Friday, April 30, 2010
Well folks, I tried to get out of here on be on my way to montana via hitch hiking but things just didnt work out.
I dont know if it was my bad luck, the shitty weather, or has something to do with the recent murder on the border , or a combination of both but.....I spent 3 days outside of tombstone,Arizona trying to catch a ride north to the White mountains ,, With no Luck.
The only rides I got were from friends who were either heading to or returning home from work.
I was getting tired of the lack of rides so I turned around and headed back to Sierra Vista. The 2nd or 3rd car to pass , after I stuck out my thumb pulled over and took me the 16 miles back into SV - I took it as a sign.
When I got back to town I spent the night with a friend then stowed some extra gear as their house and headed to the Huachuca Mountains. It takes mr about 5 hours to hike to my favorite spot in Garden canyon. I left town at around 5 am , shouldered my pack and headed out accross to Fort. Using the SAS "Tabbing" method of resting 10 mins out of every hour, it took me 3 hours to reach one of the training areas where I did a bit of dumpster diving and scored a whole box of fresh fruit,a loaf of bread, and MRE parts.
It was a good score, it was difficult stuffing all of the food into my small pack but I got 'er done and headed out.
After hiking up the trail a ways, I decided to take a short nap, eat some lunch and do a little reading. I was packing the book "Sahara" by Clive Cussler - not too bad but, I liked the movie better.
anyhoo, after my break, I packed up and headed for the spring where I had intended to camp for a few days. It take an additional 2 hours to hike the trail to my camp, I was passing the rapelling cliffs area, it the huachucas and noticed what looked like a small owl fly right infront of me about 18" or so off of the ground.
I saw him(or her) light in the fork of a small maple tree, I walked a little closer to observe this bird through my binos and noticed that it was a small pygmy Owl no more the 6" high , it has a small lizard in its talons.
I have seen this type of owl out in the sonoran desert but never in the mountains, I was a cool sighting, and the closest that I have ever been to onw of these birds.
After about another 1/2 hour of walking I made it to my camping area, set up my stealth camp, then went back down the trail to fill my water bottles at the spring.
In the gathering twilight I could hear a Tom Turkey gobbling, and a hen reply. A few moments later, I could hear whiporwills calling. I crawled into my tent and fell to sleep listening to these birds.
I was awake well before light and used 2 MRE heaters to heat some water to make a cup of instant coffee. As soon at it was light, Mr. Tom Turkey began gobbling again.I never did see this particular bird. Later on tho, I managed to get a little video of another Tom further down the canyon.
Cacheing my extra gear, I packed 1 gallon of water, some food and my wind suit into my pack. I slung my binoculars and Green river knife around my neck and headed out to explore the area.
It didnt take long before I kicked up 3 "Sonoran brown breasted rock chuckers" AKA, Illegal aliens, they left behind their back packs etc. where they had been resting. -I actually think they were scouts for a Drug shipment because they were packing a lot of motorola radio batteries, had no group of people with them, and were packing no food.
Looking through the abandoned gear, I found a fairly new Columbia brand "Titanium" jacket, which I took because it was better than my old 511 jacket.
Finders keepers, loosers weepers!
Well....with those types of scouts etc. in the area I made the decision to pack up and head back down the canyon, closer to tha training areas.
After topping off all of my water bottles, I headed down the trail for about 2 hours and made myself another stealth camp in the oak woods near the Garden canyon creek.
Taking my binoculars, I started glassing Huachuca peak, looking for a possible route up to the top. The next AM, I again cached all of my gear with the exception of 1 gallon of water,food and my wind suit, then began my ascent of the peak. It is around 9000 feet to the top so it was going to be about a 4000 foot plus ascent for me.
Using the fire breaks until I located a Peak trail sign, it took my about 4 1/2 hours to go from my cache, to the peak where I took some pics, and ate a little chow. It was extreamly windy and a little cold on the peak so I didnt tarry there long.
For the decent, I decided to head down Mclure canyon, which was a steeper decent but shorter in distance. It took me 2 1/2 hours to decend back to my cache and break out the coffee and chow. I made a small "Apache" style fire near the creek and boiled up some water . After eating several MRE meals and downing 3 canteen cups of Java, I headed up the hill to set up my tent.
I only sighted 1 coues deer and 1 king snake in the entire 7 hour hike. The King snake tho was the longest I have ever seen , he might have been over 6' in length.
there will be more to follow soon.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Monday, April 19, 2010
The American Volunteer Group or AVG, AKA "Flying Tigers" ,is another group of American military contractors who made a name for themselves.
There have been military contractors operating in hostile areas , ever since there have been wars. Lafayette escadrille, in WW1 was another group of aviators, the American eagle squadron, that flew for the British Air force against the Germans in WW2 is another.
But the flying tigers is the Group that has always stood out for me. Back in the 70s , in Chi-town, I met an old guy who was a parachute rigger and armorer with the Flying Tigers in Burma. This old warrior had some cool AVG momentous, the most interesting of which was the Blood chit.
You can see Blood chits sewn to the back of leather flight jackets, that are for sale on various sites. The original one I saw was made of leather.
I was told that most of the pilots actually sewed them inside the front of their jackets - on 3 sides , so it could be used as a pocket for silk maps, papers etc.
This sounds like good thinking to me, if I was shot down in a hostile area, I would not want a large red and white target on my back.
Below is a little info on the AVG, I hope you find it interesting.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Flying Tigers was the popular name of the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941-1942. Arguably, the group was a private military contractor, and for that reason the volunteers have sometimes been called mercenaries. The members of the Flying Tigers had lucrative contracts with the Chinese government with salaries ranging from $600 for a pilot to $750 for a squadron commander. These salaries were three times what they had been making in the U.S. forces. They were mostly former United States Army (USAAF), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC) pilots and ground crew, recruited under Presidential sanction and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The group consisted of three fighter squadrons with about 20 aircraft each. It trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II with the mission of defending China against Japanese forces.
The Tigers' shark-faced fighters remain among the most recognizable of any individual combat aircraft of World War II, and they demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces.
The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, 12 days after Pearl Harbor (local time). It achieved notable success during the lowest period of the war for U.S. and Allied Forces, giving hope to Americans that they would eventually succeed against the Japanese. While cross-referencing records after the war revealed their actual kill numbers were substantially less, the Tigers were paid combat bonuses for destroying nearly 300 enemy aircraft, while losing only 14 pilots on combat missions. In July 1942, the AVG was replaced by the U.S. Army 23rd Fighter Group, which was later absorbed into the U.S. 14th Air Force with General Chennault as commander. The 23rd FG went on to achieve similar combat success, while retaining the nose art and nickname of the volunteer unit.
The AVG was largely the creation of Claire L. Chennault, a retired U.S. Army Air Corps officer who had worked in China since August 1937, first as military aviation advisor to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the early months of the Sino-Japanese War, then as director of a Chinese Air Force flight school centered in Kunming. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union supplied fighter and bomber squadrons to China, but these units were mostly withdrawn by the summer of 1940. Chiang then asked for American combat aircraft and pilots, sending Chennault to Washington as advisor to China's ambassador and Chiang's brother-in-law, T. V. Soong.
Since the U.S. was not at war, the "Special Air Unit" could not be organized overtly, but the request was approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself. The resulting clandestine operation was organized in large part by Lauchlin Currie, a young economist in the White House, and by Roosevelt intimate Thomas G. Corcoran. (Currie's assistant was John King Fairbank, who later became America's preeminent Asian scholar.) Financing was handled by China Defense Supplies – primarily Tommy Corcoran's creation – with money loaned by the U.S. government. Purchases were then made by the Chinese under the "Cash and Carry" provision of the Neutrality Act of 1939.
Chennault spent the winter of 1940–1941 in Washington, supervising the purchase of 100 Curtiss P-40 fighters (diverted from a Royal Air Force order) and the recruiting of 100 pilots and some 200 ground crew and administrative personnel that would constitute the 1st AVG. He also laid the groundwork for a follow-on bomber group and a second fighter group, though these would be aborted after the Pearl Harbor attack.
