Allies Cops Good News for a change! I am so grateful!! Interesting stuff Leadership of the highest kind Paint me surprised by this Real men


You cannot make this up, and even if you could, the actual facts would read like something out of a really strange movie script about good versus just plain dumb.

When Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month rushed to sign a brand new gun control bill before the Legislature adjourned (only to re-convene about 24 hours later), something happened nobody saw coming. County sheriffs up and down the Prairie State loudly declared they would not enforce the new law, which banned so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines.” It requires current owners to register their guns with the Illinois State Police.

How this may play out is ripe for speculation. By the time you read this, at least one federal lawsuit involving the Illinois State Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition will have been filed. There could be more. It all means that the new Illinois law might be headed for a collision with the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

This certainly appears to be what the sheriffs of at least 80 Illinois counties were thinking when they posted letters saying essentially the same thing.

“As your duly elected Sheriff,” the letter says, “my job and my office are sworn to protect the citizens … This is a job and responsibility that I take with the utmost seriousness. The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people of this country …”

“Therefore, as the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement official, I proclaim that neither myself nor my office will be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the State, nor will we be arresting or housing law-abiding gun individuals that have been arrested solely with non-compliance of this Act.”

Published reports, and reliable sources, confirm Pritzker was furious when the sheriffs went public with their opposition. When he intimated the lawmen would lose their jobs, at least two different Illinois sources told me between laughs that the governor does not have the authority to fire elected sheriffs.

Meanwhile, Out West


When sheriffs in Washington State got wind of the gun control package put forth by Gov. Jay Inslee, which also involves a ban on semi-auto rifles, the Washington State Sheriff’s Association circulated a letter signed by Kittitas County Sheriff Clay Myer —president of the group — and it was not congenial.

“Governor Inslee,” Sheriff Myers wrote, “has announced plans for significant new restrictions on the ownership of firearms by law-abiding Washingtonians. We, members of the Washington Sheriffs’ Association, believe the proposed restrictions will serve to erode constitutionally protected rights without addressing the root causes of violent crime. We are particularly concerned with the proposed so-called ‘assault weapons ban’ and ‘permit to purchase’ laws.”

A few paragraphs later, Myers put it bluntly: “The rise in violent crime that so concerns citizens has happened even as regulations and restrictions on firearm ownership have grown. Of course, this is because the people who commit violent crimes simply don’t concern themselves with obeying rules about guns.”

Murder and mayhem is up in Washington, and so is the number of concealed pistol licenses. As the year wrapped up, there were just short of 697,000 active CPLs in circulation, according to data from the state department of licensing.

It’s not the first time county sheriffs have “just said no.” Back in 2018 and early 2019, many Washington sheriffs announced they would not actively enforce provisions of Initiative 1639, an extremist gun control measure passed by voters.

Some sheriffs in New York State say they will not “aggressively” enforce that state’s new gun law, which is being challenged by at least two federal lawsuits. A few sheriffs in Oregon have said essentially the same thing about provisions of Measure 114, the gun control initiative passed there last November.

A Good Man Gone

The problem with being an old gun guy is that it becomes more frequent we must say “goodbye” to a good friend, who happens to have also been just a plain good person.

Robert E. “Bob” Hodgdon, whose family name is part of the fabric of American metallic cartridge reloading, passed away Jan. 13. Having been born in August 1938, Hodgdon had a good run that covered a lot of ground. He and his brother, J.B. helped build the company founded by their father, Bruce Hodgdon, and today that name is iconic in the industry for the variety of reloading propellants for rifles, shotguns and handguns. According to an obituary the family posted, he “also assisted with the design and lead the team constructing the Pyrodex Plant in Herington, Kan. in 1979 and helped to design and build The Bullet Hole, a 44-station indoor shooting range in 1967.”

I served with Hodgdon on the NRA board of directors more than 20 years ago, and you could not find a more devoted fellow where perpetuation of the shooting sports, and protection of the Second Amendment, was concerned. He was a kind and gentle soul, a person you’d be delighted to share a campfire with, and someone who was as devoted to his family as his professional pursuits. He was father to four children, Chris (Adele) Hodgdon, Heidi (Erwin) Rodriguez, Stacie (Bryant Larimore) Hodgdon and Alisa Hodgdon — and grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather to eight.

