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August 21, 2014

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Al Nofi's CIC
  Issue #8, April 19, 2000  
  This Issue...
  • Infinite Wisdom
  • la Triviata
  • Short Rounds
    • The Medal of Honor
    • Swiss Mercs, 1480-1999
    • Comparative Survivability of Fleet Carriers and Escort Carriers in the Pacific War.
  • Briefing - Moving Troops by Rail During the Civil War
  • Soldier’s Story - A Clever Ruse at the Siege of Acre

 

Infinite Wisdom

It is annihilation that the country wants, not merely a splendid victory.

Horatio Nelson, July 1805, during the operations that would culminate in Trafalgar

 

La Triviata

  • Napoleon I popularized the habit of sitting astride a chair -- á cheval as the French put it -- a practice which was picked up by his nephew Napoleon III and the latter's nemesis, Otto von Bismarck.
  • Among the reservists activated by the British Army for the Falklands War in 1982 was a WW II mobile field bakery unit nicknamed "Lizzie," called out of honorable retirement at the Museum of Army Transport for service with the troops.
  • Although persons of the Jewish faith constituted only about 3-percent of the population of the United States at the time, more than 4-percent of men in the armed forces during World War I were Jewish
  • Satanta, a Kiowa chief of considerable talents, once discovered that he had rustled some distinctly inferior horseflesh from the U.S. Army remount station at Fort Larned, Kansas, whereupon he dispatched a note to the post quartermaster expressing the hope that the army would acquire better stock before his next visit.
  • A truck recently spotted on the streets of New York belongs to the "Yamato Transportation Company."
  • During World War II the U.S. constructed 233 outdoor movie theaters, 65 staged theaters, 95 softball and 35 baseball fields, 225 volleyball and 30 basketball courts, and 35 boxing rings complete with seating for spectators, on the 703.4 square miles of the Marianas Islands and Guam which works out to a total of 1.02 athletic facilities per square mile.
  • Providing sanitary water for every man, woman, and child on the planet would require the expenditure of about $6 billion, which is less than the world spends for military purposes every few weeks.
  • On July 24, 1943,  the German submarine U-459 shot down an RAF Wellington bomber in the Bay of Biscay, which proceeded to crash on the boat’s deck, with the result that the airplane's depth charges detonated, causing the sub to sink.
  • The official coffee ration for a Union soldier during the Civil War was 28 pounds per year (yielding about a pint of joe a day), while his Confederate opponent had to settle for only 20 pounds, though the latter rarely got any at all in any case.

 

Short Rounds

The Medal of Honor

Instituted during the Civil War, the Medal of Honor is the highest award that the nation can grant in recognition of military valor.  Since its inception the Medal of Honor has been awarded 3,427 times, to a total of  3,408 men and one woman.   There were 19 men who received the Medal of Honor twice.  They include five Army men, among them Capt. Thomas Custer, who received both his awards during the Civil War and eventually died at the side of his more famous brother George at the Little Big Horn. Seven sailors have been twice decorated with the Medal of Honor, as have seven Marines, five of whom received both the Army and Navy versions of the medal for the same action whilst serving in France during World War I.

Since it was the only decoration awarded by the United States until World War I, during its first 50 years of existence the Medal of Honor was routine awarded for deeds which would today merit a much less prestigious decoration.  Not only was it awarded for outstanding battlefield performance, but it was also awarded for non-combat related heroism.  The last such award was in 1945.  

A major review of the standards under which the Medal of Honor could be awarded was held in 1916.  Hundreds of awards were rescinded at that time as having been made inappropriately, including that of Dr. Mary Walker, who had done less to merit the decoration during the Civil War than many other women in medical service, such as Clara Barton, but who had pestered President Andrew Johnson endlessly until he finally gave it to her so as to get rid of her. 

Congress has occasionally awarded the Medal of Honor by legislation for non-military heroism.


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