One of my very interesting readers, War Pig, was inspired by the General Patton quotes this week to provide a personal remembrance of General Patton the Younger in the comments. On hearing that he had more stories I asked if he’d provide them and allow me to post them here. He kindly agreed and here they are.
Some personal anecdotes about Major General George S. Patton IV (son of the WWII Patton).
General Patton the Younger (as we called him) was every bit as much of a firebrand as his father, and could be as spectacularly profane as his sire.
I was a young sergeant assigned to the 2nd Armored Division at Ft Hood, Texas in the middle 1970s. Patton commanded the division back then. He spent as much time as he could riding in his specially modified jeep and out of headquarters. You never knew when or where he’d show up. His jeep had a bar on his side for him to hold onto. He disliked sitting as he had a bad hip. He also had a flasher light and a siren installed. His driver was on leave for some reason and he called my brigade for a replacement. I was a counterintelligence agent and I was attached to the division artillery. The Command Sergeant Major wasn’t too fond of intel types so he tasked me to drive Patton for almost 6 weeks.
As I have said elsewhere, Patton despised lieutenants. He said to me, once; “A private knows nothing and we expect him to do nothing more than to follow orders. Unfortunately, lieutenants also know nothing yet they are allowed to give orders. Without a good sergeant, a lieutenant is the most dangerous thing on the battlefield – to our own cause.”
Patton had a high regard for NCOs. But had little time for officers below Lt Colonel. He also trusted the troops, the enlisted men. My time driving for him was interesting, to say the least. He had a deep respect and care for the enlisted men under his command.
One day that summer it was a Black Flag day. It was so hot and humid that training was to be kept indoors if possible. The heat index that day was, I believe, 110 degrees. Of course, I drove Patton’s jeep as it was open-topped and we were moving. We were heading to corps headquarters for some briefing or another. As we were driving along Patton yelled; “Stop this f**king jeep!” I stopped as quickly as I could without throwing him head first over the windshield. Between two barracks was a platoon of soldiers doing close order drill on the dry grass. In the heat, on a black flag day. “Pull over there!” he yelled. I drove across the concrete median, over the sidewalk and up to the platoon on the grass. Patton’s jeep went where Patton said, and screw the traffic laws. In the shade stood a platoon sergeant, looking pissed off.
The lieutenant saluted but Patton yelled; “What the f**k do you think you’re doing? Where in hell’s your platoon sergeant and why isn’t he kicking your ass right now? Who’s your company – your battalion – who’s your brigade commander lieutenant?!”
The lieutenant tried to stammer out a reply but Patton was on a roll. “What the f**k are you doing? Answer me!”
“The platoon needed discipline, sir.”
About this time Patton saw the platoon sergeant. “Why aren’t you kicking his ass, sergeant?” To which the sergeant answered that he was ordered to stand aside.
“You!” Patton said to the lieutenant, “You will have yourself and your entire chain of command in my office at sixteen hundred. You got me?!”
“Sergeant, you are now in command of this platoon until further notice. Dismiss the men.”
We went to the meeting/briefing/conference. We were back in Patton’s office before 16:00 Waiting outside were the lieutenant, his company commander, the battalion commander and the brigade commander. They were called into the office in order of seniority, the door was closed, and loud voices were heard. By the time the lieutenant was called in I was sitting by the door and could hear what was said. Patton was swearing up a storm and the young lieutenant was catching it for disobeying a training directive, putting his troops in danger of heat stroke, and refusing to listen to his platoon sergeant.
“Well, you’re f**king fired. Relieved of command of the platoon and a commanding general’s official letter of reprimand will be placed in your records.”
. I do believe that by being such a “humane” military, we have lost some of the intimidation factor. An army is better feared (and that is the purpose of an army, to instill fear into the minds of the enemy), when they regularly drink from the skulls of their enemies. That is why so many Iraqis surrendered. They feared fighting the US military.
The Japanese had a lively fear of US Marines in WWII. They were told it was better to die fighting than to allow themselves to be captured and eaten by American Marines. That Marines were primarily recruited in mental hospitals from the ranks of homicidal maniacs. That we would lay down those we did not eat on the soon-to-be runways and grind them, alive, into the dirt with bulldozers and tanks. You would think that it led to fanatical resistance, and it did, but it also led to banzai charges where we did great execution upon the Japanese army. In most cases they went out, not to conquer, but to die – strictly from fear. Sort of a suicide-by-cop mentality. They charged straight into the teeth of interlocking machine gun fire. Much like in WWI, this tactic only led to massive casualties on the part of the attacker. Line ’em up and mow ’em down. In some cases, Marine machine gunners had to push piles of bodies away from the front of their guns to get an open field of fire. Corpses literally stacked up like cord wood.
So we want to be feared in battle, but also known for treating prisoners (the average Joe in the ranks) honorably. Much as we did in Desert Storm. Surrendering Iraqis were treated well, but those who fought died hard and cruel deaths. Many of them ere buried, alive, in their trenches by M-1 tanks with dozer blades on the front. Or they were cluster-bombed by B-52s from an altitude that meant they could not fight back, or were blown up and incinerated by M-1 tanks who they could not even see in their sights. The A-10 was called “silent death” as its quiet engines and supersonic 30mm shells meant the Iraqi tank crews were dead before they heard the jet roll in on them.
That is how the old pirates got their way. If a ship surrendered, they were not abused much. But if they resisted, they crew were slaughtered to the last man. Roman legions worked the same way. If a city surrendered, they survived. If the Romans had to fight for the city, they put everyone – men, women, babies, cattle, sheep – to the sword.
