On patrol in Afghanistan: always “pushing out,” By Ed Marek, editor. “We’re playing big boys’ games ... What I’m interested in is getting the job done, and let’s face it, getting the boys back safely.” Lieutenant Colonel Carew Hatherley, Grenadier Guards, Britain. Most of us have not been in ground combat. That includes me. Though I am sitting here in the lap of luxury, I have tried to discover and understand what our men and women have gone through while exposed to ground combat, by reading their testimonials and memoirs, and by watching videos of them in action. I have selected the Afghanistan War as the setting. Our forces have been there over 11 years, many of them have been there several times, and this war continues on. I cannot replicate what it is actually like to be there. I can only convey what the men and women say it is like. January 13, 2013.
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? An American Marine said this in a recent HBO documentary: “Marines do not fight wars. They fight battles.” This report will show that to be true, but it will also show a lot more. The focus here is on what I will call the Battles of Sangin, Afghanistan. These battles were many, and they remain many to this day, one of the most difficult and lethal aspects of the Afghan War. The Sangin District is in the Helmand River Valley, Afghanistan. British forces have called it “Sangingrad,” after the tortuous battle of Stalingrad in WWII. Others have called it the most dangerous place in the world. Others have called it “No Go Valley.” For purposes of my report, ferocious fighting has been in train there daily, often many times in one day, between the Allies and the enemy, largely the Taliban reinforced by fighters from other Islamic countries since 2006. I carry it through until October 2011, but have decided to continue updating it as I am able. November 7, 2011.￼
Fighting in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley --- A brief photo portfolio. Our fighting command in Afghanistan, known at present as Combined Joint Task Force 101 (CJTF101), has been operating recently in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley and provided us with some outstanding photography that on its own --- the command says they are "stand alone" --- gives us all insight to what our forces are experiencing over there. I want to present the photos that show soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, the 1-26 Infantry "Blue Spaders," operating in the Koreangal. But first, a brief introduction to the Korengal Valley and then a little history behind the 26th Infantry. April 25, 2009.
Special Forces ODA 3336 deep in the Hindu Kush, gallantry and courage. It is not until you dig into a furious battle in Afghanistan that you come to want to know more and more, not only about the men in the fight, the fight itself, and the lineage of the units to which they belong, but also the history of the area, the nature of the enemy target, and the environment of the target area. This is because we know so little about Afghanistan and the war to which we have sent our men and women. On April 6, 2008, there was a fierce battle fought in the Shuk Valley deep in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Nuristan Province. One Air Force combat controller would receive the Air Force Cross, and ten Army special forces would receive the Silver Star, all for unimaginable valor in the face of incredible odds. This six section report goes into each of the areas about which I knew too little, and attempts to weave inputs from a variety of sources to describe what these men faced and did. After you have finished this report, you'll underscore something said by Lt. General John F. Mulholland at the Army's award ceremony: "Imagine the Taliban commander thinking, 'What the hell do I have to do to defeat these guys?'" The short answer is, "You can't." By Ed Marek, editor. March 16, 2009.
Air Force combat controllers "rockin' on the mike," making things happen. Most of us know very little about our Air Force special operations forces. Many don't even realize that our Air Forces have embraced the "every Airman is a warrior" culture, with many from its ranks fighting on the ground. On April 11, 2006, Technical Sergeant Bradley "Brad" Reilly, USAF, received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his actions during a four hour fire-fight on the ground in Afghanistan the previous year. He was an USAF combat controller and, more important, an integrated member of an Army special forces alpha team inserted by Army helicopters and ultimately saved by Army helicopters, after dealing the enemy a lethal blow. We'll use his story to tell several others and to demonstrate yet again the intense courage of our fighting forces. August 6, 2006
Excellence, Tradition, and Valor
Medevacs & Medics, Angels of Mercy. For the past 8-9 years, while running this web site as a hobby, I have written multiple stories about our military medevac and medical people in war. As an Indochina War veteran who flew aboard combat reconnaissance missions, mostly over Laos, I have always had a special spot in my heart for those who we all knew would come to our aid if we got into trouble during combat operations. In the Air Force, we knew it would virtually stop the air war to go in to save a downed crew. In researching Army and Marine operations, I have also learned what a massive effort is put into getting our wounded out of the killing zone and into medical hands. I have further learned the extent of this medical system available to our wounded from the medic working on a downed troop in the killing zone all the way to getting wounded soldiers to some of the most sophisticated medical facilities and capable medical hands available in the world. All of this is done with a level of professionalism that exceeds my command of the English language to describe. I have reassembled a group of these stories in an effort to give you a wide picture of what our medevacs and medics do on behalf of our men and women in combat. March 17, 2012.
