Categories
Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad I am so grateful!! Leadership of the highest kind Soldiering The Green Machine This great Nation & Its People War Well I thought it was neat!

Damn Right, Thanks Guys!

Categories
A Victory! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind

I had'nt thought of this myself but it is True!

Last American president to actually win a war has passed on

Former President George H.W. Bush, who fought in World War II as a naval aviator and as the 41st president from 1989 to 1993, led American forces to decisive military victories over major powers including Iraq and Panama, died peacefully on Friday night at his home in Houston. He was 94 years old.
Bush began his long and distinguished career in public service as a sailor in 1942, when he enlisted in the Navy to avenge Pearl Harbor. By 1943, he was the youngest Naval aviator, flying a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber against the Empire of Japan. He flew 58 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism after being shot down and rescued by a submarine.
“They wrote it up as heroism,” Bush later told his biographer of the medal, “but it wasn’t — it was just doing your job.” His other military decorations included three Air Medals and the WWII Victory Medal.
After graduating from Yale, making a fortune in Texas oil, and serving as a congressman, director of the CIA and vice president under Ronald Reagan, Bush ascended to the presidency as a Republican in 1989. Within months, he ordered U.S. forces to invade Panama. The invasion toppled a generic Latin America dictator who may or may not have worked for the CIA and was a forgettable success. But the move was widely praised at the time for giving the military a “soft ball” to help it get over its post-Vietnam malaise.
By the end of 1989, probably because the Commies thought Reagan was still president, the Soviet Union crumbled. Sensing decisive victory was at hand, Bush skillfully talked Russian leaders into signing a “strategic partnership agreement” in which Russia threw in the towel in the Cold War in exchange for American promises that NATO would not expand even “one inch eastward.” This landmark agreement paved the way for NATO to expand 500 miles eastward towards Moscow and incorporate a dozen post-Soviet states, securing peace in Europe for generations.
Bush won his second war in the Middle East in 1991 after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. In response, Bush assembled an international military coalition to expel the Iraqi invaders from Kuwait and shake the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all. American forces and their allies charged across the desert and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, liberating the small kingdom and keeping the price of oil reasonable. In the victorious aftermath of the war, American held its last unironic military parade.
Scholars agree that Bush’s victories enabled the military achievements of his successors. His actions to secure the contemporary rules-based international order and establish lasting American hegemony laid the foundation of contemporary American foreign policy.
“He is the reason we have enjoyed three decades of unfettered strategic raiding by U.S. forces in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and probably some places you couldn’t even find on a map,” said Luke Schumacher, an international relations scholar at the University of Chicago. “As we all know, those actions which have secured core American national interests. We would not be here without George H.W. Bush.”
President Donald Trump, among others, has praised Bush’s legacy.
“You know, he got shot down — and you know how I feel about people who got shot down — and we could have beat Japan sooner, but, in the end, he was a winner,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “And who doesn’t love winning? America loves winners.”
Categories
Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Interesting stuff Leadership of the highest kind Soldiering Stand & Deliver

Pity That they can't use the HBO's Rome in the Class Room!

But then I guess that some Helicopter parents might have a stroke or something! GrumpyImage result for hbo romehttps://youtu.be/-vJTNGH4Ib0

Related image

Categories
Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Good News for a change! Interesting stuff Leadership of the highest kind Stand & Deliver The Green Machine

Operation Magic Carpet – Well I thought it was interesting

From the Feral Irishman: “The Magic Carpet Ride”
Returning the troops home after WWII was a daunting task
The Magic Carpet that flew everyone home.
The U.S. military experienced an unimaginable increase during World War II.
In 1939, there were 334,000 servicemen, not counting the Coast Guard.
In 1945, there were over 12 million, including the Coast Guard.
At the end of the war, over 8 million of these men and women were scattered overseas in Europe, the Pacific and Asia. Shipping them out wasn’t a particular problem but getting them home was a massive logistical headache.
The problem didn’t come as a surprise, as Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall had already established committees to address the issue in 1943.
 
Soldiers returning home on the USS General Harry Taylor in August 1945
When Germany fell in May 1945, the U.S. Navy was still busy fighting in the
Pacific and couldn’t assist.
The job of transporting 3 million men home fell to the Army and the Merchant Marine.
300 Victory and Liberty cargo ships were converted to troop transports for the task.
During the war, 148,000 troops crossed the Atlantic west to east each month;
the rush home ramped this up to 435,000 a month over 14 months.
 
Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard the USS Intrepid
In October 1945, with the war in Asia also over, the Navy started chipping in,
converting all available vessels to transport duty.
On smaller ships like destroyers, capable of carrying perhaps 300 men,
soldiers were told to hang their hammocks in whatever nook and cranny they could find.
Carriers were particularly useful, as their large open hangar decks could house 3,000
or more troops in relative comfort, with bunks, sometimes in stacks of five welded
or bolted in place.
 
Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant
The Navy wasn’t picky, though: cruisers, battleships, hospital ships,
even LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) were packed full of men yearning for home.
Two British ocean liners under American control, the RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth,
had already served as troop transports before and continued to do so during the operation,
each capable of carrying up to 15,000 people at a time, though their normal,
peacetime capacity was less than 2,200.
Twenty-nine ships were dedicated to transporting war brides:
women married to American soldiers during the war.
 
Troops performing a lifeboat drill onboard the Queen Mary in December 1944,
before Operation Magic Carpet
The Japanese surrender in August 1945 came none too soon,
but it put an extra burden on Operation Magic Carpet.
The war in Asia had been expected to go well into 1946 and the Navy and
the War Shipping Administration were hard-pressed to bring home all
the soldiers who now had to get home earlier than anticipated.
The transports carrying them also had to collect numerous POWs
from recently liberated Japanese camps, many of whom suffered
from malnutrition and illness
 
U.S. soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps
The time to get home depended a lot on the circumstances. USS Lake Champlain,
a brand new Essex-class carrier that arrived too late for the war,
could cross the Atlantic and take 3,300 troops home a little under 4 days and 8 hours.
Meanwhile, troops going home from Australia or India would sometimes spend
months on slower vessels.
 
                Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation
There was enormous pressure on the operation to bring home as many men
as possible by Christmas 1945
Therefore, a sub-operation, Operation Santa Claus, was dedicated to the purpose.
Due to storms at sea and an overabundance of soldiers eligible for return home,
however, Santa Claus could only return a fraction in time and still not quite home
but at least to American soil.
The nation’s transportation network was overloaded:
trains heading west from the East Coast were on average 6 hours behind schedule
and trains heading east from the West Coast were twice that late.
 
The crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga.
The USS Saratoga transported home a total of 29,204 servicemen during Operation Magic Carpet,
more than any other ship.
Many freshly discharged men found themselves stuck in separation centers
but faced an outpouring of love and friendliness from the locals.
Many townsfolk took in freshly arrived troops and invited them to Christmas dinner
in their homes.
Still others gave their train tickets to soldiers and still others organized quick parties
at local train stations for men on layover.
A Los Angeles taxi driver took six soldiers all the way to Chicago;
another took another carload of men to Manhattan, the Bronx, Pittsburgh,
Long Island, Buffalo and New Hampshire.
Neither of the drivers accepted a fare beyond the cost of gas.
 
Overjoyed troops returning home on the battleship USS Texas
All in all, though, the Christmas deadline proved untenable. 
The last 29 troop transports, carrying some 200,000 men from the
China-India-Burma theater, arrived to America in April 1946,
bringing Operation Magic Carpet to an end,
though an additional 127,000 soldiers still took until September
to return home and finally lay down the burden of war.

Categories
Darwin would of approved of this! Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind The Green Machine War

A Great Example of panic looks like!

Now a lot of folks think that panic means a person running around like a chicken with its head chopped off. Now based on my experience.
It mostly is not. Instead it takes the form of the mind just shutting down from the over flow of information & raw fear. The bottom line is that it takes a lot of guts to summon forth from that inner bank to over come this.
For Example, The Spanish have a saying. “He was brave that day”. Meaning that courage is not a inexhaustible well. That it can & will run dry. If not given time to recover & regroup once in a while.
Also sadly a large proportion of the population. Do NOT have a huge amount of this inner strength needed. Otherwise the Army or Marine Corp would not need a large NCO & Officer Corp.
The Army started to learn this during the true Holocaust of WWI. When it began to run into what is now called P.T.S.D. or as I like to call it Combat Fatigue.
This problem started when a large number of troops basically broke down mentally. After X amount of days on the front line.
It was also calculated that if even the most stout hearted trooper survived that long. Almost all troops would have a complete Mental Breakdown after a year of combat experience.
Anyways this is what I think happened at Foy. That & Winters did as usual the right thing. Grumpy

Categories
Allies Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Good News for a change! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Interesting stuff Leadership of the highest kind Stand & Deliver Well I thought it was neat!

have some spare time & want to see a Good Movie? Then check out Lincoln


My Gentle Readers, Frankly this has been one of my better DVD buys lately.  In that it was so refreshing to go back to a time.
When the Land abounded in adults and even during a horrible Civil War. They were some giants walking the land & because of their guidance. Made us the Last Great Hope of Man.

Categories
Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind Stand & Deliver The Green Machine This great Nation & Its People War