This nation does a terrible job of dealing with PTSD in the military. Anyone who has seen combat will have PTSD to some degree. It may not manifest itself until much later (as it did with me), and it may not be terrible, but we all have it.
My family is a military family. My father’s family arrived shortly before the US Civil War and fought for the Union. Mom’s people (Blackfeet) have been warriors since time immemorial. Both sides of the family served in and saw combat in the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Global War On Terror and the Cold War. We have members in the US military right now and we have seen action in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
All of the combat veteran members of the family I have been able to speak with have had experiences and memories that haunt them to some degree.
I had two great uncles and a very young uncle in WWII. My one great uncle flew P-51 Mustangs in Europe (3 confirmed). He was on a fighter sweep and latched on to a JU-88 and pumped fire into it. It flamed and he saw the crew hit the silk. However, one of the crew had a canopy on fire. My great uncle circled back, determined to do a mercy killing with his six, fifty caliber guns. However, the German beat him to it, drawing a pistol and killing himself seconds before his chute collapsed and his body fell several thousand feet to the ground. After that, my great uncle never pursued an enemy plane if they broke off and ran. He’d shoot at them if they attacked, but if they ran he let them go. He could not kill another man the way he saw the German die. The fact that he steeled himself to commit coldblooded murder as a mercy killing also bothered him no end. He did not want to machine gun the man, but it was a better death than falling five thousand feet to earth. While he did not have to do it, watching a man so desperate and so much in fear that he killed himself also haunted him. He never flew after WWII as a pilot or a passenger. He hung up his wings, as they say.
My young uncle was a tank crewman and later a tank commander under Patton. He went ashore after D-Day with Patton for the breakout. During the war he had I think three tanks shot out from under him and saw friends killed right next to him. That was bad enough, but he was one of the GIs who liberated Buchenwald and saw the horrors when they were fresh. What he saw in Buchenwald horrified him more than any combat or loss of fellow crewmen. When they found former guards in the area, they brought them back and gave them to the survivors who pretty much tore them limb from limb. After that, they did not take a single German SS prisoner for the remaining weeks of the war. They shot them where they found them. Buchenwald and what they did afterward haunted him the rest of his life.
My other great uncle was a Marine in the Pacific. He didn’t come back. He was on I believe Saipan (his wife was sketchy on the story as it hurt her and she didn’t remember or else suppressed details). The Japs counterattacked and he was wounded and could not get away. They dragged him back to their lines and used him for sword practice, trying to make him scream so they could scare the other Marines. According to his wife, the men in his unit said he would not scream in pain. He was a Blackfoot warrior. They recognized his voice as he cursed the Japanese until they finally got tired of him and decapitated him. When the Marines counter-counterattacked and pushed the Japs back, they recovered what was left of him. My great aunt despised Japanese for the rest of her life. She realized than modern Japanese did not kill her husband, but she could not get over how he died and never forgave them. She had PTSD, too.
My father served in the 101st Airborne in Korea. His sneak patrol was airdropped way off target (happened quite a bit in those days) and almost on top of a ChiCom infantry unit. In a four day running battle, his patrol fought their way back to Allied lines (actually, Australians). Only my dad and two others survived. On the first night, they had to lay quietly next to their dead buddies and watch rats eat them. If they made noise to chase away the rats, the ChiComs machine gunned where they heard movement and they fired flares to try and catch the Americans in the open or moving. After Korea, my father never flew on an airplane again. When he was transferred to Los Angeles from Ohio during the moon shot program (he was a machine engineer for North American/Rockwell), we drove to Ohio every year for vacation. Nor would he ride on a Ferris wheel or anything that reminded him of flying or parachuting. And he hated rats with a passion. We boys shot rats on grandpa’s farm and dad paid us a bounty on every dead rat we showed him.
I served in the Marines in Vietnam. I had just tuned 19 when I made it to 2/5 Marines and a week later Tet 1968 started and we were sent to Hue. I saw lots of men die. I killed people. Constant door-to-door combat. But the worst was when we were on a patrol after we had retaken the city and was ambushed. We called for extraction and the closest choppers were USAF. They landed and got us. My best friend was shot as we climbed aboard. I got off the chopper, picked him up and threw him in the chopper, covered his body with mine to protect him from more bullets and we got away, but he’d taken an AK burst. There was a medic on the chopper but my friend was leaking faster than the medic could patch him, then the medic found a bullet hole in his chest and stopped trying. His head was in my lap and he was begging me to save his life. I could not save him, no one could, and I could not take his place, although I would have if it had been possible. He died with his head in my lap and I held him until they came and took him away when we landed.
I had been so numbed to combat and death and killing after Hue that I did not properly mourn his death. Helluva thing to do to an 19 year old kid. I put it behind me to help me survive the rest of my tour. I went on to serve my tour, get out, stay out a while then join the Army and the Rangers. I have squeezed the trigger on people, I have used a knife, a garrote, and set off Claymore mines which turned men into strawberry jam. I have called in mortar, artillery and air strikes. I have even used my bare hands. Yet I slept well at nights and I was not self medicating on booze or drugs. When I retired I thought I had lucked out and not gotten PTSD. I thought I was too tough for PTSD.
I was wrong on both counts.
Almost forty years after my friend died in my arms I was at the USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio with some cousins. I was in the Vietnam section. I’d seen it before and it didn’t really bother me. However, they had recently added a new exhibit to the Vietnam section. It was a USAF Jolly Green Giant helicopter. They put it back in Vietnam colors. I turned the corner and saw it and I stopped as if I had been poleaxed. In a flash I was back in Vietnam with my best friend’s head in my lap and he was dying, begging me to save him, in the belly of a Jolly Green… just-like-this-one. I stood there and began crying, hard but quietly. It took me about five minutes I guess to get control of myself and I completely soaked my bandanna/ handkerchief with tears and my running nose. I put my hand on the nose of the chopper for balance. One USAF youngster pulling duty in the museum came by and said; “You can’t touch the exhibits.”
