Feb 28, 2022
Feb 26, 2022
Pete Terry fired his trusty 106 mm Recoiless Rifle in Europe. This beast is called a recoilless rifle because it is open in the back. When you fire it it creates an enormous backblast, but the rifle does not recoil. If you are behind the rifle you may be killed from the backblast. Don't be behind the rifle!
To destroy a tank with this monster you had to first get the range to the target by firing the .50 caliber rifle on top of the recoiless rifle. Of course when the round hit the tank the tank crew was working frantically to shoot the recoiless rifle crew first. And the tank was heavily armored.
It is not good to be in a fire fight when the other guy has a tank.
Pete is incensed about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Everyone is. But Pete can do something about it. He can volunteer to help the Ukrainians duke it out with Russian tanks. They need help, and Pete can provide it.
Feb 24, 2022
Feb 18, 2022
In 1990 I was the Commanding Officer of Marine Wing Communications Squadron 48 in Glenview, Illinois. A friend of mine, Colonel Ken Elmendorf, called and told me that a female Marine Officer was coming to Glenview to interview for a job with the Group. Could she meet me and would I take her to the Group Commanding Officer? “Sure”, I said.
On the drill weekend I was in a deep sleep in my motel room near Glenview when a woman called me, and excitedly told me she had lost her skirt and she hoped I did not mind, but she had called my wife to find me so I could help her find a skirt.
I had a tough time comprehending who she was and what was the problem, but then realized, “this is not good!” She has lost her skirt, called my wife who does not know her or the story of her interview, woke her up from a deep sleep, then told her excitedly that she had lost her skirt and wanted me to help her find a skirt!
As I woke up I told her to just interview in her civilian clothes. “I could not do that”, she said - “ I have to be in uniform”. So when she got to Glenview the next morning I introduced her to some of the Marine women in our unit who lent her a Marine skirt for the interview.
Then of course I had some splainin to do to my wife when I got home that night. “Beth” I said, “I don’t even know her and I had nothing to do with her losing her skirt. I never met her until this morning”. I think she believes me.
I never really knew the officer, and cannot remember her name. My wife and I now only refer to her as “Skirt!”
Feb 14, 2022
As a Chicago alderman, Douglas had worked with Chicago Daily News publisher Frank Knox in fighting corruption in Chicago. Knox, who had been Republican vice-presidential nominee in 1936, had become Secretary of the Navy, thus responsible for both the navy and the Marine Corps.
Shortly after losing the primary, Douglas resigned from the Chicago City Council. With the aid of Knox, Douglas enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on May 15, 1942, at the age of 50, becoming the oldest recruit in the history of Parris Island. Entering service as a private, Douglas was placed in an ordinary platoon and received no waivers aside from his teeth and eyesight.
As a member of the 57th Street Meeting of the Quakers, Douglas recognized that joining the Marines was contrary to the traditional testimony of that group against war and offered to resign his membership; the meeting refused to release him. Initially, Douglas was kept stateside, writing training manuals and giving inspirational speeches to troops, and quickly rose to the rank of staff sergeant. With the aid of Knox and his assistant Adlai Stevenson, Douglas was commissioned as a captain on November 24, 1942. Requesting combat duty, he was subsequently sent to the Pacific theater of operations with the 1st Marine Division.
During Battle of Peleliu, Douglas initially served as an adjutant in the 1st Marine Division headquarters before being assigned R-1 (personnel officer) of the 5th Marine Regiment. On the second day of the battle, Captain Douglas received permission to head to the front where he found work as a mobile regimental troubleshooter. He earned a Bronze Star for carrying ammunition to the front lines under enemy fire and earned his first Purple Heart when he was grazed by shrapnel while carrying flamethrower ammunition to the front lines. In that six-week battle, while investigating some random fire shootings, Douglas was shot at as he uncovered a two-foot-wide cave. He then killed the Japanese soldier inside at which point he wondered whether his enemy might be an economics professor from the University of Tokyo.
A few months later, during the Battle of Okinawa, Douglas earned his second Purple Heart. A volunteer rifleman in an infantry platoon, he was helping to carry wounded from 3rd Battalion 5th Marines along the Naha-Shuri line when a burst of machine gun fire tore through his left arm, severing the main nerve and leaving it permanently disabled.
Return to civilian life
After Douglas left the service he returned to teach at the University of Chicago around 1946. In 1947 he was awarded the highest honor in the economics profession when he was elected president of the American Economic Association.
He went on to be elected three times to the US Senate from Illinois.
A memorial marker at the Marine Corps training base at Parris Island reads:
in Memory of SENATOR PAUL H. DOUGLAS 1892 ~ 1976Graduating from Parris Island in 1942 as a 50-year-old Private, Mr. Douglas was an inspiration to all. He rose to the rank of Major while serving in the Pacific Theater where he was wounded at Peleliu and Okinawa. Retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. The former economics professor later served as a U.S. Senator from Illinois. By his personal courage, fortitude and leadership, the Honorable Paul H. Douglas demonstrated the personal traits characteristic of Marine leaders.
From 1986 to 1997, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the Paul Douglas Teacher Scholarship in Douglas's honor.
In 1992 the University of Illinois, Institute of Government and Public Affairs established the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government as part of the celebration of the senator's 100th birthday, and in recognition of his outstanding service to the nation.
The Paul Douglas Forest Preserve in Hoffman Estates, Illinois is named for him.
Douglas was entitled to campaign participation credit ("battle stars") for Capture and Occupation of the Southern Palau Islands (Peleliu), and Assault and Occupation of Okinawa.
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Semper Fi, Senator Douglas
Feb 2, 2022
My wife Beth, our former colleague David Ferguson, and I were in Hong Kong in 1993. The three of us had led a Sister Cities trip to Taiwan, flown to Hong Kong, and were decompressing. We took a bus out to the far side of Hong Kong Island and enjoyed a nice dinner overlooking the ocean.
When it was time to go back I thought it would be fun to take sail back on a sampan instead of the bus. So I waved a passing sampan down and negotiated a ride back to Kowloon. The sampan Captain spoke no English and my Chinese consisted of xiè xie, (shey shey, thanks) but I thought he figured out what we wanted and we did the deal. I hoped he understood that we wanted to go back to Kowloon. This was not a tourist boat, just a regular sampan who happened to sail past.
Beth wanted no part of this risky deal and said she would take the bus back. "You don't want to miss this", I said, and Dave and I each grabbed an elbow and shanghaied her onto the boat as she protested. We had a lovely boat ride as the sun slowly set and the day turned into night. It was beautiful and I was pleased that I had shanghaied Beth. But the trip took longer than I thought and it became quite dark.
Then a big patrol boat came out of the night with their searchlight blinding us, with M-16 rifles aimed at us. The sampan Captain raised his hands and we followed suit. The Captain ducked into the sampan and we wondered what he was doing. I hoped he was not coming out with an AK-47. But he just brought out his papers and they let us go on our way.
I think they were trying to stop smuggling or infiltration but am not sure. It seemed to me they were acting a bit serious for just smuggling. This happened a total of three times. Each time the patrol boat came up with searchlights and M-16's aimed directly at us.
Beth was not overly happy with the rifles and still berates me. The ingrate - after I took her on a lovely, impromptu, interesting cruise! You just can't please everyone. I figure any time someone aims a rifle at you and you don't get shot it is a good thing. And three times! It made for a memorable story.
I took the photos of sampans from a previous diplomatic trip to Vietnam in 1970. It was another diplomatic effort to win the hearts and minds of the people. The sampans looked a lot like our Hong Kong sampan.