Thursday, December 27, 2012

R. J. Sams and Lloyd Morris - World War One

World War One, 1914 – 1918, was a bloody struggle brought on by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. It was a war of imperial arrogance, differing political ideology, stupidity, old treaties, and simmering disputes over boundaries and territorial intrigues. Over 10,000,000 soldiers perished, and 7,000,000 civilians. The United States entered the war April 6, 1917 under the command of General “Black Jack” Pershing. The conflict ended November 11, 1918. Uncle Sam lost 117,465 souls.
(L-R) Lloyd Morris, Jay Henry (father), ?, General Tire Rep.
Lloyd Morris was my father’s business partner at Morris and Henry General Tire in Knoxville. I was young then and never questioned Lloyd about his military career. I remember bits and pieces of conversations I overheard at the tire company. He was a happy individual, impeccably dressed, who always had a nice word for me and a warm smile. Mister Morris was an officer in the Army, a captain as I recall. He spoke a few times about conditions at the Front. It was pretty grim stuff, dead men strewn all over the battlefield and unexploded ordinance in no-man’s land. He once spoke about the mutinies by the French soldiers. Many of their officers were incompetent and poorly trained.  Lloyd had a sense of duty and purpose about him. I imagine the war made him that way.

Bob Sams, another military man, was a relative of mine, another cousin. Bob was my father’s best friend. They grew up in Vestal where I was born. Vestal was a thriving lumber center at the turn of the 20th Century. Huge trees were cut and hauled by rail from Townsend, Tennessee.

Bob Sams
Bob told me about the time he was blown out of a trench by an artillery shell. He laughed and said it got him in the ass.  Bob was a currier delivering messages between command posts whenever the telephone lines were cut by shell fire. He was also gassed in France. Bob was lucky. The mustard gas only made him sick for a few weeks. He was a delightful individual who marveled at life and just being alive. I guess that had something to do with the war too.

Bob had three blue tick hounds. Old Abe was the lead dog. Daddy and Bob took me possum hunting many times when I was a youngster. He loved to fish, and came to our place on Little River once or twice a week.

Mister Sams had a daughter, Doris, who played professional baseball during World War Two. Doris Sams is credited as one of the greatest women players that ever lived.

Bob Sams died in his early sixties. My father passed away when he was eighty six. Those were the best years this country ever saw. Our greatest generations, World War One and World War Two, are mostly gone now. I miss those marvelous men and women, and their love for God and country. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Rare, Real man among many men : "Tango Mike Mike"

I recently came across the video below... 

Roy Benavidez was a member of the elite 82nd Airborne Division. In 1965 he stepped on a landmine while serving as adviser to an ARVN infantry regiment in Vietnam. Following recovery, 
he trained with the 5th Special Forces Group, returning to Vietnam in 1968. There he found a place of honor in the Halls of Valhalla.  

"Blood dripped from the door as the chopper lumbered into the air."

This is the true story of a poor orphaned Mexican boy who became an American hero in Vietnam. I don't believe his story was ever told by the media. They're more interested in Reality TV, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and the usual bread and circus for those who prefer tofu and white wine. 

The veterans I knew, mostly gone now, were another breed. They believed in God and country. God and country is what made our nation great. Try and tell that to the typical Progressive who preaches Political Correctness. Or the men and women in Washington who sing the praises of Socialism. I revere that Mexican-American youngster who became one of our heroes. 

Master Sergeant Benavidez passed away November 29, 1998.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Daniel Butler

The Cold War spawned the Korean and the Vietnam wars. There were two Vietnam Wars, the French Colonial War, which ended at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and the American version, which began to collapse after the politicians who had already bungled ten years of blood and treasure cut off military support to South Vietnam in 1973. Vietnam and the 1960s sparked the American drug culture, a moral decline, the politically-induced entitlement mentality, and throwing God out of Uncle Sam’s public schools.

Dan Butler was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation from The University of Tennessee in 1966. His first duty station was Fort Campbell, Kentucky, but he was soon deployed to the Republic of Vietnam where he served two tours of duty with the 101st Airborne Division, and two tours of duty as advisor to the South Vietnamese Army. Dan Butler was a patriot.

Dan saw extensive combat with Northern I Corps, including operations in the Quang Tri and Thau Thien provinces. He participated in numerous operations in the A Shau Valley, and fought through the 1972 Easter Offensive.

The Easter Offensive, March 30 to October 22, involved some of the most vicious fighting of the war. It caught the Allies by complete surprise. Additional problems involved the ineffective capabilities of some of the ARVN units. Lieutenant Colonel Phan Van Dinh surrendered his 56th ARVN Regiment following a brief skirmish on Easter Sunday. Additional cowardice would hamper the Allied war effort.

The NVA attacked on several fronts with massed artillery fire, accompanied by hundreds of Chinese tanks. Dan was west of the Imperial City of Hue at the time serving as advisor with the 1st ARVN Division, considered to be the best in the South Vietnamese Army. Soon everyone was fighting for their lives. Massive bombing and B-52 strikes leveled the jungle for miles. Thousands of NVA were blown to pieces. The stench of death in the tropical heat became horrendous.

For some odd reason the communists halted after they achieved their initial objectives. They did this more than once. Otherwise they might have overrun South Vietnam had they continued the fighting. The North lost approximately 58,000 killed and 60,000 wounded, but the battle which drug on for seven months was a tactical victory for Hanoi. ARVN losses were 10,000 dead and 33,000 wounded.

Returning home in 1973, Dan was assigned to Tactics at the US Army Infantry School. He left there in 1976 for advanced studies at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Subsequent years saw tours of duty in Canada, Europe, and the continental US with assignments to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 4th Infantry Division, 8th Infantry Division, and the Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. Dan attended the Army War College 1989-1990, and returned to Fort Leavenworth to serve as School Director at the Command and General Staff College.

My cousin retired from active duty in 1993 at the rank of colonel. Dan followed a second career in the defense industry for almost twenty years. Presently he resides in Leavenworth, Kansas, with his wife Maggie. They have a son and a daughter.