio and purchased a Ruger AR-556 rifle. Along the way, he also accumulated a Glock 19 9mm, a Ruger SR22 pistol, and a Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum revolver.

The Massacre

At some point, darkness took complete control of this man. Family members said later it was as though he was possessed.

At 11:20 am Kelley exited his Ford Explorer outside FBC Sutherland Springs wearing black fatigues and body armor as well as a facemask adorned with a skull. He shot two parishioners outside the church before pushing his way into the sanctuary. Over the next 11 minutes, Kelley expended about 700 rounds. Police later found fifteen empty rifle magazines.

Stephen Willeford’s daughter, Stephanie, alerted her father to the noise across the street.

Stephen Willeford’s oldest daughter, Stephanie, woke him up to tell him she thought she heard gunshots. Stephen’s first thought was that somebody was tapping on his bedroom window. When he went into the living room he recognized the sound.

Like many of us, Stephen did not keep loaded magazines for his weapons. He had to snap a few rounds into a mag on the fly.

Rushing to his gun safe, Willeford thumbed a few cartridges into a magazine and grabbed his favorite AR15, a homebuilt parts gun he had customized himself. Stephen ran out of the house and headed for the church, the sounds of gunfire growing louder. He directed his daughter to go back and load magazines. He admitted later that this was just to keep her out of danger. Stephen Willeford was barefoot.

Stephen’s wife, Pam, begged him not to go to the church.

As Stephen crossed the 150 yards to the church he called his wife. She was on the other side of town helping another daughter drywall their house. He told them to stay put and avoid the church. As he hung up the phone his wife was shouting, “Don’t go over there!”

The Firefight

Stephen Willeford wasn’t a cop or a soldier. He asserts that God guided his actions that fateful day.

As he approached the church Stephen heard the carnage inside. He involuntarily screamed, “Hey!” as loud as he could, violating every tactical dictum about what to do when approaching a violent crime in progress. He tells people now that, “It was the Holy Spirit calling the demon out of the church.” This was the precise moment the slaughter inside FBC Sutherland Springs stopped.

Willeford responded as he had trained, shooting Kelley twice in the chest with his customized AR15 rifle.

Devin Kelley somehow heard Willeford’s shout and left the church to investigate. Upon seeing Stephen with a gun he fired three rounds, striking a Dodge Challenger, a nearby house, and the Dodge Ram Willeford was using for cover. Stephen steadied his holographic reticle on the man’s chest and stroked the trigger twice. Kelley dropped his rifle but was not otherwise inconvenienced.

Willeford realized that he was going to have to shoot around Kelley’s plates.

On a certain primal level, Stephen now recognized that Kelley was wearing body armor. As the shooter made for his vehicle, Willeford got his angle and shot the monster once underneath his arm and again in the thigh. As Kelley roared away in his Explorer, Willeford estimated where his head should be and blew out the vehicle’s windows.

The Chase

Johnnie Langendorff was at the right place at the right time to help bring Devin Kelley’s rampage to an end.

27-year-old Johnnie Langendorff had driven down from Seguin, 30 minutes away, to visit his girlfriend. Willeford, a stranger to him, ran up to his truck carrying a rifle and said, “That guy just shot up the church. We need to stop him.” Langendorff unlocked his doors.

Willeford and Langendorff had never met before they joined forces to run Devin Kelley down.

The two men chased Kelley for about six miles, passing several cars and topping 90 miles per hour. They kept the 911 dispatcher on the phone updating their location. Willeford had two rounds remaining.

Willeford and Langendorff’s pursuit drove Kelley away from inhabited areas and into a farmer’s field where he ultimately took his own wretched miserable life.

Kelley stopped his truck and Willeford moved to exit the vehicle. Kelley then sped off again, this time swerving erratically from blood loss before tearing through a fence and coming to a stop in a nearby field. The cops arrived soon thereafter. Devin Kelley called his parents expressing extreme remorse and then shot himself in the head.

The Guns

The Ruger AR-556 is a rack grade direct gas AR rifle.

The Ruger AR-556 is an entry-level direct gas impingement version of Gene Stoner’s classic black rifle introduced in 2014. The AR-556 followed on the heels of Ruger’s previous piston-driven SR-556. The SR-556 was an exceptional firearm, but it cost nearly $2000.

Kelley had customized his AR-556 with Magpul furniture and a red dot sight.