1st American Volunteer Group
Of the pilots, 60 came from the Navy and Marine Corps and 40 from the Army Air Corps. (One army pilot was refused a passport because he had earlier flown as a mercenary in Spain, so only 99 would actually sail for Asia. Ten more army flight instructors were hired as check pilots for Chinese cadets, and several of these would ultimately join the AVG’s combat squadrons.) The volunteers were discharged from the armed services, to be employed for "training and instruction" by a private military contractor, the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which paid them $600 a month for pilot officer, $675 a month for flight leader, $750 for squadron leader (no pilot was recruited at this level), and about $250 for a skilled ground crewman, far more than they had been earning. ($675 translates $9,973 in 2010 dollars, and at the time sufficed to buy a new Ford automobile.) The pilots were also orally promised a bounty of $500 for each enemy aircraft shot down.
Although sometimes considered a mercenary unit, the AVG was closely associated with the U.S. military. Most histories of the Flying Tigers say that on 15 April 1941, President Roosevelt signed a "secret executive order" authorizing servicemen on active duty to resign in order to join the AVG. However, Flying Tigers historian Daniel Ford could find no evidence that such an order ever existed, and he argued that "a wink and a nod" was more the president's style. In any event, the AVG was organized and in part directed out of the White House, and by the spring of 1942 had effectively been brought into the U.S. Army chain of command.
During the summer and fall 1941, some 300 men carrying civilian passports boarded ships destined for Burma. They were initially based at a British airfield in Toungoo for training while their aircraft were assembled and test flown. Chennault set up a schoolhouse that was made necessary because many pilots had "lied about their flying experience, claiming pursuit experience when they had flown only bombers and sometimes much less powerful airplanes." They called Chennault "the Old Man" due to his much older age and leathery exterior obtained from years flying open cockpit pursuit aircraft in the Army Air Corps. Most believed that he had flown as a fighter pilot in China, although stories that he was a combat ace are probably apocryphal.
The AVG was created by an executive order of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. He did not speak English, however, and Chennault never learned to speak Chinese. As a result, all communications between the two men were routed through May-ling Soong, or "Madame Chiang" as she was known to Americans, and she was designated the group's "honorary commander."
The port of Rangoon in Burma and the Burma Road leading from there to China were of crucial importance for the Republic of China, as the eastern regions of China were under Japanese occupation so virtually all of the foreign matériel destined for the armed forces of the Republic arrived via that port. By November 1941, when the pilots were trained and most of the P-40s had arrived in Asia, the Flying Tigers were divided into three squadrons: 1st Squadron (“Adam & Eves”); 2nd Squadron (“Panda Bears”) and 3rd Squadron (“Hell’s Angels”). They were assigned to opposite ends of the Burma Road to protect this vital line of communications. Two squadrons were based at Kunming in China and a third at Mingaladon Airport near Rangoon. When the United States officially entered the war, the AVG had 82 pilots and 79 aircraft, although not all were combat-ready.
The AVG had its first combat on 20 December 1941, when aircraft of the 1st and 2nd squadrons intercepted 10 unescorted Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lily" bombers of the 21st Hikotai raiding Kunming. Three of the Japanese bombers were shot down near Kunming and a fourth was damaged so severely that it crashed before returning to its airfield at Hanoi. No P-40s were lost through enemy action, and the bombers jettisoned their loads before reaching their target.The Japanese discontinued their raids on Kunming while the AVG was based there.
The "Burrows' cave" story from Illinois has always been interesting to me. Growing up in the southern part of that state , I can remember 2 of my older Brothers activly involved in artifact hunting and excavating Village sites, from the Mound builder era. Our house was crowded with artifacts from the southern Illinois tribes.
Even today I get excited when I find arrow heads of other things in my explorations. But the Burrows' cave mystery is closer to home ,and was a topic of discussion between me and my older brothers numerous times.
The story below is an interesting read, I hope you enjoy it.
Ill be making one more post before departing for my next adventure.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
By Frank Joseph
There are some disclosures which radically revolutionize long-established conceptions of the world in which we live. The subject of this story is one of them, because it demolishes what Americans have been led to believe since their country was founded; namely, that Christopher Columbus was its Discoverer. An archaeological cave site in southern Illinois reveals instead that tens of thousands of refugees sailing from the murder of their king and the invasion of their homeland preceded him by nearly fifteen centuries. Preferring a perilous transatlantic adventure toslaughter and slavery on land, they entrusted their lives to the sea.
But there is another side to this tale. It tells of the cave's discovery, subsequent twenty years of imposed secrecy, the looting of fabulous treasures, often bitter controversy, and final disclosure. The second story is much older. It describes what was once a splendid kingdom in the ancient Old World, a vital part of the Roman Empire, once culturally rich and economically powerful, but reduced to obscurity by war. Faced with almost certain death at home or escaping over the uncertain open sea, some of its survivors became First Century "boat-people". Most successfully completed the crossing to America only a few years after the death of Jesus.
While the majority of professional archaeologists dismiss such transatlantic voyages as imaginative fantasy, they are contradicted by a vast collection of inscribed and illustrated stone tablets uncovered from a subterranean site in the American Middle West. Often wonderful masterpieces of art, they comprise literally thousands of portraits of men and women from a distant land in ancient times. There are grim-faced soldiers and sagacious priests, sailors, worshippers, kings and queens. They are accompanied by tablets inscribed in several different written languages, some of which have already been partially translated. And there is gold, a treasure trove King Solomon in all his splendor would have envied.
Both stories seem too fantastic for belief. Yet, an abundance of hard and historical evidence supports their credibility. The fabulously rich legacy buried nearly 2,000 years ago was known only to the elders of a particular Indian tribe, whose last chief broke the secret before he passed away. Even then, the whereabouts of the cave were unknown until it was found by accident twenty four years later. The sometimes acrimonious struggle to open the site and unravel its significance has lasted almost as long.
That struggle still goes on. But the time has come for its story to be told. It begins in the remote countryside of southern Illinois, a cultural backwater practically forgotten somewhere between St. Louis, at the western border with Missouri, and the state university, in Carbondale, forty five miles north of Kentucky. The inhabitants would have it no other way. Their numbers are low and disparate. Although general income and educational levels are below national or even state averages, people are hard-working, bible-conscious, gun-owning patriots residing mostly on old, isolated farms or in charming, unprosperous little towns. Folks are friendly to but wary of strangers. They prefer their largely anonymous, unvisited status. Attitudes can be provincial, territorial and rural. Speech patterns echo from below the Mason/Dixon Line. Among land-owners there is a highly developed sense of protective sovereignty regarding the properties they own and on which they grow crops, mostly beans and corn.
Southern Illinois has always been a refuge for rugged individuals. Local history tells of frontier-like lawlessness dating back to gang wars with criminal interlopers, like Tony Accardo or Al Capone, from Chicago, during the 1960s and "Roaring Twenties", respectively, and much earlier, to the Harpe brothers. They murdered some fifty victims at Cave-in-the-Rock, on the Ohio River, before Micajah and Wiley were beheaded in 1799.
Directly across the state from St. Louis, Richland is the next nearest county to the Indiana border, in the east. Beyond its sparsely uninhabited hills and ravines, squares of brown-green farmland spread like pieces in an agricultural puzzle toward the horizon. In the extreme northeast corner of Richland County bends an elbow of the River Embarras, branching into Illinois from its bigger sister, the Wabash. Locals have for generations enjoyed exploring or picnicking in the numerous caves that honeycomb the area. An infrequently visited site, certainly unknown outside its immediate vicinity, was hardly more than a hole in the ground. But the opening, about ten feet wide and eight feet from ceiling to roof, was large enough for visitors to stoop through a kind of natural corridor running about 15 feet into the side of a hill perhaps three-quarters of a mile from the south bank of the Embarras.
At the far end of this seemingly insignificant cave was a small chamber, natural or man-made, it was difficult to determine. Its walls were decorated with what visitors assumed were "Indian signs"---apparently old carvings of bizarre animals, inscrutable glyphs, and strangely costumed men, all rendered in faded, primitive stick-form.
Obviously, the cave had been used by Kickapoo or Shawnee tribes, who inhabited the Richland County region into the early 1800s. No one gave the place a second thought until 1982. Certainly, professional archaeologists, if they even knew it existed, never declared the site off-limits to public entry, nor forbade anyone from doing what they pleased there.