I turned to him with what had to be death in my teary eyes and said; “You shut up!”
He left and I saw him no more. That’s when I realized NOBODY was immune to PTSD. I had now had the dubious honor of joining the club to which my older male relatives were members. I can now pass by the exhibit with no more than a sniffle and a little dampness in my eye. But I understand better what my senior relatives meant. I could no longer just sympathize, but empathize.
The efforts of the government to deal with PTSD are pitiful. Small wonder why veterans commit suicide at the rate of about twenty each and every day. Mostly the government ignored it. They covered up suicides after WWII, Korea and even Vietnam to prevent “shame” to the family. They even shamed men (and women) who had it. Brave men and women. A lot braver than me. Seeking counseling could cause you to lose security clearance and even miss promotion. Then they gave counseling but it was by doctors who had usually never even fired a rifle or had a fistfight as a boy, let alone seen combat. Ineffective. Then they over medicated it. Give them antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs and turn them loose to live on the streets then claim you did something. I tried to get treatment (counseling) for mine but I was told it was “too late after the war” for me to qualify, as if I was jumping on the bandwagon to try and claim additional benefits. I had to work through it myself.
I was lucky. I could have been one of the guys living under a bridge, self-medicating with booze and heroin until it hurt so bad that I took too much heroin trying to make the memories go away and wound up dead. Another statistic. We really need to do a better job of healing both the bodies AND minds of our returning warriors. We’re making some headway but not enough by far.
A Chinese admiral said to settle the US “problem” they should maybe sink two US supercarriers, causing up to 10,000 US casualties and the loss of two multi-billion-dollar assets.
Has he considered that it would be an act of war? An act of war against the single most powerful military on the planet? Commanded by a man who would love nothing more than to reply with massive retaliation?
Donald Trump is no Obama. He would not apologize to the Chinese for allowing them to sink two of our carriers. Trump will come out swinging for the fences. Literally anything short of nuclear weapons would be used. Maybe even tactical nukes, if that is how China attacks our carriers. I can’t think of another way they could sink two of them at once. Just because the Chinese admiral could care less about losing 10,000 sailors (there’s plenty more where those came from) does not mean Americans are so cavalier about the lives of our men AND WOMEN in uniform. He totally misjudges what the American response would be to such a dastardly attack. Kill off several thousands of our men and women in uniform in a sneak attack and we as a people begin to foam at the mouth and shout; “Kill ‘em all, and let Satan sort them out!” The last time someone pulled off a huge sneak attack in the Pacific, we firebombed their capital and nuked two off their major cities, as well as sinking most of their fleet. Making Americans so mad they can’t see straight is NOT a good thing. We are not safe to play with when we’re copping an attitude.
How insane is it to contemplate committing an act of war against your largest trading partner? If the Chinese are not liking the current sanctions, they’d really hate a total embargo and blockade of all their ports. No ships in or out. Any naval vessels in port sunk, any naval vessels still at sea when the attack occurs would be sunk. Their merchant fleet would be chained to neutral harbors. Our NATO allies (basically the wealthiest group of nations on the planet outside of China) would be forced to seize any Chinese ships in their ports until the end of hostilities. Merchantmen and naval vessels (not many naval vessels outside of Chinese waters) alike would be impounded in port. Does the good admiral realize how much trade goes by water to both the US and NATO countries? NATO represents the wealthiest “club” on the planet. Trade with the US and Europe would be halted. Trade with UK Commonwealth nations would halt or be severely curtailed. Trade with South Korea, Australia, Japan, Brunei, the Philippines and India would also cease. China could not send goods to or from the Middle East either as the US fleet would see to that. China would suffer from extreme pecuniary strangulation not to mention loss of all imports of energy and raw materials that come by sea, which is something like 90% of their imports.
All China would be able to export would be either overland or by overland air routes that do not cross a US ally’s or Commonwealth member’s airspace. All of their seaborne trade would halt as the US navy still rules the waves, let alone the assistance of Australia, Japan, South Korea, the UK, et al, even if the NATO countries did not intervene militarily. Nothing in, nothing out. That would be a very effective way to ruin their economy and bankrupt them. Remember, the business of America is business. And when total economic war is declared we are very good at it.
AMERICA: China is a paper tiger. In a sneak attack they may do some damage, and their submarines can be troublesome but the US and its allies will have air supremacy in short order. Look at US assets in the Pacific theater. Aircraft, bases, weapons. Strategically place to cut China off in a dozen places. Attacks against China proper can occur from almost any of them.
NATO allies are obligated to respond against an attack on any member. Even Canada responded after 9/11. So, NATO member assets at sea will engage Chinese naval vessels and board and seize Chinese merchantmen. Any “neutral” ships bound for China would be ordered back to their home ports – or else they would also be boarded and seized. Any Chinese made or bound cargo would also be subject to angary, even from neutral shipping.
Sinking a US supercarrier is easy enough to say, but it is incredibly difficult to pull off. The US has not lost a carrier in combat since the Essex class was commissioned during WWII. US carriers are very mobile and very well protected. If one is attacked the rest go on full alert and anything which enters their area is attacked if not positively identified as friendly. That means anything which returns an echo underwater is going to get depth-bombed and/or torpedoed. Sorry, whales.
