As a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army's 7th Special Forces Group, UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy has been on the front lines and beyond. Remarkably, his story of service began on one of America's darkest days.
Chicago's Pritzker Military Library is a unique non-profit organization that is committed to maintaining and improving the public's appreciation of the military -- past, present, and future. In honor of the Library's 10th anniversary, its special collections staff has selected 10 of their favorite military recruitment posters from its collection to share.
More about the Pritzker Library: In addition to more than 45,000 books on military history and several thousand artifacts, the library's collection houses more than 1,500 prints and posters from the late 17th century to the present. It includes posters from all over the world, in nine languages. The bulk of the collection consists of propaganda posters from World War I and World War II, including works from Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, and Norman Rockwell. The subject matter of these posters ranges from military recruiting, fundraising, and conservation to charity, education, and protest.
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the far right sidebar.
With the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s assassination, November
22, 2013, quickly approaching Americans will be inundated with volumes of
material about the 35th President. If you have to choose one book on the topic of
President Kennedy Camelot’s Court: Inside
the Kennedy White House by renowned historian Robert Dallek is a compelling
read. Thisbook adds insight and
knowledge to the era of the early 1960’s as Dallek discusses the Kennedy
Americans have always adored this President for his youthfulness,
wittiness, and his persona as evidenced by a telling statistic in the book: a 2010
Gallup poll gave JFK an astonishing 85% approval rating. Dallek commented to
blackfive.net, “Kennedy’s phenomenal hold on the American imagination is due in
large part to his relatability, especially since the Presidents directly after
him where not very well liked. There is
this enduring effort to sustain a Camelot image.”
The author explores in his latest book whether or not this
rating is warranted. He examined Kennedy’s effectiveness as a leader,
presenting a gripping description of how Kennedy related to his advisors,
centering around two important foreign policy issues: Viet Nam and Cuba. It is
a fascinating look at the brain trust that encompassed a wide variety of
opinions, attitudes, and political ideology.
Dallek traces Kennedy’s learning curve regarding foreign
affair issues starting with his almost complete dependence on his advisors
during the Bay of Pigs. High points were given to President Kennedy for taking
complete responsibility for its failure.
He did not blame the previous Eisenhower administration that came up
with the plan, nor any of the advisors.
Dallek explained to blackfive.net that he hopes to show in the book how
“Kennedy came to realize he is the Commander-in-chief and remembered what
President Truman said, ‘The Buck Stops Here,’ the final decision rests with the
President. There was also the advice by Charles De Gaulle who told him to
listen to his advisors, but at the end of the day he must make up his own mind
and rely on his own judgment. He did
this by correcting the course so this type of fiasco would never happen again.”
The author skillfully shows how, after this event, during
the rest of his administration, Kennedy took De Gaulle’s advice into account when
handling the other major national security issues: the Cuban Missile Crisis and
Viet Nam. Yet, at times Kennedy went to
the other extreme and was hesitant to accept his advisor’s opinions. Dallek
hammers this point home by explaining how the President did not just take the assessment
of his CIA Director John McCone but had to be convinced that his views were shortsighted.
Dallek noted, “Kennedy initially misread Soviet intentions of having a missile
buildup in Cuba.”
A powerful quote from the book reflects Kennedy’s outlook,
“domestic politics can unseat you, but foreign dangers can kill you.” The
author demonstrates how in the midst of the Cold War Kennedy decided to have
his advisors offer suggestions, but any final decision was based on his
judgment. Kennedy’s growth as a leader is traced through the comparison of foreign
policy issues from the beginning to the end of his term. Camelot’s
Court is a very captivating and interesting read since it shows how
national security and foreign affairs shape a presidency, its agenda, and the
relationship between advisors and a President.
U.S. Army Sgt. Walter Miles, foreground, U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Nick Wahlquist, center left, and U.S. Army Pfc. Kyle O'Brien practice mountaintop landing zone security techniques with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Oct. 14, 2013. Miles, Wahlquist and O'Brien are assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Artillery Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, and the helicopter crew members are assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jameanthony Gray
An interesting thing happened yesterday. I bought some CDs and was listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Greatest Hits. The first song was Lucky Man, a beautiful story of a privileged soul with all of the rewards of earthly life.
He had white horses
And ladies by the score
All dressed in satin
And waiting by the door
But he chose to serve a higher calling.
He went to fight wars
For his country and his king
Of his honor and his glory
The people would sing
War respects no man's status or class and so...
A bullet had found him
His blood ran as he cried
No money could save him
So he laid down and he died
Yet the refrain comes back and reminds us.
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was.
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
He died for something larger than himself. Greater love hath no man than this: That a man lay down his life for his friends. As I sat pondering what a beautiful song and tale this was, I looked on Facebook and I saw a post from Mike Brennan remembering his son Josh and this video. I then looked at the bracelet I have worn every day for about 5 years.
SGT Joshua C. Brennan 2/503rd, 173 ABCT, KIA 26 Oct- 07
At that moment it was still the 25th of October, but it occurred to me that it was already the 26th in Afghanistan where Josh and the Rock paratroopers had been fighting the Taliban. Godspeed Josh, You were a Lucky Man.
Mike Brennan gave me the KIA bracelet at a fundraiser to welcome home Josh's unit from the war. He also asked me a funny question, "Hey Uncle J, I remember you from a few years ago. Did you counter-protest an anti-war event at the recruiting station here in Madison back in '04?"
That caught me by surprise, but the answer was yes. Mike was a City of Madison Police Detective and he said "I thought so. I was there in plainclothes to keep an eye on things. When this big guy with a huge sign on a 2x4 showed up, I got assigned to follow him around and make sure he didn't beat anyone with it. That was you. Your cute little blonde daughter was with you, right?" Again the answer was yes. He said "Yeah, I had a great time that day. You went around and argued with all the hippies and ripped 'em up. I wished I coulda said those things to them. That was one of my more enjoyable days on the force." Well, there was a mind blower, for sure.
It was great to meet Mike and the rest of the Brennans. They are the kind of people that make me proud to be from Wisconsin and an American. I'm thankful God put us together then and gave a very cool reminder of that yesterday. I carry Josh's warrior spirit on my wrist every day, not as a reminder, but as a symbol. When asked about the KIA bracelet I wear, I have the opportunity to tell about SGT Josh Brennan, an American hero. He will always be remembered, as will all the Lucky Men and Women who have given their lives for freedom.
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Amanda Combs prepares her AH-64 Apache helicopter for a security and reconnaissance mission over Logar and Wardak provinces from Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan's Logar province, Oct. 22, 2013. Combs, a pilot, is assigned to 2nd Battalion Assault, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. U.S. Army Photo by Capt. Peter Smedberg
The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman sails during sunset in the Gulf of Oman, Oct. 19, 2013. The Truman, flagship for the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility to conduct maritime security operations and support theater security cooperation efforts. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike DiMestico
It is easy for corporations to donate money to wounded warrior programs or veterans groups and pat themselves on the back for being good people. And doing that is certainly a good thing. But vets don't really want a handout as much as a hand up and Oracle has done a great job with that. They regularly hire and train wounded warriors and other veterans and both the vets and Oracle benefit from the arrangement.
A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter conducts a mission to move personnel over Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Oct. 11, 2013. The helicopter crew is assigned to the Massachusetts National Guard, attached to the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. U.S. Army Photo by Capt. Peter Smedberg
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.