Dignified transfer of the fallen: a solemn movement of respect and honor. This is not a ceremony and not a media event. Defense Secretary Gates decided to open up the return of our combat fallen to the media. He did this against the recommendations of many significant others who opposed changing the rule, including the families. All right, it's done. Given this decision, I want to be sure people know the solemn and dignified manner in which our forces treat our fallen on their way home. That they treat them with such respect and honor is heartwarming and a source of great pride. There is no political agenda here. You will see our forces do their very best to care for the remains of our fallen --- a solemn movement of respect and honor. By Ed Marek, editor. July 12, 2009.
A Medal of Honor today: Michael Patrick Murphy, Lt., USN, SEAL, a son of America. Today, October 22, 2007, the family of Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy, USN, SEAL, will receive the Medal of Honor (posthumous) on behalf of their son in America's House, the White House. Lt. Murphy will be the first to receive the Medal for action in Afghanistan. These kinds of people come from our neighborhoods, from our churches and schools, from our families, our playgrounds, from our hearts and from our souls. God Almighty has blessed us with so many like him. It's time to pause and reflect. Be proud, America. Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy is one of our sons. And so are all those who tried to help his team, which included 16 who died in their effort, those who rescued a lone survivor, and those who recovered all the bodies, all together, nineteen. The editor. October 22, 2007, updated May 9, 2008 announcing naming of new DDG-112.
Airman Basic Paige Renee Villers, USAF, courage, honor, a patriot. Airman Villers served her Air Force at only one air base, Lackland AFB in San Antonio. She served most of her tour of duty as a trainee at Basic Military Training. She died shortly after graduation at Lackland. In the interim, she completed the requirements to graduate, she fought at death's door with an uncommon strain of a common virus for week after week, she mustered the awe and respect of some of this world's finest medical technicians, nurses and doctors, and of her training instructors and wing commander. America lost a courageous and dedicated patriot when God took Airman Paige Renee Villers. That such patriots rise up from babies to adults and serve our military is one of the great strengths of this nation. By Ed Marek, editor. September 7, 2008.
LS-36, “The Alamo” in Laos. This is a story about a place known as Lima Site 36 at Na Khang, Laos, LS-36, during the Indochina War. We all know there was a secret war in Laos that actually started before the war in Vietnam. What many of us do not know much about is the role of these “Lima Sites.” I selected LS-36 as a means to convey their importance. We are going to cover a lot of ground. I never heard of LS-36. So I decided to tackle the questions where was it, why was it there, and what happened to it. It turned out these were no easy questions to answer. November 19, 2012
Loss of Oyster One: The “Bloodiest Day.” Major Bob Lodge, USAF, Lynbrook, New York, a 1964 graduate of the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), and member of the 555th “Triple Nickel” Fighter Squadron (FS), 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW), Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB), spent two tours in the Indochina War, flew 186 combat missions in fighters, and shot down three enemy MiGs. On May 10, 1972, his callsign Oyster One, flying an F-4 Phantom II jet, was shot down over North Vietnam by enemy MiG-19s and killed. His backseater and Weapons Systems Officer (WSO), Major Roger Locher bailed out and was rescued some 22 days later west of Hanoi in what was among the most harrowing rescue missions of the war. Lodge was lost on the Bloodiest Day for enemy MiGs, and the stories surrounding his loss and Locher’s rescue tell us a great deal about the kind of people we are. May 20, 2012
A look at the the Ban Laboy Ford, Laos, and Hwy 912, why did we spend so much on them? Jimmie Butler, an acquaintance of mine, a widely known writer and well known USAF Forward Air Controller (FAC), introduced me a few years ago to a place called Ban Laboy (also spelled Loboy) Ford, which during the Indochina War was on Hwy 912 in Laos. He like so many others who flew over it and around it came to see this location as the most bombed out area of the Indochina War. The Ban Laboy Ford and the immediate region around it were targets of unparalleled interest and action for the roles they played as part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. US air forces sustained heavy casualties attacking this area, and they caused enormous disruption to the flow of enemy men and supplies, and enormous enemy losses. My purpose here is to try to understand why this location was so important. July 4, 2011
