army chief of staff

3

Captain Billotte’s Wild Ride,

When one typically envisions German tanks of World War II, one typically thinks of giant steel behemoths such as the Tiger tank or perhaps the Panther tank.  However, German heavy tanks weren’t really all that common until later in the war, in fact they really weren’t all that common at all.  In the beginning of the war, German tanks were heavily outclassed by their Allied counterparts, especially by French and later Soviet heavy tanks.  During the Invasion of France, most German tanks were either Panzer I, II, or III models, the heavier Panzer IV and Panzer 38(t) not being fielded in large numbers.

Overall Allied tanks tended to have thicker armor and bigger guns. The Germans were able to defeat Allied tank forces through superior tactics and war doctrine, the radio being a more potent piece of equipment than guns and armor., something which Allied tanks woefully lacked. However there were instances when the weaknesses of German tanks became glaringly obvious.  

One such incident occurred on the 16th of May, 1940 at the village of Stonne during the invasion of France. Stonne was an important strategic point on the way to Sedan, thus over the past few days heavy fighting had occurred over the village, resulting in the town changing hands no less than seventeen times.  On the morning 16th the French conducted a counterattack against German positions with infantry attacking from the south and tanks attacking from the west.

At the head of the French tanks was Captain Pierre Billotte, in command of a Char B1-bis heavy tank nicknamed “Eure”. The Char B1-bis was one of those monster tanks that gave the German’s much grief during the invasion of France, with 60mm frontal armor, a 47mm gun mounted in the turret, and a 75mm gun mounted in the chassis, it pretty much outclassed everything the Germans had in their tank arsenal.

When facing larger Allied tanks German tanks would typically try to outmaneuver and outflank their opponents, attacking the weaker side and rear armor. However the German’s had their tanks lined up in a row along the main street of the town, and thus were trapped.  Captain Billotte and his crew charged right into the town, blasting each tank one by one as they charged down the street. The German tanks opened fire, but each and every round bounced of the B1′s thick frontal armor.  Capt. Billotte and his tanks exited the town to the east, popping two German anti tank guns on the way out. When the smoke had cleared, Capt. Billotte and his crew had destroyed two Panzer IV tanks, eleven Panzer III tanks, and two anti tank guns.  During the battle, the Char B1-bis “Eure” had sustained 140 hits.  

The German’s eventually took Stonne on May 25th, bring forth larger anti tank guns to drive off the French tanks.  Capt. Pierre Billotte was captured by the German’s, though he later escaped and served with the Free French forces throughout the remainder of the war. After the war he became Assistant Chief of Staff of The French Army, and later headed the French Military Mission to the UN.  In his post military career he served in many political positions.  He passed away in 1992.  

cannibalistic-midget  asked:

Hal Moore died my man

Lt. Gen. Harold Gregory “Hal” Moore, Jr. passed away on February 10, 2017, a few days short of his 95th birthday. 

He was the first of West Point class 1945 to be promoted to brigadier, major, and lieutenant general. He served in the military from 1945 to 1977. He served in Japan after WWII, until 1948. He made over 300 parachute jumps in the 82nd Airborne Division, 150 of which were in the Airborne Test Section with experimental parachutes.

He commanded a mortar company during the Korean War, because he was due for promotion to major – but the 7th Division’s commanding general had put a hold on any promotions without command of a company in combat. In 1954, he returned to West Point and was an instructor in infantry tactics, teaching then-cadet Norman Schwarzkopf, who called him one of his heroes, and cites Moore as the reason he chose the infantry branch. (Schwarzkopf led the UN coalition during OPERATION: DESERT STORM.) 

In 1964, now a lieutenant colonel, Moore completed the course of study at the Naval War College, earning a master’s degree in International Relations from my alma mater, George Washington University. He was transferred to Fort Benning and took command of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, 11th Air Assault Division. In July they were redesignated the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and deployed to Vietnam in September.

On November 14, 1965, he led the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry of the 3rd Brigade, into the Battle of la Drang. encircled by the enemy with no clear landing zone that would allow them to leave, Moore persevered despited being significantly outnumbered by the NVA and VC – who would go on to defeat the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry only a few miles away a day later. He was nicknamed ‘Yellow Hair’ due to his blond hair by his troops, as a homage to General Custer – who, as a lieutenant colnel, commanded the same 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn just a century before. Though casualties were higher for the other parts of the battle of la Drang, Moore’s troops suffered 79 killed and 121 wounded. 634 NVA and VC bodies were found in the vicinity, with an estimated 1,215 killed by artillery and airstrikes in the area. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his part of the battle, promoted to colonel, and took over command of the 3rd Brigade. 

In 1968, he was assigned by the Army to Harvard University to complete his M.A in international relations. On August 31, he was promoted to brigadier general, and then to major general in 1970. His assignment at the time was as assistant chief of staff of the Eighth Army in South Korea. He was charged by General Michaelis of the 7th ID to clean up a major drug abuse and racial strife problem. Moore established leadership schools for both officers and NCOs, and institted an ‘equal opportunity policy.’ He backed it up with punishments to those who discriminated based on race, ethnicity, or creed. 

In 1974 he was appointed deputy chief of staff for personnel, his last assignment. He dealt with army recruiting issues after the draft was terminated, as well as the drawdown of forces after the end of the Vietnam War. His next assignment was to become Commanding General, US Army Japan, but he retired instead. He left the Army on August 1, 1977, after 32 years of active service.

In 1992 Moore wrote We Were Soldiers Once… And Young with co-author Joseph L. Galloway. The book was adapted into the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, by Mel Gibson. It remains my absolute favorite Vietnam War movie.