The Eight Essential Characteristics of Officership A Guest Post by Nathan Player

Player Photo.jpg
 
I wrote this article while sitting in a hotel room in Madrid contemplating how I got here. I was visiting the Spanish and Portuguese militaries as part of my experience in the Army’s Schools of Other Nations (SON) Program. I have spent the last nine months studying at the Colombian Superior School of War, and I sometimes pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming.
In 2007, if you told 2LT Player, a “CHEMO” for 3-7 Field Artillery, what the next decade would look like, he would have told you to stop teasing him because he had to finish the USR.
I am confident about what he would have said, because I am him, just ten years later. However, in the next ten years, I served in multiple leadership positions at the platoon and company level. I also served in a joint special operations unit, taught ROTC, and was selected to attend a foreign service’s ILE.
I arrived at my first assignment at Schofield Barracks with doom and gloom ringing in my ears. During my Basic Officer Leader Course, my small group leader told me that as a 74A headed to the 25thInfantry Division, I most likely would not have a chance to lead and it would be a constant struggle to be viewed as a serious professional.
Fortunately, the battalion operations officer changed my outlook during our initial counseling session. He listened intently as I told him my concerns of being “stuck on staff” and my desire to lead a platoon.  He said: “There is no such thing as a bad branch, only bad officers.”
He went on to say that if I wanted to lead Soldiers, I needed to demonstrate my leadership potential by performing well. He had a good point. In the Army, we do not always have control over duty assignments, but we have complete control over our performance. I committed myself to earning the right to lead Soldiers and developing the skills and attributes required for success.
As a result, I discovered what I consider the “Eight Essential Characteristics of Officership.”
LEAD
Leadership is more than knowing where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. Leading includes inspiring others to take the journey with you.
All officers are leaders, regardless of duty position. You must be ready to make decisions, move the mission forward, and lead by example.
Great leaders never ask a subordinate to make a sacrifice that he or she is not willing to make. If we hold ourselves to the same standard that we hold our Soldiers, they will strive to meet or exceed that standard.
LISTEN
Keep an open mind and seek advice. Every team has experienced members that are an extremely valuable resource.
These team members can provide historical examples of past issues and help guide your decisions. But first, you must be approachable and willing to listen.
SUPPORT YOUR COMMANDER
An officer who understands mission command and commander’s intent is worth 10 officers who don’t. When you are given a legal and lawful order, execute and stay within your limits.
When a commander decides on a course of action, it is not your place to second guess. We advise and make recommendations, commanders make decisions and assume the risks.
LEARN AND IMPROVE
Superior leaders are acutely aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They actively build on their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses.
Complacency is a fatal leadership flaw and we should never find comfort in remaining stagnant. This goes for every aspect of the profession of arms. Make realistic and achievable goals and then work to achieve them.
REQUIRE MINIMUM SUPERVISION
Officers who require constant oversight are detrimental to high op tempo organizations that operate in complex environments.
Valuable members of the team understand their responsibilities and execute with little supervision. Asking for the occasional azimuth check is important, but don’t inundate your boss with questions you should be able to answer yourself.
COUNSEL SUBORDINATES
Counseling is the most important tool that leaders have at their disposal. Clearly communicating expectations and standards provides a baseline for measuring performance and ensures that both the rater and rated officer understand expectations.
This is especially important when managing your rater profile and justifying the contents of evaluation reports for both officers and NCOs.
ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR SUBORDINATES
Leaders who take a genuine interest in their subordinates will see their teams achieve amazing feats. This goes hand in hand with counseling.
You must get to know your Soldiers and help them personally and professionally. Find out their goals and help develop a plan to achieve them. If you take care of your Soldiers, they will always take care of the mission.
BE A STUDENT OF HISTORY
As a professional, you must immerse yourself in your profession. Military history is full of lessons and examples that you can compare to your situation.
“Top block” officers read history and apply it regularly in their work. Taking the time to learn from the past will increase your ability to answer the tough questions when they arise.
While the above list is by no means comprehensive, Officers who adhere to these principals will be given the opportunity for increased responsibility.
The Army needs and rewards good leaders. If you strive to be a true professional, take care of your Soldiers, and solve problems within the commander’s intent, your branch won’t matter. You will have an amazing Army Story, even as a “CHEMO.”
Major Nathan Player is currently a student at the Superior School of War in Bogota Colombia. He is assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg following graduation. He has 13 years of combined enlisted and officer service, has commanded at the O3 Level, and has served in various Joint Staff and professional education assignments.

Categories
Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind

Happy Birthday to one of Americas Best but Forgotten POTUS James Polk!!

Image result for president polk birthday
Okay I know that he defended Slavery. But overall he is one of the towering Giants of the Oval office! Here is why.
He said that he would serve only one term.
Reduced tariff (Taxes)
Settle the Oregon Border with the British Empire
Conquered (Stole by Force of Arms) Over 1/2 of Mexico territory
Then Kept his word and retired & died soon after. Not bad huh? Grumpy

In 1824, Polk married Sarah Childress (1803-91), a well-educated Tennessean and devout Presbyterian from a wealthy family.
The couple never had children, and Sarah Polk became her husband’s close adviser throughout his political career. As first lady, she was a charming and popular hostess, although she banned hard liquor from the White House and eschewed dancing, the theater and horse races.

The Tennessee Politician

In 1825, Tennessee voters elected James Polk to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would serve seven terms and act as speaker of the House from 1935 to 1939.
In Congress, Polk was a protégé of America’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), a fellow Democrat and Tennessean who was in the White House from 1829 to 1837. Polk favored states’ rights and supported Jackson’s plan to dismantle the Bank of the United States and replace it with a decentralized government banking system.
Polk later earned the nickname “Young Hickory,” a reference to his mentor Jackson, who was dubbed “Old Hickory” for his toughness.
Polk left Congress in 1839 to become governor of Tennessee. He ran for reelection in 1841 and lost; another run for the governorship in 1843 also ended in defeat

The Dark Horse Candidate

In 1844, James Polk unexpectedly became the Democrats’ nominee for president. He emerged as a compromise candidate after the more likely choice, former president Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), who had lost his reelection bid in 1840, failed to secure the party’s nomination.
Polk thus became America’s first dark horse presidential candidate. George Dallas (1792-1864), a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, was chosen as Polk’s running mate.
In the general election, Polk ran against U.S. Senator Henry Clay (1777-1852), a Kentuckian and a founder of the Whig Party. The Whigs used the campaign slogan “Who is James K. Polk?”–an allusion to the fact that Polk was not well known outside the world of politics.
However, Polk’s expansionist platform favoring the annexation of Texas appealed to voters. He narrowly won the presidency with 49.5 percent of the popular vote and an electoral margin of 170-105.

James Polk as President

At age 49, James Polk was younger than any previous president when he entered the White House.
A workaholic, America’s new chief executive set an ambitious agenda with four major goals: cut tariffs, reestablish an independent U.S. Treasury, secure the Oregon Territory and acquire the territories of California and New Mexico from Mexico.
Polk eventually achieved all his goals. He was a champion of manifest destiny–the belief that the United States was fated to expand across the North American continent–and by the end of his four years in office, the nation extended, for the first time, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
In 1845, the United States completed its annexation of Texas, which became the 28th state on December 29. This move led to a breakdown in diplomatic relations with Mexico (from which Texas had revolted in 1836).
After the United States sent troops to a disputed border region around the Rio Grande River, the Mexican-American War (1846-48) broke out.
The United States won the two-year battle, and as a result, Mexico relinquished its claims to Texas. It also recognized the Rio Grande as America’s southern border and, in exchange for $15 million, ceded the land that makes up all or parts of present-day California, ArizonaColoradoNevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
(Despite the U.S. victory, the war proved controversial and reignited the slavery extension debate that would ultimately result in the American Civil Warin the 1860s.)
With the Oregon Treaty of 1846, Polk managed another significant land acquisition–this time without going to war–when his administration diplomatically settled a border dispute with the British and gained full control of the present-day states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, as well as parts of Montana and Wyoming.
On the domestic front, Polk reduced tariffs in an effort to stimulate trade and created an independent U.S. Treasury. (Federal funds had previously been deposited in private or state banks.)
Also during this time, the U.S. Naval Academy, Smithsonian Institution and Department of Interior were each established, and in addition to Texas, two more states–Iowa (1846) and Wisconsin (1848)–joined the Union.