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. This report is about the EC-47 electronic reconnaissance aircraft and crews of Detachment 3, 6994th Security Squadron (6994th SS), Nakhon Phanom (NKP) Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB), Thailand. The EC-47s were fondly known as the “Electric Goons” following in the footsteps of the C-47 being known as the Goonie Bird. NKP was also fondly known as “Naked Fanny.” The base was located in northeast Thailand right where the Mekong River turns south. Laos was across the river. The unit was set up in April 1969 in response to a push from the American Ambassador to Vientiane. The North Vietnamese began sending tens of thousands of troops into supposedly neutral Laos, the war there deteriorated rapidly, and the US ambassador and others urged the introduction of the EC-47s to fly mainly over Laos, hoping to prevent Laos from turning communist. The men and aircraft were also sent to NKP to work against the ever growing enemy logistics activity along the Ho Chi Minh Trail which extended from east-central Laos into Cambodia branching off multiple times into the Republic of Vietnam. The conditions in Laos for this kind of aircraft were unforgiving and hazardous. By Ed Marek, editor, March 28, 2011.
The “Walking Dead,” the 1-9 Marines in Vietnam. This will be a different kind of presentation than I normally provide. It is in honor of Pfc. Gregory Lawrence Martin, USMC, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment (C/1-9 Marines) who was killed in action (KIA) by friendly fire in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) on April 19, 1967. Cindy L. Taylor “Martin/Tatum,” the “baby sister” of Pfc. Martin, sent me an e-mail and asked if I could help her find specific facts with regard to Greg’s time in the RVN from approximately October 1966 - April 19, 1967. I was not of much help, but I told her I would explain the background to help her and her family better understand why her brother was there. This motivated me to tell this story. September 16, 2010.
“Find the bastards, and pile on,” the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Indochina. This report is about the US Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), the “Blackhorse” Regiment, in the Indochina War, to some also known as the “soul ponies.” The regiments’s roots go back to the post-Spanish American War when it formed in 1901 at Ft. Meyer, Virginia. It adopted its motto, Allons (“Let’s Go”) in 1920. This is a most interesting and instructive combat organization. It led the charge into Cambodia in 1970. July 17, 2010
The North Wall, Canada's Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. A significant number of Canadians fought for US forces in Vietnam, and over 100 gave their lives, even though Canada as a nation did not participate. These men joined the American military, either voluntarily or through the draft, and they fought with great valor and distinction, as Canadian military men always have. It took far longer for the Government of Canada to recognize their service and sacrifice than it did the US government, and it is arguable to this day how many Canadians respect what they did. This is about a memorial finally erected in Windsor, Ontario in 1995 to honor their service. More important, this is about some of those Canadians who fought in Vietnam, our salute to brothers in war. By Ed Marek, editor. July 5, 2008
America's "Happy Hooker," the CH-47 Chinook. The US Air Force has just announced it intends to buy 141 HH-47 Chinook helicopters to conduct Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions. If you want to talk about multi-tasking, you've found the right aircraft in the Chinook. We want to use the selection of the HH-47 as an excuse to explore the CH-47 aircraft from the time of its first appearance in combat in Vietnam in 1965 to its present use in Afghanistan, including its emergency use responding to the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. We'll even give you an aircraft "walk-around." December 13, 2006
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. The United States did not fight alone in the Vietnam-Laos Wars. Six nations and many indigenous peoples from the region fought with her. One of those was the Republic of Korea (ROK). The Koreans started arriving shortly after the US Marines in 1965, they kept coming, and they stayed and fought until the end, in 1973. At their peak, they had close to 50,000 boots on the ground, the second largest foreign force to fight for the RVN. Over 300,000 served. About 5,000 died. This was the ROK's first military action abroad. It came only 17 years after the republic was formed, only 16 after its fledgling new constabulary was formed, and only 12 after the Korean War concluded. They fought hard. Their enemy, our enemy, paid a dear price for engaging them. July 12, 2006
RT Breaker Patrol, the Hill Battles of Vietnam. On May 9-10, 1967, seven men from Reconnaissance Team Breaker, Alpha Company, 3rd Marine Recon, ran into one tough fight on Hill 665 near Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam. Four died, three badly wounded were heroically rescued and survived. This happened a year before the better known 1968 Siege of Khe Sanh. Breaker was in the Hill Battles of 1967. What were these men doing on Hill 665? To formulate meaningful responses to this question, we reconstructed the history that brought these brave six Marines and one Navy medic to these battles, along with all those others who did the same. March 1, 2006
The F-105 Thunderchief, a legend flown by legends. The F-105 "Thunderchief," known as the Thud, the hyper hog, the lead sled, and a lot more to those who flew her "Downtown" in North Vietnam, is indeed a legend. Most remarkable, though, are the men who flew her. One pilot has said, "To go to Hanoi day after day not only took great courage, but more important, it took great loyalty to your country." One writer said this about these men: "Knowing what lay ahead, the best of men competed for a place on the toughest missions. They did it because they were fighter pilots." We need to take a moment to think about their sacrifices and what those mean to our nation. August 30, 2005.