On April 2, a 47-year-old "caver" entered its dark recesses out-fitted with flashlight, pick-hammer and knapsack. He had come from his home in Olney, a small town about 15 miles away. Born in West Virginia, Russell E. Burrows moved after a stint in the U.S. Army during the Korean War to southern Illinois, where he developed an interest in local history, and began amassing everyday objects from the past.
Over time, he found ox shoes, square nails, iron pots, lanterns, and other19th or early 20th Century artifacts for his growing collection. A wood-worker by vocation, he could appreciate these hand-made items of yesteryear. Perhaps something of the kind might be found in the curious little cave he heard tell of. Finding it deserted, as it usually was, he paused momentarily to scan an uncertain sky, as muted thunder boomed ominously in the distance. He found the interior as described, a small, unimpressive natural enclosure like others he knew. Proceeding to its apparent termination, Burrows stepped into the close confines of the chamber. Perhaps it was artificial, but why anyone would go to the bother of carving it out made no sense. Then again, the Indians did things no modern white man could figure out. The glare of his flashlight passed over a series of their crude drawings adorning the walls here and there. They might make colorful additions to his rather lackluster collection of common pioneer nick-nacks.
Clearly, there were no 19th Century hob-nails laying about. With the first taps of his hammer, however, he noticed something strange. The impacts did not make quite the solid sound he expected. They produced a lighter reverberation, as though a hollow space lay on the other side. Curious to learn if a cavity did indeed lie just beyond, he swung his pick against the face of the wall. As he labored with a will, he was encouraged by what seemed like the echoes of his hammer blows coming from some place deeper in the hill.
The work was difficult, but Burrows was a strong man, and after perhaps fifteen minutes of sweated effort, the stones in the wall began to give. Suddenly, they tumbled heavily away, thudding to the ground, and disclosed another small chamber, this one unquestionably artificial. It was the opening to a flight of stone steps leading down into the earth. He played his flashlight over them, then carefully followed its illumination into the otherwise impenetrable darkness. The flight of stairs was steep, and he descended cautiously, side-ways, eventually reaching bottom. He estimated it was about thirty feet from the entrance above. A long, dead-straight corridor disappeared into the darkness before him. His bright flashlight lit up its still, dank interior, as Burrows carefully entered.
The tunnel was perfectly hewn, and hung with very old-fashioned oil lamps at regular intervals. They looked like something out of a movie he may have seen once about ancient Rome. He proceeded cautiously. The atmosphere was heavy with mystery, and snakes, especially deadly copper-heads, were known to favor such subterranean environments. But he encountered no serpents. The muted sound of his footfalls in the almost stifling confines was all he heard. The tunnel went on and on, as he passed dozens of dead oil lamps on either wall.
Turning the beam of his flashlight at the low ceiling, he saw that its entire length was covered with black smudges, the residue, apparently, of innumerable torches that once passed this way, how long ago, he could not guess. After Burrows had walked about 500 feet, the corridor seemed to come to an abrupt end. Instead, it made a sharp right turn, as his flashlight pointed the way. It illuminated another great length, running straight ahead beyond the white reach of its flickering bulb.
He proceeded a few paces, when a low, open portal, minus a door, appeared unexpectedly on his left. Ducking down under its low lintel, he entered a small chamber, then almost at once staggered backward in surprise. Gleaming in the harsh beam of his flashlight stood the five-foot-tall statue of a man wrought in solid gold. Nor was this just the representation of any man. Its beneficent pose and holes in the wrists of the outstretched arms clearly identified the figure. A few feet behind the statue, to its left, was a raised platform perhaps three feet high. On it had been laid a full-size sarcophagus, likewise executed in gold.
Recovering from the shock of his discovery, Burrows breathlessly admired the spectacular craftsmanship of both objects, but refrained from touching them. He could hardly believe what he saw. Leaving the chamber, he found several more in quick succession.
Across the floor of one were stacked edged weapons---a metal sword with shield and battle-ax, together with a set of bronze spears individually ranging from three to six feet in length. There was copper or bronze armor---breast-plates and greaves, even helmets. Nearby, stood stone statuettes of noble-looking men and women dressed in strange garb suggestive of the ancient Nile Valley or Carthage. Stone and clay-fired jars or urns, some of them half as tall as a man, were positioned in two corners at the far end of the room. A number had long ago fallen over and broken open to reveal their contents---leather or hide scrolls covered with an inscrutable written language. Scattered among these jars were smaller oil lamps, like those attached to the walls of the corridor, and paint pots.
A recessed shelf, cut into the stone cave wall, and supporting the sculpted images of Egyptian-like deities, ran around the whole interior of the enclosure. Against one wall were piles of perhaps 100 flat, black stones, each one engraved with a human profile and unreadable inscription.
The faces portrayed a bewildering variety of men and women (mostly men depicted as soldiers in Roman-style helmets, or priests in robes) with European or Semitic facial features, but wearing the togas and uniforms of civilizations long since past into history. Stepping into an adjacent chamber of similar dimensions, Burrows noticed a vault cut into the rock face of the cave. It flared in the glare of his flashlight with numerous piles of gold coins---what was later to prove more than a ton's worth. This same vault contained a quart-sized stone bowl filled with uncut diamonds.
Nearly faint with these discoveries, he played the flashlight in his trembling hand over the far wall of the chamber, and saw at once that it opened to another. It was much larger, about twenty by twenty five feet, at the center of which lay a large stone sarcophagus. Inside was a gold coffin of superb workmanship. Like the smaller compartments, enormous piles of black stones emblazoned with lengthy, peculiar inscriptions, strange symbols, and the images of both human beings and animals filled the crypt. The persons portrayed were an impossible mix of apparent Romans, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Christians, American Indians, even black Africans. Some of the animals depicted on the stones, such as lions, elephants and camels, were not native to America, at least before the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago. Yet, here they were, depicted in all their incongruity.
The unreality of this subterranean site was making him dizzy. He needed fresh air, to get back into the upper world. The atmosphere was stiflingly close with some nameless presence. Returning to the third chamber, he availed himself of as much bounty as he could carry, then hurried at all speed, his bulging knap-sack and sagging pockets clanking with gold coins and several dozen diamonds.
In moments, he was scrambling through the broken down wall, back into the little chamber at the back of the cave. Burrows was elated by his incredible good fortune. It was the find of a lifetime. Clearly, whatever this place was, he thought, its importance and wealth were too great to leave unguarded. He tried to reassemble the old wall hammered down to gain entrance, but anyone who happened to see the re-positioned stones would know they were recently dislodged. The cave, while rarely visited, was now especially vulnerable to inquisitive persons like himself.
Others might find the break-in and loot the rest of the treasures. Re-emerging into the open air, he was relieved to find himself still alone. Since he could not hope to restore the collapsed wall to the aged condition in which he found it, Burrows concealed the cave opening itself. His Korean War experience in the Army had not been forgotten. He dragged shrubs and tree limbs over the gaping hole to camouflage its appearance, then re-aligned large stones to alter the face in the immediate surroundings. Within an hour, the cave was so thoroughly disguised, anyone not intimately familiar with its vicinity would never relocate the opening. Satisfied that his find was safely hidden under the subtly tampered environment, he returned to his pick-up truck perhaps 200 feet away. Afternoon declined toward evening. Deep shadows were already filling in gullies and ravines. They obscured the location even more effectively than his natural concealment of foliage and rocks.
The fabulous find was his by right of discovery, regardless who happened to presently own the property on which it was found. And it would remain his so long as he preserved the secrecy of its whereabouts. No matter who may someday try to claim it, he mused to himself as he trudged through the lengthening twilight toward his home, the site would hereafter and forever be known as "Burrows Cave".
Nineteen years later, Russell Burrows publicly presented a detailed description of the events of April 2 before an international archaeology conference in the Vienna Art Center, Austria. "The cave itself is 535 feet deep to its terminal breakdown," he said. "The down-angle is six degrees. The artifacts which I recovered were located in the silt on the most part. However, some were recovered from niches and shelves along the walls. Also to be seen are lamps cut out of knobs of rock on the walls. There are several of these lamps, since they seem to be positioned every fifteen or twenty feet." Remarkably, these dimensions and features are similar to the Kubr-er-Roumia, King Juba II's mausoleum from which his mummified body and treasure trove were removed ahead of the Roman invasion of 44 A.D. The first professional investigators of his tomb "found themselves in a long gallery about eight feet high and 6.5 feet broad.