A native of Kansas, he grew up in suburban Kansas City. He attended Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Kansas. He served in the U.S. Air Force and the Air Force Reserves.

He served as president of Hodgdon for more than 20 years and then as board chairman from 2014 to 2017.

Hodgdon volunteered in several civic organizations, and was a member of the Westside Family Church in Lenexa, Kan.

Additionally, he was a founding member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a member of the Kansas State Rifle Association, and founding member of the Kansas Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Men like Bob Hodgdon are very rare.

A Victory! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad I am so grateful!! Leadership of the highest kind This great Nation & Its People

Ronald Reagan Day (I miss that Old Man so much!)

Ronald Reagan - IMDb

Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad I am so grateful!! Leadership of the highest kind Manly Stuff Our Great Kids The Green Machine This great Nation & Its People War

The Greatest Hero America Never Knew The true story of Waco’s Col. Robert Howard. By David Feherty

photography courtesy of the Howard family

The name was always spoken with reverence, but I had no idea who he was. Then an Army Ranger I’ll call Leroy (because that’s his name) told me he couldn’t go on my T1F Taliban Pheasant Hunt in South Dakota last year because he had a chance to meet Bob Howard, who was on his deathbed in Waco. Leroy’s decision really piqued my interest. Nobody turns down the Taliban Pheasant Hunt—and, perhaps more telling, nobody goes to Waco without a really good reason. It was then that I decided I had to find out who Howard was.

A-googling I went. And it turned out that Robert Lewis Howard was a Green Beret and a TCU grad. He had appeared in two John Wayne movies, making a parachute jump in The Longest Day and playing an airborne instructor in The Green Berets—not exactly a stretch for him. Howard was the only soldier in the history of the United States to be nominated three times for the Medal of Honor, our country’s highest military decoration, which is awarded to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.” The men who fought with Howard all agreed that he should have received a Medal of Honor for each one of his three citations—which explains why he was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses (the second-highest honor, given in the Army). No matter. He had plenty of other gongs and ribbons. He had a Silver Star, several Bronze Stars, and eight Purple Hearts (though he was wounded 14 times). Then there was all the stuff awarded to him by the armed forces of other grateful nations.

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why neither I nor anyone else outside of the Army had heard of this extraordinary American. I had theories. First, many of Howard’s actions in theater were still classified. We know he was in Laos and Cambodia before we knew we were in Laos and Cambodia, but we just don’t know what he was up to, apart from getting nominated for the Medal of Honor every few months or so. This was back in the days when a clandestine operation could be run without having to broadcast it on C-SPAN first.

Then there was the rest of the Vietnam war, the part we knew about. Howard received his Medal of Honor from Nixon in 1971, with his sweet little first-grade daughter Missy looking on from the front row. None of the TV networks covered the event. Though Audie Murphy and Alvin York both received a Medal of Honor for their actions in World War II and the Great War respectively, and got the ticker-tape parades, fame, and fortune they both deserved, Howard got nothing, because he fought in the war that the Flower Power generation, led by Jane Fonda and her ilk, who exercised the very rights that the men and women who served in Vietnam fought to protect, demonstrated against by (among other things) spitting in the faces of returning soldiers. You can probably guess how I feel about this issue.

So after reading up on Howard, I decided to follow my friend Leroy’s lead and head down to Waco to meet the man myself. But before I could get down there, on Wednesday, December 23, 2009, Col. Robert Howard died at the age of 70. The next day, the Associated Press ran a 10-sentence obituary. The New York Times and Washington Post followed with slightly longer obits. I couldn’t believe the man’s passing had generated so little notice.

I went to Waco anyway.

Driving down I-35 toward Waco to visit Missy, the second daughter of Col. Robert Howard, I noticed for the first time that this stretch of the interstate is known as The Purple Heart Trail. I was still thinking about the coincidence when I sat down in Missy’s living room to watch a video that few people have ever seen. The video was given to Howard by the Medal of Honor Foundation.

