06/6/19

The Age of Freedom – Twenty-two

The average age of the American soldiers who jumped into France or landed at Normandy was twenty-two. That includes everyone including the men running the show. Plenty of those who fought were as young as eighteen.

When good confronted evil, when the flame of freedom flickered, the men sent to make it right were young. They had their entire lives in front of them, but first they had to save the world.

By midnight, the Americans would lose 2,500 KIA, 3,200 WIA, 2,000 MIA, and 26 POW. Many of them were paratroopers who had jumped into the darkness over France slightly after midnight.

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05/27/19

Memorial Day — The View From Another Direction

Having been an Army brat, having grown up on Army posts, having a mother and father who served in World War II, having a father who was a career soldier, having been educated at Virginia Military Institute, and having served in the Army for five years — I have a view of Memorial Day from a different point of the compass.

Both of my parents are buried in a military cemetery. This is the Central Texas military cemetery next to Fort Hood with the Hill Country in the background. It is hallowed ground.

Just a few years ago, it was a pasture. Now, it is filled as shown because a lot of soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

I went to school with men who are buried in places like this. Fifteen VMI graduates have been killed in the War on Terror.

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04/25/18

Platoon Sergeants, the Secret Sauce

Platoon sergeants, God bless them all!

Big Red Car here on another perfect Texas spring day. Ahhhh, on Earth as it is in Austin By God Texas, y’all.

The Boss was up in Lexington, Virginia recently to give a talk at an entrepreneurs event. Lexington is, of course, the home of his alma mater, Virginia Military Institute – a hard place to be, a good place to be from.

VMI has an expansive campus carry program including Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John at the foot of Stonewall’s statue. Those four cannons are combat veterans of the Mexican War and the Civil War. You get a rifle, a bayonet, maybe a sword, plus tanks, howitzers, cannons. Stonewall taught at VMI.

VMI is steeped in the history of the nation and the Civil War. The VMI cadets fought as a unit in the Civil War emerging victorious at the Battle of New Market wherein they conducted a bayonet charge across a muddy field and took Yankee cannons at bayonet point. They also took substantial casualties both killed (10 KIA) and wounded (45 WIA).

Lexington is also the home to Washington & Lee University, a bastion of Southern education. Rob’t E Lee is buried at W & L.

When you go to VMI, you look up your Brother Rats (classmates) who live in the area and you find a chance to swap some stories. The nature of your relationship is so close that if you haven’t seen them in 45 years you pick up right where you left off last time you saw them.

Which is a long way to say a discussion about platoon sergeants ensued. Platoon sergeants are the secret source which is applied to green shavetails to turn them into platoon leaders and soldiers. It is the beginning of a tutelage which is like a craft guild apprenticeship.

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