Moore and Joseph L. Galloway have written another book together, a follow-up to their first collaboration. We Are Soldiers Still; A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam was published in 2008.

Here he is putting out the flag that his son, Col. David Moore, sent home from Afghanistan. Rest in peace, sir.

My history crush is General George C. Marshall (1880-1959). This babe was Army Chief of Staff during WWII, Special Envoy to China, Secretary of State, President of the Red Cross, and Secretary of Defense.

He is most famous for his work on the Marshall Plan but he was so much more. He was a true gentleman who led the Allies to victory during WWII, became the first five star general, and loved his family. As a humble, self effacing man, Marshall has been lost behind the shadows of great men like George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

He quietly retired to his home in Leesburg, Virginia, called the Marshall House, in 1951 and, after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953, died in 1959. As a tour guide there, I walk among the possessions of one of the greatest men of the 20th century. Plus, he looks so good in a uniform.

People keep calling the East Blue “the weakest sea”, but…

From there we have:

The Pirate King Gol D. Roger. The only known man to have reached Raftel (and probably the man who has the highest bounty of the history).

The vice admiral (because he refused several times to be promoted as admiral) Monkey D. Garp, who managed to corner the Pirate King several times.

The son of Gol D. Roger, Portgas D. Ace. The 2nd division commander of the Whitebeard Pirates. A member of Whitebeard’s crew who’s last bounty before his death was up to 550,000,000 .

The leader of the Revolutionary Army, Monkey D. Dragon. A.k.a probably the worst nightmare of the World Goverment, since he is trying to overthrow them. Considered the most dangerous and wanted man in the world.

One of the crewmates of the emperor Shanks, Yassop. Shanks knew his name before going to ask him to join his crew, so he probably had a reputation.

The kingpig of a mafia that controls 150 towns and now a pirate, Bartolomeo the Cannibal. A Super Rookie with a 150,000,000 bounty.

The Chief of Staff of the Revolutionary Army, Sabo. Number 2 of the Revolutionary Army. Personally trained by Monkey D. Dragon. Current user of the Mera Mera no Mi.

Half of Monkey D. Luffy’s crew.

This rubber brat called Monkey D. Luffy. Grandson of Monkey D. Garp. Son of Monkey D. Dragon. Adoptive brother of Portgas D. Ace and Sabo. A man with a 400,000,000 bounty who has defeated two Shichibukais and is going for the third. Who made and alliance with another. Who is kinda friends with another. Who stole the heart of another and who asked an ex-Shichibukai to join his crew. He is friend of the Yonko Shanks. He has defeated a “God”. He and his crew declared war to the World Goverment, defeated CP9, survived a Buster Call and destroyed Enies Lobby. He is the main resposible of the massive prision break of Impel Down. He wants to defeat the four Yonkos, find the One Piece and be the next Pirate King

The East Blue is not the “weakest sea”

The East Blue is the “Go Big or Go Home sea”

“I wanna be clear to those who try to oppose the United States, I wanna be clear to those who wish to do us harm,  I wanna be clear to those around the world who want to destroy our way of life and that of our allies and friends, the United States military, despite all of our challenges, despite our op tempo, despite everything we have been doing, we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. We will destroy any enemy, anywhere, anytime. Russia can now fight a conventional war in Europe and win. Russia is the only country that will remain relevant forever. Any other country is dispensable and that includes the United States. We are end game now.’” - US Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley

Kiichiro Higuchi 1888-1970


As a major general and the commander of the Harbin Special Branch in 1938, he, with the help of Yosuke Matsuoka, allowed many Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi Germany to cross the border from Otpor, USSR to Manchouli (a city in the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo), in an event which later became known as the Otpor Incident. Higuchi’s subordinates were responsible for feeding the refugees, settling them in Harbin or Shanghai, and arranging for exit visas. General Hideki Tojo, then Chief of staff of the Kwantung Army, assented to Higuchi’s view that the German policy against the Jews was a serious humanitarian concern. Higuchi’s lieutenant Norihiro Yasue advocated for the protection of Jewish refugees to General Seishiro Itagaki, which led to the establishment of the Japanese Jewish Policy Program in 1938.

The despair. Chief of Staff of the wrecked German Army, General Hans Krebs arrives at the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin on May 1, 1945. Krebs shot himself later that day.

General der Panzertruppe Maximilian von Edelsheim and other officers leave in their command VW Schwimmwagen for the far side of the River Elbe to convey the terms of surrender to their subordinate commanders. They have just left the city hall of Stendal, Germany, where Major Frank Keating, 102nd Infantry Div. and Major General James Moore, Chief of Staff US 9th Army gave them the terms for the German XXXXVIII Panzerkorps of which Edelsheim commanded at the time. May 4 1945.

The bulk of the retreating German forces, along with several thousand civilians fleeing the final Soviet advance, reached and crossed the Elbe using the partially destroyed bridge at Tangermünde between 4 May and 7 May 1945, surrendering to elements of the US 102nd Infantry Division, US 9th Army.

(Nb. the vehicle isn’t a standard Type 166 VW Schwimmwagen, but the very rare limited production Type 128.
Notice the high the body sides and the exhaust venting under the rear mudguard.
The small badge on the side of the vehicle is the 48th Pz Korps badge)

(Photo source - US Army Signal Corps)
Presented here by Johnny Sirlande

(Colourised by Richard James Molloy from the UK)

French Mutinies Spread

April 29 1917, SoissonsThe Nivelle Offensive, which Nivelle had promised to call off within forty-eight hours if it did not meet its objectives, was now approaching the end of its second week.  There were some tactical reasons for the continuation, but political reasons dominated.  This was, understandably, little comfort to the soldiers who were expected to repeatedly attack the German lines at extremely high cost.  

