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October 2013

Pritzker Library: Top Ten Favorite Recruiting Posters

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.

See them here: http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/10/28/pritzkers_favorite_recruiting_posters

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.

Not among their 10, these are my favorites:


SF-Join A Minority Group

Green Beret

Special Forces



Book Review - "Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House" by Robert Dallek

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.

9780062065841_p0_v42_s260x420With 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. This book adds insight and knowledge to the era of the early 1960’s as Dallek discusses the Kennedy Presidency.

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.

Photo: LZ Security

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

Of his honor & his glory, the people would sing

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.

Josh BrennanSGT 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.

Photo: Apache Preparation

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

Photo: The Truman at Sunset

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

Oracle sees the value of vets

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.

They are holding an event here in Virginia. Good on 'em.

In keeping with our history of supporting those who serve our country

Welcomes Veterans to join us at our

Leadership and Get Connected Event for Veterans

  • Meet Oracle leaders and learn about employment opportunities andthe Oracle Veterans Program
  • Get connected to our Oracle veteran partners and resource organizations
  • Join the panel discussion on the transition from military to corporate life, and hear what hiring managers are looking for now

Enjoy a special screening of the award-winning documentary


An unforgettable story of 11 wounded warriors and 1 Gold Star Mom who climb Mt Lobuche in the Himalayas 

Meet Oracle Senior Producer & High Ground cinematographer

John Von Seeburg 

and SSgt Cody Miranda, USMC, Retired 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2:30 - 6:30 PM, at the Oracle Campus in Reston, VA