US supercarriers are designed to absorb punishment and keep on fighting, and their abilities to defend themselves are not to be despised. There are rings of defense that stretch out hundreds of miles in all directions, from the sea floor to the edge of space. Aegis class defenders can take down even the supposed Chinese “ship-killing ballistic missiles”. Lesser missiles pose even less of the threat as they have to pass through rings of aircraft, missiles and dozens of radars and other sensors. Right up to the various close-in last ditch defenses of Gatling guns and Rolling Air Frame missiles on the carrier itself. E2D Hawkeye aircraft are extremely capable in detecting threats and directing assets against them. The new F-35 variants are themselves very powerful detection and tracking platforms who can also fire on threats. The US fleet has very sophisticated counter measures as well.
Now let’s look at the opposing players. A US Carrier Strike Group (and we have eleven of them) commonly consists of (from Wiki):
A supercarrier, which is the centerpiece of the strike group and also serves as the flagship for the CSG Commander and respective staff. The carrier is commanded by an aviation community captain.
Currently, six of the United States’ eleven carrier strike groups are located in the Pacific. The US also has four Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) in the pacific. Each of those is also comprised of combat ships, a load of kick-ass Marines, along with attack helicopters and fixed wing, STOVL aircraft. They are transitioning from the Harriers to the new F-35Bs as I write this.
The US Pacific Air Forces are composed of the Fifth Air Force (Japan), the Seventh Air Force (South Korea) and the Eleventh Air Force (Alaska). That does not count long range, US based bombers such as the B1, B2 and B52 which can sortie from their bases worldwide to strike Chinese interests.
US nuclear submarines in the pacific are composed of 16 Los Angeles fast attack submarines, two Seawolf fast attack submarines, eight Virginia class fast attack submarines, two Ohio class guided missile subs and seven Ohio class ballistic missile subs.
And do not forget the navies of both Japan and Australia.
CHINA: They have ONE diesel fueled “aircraft carrier” of the old Kuznetsov class. It’s mostly been a harbor queen with very little blue water experience. Their aircraft are inferior in sophistication and numbers to the US fleet. The unrefueled strike range of a US carrier air wing is about 500 nautical miles. The Chinese carrier is a ski-jump launcher which means their combat jets must carry a reduced load of weapons and fuel to get off deck, reducing both their range and effectiveness.
China has sixty-odd submarines, the vast majority of which are diesel-electric. All of them are noisier than US submarines, making them vulnerable to our fast-attack subs.
China’s land-based air forces are unaccustomed to operating over water (so are their carrier aircraft, actually). They would be mostly ineffective if the US force stays a couple hundred miles offshore, well within the US strike range.
That leaves the much brayed-about Chinese “ship killer” ballistic missile. Its range is less than advertised and they have never tested it over water or against a moving target, let alone against a moving target with sophisticated countermeasures and effective antimissile weapons. Its ability to be guided en route is limited, US carriers are hard to find in the first place and they can steam at well over 40 knots in any direction they choose. Plus, as was mentioned they are defended not just by guns and missiles, but by very sophisticated electronic and other countermeasures.
The US need never strike the Chinese homeland unless they want to show it would be easy to do. An attack against a US carrier Strike Group would put all the US forces on high alert. Also, the naval and air forces of Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Since the Philippines have been spatting with China over islands, they may even get involved. The US can use Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from planes, ships or subs to decimate the naval forces in Chinese ports, and to mine the ports from 600 miles at sea. The US Navy would immediately engage any Chinese naval forces at sea. They would also sink or capture any Chinese merchant ships and then deny neutral shipping the ability to land cargoes on or near China. Chinese aircraft will not last long. Not only are US naval aircraft superior, the US 5th Air Force in Japan and he US 7th Air Force in South Korea would make life miserable for Chinese combatants and aircraft.
Now, the Chinese could take South Korea out of the fight by forcing North Korea to make some sort of demonstration, trying to widen the conflict. If so, the US can ask ally India to do the same. India and China do not get on well at all and the Indians would probably love an excuse to poke the Chinese while they are mostly busy elsewhere. India may also use the distraction to pimp-slap the Chinese client-state Pakistan a bit while the world is watching the US/China fight. The Chinese could also use the fight to justify an attempted invasion of Taiwan. Good luck getting a fleet of aircraft full of paratroopers or troop ships across the straits with the US Navy still in existence and against the Taiwanese air defenses and land-based sea defenses. Japan is quite capable of dealing with Chinese aircraft. The problem would be non-nuclear ballistic missiles. Doubtful the Chinese would launch nukes against either Taiwan or Japan as they are both under the US nuclear umbrella. But Japan has long range missiles of its own, which it has bought from the US and Norway, to reply to a Chinese barrage, and soon the Chinese would be too busy dealing with a very angry United States to spare much time and effort toward Japan or US bases on Guam.
What would be the limits of the North Korean effort to aid China? The Chinese may find that Kim would make a token effort. No missiles at US bases or at Japan, inviting a devastating reply from US forces. The US has fought a multi-front war before, and won.
Striking US forces on Guam would be an escalation that the Chinese may not want to try. Guam is considered US soil and we would likely react very robustly to an attack on Guam by perhaps attacking Shanghai in retaliation.
It would be a very bad move for China to start a spat they are going to lose, and lose badly. The US would lead sanctions against them which would cripple their economy and return them to 3rd world status again. Trumps victory would almost guarantee him reelection and that means China would suffer harshly in economic sanctions. Their military would be decimated and wholesale executions of commanders would follow. Their vast land army would have made no difference in the short war, and they would be hungry and restless. Ripe for revolt. They would lose Taiwan permanently. There would be nothing to gain and much to lose.