It is Missy’s daddy at 64 years old, with a short, pale blue ribbon and small gold medal covering the knot in his tie, his jaw square and strong, his face still scarred, angular, and violently handsome. He is talking about the day he received his Medal of Honor from President Nixon, of whom he says, “He had nice hands. They were, you know, decent.”

Missy tells me that when her daddy came home to San Antonio, which wasn’t that often, he was a gardener, a gentle man with massive hands and a velvet voice who worked on his roses and never once spoke of what he did in the war. “He could make anything grow,” Missy says.

Now the Colonel’s ocean-blue eyes are focused on some far-away hellhole jungle clearing. Howard says the Hueys took ground fire on the way down to the landing zone, and his platoon suffered casualties even before it landed. But there was no peeling off for this group. Silver wings upon their chests, these are men, America’s best. (No longer do these words remind me of Bill Murray in a greenskeeper’s shed.)

“We finally got in on the ground, and I got with [the] lieutenant,” Howard says. “He says, ‘Bob, we need to secure this LZ [landing zone], and I want you to get a couple of men and secure the exterior of the LZ.’ And I got three men behind me, and I can remember being fired at. I fell backward and they killed three men behind me, and I’m firing and killing the North Vietnamese that’s trying to kill us. So I made my way back to the lieutenant and told him that the LZ was completely surrounded. By that time, one of the helicopters had been shot down.”

This is the only personal account on record of the events for which he received the Medal of Honor. To begin with, Howard seems uncomfortable talking about it. But this is not the most difficult thing he has done. He pauses and draws a breath, then begins to explain dispassionately what happened when the men resumed their operation and a grenade explosion knocked him unconscious.

“When I come to, I was blown up in a crump on the ground, and my weapon was blown out of my hand. I can remember seeing red and saying a prayer, hoping I wasn’t blind. I couldn’t see. And I knew I was in a lot of pain and my hands were hurting. I couldn’t get up, and I really didn’t want to get up anyway because I couldn’t see. And then I finally starting getting the vision back and it was like blood was in my eyes, and I started feeling, but my hands were all blown up.

“And then it was like there was a big flame and there was smoke and there were people screaming and hollering. It in fact was an enemy soldier that was burning the people that would have been ambushed with a flamethrower. And the guy walked up to me and was getting ready to burn me, and he looked at me and he didn’t burn the lieutenant. The lieutenant was about 5 feet away from me, and he’s laying face forward, and he was hollering and he was screaming. I knew he was hurt. And the guy looked at me with the flamethrower, and then I looked at him. I guess I looked so bad and pitiful, he decided not to burn me up. He just turned and walked off.”

Now Howard was unarmed, and his hands had been blown apart. He was peppered with shrapnel. He couldn’t walk. So he grabbed the lieutenant’s shirt and starting dragging him—a big man, maybe 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds—toward safety as an estimated two enemy companies fired on them.
The great man’s face changes as he talks. His jaw stiffens, and his eyes, though narrowing, seem to take on an even more penetrating blueness. I am mesmerized as he relives these moments.

“So I’m pulling him back down the hill, and there was a sergeant that was laying down behind a log with a weapon that hadn’t been wounded that had seen this. But he was crying and not using his weapon. Here I am, begging him to help me because I can’t walk and drag the lieutenant back down.
“I said, ‘Well, give me your weapon,’ and he wouldn’t give me his weapon, but he did give me a .45. Just as he gave me the .45, and I’m trying to tell him to give me a couple more magazines of rounds for it, a bunch of enemy soldiers come running toward us. So here I am trying to fire the handgun, and I can remember shooting this enemy soldier that was fixing to stick me with a bayonet. He was running toward me. In fact, he fell across the lieutenant that I was dragging, and so just as he fell across there was another one behind him. They were trying to get us alive is what they were trying to do.”

The sergeant finally began to fire his weapon, and Howard got hit again. A bullet smashed into a magazine in his ammo belt for his rifle, setting off the rounds he was carrying. Howard estimates he was hit with 15 or 20 rounds of exploding ammunition.

“Here I am thinking, I’m blowing up again,” he says. “And there were other soldiers back behind him that hadn’t been hurt at all that had been watching us being almost executed by the enemy and not doing anything, not even firing their weapons.”

