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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Holding the Line

For John, BLUFAn inspiring story.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is an extract from Secretary of Defense James (Mad Dog) Mattis' graduation speech to the Cadets at the US Military Academy (West Point).

The chips were down in the freezing days before Christmas, 1944, when the Nazi army was on the attack in the Ardennes, Mattis said, telling the cadets a story.

“A sergeant in a retreating tank spotted a fellow American digging a foxhole.  The GI, PFC Martin, looked up and said to the sergeant in the tank, ‘Are you looking for a safe place?’

‘Yeah,’ the tanker answered.

‘Well, buddy,’ the private said with a drawl, ‘just pull your vehicle behind me.  I’m the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going.’”

The secretary added, “You are a U.S. soldier and you hold the line.”

Pride in your outfit is important in the military, and it is important back on Civvie Street.  The 82nd Division is celebrating its one hundredth Anniversary this year.  Its nickname, All American, came from the fact that it was originally composed of soldiers from each of the then 48 States.

But, back to the Private digging the foxhole.  He had a standard to live up to—Sergeant Alvin C York.  And the Howard Hawks movie, Sergeant York, starring Gary Cooper (remember him in High Noon) came out in 1941, in time to inspire folks.  And it must have, since it was the highest grossing picture of the year.

Just to add to the story, the leader on the tank (tank destroyer, actually) was Lieutenant Bill Rogers, the son of Humorist Will Rogers.  They thought about the invitation and then pulled up behind PFC Martin.

Regards  —  Cliff

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