Therefore, I believe the politicians in Beijing will shut this admiral’s mouth for him and no US carriers will be attacked.
The only places you will find this on the Internet are a couple of Cold War casualty websites. The news is remarkably blank on the subject as they were caught doing bad reporting (no reporting at all, really). The news media at the time basically ran a story based on what they heard, not an investigation of the facts (sound familiar?).
I was stationed in (then) West Germany when this happened. There was some difference of opinion whether or not it was over a card game or a love triangle, but the rest of the facts were clear. A GI put a sabot round into his M60 tank’s gun and fired it into another M60 directly behind him at the rail head.
By the time the story got back to the USA and the American media coverage was repeated on Armed Forces Radio and Television, this story would not have been recognized by its own mother. It was variously portrayed as a terror attack, as communist infiltration within our ranks, in fact, almost everything but what it was.
I admit I trusted the US media when I was young. Walter Cronkite and the rest. That trust was shaken during Vietnam and finally destroyed in West Germany. The reporting in Vietnam was slanted, we all realized that, but the reporting from West Germany on this incident was so far off the mark I realized they were just making it up. And it as all of them back then. All three networks. I’ve never trusted the Fourth Estate since. I always insist on backup, then backup for the backup. Having the mainstream media decide what you should hear and how it should be spun is a bad idea. That’s why I like the Internet. It can, and has, held the media’s feet to the fire and caught them being wrong, lazy, and out & out lying and/or making stuff up. That is also why I am worried about the big Internet companies censoring people for political views which hold the liberal media up to scrutiny. We need freedom to challenge opinion, even (or especially) the media’s. I find it strange that the big Internet companies allow flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers free forums, yet censor conservative political views.
Here’s the real scoop from the Association of the 3rd Armored Division. I looked all morning for news reports on this but there are none I can find. Only other Cold War casualty websites:
SP4 Gregory “Frank” Montoya & SP4 Patrick Romero, A Company 3rd Battalion 32 Armor. were killed on 4 November 1980 at the Hohenfels rail head when (name deleted) climbed into a tank during rail loading, loaded the M60A3 main gun with an armor piercing round (Sabot) & fired the main gun into the tank behind his. All tanks are rail loaded with the main gun in a travel lock position over the back deck. There was apparently a lot of confusion about the whole incident with reports of a lighting strike causing rounds to explode. The incident was finally solved when the tank main gun rounds were counted & inventoried. SGT Jeffrey Young & PVT David Park were also badly burned during this incident. *****The SOB convicted of this murder was sentenced to 20 yrs in Leavenworth but only served 8 years!!
Additional information provided by CPT Mark S. Atwood: The 1980 incident in 3/32, when the sabot round was fired into the turret of another tank during movement by rail, it is my understanding there was bad blood between the shooter and some/all members of the other crew over a card game. During rail movements the troops played cards, D and D, etc to pass the time. The shooter had been the big loser and I believe, thought he had been cheated. Here is additional information on this incident from Ken Armstrong: I served with 3/32 in 1979-1981 and was stationed in Freidburg at Ray Barracks. I also served with Greg Montoya and Pat Romero and was present when they were killed in November of 1980. Pat was a good friend and we drank many a beer together. Additional information on this event from Richard Zipse: I didn’t know Pat Romero but Frank was not only a great guy but getting very short. It was sad indeed that the filthy **** that killed him got out of Germany, much less Leavenworth, alive. As I remember it, he had been chasing a section 8 for months. I’m pretty sure Sgt. Young and I were on 14 together for a bit before he made rank and moved over to the third platoon; and, also that Park was very new to the unit and had just arrived as they needed crewmen. I’m thinking SSGT Able got him out of the smoked vehicle but not certain…also I’m thinking he was flown to Walter Reed Hospital due to the extent of his burns and later passed on….though this obviously may be incorrect.
Here’s my edited version of how Xenophon rallied the Ten Thousand and provided the basis for their escape from Persia. I’ve deleted a lot of stuff which you can always read on your own. As I said earlier, Xenophon is his own biggest fan but if even a fraction of what he claims he did was true then he really was the savior of that army.
Such were Xenophon’s words; and upon hearing what he said the officers bade him take the lead…
Thereupon Xenophon spoke as follows: “We all understand thus much, that the King and Tissaphernes have seized as many as they could of our number, and that they are manifestly plotting against the rest of us, to destroy us if they can. It is for us, then, in my opinion, to make every effort that we may never fall into the power of the barbarians, but that they may rather fall into our power.  Be sure, therefore, that you, who have now come together in such numbers, have the grandest of opportunities. For all our soldiers here are looking to you; if they see that you are faint-hearted, all of them will be cowards; but if you not only show that you are making preparations yourselves against the enemy, but call upon the rest to do likewise, be well assured that they will follow you and will try to imitate you.  But perhaps it is really proper that you should somewhat excel them. For you are generals, you are lieutenant-generals and captains; while peace lasted, you had the advantage of them alike in pay and in standing; now, therefore, when a state of war exists, it is right to expect that you should be superior to the common soldiers, and that you should plan for them and toil for them whenever there be need. 