Howard eventually got the lieutenant to a medic. His platoon was trapped under heavy fire and had now suffered too many casualties to fight the enemy on their terms. The medic propped Howard up, and he told his brothers, “We are going to establish a perimeter right here, and you’re going to fight or die.” Then Howard did the unthinkable. He got a radio and called in an air strike on his own position. He ordered the men to make a triangle with three strobe lights around their position to keep from getting hit.

“They brought the fire into our position,” Howard says. “In fact, I remember fire landing right between my feet and, you know, ricochet hitting me in the face. You know, that’s how intense it was.”

Eventually, helicopters were able to extract the men. Out of 37 soldiers who were ambushed that day, six survived, largely due to Howard’s heroics and quick thinking. He acted in a similarly heroic manner and endured similar injuries, saving the lives of many others on two other separate occasions for which he was nominated for the Medal of Honor.

Ten lines. That’s what the Associated Press gave Col. Robert Howard.

Back among the living in Waco, I notice that Missy has inherited her father’s looks. She is slender and beautiful. Her husband Frank Gentsch is athletic and carries his badge and handgun in the comfortable, easy manner one might expect of Waco’s chief of detectives. Frank says that before his first date with Missy, the colonel showed him how he’d kill a man with his bare hands. That must have been a little unsettling, but Frank still has a bullet in his back, so you know the old man was proud of him. On Missy’s lap sits their adopted 3-year-old daughter, Isabella, with a snubby little nose and the cutest fuzzy fro held back with a pink headband. Howard adored her­—as he did his other children and grandchildren.

The life of a soldier, especially a Special Forces one, is complicated. There are top-secret stories that can’t be told and endless questions. “When is Daddy coming home?” Or worse: “Will Daddy come home?” Howard was married three times and remained close only to those who “got him.” Like so many of our fighting men and women, he felt tremendous guilt over the many times he was forced to choose between his country and his family.

After his discharge when he was 53 years old, Howard spent 13 years processing claims for the Department of Veterans Affairs and spent most of the last three years of his life in Iraq and Afghanistan, visiting troops, giving talks, and boosting morale. For a soldier, meeting Bob Howard was like a religious experience. Shaking his hand was an honor never to be forgotten. You see, they knew who he was. They got him.

We American civilians can say what we like about the morality of any war, but we should support the American soldiers and their allies whom we have sent to wage it. I’ve visited military hospitals, psych wards, and VAs in Dallas and around this country, and I’ve seen them. Mostly from Korea and Vietnam. Old, unkempt men, the military bearing and pride they once had now gone. Sometimes the only evidence it ever existed is on a battered regimental or naval ball cap. They rock back and forth, mumbling into full jungle beards, with rheumy, blast-zone-empty eyes. Or they sit in pairs, often holding hands, together and alone with horror-story memories that play over and over in their heads. Some sit with their imaginary long-dead friends, whose body parts still lie in the killing fields upon which they once so bravely fought. To America’s eternal shame, for many of them home is a sterile corner of the Cuckoo’s Nest, freezing and drunk under a highway bridge, or, if they are lucky, a spare room in the house of a worn-out son or daughter.

At least Bob Howard was spared that fate. Pancreatic cancer finally stopped him. As the disease spread to his lungs and lymph nodes, his expiry date drew closer, and he was visited by more and more soldiers, most of them old friends. But there were a few lucky youngsters, too, of whom Leroy was one of the last.

And there was always Missy, there with him every day with Isabella. Sometimes his granddaughter Holley, the starting catcher for the Texas Tech softball team, would visit. Or Tori, whom the colonel always called “Victoria.” Tori was always heartbroken when she had to leave her grandpa’s bedside and was a constant comfort to both the colonel and Missy at the end. Howard’s eldest son, Robert, is at Fort Bragg, going through Special Forces school.