There were niches along the walls which seemed as if they had been made to hold lamps", according to historian, A. MacCallum Scott (p.173). Like its southern Illinois counterpart, the royal Mauretanian sepulchral corridor "was about 500 feet long". "The area above these lamps is blackened by smoke from the lamps, which most likely burned animal fat or oil of some kind. I once lit ten candles at some of the lamp positions, and then turned off my lights, and was surprised that the area was well illuminated. In the largest area of the cave are five statues made of the same black material as are the artifacts displayed here. These statues are arranged in a semi-circle, and they are in appearance on the order of Egyptian figures: the left foot forward and the left arm forward. Held in left hand is a staff. Since these statues are some eight or more feet tall, and are made of the black material, I will estimate their weight to be four to six tons, this, since the black material is very dense and heavy.
"I also discovered that there are thirteen doorways cut into the walls of the cave. These doorways are closed by cut and well-fitted blocks of stone, the seams of which are sealed with a pitch or bees' wax. I removed one of the blocks, and was amazed to discover that the sealed doorways were the entrance into a burial crypt, which was about twelve feet square, with a stone bier in the center. In this crypt, I found the skeleton of a male; this was determined by the pelvic bone. On his skeleton was copper, gold and jewels, and lying on the bier with him was his sword, ax and shield. There was, and still is, large jars, one of which has fallen and broken. Inside the broken jar was to be seen twenty or so rolled-up scrolls. I did not touch them, knowing full well that by doing such, I could destroy them. They are still as I left them.
"The next crypt which I opened and examined was much the same as the first in size and structure. However, the skeletal remains was that of a female and two children. In the area of the heart of the woman's was embedded through the rib a golden blade large enough to have penetrated the heart. It appeared to me that since the blade, which was shaped like a large spear-point or blade, had become 'locked' in place by bone, so that, when the effort to remove it was made, it was pulled loose from its shaft, and was left in place. The children each had a large hole in their foreheads. Lying on the bier with the remains was two ax-heads made of pure white marble. One of these axes fit the holes in the children's' heads perfectly.
Also to be seen in this crypt is more of the large jars, but none are broken, so I cannot report what is included in them. There is also much burial finery on all of these skeletons.
"Further back and in a lower level of the cave is another burial crypt, which is much larger and different, in that there is a sarcophagus in the center which has a stone lid closing it. Inside is to be found a fine golden coffin much like those seen in Egyptian burials. Inside the coffin is another, what appears to be, mummy. I cannot state for certain that that is the case, because I did not disturb the decaying cloth around the body. In this crypt, which was closed by a round, rock, wheel-like device, which when the final cut was made, dropped into a trough and rolled downward, closing the crypt, is a shelf cut out of the stone walls. "There are many statues of what appears to be Amen-Ra, the Egyptian god. There is also to be seen in this crypt many other artifacts, such as what appears to be bronze spears of all sizes. Bronze swords and shields, as well as other personal items. None of this material was disturbed by me, and the coffin was closed, as well as the sarcophagus, and the crypt itself."
Listening to his matter-of-fact presentation delivered in a steady, West Virginian drawl, the continental scientists assembled in Vienna's meeting hall were stunned. Such a tale was utterly beyond belief. But there was more than narrative to Burrows' fantastic story. Much more.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I had not intended to make another post for a while but, I remembered that today is the 68th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid.
The Raid was Led by General Jimmy Doolittle, and there were 80 raiders, 64 returned to the USA to fight another day.
The Bombing of Tokyo was a mere pin prick to the Japanese but, it let them know that their country was not beyond the reach of the U.S. military.
Below is a little Info.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
The Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike a Japanese home island during World War II. It demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to Allied air attack and provided an expedient means for U.S. retaliation for Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle. Doolittle would later recount in his autobiography that the raid was intended to cause the Japanese to doubt their leadership and to raise American morale:
The Japanese had been told they were invulnerable. An attack on the Japanese homeland would cause confusion in the minds of the Japanese people and sow doubt about the reliability of their leaders. There was a second, equally important, psychological reason for this attack...Americans badly needed a morale boost.
Sixteen B-25B Mitchell bombers were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep within enemy waters. The plan called for them to hit military targets in Japan, and land in China. All of the aircraft involved in the bombing were lost and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured. One of these B-25s landed in Soviet territory where its crew remained interned for more than a year. The entire crews of 13 of the 16 aircraft, and all but one of a 14th, returned to the United States or to Allied control. The raid caused little material damage to Japan, but succeeded in its goal of helping American morale. It also caused Japan to withdraw a carrier group from the Indian Ocean to defend their homeland and contributed to Japan's decision to attack Midway. Up to 250,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese retaliatory measures.
The raid had its start in a desire by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, expressed to Joint Chiefs of Staff in a meeting at the White House on 21 December, 1941, that Japan be bombed as soon as possible to boost public morale after the disaster at Pearl Harbor.
The concept for the attack came from Navy Captain Francis Low, Assistant Chief of Staff for Anti-submarine Warfare, who reported to Admiral Ernest J. King on 10 January 1942, that he thought that twin-engined Army bombers could be successfully launched from an aircraft carrier after observing several at a naval airfield in Norfolk, Virginia, where the runway was painted with the outline of a carrier deck for landing practice. It was subsequently planned and led by Doolittle, a famous civilian aviator and aeronautical engineer before the war.
Requirements for the aircraft for a cruising range of 2,400 miles (3,900 km) with a 2,000 pound (900 kg) bomb load resulted in the selection of the North American B-25B Mitchell to carry out the mission. The B-26 Marauder, B-18 Bolo, and B-23 Dragon were also considered, but the B-26 had questionable takeoff characteristics from a carrier deck, and the B-23's wingspan was nearly 50% greater than the B-25's, reducing the number that could be taken aboard a carrier and posing risks to the ship's island. The B-18, one of the final two types considered by Doolittle, was rejected for the same reason.
The B-25 had yet to be tested in combat, but subsequent tests with B-25s indicated they could fulfill the mission's requirements. Doolittle's first report on the plan suggested that the bombers might land in Vladivostok, shortening the flight by 600 miles (1,000 km), on the basis of turning over the B-25s as Lend-Lease. However, negotiations with the Soviet Union (which was not at war with Japan) for permission were fruitless.
Lt. Col. Doolittle wires a Japanese medal to a bomb, for "return" to its originators.When planning indicated that the B-25 was the aircraft best meeting all specifications of the mission, two were loaded aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet at Norfolk, Virginia, and subsequently flown off the deck without difficulty on 3 February 1942. The raid was immediately approved and the 17th Bomb Group (Medium) chosen to provide the pool of crews from which volunteers would be recruited. The 17th BG had been the first group to receive B-25s, with all four of its squadrons equipped with the bomber by September 1941. The 17th not only was the first medium bomb group of the Army Air Corps, but in the spring of 1942, also had the most experienced B-25 crews. Its first assignment following the entry of the United States into the war was to the U.S. Eighth Air Force.
The 17th BG, then flying antisubmarine patrols from Pendleton, Oregon, was immediately moved cross-country to Lexington County Army Air Base, Columbia, South Carolina, ostensibly to fly similar patrols off the east coast of the United States, but in actuality to prepare for the mission against Japan. The group officially transferred to Columbia effective 9 February, where its combat crews were offered the opportunity to volunteer for an "extremely hazardous" but unspecified mission. On 17 February the group was detached from the Eighth Air Force.
Initial planning called for 20 aircraft to fly the mission, and 24 of the group's B-25B Mitchell bombers were diverted to the Mid-Continent Airlines modification center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Modifications included:
Removal of the lower gun turret
Installation of de-icers and anti-icers
Steel blast plates mounted on the fuselage around the upper turret
Removal of the liaison radio set (a weight impediment)
Installation of three additional fuel tanks and support mounts in the bomb bay, crawl way and lower turret area to increase fuel capacity from 646 to 1,141 U.S. gallons (538-950 imp gal; 2,445-4,319 L)
Mock gun barrels installed in the tail cone, and
Replacement of their Norden bombsight with a makeshift aiming sight, devised by pilot Capt. C. Ross Greening and called the "Mark Twain".