The survivors of the 2nd Batallion of the 18th Regiment, which had suffered two-thirds casualties on the first day of the offensive, had been pulled out of the front line and promised that they would be transferred to the quiet Alsace front.  On April 29, however, they were ordered back to the front.  The men were shocked, and simply refused to follow orders from their new officers (their original ones having largely been killed on April 16).  Instead of marching to the front, they ransacked local stores of wine, got drunk, and shouted “down with the war.”  Military police were brought in after midnight, around a dozen men were arrested, and the remainder forced to march to the front.  After largely sham courts martial in early June, five were sentenced to death and the rest deported to French Guiana.  One of the five condemned, a Corporal Moulia, managed to escape and apparently managed to flee to a (more hospitable part) of South America.

This was not an isolated incident; on the same day in Champagne, two hundred men fled into the woods rather than report back to the front.  These mutinies would only grow in size and frequency as the offensive continued.

The French government was looking for a way out.  While they had placed too much trust in Nivelle to sack him yet, on April 28 they promoted Pétain to Chief of Staff of the French Army in an attempt to put a check on Nivelle.  Nivelle, realizing the political pressure was on, attempted to make a scapegoat of his loyal subordinate, General Mangin, “le mangeur des hommes,” and sacked him from command of the Sixth Army on April 29. 

Today in 1916: Kut Surrenders After Five-Month Siege
Today in 1915: 1st Canadian Division Withdrawn From Front Line

Sources include: Richard M. Watt, Dare Call it Treason.

..........

Kai stood up and strode towards the door; 
“Which leaves us with very little time to escape…..”

“Yeah…” Tala muttered. But then he retraced the words back and looked at Kai;
“Wait….did you say escape?”
“Yeah I did…” Kai nodded" Now come on! Let’s go"
“What? But Kai!?” Tala looked at the door with widening eyes.
“Stop questioning! And come on!” Kai snapped, going towards Tala and    helping him on feet.
“Kai….what are you…?”

But Kai cut him off by ranting out instructions;

“Go from the backside. There will be soldiers there patrolling, but you need not worry about them, cause the sacks of ammunitions and gun powder is kept there. You simply have to blend in it. From there, go to stables. Your horse is already there, tied to the wooden post. Amount it and ride towards the west gates, Ian monitored the area last night and told…”

Tala listened to him with bewilderment. He was helping him escape. Then he remembered that who was in the dungeons last night. It was Ian, Spencer and Bryan who were tending to his wounds. They all were helping him in fleeing.

They had finally reached towards the door that would lead to grounds in the backside of barracks. Kai opened it and whispered;

“Go…..”

Tala looked at him with fear and concern.
“But Kai….what about you?! If Boris has the slightest inkling that you were involved in this…..”

Kai held up his hand in air, making Tala shut up instantly.
“Don’t worry about me. You are full aware that Boris can’t lay a finger on me”

Oh yeah, Tala suddenly recalled, that Kai was the grandson of Voltaire Hiwatari, who was currently the member of chief of army staff, a group of elites that were responsible for making decisions regarding the Russia military. Plus he was also the owner of a factory that produces arms and guns for the army. Balkov better not lay a finger on him…

“It’s you they are after Tala….you must get out of here” Kai told him mildly" Last night you pretty much bruised Boris’s ego. He at any cost will get you executed"

There was a silence for a while. Kai then said;
“Here….”

He then kept an object on Tala’s palm. It was a Beyblade.
“Where on the earth did you get that?”
“Doesn’t matter…” Kai said" It will prove very useful in times of need…..“

Tala observed the object. The picture of ice wolf was carved in there. He tightly clutched the beyblade. The door opened. It was still dark outside. Stars were twinkling and blinking slowly. The air considerably felt chilly. Oddly enough it felt good on his skin, after being in dark dungeons for so long, where he was forced to breathe in stale and stuffy air.

Kai give a gentle shove and repeated;
"Go…..”

Tala took a deep breath before letting it out. He took one step outside, the boot crushing the grit into crumbles. He then turned around and tightly embraced Kai.
For a moment, Kai was in shock before returning the hug. During this Tala muttered, his voice coming out muffled;
“I trust you with my life….Hiwatari…..”

The dual haired blader tightened the hands around his broad back and whispered;
“Likewise Ivanov Likewise”

They finally broke apart.
“Go…..i will stall them…..”

Without saying a word, Tala ran towards the stables. On the way there was a storage room in which he took refuge just like Kai instructed him. He could see two people there, that were busily slapping the white rectangular paper on the sacks of ammunitions. They were coding the stock.

Silently he went to very end of the room, and began to amble out quietly behind the tall towers of boxes that were containing guns and rifles.
Upon reaching the other door, he could see the stables. They were just up ahead. But just when he was about to make a move, he heard a horde of stamping boots.

‘Drats!’ Tala thought.

The Russian army was out for morning patrol. Tala waited impatiently, until the sounds became faint. Checking twice and thoroughly, he made his way towards the stables. However before leaving he took the rifle.

The black stallion was tied to a wooden post. Its ears jolted instantly as it heard a pair of feet approaching him. Restlessly it kicked the dirt from his hooves, his eyes huge and rolling with wariness.

The red haired fighter went to it, lightly caressing the rough black mane and the strong neck of an animal, the skin almost having a velvety surface. It immediately calmed and after sniffing the familiar smell, it bought his head forward, prompting to be stroked more.

Cтриж (swift) was a black stallion of height nineteen hands that was owned by the Russian army. It was known to be the most troublesome hooved mammal because it won’t allow anyone to amount it. Surprisingly enough it wasn’t that hostile towards Tala. Don’t know why, but everyone has failed to solve the mystery.