James Polk: Later Years

James Polk kept his campaign promise to serve just one term and did not seek reelection in 1848. He was succeeded by Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), a military leader who earned acclaim during the Mexican-American War and ran for the presidency on the Whig ticket.
Polk left the White House in March 1849 and returned to his home, Polk Place, in Nashville. The stress of the presidency had left him in poor health, and he died that summer, on June 15, at age 53. He was buried at Polk Place. In 1893, his remains, along with those of his wife, who outlived him by more than 40 years, were moved to the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville

Categories
Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Interesting stuff Leadership of the highest kind

The Man Who Saved Korea BY THOMAS FLEMING

The Man Who Saved Korea

Matthew B. Ridgway, who brought a beaten Eighth Army back from disaster in 1951, was a thinking—and fighting—man’s soldier.

IF YOU ASKED A GROUP OF AVERAGE AMERICANS to name the greatest American general of the twentieth century, most would nominate Dwight Eisenhower, the master politician who organized the Allied invasion of Europe, or Douglas MacArthur, a leader in both world wars, or George C. Marshall, the architect of victory in World War II. John J.
Pershing and George S. Patton would also get a fair number of votes. But if you ask professional soldiers that question, a surprising number of them will reply: “Ridgeway.”
When they pass this judgment, they are not thinking of the general who excelled as a division commander and an army corps commander in World War II.
Many other men distinguished themselves in those roles. The soldiers are remembering the general who rallied a beaten Eighth Army from the brink of defeat in Korea in 1951.
THE SON OF A WEST POINTER who retired as a colonel of the artillery, Matthew Bunker Ridgeway graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1917.
Even there, although his scholastic record was mediocre, he was thinking about how to become a general. One trait he decided to cultivate was an ability to remember names. By his first-class year, he was able to identify the entire 750-man student body.
To his dismay, instead of being sent into combat in France, Ridgeway was ordered to teach Spanish at West Point, an assignment that he was certain meant the death knell of his military career.
(As it turned out, it was probably the first of many examples of Ridgway luck; like Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, he escaped the trench mentality that World War I experience inflicted on too many officers.)
Typically, he mastered the language, becoming one of a handful of officers who were fluent in the second tongue of the western hemisphere.
He stayed at West Point for six years in the course of which he became acquainted with its controversial young superintendent, Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, who was trying in vain to stop the academy from still preparing for the War of 1812.
In the 1920s and ’30s, Ridgeway’s skills as a writer and linguist brought him more staff assignments than he professed to want—troop leadership was the experience that counted on the promotion ladder.
But Ridgeway’s passion for excellence and commitment to the army attracted the attention of a number of people, notably that of a rising star in the generation ahead of him, George Marshall. Ridgeway served under Marshall in the 15th Infantry in China in the mid-1930s and was on his general staff in Washington when Pearl Harbor plunged the nation into World War II.
As the army expanded geometrically in the next year, Ridgeway acquired two stars and the command of the 82nd Division.
When Marshall decided to turn it into an airborne outfit, Ridgeway strapped on a parachute and jumped out of a plane for the first time in his life. Returning to his division, he cheerfully reported there was nothing to the transition to paratrooper.
He quieted a lot of apprehension in the division—although he privately admitted to a few friends that “nothing” was like jumping off the top of a moving freight train onto a hard roadbed.

Dropped into Sicily during the night of July 9, 1943, Ridgeway’s paratroopers survived a series of snafus. Navy gunners shot down twenty of their planes as they came over the Mediterranean from North Africa.
In the darkness their confused pilots scattered them all over the island. Nevertheless, they rescued the invasion by preventing the crack Hermann Göring panzer division from attacking the fragile beachhead and throwing the first invaders of Hitler’s Fortress Europe into the sea.
In this campaign, Ridgeway displayed many traits that became hallmarks of his generalship. He scored a rear-area command post.
Battalion and even company commanders never knew when they would find Ridgeway at their elbows, urging them forward, demanding to know why they were doing this and not that.
His close calls with small- and large-caliber enemy fire swiftly acquired legendary proportions. Even Patton, who was not shy about moving forward, ordered Ridgeway to stop trying to be the 82nd Division’s point man. Ridgeway pretty much ignored the order, calling it “a compliment.”
FROM PATTON, RIDGEWAY ACQUIRED ANOTHER COMMAND HABIT: the practice of stopping to tell lower ranks—military policemen, engineers building bridges—they were doing a good job. He noted the remarkable way this could energize an entire battalion, even a regiment.
At the same time, Ridgeway displayed a ruthless readiness to relieve any officer who did not meet his extremely high standards of battlefield performance. Celerity and aggressiveness were what he wanted. If an enemy force appeared on a unit’s front, he wanted an immediate deployment for flank attacks. He did not tolerate commanders who sat down and thought things over for an hour or two.

