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March 2014

Warrior Flight Team to honor WW2 USMC Aviator with Arlington Flyover

As they did in September of last year, the Warrior Flight Team will help provide flyover honors at Arlington National Cemetery for USMC 1st Lt Bruce Guetzloe, a WW2 Corsair aviator who passed away in August of last year.

Lt Bruce Guetzloe USMC FG1 Corsair 1

To help defray the cost of these essential missions to honor our departed heroes, if anyone would like to contribute to the expenses of these flights, head over to the Warrior Flight Team page where you can donate.  Thanks!

News Release:

Flyover of Arlington National Cemetery to Honor WWII/Korea Marine Fighter Pilot to be performed by Private Group after DOD Declines.

Private group to fill-in at their own expense to honor USMC 1st LT. Bruce A. Guetzloe at Arlington Burial on April 22, 2014

Washington, DC February 25, 2014:  A pending flyover of military aircraft flown by private citizens will occur over Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA on April 22, 2014 at approximately 1:00 pm in honor of the interment of United States Marine fighter pilot, Bruce A. Guetzloe, 1st Lt, who died in August, 2013.

Warrior Flight Team along with their affiliate Warrior Aviation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships in aviation related fields to wounded serviceman from Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has committed to perform the flyover at their own expense after the proper waivers, flight plans, and clearances have been obtained from the Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service and Federal Aviation Administration.

The flyover, if approved by the TSA, DHS, FAA and appropriate authorities itself will consist of four tactical jet aircraft, 2 P-51 Mustangs and one historical F4U Corsair identical to the war bird aircraft that Lt. Guetzloe flew in the Pacific Theatre during WWII and later in Korea.   All participating aircraft and their respective pilots (all veterans themselves) will  be donated by their owners.

Lt. Guetzloe, originally from Minneapolis, MN, saw action in the Pacific primarily aboard the USS Franklin (CV 13) during WWII.  Guetzloe flew a F4U Vaught Corsair with VMF 452 “SkyRaiders” during his service on the Franklin until March of 1945 when the Franklin was severely damaged by a Japanese bomber with a direct hit on the magazine which resulted in a catastrophic loss of life.  The Franklin, nicknamed “The Ship That Wouldn’t Die” was the flagship of the American Invasion fleet at the time.  Guetzloe was medically discharged after being diagnosed with polio during the Korean War. 

“The family is deeply honored to have these distinguished veterans honor my dad with this flyover.  It is a tribute to their resolve and the dedication and honor of the men and women of the United States armed forces that has made this salute possible.  They have our thanks and the thanks of a grateful nation for their continued service to the United States of America,” stated Doug Guetzloe, eldest son of Lt. Guetzloe.

Photo - Search for the Missing Malaysian Airlines Plane

Hires_140309-N-ZZ999-007cA U.S. Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter lands aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney during a crew swap before returning to search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight in the Gulf of Thailand, March 9, 2014. The flight, which dropped off the radar of Subang, Indonesia, traffic controllers early Saturday morning while over the South China Sea, had 227 passengers from 14 nations and 12 crew members. The Seahawk is from the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78. U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Chris D. Boardman

Photo - Navigating the Strait

Hires_140306-N-JX484-093cU.S. Navy Seaman Dustin Epp navigates with a telescopic alidade on the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan in the Strait of Messina, March 6, 2014. The ship is supporting maritime security operations, providing crisis response capability and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Hays

Book Review - "An Officer and a Spy" by Robert Harris

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 side bar.

9780385349598_p0_v1_s260x420Robert Harris’ latest book, An Officer And A Spy, is a fictional account of the Dreyfus Affair.  This is a thrilling historical novel that delves into the world of espionage, conspiracy, and corruption surrounding the persecution of an army officer for the sole reason he was Jewish. Although most people know of this historical tragic event, readers will be interested to find out how Harris has the story unfold. The focus is not so much on Dreyfus as it is on Colonel Georges Picquart. 

The plot begins as Alfred Dreyfus, a Captain in the French Army, is paraded throughout the streets of Paris after being convicted of treason, and is imprisoned at the hellhole of Devil’s Island.  Among the witnesses to Dreyfus’ humiliation is Picquart who had a hand in his conviction by carrying a secret document that supposedly proved Dreyfus’ guilt.  Because of his loyalty to his superiors during the trial Picquart is promoted to Colonel as he heads the counterespionage agency. While performing his duties Picquart stumbles upon information that leads him to change his mind from considering Dreyfus guilty to now believing in his innocence.  He is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself, especially since Dreyfus was convicted on the basis of secret evidence, in a closed court, in which neither Dreyfus nor his lawyer was able to view the evidence.

