Happy 240th Army Birthday!

“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham

I thought it appropriate to recognize last Sunday’s big event.  June 12th marked the 240th birthday of the United States Army.  The majority of our crew were U.S. Army or a reserve component of the same.  Heck even with my Air Force career, one of the first things I was taught is that we came from the Army Air Force.

I knew the proud traditional through my Father’s tales, his WWII Purple Hearts and Bronze Star for courage under fire.  I also shared much time with my Army National Guard counterparts while in the service.  Many of them were surprised to find out I was a Spec 4 (E-4) in the 445th Aviation Unit in 1976 at Lexington, OK.

Two hundred forty years ago, our nation’s leaders established the Continental Army. Today, the Army is the strategic land power of the joint force; called upon to prevent, shape, and win against our adversaries.

This year, we celebrate 240 years of selfless service to the nation.  Selfless service is at the core of what it means to be a Soldier – putting the welfare of others ahead of oneself.  The willingness of our Soldiers – to place themselves in harm’s way and to protect our nation’s freedoms – is what makes us the premier all-volunteer force.  The Army has served proudly, faithfully, and selflessly for 240 years, and we remain steadfast in our commitment.

After 240 Years of selfless service to the Nation, the Army continues to serve the United States with extraordinary soldiers, families and civilians, who display exceptional character in defense of our nation.  The soldiers of the Continental Army helped forge a bond with Americans built on duty and victory, which sustains our profession 240 years later.  As they answer the nation’s call, we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in our fight for freedom.

Also today as you reads this marks another significant date in history.  On this date in 1864, the Union war hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was severely wounded at Petersburg, Virginia; while leading an attack on a Confederate position.  Chamberlain, a college professor from Maine, took a sabbatical to enlist in the Union army.  As commander of the 20th Maine, he earned distinction at Gettysburg when he shored up the Union left flank and helped save Little Round Top for the Federals.  His bold counterattack against the Confederates, earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor.

His wound at Petersburg was the most serious of the six he received during the war. Doctors in the field hospital pronounced his injury fatal, and Union General Ulysses S. Grant promoted him to brigadier general as a tribute to his service and bravery. Miraculously, he survived and spent the rest of the Petersburg campaign convalescing at his Maine home.

He returned to the Army of the Potomac in time for Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and he was given the honor of accepting the arms of the Confederate infantry.  Chamberlain returned to Maine after the war and served four terms as governor.  He then became president of Bowdoin College—the institution that had refused to release him for military service and held the position until 1883.  Chamberlain remained active in veterans’ affairs and, like many soldiers, attended regimental reunions and kept alive the camaraderie created during the war.  He was present for the 50th anniversary of Gettysburg in 1913, one year before he died of an infection from the wound he suffered at Petersburg.  His story is wonderfully covered in the Pulitzer Prize winning book “Killer Angels” that was made into the movie “Gettysburg”.  He edged out John Wayne and my top hero next to my Father.

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM (June 18th).  Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in May are still planned (if weather permits) and running starting around 0700 till about 0900.  As always, much thanks to the crew for providing biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians).  If you are a veteran come on by.  If you have a good story it may end up in print.  Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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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