As a soldier, Robert had already seen how his father acted around other military men. But for Missy and the other children, their father’s illness, and the parade of visitors it occasioned, showed them something new about their father. When Missy and the grandchildren were around, Howard was the gentle old gardener, the same man they had always known. But when a soldier entered his hospice room, he would stiffen. His voice changed to gravel, and any sign of vulnerability evaporated. He would laugh and bellow orders until the soldier was gone, and then there he’d be again: the gardener with the sparkling blue eyes, smothered in children whom he’d caress with rough, scarred hands.

By all accounts, Howard was a spectacularly bad patient. He was a nightmare for his nurses, refusing to take the painkillers, often swilling them around, then spitting them out after the nurse had left. He was going to be clearheaded until the end.

After yet another astonishing fight, during which the family was told on several occasions that Howard had only hours left, the head of the world’s most dangerous gardener finally fell sideways onto his beloved Missy’s shoulder, and America lost what was arguably her greatest warrior ever.

The name Robert Lewis Howard belongs beside George Washington, John Paul Jones, Chesty Puller, Alvin York, and Audie Murphy, to name a few of the greatest. By the time anyone reads this, Howard will have been lain to rest at Arlington the day before I became an American citizen. I would have given anything to have been with Missy, Frank, and the rest of the family on that day, but I know the colonel would have barked at me to get my worthless foreign ass to my swearing-in ceremony.

Col. Robert Howard’s funeral cortege should have started at the foot of the Jefferson Memorial. His flag-draped casket should have passed through streets lined with thousands of grateful, flag-waving Americans to Arlington, where, in preparation for his final resting place, some politician had been dug up and tossed into the Potomac. But that didn’t happen.

Ten lines. A couple of longer obits here and there. That’s all he got.

On the drive back to Dallas from Waco, I got to thinking. We should rename that stretch of I-35 after him. The Col. Robert Howard Highway. People would shorten it, of course: the Howard.

His life deserves more. But it’s a start.

David Feherty is a golf analyst for CBS Sports.

I am so grateful!! Interesting stuff This great Nation & Its People

I just thought this was cool for some reason! Grumpy
I recognize a lot of places that were in LA & San Francisco from long lost youth. Back when the insanity was just starting out. Enjoy a brief look back when this was a great place to live! Grumpy

I am so grateful!!

Happy New Year to my Great Readers!

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Art Good News for a change! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad I am so grateful!! Manly Stuff Our Great Kids Stand & Deliver This great Nation & Its People

How about some John Wayne time in the Movie Hondo?

Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad I am so grateful!!

SSG Lafayette Pool: The Real War Daddy by WILL DABBS

Oftentimes truth is more compelling than fiction. Such was the case of the real War Daddy, SSG Lafayette Pool.

The 2014 WW2 film Fury was one of the finest war movies of the modern era. The narrative followed SSG Don “War Daddy” Collier and his tank crew through the final bitter days of the war in Europe. Crewing their M4A2 HVSS Sherman tank, Collier and his men explore such timeless concepts as fear, comradeship, sacrifice, and loss.

For gun geeks like me the real star of the movie Fury was Tiger 131.

David Ayer directed the movie, and the end result was simply epic. The weapons and equipment were spot on, and the story arc fast paced, poignant, and cool. Fury is the only war movie since 1950 to utilize a genuine German PzKpfw VI Tiger I tank. The previous film was They Were Not Divided, and it featured the same Tiger 131.

Tiger 131 is the apex predator among the Bovington Tank Museum’s inimitable collection of vintage armored vehicles. It is indeed an awesome thing up close.

Tiger 131 is maintained by the Bovington Tank Museum in Southern England and is the last operational PzKpfw VI in the world. Captured by the British in North Africa in 1942, Tiger 131 is an extraordinary piece of World War 2 history. I’ve run my hand across the side. It was pretty darn cool.

SSG Lafayette Pool made Brad Pitt’s Don Collier look like a Sunday School teacher. However, Pitt did utterly rule that captured MP44 assault rifle.

While the movie was indeed compelling, the man who actually inspired Don Collier’s character was all the more so. SSG Lafayette “War Daddy” Pool was a stone-cold warrior. SSG Pool was the most successful US tank commander of World War 2.

Origin Story

Lafayette Pool was a twin. His brother was clearly cut from the same cloth.

