Veterans Day 2014 / How and Why I Joined the U.S. Army

John H. Golden, Sr.
John H. Golden, Sr.

My father was a Marine and my mother a Department of the Navy civilian.

I was graduating high school during the Vietnam War years. I wanted to go to college. My father said NO to helping me pay for college.

OK, so … the military offered college tuition if you joined. Being the son of a Marine I went down to talk to the USMC recruiter. He wasn’t in. That night I told my girlfriend and she went ballistic. NO, no, no … she said that I wasn’t going in the Marines … to set me straight she called a family friend that knew all about the military and asked him to call me.

Her friend was an Army recruiter. It never occured to her to ask how he knew so much about the military.

My father: John Henry Golden Sr, 1934-2001, Korean War Vet, USMC

I went on to serve in the U.S. Army from July 5, 1974-April 1, 1996.

 

Strange World War II Facts … Factoids … Strange things you never learned in school

You might enjoy this from Col D. G. Swinford, USMC, Ret., and history buff. You would really have to dig deep to get this kind of ringside seat to history:

1. The first German serviceman killed in WW II was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937). The first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940); highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies.

2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old: Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. His benefits were later restored by act of Congress.

3. At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top US Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced ‘sink us’); the shoulder patch of the US Army’s 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler’s private train was named ‘Amerika.’ All three were soon changed for PR purposes.

4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. [Actually the 8th Air Force alone suffered about 5,000 more KIA than the entire Marine Corps in WW2.] While completing the required 30 missions, an airman’s chance of being killed was 71%.

5. Generally speaking, there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese Ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.

6. It was a common practice for fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a big mistake. Tracers had different ballistics, at long range… if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet tracers, instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not cool and something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rates go down.

Here’s something related from 5th SF, Detachment B-52’s Tips of the Trade item #32; “Tracers work both ways”.

7. When allied armies reached the Rhine, the first thing men did was piss in it. This was a pretty universal act from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton had himself photographed pissing in the river.

8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City, but Hitler decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

9. German submarine U-1206 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet…..OMG !!!

10. Among the first ‘Germans’ captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the US Army.

11. Following a incredible massive naval bombardment, 35,000 United States and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands. 21 troops were killed in the assault on the island. It could have been worse if there had been actual Japanese troops on the island.

12. The last marine killed in WW2 was killed by a can of SPAM. He was on the ground as a POW in Japan when rescue flights dropping food and supplies came over, one package came apart in the air and a stray can of SPAM hit him in the head and he was killed.


Thanks to Rob Roth of the Army Security Agency FB forum for sharing this with me.

Memorial Day 2012, back when …

I am myself a veteran, having joined the Army while still in high school back in 1974 and then retiring back in 1996. The Army took me around the world and across the USA.

My initial service was within the Signal Corps, but through a fluke of conversation I found myself joining military intelligence in 1975 as a member of the Army Security Agency (ASA). Through the years, military service took me from the nitty-gritty of being a 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment soldier to working at the national level.

It is something that I would do all over again. The Army and military service made me a better person. I learned to overcome. I learned that bad can happen but our mission is to get beyond that. Focus. Set an objective. Move forward.

Best regards,
Bill Golden

Military Veterans

Murphy’s Laws of Combat

Murphy’s Laws of Combat
— a collection of wisdom by Howard C. Berkowitz

  • Friendly fire – isn’t.
  • Recoilless rifles – aren’t.
  • Suppressive fires – won’t.
  • You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note.
  • A sucking chest wound is Nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
  • If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.
  • Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo and not want to waste a bullet on you.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, call in an air strike.
  • If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.
  • Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
  • Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.
  • Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  • If your attack is going really well, it’s an ambush.
  • The enemy diversion you’re ignoring is their main attack.

 

The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions:

  • when they’re ready.
  • when you’re not.
  • No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.
  • There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
  • Five second fuses always burn three seconds.
  • There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.