In the heat of battle, Ridgeway also revealed an unrivaled capacity to taunt the enemy. One of his favorite stunts was to stand in the middle of a road under heavy artillery fire and urinate to demonstrate his contempt for German accuracy. Aides and fellow generals repeatedly begged him to abandon this bravado. He ignored them.
Ridgeway’s experience as an airborne commander spurred the evolution of another trait that made him almost unique among American soldiers—a readiness to question, even to challenge, the policies of his superiors.
After the snafus of the Sicily drop, Eisenhower and other generals concluded that division-size airborne operations were impractical. Ridgeway fought ferociously to maintain the integrity of his division.
Winning that argument, he found himself paradoxically menaced by the widespread conclusion that airborne assault could solve problems with miraculous ease.
General Harold Alexander, the British commander of the Allied invasion of Italy, decided Ridgeway’s paratroopers were a God-given instrument for disrupting German defense plans. Alexander ordered the 82nd Airborne to jump north of Rome, seize the city, and hold it while the main army drove from their Salerno beachhead to link up with them.
Ridgeway was appalled. His men would have to fly without escort—Rome was beyond the range of Allied fighters—risking annihilation before they got to the target.
There were at least six elite German divisions near the city, ready and willing to maul the relatively small 82nd Airborne. An airborne division at this point in the war had only 8,000 men.
Their heaviest gun was a 75 pack howitzer, “a peashooter,” in Ridgeway’s words, against tanks. For food, ammunition, fuel, transportation, the Americans were depending on the Italians, who were planning to double-cross the Germans and abandon the war.

Ridgeway wangled an interview with General Alexander, who listened to his doubts and airily dismissed them. “Don’t give this another thought, Ridgeway. Contact will be made with your division in three days—five at the most,” he said.
 
RIDGEWAY WAS IN A QUANDARY. He could not disobey the direct orders of his superior without destroying his career. He told his division to get ready for the drop, but he refused to abandon his opposition, even though the plan had the enthusiastic backing of Dwight Eisenhower, who was conducting negotiations with the Italians from his headquarters in Algiers.
Eisenhower saw the paratroopers as a guarantee that the Americans could protect the Italians from German retribution.
Ridgeway discussed the dilemma with Brigadier General Maxwell Taylor, his artillery officer, who volunteered to go to Rome incognito and confer with the Italians on the ground.
Ridgeway took this offer to General Walter Bedell Smith, Alexander’s American chief of staff, along with more strenuous arguments against the operation.

Smith persuaded Alexander to approve Taylor’s mission. Taylor and an air corps officer traveled to Rome disguised as captured airrmen and met Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio, the acting prime minister, who was in charge of the negotiations.
Meanwhile, plans for the drop proceeded at a dozen airfields in Sicily. If Taylor found the Italians unable to keep their promises of support, he was to send a radio message with the code word innocuous in it.
In Rome, Taylor met Badoglio and was appalled by what he heard. The Germans were wise to the Italians’ scheme and had reinforced their divisions around Rome.
The 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division alone now had 24,000 men and 200 tanks—enough firepower to annihilate the 82nd Airborne twice over.
A frantic Taylor sent three separate messages over different channels to stop the operation, but word did not reach the 82nd until sixty-two planes loaded with paratroopers were on the runways warming their engines. Ridgeway sat down with his chief of staff, shared a bottle of whiskey, and wept with relief.
Looking back years later, Ridgeway declared that when the time came for him to meet his maker, his greatest source of pride would not be his accomplishments in battle but his decision to oppose the Rome drop. He also liked to point out that it took seven months for the Allied army to reach the Eternal City.
Repeatedly risking his career in this unprecedented fashion, Ridgeway was trying to forge a different kind of battle leadership. He had studied the appalling slaughters of World War I and was determined that they should never happen again.
He believed “the same dignity attaches to the mission given a single soldier as to the duties of the commanding general. . . . All lives are equal on the battlefield, and a dead rifleman is as great a loss in the sight of God as a dead general.”

IN THE NORMANDY INVASION, RIDGEWAY HAD NO DIFFICULTY accepting the 82nd’s task.
Once more, his men had to surmount a mismanaged airdrop in which paratroopers drowned at sea and in swamps and lost 60 percent of their equipment. Ridgeway found himself alone in a pitch-dark field. He consoled himself with the thought that “at least if no friends were visible, neither were any foes.”
Ten miles away, his second-in-command, James Gavin, took charge of most of the fighting for the next twenty-four hours.
The paratroopers captured only one of their assigned objectives, but it was a crucial one, the town of Sainte-Mére-Eglise, which blocked German armor from attacking Utah beach. Ridgway was given a third star and command of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
By this time he inspired passionate loyalty in the men around him. Often it came out in odd ways. One day he was visiting a wounded staff officer in an aid station. A paratrooper on the stretcher next to him said, “Still sticking your neck out, huh, General?” Ridgeway never forgot the remark.
For him it represented the affection one combat soldier feels for another.

Less well known than his D-Day accomplishments was Ridgeway’s role in the Battle of the Bulge.
When the Germans smashed into the Ardennes in late December 1944, routing American divisions along a 75-mile front, Ridgeway’s airborne corps again became a fire brigade. The “battling bastards of Bastogne”—the 101st Airborne led by Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe—got most of the publicity for foiling the German lunge toward Antwerp.
But many historians credit Ridgeway’s defense of the key road junction of Saint-Vith as a far more significant contribution to the victory.
Ridgeway acquired a visual trademark, a hand grenade attached to his paratrooper’s shoulder harness on one side and a first-aid kit, often mistaken for another grenade, on the other strap.
He insisted both were for practical use, not for picturesque effect like Patton’s pearl-handled pistols. In his jeep he also carried an old .30-06 Springfield rifle, loaded with armor-piercing cartridges.
On foot one day deep in the Ardennes forest, trying to find a battalion CP, he was carrying the gun when he heard a “tremendous clatter.” Through the trees he saw what looked like a light tank with a large swastika on its side.
He fired five quick shots at the Nazi symbol and crawled away on his belly through the snow. The vehicle turned out to be a self-propelled gun. Inside it, paratroopers who responded to the shots found five dead Germans.
THIS WAS THE MAN—now at the Pentagon, as deputy chief of staff for administration and training—whom the army chose to rescue the situation in Korea when the Chinese swarmed over the Yalu River in early December 1950 and sent EUSAK (the Eighth U.S. Army in Korea) reeling in headlong retreat.
Capping the disarray was the death of the field commander, stumpy Major General Walton (“Johnnie”) Walker, in a jeep accident. Ridgeway’s first stop was Tokyo, where he was briefed by the supreme commander, Douglas MacArthur.
After listening to a pessimistic summary of the situation, Ridgeway asked: “General, if I get over there and find the situation warrants it, do I have your permission to attack?”