“And now, firstly, I think you would do the army a great service if you should see to it that generals and captains are appointed as speedily as possible to take the places of those who are lost. For without leaders nothing fine or useful can be accomplished in any field, to put it broadly, and certainly not in warfare. For discipline, it seems, keeps men in safety, while the lack of it has brought many ere now to destruction.  Secondly, when you have appointed all the leaders that are necessary, I think you would perform a very opportune act if you should gather together the rest of the soldiers also and try to encourage them.  For, as matters stand now, perhaps you have observed for yourselves in what dejection they came to their quarters and in what dejection they proceeded to their picket duty; and so long as they are in this state, I know not what use one could make of them, if there should be need of them either by night or by day.  If, however, we can turn the current of their minds, so that they shall be thinking, not merely of what they are to suffer, but likewise of what they are going to do, they will be far more cheerful.  For you understand, I am sure, that it is neither numbers nor strength which wins victories in war; but whichever of the two sides it be whose troops, by the blessing of the gods, advance to the attack with stouter hearts, against those troops their adversaries generally refuse to stand.  And in my own experience, gentlemen, I have observed this other fact, that those who are anxious in war to save their lives in any way they can, are the very men who usually meet with a base and shameful death; while those who have recognized that death is the common and inevitable portion of all mankind and therefore strive to meet death nobly, are precisely those who are somehow more likely to reach old age and who enjoy a happier existence while they do live.  We, then, taking to heart this lesson, so suited to the crisis which now confronts us, must be brave men ourselves and call forth bravery in our fellows.”  With these words Xenophon ceased speaking.
After him Cheirisophus said: “Hitherto, Xenophon, I have known you only to the extent of having heard that you were an Athenian, but now I commend you both for your words and your deeds, and I should be glad if we had very many of your sort; for it would be a blessing to the entire army.  And now, gentlemen,” he went on, “let us not delay; withdraw and choose your commanders at once, you who need them, and after making your choices come to the middle of the camp and bring with you the men you have selected; then we will call a meeting there of all the troops. And let us make sure,” he added, “that Tolmides, the herald, is present.”  With these words he got up at once, that there might be no delay in carrying out the needful measures. Thereupon the commanders were chosen, Timasion the Dardanian in place of Clearchus, Xanthicles the Achaean in place of Socrates, Cleanor the Arcadian in place of Agias, Philesius the Achaean in place of Menon, and Xenophon the Athenian in place of Proxenus. 2.
When these elections had been completed, and as day was just about beginning to break, the commanders met in the middle of the camp; and they resolved to station outposts and then call an assembly of the soldiers. As soon as they had come together, Cheirisophus the Lacedaemonian arose first and spoke as follows:  “Fellow-soldiers, painful indeed is our present situation, seeing that we are robbed of such generals and captains and soldiers, and, besides, that Ariaeus and his men, who were formerly our allies, have betrayed us;  nevertheless, we must quit ourselves like brave men as well as may be in these circumstances, and must not yield, but rather try to save ourselves by glorious victory if we can; otherwise, let us at least die a glorious death, and never fall into the hands of our enemies alive. For in that case I think we should meet the sort of sufferings that I pray the gods may visit upon our foes.” …
Hereupon Xenophon arose, arrayed for war in his finest dress. For he thought that if the gods should grant victory, the finest raiment was suited to victory; and if it should be his fate to die, it was proper, he thought, that inasmuch as he had accounted his office worthy of the most beautiful attire, in this attire he should meet his death. He began his speech as follows: …
“It is really a plain fact, gentlemen, that all these good things belong to those who have the strength to possess them;  but I must go on to another point, how we can march most safely and, if we have to fight, can fight to the best advantage. In the first place, then,” Xenophon proceeded, “I think we should burn up the wagons which we have, so that our cattle may not be our captains, but we can take whatever route may be best for the army. Secondly, we should burn up our tents also; for these, again, are a bother to carry, and no help at all either for fighting or for obtaining provisions.  Furthermore, let us abandon all our other superfluous baggage, keeping only such articles as we use for war, or in eating and drinking, in order that we may have the largest possible number of men under arms and the least number carrying baggage. For when men are conquered, you are aware that all their possessions become the property of others; but if we are victorious, we may regard the enemy as our pack-bearers. 
“It remains for me to mention the one matter which I believe is really of the greatest importance. You observe that our enemies did not muster up courage to begin hostilities against us until they had seized our generals; for they believed that so long as we had our commanders and were obedient to them, we were able to worst them in war, but when they had got possession of our commanders, they believed that the want of leadership and of discipline would be the ruin of us.  Therefore our present commanders must show themselves far more vigilant than their predecessors, and the men in the ranks must be far more orderly and more obedient to their commanders now than they used to be.  We must pass a vote that, in case anyone is disobedient, whoever of you may be at hand at the time shall join with the officer in punishing him; in this way the enemy will find themselves mightily deceived; for to-day they will behold, not one Clearchus,25 but ten thousand, who will not suffer anybody to be a bad soldier.  But it is time now to be acting instead of talking; for perhaps the enemy will soon be at hand. Whoever, then, thinks that these proposals are good should ratify them with all speed, that they may be carried out in action. But if any other plan is thought better than mine, let anyone, even though he be a private soldier, feel free to present it; for the safety of all is the need of all.” 
