August 2, 1990

On this day in 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, within a few days, VMI alumni in the 82nd and USMC were standing as a thin shield in the desert. The defense of Saudi Arabia, retaking of Kuwait and defeat of Hussein was part of a continuum of combat experienced by VMI alumni of the 1980s and 1990s. There was Grenada. Then Panama in December of 1989. With Noriega’s capture and the collapse of the Soviet Empire, also known as the Warsaw Pact, some VMI Keydets wondered if they’d ever see combat. Then came August 2, 1990. Followed by Somalia and […]

North Korea, North America

“It is ridiculous, the hairstyle he has, everything,” says Hyeonseo Lee. She is talking about Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea and in her old life, before her defection from the tightly controlled regime, saying such a thing would condemn her and her family to prison or to death. “I could kill three generations of my family,” she says. Lee defected at 17, embarking on a perilous journey. Now 34, she has finally written her account of life and escape from the Hermit Kingdom in a new book, The Girl With Seven Names. Please go read the whole […]

Gun-Day Sunday: A Double Birthday

A thunderous “H-F-Bd” to the great Sam Colt *and* to Herr Gaston Glock, both born this day (the former in 1814, the latter in 1929). Both deserve permanent places in history.

Astonishing Photos from WWII

The great DVH’61 sent these in; I don’t think I had ever seen them before. The very first one– and especially its caption– had me staring in silence. That’s some fundamental transformation depicted there.  

The Return of the Hollow Force

As the youngest of us here on Op-For, I remain in service to Columbia. I signed that dotted line prior to my rat year at VMI, the War in Iraq was at its height, the surge going into full swing and there was an initiative from President Bush Called “Grow the Army.”  “Grow the Army” the Army reached a height of 570,000 Soldiers.  We all thought then, that all of us would be going to war.  Many of us have, yet most of us have not.  I would say we’re both lucky in different ways. There was an officer in […]

This Day In History: 8 July 1853

Commodore Matthew Perry’s first expedition to Japan. If I’m not mistaken his flagship, USS Susquehanna, was commanded by a Virginian named Captain Sydney Smith Lee, son of the great “Light Horse Harry” Lee and older brother to an Army officer… wait– are we still allowed to say the name? Anyone dare to guess?

Old: South was the Confederacy, New: South was not the Confederacy

What say you, historians of the Confederacy and of the South? The fact is, “the south” was never fully under the control of the central Confederate government in Richmond (and Montgomery, Alabama before that) and neither were the Confederate state governments able to completely control their own states because of constant internal resistance from their own citizens. There was internecine warfare going on in North Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and other southern states throughout the civil war. Revisionism? True truth?

Gun-Day Sunday: What’s in Your Basement?

Some folk have rec rooms, other have wet bars and workshops. Yet others… And there’s the State, doing what it does best– getting in the way of everyday men going about their everyday business.  

When in the Course of human events…

… it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Read it all. Enjoy the day.

Gun-Day Monday: Nice Rifle, Eh!

The Canadian Rangers are finally turning in the old .303 Lee-Enfields (!) for something newer: “The Canadian Rangers require a hunting rifle for survival and self defence against large North American carnivores at ranges of 0 metres to 300 metres. Currently, the Rangers use the Lee Enfield No. 4 to meet these requirements but the age and the scarcity of parts for this weapon will soon make it very difficult if not impossible to maintain, according to the Department of National Defence and Colt Canada. Because of that the New Canadian Ranger Rifle (NCRR) system is being purchased to replace […]