“The Eighth Army is yours, Matt,” MacArthur responded. “Do what you think best.”
MacArthur was giving Ridgeway freedom—and responsibility—he had never given Walker. The reason was soon obvious: MacArthur was trying to distance himself from a looming disaster.
Morale in the Eighth Army had deteriorated alarmingly while they retreated before the oncoming Chinese. “Bugout fever” was endemic. Within hours of arriving to take command, Ridgeway abandoned his hopes for an immediate offensive. His first job was to restore this beaten army’s will to fight.
He went at it with incredible verve and energy. Strapping on his parachute harness with its hand grenade and first-aid kit, he toured the front for three days in an open jeep in bitter cold. “I held to the old-fashioned idea that it helped the spirits of the men to see the Old Man up there in the snow and sleet . . . sharing the same cold miserable existence they had to endure,” he said.
But Ridgeway admitted that until a kindhearted major dug up a pile-lined cap and warm gloves for him, he “damn near froze.
Everywhere he went, Ridgeway exercised his fabulous memory for faces. By this time he could recognize an estimated 5,000 men at a glance. He dazzled old sergeants and MPs on lonely roads by remembering not only their names but where they had met and what they had said to each other.

But this trick was not enough to revive EUSAK. Everywhere Ridgeway found the men unresponsive, reluctant to answer his questions, even to air their gripes.
The defeatism ran from privates through sergeants all the way up to the generals. He was particularly appalled by the atmosphere in the Eighth Army’s main command post in Taegu. There they were talking about withdrawing from Korea, frantically planning how to avoid a Dunkirk.
In his first 48 hours, Ridgeway had met with all his American corps and division commanders and all but one of the Republic of Korea division commanders.
He told them—as he had told the staffers in Taegu—that he had no plans whatsoever to evacuate Korea. He reiterated what he had told South Korean president Syngman Rhee in their meeting: “I’ve come to stay. ”
But words could not restore the nerve of many top commanders. Ridgeway’s reaction to this defeatism was drastic: He cabled the Pentagon that he wanted to relieve almost every division commander and artillery commander in EUSAK.
He also supplied his bosses with a list of younger fighting generals he wanted to replace the losers. This demand caused political palpitations in Washington, where MacArthur’s growing quarrel with President Harry Truman’s policy was becoming a nightmare.
Ridgeway eventually got rid of his losers—but not with one ferocious sweep. The ineffective generals were sent home singly over the next few months as part of a “rotation policy.”
Meanwhile, in a perhaps calculated bit of shock treatment, Ridgeway visited I Corps and asked the G-3 to brief him on their battle plans. The officer described plans to withdraw to “successive positions.”
“What are your attack plans?” Ridgeway growled. The officer floundered. “Sir—we are withdrawing.” There were no attack plans. “Colonel, you are relieved,” Ridgeway said.

That is how the Eighth Army heard the story. Actually, Ridgeway ordered the G-3’s commanding officer to relieve him—which probably intensified the shock effect on the corps.
Many officers felt, perhaps with some justice, that Ridgeway was brutally unfair to the G-3, who was only carrying out the corps commander’s orders. But Ridgeway obviously felt the crisis justified brutality.
As for the lower ranks, Ridgeway took immediate steps to satisfy some of their gripes. Warmer clothing was urgently demanded from the States.
Stationery to write letters home, and to wounded buddies, was shipped to the front lines—and steak and chicken were added to the menu, with a ferocious insistence that meals be served hot.
Regimental, division, and corps commanders were told in language Ridgeway admitted was “often impolite” that it was time to abandon creature comforts and slough off their timidity about getting off the roads and into the hills, where the enemy was holding the high ground.
Again and again Ridgeway repeated the ancient army slogan “Find them! Fix them! Fight them! Finish them!”
As he shuttled across the front in a light plane or a helicopter, Ridgeway studied the terrain beneath him. He was convinced a massive Communist offense was imminent. He not only wanted to contain it, he wanted to inflict maximum punishment on the enemy.
He knew that for the time being he would have to give some ground, but he wanted the price to be high. South of the Han River, he assigned Brigadier General Garrison Davidson, a talented engineer, to take charge of several thousand Korean laborers and create a “deep defensive zone” with a trench system, barbed wire, and artillery positions.
RIDGEWAY ALSO PREACHED DEFENSE IN DEPTH to his division and regimental commanders in the lines they were holding north of the Han.
Although they lacked the manpower to halt the Chinese night attacks, he said that by buttoning up tight, unit by unit, at night and counterattacking strongly with armor and infantry teams during the day, the U.N. army could inflict severe punishment on anyone who had come through the gaps in their line.
At the same time, Ridgeway ordered that no unit be abandoned if cut off. It was to be “fought for” and rescued unless a “major commander” after “personal appraisal” Ridgeway-style—from the front lines—decided its relief would cost as many or more men.
Finally, in this race against the looming Chinese offensive, Ridgeway tried to fill another void in the spirit of his men. He knew they were asking each other, “What the hell are we doing here in this God-forgotten spot?” One night he sat down at his desk in his room in Seoul and tried to answer that question.
His first reasons were soldierly: They had orders to fight from the president of the United States, and they were defending the freedom of South Korea.
But the real issues were deeper—”whether the power of Western civilization, as God has permitted it to flower in our own beloved lands, shall defy and defeat Communism; whether the rule of men who shoot their prisoners, enslave their citizens and deride the dignity of man, shall displace the rule of those to whom the individual and his individual rights are sacred.”
In that context, Ridgeway wrote, “the sacrifices we have made, and those we shall yet support, are not offered vicariously for others but in our own direct defense.”

