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The power of example is very important to people under stress.-- General Sir John Hackett
Of all those who made up our platoon, Michael Robert Shapard, or "Shap" as he was called, was to become my closest friend. From the time I had joined the unit at Ft. Hood, it was Shap I had been instantly drawn to, likely because it was he who had made me feel truly welcome at the time of my awkward infusion into the Platoon. Having under gone training with my new unit's sister battalion the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, I wouldn't report into the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry until after the standard 2 week deployment leave.
For a whole week before the Battle of Loos, the artillery of our Division were bombarding the German trenches night and day, smashing up the barbed wire. On September 24th, 1915, my battalion, a Highland one, was moved up into covered-in trenches ready to attack on the morning of the 25th.
The Coast Guard manned and operated about seventy of these rather unusual ships during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans - they were unusual in that they had two firerooms generating steam for two large triple-expansion steam engines with all machinery, such a force-draft blowers, anchor engines and steering engines, all of them being single cylinder steam engines - the only variation was the two turbine-driven generators furnishing electric power for ships utilities!! The ships were twin screw with twin rudders making them extremely easy to handle provided you allowed for the high bow, the low stern and the vagaries of the wind.
Still out thank Heaven, hope we get a good long rest, we need it. We have had many wonderful things said about us, by the Great General, by the Conventions of Mayors of the French towns we saved and by statesmen. Our own colonel, a distinguished soldier, said after our magnificent fight for nearly forty days, to command the ninth was the greatest honor he ever expected to have.
The keel of the most famous vessel of modern times was laid in the shipyard of Thomas F. Rowland, at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in October, 1861, and on the 30th of January, 1862, the novel craft was launched. On the 25th of February she was commissioned and turned over to the Government, and nine days later left New York for Hampton Roads, where, on the 9th of March, occurred the memorable contest with the Virginia.
We started out to form a Company. We got together some 20 men. I have forgotten the exact number. Then we spliced with a number of young fellows from Selinsgrove. That formed Company D of the 18th Regiment then stationed at Harrisburg. Elected A.C. Simpson as Captain, Jerry Bogar as Quartermaster, McClay Coldren as 1st Sergeant and different others to less important posts.
We have been stationed about 5-6 miles off the coast of Vietnam. Our job is to repair the river patrol boats. They would tow, push, shove or sometimes just putt their way out to us for repair. We keep seeing the same patrol boats and repair them, send them back, repair them, send them back.
Once through the entrance, as I deemed it wise to keep moving in order not to be taken by surprise when the ships had no headway, and as, at the same time, I did not wish to reach our destination before we had sufficient daylight to show us the position of the Spanish ships, the speed of the squadron was reduced to four knots, while we headed toward the city of Manila.
In June 1948, when I reached the age of 16, I enlisted in the Iowa National Guard. When I turned 17, I signed on with the United States Army. I took my basic training at Ft Riley, Kansas. In basic, some liked it, some hated it. I didn’t like KP, GI parties or inspections, but I figured the rest was just great. After basic I was sent to Leadership School.
This diary was commenced for the fun of writing down my experience as a soldier from the Old North State. I never thought for a moment that I would put it in print; but now that I am getting old and have read so many histories written by our officers, but have never seen in print a history written by a private. I know that my diary is truly the life of the man behind the gun, therefore I make bold to publish it.
VOLUNTEERED 2ND NEW YORK CAVALRY -- September 5th, 1863, mustered into the United States Service September 9th, 1863 at Saratoga, New York -- left Saratoga by train for Washington, where we trained until the first of February, 1864.
We are stubbornly trying to force the Turks up out of the ground, but they stick in well. Once we get them on the run, they seem to think we will progress quickly. The only thing I wish is that I was able to say I was in the landing at Gaba Tepe on April 25th.
Note: A letter by Corporal Alf. Birkhill, who is now at Anzac, pays warm tribute after seeing the heroic Australians who scaled the heights at Gaba Tepo. 5624 Reads
On April 20, 1945 the Russians were firing artillery into and around the prison forced labor camp near Juderbog, Germany, where I was confined with a number of the privates and PFC’s. The attack including blowing down one of the fences of the compound. As a result, we decided to escape the prison encampment and work our way back to the American lines, which we accomplished in five days, walking cross-country across Germany.
Shortly after the end of WWII the US Air force established a group called AFOAT-ONE that flew regular air sampling flights around the periphery of the Soviet Union. I understand their mission was to pinpoint the site of plutonium production and more importantly the rate of production of Pu.
Immediately after the Battle of Kwajalein, the sailors aboard the USS Washington received orders to fuel the destroyers. After fueling the destroyers, dusk turned into the blackest of nights. Tired and battle-weary, I began to look for a place to sleep on the main deck but was unable to because several sailors were putting away the fueling gear. Finally, I had to resort to my own bunk over #4 machinery space. The temperature was about 110 degrees causing me to fall asleep fast.
1799: Napoleon Bonaparte captures Jaffa, Palestine.
1913: The Balkan allies take Adrianople.
1918: On the Western Front, the Germans take the French towns Noyon, Roye and Lihons.
1941: Italy attacks the British fleet at Suda Bay, Crete, using detachable warheads to sink a British cruiser. This was the first time manned torpedoes had been employed in naval warfare, adding a new weapon to the world's navies' arsenals.
1942: The Germans begin sending Jews to Auschwitz in Poland.
1953: The Nevada complex, consisting of combat outposts Carson, Reno and Vegas, came under heavy attack. The enemy initially seized Vegas and Reno, but the Marines recaptured these outposts and defeated repeated enemy attempts to recapture the ground.
1975: The city of Hue, in northernmost South Vietnam, falls to the North Vietnamese.