The AR-556 is a no-frills AR designed to compete with similar weapons such as the S&W M&P15 Sport.

Devin Kelley bought his Glock 19 through commercial sources after lying on his Form 4473. To presuppose that criminals will obey the administrative rules concerning gun ownership borders upon insanity.

The Glock 19 is a mid-size 9mm combat pistol that has seen widespread distribution. Sporting the familiar Glock Safe Action striker-fired trigger system and a 15-round magazine, the G19 is employed by the military, civilian, and Law Enforcement users pretty much anyplace folks wield guns. The G19 offers a chassis that is small enough to conceal yet large enough to control.

The Ruger GP100 revolver was introduced in 1985.

The Ruger GP100 is a rugged double-action magnum revolver. Available in a variety of chamberings with barrels between three and six inches long, the GP100 employs a transfer bar ignition system.

I presume this is the rifle Willeford used to stop Devin Kelley’s murderous rampage.

I couldn’t ascertain any definitive specifics about Stephen’s gun. The most probable photograph I could find showed a direct gas impingement AR sporting Magpul furniture, an EOTech Holosight, and a tactical light along with a magwell adaptor. As the AR15 is the most modular firearm ever created it lends itself to customization.


To imagine that some law or rule was going to miraculously transform this genuine piece of work into a model citizen represents magical thinking.

Much hay has been made over the fact that Devin Kelley was able to buy his guns through commercial sources. Really? Does any rational person actually believe that his failing a NICS check could have somehow stopped this perennial loser psychopath from shooting up that church?

The Sutherland Springs massacre was the fifth deadliest mass shooting in American history. It all appeared to be Devin Kelley’s failed attempt to get back at his mother-in-law. She was not at the church at the time and was otherwise physically unharmed.

It appeared that Kelley’s sole motivation was to settle a squabble with his wife’s family. Among the 26 dead were 9 children, one of whom was unborn. Another 20 worshippers were wounded. Sutherland Springs was the worst church shooting in American history.

Pastor Frank Pomeroy was not present that Sunday but tragically lost his daughter in the attack. He announced as I was putting this article together that he was running for the Texas State Senate.

The pastor at FBC Sutherland Springs was Frank Pomeroy. Frank typically carried a firearm during services. However, he was away with his wife on November 7th. His 14-year-old daughter was among the victims. Visiting pastor Bryan Holcombe died along with eight of his family members.

True heroism is ordinary people doing extraordinary things. These guys were thrown together by fate to thwart a madman.

Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff are archetypal American heroes. Quiet, humble, and selfless, these guys did whatever it took to stop a monster rampaging through their little Texas town. Willeford had no military or LEO experience yet said he had trained all his life for that moment.

It’s not hard to perceive spiritual forces behind the horrible events at FBC Sutherland Springs. Willeford sees himself as God’s instrument to stop the carnage.

A committed Christian, Stephen attributes his success to God’s Providence. Given the inevitable state of Devin Kelley’s ears after firing 700 rounds inside an enclosed building, it does make one wonder how he could have otherwise heard Willeford’s shout outside the church.

Out of tragedy pours grace. The man who stopped the massacre and the killer’s widow both worship together among the body of believers so traumatized by Devin Kelley’s actions.

Stephen Willeford moved his church membership to FBC Sutherland Springs. Danielle Kelley, Devin Kelley’s widow, worships with them as well. This ravaged church has welcomed her with open arms.

Stephen Willeford put his years of experience on the range to use when he stopped a psychopath. This sordid tale is fraught with lessons to be learned by responsible American gun owners.

When I finished typing this piece I went downstairs and stuffed two PMAGs with sixty rounds of M855 62-grain ammo. Those two magazines will still work long after I don’t. I also stashed a spare pair of shoes nearby.

Stephen Willeford is an American gun enthusiast who risked everything to save his friends and neighbors.
Law Enforcement investigators seized Willeford’s rifle for a time during the subsequent investigation. A prominent black rifle manufacturer gave him this one as a replacement.
This great Nation & Its People War

The Death of Stonewall Jackson: Lee Loses His Strong Right Arm by WILL DABBS

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson has been described by some historians as the finest General the United States ever produced.

Thomas Jackson’s great grandparents were criminals. John Jackson and Elizabeth Cummins were both convicted of larceny in England and were punitively dispatched to the New World in 1749 alongside 150 other convicts. On the voyage across the Atlantic, John and Elizabeth fell in love.