On New Year’s Eve, the Chinese and North Koreans attacked with all-out fury. The Eighth Army, Ridgeway wrote, “were killing them by the thousands,” but they kept coming.
They smashed huge holes in the center of Ridgeway’s battle line, where ROK divisions broke and ran. Ridgeway was not surprised—having met their generals, he knew most had little more than a company commander’s experience or expertise. Few armies in existence had taken a worse beating than the ROKs in the first six months of the war.
By January 2 it was evident that the Eighth Arrny would have to move south of the Han River and abandon Seoul. As he left his headquarters, Ridgeway pulled from his musette bag a pair of striped flannel pajama pants “split beyond repair in the upper posterior region.” He tacked them to the wall, the worn-out seat flapping. Above them, in block letters, he left a message:
TO THE COMMANDING GENERAL
CHINESE COMMUNIST FORCES
WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF
THE COMMANDING GENERAL
EIGHTH ARMY
The story swept through the ranks with predictable effect.

The Eighth Army fell back fifteen miles south of the Han to the defensive line prepared by General Davidson and his Korean laborers. They retreated, in Ridgeway’s words, “as a fighting army, not as a running mob.”
They brought with them all their equipment and, most important, their pride. They settled into the elaborate defenses and waited for the Chinese to try again.
The battered Communists chose to regroup. Ridgeway decided it was time to come off the floor with some Sunday punches of his own.
He set up his advanced command post on a bare bluff at Yoju, about one-third of the way across the peninsula, equidistant from the I Corps and X Corps headquarters.
For the first few weeks, he operated with possibly the smallest staff of any American commander of a major army.
Although EUSAK’s force of 350,000 men was in fact the largest field army ever led by an American general, Ridgeway’s staff consisted of just six people: two aides, one orderly, a driver for his jeep, and a driver and radio operator for the radio jeep that followed him everywhere.
He lived in two tents, placed end-to-end to create a sort of two-room apartment and heated by a small gasoline stove. Isolated from the social and military formalities of the main CP at Taegu, Ridgeway had time for “uninterrupted concentration” on his counteroffensive.
Nearby was a crudely leveled airstrip from which he took off repeatedly to study the terrain in front of him. He combined this personal reconnaissance with intensive study of relief maps provided by the Army Map priceless asset.”
Soon his incredible memory had absorbed the terrain of the entire front, and “every road, every cart track, every hill, every stream, every ridge in that area . . we hoped to control . . . became as familiar to me as . my own backyard,” he later wrote. When he ordered an advance into a sector, he knew exactly what it might involve for his infantrymen.

ON JANUARY 25, WITH A THUNDEROUS ERUPTION OF MASSED ARTILLERY, the Eighth Army went over to the attack in Operation Thunderbolt.
The goal was the Han River, which would make the enemy’s grip on Seoul untenable. The offensive was a series of carefully planned advances to designated “phase lines,” beyond each of which no one advanced until every assigned unit reached it.
Again and again Ridgeway stressed the importance of having good coordination, inflicting maximum punishment, and keeping major units intact. He called it “good footwork combined with firepower.” The men in the lines called it “the meat grinder.”
To jaundiced observers in the press, the army’s performance was miraculous. Rene Cutforth of the BBC wrote: “Exactly how and why the new army was transformed…from a mob of dispirited boobs…to a tough resilient force is still a matter for speculation and debate.”
A Time correspondent came closest to explaining it: “The boys aren’t up there fighting for democracy now. They’re fighting because the platoon leader is leading them and the platoon leader is fighting because of the command, and so on right up to the top.”
By February 10 the Eighth Army had its left flank anchored on the Han and had captured Inchon and Seoul’s Kimpo Airfield. After fighting off a ferocious Chinese counterattack on Lincoln’s birthday, Ridgeway launched offensives from his center and right flank with equal success.
In one of these, paratroopers were used to trap a large number of Chinese between them and an armored column. Ridgeway was sorely tempted to jump with them, but he realized it would be “a damn fool thing” for an army commander to do. Instead, he landed on a road in his light plane about a half hour after the paratroopers hit the ground.
M-1s were barking all around him. At one point a dead Chinese came rolling down a hill and dangled from a bank above Ridgeway’s head.
His pilot, an ex-infantryman, grabbed a carbine out of the plane and joined the shooting. Ridgeway stood in the road, feeling “that lifting of the spirits, that sudden quickening of the breath and the sudden sharpening of all the senses that comes to a man in the midst of battle.”
None of his exploits in Korea better demonstrates why he was able to communicate a fierce appetite for combat to his men.

Still another incident dramatized Ridgeway’s instinctive sympathy for the lowliest private in his ranks.
In early March he was on a hillside watching a battalion of the 1st Marine Division moving up for an attack. In the line was a gaunt boy with a heavy radio on his back. He kept stumbling over an untied shoelace. “Hey, how about one of you sonsabitches tying my shoe?” he howled to his buddies. Ridgeway slid down the snowy bank, landed at his feet, and tied the laces.
Fifty-four days after Ridgeway took command, the Eighth Army had driven the Communists across the 38th parallel, the line dividing North and South Korea, inflicting enormous losses with every mile they advanced.
The reeling enemy began surrendering by the hundreds. Seoul was recaptured on March 14, a symbolic defeat of tremendous proportions to the Communists’ political ambitions.
Ridgeway was now “supremely confident” his men could take “any objective” assigned to them. “The American flag never flew over a prouder, tougher, more spirited and more competent fighting force than was the Eighth Army as it drove north beyond the parallel,” he declared.
But he agreed with President Truman’s decision to stop at the parallel and seek a negotiated truce.
In Tokyo his immediate superior General Douglas MacArthur, did not agree and let his opinion resound through the media. On April 11 Ridgeway was at the front in a snowstorm supervising final plans for an attack on the Chinese stronghold of Chörwön, when a correspondent said, “Well, General, I guess congratulations are in order.”
That was how he learned that Truman had fired MacArthur and given Ridgeway his job as supreme commander in the Far East and as America’s proconsul in Japan.
Ridgeway was replaced as Eighth Army commander by Lieutenant General James Van Fleet, who continued Ridgeway’s policy of using coordinated firepower, rolling with Communist counter punches, inflicting maximum casualties.
Peace talks and occasionally bitter fighting dragged on for another twenty-eight months, but there was never any doubt that EUSAK was in Korea to stay.
Ridgeway and Van Fleet built the ROK Army into a formidable force during these months. They also successfully integrated black and white troops in EUSAK.