After this Cheirisophus said: “We shall be able to consider presently whether we need to do anything else besides what Xenophon proposes, but on the proposals which he has already made I think it is best for us to vote as speedily as possible. Whoever is in favour of these measures, let him raise his hand.”  They all raised their hands…
After these words of Xenophon’s the assembly arose, and all went back to camp and proceeded to burn the wagons and the tents. As for the superfluous articles of baggage, whatever anybody needed they shared with one another, but the rest they threw into the fire. When they had done all this, they set about preparing breakfast; and while they were so engaged, Mithradates26 approached with about thirty horsemen, summoned the Greek generals within earshot, and spoke as follows:  “Men of Greece, I was faithful to Cyrus, as you know for yourselves, and I am now friendly to you; indeed, I am tarrying here in great fear. Therefore if I should see that you were taking salutary measures, I should join you and bring all my retainers with me. Tell me, then, what you have in mind, in the assurance that I am your friend and well-wisher, and am desirous of making the journey in company with you.”  The generals held council and voted to return the following answer, Cheirisophus acting as spokesman: “It is our resolve, in case no one hinders our homeward march, to proceed through the country doing the least possible damage, but if anyone tries to prevent us from making the journey, to fight it out with him to the best of our power.”  Thereupon Mithradates undertook to show that there was no possibility of their effecting a safe return unless the King so pleased. Then it became clear to the Greeks that his mission was a treacherous one; indeed, one of Tissaphernes’ relatives had followed along, to see that he kept faith.  The generals consequently decided that it was best to pass a decree that there should be no negotiations with the enemy in this war so long as they should be in the enemy’s country. For the barbarians kept coming and trying to corrupt the soldiers; in the case of one captain, Nicarchus the Arcadian, they actually succeeded, and he decamped during the night, taking with him about twenty men. 
Let’s switch it up from Herodotus. Xenophon’s Anabasis (the Upward March) is a remarkable adventure story that would be worthy of a Kipling novel except it actually happened. Ten thousand Greek mercenaries contracted with Cyrus, the brother of the Persian King to help him usurp the crown from his brother. They marched to the heart of the Persian Empire and defeated the King’s Army in pitched battle. But in the battle Cyrus was killed and the Persian allies of Cyrus switched their allegiance back to the King. During negotiations with the King to exit Persia the Greek generals were deviously slain. This left the Ten Thousand in despair. They were more than a thousand miles behind enemy lines on foot without supplies of food and water and surrounded by armies many times their number. But one soldier, an Athenian named Xenophon, put heart back in them and rallied them to action. One thing that you must also take into account is that Xenophon here is writing about himself and without a doubt modesty is not his strong suit.
[The preceding narrative has described all that the Greeks did in the course of the upward march with Cyrus until the time of the battle, and all that took place after the death of Cyrus while the Greeks were on the way back with Tissaphernes during the period of the truce.] 
After the generals had been seized and such of the captains and soldiers as accompanied them had been killed, the Greeks were naturally in great perplexity, reflecting that they were at the King’s gates, that round about them on every side were many hostile tribes and cities, that no one would provide them a market any longer, that they were distant from Greece not less than ten thousand stadia, that they had no guide to show them the way, that they were cut off by impassable rivers which flowed across the homeward route, that the barbarians who had made the upward march with Cyrus had also betrayed them, and that they were left alone, without even a single horseman to support them, so that it was quite clear that if they should be victorious, they could not kill anyone,2 while if they should be defeated, not one of them would be left alive.  Full of these reflections and despondent as they were, but few of them tasted food at evening, few kindled a fire, and many did not come that night to their quarters, but lay down wherever they each chanced to be, unable to sleep for grief and longing for their native states and parents, their wives and children, whom they thought they should never see again. Such was the state of mind in which they all lay down to rest. 
There was a man in the army named Xenophon, an Athenian, who was neither general nor captain nor private, but had accompanied the expedition because Proxenus, an old friend of his, had sent him at his home an invitation to go with him; Proxenus had also promised him that, if he would go, he would make him a friend of Cyrus, whom he himself regarded, so he said, as worth more to him than was his native state.  After reading Proxenus’ letter Xenophon conferred with Socrates,3 the Athenian, about the proposed journey; and Socrates, suspecting that his becoming a friend of Cyrus might be a cause for accusation against Xenophon on the part of the Athenian government, for the reason that Cyrus was thought to have given the Lacedaemonians zealous aid in their war against Athens,4 advised Xenophon to go to Delphi and consult the god in regard to this journey.  So Xenophon went and asked Apollo to what one of the gods he should sacrifice and pray in order best and most successfully to perform the journey which he had in mind and, after meeting with good fortune, to return home in safety; and Apollo in his response told him to what gods he must sacrifice.  When Xenophon came back from Delphi, he reported the oracle to Socrates; and upon hearing about it Socrates found fault with him because he did not first put the question whether it were better for him to go or stay, but decided for himself that he was to go and then asked the god as to the best way of going. “However,” he added, “since you did put the question in that way, you must do all that the god directed.” 
Xenophon, accordingly, after offering the sacrifices to the gods that Apollo’s oracle prescribed, set sail, overtook Proxenus and Cyrus at Sardis as they were on the point of beginning the upward march, and was introduced to Cyrus.  And not only did Proxenus urge him to stay with them, but Cyrus also joined in this request, adding that as soon as the campaign came to an end, he would send Xenophon home at once; and the report was that the campaign was against the Pisidians.  It was in this way, then, that Xenophon came to go on the expedition, quite deceived about its purpose—not, however, by Proxenus, for he did not know that the attack was directed against the King, nor did anyone else among the Greeks with the exception of Clearchus; but by the time they reached Cilicia, it seemed clear to everybody that the expedition was really against the King. Then, although the Greeks were fearful of the journey and unwilling to go on, most of them did, nevertheless, out of shame before one another and before Cyrus, continue the march. And Xenophon was one of this number. 