“Мы должны идти, мой друг….” Tala spoke softly, untying the ropes.
(We need to go my friend)

He then mounted it, gripping the reins tightly.
“Rотов?!”
(Ready?)

The horse gives a snort, which was close enough to saying 'Yes’

Tala give a steady shake of reins and with cobbling sounds of hooves, they set off and rode towards the west gate.
The west gates were the most deserted one for many reasons. It directly led to the very depths of forests. Secondly the gates themselves were covered with plantations of ivy and Virginia creepers. Given few more years and it might someday become a part of nature. Still two or three guards were always doing shifts there.

The guards looked up, shocked clearly in their faces when they realized who was on the horse.

“Out of my way….” Tala hissed, aiming for the point; the heavy metal locks of the chains. He raised the muzzle and pressed the trigger, releasing the shots.
1….2….3….4
Tink! Tink! Tink!

The locks broke away, with sparks flying due to friction caused by metal against metal. The soldiers ran away, as the huge stallion came nearer.
Tala tugged the reins, making the stallion to rear. The horse stood on hind legs with a shriek like roar and then bought his front hooves on the gates with a mighty force.

WHAM!

The gates now opened apart. With this done, the duo easily slipped and blended into forest. Far away the sound of civil defense siren could be heard.

'Oh no!’

Tala firmly squeezed the sides with heels and the horse considerably sped up. They rode far away, the woods now becoming blurry green because of the speed.

It was then they heard a whistling sound, and Tala literally felt the hair of his neck standing up. He glanced behind and saw with pure revulsion the soldiers on horses running after him, including Yegor Gleb.

'Figures’

The soldiers were shooting arrows at him. Luckily it didn’t hit Tala. They either hit the trees trunks or the mossy ground.
The echoes of rushing river could be heard from distance.

'If I just cross the other side of the river, I will come on the safe side’

With this thought, Tala tugged the reins, changing the stallion direction.

“What on earth?” Gleb uttered, frowning at the subject who changed the direction. With a dread, it finally dawned on him that what the captain was doing. He started barking the orders.

“Don’t let him cross the river!”
“Why not?” One solider asked.
“Don’t ask questions and do what I ordered!”

The reasons why he won’t allow the captain do as he please was because the land on the other side of the river was a completely new territory to him. He had never gone there and some part of his insides told him that Tala knows it. He will be advantage at this. Finding him there will be like a needle in a haystack.

The river was now in sight.

'Finally’ Tala alleged relieved.

Clock! Clock! Clock!
(The sounds of racing horses)

'Dammit!’

It was a mad chase. Tala was almost close to the point where the river was narrowing. Gleb saw this and directly positioned his bow, with the arrow in middle.

'You are mine Ivanov!’ Gleb gritted out, pulling the bow backwards and whoosh went the arrow.

Tala felt a searing pain on his forearm, making him lose grip on bridles. A blinding pain coursed through its back again. This time it was much excruciating. The second arrow has pierced his wounds, opening one of them.

Tala gasped in agony. Just then a big rock appeared on way. Cтриж made a huge gallop over it. Unfortunately Tala wasn’t ready for it. He slipped from the saddle seat. Only his sweaty hands were clutching the slick neck of the horse, all the while his legs were dangling dangerously in air.

Whoosh!

To avoid being pierced third time by the arrow, Tala ducked himself, his feet now brushing against the uneven path. It was that uneven path, that slight bump which finally made him lose his grip on the riding beast. The black stallion streaked past him, its powerful body knocking him off.

SPLASH!

The captain has fallen in river.

Tala felt his muscles screaming in protest. The water was ice cold. The danger wasn’t over yet. Arrows were still raining upon him, but this time the velocity of them was slow. It might be because of the fast river.

“Kill him! Kill him!” Gleb screamed" I want to see the river red with his filthy blood!“

At this the soldiers who were accompanying him, sweat drop (anime style).
"Sir, he’s dead…” One soldier claimed.
“Oh yeah?! How can you be so sure?!” Gleb questioned nastily.
“Because you shot your arrow at him twice…"the second soldier pointed out.
"He will die from bleeding eventually…..” the third soldier stated.
“Yeah I did…..” Gleb frowned.

 The stallion shrieked in distance.

“Restrain that horse!” Yegor said. He then added" Let’s get out of here. Our business is finished"

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

They say water has no color. But all Tala can see was blue. How that can be?

'Am I dying?’

After all the trouble he went through, after all the work his best friends did, all of it went to waste. He was now drowning in a pool, in a deep deep pool.

'If this was my fate….I should have never left the dungeons. If I was to die like this, then why did I escaped in the first place? I should have never…’

His heart was beating, but rather loudly. Strange…it should have slowed down with all the blood clots now making its way towards the arteries, putting a burden on the heart pumping. The temperature in the river was now rising.

'Is it me or I am feeling resonances….’

Then slowly like a sun rising, the light came. It was so bright that Tala had to shield his eyes. He squinted his eyes and was very surprised to see the source of the light.
A large white beast was right in front of him floating. It looked a lot like wolf. Its shoulder blades jutting out huge shards of ice. Pair of glowing yellow eyes were staring intently at him.

“Wolfborg?!” Tala whispered.

He can’t keep up. Fate has finally arrived. The death angel was closing by.

The last thing Tala remembered was being carried away. He opened his eyes and saw periwinkle blue skies. He was lying on something very soft and so warm.

'Isn’t Wolfborg supposed to feel icy?’

But his question was left unanswered as exhaustion finally blanketed his body.