Lafayette Green Pool was born in 1919 in Odom, Texas, to John K. and Mary Lee Pool. His twin brother John Thomas joined the Navy and served in every major Pacific engagement from Pearl Harbor until the end of the war. Lafayette attended the Texas College of Arts and Industries and studied Engineering. At six foot two, he was also an accomplished amateur boxer, winning all 41 matches he fought. Pool even once held an exhibition match against famed heavyweight Joe Lewis.

SSG Pool was a hard-charging tanker. An aggressive, resilient, and inspirational leader, War Daddy was 100% pure unfiltered warrior.

In the summer of 1941 Pool left college and enlisted in the US Army. He was assigned to the 3d Armored Division and married Miss Evelyn Wright while on leave in December of 1942. Pool was known as an aggressive NCO. He refused a battlefield commission so he could stay close to the front, his men, and the action. His troops did indeed call him War Daddy.

The M4A1 Sherman carried a long-barreled 76mm high-velocity gun.

SSG Lafayette Pool first entered combat on June 23, 1944, commanding an M4A1 Sherman tank. He was assigned to the 3d Platoon, Company I, 32d Armored Regiment, 3d Armored Division. Pool’s crew was quite the cast of characters.

All tanks are cramped. However, the driver’s position in a Sherman was positively tomb-like. I’ve maneuvered a Sherman tank before. It was like driving a condominium.

In his own words, “My driver was PFC Wilbert Richards, five foot four at full attention. We called him “Baby”. He could have parallel parked that big Sherman in downtown New York in rush hour traffic.

The assistant driver’s position was primarily concerned with the Browning M1919A4 bow gun.

“Then there was CPL Bert “School Boy” Close, seventeen years old, still with peach fuzz on his gentle face, co-driver, and machine gunner to the stars.

The loader was responsible for keeping the big 76mm gun fed in combat.

“T/5 Del Boggs, my loader, had been arrested on manslaughter charges. The court gave him the choice of prison or the military. What could we call him but “Jailbird?”

The gunner’s position in the Sherman was one of the most confined. When buttoned up in combat the commander actually kind of wrapped around the gunner from behind.

“CPL Willis Oller was my gunner. I often bragged that he could shoot the eyebrows off a gnat at 1500 yards with our seventy-six millimeter gun. He had seen every mile of the terrain we had liberated between Normandy and the Rhine through the sights of that big gun…The imprint of tanker’s goggles permanently stained his face. We never referred to him by any name but ‘Ground Hog’.”

The Panzerfaust or “Tank Fist” was one of the most effective Nazi weapons developed during the war. A self-contained disposable antitank rocket launcher, the Panzerfaust served as inspiration for countless subsequent anti-armor designs.

Pool’s first tank, an M4A1, lasted all of six days in combat. On June 29, 1944, this Sherman was holed by a panzerfaust and written off. The crew escaped unharmed.

The P38 Lightning sported four .50-caliber machine-guns and a 20mm cannon all clustered tightly in the nose. This made the plane a superb ground-attack platform.

Pool’s second vehicle, an M4A1 (76)W, entered service on July 1st and was destroyed on August 17th. Pool was leading an assault into the French village of Fromental when he was mistakenly strafed by an Allied P38 Lightning fighter-bomber. The crew emerged unscathed, but the tank was a write-off.

Each of SSG Pool’s three Shermans was customized with the same “In the Mood” slathered across the side.

Pool’s third mount, also an M4A1 (76)W, survived until September 19th of that year. Most accounts I found said it was engaged by a Panther. Pool later described the offending implement as an 88mm high-velocity flak gun. All three Shermans were marked with “In the Mood” across their hulls.

The Vehicles

The Sherman’s primary attributes were that it was cheap and reliable. We produced 49,324 copies during the course of WW2.

The M4 Sherman was the most widely used American medium tank of the war. While German tanks were frequently markedly heavier and more formidable, the Sherman was reliable, ubiquitous, and fast.

The short-barreled 75mm gun shown here was designed more for infantry support than tank vs tank engagements.

Early Shermans sported a short-barreled 75mm M3 gun intended primarily for Infantry support. High explosive rounds for the M3 were exceptionally effective against soft-skinned targets. However, in tank-on-tank engagements, short-barreled Shermans were at a supreme disadvantage.