Old "Herc" a pioneer in laser guided bombing, another Blindbat first. Not many know that the Blindbat was "zotting" targets in the late 1960s in Vietnam. We'll also pass on a few interesting war stories that highlight the important forward air controller roles played by the Blindbat crews during the late 1960s. July 13, 2005. January 2, 2010 Addendum: Memorial service held for SMSgt Gary Pate, whose dog tags were found at an excavation site in Laos in spring 2009.
Our Pedros, rotors of wood, men of steel. The sweaty business of searching for and rescuing (SAR) our downed pilots in the Vietnam-Laos wars produced acts of heroism that nearly defy articulation, unparalleled daring and valor is the best we can do. One SAR commander said, "They'll go anywhere and do anything, and they act like they're spring loaded to go down the line to aid a downed pilot." They faced a triple jungle canopy in wild terrain, hostile enemy fire, and a target with a bounty on his head, either evading being caught or too injured to move. Many brave souls flew a variety of helicopters, attack aircraft, transports and even amphibian aircraft to get their man or men. This report is about one group of them, callsign "Pedro," the men of the machines known as the HH-43, the USAF "Huskie." February 1, 2005. Updated June 14, 2009 to provide the correct photo of a B-58 "Hustler" bomber crash for which a Pedro provide firefighting support --- Section E, "The fire suppression and local base recovery mission." February 1, 2005
Blind Bat, Yellowbirds, Willy the Whale, on Uncle Ho's trail. That's one C-130A flareship, two B-57 bombers, and one Marine EF-10B electronic countermeasures aircraft flying to North Vietnam and Laos hunting down truck convoys on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. To learn their story, you are carried through fascinating history surrounding the Vietnam War --- secrecy, WWII vintage air power, complicated air interdiction, all at night over rough, often uncharted terrain, against an elusive enemy, nearly all by the seat of the pants. To get this job done, the crews involved were on their own. They built and installed the equipment they needed, made up their operating procedures as they wove their way through the flak, found ways to avoid crashing into and shooting each other, located their targets "by Braille", attacked them, and snuck back home to do it again the next night, every night. In the end, the enemy prevailed because it committed everything it had to the endeavor. The Americans, through the sheer determination of the air crews to get their job done, made the enemy's commitment very costly. With the right political commitment in Washington, that trail could have been shut down at a lower price to all involved. With the trail closed, that war was ours to win. December 15, 2004
Battle for Fallujah, our warfighters towered in maturity and guts. It was called "Operation Dawn - al Fajr." D-Day was November 7, 2004, 1900 hours (7 pm Baghdad time). The fighting that followed was to be among the fiercest urban warfare battles fought in American history. There is and has been a great deal of controversy surrounding this attack on Fallujah. This report will address none of that controversy. Our primary focus is on the American military people who participated in Operation Dawn. We want to help our readers understand the kind of environment our forces faced in this battle, what the strategy and tactics were, and what the fight was like. We are going to do this in as detailed a way as our resources permit. Know this. It all came down to that 18 -19 year old who led his fire team into battle. These young men "towered over their peers outside the military in maturity and guts." April 28, 2005.