18th-century America was a rugged place.

Once their obligatory bond service was complete in 1755 they were married. Their grandchild Thomas Jonathan Jackson was born in 1824 in Clarksburg, Virginia. He was the third child of Julia and Jonathan Jackson. In his youth, Thomas went by the nickname “The Real Macaroni,” though the origins and significance of that term are not well understood.

Thomas Jackson’s commitment to the Confederacy created a schism with his sister that was never mended.

Typhoid took his six-year-old sister in 1826 and his father some three weeks later. The boy’s remaining sister Laura Ann was born the day after her father died. Thomas and Laura Ann were close as children, but Laura Ann ultimately sided with the Union. Thomas grew to become a Confederate General of some renown. As a result, their relationship remained fractured until his death.

Military Service

LT Thomas Jackson served in Mexico after he was commissioned from West Point.

Thomas Jackson entered the US Military Academy in 1842. Jackson’s lack of formal education hamstrung him upon his arrival at West Point, but his legendary dogged determination compensated. He graduated 18th out of 59 in his class of 1846.

Thomas Jackson was a driven instructor at VMI. His students frequently thought him overly demanding.

Jackson got his formal introduction to war in Mexico. As a young officer, he distinguished himself at Chapultepec. For a decade starting in 1851 he taught at Virginia Military Institute where he was unpopular with his students. Along the way he was twice married. His first wife died in childbirth. His second, Mary Anna Morrison, lived until 1915. When the South seceded in 1861 following the attack on Fort Sumter, Thomas Jackson threw his lot in with the Confederacy.

The affectionate moniker “Stonewall” Jackson stuck with him to his death.

In July of that year, Jackson commanded a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run. At a critical moment in the fight, Jackson beat back a determined Union assault. Barnard Elliot Bee, himself a distinguished Confederate General who ultimately lost his life in combat, referred to Jackson as a “stone wall” in the face of the enemy. The name stuck.

General Thomas Jackson was veritably deified in the Confederacy.

After an initial setback attributed to flawed intelligence, Stonewall Jackson dominated the Shenandoah Valley campaigns of 1862. Through truly exceptional tactical acumen, Jackson and his troops defeated three separate Union armies in the field. He exercised his martial gifts at places like Harper’s Ferry, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, developing for himself a reputation as a cunning and insightful combat leader. At Chancellorsville Jackson’s 30,000 Confederates launched a devastating surprise attack against the Federal flank that drove the Union troops back fully two miles.

The General’s Theology

General Jackson prayed frequently with his staff and men. A truly pious man, Jackson was also acutely self-conscious and ever attempted to avoid the limelight.

Thomas Jackson has been described as a fanatical Presbyterian. His deep and sincere faith drove everything about his life while making him all but fearless in battle. He once opined, “My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me…That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”

Stonewall Jackson’s arm was ultimately interred 115 miles away from the rest of him. The details are coming directly.

Like most exceptional personalities, Jackson was also a bit strange. He held a lifelong belief that one of his arms was longer than the other. He would frequently hold the perceived longer of the two aloft for long periods in an effort at equalizing his circulation.

Behold Stonewall Jackson’s kryptonite. The esteemed General purportedly loved these things.

General Jackson highly valued sleep and was known to fall asleep at times while eating. His prior service as an artillery officer had severely damaged his hearing. This made communication difficult at times. He also had an abiding passion for fresh fruit like peaches, watermelons, apples, and oranges. His real weakness, however, was lemons. When they could be found Jackson would frequently gnaw whole lemons in an effort at soothing his digestion. General Richard Taylor, son of President Zachary Taylor and a colleague, wrote, “Where Jackson got his lemons ‘no fellow could find out,’ but he was rarely without one.”

Stonewall Jackson and Slavery

One man’s hero is another man’s goat. Jackson’s dashing visage adorns the rock face at Stone Mountain, Georgia. Completed in 1974, this sculpture is so large that a grown man could stand in the mouth of the largest of the three horses. These three figures span three full acres across the mountainside.

No information age treatise of a prominent Confederate can be complete without dragging slavery and race into the narrative. In the late 1850s, Jackson owned six slaves. Three of these–Hetty, Cyrus, and George–were received as part of a dowry from Mary Anna’s father upon their marriage. Two others supposedly requested that Jackson purchase them based upon his purported kindly local reputation. Of the two, Albert was purchased and worked to gain his freedom. Amy served as the Jackson family cook and housekeeper. The sixth was a child with a learning disability who was received as a gift from an aged widow.