Sabo and Ace plot bunny

This probably happens somewhere before Teach betrays the Whitebeard pirates and after Luffy set sail. Basically before Sabo regains his memories and Ace and Luffy are still unaware of his existence (of being alive). Also I cried over the fact that Ace didn’t know that Sabo was alive when he died, and so came up with this

  • Back to the story, in the middle of a Revolutionary mission, things go horribly wrong
  • Which means that the members end up getting fatally injured
  • As a last resort, Kuma ends up having to use his devil fruit powers to save the Revolutionary Army
  • Of course, since Sabo is the Chief of Staff by then, he’s in the mission and injured too
  • And gets sent flying to ‘the nearest safe place’ by Kuma despite his protests
  • And ends up landing on a ship
  • A pirate ship
  • Fuck
  • The Moby Dick. Which means the Whitebeard pirates
  • Double fuck
  • Cue lots of confusion from both the pirates and Sabo
  • But Sabo is on the verge of passing out from his injuries but he’s in a strange situation and can’t afford to let himself pass out
  • But for some reason despite his head screaming at him to get the hell out of the place, he can’t deny the sense of safety that came with it
  • It was as if his heart knew that no harm would come to him here
  • Which was kinda laughable because he was a Revolutionary and they were Pirates
  • But still…
  • And that freckled half-naked boy needs to stop pointing at him and cursing
  • Cue: Passing out
  • Or somewhere along those lines


There will definitely be more like THEIR REUNION and stuff but i’m just floating this plot bunny out

Do You Hate Me?

I was inspired by this post by the awesome sabolus and the equally awesome portggasdace to write something angsty.


Sabo remembers.

He can see the freckled face stretched to a grin in every man he passes, and hear the distinctive shishishi-laugh in every snicker that leaves his companions’ lips.

He doesn’t feel he has the right to forget, nor does he want to. He has done his fair share of forgetting, and now he clings onto the newfound memories like a lifeline, no matter how much they wound him. He embraces the nightmares of his family dying over and over again, of his younger brother screaming insults and accusations in his face while his other brother’s prone body gets colder and colder, the fire quenched but a macabre, yet so serene smile still on his lips nonetheless.

It terrifies him to know that his brothers went through hell without him. It pains him to know his brother died before they had the chance to meet again and he could apologize, set things right. It makes him want to cry to know that his little brother, the one he asked Ace to protect, was alone with his grief after the other had fulfilled his promise and paid for it with his life.

And it disgusts him to know that he should have been there but wasn’t, makes him feel so ashamed and so fucking sorry that it kills him.

He doesn’t know if he could have changed things, but he knows that he should have been there, as well as he knows that the sky is blue and the ocean is wet.

It haunts him to know that maybe, perhaps, possibly he could have served a purpose to save and protect those closest to him, but he didn’t remember - didn’t have the memories that would have made all the difference before it was too late.

What good does training like a madman for a decade do, if you don’t use those skills to protect the ones you love? What merit do his own aspirations for liberty hold when he was unable to break the chains of the one person who deserved all the freedom the world has to offer?

Those thoughts have kept Sabo company from the moment he laid eyes on that newspaper article about the war, his only solace remaining with the knowledge that at least Luffy is safe, he is okay, he is happy.

So when Luffy asks the question he has wanted to ask for two years now, reveals that, despite his energetic exterior he, too, is haunted by the same demons of fear and regret, it breaks Sabo’s heart.

“Sabo… Do you hate me?”

He freezes, his heart pounding and blood rushing in his ears. The question is whispered into a pillow, muffled but not muted, and his brother’s voice is so broken and small that it takes the revolutionary a long time to process the words.

‘No, of course not Lu, I’m sorry, I’m the one to blame, I wasn’t there…’

“I didn’t save him… Do you hate me?” Luffy sniffles in a voice that doesn’t belong to someone close to their twenties.

No, this is the same seven year old boy that used to wake him up after a nightmare with a quivering lip and red rimmed eyes. This is the little brother of Ace and Sabo, not the notorious Straw Hat Luffy, and neither Sabo is the chief of staff of the revolutionary army at that moment, but a big brother in all his heart and soul. 

Why would Luffy ever think like that? He is the one that failed, that left his brothers on their own for all those years, who didn’t remember, who…

Years of self-doubt and anger course through Sabo’s veins like poison, clouding his mind. He stifles a groan. Why would his -sweet, innocent, compassionate, undeserving of all this shit- little brother ever blame himself when he all but lost his life to save Ace?

When he was there and Sabo was… not.

“Sabo?”

His whispered name rips Sabo back into reality. There is no time for speculation, not when Luffy is still sobbing softly into the pillow he is clutching onto with a white-knuckled grip, hard enough to break the fabric. A stray feather lands on Sabo’s hand, and he stares at it for a split-second before his vocal chords remember how to transform his thoughts into actual, audible sounds.

“No, oh Luffy, why would you even think that, no, of course not…” He hurries to answer, and brown eyes swimming with tears meet his own, holding the eye contact for no more than two seconds before Sabo’s arms are occupied with shivering rubber limbs. He holds his brother tight, so close that anyone but his elastic brother would have broken a bone or dozen, and Sabo doesn’t want to let go. Not ever.

“Are… you… sure?” Luffy mumbles through his tears. Sabo wipes them away with his gloved hand and smiles somberly. The younger brother goes limp his arms, his entire form racked with relieved sobs.

“Of course I’m sure, idiot.” He says fondly, and Luffy smiles at him, reassuring his brother without a spoken word that he doesn’t blame Sabo either.

Sabo can hear himself babbling, muttering close to incomprehensible words of reassurance and comfort to his only remaining brother. Tears burn in his eyes, and he lets them fall.