Later, Ridgeway tried to combine his “profound respect” for Douglas MacArthur and his conviction that President Truman had done the right thing in relieving him.
Ridgeway maintained that MacArthur had every right to make his views heard in Washington, but not to disagree publicly with the president’s decision to fight a limited war in Korea.
Ridgeway, with his deep concern for the individual soldier, accepted the concept of limited war fought for sharply defined goals as the only sensible doctrine in the nuclear age.
After leaving the Far East, Ridgeway would go on to become head of NATO in Europe and chairrnan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Eisenhower.
Ironically, at the end of his career he would find himself in a MacArthuresque position. Secretary of Defense Charles E. (“Engine Charlie”) Wilson had persuaded Ike to slash the defense budget—with 76 percent of the cuts falling on the army.
Wilson latched on to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’s foreign policy, which relied on the threat of massive nuclear retaliation to intimidate the Communists. Wilson thought he could get more bang for the buck by giving almost half the funds in the budget to the air force.
Ridgeway refused to go along with Eisenhower. In testimony before Congress, he strongly disagreed with the administration’s policy.
He insisted it was important that the United States be able to fight limited wars, without nuclear weapons. He said massive retaliation was “repugnant to the ideals of a Christian nation” and incompatible with the basic aim of the United States, “a just and durable peace.”
 

EISENHOWER WAS INFURIATED, BUT RIDGEWAY STOOD HIS GROUND—and in fact proceeded to take yet another stand that angered top members of the administration. In early 1954 the French army was on the brink of collapse in Vietnam. Secretary of State Dulles and a number of other influential voices wanted the United States to intervene to rescue the situation.
Alarmed, Ridgeway sent a team of army experts to Vietnam to assess the situation. They came back with grim information.
Vietnam, they reported, was not a promising place to fight a modern war. It had almost nothing a modern army needed—good highways, port facilities, airfields, railways. Everything would have to be built from scratch.
Moreover, the native population was politically unreliable, and the jungle terrain was made to order for guerrilla warfare. The experts estimated that to win the war the United States would have to commit more troops than it had sent to Korea.
Ridgeway sent the report up through channels to Eisenhower. A few days later he was told to have one of his staff give a logistic briefing on Vietnam to the president. Ridgeway gave it himself.
Eisenhower listened impassively and asked only a few questions, but it was clear to Ridgeway that he understood the full implications. With minimum fanfare, the president ruled against intervention.
For reasons that still puzzle historians, no one in the Kennedy administration ever displayed the slightest interest in the Ridgeway report—not even Kennedy’s secretary of state, Dean Rusk, who as assistant secretary of state for Far Eastern affairs in 1950–51 knew and admired what Ridgeway had achieved in Korea.
As Ridgeway left office, Rusk wrote him a fulsome letter telling him he had “saved your country from the humiliation of defeat through the loss of morale in high places.”

The report on Vietnam was almost the last act of Ridgeway’s long career as an American soldier. Determined to find a team player, Eisenhower did not invite him to spend a second term as chief of staff, as was customary. Nor was he offered another job elsewhere.
Although Ridgeway officially retired, his departure was clearly understood by Washington insiders as that rarest of things in the U.S. Army, a resignation in protest.
After leaving the army in 1955, Ridgeway became chairman and chief executive officer of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, in Pittsburgh. He retired from this post in 1960 and has continued to live in a suburb of Pittsburgh. At this writing he is 97. [Editor’s note: Ridgeway died at age 98 on July 26, 1993.]
When Ridgeway was leaving Japan to become commander of NATO, he told James Michener, “I cannot subscribe to the idea that civilian thought per se is any more valid than military thought.”
Without abandoning his traditional obedience to his civilian superiors, Ridgeway insisted on his right to be a thinking man’s soldier—the same soldier who talked back to his military superiors when he thought their plans were likely to lead to the “needless sacrifice of priceless lives.”
David Halberstam is among those who believe that Ridgeway’s refusal to go along with intervention in Vietnam was his finest hour. Halberstam called him the “one hero” of his book on our involvement in Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest.
But for the student of military history, the Ridgeway of Korea towers higher. His achievement proved the doctrine of limited war can work, provided those fighting it are led by someone who knows how to ignite their pride and confidence as soldiers. Ridgeway’s revival of the Eighth Army is the stuff of legends, a paradigm of American generalship.
Omar Bradley put it best: “His brilliant, driving uncompromising leadership [turned] the tide of battle like no other general’s in our military history.”
Not long after Ridgeway’s arrival in Korea, one of the lower ranks summed up EUSAK’s new spirit with a wisecrack: “From now on there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a Ridgeway.” MHQ

THOMAS FLEMING is a historian, novelist, and contributing editor of MHQ. He is at present working on a novel about the German resistance to Hitler.

Categories
Good News for a change! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind Well I thought it was funny!

Wow! Theo Sparks has some real Brass ones to post this one!