70 Years Ago: “All of This Fire Coming up Towards Us”

Read about a real warrior. Jim was a private in the 101st Airborne, one of the paratroopers dropped behind German lines in the hours before the D-Day landings. “We wanted to get out of the plane quickly, because it was hitting the plane,” he says. “Planes were blowing up, and we wanted to get the hell out of there.” They were inviting targets as they drifted toward the ground and the enemy. Asked what was going through his mind as he slowly descended through the clouds into hostile territory, Jim says, “Fascination, because of all of this fire coming up […]


I go by the moniker of Townie 76 because I grew up in Lexington and attended VMI. For those who have visited Lexington and Rockbridge County it is an interesting amalgamation of town (those who grew up in Lexington or Rockbridge County or have a family connection to Lexington or Rockbridge County), gown (professors at either VMI, Washington and Lee, or Southern Virginia), and come here’s (usually retirees or folks of sufficient means who like the area). Anyone who attends either VMI or Washington and Lee who lives in Lexington or Rockbridge County are townies.  Townies stick together, whether they […]

Suez, 1956

In light of ongoing events in the land of the Nile, here’s an interesting historical look at the “forgotten” Arab/Israeli war, which was also an Anglo-French/Egyptian war– a tangle of nationalism, internationalism, power projection and Cold War brinkmanship. A simple search for “Suez 1956″ will give you all sorts of links, good and bad. Here’s one decent overview, and it has some good links too. See also that great storehouse of imperial militaria, Britain’s Small Wars (Suez Index). Points you might ponder as you read on… look at the naval task forces brought to bear by both Britain and France. […]

RIP: Sgt Jeremiah McGraw, USMCR

With great regret and sadness I must report the death of one of my fellow 4th ANGLICO Marines, in an accident during jump operations. He will be missed, but never forgotten. Godspeed to you, Marine.

Monday Motivation

Green light, GO!!!!!! (U.S. Air Force and Army paratroopers jump from the tail gate of a new C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft during its first personnel drop over southern Germany, May 4, 2009. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kenny Holston) Good shot, KENNY, and a nice day for a jump too.

Drill Weekend Jump

Just got the pics from last weekend’s jump action. We did two days of jumps to keep our jumpmasters current, and to take another chunk out of the ongoing SF-10 transition. The Marines of VMGR-452 provided the plane.

Rockin' and a-Jumpin'

For all my friends who jump out of airplanes: Crank up some more kick ass Australian rock and roll…

Static Line Jump

For LT COL P and Slab, a trip down memory lane: I took this picture Saturday at Thunder Over Michigan. The aircraft are C-47s and the jumpers are all WWII re-enactors. The day was windy as hell with a very low ceiling. They had to make 4 passes over Willow Run before they finally jumped. After the jump, there was a huge WWII battle re-enactment that was pretty incredible. I will try to get some pictures up soon.

Might as Well Jump

Flew in last night from another highly successful drill weekend in the Sunshine State. We did a joint indirect fire shoot with some 81mm and 60mm mortar crews from the FL National Guard, and also pushed about 40 jumpers out the back end of a Marine C-130. I was one of them. Everyone told me that a ramp jump is much less violent and turbulent than a door jump, and that the MC-1 series chute was a better ride than the T-10. They were right on both counts! Once I got over the sensation of dropping straight down instead of […]

Airborne Heroes, Fort Benning Place-Names

While going through the Airborne Course at Fort Benning, I noticed that several of the training areas were named after Medal of Honor recipients from the Airborne forces. I waited and waited for some period of instruction to begin with a brief lecture on who these men were and what they did. Sadly, I never heard a word. I think this is a major gap in the programme of instruction at Benning. The Airborne forces do not lack for real heroes, and it would be a small but far-reaching step to tie the training of today with the courage and […]