They stay like that for hours, until the Straw Hat’s resident swordsman comes searching for the captain who has apparently missed dinner. And when even the prospect of meat doesn’t make Luffy break the borderline chokehold Sabo has on him, the green haired man merely smiles and nods in understanding.

Luffy’s tears have long since dried, and so have Sabo’s. They have nothing more to say and they can hear their stomachs growling in unison, but they don’t want to let go. Not then, not ever.

“I miss him.”

“I miss him, too.”

September 1, 1916 - Bulgaria Declares War on Romania

Pictured - A Bulgarian propaganda poster.  Bulgaria smoldered with resentment for its neighbors after its humiliating loss in the Second Balkan War in 1913, and the war provided it with an opportunity for vengeance.

Bulgaria declared war on its Balkan neighbor on September 1, eager to settle scores from the Second Balkan War three years earlier, which had pitted it against the rest of the peninsula.  Romania’s advance into Transylvania proved short-lived, whereas its troops could have been a massive aid to the Russian soldiers in the Carpathians.  Former German Chief of the Army Staff Erich von Falkenhayn arrived on the Eastern Front to take command of the German Ninth Army, which would attack Romania from the north with help from the Austrians, while the Bulgarians would attack from the south.  Romania was geographically vulnerable to a two-pronged attack.

"What Have I Done?": Richard Nixon's Perilous Final Hours in the White House

The 37th President of the United States was hysterical.  Crumpled in a leather chair in the Lincoln Sitting Room, his favorite of the 132 rooms at his disposal in the White House, Richard Milhous Nixon called for his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.  Nixon was drinking, Nixon was exhausted, Nixon was physically and mentally unwell and, hours earlier, Nixon had finally realized that he had no other choice but to become the first President in United States history to resign his office.

A Presidential resignation was so unthinkable that nobody had ever agreed on how a President even resigns his office.  Is his resignation effective the moment he makes his decision?  Does he have to sign anything?  If so, who does he hand his resignation into?  What happens to his things?  His belongings, his property, his papers?  Is the Secret Service responsible for his protection?  How does he even get home after leaving the White House?  In fact, after making the decision to step down, Nixon questioned whether a President could resign at all.  None of these questions had ever been contemplated until it became apparent that the Watergate scandal and subsequent cover-up was fatal to the Nixon Administration.

When Kissinger answered the President’s summons on the evening of August 7th, 1974, he found that Nixon was nearly drunk, sitting in a darkened room, and lost in thought.  Throughout the nearly 200 years of America’s life only 35 other human beings had held the office that Nixon was holding and Nixon was in the unique position of being the only one to decide on resignation.  Nixon was the only person in the history of human existence that had to do what he was forced into doing. 

Nixon was a ferociously introspective person — a man who hated people but loved politics.  Not only did he love politics, but he was extraordinarily skilled at it.  Some would say that Richard Nixon was a terrible politician, but the results prove otherwise.  When he was 33 years old Nixon was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  At 38 he was one of California’s United States Senators.  Before he turned 40, he was elected Vice President of the United States alongside Dwight Eisenhower.  A bad politician doesn’t accomplish that much that quickly.  Nixon was narrowly defeated for the Presidency in 1960 by John F. Kennedy and lost a race for Governor of California in 1962 to incumbent Pat Brown, but a bad politician would not have won his party’s nomination for either of those offices. 

The most overlooked barometer of Nixon’s political skill is the fact that he ran for President in three different elections (1960, 1968, and 1972), won two of them, and lost the popular vote in 1960 to John F. Kennedy by just .2% nationwide.  During Richard Nixon’s career, more Americans cast votes in favor of sending him to the White House than Franklin Delano Roosevelt who won an unprecedented four terms.  Over three elections, Nixon received 113,059,260 votes for President — nearly 10 million more than FDR (103,419,425 votes over four elections).  A bad politician couldn’t trick people into casting 113 million votes to make him their leader and allow him to become the most powerful man in the world.

Yet, for all of Richard Nixon’s immense political skills, intelligence, ability, and achievements, he allowed his uncontrollable paranoia to destroy him.  Nixon didn’t need help to win re-election in 1972, but he authorized dirty tricks against the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic nominee, George McGovern.  Nixon and his top aides covered up the break-in at the DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., and by the summer of 1974, it was revealed that a secret White House taping system held evidence of the cover-up.  Still, Nixon continued to fight, believing that he could win back the American people and once again come back from disaster as he had done many times before.  This time was different, however.  There was no comeback from this scandal.  If Nixon did not resign, he would be impeached and found guilty in a Senate trial.  If Nixon did not resign, he would probably go to prison.  When the impossibility of survival was finally understood by the President, the man who had told Americans “I am not a quitter” realized that he had to quit.

•••

In the last days of July 1974, most of President Nixon’s aides came to the conclusion that Nixon’s position was untenable and that resignation was imminent.  When Republican Congressional leaders indicated that they would no longer support Nixon and would vote for articles of impeachment, all hope was lost and Vice President Gerald Ford — in office for less than 8 months — began preparations to assume the Presidency.  Nixon held out the longest, but he was so out of touch that he was losing the ability to exercise the powers of his office.  For weeks, the day-to-day operations of the White House — and, really, the Presidency itself — were handled by General Alexander Haig, a four-star Army general and the White House Chief of Staff.  Haig was a longtime holdout in the futile attempt to save Nixon’s Presidency, but the damning evidence that was revealed almost daily in the final weeks of Nixon’s administration left Haig no choice but to attempt to orchestrate a somewhat dignified exit for Nixon and smooth transition for Ford. 