Two bombers also had cameras mounted to record the results of bombing.
The 24 crews selected picked up the modified bombers in Minneapolis and flew them to Eglin Field, Florida, beginning 1 March 1942. There the crews received intensive training for three weeks in simulated carrier deck takeoffs, low-level and night flying, low-altitude bombing, and over-water navigation. Navy Lt. Henry Miller supervised their takeoff training and accompanied the crews to the launch. For his efforts, Lt. Miller is considered an honorary member of the Raider group. Lt. Col Doolittle stated in his after action report that an operational level of training was reached despite several days when flying was not possible because of rain and fog. One aircraft was heavily damaged in a takeoff accident and another taken off the mission because of a nose wheel shimmy that could not be repaired quickly enough.
On 25 March, the remaining 22 B-25s took off from Eglin for McClellan Field, California. They arrived on 27 March for final modifications at the Sacramento Air Depot. A total of 16 B-25s were subsequently flown to Alameda, California, on 31 March. Fifteen raiders would be the mission force and a 16th aircraft, by last minute agreement with the Navy, would be squeezed onto the deck to be flown off shortly after departure from San Francisco to provide feedback to the Army pilots about takeoff characteristics. (The 16th bomber was made part of the mission force instead.)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
After numerous failed attempts to secure employment, I have decided to head up the trail to do a bit of exploring.
I'm going to hitch hike to the White mountains of Arizona first. My plan is to spend some time along the Black river, and do a little fishing and foraging. From there I might go up to the Blue mountains of Utah, and Explore the "Bears Ears". There are lots of quiet places in there, free of noisy people.
My good friend "Cyber slinger" has sent me a Hennessey brand Hammock which I'm looking forward to trying out. The Hammock weighs only 1.5 pounds and is roomy and comfortable.
This Hammock will be ideal for sleeping in the Jungle, when I get back to The Philippines and Thailand.
My pack weighs around 30 pounds but I still need to fill my canteens, that will add another 8 pounds or so. I'm taking very little gear and plan to dispose of some of it along the way.
I am taking some food on this trip and a 1 & 1/2 liter cooking pot - kind of a first for me. I went to the local Asian market and bought some Nori cakes,dried mushrooms,sweet potato noodles,chicken bullion,Chinese sausages,Mung beans,Chillies,and some ginger candy.
Also, I have a large bag of Folgers instant coffee, some grits, salt, olive oil, and some misc MRE parts.
The food is packed in an old Wiggy sleeping bag stuff sack.
The only knives I have are my trusty old Green River Knife around my neck and a Swiss army knife in a belt sheath.
I will also be carrying my U.S. Army issue canteen cup w/lid, and trusty old spoon.
To save weight, I am not taking a sleeping bag on this trip , instead,I will use my Wiggy brand poncho liner,a therma rest pad, and sleep in my wind suit if it is cold.
anyhoo, it will be a good trip and I'm looking forward to getting back out into the woods and mountains.
It will be a while before I get back online to update this blog. To be frank - I'm a little burned out on computers and techno stuff.
If you are interested in reading about this new adventure , just be patient and I'll get back online eventually.
To close, I would like to post a poem by Robert Service, entitled; "The men who don't fit in". It is dedicated to all of my friends ,and followers who helped me to realize that I am living my life as God intended.
And that what is important to me is, to live life in the reality of freedom and not under the illusion of freedom.
"There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in."
-Robert William Service
Tomahawk - On the trail, Scouts out!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I have been getting questioned by my friends and associates lately as to why I do not join Forums and discussion groups, like the knife, gun,outdoor exploration,etc., forums on the net.
its simple - in a word; ASSHOLES. I have attempted to join a few ,but have been taken aback by the know it all arm chair authorities found on those sites.
There is only one Forum which I subscribe to, and that is BCUSA.com. Bushcraft USA has a lot of good, knowledgeable folks on there. I applaud the founders and moderators for keeping it real and interesting.
however, there is an occasional knuckle head, character who slips through the cracks. Recently on BCUSA I have been reading posts by a guy who is apparently an authority on everything from Copyright laws, to Illegal Immigration and combat logistics. And if he doesn't know, He can call a "Friend" and find out. hahaha, Please.
anyhoo, you wont find the Tomahawk on any sites but BCUSA, and the blogs that I subscribe too.
There is your answer folks.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
"I'm a lonely cowboy and I've followed the Chisholm Trail with a herd of Longhorn steers from Fort Worth, Texas, to Dodge City, Kansas, in the Spring of `95. I will have to follow the Longhorns 'till I am too old".
I first met Juan Pirtle while working as a youth supervisor, and later animal handler, with possibly the worst company I have ever had the bad luck to be employed by.
The name? I wont say but it is based out of Elfrida, Arizona and specializes in working with Juvenile delinquent little assholes. The only cool thing about this employer is that they ran wagon train programs all over the USA.
Working with the Delinquent youth was not the bad part - it was the other staff members. Their petty jealousy, juvenile activities, inexperience and General back stabbing attitudes toward other staff are why the program was bad to work for.
There were very few exceptions to this rule. in the nearly 2 years that I put up with the bull shit I met 3 other staff members that I would consider friends.
Ed Griffin, a retired USAF Fighter pilot and wagon train scout, Vin Thompson who was the 2nd most knowledgeable person with mules I have ever met, and Of Course Old Juan Pirtle.
Between Juan and Vin they kept all of the 45 or so Horses and Mules in good shape and kept the wagons moving down the road.
Juan Taught me how to throw a loop to catch stock, shoe a horse of mule, fix a wagon wheel, and just about anything else with bailing wire and a pair of pliers.
Juan was also one of the most talented free hand artists and could draw on anything from toilet paper to note book paper, and the result would be a work of art and talent.
I have several of his free hand drawings in my Montana plunder as well as some photos. Unfortunately I don't have them here.
One of the things that always amazed me about Juan is that he never seemed to EVER drink water. I asked him about this and he told me it was because he didn't like to dismount from Old Smoky - his horse, to pee. makes sense to me.
Juan was always dressed in a black Stetson(which He gave to me), a long sleeved denim work shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and chaps. He carried fencing pliers in his back pocket, and kept a horse saddled 24 hours a day.
My friend Juan participated in the Great American cattle drive from Texas to Montana, then returned to Arizona in 1998 or so. The last time I saw my friend Juan he was Living on a ranch Outside of Elfrida and was considering a job working with horses and Kids in Florida.
We shared many Beers in bars and cantinas all over Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, as well as camp fires, and wonderful stories.
I have never been prone to missing the company of People but, Juan Pirtle, is one man That I have met in my travels, that I would truly like to see again.
Juan, if you are out there, Drop me a line.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I was just over in New Mexico visiting my good friend Alan Lackey, who manages the Canadian River Cattle company near Roy, NM.
The CRCC is the Only organic Beef producers in the state of NM, they supply most of the High end Restaurants and trendy grocery stores in Santa Fe and Taos.
Anyhoo, old Al and I were exploring the bluffs above the canadian river and were discussing the Indians who inhabited the area, the conversation led to other things like the movie "Red Dawn" which was filmed in Las Vegas, NM. That led to talking about the "Rough riders" of the Spanish american war.
Las Vegas NM. is the home of the rough riders and there is a statue in the town center( or use to be) dedicated to the RR of the spanish american war.
Anyhoo, we were discussing why Roosevelt chose to recruit primarily, from the states of Arizona,Texas,New mexico,and the Indian Territory.
It was our guess he chose those areas for several reasons, 1. most of the people could speak at least a little Spanish, 2. Most men from those areas at the time could both ride and shoot, and 3. A lot of them had probably already been in a fight or scrape of some type and had drawn blood( ie, killed someone), weather it was bandits,renegades, or in the line of law enforcement or other military duties.
It is also interesting to note that there were over 400 native americans in the Rough Riders. These men came from tribes,all over the USA.
My Last Unit in the National Guard of Arizona was, E Troop 118 Cavalry, supposedly, the unit could trace its roots all the way back to the rough riders. In fact, our Unit crest was a Cavalry trooper on a bucking horse. I wish that I still had one of those crests( Id post a pic of it), but I gave all of my army stuff away long ago.
