“News from the Hut”: 18 February 2013

for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>>by Gary Lanham

With our morning Koffee Klatch closed due to President’s Day, I don’t have much to tattle tell on my co-patriots this week.  But, there is certainly much to talk about as the significance of this coming weekend approaches.  This Saturday and Sunday marks the end of one great military campaign, and the beginning of another brief one over two generations.

On 23 February 1945, victory was claimed at Iwo Jima when the Stars and Stripes were hoisted over the island, though fighting would continue for some time.  The raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima is captured in a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal.  It depicts five United State Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications.

Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank) were killed during the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became celebrities upon their identification in the photo.  The picture was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the Marine Corps War Memorial, located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.  Despite the bloody fighting and severe casualties on both sides, the Japanese defeat was assured from the start.  The Americans possessed an overwhelming superiority in arms and numbers.  These factors, coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement, ensured that there was no possibility that Americans could have lost the battle. (Thanks to Wikipedia)

I was traveling 24 February 1991 on a C-130 aircraft as an E-7 (USAF MSgt) representing my commander as sponsor over a group of great adults and teens in the local Tulsa Civil Air Patrol.  We were going to Reno, Nevada for the annual CAP convention when Desert Shield transformed into Desert Storm.  Within 10 minutes of setting down, our C-130 was gone redirected to support missions.  We were there for three days wondering how thirty five of us would be able to hitch hike back to Okieland.  We lucked out when another C-130 being redirected passed through, and agreed to dump us off at Tulsa International.  Then they also disappeared within ten minutes of landing.

During Desert Storm the damage done by U.S. air attacks were devastating to Saddam’s vaunted Republican Guard.  The following U.S. aircraft left “a big hurt” on the enemy during the war: AH-64 Apache helicopters, B-52 Stratofortress bombers, E-3 AWACS surveillance aircraft, F-117A Stealth fighters, E-8C JSTARS radar command posts, and the RPVs (drones).

Overall, the coalition air campaign (consisting mostly of U.S. pilots) accumulated a total of 109,876 sorties over the 43-day air war — averaging 2,555 sorties per day.  Of those, more than 27,000 sorties struck enemy Scuds, airfields, air defenses, electrical power, biological and chemical weapons caches, headquarters, intelligence assets, communications, the Iraqi army, and oil refineries.  But, as with most conflicts, the final win is not possible without the support of the US Army, Marine Corp, Navy, and other organizations.

U.S. casualties amounted to Army: 98, Navy: 6, Marines: 24,  Air Force: 20 resulting in 148 U.S. battle deaths, wounded in action: 467.  Iraqi casualties were estimated of Iraq’s 545,000 troops in the Kuwait theater of operations, 100,000 were killed, and 300,000 were wounded.

An ancient general Sun Tzu said “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”  Unfortunately this is not often the outcome and so many are lost. We honor our lost patriots and pray for our enemies.

Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 1900 hours (7:00 PM) and our Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings over biscuits and gravy (or waffles) where we keep up on each other’s mischievous doings run generally from 7 am to 9 am .

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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