Author Archive

U. S. Marines in Urban Warfare

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Fix Bayonets! by Mustang

Urban areas (cities and large towns), are important centers of gravity —points of interest that involve a complex range of human activities.  Throughout history military commanders have acknowledged that urban areas are either places that require protection, or they are centers that demand firm control.  These are mankind’s centers of population, transportation and communications hubs, seats of government, the sources of national wealth, and concentrations of industry.  Over the past three-hundred years, humans living in agrarian areas ...

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Marines in Panama, 1903-04 (Part II)

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Fix Bayonets! by Mustang

But what most people do not know …

On 18 December 1903, Secretary of the Navy William Moody directed the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Brigadier General George F. Elliott [1], to personally report to the President of the United States.  His orders from President Roosevelt were to proceed in person, taking passage aboard USS Dixie, from League Island to Colón, Panama.  Take command of the entire force of United States Marines and seamen that is ...

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Marines in Panama, 1903-04 (Part I)

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Fix Bayonets! by Mustang

Arguably, the most important action President Theodore Roosevelt ever took in foreign affairs related to the construction of the Panama Canal.  It was controversial abroad —it was controversial at home.  Those who opposed the canal claimed that Roosevelt’s actions were unconstitutional.  If true, then so too were Thomas Jefferson’s actions when he acquired the Louisiana Territory.  At different times, the congressional do-nothings accused Roosevelt of usurping their authority. They must not have known ...

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The Twiggs-Myers Family, Part III

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Fix Bayonets! by Mustang

Marion Twiggs, the daughter of Major General David E. Twiggs, married a young Army officer named Abraham Charles Myers, from Georgetown, South Carolina.  Myers was born on 14 May 1811, the son of Abraham Myers, a practicing attorney.  Myers was accepted into the US Military Academy at West Point in 1828 but was held back at the end of his first year due to deficiencies in his studies.  He graduated with the class of 1833.  Upon graduation, ...

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The Error of Our Ways

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BUNKERVILLE | God, Guns and Guts Comrades! by Mustang

At the end of World War II, Harry S. Truman was looking for ways to switch the United States from its war-time economy to one better suited to a society that wanted —and needed peace.  Unhappily, the President’s cost-cutting measures involved a one-third reduction of the military services: Army, Navy, and Marines.  Washington, D. C. was a busy place between 1945-1950:

  • World War II veterans were expeditiously discharged
  • The Department of War was transformed into ...
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Doris Miller, the ‘negro messboy’ who became an American hero

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I ran across this story of a “Negro” mess attendant by the name of Doris Miller.  Besides being noticeably Black, “Dorie” as known to his shipmates and friends more importantly is an American hero.

In 1939, Miller who enlisted in the U.S Navy as Mess Attendant, Third Class was later commended by Secretary of the Navy, advanced to Mess Attendant, Second Class and First Class, and was eventually promoted to Cook, Third Class.

Navy History and Heritage Command (excerpt)

Following training at ...

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The Battle of Rorke’s Drift

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Fix Bayonets! by Mustang

It was the greatest stand in British military history.

Frederic Augustus Thesiger, Second Baron Chelmsford, was promoted to major general in March 1877, and appointed to command British forces in South Africa with the temporary rank of lieutenant general in February 1878. In January of 1889, Henry Bartle Frere [1], a personal friend of Thesiger, engineered a war against the Zulu nation, then led by King Cetshwayo, previously a associate of the British Empire by ...

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Send in the Marines!

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Fix Bayonets! by Mustang

The United States’ first interest in China was demonstrated in 1784 when an American flagged merchant ship departed from New York bound for Canton, China. Denied access to British markets, which, given the number of ports then controlled by Great Britain, had a stifling effect on an emerging American economy.  Americans went to China looking for new markets to buy goods.  They were well received by the Chinese, and in fact some historians have suggested that the ...

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A Western Dragoon

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Old West Tales by Mustang

Owing to his participation in the civilization of the American West, I have mentioned James Henry Carleton on several occasions —usually as a backdrop to conflicts with American Indians— as a senior in the chain of command.  I thought for this week it would be interesting to take a closer look at this distinguished military officer.

Carleton was born in Lubec, Maine on 27 December 1814, the son of John and Abigail (Phelps) Carleton.  John was a sea captain, ...

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At Tripoli —Part II

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Fix Bahyonets! by Mustang

It is hard to imagine how the Barbary States (Morocco, Tunisia, Tripoli, and Algiers) might have competed with European nations at the end of the 18th Century, and at the beginning of the next. What did they have to trade that anyone wanted? Well, the Berbers did have the sea and what might be caught in it, and they also had sleek corsairs capable to running across the waves at a fast clip, overtaking merchantmen whose holds ...

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