Anyhoo, here is a little information on a little known Military unit from U.S. Army History. It is one of my favorites, I believe that had I been living at the time, I would have fit right in with this group of Rough Riders.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
The "Rough Riders" was the name bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one of the three to see action. The United States army was weakened and left with little manpower after the Civil War roughly 30 years prior. As a result, President William McKinley called upon 1,250 volunteers to assist in the war efforts.
It was also called "Wood's Weary Walkers" after its first commander, Colonel Leonard Wood, as an acknowledgment of the fact that despite being a cavalry unit they ended up fighting on foot as infantry. When Colonel Wood became commander of the 1st Cavalry Brigade (1st U.S. Cavalry, 106th U.S. Cavalry, and 1st U.S.V. Cavalry) the Rough Riders then became "Roosevelt's Rough Riders". That term was familiar in 1898, from Buffalo Bill who called his famous western show "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World".
The volunteers were gathered in four areas: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Indian Territory. They were gathered mainly from the southwest because it was a hot climate region that the men were used to similar to that of Cuba where they would be fighting. "The difficulty in organizing was not in selecting, but in rejecting men." The allowed limit set for the volunteer cavalry men was promptly met.
They gathered a diverse bunch of men consisting of cowboys, gold or mining prospectors, hunters, gamblers, Buffalo hunters, Native Americans and college boys; all of whom were able-bodied and capable on horseback and in shooting. Among these men were also police officers and military veterans who wished to see action again. Men who had served in the normal army during campaigns against Indians or served in the civil war had been gathered to serve as higher ranking officers in the cavalry.
In this regard they possessed the military knowledge and expertise to lead the men strongly and train them to perform their duty as any other military unit would. As a whole, the unit would not be entirely inexperienced. Leonard Wood, a doctor who served as the medical advisor for both the President and secretary of war, was appointed the position of Colonel of The Rough Riders with Roosevelt serving as Lieutenant-Colonel.
Before training began, Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt used his ties to ensure that the volunteer cavalry would be properly equipped to serve as any other normal military regiment would. "They succeeded in getting their cartridges, revolvers, clothing, shelter-tents, and horse gear … and in getting the regiment armed with the Krag-Jorgensen carbine used by the regular cavalry."
"The Rough Rider uniform was a slouch hat, blue flannel shirt, brown trousers, leggings, and boots, with handkerchiefs knotted loosely around their necks. They looked exactly as a body of cowboy cavalry should look." It was the 'rough and tumble' appearance and charisma that contributed to earning them the title of The Rough Riders.
Training was very standard, even for a cavalry unit. They worked on basic military drills, protocol, and habits involving conduct, obedience and etiquette. The men proved to be eager to learn what was necessary and the training went smoothly. It was decided that the men would not be trained to use the saber as other cavalries often used, because they had zero prior experience with that combat skill. Instead, they chose to have the men stick to the use of their carbines and revolvers as primary and secondary weapons.
Although the men, for the most part, were already experienced horsemen, the officers refined their techniques in riding, shooting from horseback, and practicing in formations and in skirmishes. Along with this the high-ranking men heavily studied books filled with tactics and drills to better themselves in leading the others.
During times which physical drills could not be run, either because of confinement onboard the train, ship, or during times where space was inadequate, these books were studied further as to leave no time wasted in preparation for war. The competent training that the volunteer men received prepared them best as possible for their duty. They were not simply handed weapons and given vague directions to engage in a disorderly brawl.
On May 29, 1898, 1060 Rough Riders and 1258 of their horses and mules made their way to the Southern Pacific railroad to travel to Tampa, Florida where they would set off for the distant shores of Cuba. The lot awaited orders for departure from Major General William Rufus Shafter. Under extreme prompting from Washington D.C., General Shafter gave the order to dispatch the troops early before sufficient traveling storage was available. Due to this problem, only eight of the twelve companies of The Rough Riders were permitted to leave Tampa to engage in the war.
The many horses and mules were almost entirely left behind on United States soil. Aside from Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt's first hand mention of deep, heartfelt sorrow from the men left behind; this situation resulted in a premature weakening of the men. Approximately one fourth of them who received training had already been lost, most dying of malaria and yellow fever. This sent the remaining troops into Cuba with a significant loss in men and morale.
Upon arrival on Cuban shores, the men promptly unloaded themselves and the small amount of equipment they carried with them. Camp was set up nearby and the men were to remain there until further orders had been given to advance. Further supplies were unloaded from the ships over the next day including the very few horses that were allowed on the journey.
"The great shortcoming throughout the campaign was the utterly inadequate transportation. If they had been allowed to take our mule-train, they could have kept the whole cavalry division supplied." Each man was only able to carry a few days worth of food which had to last them longer and fuel their bodies for rigorous tasks. Even after only seventy-five percent of the total number of cavalry men was allowed to embark into Cuba they were still without most all of the horses that they had so heavily been trained and accustomed to using.
They were not trained as infantry and were not conditioned to doing heavy marching, especially long distance in hot, humid, and dense jungle conditions. This ultimately served as a severe disadvantage to the men who had yet to see combat.
Within another day of camp being established, men were sent forward into the jungle for reconnaissance purposes, and before too long they returned with news of a Spanish outpost. By afternoon, The Rough Riders were given the command to begin marching towards Las Guasimas, the point of interest, to eliminate opposition and secure the area which stood in the path of further military advancement. Upon arrival at their relative destination, the men slept through the night in a crude encampment nearby the Spanish outpost they would attack early the next morning.
The enemy held an advantage over the Americans by knowing their way through the complicated trails that littered the area of combat. They knew where the Americans would be traveling on foot and at exactly what positions to fire on. They also were able to utilize the land and cover in such a way that they were difficult to spot. Along with this, their guns used smokeless powder which did not give away their immediate position upon firing as other gun powders would have. This increased the difficulty of finding the opposition for the U.S. soldiers. Oftentimes the jungle was too thick to see very far forward in places.
General Young, who was in command of the regulars and cavalry, began the attack in the early morning. Using long-range, large-caliber Hotchkiss guns he fired at the opposition that were reportedly concealed along trenches, roads, ridges, and jungle cover. Colonel Wood's men, accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt, were not yet in the same vicinity as the other men at the start of the battle.
They had a more difficult path to travel around the time the battle began, and at first they had to make their way up a very steep hill. "Many of the men, footsore and weary from their march of the preceding day, found the pace up this hill too hard, and either dropped their bundles or fell out of line, with the result that we went into action with less than five hundred men." Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt became aware that there were countless opportunities for any man to fall out of formation and resign from battle without notice as the jungle was often too thick in places to see around you.
This was yet another event that left the group with fewer men than they had at the start. Regardless, The Rough Riders pushed forward towards the outpost along with the regulars. Using careful observation, the officers were able to locate where the opposition was hidden in the brush and entrenchments and they were able to target their men properly to overcome them.
Towards the end of the battle, Edward Marshall, a newspaper writer, was inspired by the men around him in the heat of battle to pick up a rifle and begin fighting along side of them. When he suffered a gunshot wound in the spine from one of the Spaniards another soldier mistook him as Colonel Wood from afar and ran back from the front line to report his death.
Due to this misconception, Roosevelt temporarily took command as Colonel and gathered the troops together with his supreme leadership charisma. The battle lasted a brief hour and a half from beginning to end with The Rough Riders suffering only 8 dead and 31 wounded, including Captain Allyn K. Capron, Jr. Roosevelt came across Colonel Wood in full health after the battle finished and stepped down from his position to Lieutenant-Colonel.
The United States had full control of this Spanish outpost on the road to Santiago by the end of the battle. General Shafter had the men hold position for six days while additional supplies were brought ashore. During this time The Rough Riders ate, slept, cared for the wounded, and buried the dead from both sides. During the six day encampment, men were dropping in numbers from fever. Among those stricken by illness was General Joseph Wheeler. Brigadier General Samuel Sumner assumed command of the cavalry and Wood took the second brigade as Brigadier General. This left Roosevelt as Colonel of The Rough Riders.