At times in those last few weeks, Nixon brooded in the Lincoln Sitting Room or his secret hideaway office in the Old Executive Office Building across the street from the White House.  Even in the Washington summer, Nixon would sit in one of the two rooms with a fire burning in the fireplace scribbling memos to himself on his familiar yellow legal pads.  The President would drink scotch and get drunk quickly; he was famously unable to handle his low-tolerance for alcohol very well.  Often, an aide or valet would find Nixon loudly blaring his favorite music — the score from the 1950’s documentary “Victory at Sea”.  Other times, Nixon would listen to the tapes from his Oval Office recording system that were bringing his Presidency down around him, rewinding, fast-forwarding, listening again-and-again to his own voice saying the things now coming back to haunt him.

Aides throughout the White House and staff from other departmental agencies worried about the President’s ability to function and continue to lead the country while in his current mental state.  Discussions were quietly held about whether it was necessary to attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which calls for the Vice President to assume the powers of the Presidency if the President is somehow incapacitated and unable to discharge the heavy everyday responsibilities of his office.  Nixon was barely sleeping, drinking heavily, and making bizarre, rambling late-night phone calls to subordinates throughout the Executive Branch of the United States government.  Nearly everyone who knew his condition questioned the President’s capacity to function.

There were also serious questions about whether or not Nixon, in a desperate attempt to hold on to power, might use the military to protect himself and the White House.  Tensions were already high in the streets of Washington, D.C. with protesters loudly demonstrating and calling for Nixon’s resignation.  High-ranking officials in the Department of Defense and the White House privately worried about the possibility that Nixon would ring the streets around the White House with tanks and armored personnel carriers, ostensibly to protect the Executive Mansion from acts of civil disobedience, but also to set up a fortress-like barrier that might allow him to remain in the White House in the case of a Congressional or Supreme Court-ordered removal from office.

Most startling of all is the fact that in the week before his resignation, Nixon’s inability to efficiently or appropriately wield executive power had dwindled so far that Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger urged General George S. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to not take military orders directly from the President.  In an attempt to save the country from any extra-constitutional power grab by a desperate President, the military chain-of-command took the extra-constitutional step of removing the President from the loop.  Schlesinger also investigated what his options would be if troops had to forcibly remove the President from office.  The Defense Secretary’s plan was to bring the 82nd Airborne to Washington from Fort Bragg, North Carolina if that was necessary.

While Nixon’s aides and fellow government officials worried about his mental health and ability to lead, Nixon’s family worried about his physical well-being.  The President was exhausted, erratic, and not sleeping well at all.  He downed sleeping pills, drank scotch, and continued sitting alone in one of his two favorite offices.  Nixon attempted to put on a brave face for his family, but they too were weary of the process and his wife Pat’s health was already precarious.  Nixon sometimes found solace in the company of his daughters Tricia and Julie and their respective husbands, Edward Cox and David Eisenhower (grandson of the late President Dwight Eisenhower). 

Yet the toll was terrible on the family and while Nixon’s daughters were supportive and urged him to continue fighting, both Cox and Eisenhower felt that their father-in-law needed to resign for the good of the country and the good of their family, and worried that the President might not leave the White House alive.  On August 6, 1974, Edward Cox called Michigan Senator Robert Griffin, a friend of Nixon’s who was urging resignation.  Notifying the Senator that Nixon seemed irrational, Griffin responded that the President had seemed fine during their last meeting.  Cox went further and explained, “The President was up walking the halls last night, talking to pictures of former Presidents — giving speeches and talking to the pictures on the wall.”  Senator Griffin was flabbergasted and even more taken aback when Cox followed that bombshell with a worried plea for help, “The President might take his own life.”

White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig also worried about suicide.  A few days earlier, the despondent President and his Chief of Staff were alone when Nixon started talking about how disgraced military officers sometimes fall on their sword.  To Haig, the Army General, Nixon said, “You fellows, in your business, you have a way of handling problems like this.  Somebody leaves a pistol in the drawer.”  Haig was stunned.  Then sadly — bitterly — Nixon said, “I don’t have a pistol.”

Haig was trying to steer the President towards as dignified of an exit as possible in such a dire situation.  Already dealing with the first Presidential resignation, what he definitely wanted to prevent as Chief of Staff was the first-ever Presidential suicide.  Haig worked with the President’s Navy doctors to limit Nixon’s access to pills and tranquilizers.  When Haig mentioned his worries about a Nixon suicide to White House counsel Fred Buzhardt, Buzhardt said he didn’t think Nixon was the type to commit suicide.  Buzhardt believed Nixon was actually a deeply religious man privately, but the White House counsel also thought that Richard Nixon would continue fighting, as he always had, until the ship went down.  Alexander Haig just wanted to keep the President alive.

In his office in the Old Executive Office Building on the evening of Tuesday, August 6th, Nixon met with Haig and Press Secretary Ron Ziegler to inform them that he was definitely resigning before the end of the week and that he would announce the decision in a speech to the nation on Thursday evening from the Oval Office.  Nixon, Haig, and Ziegler discussed ideas for the resignation speech and during a moment of contemplative silence, Nixon looked up at his two loyalists and said, “Well, I screwed it up good, real good, didn’t I?”. 