The later 76mm round (top) was a much more capable anti-armor load than the previous stubby 75mm sort.

The answer was the M4A1 (76)W. This Sherman variant featured a 76mm T1 gun that was markedly more capable against enemy armor. Despite the similar bore diameter of these two guns the T1 fired a much larger projectile at a much higher velocity. However, the short-barreled M3 still enjoyed greater antipersonnel effects.

The prominent muzzle brake fitted to later versions of the 76mm gun helped minimize the dust signature upon firing.

The larger T1 gun invariably created a prodigious dust signature on firing that would frequently obscure the gunner’s vision for subsequent shots. The new M1A2 gun featured a muzzle brake that redirected muzzle blast out the sides. Previous variants that lacked this brake were typically still threaded to accept it. These muzzle threads were covered with an obvious thread protector.

German tanks like this Panther were formidable opponents on the battlefield.
The T1 76mm gun mounted on the M4A1 Sherman was still only marginally adequate against the most advanced German medium and heavy tanks.

The M3 75mm short-barreled gun would penetrate 88mm of rolled homogenous armor (RHA) struck flat-on at 100 meters. The T1 76mm gun could defeat some 125mm of RHA under comparable conditions. In January of 1945 after fearsome tank losses during the Battle of the Bulge, General Eisenhower asked that no more 75mm Shermans be sent to the European theater.

The M26 Pershing heavy tank was available late in the war, but General Patton felt that a greater quantity of Shermans would better support his offensive goals.

The M26 Pershing heavy tank was developed late in the war and was a proper match for the German Panthers and Tigers. However, General Patton appreciated that a larger volume of the more reliable and more maneuverable Shermans would suit his offensive needs better than slower, more resource-intensive Pershing heavy tanks. While this decision was strategically sound, many a Sherman crew was subsequently lost to German armor overmatch.

The Engagement

SSG Lafayette “War Daddy” Pool led his crew on an unprecedented tour of destruction during his time in combat in Europe during WW2.

On September 19, 1944, SSG Pool’s third “In the Mood” Sherman was riding the flanks of an assault on the Siegfried Line at Munsterbusch, Germany, to the Southwest of Aachen. In 81 days of intense combat, War Daddy had destroyed a dozen German tanks along with some 258 sundry armored vehicles and self-propelled guns in 21 separate engagements. They killed more than a thousand German troops and captured another 250. Pool and his crew were, therefore, due to rotate home for a war bond tour.

SSG Pool usually commanded his tank with his head exposed for maximum situational awareness. Note how the barrel assembly is missing from the M2 .50-caliber MG in the background of this promotional still from Fury. I just thought that was weird.

Pool later said he was claustrophobic and needed the unfettered visibility that came from being outside the vehicle. As such, even in battle he frequently hung half out of the commander’s cupola. He was in this position when the first shell struck the tank.

In the frenetic chaos of combat SSG Pool’s Sherman teetered atop a steep ditch.

Whether the round was a high-velocity 75mm from a Panther or the dreaded 88mm round from the dual-purpose Flak 36 gun doesn’t really matter. The projectile failed to penetrate, but it did cause Pool’s driver to back the tank up in an effort at clearing the kill zone. As the Sherman teetered on the edge of a steep ditch the German crew hit Pool’s Sherman a second time.

The second German antitank round gutted SSG Pool’s tank.

War Daddy’s replacement gunner, PFC Paul King, was killed. Pool’s regular gunner, CPL Oller, had been transferred back to the States. The force of the blast blew SSG Pool out of the hatch and rendered him unconscious. A shell splinter split his leg along its length.

SSG Pool’s wounds ultimately cost him his leg. This freaking monster of a veteran is not SSG Pool, but he is clearly made from the same stuff.

When he regained consciousness, Pool injected himself with morphine and started to amputate his own leg with his combat knife. However, support troops soon reached him and evacuated him back to a military hospital. His leg was so terribly mangled that it had to be surgically removed eight inches above the knee.

The Rest of the Story

SSG Lafayette Pool, the most effective American tank commander of WW2, lived out his retirement as a pastor.