San Juan Hill and another hill were separated by a small valley and pond; the river ran near the foot of both. Together, this geography formed San Juan Heights. Colonel Roosevelt and The Rough Riders made their way to the foot of what was dubbed Kettle Hill because of the old sugar refinement cauldrons that lay along it. The battle of San Juan Heights began with the firing of the artillery and battery at the enemy location. Soon after battery-fire was returned and The Rough Riders, standing at the position of the friendly artillery, had to promptly move to avoid shells. The men moved down from their position and began making their way through and along the San Juan River towards the base of Kettle Hill.
There they took cover along the riverbank and in the tall grass to avoid sniper and artillery fire that was being directed towards their position, however they were left vulnerable and pinned down. The Spanish regular guns were able to discharge eight rounds in the twenty seconds it took for the United States regular guns to fire one round. In this way they had a strong advantage over the Americans. The rounds they fired were 7mm Mauser bullets which moved at a high velocity and inflicted small, clean wounds. Some of the men were hit, but few were mortally wounded or killed.
Colonel Roosevelt, deeply dissatisfied with General Shafter's inaction with sending men out for reconnaissance and failure to issue more direct orders, became uneasy with the idea of leaving himself and his men sitting in the line of fire. He sent messengers to seek out one of the generals to try and coax orders from them to advance forward from their position.
Finally, The Rough Riders received orders to assist the regulars in their assault on the hill's front. Roosevelt, riding on horseback, got his men onto their feet and into position to begin making their way up the hill. He claimed that he wished to fight on foot as he did at Las Guasimas; however he would have found it difficult to move up and down the hill to supervise his men in a quick and efficient manner on foot. He also recognized that he could see his men better from the elevated horseback, and they could see him better as well.
As the troops of the various units began slowly creeping up the hill, firing their rifles at the opposition as they climbed, Roosevelt went to the captain of the platoons in back and had a word with him. He stated that it was his opinion that they could not effectively take the hill due to a sufficient ability to effectively return fire, and that the solution was to charge it full-on. The captain reiterated his colonel's orders to hold position.
Roosevelt, recognizing the absence of the other Colonel, declared himself the ranking officer and ordered a charge up Kettle Hill. The captain stood hesitant, and Colonel Roosevelt rode off on his horse, Texas, leading his own men uphill while waving his hat in the air and cheering. The Rough Riders followed him with enthusiasm and obedience without hesitation. By then, the other men from the different units on the hill became stirred by this event and began bolting up the hill alongside their countrymen. Within twenty minutes Kettle Hill was taken, and the rest of San Juan Heights was taken within the hour following.
The Spaniards made an attempt at a counter assault; however this was quickly repelled by a flank of American Gatling guns to the right of the hill. Colonel Roosevelt's example of valor and fearlessness in the face of danger served as motivation to his men to promptly follow his command and spring into the fray. Had it been another leader with less charisma and spunk, the order to charge may not have been given and the cavalry may not have had the same enthusiasm in their charge uphill.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Growing up in the Shithole state of Illinois, in the USA, I have an appreciation for all things wild, and for open areas free from the interference of knucklehead people. People, who spoil an area simply because they are too lazy, or too stupid to carry out their own trash.
I also have a deep appreciation for how it must have looked during the Archaic Indian period. Illinois is an interesting state in regard to its flora and fauna.Beside the obvious prairies and "tree Islands", In the Northern part of the state, You can find very cold, almost Arctic type conditions in winter. And in the south there are Cypress forest. I believe that southern Illinois is the northern most area that the Cypress can grow in - not sure on that.
As a kid running around in the woods and fields I found numerous stone Arrow heads, knife blades, Pottery and stone axe heads. Larry Kinsella of Illinois, http://www.flintknapper.com/ told me once that Cahokia mounds, east of St. Louis was once the largest city in the world, and has the tallest earth work mounds found in north America.
Illinois has a lot of History and interesting places to see and visit. I would never go there again tho. It has too many people,not enough trees, is too cold in winter and too hot in summer.
But that is just me.
The write up below on passenger pigeons and the Modoc people is partly taken from a 1954 edition of a flier from the Illinois state museum.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
* side note - the Modoc people of the Illinois Archaic period, are not to be confused with the Modoc people of Oregon/California's historic period.
The horizon is aflame with sunset and the and the sky is patterned with a great flock of passenger pigeons.
it is autumn along the Mississippi and the oaks topping the Bluffs are filled with millions of birds seeking a roost for the night. The trees are loaded but the birds continue to come.
The arrival of the passenger pigeons on their way south means many days of good eating for the early hunters along the river.
Ten thousand years ago the Modoc people were the earliest known people to live along the Mississippi river. They had to survive by hunting because they knew nothing of agriculture, planting or keeping domestic animals.
They lived completely from the countryside, and it required some 200 square miles of it to support one family.
Consequently it was with joy that the Modoc watched the arrival of millions of migrant birds.
These people lived in no permanent settlement but traveled, from hunting camp to hunting camp. The shelter they found under the great cliffs and bluffs along the east shore of the Mississippi river were well known and much used by early native peoples.
The over hang provided protection from the rain or snow,helped to retain the heat from camp fires against the chill of a cold winter night.
POST SCRIPT:The passenger pigeon or wild pigeon was a species of bird, Ectopistes migratorius, that was once common in North America. It lived in enormous migratory flocks — sometimes containing more than two billion birds — that could stretch one mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long across the sky, sometimes taking several hours to pass.
the world's last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her Name was Martha.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I recieved an email from a good buddy of mine who is an officer in the Philippine Marine Corps(PMC). After "shooting the shit" and insulting each other for a while on messenger, we began talking about his up coming retirement and career.
Our conversation set me to thinking that I had not yet posted anything on "The Gallant warriors from the sea"
So Carlos...this one is for you old buddy and all of my Marine corps Buddies from around the world.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Although not as formally established as the Infanteria de Marina of the Spanish Navy, Filipino naval infantrymen during the Spanish colonial period (1565-1898) fought just as well against internal and external threats to the Philippine Islands, notably Moro and Chinese pirates, and Dutch naval forces.
The infant Philippine Navy was established during the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898), when General Emilio Aguinaldo formed the Revolutionary Navy. It then consisted of the pinnace Magdalo and several steam launches captured from the Spanish. The Navy refitted these for war and moved troops, arms, and supplies to the provinces. The Navy played a major role during the raid against the Spanish garrison and magazine on Bacoor Bay, which was the first amphibious assault by elements of the Revolutionary Navy.
During the American colonial period (1899-1941) and the Second World War in the Pacific (1941-1945), Filipinos served with distinction in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. The first Filipino to die in the First World War was Private Tomas Claudio who was serving with the U.S. Marine Corps as part of the American Expeditionary Forces to Europe. He died in the Battle of Chateau Thierry in France on June 29, 1918.The Thomas Claudio Memorial College in Eastern Rizal, Philippines, which was founded in 1950, was named in his honor.
The modern Philippine Marine Corps' was organized during the incumbency of President Elpidio Quirino. Armed Forces of the Philippines General Order No. 319 dated November 2, 1950 called for the organization of "A" Company, 1st Marine Battalion as a unit of the Philippine Naval Patrol. This marked the birth of the Philippine Marines. "A" Company was activated on November 7, 1950 at the Naval Operating Base in Cavite under the mandate of then Secretary of National Defense Ramon Magsaysay.
Only volunteers were accepted into this unit. Forming the core of this organization were six officers and 206 enlisted personnel, mostly veterans of World War II. Its first commanding officer was LTSG Manuel Gomez, an alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy Class 41 and a graduate of Armor Tactics from Fort Knox in Kentucky.
The Corps was expanded to battalion strength on November 7, 1955, with two rifle companies and a Headquarters and Service Company under Lieutenant Commander Gregorio L. Lim, PN as its Battalion Commander. The 3rd Marine Company was activated on November 7, 1961. To provide the fire and anti-tank support for the Philippine Marine Battalion, as well as to provide ceremonial guard and security
Spratly Islands deployment:
The Marines were deployed in 1971 to the disputed Spratly Islands (known as the Kalayaan Islands in the Philippines), where they occupied eight of the islands. The covert operation was the initial use of the Marines in an operation of a strategic nature. The Marines stood watch over the remote islets, the largest of which is Pag-asa Island with an area of 32 hectares.