MiG Alley Korea War, the first jet vs. jet aerial warfare. When I was a young guy, I recall hearing reports on the radio about how many North Korean MiG fighter aircraft our guys shot down every day. Killing MiGs was a big deal in those days. I heard a lot about “MiG Alley.” But as I look back, I did not know where MiG Alley was. I knew it was over the Korean peninsula, I knew it was MiG-15 against F-86 Sabre, but had no idea it was so far to the northwest and that it crossed into China. This report will summarize the historical context of why MiG Alley was so far to the northwest, on China’s border, highlight the role of the B-29, focus on the debut of the MiG-15 and F-86, the advent of fighter vs. fighter aerial warfare, and pass on a few F-86 pilot stories. February 19, 2012
“Nobody kicks ass without a tanker’s gas ... nobody.” Back in January 2008, I received an e-mail from Lori T. Davis, maiden name Elwood, “Wood” for short, shown here in a 1984 photo. She was an Inflight Refueling Specialist on the KC-135 tanker for the USAF, known as “the boomer,” and among the first women to get such a job. She remarked she had plenty of war stories. I held on to her e-mail for all this time wanting to do a story on our strategic air-to-air refueling. October 6, 2010
Blended Wing X-48B has flown. The big difference between a blended wing body and a tubular-wing body for an aircraft is that the former has no tail, and the latter uses its tail for stability and control. New composite materials, computer networking, and design techniques have meant that multiple control surfaces can be designed into the blended wing body to give the stability and control you need. Boeing, working with NASA and the USAF, has developed a flown a subscale blended wing body aircraft, the X-48B. The idea has a long way to go, but its good to see dreamers are still dreaming and working to make their dreams come true, step by careful step. October 29, 2007.
Look mom, I lost my tail! We gotta bring this Buff in anyway. On January 10, 1964, Boeing civilian test pilot Chuck Fisher and his three man crew lost their tail, the tail of their B-52H Stratofortress that is, at about 14,000 ft. over northern New Mexico's Sangre de Christo Mountains. Their mission was to shake, rattle and roll this big beast at high speed and low altitude to record sensor data on how such a profile affected the B-52's structure. They did their job. The vertical stabilizer blew off. Six hours later and after a lot of engineering on the ground and in the air, Fisher brought his B-52 home, with the coveted data. Many crews put their lives on the line to make this aircraft be the threat it was and is. Those who lost their lives must be looking down from Heaven in wonderment that the old beast is still one of the most feared weapon systems in the world. April 28, 2007
The Falcon is coming, hypersonic attack from the US. Based on "allied" refusals to allow US military forces access to their air bases and air space over the past decades, US military planners are now preparing to go it alone, in a “friendless” environment, if that's what's required. Considerable research and development have been underway to enable US air forces to attack multiple targets almost anywhere on Earth from the US in less than two hours using unmanned and remotely controlled hypersonic aircraft, aircraft that can be recalled if required. The "need for speed" is paramount; fast response is the by-word. This in turn will enable us to substantially reduce our reliance on overseas airfields and bases. This evolution supports our long-held desire to bring our military forces home, except those afloat, and employ our advanced technologies to defend the homeland from the homeland. One defense expert says this capability will be able "...to crush someone anywhere in the world on 30 minutes' notice with no need for a nearby air base." March 21, 2005.
World War II
The “Flying Dudleys” of Wausau, WWII. I want you to meet a special group of men, the four Dudley brothers of Wausau, Wisconsin, tagged by some as “The Flying Dudleys.” Left-to-right, Lauren Charles “Laurnie” Dudley, 20; Jefferson James “Jay” Dudley, 24; Richard David “Dick” Dudley, 18; and Robert Lee “Bob” Dudley, 22. It is unusual for four brothers serve in war at the same time, though it did happen. All four of these guys wanted to, and did. When we read and hear about the American warrior, we often ask the question, “How do we get such men and women? Where do they come from that they could do these things?” The answer lies with “the invisible obvious.” These men and women come from our families, from our neighborhoods, from our schools, from being with friends and colleagues. They are in many respects us, at our best. By Ed Marek, editor, March 26, 2013.