This is Major Jackson in 1855 when he taught Sunday School to local slaves.

In what was considered a fairly radical move for the day, in 1855 Jackson organized and taught Sunday School classes for blacks at his Presbyterian Church. Of this ministry, Pastor William Spotswood White said, “In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind…His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father…He was emphatically the black man’s friend.” I obviously cannot speak to what any of that was really like, but Reverend White was clearly a fan. Not diminishing the repugnant nature of slavery as an institution, but it was clearly a different time.

The Death of Stonewall Jackson

General Jackson fell victim to the fog of war.

After a wildly successful engagement against Joe Hooker’s forces during the Battle of Chancellorsville, Jackson and his staff were making their way on horseback back through friendly lines. They encountered sentries from the 18th North Carolina Infantry who mistook the party for Union cavalry. The pickets shouted, “Halt, who goes there?” but fired before receiving an adequate response.

General Thomas Jackson was considered invincible in his day.

Frantic remonstrations from the command group were answered by Confederate Major John D. Barry’s command, “It’s a damned Yankee trick! Fire!” During the course of the two volleys, Stonewall Jackson was struck three times.

Several of Jackson’s staff officers were killed in that final fateful exchange.

Two rounds shattered Jackson’s left arm. One ball entered at the left elbow and exited near the wrist, while another struck his left upper arm three inches below the shoulder. A third ball struck his right hand and lodged there. Several members of Jackson’s staff along with their horses were killed. The poor visibility and incoming artillery fire added to the confusion. Jackson was dropped from his stretcher at least once during the subsequent evacuation.

These ghastly things got ample exercise in the horrific field hospitals of the Civil War. Roughly 75% of amputation patients ultimately died.

Battlefield medicine during the Civil War was unimaginably crude in comparison with today’s state of the art. The standard treatment in the face of significant damage to an extremity was amputation. As there were no safe and effective anesthetics available these surgical procedures were typically fast, frenetic, and fairly imprecise.

This is the outbuilding where Stonewall Jackson died.

A Confederate surgeon named Hunter McGuire took the arm, and Jackson was moved to the nearby Fairfield Plantation for recovery. Thomas Chandler, the plantation owner, offered the use of his home. However, Jackson, ever concerned about imposition, insisted he be maintained in a nearby office building instead.

Civil War-era hospitals were truly horrible things.

The germ theory of disease had not yet come to drive battlefield surgery, so secondary infections of combat wounds were ubiquitous. Jackson developed a fever and pneumonia as a result of his injuries and succumbed eight days later. As the end approached he said, “It is the Lord’s Day; my wish is fulfilled. I have always desired to die on Sunday.”

This iconic photograph of Stonewall Jackson was shot seven days before his fatal injury.

General Jackson’s final words, uttered in a delirium immediately preceding his demise, lend further insight into the man’s character. Attended by Dr. McGuire and a trusted slave named Jim Lewis, his final words were, “Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks…” Then he paused and uttered, “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.” Stonewall Jackson then breathed his last.

The soft lead projectiles fired by Civil War-era arms inflicted truly devastating injuries.

The fatal bullet was ultimately recovered and identified as a .69-caliber projectile. Union troops in this area typically fielded .58-caliber weapons. The 18th North Carolina Infantry was most commonly armed with older larger-caliber muskets. This discovery sealed the suspicion that Jackson had been felled by friendly fire. This was one of the first incidents wherein forensic ballistics identification was used to establish the circumstances surrounding a violent death.

Most Civil War-era long arms were single-shot rifled muskets.

While the American Civil War ultimately saw the introduction of cartridge-firing repeating rifles like the Henry and Spencer, most combatants on both sides were armed with single-shot, muzzleloading rifled muskets of various flavors. Union troops had the luxury of greater standardization due to their more advanced state of industrialization, while Confederate units frequently had to make do with a hodgepodge of weapons. Regardless, in this particular circumstance, the science of ballistics told an unfortunate tale.

The Rest of the Story

The loss of Stonewall Jackson to friendly fire represented an incalculable blow to the Confederate cause.

Upon learning of his friend’s injury Confederate General Robert E. Lee wrote, “Could I have directed events, I would have chosen for the good of the country to be disabled in your stead.”