The Marine unit was re-designated as the Philippine Marine Brigade on February 21, 1972. The 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team was activated on October 10, 1972, with 12 rifle companies. The Headquarters Service Group and a Combat Support Group were also activated. On July 1, 1972, the Philippine Marine Brigade became a major unit of the Philippine Navy. The following year, the 3rd Marine Battalion was activated and the Marine Training Group became an adjunct to the organization. On June 1, 1976, the Philippine Marine Brigade and the Marine Training Group were designated as the Philippine Marines and the Philippine Marine Training Center respectively.
From the 1970s to the 1980s, over 300 amphibious and ground operations were conducted by the Marines in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. Among these campaigns were the Liberation of Marawi, Siege of Camp Seit, Battle of Punai, Battle of Sibalo Hill, Labangon Encounter, Operation "Pamukpok", Operation "Maso", Operation "Batikus", Operation "Kahil", Battle of Tarawakan and the Battle of Karundong.
On November 7, 1995, the Philippine Marines was renamed the Philippine Marine Corps. The Corps has evolved from a company of volunteers to three Marine Brigades and one Marine Reserve Brigade, ten Battalion Landing Teams, a Combat Support Brigade, one Reconnaissance Battalion, a Training
The Philippine Marine Corps Force Recon Battalion (Marine Force Recon) is the Philippine Naval Fleet's/ Philippine Marine Corps' elite ground forces unit for unconventional warfare and special operations. It specialises in sea, air and land operations, like its counterpart in the Naval Special Warfare Group of the Philippine Navy, ranging from reconnaissance, close combat, demolition, intelligence and underwater operations in support to the overall naval operations.
As the spearhead of the Philippine Armed Forces, Marines of the Marine Corps are "the first to fight" and elements of the Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Battalion lead the way.
What makes it different from the Naval Special Warfare Group is that it utilizes strategies and tactics mastered by the Philippine Army's 1st Scout Ranger Regiment and Special Forces units.
They also make use of mechanised operations in support of other AFP combat operations as specially inclined with the conduct of special and classified military actions.
All Force Recon Marines are usually airborne and Scout Ranger qualified and most importantly; must finish the Force Reconnaissance Course to qualify.
Like most of the AFP special operations units, the best members of Force Recon Battalion are handpicked to undergo VIP security training and is further assigned with the Presidential Security Group.
The Recon unit saw intense combat actions alongside with the MBLTs during the Secessionist Movement of the MNLF in Southern Mindanao in the early 1970s. Thus the four (4) - man team earned its fame.
From 1975 to 1985 the unit experienced a series of combined combat and administrative operations ranging from recon missions to augmentation of the first activated Inshore Boat Company in the early 1980s.
On 15 Sept 1985, the 1st Recon Company was re-designated as the 61st Marine (Recon) Company. The 61st Recon Company had most of its field assignments in Mindanao, particularly in the Zamboanga peninsula where they were pitted against several dissident terrorists (DTs) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) lost command.
In 1986, the 61st Marine (Recon) Company was stationed at Marine Barracks Fort Bonifacio (MBFB). In June 1987, the unit together with a large contingent of Combat Service Support Brigade (CSSBde) units and other MBLTs, were sent to Jolo relieving the 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. From there, the unit was sent to various combat missions against several lawless elements in Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Palawan. In 1988, the company returned to MBFB.
While at the MBFB, Recon Company was eventually deployed and utilized against the renegade soldiers in Metro Manila and successfully apprehended several of these during different raids in their hideouts.
In 1989, the unit practically covered the entire archipelago. A Recon platoon was deployed in Central Mindanao, specifically in Davao and Cotabato under operational control of the 3rd Mbde. Another platoon was deployed in Palawan under 2nd MBde, while another platoon operated in Bulacan under the 1st Mbde. The company's operating headquarters was under the GHQ Task Force Vulcan.
On 15 May 1989 the 62nd and 63rd Marine (Recon) Companies were both activated although their actual fill up came up later in 1994 when there were three (3) independent Recon Companies.
In 1992 the 61st Marine (Recon) Company together with a weapons section from the 8th Marine Company, MBLT-8, led the assault against the main Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA) Headquarters in Sagada, Mt Province. The success of the operation was a strategic victory for the AFP against the CPP/NPA not only in Luzon but all over the country.
In Sept 1992, the units maintained the same profile of deployment. It was intensely engaged against several kidnap-for-ransom (KFRC) gangs in Central Mindanao. One of the most celebrated accomplishments of the unit during this period was the rescue of Father BLANCO and Anthony BIEL from the Abu Sayyaf. The encounters by the unit which preceded this rescue, together with other Marine units operating in Basilan were the first ever series of encounters by the AFP against the ASG. The successful operation and rescue in Camp Almadina, Basilan earned for the unit not only national prestige but the second Medal of Valor for the Marine Corps in the person of 1LT CUSTODIO PARCON PN(M), who led the assault. This operation soon led to several intense but nonetheless successful combat operations against the ASG and the MNLF Lost Command in Basilan and Jolo, which unfortunately escalated to alarming heights with the arrival of the Philippine Army in the area.
From 1993 to 1994, the Company was designated under the Marine Rapid Deployment Force and was sent to Cotabato to face more combat operations.
On 18 April 1995, the Headquarters Service and Training Company were activated to form the Force Recon Battalion (FRBn) with the three (3) Recon Companies, with its two (2) Companies deployed in Cotabato and Zamboanga City, and one (1) company aboard MBFB.
In October 1998 the entire battalion, the Headquarters and the three (3) Companies were all deployed in Southern Mindanao under the defunct Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) - Mindanao. Here, the FRBn took on various special operations ranging from direct actions against the ASG and KFRG's, to ship assault and raids on built-up areas against big time smugglers.
In March 1999 the battalion was confronted with the war in Central Mindanao against the MILF. Again, the headquarters went into action together with its three (3) Companies where three (3) of its men earning for the Battalion their three (3) Medals of Valor.
On August 2001, the FRBn was once again deployed in Basilan to rescue the Dos Palmas hostages and to neutralise the ASG, while one (1) Force Recon Company was committed for the Force Recon Course Class 07-01 which was operating under Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) AOR. In the same year, and in accordance to Marine Corps Table of Organization (TOE) 01-00 the 61st, 62nd, and 63rd Marine (Recon) Companies were re-designated as the 61st, 62nd, and 63rd Force Recon Companies, respectively. With the growing strength of the battalion, the 64th Force Recon Company was activated on January 2003. The battalion is now under the Combat Support Service Brigade of the Philippine Marine Corps.
The Scout Raider, The Forerunner:
The forerunner of the Recon was the Scout Raider Platoon which was part of then the Weapons Company of the Philippine Marine Battalion in the 1950s.
It was in 1954 that due to the formation of the Scout Raider Platoon the Philippine Marine Battalion then first received formal instruction and training in combat parachuting. Thus, it officially became the first airborne unit of the Philippine Navy in general.
On training, its first personnel received formal training at the PA Special Forces while conducting cross training with the USMC Recon and other Special Operations units. Nonetheless, the Scout Raider Platoon was specialised in amphibious raids and not on ground reconnaissance.
Force Recon Battalion:
Officially, while the platoon was peculiar in itself but its activation was controversial, since it was the Weapons Company of the then Philippine Marine Battalion which was activated and the Scout Raider was only one of its platoons. In addition, the former Scout Raider had entirely different missions from that of the first Recon unit and its bigger successors, particularly, the Force Recon Battalion.
Nonetheless, it was crucial though that when the first Recon Company was activated the Scout Raider personnel were the first to fill up the unit. Thus, there was indeed a feeling of consanguinity and relationship between two different units.
Likewise, the same feeling and confusion experienced among those recon personnel who filled-up the first Inshore Boat Company, and various unsupported claims arose that the Recon at one time was deactivated which officially did not occur, however, accidentally unfilled. Thus, the activation of the first Recon Company in 1972 was entirely unique and unrelated to other claims of ascendancy or roots.
So far, since its inception the Recon unit garnered three (3) Medals of Valor and in two (2) counts it won for itself the AFP Outstanding Personnel of the Year in 1985 and 2001 respectively.
Not only in combat did the Force Recon proved its prowess, equally the unit has answered the call in countless disaster rescue