Kamikaze attacks USS Comfort hospital ship, more than 700 souls aboard, WWII. Lts. Dorris "Dorrie" Gardner and Mary Rodden, both Wisconsin girls, both Army nurses, were aboard the USS Comfort hospital ship when she was struck amidships by a Japanese kamikaze during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. They both survived, but 28 died, including six nurses, and 48 were wounded. Some say the numbers were higher. These two courageous women represent many thousands, some 59,000 Army nurses who served in WWII, abroad and in the US. This story is dedicated to all those American military nurses, then and now, who cared for their "boys," their "guys" in combat the world over. By Ed Marek, December 25, 2007.
Burma Banshees, "Angels on our Wings," the call of death to the enemy.The 80th Fighter Group of the 10th Army Air Force (AAF) had a motto, "Angels on our Wings," because its primary mission was to escort and conduct combat air patrols for transports "Over the Hump" in WWII. But the group's nickname, the "Burma Banshees," sent a message to its Japanese enemies in the China-Burma-India Theater that when they heard the wailing sound of a Banshee's machine, death and destruction were coming their way. The first AAF fighter squadron to this theater, during the two years it fought (1943-1945), it launched 18,873 planes on 4,719 missions, destroyed more than 200 bridges and destroyed 80 enemy planes in the air or on the ground. It received the Distinguished Unit Citation for a most remarkable defense of a critical Indian oil refinery. This fighter group kept the supply lines open to China and helped Allied bombers and ground troops defeat a Japanese onslaught that at one point in this war seemed unstoppable. Like so many other Americans in this war, the Banshees made a difference, stepping up to defend freedom, putting their lives on the line for a cause. February 22, 2005
The 459th Twin Dragon Fighter squadron, Burma Banshees. We have done one in-depth story on the 80th Fighter Group Burma Banshees in the China-Burma-India Theater of WWII. We have also published a set of photos provided us by the son of one of the group's pilots. We have now received a historic set of photos from the daughter of a master sergeant in the group, MSgt. Herb Walker. This set is special, as it deals with the 459th Twin Dragons, who flew the P-38 Lightning. The other three squadrons flew the P-40 Warhawk. This will be mainly a gallery of the Walker Collection of photos, with some limited commentary. The P-38 was fighter most feared by Japanese pilots, and the 459th knocked down and destroyed its share of Japanese to earn that respect. June 1, 2008
The 761st Black Panthers, they came out fighting. It’s an amazing ride through our history to look back at World War II and see that we fought with segregated units, and these units, black and white, fought with incredulous gallantry and courage, together, side by side, often so intermingled that the word "segregated" during battle had little meaning. Many of our leaders at the time openly argued that black-Americans could not fight in modern warfare. Of course, they were wrong. Many of us are well aware of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, but how many of you know about the 761st "Black Panther" Tank Battalion, part of Patton's vaunted 3rd Army that bolted from Normandy to Germany virtually overnight? There is a great deal of history tied up with the 761st, and a great deal of bravery far beyond the call of duty. The story of the 761st is a story about black-American valor. It is also an American story of service, sacrifice, tenacity and resolve. And, it is a story about an alliance that took down an evil German empire, piece by piece. August 10, 2004
World War I
The birth of a nation, the Canadian Corps captures Vimy Ridge. The "Trench Line" of World War I was surely hell on Earth. Stagnant, many failed charges across "no man's land," artillery fire, sniper fire, smoke, gas, rain, sleet, snow, cold, wind, malnourishment, disease, no end in sight to the agony and death from November 1914 until April 1917. What had the Germans inflicted on mankind by splitting Europe in two and committing millions of fine young men to terror and death deserved by no man? On April 9, 1917, after many months of planning, training, and digging, a Canadian Corps, the Canadian Corps of four Canadian Infantry Divisions, supported by intensive British and Canadian artillery, lurched out of their holes and tunnels and captured the previously impregnable Vimy Ridge in France, in just one day. The Huns were defeated, the Canadians held the Ridge, the Allies saw they could win. Perpetual hellish stalemate was not inevitable. The Canadians? Well, they among many endured an enormous sacrifice, but they also saw the birth of their nation, a prize every Canadian and American should cherish forever. May 30, 2004