He sent this message to Jackson via a courier after his surgery, “Give General Jackson my affectionate regards, and say to him: he has lost his left arm but I my right.”

When told of his death Lee confided to a friend, “I am bleeding at the heart.”

Jackson’s service as Lee’s primary Lieutenant could not readily be replaced.

The Battle of Gettysburg took place a mere two months after the death of General Jackson. As any student of Civil War history will attest, Gettysburg was an iffy thing indeed. The entire outcome of the war potentially turned on a handful of decisions made under the most arduous of circumstances.

Lee was forced to fight at Gettysburg without his most capable subordinate. Stonewall Jackson was only 39 years old when he died.

Had Stonewall Jackson been at Lee’s side during the chaotic maelstrom of Gettysburg the battle might very well have turned out differently. Had Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia been able to take the day and subsequently march on Washington, Lincoln could have been forced to sue for peace on the steps of the White House at the point of a Confederate bayonet. Had that been the case our world would obviously be all but unrecognizable today. Sometimes the most momentous events turn on the smallest things.

Here is one of Stonewall Jackson’s monuments being dismantled, brought down by enraged social justice warriors who likely fancy themselves paragons of tolerance.

Ripping down historical monuments in a fit of emotion strikes me as viscerally unsettling. In 2001 the Taliban blew up the 6th-century Buddhas of Bamiyan and were rightfully reviled as a result. It really should be possible to appreciate historical figures without dogmatically embracing the causes they represented or obliterating the evidence of their existence. For all have sinned, even in modern woke America. If left intact alongside contextual information these monuments could serve as object lessons to enlighten generations yet to come. If freedom from moral stain becomes a prerequisite for veneration then I fear we may be destined to become a nation bereft of monuments.

All About Guns Soldiering This great Nation & Its People

MG Maurice Rose: The Division Point by WILL DABBS

This chiseled-looking stud was a born soldier.

Maurice Rose was born in 1899 in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Samuel and Katherin Rose. The son and grandson of rabbis from Poland, MG Rose was ultimately the highest-ranking Jewish officer in the United States Army. From the very beginning, Maurice Rose was a warrior.

As soon as he was able, Maurice Rose tried to enlist in the military.

Rose edited his high school paper and enjoyed a stellar academic career. In the yearbook published the year of his graduation a cartoon of the paper staff depicted him carrying a rifle. Soldiering was in his blood.

Maurice Rose’s first military stint lasted all of a month and a half.

Rose lied about his age and enlisted in the Colorado National Guard hoping to participate in the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa. Six weeks later when his commander discovered that he was only sixteen he was discharged. Rose then worked in a meatpacking plant until he turned seventeen and could convince his parents to sign an enlistment waiver.

Maurice Rose earned his commission just before he deployed to Europe during the First World War.

Once on active duty Maurice Rose’s natural leadership qualities became apparent. He was selected for officer training but had to illicitly alter his Army records to reflect a birthdate of 1895 so he would be old enough to be considered. In August of 1917 Rose graduated from the Officer Candidate Course at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant just in time to deploy for World War 1.

LT Rose Goes to War

2LT Rose’s baptism by fire occurred during the legendary Meuse-Argonne Offensive. This hemoclysm spilled a veritable ocean of blood.

Rose made First Lieutenant in short order. His battalion assumed defensive positions in the vicinity of Toul, France in 1918. Soon thereafter Rose and his comrades found themselves in the thick of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. This ghastly 6-week operation ultimately claimed a quarter-million casualties on both sides. More than 26,000 Americans were killed.

This was the world Maurice Rose fled the comfort and safety of a military hospital to find.

Rose, for his part, was in the thick of it throughout. He caught a load of shrapnel from a German mortar and suffered a concussion from nearby artillery fire. He refused the medics’ orders to evacuate until he eventually collapsed from exhaustion and blood loss. After a few days in the hospital, Rose slipped away to rejoin his unit.

LT Rose served as part of the military occupation in Europe after the war.

This tidy bit of subterfuge resulted in his parents being informed that he was killed in action, an error that took a few days to rectify. Rose eventually recovered and served with the occupation troops until the summer of 1919 when he was discharged.

His True Calling

Now a Captain, Maurice Rose returned to military life in 1920.