•••

The morning of August 7th began with Haig notifying Vice President Ford that Nixon’s resignation was imminent and that Ford would be assuming the Presidency within 48 hours.  Though Nixon had told Haig and Ziegler that his decision was irrevocable, the last obstacle to resignation was still Nixon’s indecisiveness, which was a result of the unwavering support from his daughters, Tricia and Julie.  Throughout the day of August 7th, Nixon seemed calm, but said more than once that he had not made up his mind about resignation yet, which worried his exhausted Chief of Staff.  Haig had barely slept over the last four days and he hoped that the President’s meeting with Senate leaders that afternoon would seal the resignation decision.  It did.  During the meeting, Nixon learned that he had virtually no support in either the House of Representatives or the Senate and that staying in office would damage him personally and be dangerous for the country.  After the meeting, Nixon told his loyal secretary Rose Mary Woods that he had no other choice but to resign, and then he directed her to inform his family.  Nixon’s family learned of his final decision from his secretary, and she also told them that the President didn’t wish to discuss the situation when they met for dinner later.  Before Nixon sat down to eat with his family that night, he simply said, “We’re going back to California.”

It was after dinner that night when Nixon summoned Henry Kissinger to the Residence of the White House and sat with his Secretary of State in the Lincoln Sitting Room.  Though the two leaders had worked tirelessly together on foreign policy during Nixon’s administration, they didn’t necessarily like each other.  Nixon was often jealous of Kissinger’s popularity and dismissive of his personality.  Kissinger thought the President was bitterly mean at times, and unnecessarily paranoid about Kissinger’s loyalty.  They worked well together, but more often than not, they downplayed the other’s role in crafting the administration’s foreign policy when speaking to others.  Nixon didn’t trust Kissinger and Kissinger was often angered by Nixon’s irrational behavior, especially in the past few days as the Secretary of State believed the President’s problems had paralyzed the country’s foreign affairs.

On this night, however, Nixon and Kissinger simply talked.  They discussed their accomplishments, their failures, their philosophies and disagreements, and Nixon urged the diplomat to stay on as Secretary of State and provide Gerald Ford with the same service he had provided Nixon.  Sitting there in the smallest room of the White House, Nixon asked Kissinger about how he would be remembered.  Although he had made mistakes, he felt that he had accomplished great things for his country.  Nixon was worried that his legacy would be Watergate and resignation, but he desperately wanted to be thought of as a President who achieved peace.  Kissinger insisted that Nixon would get the credit he deserved.

President Nixon started crying.  At first, it was a teary-eyed hope that his resignation wouldn’t overshadow his long career, but soon, it broke down into sobbing as the President lamented the failures and the disgrace he had brought to his country.  Nixon — a man who never wore his Quaker religion on his sleeve — turned to Kissinger and asked him if he would pray with him.  Despite being Jewish, Kissinger felt he had no choice but to kneel with the President as Nixon prayed for peace — both for his country and for himself. 

After finishing his prayer, Nixon remained in a kneeling position while silently weeping, tears streaming down the large jowls often caricatured by political cartoonists.  Kissinger looked over and saw the President lean down, burying his face in the Lincoln Sitting Room’s carpet and slamming his fist against the ground crying, “What have I done?  What has happened?”.  Nixon and Kissinger both disliked physical affection and Nixon in particular hated being touched, but Kissinger didn’t know any other way to console his weary, broken boss.  Softly patting Nixon’s back at first, Kissinger embraced Nixon in a hug and held the President of the United States until he calmed down and the tears stopped flowing.  Kissinger helped Nixon up to his feet and the men shared another drink, talking openly about what role Nixon could have in the future as a former President.

When Kissinger returned to his office a little later, he couldn’t even begin to explain what had happened to his top aides, Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger.  Kissinger was saddened and shocked, and Eagleburger noted that he had never seen the Secretary of State so moved by something.  A few minutes later, Nixon called Kissinger’s office and Eagleburger listened in on the call on another extension.  The President was clearly drunk and again thanked Kissinger for visiting him, imploring him to help Ford in the same way he had helped Nixon. 

Before hanging up, Nixon pleaded with Kissinger, “Henry, please don’t ever tell anyone that I cried and that I was not strong.” 

•••

It is telling that even while losing control and finding himself at the end of his rope, President Nixon was concerned about looking weak.  Throughout his long career, Nixon saw himself as a fighter and tried to portray himself as such.  But Nixon also proudly saw himself as a man who had to earn everything he achieved, without any help from anyone else, and despite obstacles constantly being thrown in his path.  Nixon felt that the media was out to get him because he wasn’t charismatic or flashy like his old rival, John F. Kennedy.  Nixon felt that there was something sinister behind every issue he faced, and he went too far in his attempt to destroy those that he felt were trying to destroy him.

Before leaving the White House on August 9th, 1974, Nixon made an impromptu speech to White House employees in the East Room of the mansion.  It is one of the most revealing speeches of any President at any time in history, and it is Nixon without his guard up; Nixon with nothing left to lose.  He talked about his family, his achievements, and his appreciation for the people who worked in his administration.  He rambled at times, and he was clearly saddened by the situation.  And, towards the end of his speech, Richard Nixon — with just minutes left in his Presidency — seemed to have finally learned his lesson:

“Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”


With that, Richard Milhous Nixon and his family walked out on to the South Lawn of the White House, accompanied by the man who would soon assume the Presidency, Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty.  As he boarded the Presidential helicopter, Marine One, Nixon turned around to face the cameras and the White House and the country, smiled wanly, defiantly thrust his trademark peace sign salute into the air over his head and waved goodbye to the Presidency and hello to history.

2

The Eisenhower Jacket

General Dwight D. Eisenhower considered the Army’s World War II military uniform to be restricting and poorly suited for combat. Instead he had a standard issue wool field jacket tailored to be “very short, very comfortable, and very natty looking.” The resulting “Eisenhower jacket” or “Ike jacket,” as it came to be known, was standard issue to American troops after November 1944.

This “Ike jacket” was worn by Eisenhower, seen here in this photograph.

Ike urged theater-wide adoption of the shorter jacket in a May 5, 1943, letter to General George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff.

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