After 22 months of rehab, SSG Pool was fitted with a prosthetic leg. He opened a gas station as well as several other businesses before re-enlisting under a program that allowed injured veterans to serve on active duty presuming they were not deployed to a combat zone. Lafayette Pool retired in 1960 at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Two and went to work as a preacher making $25 per week. He died peacefully in his sleep in 1991 at age 71.

The warriors who inspired the superb David Ayer movie Fury were indeed the Greatest Generation.

The following observations were taken from a paper Pool wrote while in business college. He never intended for these words to be published.

“We were the invincible arm of the Lord’s wrath. We were the battlefield inheritors of the mounted knights of old-Gawain and Galahad and Lancelot. We were the inheritors of their mantle of chivalry, as well. We were fighting a war we saw simply as good against evil.”

SSG Lafayette “War Daddy” Pool was the manliest of men.

Upon finding that his original crew had survived he said, “Tears built up and rolled down my cheeks. I wept unashamedly. These were four men I was closer to than family. We had faced death repeatedly together. We had brought death to countless hundreds of our enemies who had sought to end our way of life. We had given the Nazis pure hell from the beaches of Normandy right to Hitler’s front yard.”

We do indeed stand on the shoulders of giants.

As is often the case, the real story was even more poignant and powerful than the movie.

I am so grateful!!

I am so grateful for all the wonderful things that God has given me!

I am so grateful!!

To all of my Great Readers!

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO made with mematic ALL'

Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad I am so grateful!! Leadership of the highest kind Soldiering Stand & Deliver War

Audie Murphy’s .45 Colt Revolver on Public Display by J ABSHER


For anyone who grew up in the post-World War II era, his was a household name, one synonymous with “hero,” and “soldier.”

Audie Murphy was known as “the most decorated combat soldier of World War II.”A quintessential soldier, a master of the tools and tactics of ground warfare, he literally wrote the book on military valor—an autobiography entitled, “To Hell and Back.”

He starred in the movie adaptation, too.

This week, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, located in Cody, WY, announced that Murphy’s .45 caliber Colt Model 1905 Bisley flattop target revolver—a gift from western film legend Gary Cooper—is on display to the public in its Cody Firearms Museum. The single-action revolver features mother-of-pearl grips that Cooper had molded to perfectly fit Murphy’s hand. Dr. Jim and Marilyn Phillips of Bakersfield, CA, have loaned the firearm to the Center for a period of one year.

.45 Colt, Audie Murphy, World War II  

In 1942, Murphy lied about his age to join the infantry at 17, after the Marines and paratroopers denied his application due to his small stature. Rising to the rank of First Lieutenant, he fought in nine major campaigns throughout Europe. His gallantry is even more impressive given that victory in Europe was achieved before his 21st birthday.

On January 26, 1945, at the edge of a forest in France, Murphy’s company was pinned down, outnumbered and facing annihilation by a column of German tanks supported by infantry. Ordering his men to retreat into the forest, Murphy commandeered the .50 caliber machine gun on a burning tank destroyer. While directing American artillery over his field telephone, Lt. Murphy swept the German tanks with deadly fire. Shells bursting and bullets ricocheting all around him, and the tank destroyer threatening to explode at any moment, Audie Murphy continued to fire until the enemy force broke and ran.

For his incredible acts of bravery and valor, Audie Murphy received the Medal of Honor. The accompanying citation reported 50 German soldiers killed or wounded and stated, “Lieutenant Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction and enabled it to hold the woods, which had been the enemy’s objective.”

After the war, Murphy became a Hollywood star, albeit reluctantly, appearing in more than 40 films and receiving critical acclaim for his role in the 1951 movie version of Stephen Crane’s Civil War novel “The Red Badge of Courage.”

Murphy was known to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), known then as “combat fatigue,” sharing his struggles and bringing early awareness to the issue. His advocacy for increased government research and funding for veterans with PTSD was honored by the 1973 dedication of the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital in San Antonio, TX.

Murphy was 45 when he died in a private plane crash near Roanoke, VA. On June 7, 1971, he was buried at Arlington, where his grave remains one of the most-visited at the National Cemetery.