Rose worked as a traveling salesman for a time but returned to the military in 1920, as soon as the Army would allow it. By now he was a Captain and served in a variety of operational and administrative positions. At some point, he altered his military records once again and claimed to be Protestant. Though some biographers attribute this to a religious conversion, more than likely he simply felt that no longer being Jewish would help his career.

Major Rose found himself in the right place at the right time with the right skills to thrive in the wartime military.

By the onset of World War 2 Rose was a Major and a graduate of the Infantry and Cavalry Officer Courses as well as the Command and General Staff College. He was soon promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. A preternaturally handsome man by the standards of the day, a newspaper reporter described him in print as “probably the best looking man in the Army.” That couldn’t do much for a guy’s humility.

Colonel Rose fought the German Afrika Corps in North Africa.

In 1940 the US Army was a growth industry. The American military had to expand in an unprecedented fashion, and it needed experienced commissioned officers and NCOs desperately. By the time he saw combat in North Africa Rose was a full Colonel. He negotiated the surrender of German forces in Tunisia under Generalmajor Fritz Krause.

Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, provided the Allies with invaluable experience staging, executing, and supporting an amphibious invasion.

Operation Husky saw Rose promoted to Brigadier General during operations in Sicily. When the commander of the 3d Armored Division, MG Leroy Watson, was relieved in the summer of 1944 General Rose took his place and thrived.

The Character of the Man

Once while serving as Division commander, General Rose dove out of his jeep with a Thompson submachine gun to capture a group of Wehrmacht Landsers.

MG Rose was known as an aggressive and effective combat commander. He once drove his jeep across a mined bridge to ensure it was safe for his men to follow. On another occasion, General Rose spotted a group of Germans running across a field and dove out of his jeep brandishing a Thompson submachine gun.

MG Rose sought out the action and was respected by his men.

Along with his driver, his aide, his DivArty Commander, and a handy PFC this motley band promptly captured a full dozen German soldiers. The Division Commander subsequently marched his POWs back and turned them over to the MPs. Such antics endeared Rose to the troops in his command.

Unlike many famous Allied Generals, MG Rose preferred to keep a low profile and just do his job. Smoking is very bad for you, guys.

MG Rose indeed insisted on leading from the front but also eschewed the publicity, fame, and glory so many of his counterparts feasted upon. Unlike Generals like Patton, MacArthur, and Montgomery, Maurice Rose was satisfied to avoid the limelight and just do his job. This exceptional military ethic ultimately killed him.

Combat is a Chaotic Thing

As usual, MG Rose was at the front of his Division as they punched into Germany.

On March 30, 1945, just over a month from the end of the war in Europe, MG Rose and his staff were traveling in jeeps at the head of a column of his 3d Armored Division near the city of Paderborn, Germany. The Germans were fighting on their home turf, and the situation was desperate. Armored units on both sides fought back and forth, creating a fluid, chaotic battlefield. When word reached Rose that certain of his units had been cut off by the Germans, he pressed forward to investigate.

German tank and small arms fire tore apart the lead elements of MG Rose’s division.

Before they could react, Rose and the men of his armored vanguard began taking fire from German tanks, antitank guns, and small arms. The lead Sherman of his column was hit by an enemy tank round and destroyed. In response, Rose and his command team mounted their jeeps and attempted to flee cross-country.

This is a Panzerkampfwagen Mk VI or Tiger I. It was one of the most feared armored vehicles of the war.

The German tanks soon had the Americans outflanked, and they moved to seal off their escape. The lead jeep accelerated and narrowly avoided a Wehrmacht panzer to reach safety. MG Rose was in the second jeep and found himself cut off. The German Tiger pinned Rose’s jeep against a tree, forcing him to dismount.

The back end of a Tiger I sports these distinctive twin exhaust stacks.

While Allied troops had a tendency to describe all German tanks as Tigers, these were the real deal. Surviving American GIs identified the vehicles based upon their distinctive twin exhausts.

A nameless German tank commander gunned MG Rose down on a chaotic battlefield in Germany.

The German tank commander opened his hatch and emerged with an MP40 submachine gun. As the Wehrmacht soldier covered Rose and his small party, the American General reached for his sidearm. Whether or not MG Rose was attempting to surrender or intended to fight the German officer has been lost to history. The panzer commander leveled his 9mm SMG and shot Rose fourteen times in several bursts. The American General was dead where he fell.

The Gun

The original MP38 was built around a relatively expensive milled tubular receiver.