Now when the time of perplexity came, he was distressed as well as everybody else and was unable to sleep; but, getting at length a little sleep, he had a dream. It seemed to him that there was a clap of thunder and a bolt fell on his father’s house, setting the whole house ablaze.  He awoke at once in great fear, and judged the dream in one way an auspicious one, because in the midst of hardships and perils he had seemed to behold a great light from Zeus; but looking at it in another way he was fearful, since the dream came, as he thought, from Zeus the King and the fire appeared to blaze all about, lest he might not be able to escape out of the King’s country,5 but might be shut in on all sides by various difficulties.  Now what it really means to have such a dream one may learn from the events which followed the dream—and they were these: Firstly, on the moment of his awakening the thought occurred to him: “Why do I lie here? The night is wearing on, and at daybreak it is likely that the enemy will be upon us. And if we fall into the King’s hands, what is there to prevent our living to behold all the most grievous sights and to experience all the most dreadful sufferings, and then being put to death with insult?  As for defending ourselves, however, no one is making preparations or taking thought for that, but we lie here just as if it were possible for us to enjoy our ease. What about myself, then? From what state am I expecting the general to come who is to perform these duties? And what age must I myself wait to attain? For surely I shall never be any older, if this day I give myself up to the enemy.” 
Then he arose and, as a first step, called together the captains of Proxenus. When they had gathered, he said: “Gentlemen, I am unable either to sleep, as I presume you are also, or to lie still any longer, when I see in what straits we now are.  For the enemy manifestly did not begin open war upon us until the moment when they believed that their own preparations had been adequately made; but on our side no one is planning any counter-measures at all to ensure our making the best possible fight.  And yet if we submit and fall into the King’s hands, what do we imagine our fate is to be? Even in the case of his own brother, and, yet more, when he was already dead, this man cut off his head and his hand and impaled them; as for ourselves, then, who have no one to intercede for us,6 and who took the field against him with the intention of making him a slave rather than a king and of killing him if we could, what fate may we expect to suffer?  Will he not do his utmost to inflict upon us the most outrageous tortures, and thus make all mankind afraid ever to undertake an expedition against him? We, then, must make every effort not to fall into his power. 
“For my part, so long as the truce lasted I never ceased commiserating ourselves and congratulating the King and his followers; for I saw plainly what a great amount of fine land they possessed, what an abundance of provisions, what quantities of servants, cattle, gold, and apparel;  but whenever I took thought of the situation of our own soldiers, I saw that we had no share in these good things, except we bought them, I knew there were but few of us who still had money wherewith to buy, and I knew that our oaths restrained us from getting provisions in any other way than by purchase. Hence, with these considerations in mind, I used sometimes to fear the truce more than I now fear war.  But seeing that their own act has put an end to the truce, the end has likewise come, in my opinion, both of their arrogance and of our embarrassment. For now all these good things are offered as prizes for whichever of the two parties shall prove to be the braver men; and the judges of the contest are the gods, who, in all likelihood, will be on our side.  For our enemies have sworn falsely by them, while we, with abundant possessions before our eyes, have steadfastly kept our hands therefrom because of our oaths by the gods; hence we, I think, can go into the contest with far greater confidence than can our enemies.  Besides, we have bodies more capable than theirs of bearing cold and heat and toil, and we likewise, by the blessing of the gods, have better souls; and these men are more liable than we to be wounded and killed, if the gods again, as on that former day, grant us victory. 
“And now, since it may be that others also have these same thoughts in mind, let us not, in the name of the gods, wait for others to come to us and summon us to the noblest deeds, but let us take the lead ourselves and arouse the rest to valour. Show yourselves the best of the captains, and more worthy to be generals than the generals themselves.  As for me, if you choose to set out upon this course, I am ready to follow you; but if you assign me the leadership, I do not plead my youth as an excuse; rather, I believe I am in the very prime of my power to ward off dangers from my own head.” 
Such were Xenophon’s words; and upon hearing what he said the officers bade him take the lead, all of them except a man named Apollonides, who spoke in the Boeotian dialect.
As the various pieces of the puzzle that make up the American Government System oscillate around and the calendar moves steadily toward the November reckoning that is the Mid-Terms I was thinking what positive actions President Trump can perform to improve our condition. Surprisingly he already seems to be doing most of what I can think of. Appointing good judges, fixing immigration and purging the bureaucracy of noxious rules and noxious employees is most of what I think he needs to do. But one other priority occurred to me. He needs to purge the military of those same poisons. Every week during the Obama administration I can remember hearing about some officer forced to retire because of some failure to genuflect to the narrative of women or homosexuals or transsexuals being the bedrock of our military. The destruction of morale implicit in the kind of environment that is being perpetrated by the SJWs in the military is one of the most serious problems this nation will face in the future. Reversing this situation is critical.
What President Trump needs to do is first purge the military of the regulations that are causing these problems and then purge it of all the individuals who have been causing the problems. Any officer and especially any JAG who is known to be an SJW should be transferred to some cordoned off department where he can be monitored like some kind of radioactive waste product and jettisoned from the service as soon as humanly possible. And most importantly, any policies that have been put in place to allow physically or mentally unqualified individuals to serve and especially serve in elite units have to be eliminated. And finally, the United States government must be prohibited from paying for idiots to sexually mutilate themselves.
With respect to the whole question of transsexuals in the military, I know the liberal judges are trying to keep them in. If this becomes law then I suggest they be treated and addressed by the identity of their birth sex, required to wear the appropriate clothing of and use the bathrooms for that sex. If their excretory equipment no longer allows them to do this normally then they should be discharged as physically unfit. If any of these conditions make them unhappy they can leave.
In addition to the benefits to morale and competence implicit in removing these destructive rules and insane individuals there is another dimension that is possibly more important. A military that eliminates normal men from the command structure is a military that would turn on the American people if a Leftist President declared martial law. Considering the weaponry possessed by the American military arsenal, that is not a possibility I would want to contemplate.
So, President Trump, along with all the other good swamp-draining you are going about, don’t neglect the very important swamp-draining that needs to be done in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. I’ll leave the Coast Guard up to your discretion. They’ve always seemed a little ambiguous anyway.