Harris told blackfive.net, “I wrote the book from Picquart’s point of view.  That is why in the book; Dreyfus had a ghostly, haunting presence.  Because he was seized, locked up, and shipped off to Devil’s Island, he was unable to find out anything for himself.  I truly believe there would not have been a Dreyfus Affair without Picquart.  He was the one who did the detective work and faced the moral dilemma: should he go along with his comrades for the sake of an institution he so loved, the army, or did he say to hell with that and tell the truth.”

Realizing that the wrong man was convicted of espionage the Colonel goes on a quest to find justice.  Unfortunately, the conspirators included a high level of senior officers such as the Minister of War, the Chief of the General Staff, the former head of Military Intelligence, and the Commander of the Fourth Army. A powerful quote in the book explains Picquart’s dilemma, “So this is what the Army of France has sunk to.  Either they are the greatest fools in Europe or the greatest villains:  for the sake of my country I am not sure which is worse.  But some instinct for self-preservation warns me not to fight them now.”  The author is able to show the suspense and mystery involved as Picquart is accused of being a co-conspirator, is tried for treason, and also is imprisoned.  The cover-up became deeper, stranger, and more criminally psychotic.

Harris directly explained, “I put the quote in the book, ‘Really, it is beyond hypocrisy; it is beyond even lying; it has become a psychosis.’  What is interesting to me is how people closed ranks and justified to themselves lying is ok for the supposed greater good.  I think this is the biggest conspiracy cover-up there ever was, even bigger than Watergate. Picquart finally realized while he was banished to Africa that he was never going to be allowed back into France and that nothing was going to happen unless he spoke up.  Only then did he decide to act.  When he realized that the Dreyfus family would not find a breakthrough or that he would never be able to convince his superiors to right a wrong he decided to act. It was hard for him because he did not want to bring down the institution he worked for and loved, the army.”

An Officer And A Spy is a riveting account of the Dreyfus Affair from the perspective of the person who broke the case wide open.  It is a legal thriller, an espionage story, and a crime novel all rolled into one.  The plot contrasts the different human characteristics of deceit, intimidation, ruthlessness, and anti-Semitism.  Anyone who wants to read a captivating book that involves blackmail, espionage, corruption, murder, and injustice should read this novel.

Medal of Honor recipient Walter Ehlers passes

Walter D. Ehlers, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient for the Normandy campaign, was laid to rest March 10 at Riverside (Calif.) National Cemetery.

Ehlers was born in Junction City, Ks. on May 7, 1921. He enlisted in the Army with his brother Roland and the two served together throughout the North Africa and Sicily campaigns, but anticipating high casualties, their company commander separated the brothers for the Normandy invasion due to fears that the two would perish together. Walter learned on June 14 that his brother perished when a mortar struck his landing craft at Omaha Beach on D-Day.

As Walter's reconnaissance squad fought through France on June 9 and 10, he repeatedly moved far forward of his men, leading a bayonet charge and assaulting multiple heavily defended strongpoints - at times, single-handedly. While covering the withdrawal of his platoon from heavy fire, and despite being wounded himself, Ehlers crossed a killzone to retrieve his wounded automatic rifleman. Once his man was secured, he returned for the soldier's weapon. His full citation can be read here.

He was wounded three more times as the First Infantry Division fought across Europe. In addition to his Medal of Honor and Purple Hearts, he also earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star. He served as a counselor for the Veterans Administration, and his son Walter Jr. retired as a lieutenant colonel, also having served with the First Infantry Division. Ehlers spoke at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion in 1994 and walked alongside President Bill Clinton on Omaha Beach.

Many who worked alongside Ehlers never knew he was a Medal of Honor recipient. "This was a man who was a warrior," recalled former California governor Pete Wilson. "There's no doubt about that, but this was also one of the most gentle, kindest, most modest human beings I've ever encountered." Hundreds attended his funeral.

With Ehlers' passing, only 75 surviving Medal of Honor recipients remain. However, the Marine Corps Times reports that former Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter will receive the award for shielding his comrades from a grenade blast in Afghanistan back in 2010.

If you are G.W.O.T. Vet or Know One, Read this

This is totally worth your time to read.  Heard from a few OEF and OIF vets that it truly hits home.

...My brothers and I tell stories with passion and pride, and my non-serving peers think: what a waste of a life. It may have been a waste, time will tell, but it was a glorious waste. I “wasted” my life seeing the very best of a generation of MEN stand up and go do what was asked of them. I “wasted” my life in third-world shit-holes, knowing my brothers cared more about me than the girl at home. I “wasted” my life watching guys risk and give their lives for one another. I would not ask to “waste” my life any other way...

Over at OAF Nation, read "When the Music Stops..."  Its worth your time.