The German MP40 began life as the MP38 designed by Heinrich Vollmer in, you guessed it, 1938. The MP38 was an evolutionary development of the previous MP36. Not more than a couple of MP36’s survived the war. The MP38 featured a machined steel receiver and bakelite furniture. It can be differentiated from the subsequent MP40 by the longitudinal ridges in the receiver and a small hole pressed into each side of the magazine well.

The MP40 was the world’s first mass-produced submachine gun to eschew wooden furniture.

The MP40 was a very similar design and enjoys essentially complete parts interchangeability with the MP38. Both guns feature a novel but unnecessarily complicated telescoping recoil spring system that makes the guns exceptionally smooth in action. The MP40 was the first general-issue Infantry weapon truly optimized for mass production. Around a million copies rolled off the lines before it was supplanted by the MP44 assault rifle. The MP40 soldiered on until the very end of the war.

The MP40 in Action

Though bulky and front-heavy, the MP40 was exceptionally controllable thanks to the relatively anemic 9mm Parabellum round and the gun’s sedate 500 rpm rate of fire.

I have a friend who was walking point with a buddy on a patrol through a German village in the final days of the war. Coming around a corner he and his pal came face to face with a German soldier armed with an MP40. The kraut soldier loosed a burst into the chest of my friend’s comrade. My buddy killed the German with a burst from his Thompson.

Both Americans retreated into a nearby building. The wounded American then leaned heavily against the wall, slid to the floor, and died. Even well into his nineties that remained a difficult story for my buddy to tell. At close range, the MP40 was a proven man-killer.

The Rest of the Story

In the final analysis, MG Maurice Rose died simply because he was a superb General.

The victorious Allies undertook an investigation to determine if MG Rose’s death might constitute a war crime. He was the highest-ranking American soldier to be killed in action in Europe, and his Jewish heritage made the circumstances of his killing immediately suspect. However, the light was dim at the time, and when his body was recovered the following day his codebook and maps remained unmolested.

This is the helmet MG Rose was wearing when he was killed. Note that the exit holes are in the front.
The impacts from the 9mm rounds fired at close range tore off part of one of his stars.
Forensic analysis later determined that Rose’s helmet was hit after it was knocked off of his head.

MG Rose was ultimately shot with four separate bursts from that German tank commander’s MP40. The first burst knocked Rose’s helmet off. Four rounds from the third burst struck him in the head and killed him. His helmet was recovered from a nearby ditch about ten feet away. The holes in the helmet resulted from its having been hit as it spun in the air behind the dying General.

MG Rose’s elderly parents both survived to see the loss of their son.
MG Maurice Rose was buried alongside his men.

The determination was simply that MG Rose tragically fell victim to the fog of war. German troops were frequently inexperienced and terrified at this late stage. That nameless Wehrmacht tank commander likely just saw Rose move for his pistol and fired reflexively. MG Maurice Rose, known to his men as “The Division Point” because of his penchant for leading from the front, was buried at the US military cemetery at Margraten, the Netherlands. 3d Armored Division commanders rendered honors at his grave until the early nineties when the division was disbanded.

The 3d Armored Division commander and staff rendered honors at the grave of MG Rose until the division was disbanded in 1992.
This Dutch school was named in honor of MG Maurice Rose, a true American hero.
All About Guns This great Nation & Its People

The Guns of EASY COMPANY!!! (Band of Brothers)

A Victory! Good News for a change! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad I am so grateful!! Leadership of the highest kind Manly Stuff One Hell of a Good Fight Our Great Kids The Green Machine This great Nation & Its People War Well I thought it was neat!

CSM Franklin (Doug) Miller

This great Nation & Its People War

Rest in Peace Folks!

I am so grateful!! Manly Stuff This great Nation & Its People

God bless them all!

This random photo depicts the last run of Ladder 118 as it crosses the Brooklyn Bridge. None of the firefighters would survive the tower’s collapse.

N.S.F.W. This great Nation & Its People

Have a Great Labor Day !





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Labor Day

A Victory! All About Guns Good News for a change! I am so grateful!! Leadership of the highest kind Manly Stuff Some Red Hot Gospel there! This great Nation & Its People

Its just a pity that Scalia did not live to see this! Grumpy

The Green Machine This great Nation & Its People War

Battle of Mogadishu 3 Oct 1993 (29 years ago today)