Archive for Military

Valentine’s Day: From Russia With Love

russiaRussia dominated headlines this Valentine’s Day in America.

Most of it related to the resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser to the President just 24 days after Donald Trump was inaugurated. I won’t bore my readers with a rehash of all the news coverage online and in the media about this story, although I will point to this piece by John R. Schindler at The Observer as well as a late-breaking New York Times piece tonight. The NYT story details contacts between Russian intelligence officers and Trump campaign staff ahead of the 2016 election.

I will touch on Schindler’s piece briefly before I move on to my focus. Schindler, a former National Security Agency analyst, discusses the “war” between Trump and the nation’s spy agencies. The scariest part? That the agencies are withholding intelligence from the White House because they don’t trust the administration. One official even told Schindler that they assume the Kremlin has had ears inside the White House Situation Room since President Trump took office.

Schindler’s report is so concerning, along with all the other news about Russian ties to the Trump administration, because of other items in the news that don’t get the wall-to-wall coverage on cable news.

Just last week, Russian military aircraft buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea. The flyovers were described as “low altitude” and “high speed.” Russia denied the reports. There were several encounters between Russian military aircraft and U.S. ships in aircraft in 2016.

It also came to light today that the Russians have apparently placed themselves in further violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty by secretly deploying a new missile system that they had been testing since 2014.

There are also reports today of a Russian surveillance ship in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Delaware. This ship made a port call in Cuba before proceeding up the East Coast in international waters.

Additionally, The Moscow Times reported on a story in pro-Kremlin paper Komsomolskaya Pravda. The report included an interview with a Taliban warlord who wanted to build ties with Russia to get the United States out of Afghanistan.

Throw in all the latest intrigue with Russian spies and apparent poisonings, as well as the Flynn issues, and it’s very important that the United States keeps its eye on the ball with the Russians. They are an adversary and we shouldn’t cozy up to them or let them take advantage of us.

I’m really not sure what to make of reports the Kremlin is worried about the unintended consequences of their Trump fandom, but I suspect there’s something else behind those reports getting out.

Buckle up, the bumpy ride will apparently continue.

Ellison Baxter Quinton, 1838-1899

Baxter QuintonI originally posted this about Baxter Quinton on Facebook on September 30, 2016.

Ellison Baxter Quinton, my great-great-grandfather was born on September 30, 1838 in Chester County, SC.

He enlisted in Company F of the 23rd SC Volunteers (Hatch’s Coast Rangers) in 1861.

Via SCIWAY:

After being stationed in South Carolina, the regiment moved to Virginia and during the war served in General Evans’, Elliot’s, and Wallace’s Brigade. It participated in the conflicts at Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), South Mountain, and Sharpsburg, then was ordered to North Carolina and later to Mississippi. The unit skirmished at Jackson, was sent to Charleston, and in the spring of 1864 returned to Virginia. It continued the fight in the trenches of Petersburg and around Appomattox. During the Second Manassas operations, August 6-20, 1862, this regiment lost sixty-eight percent of the 225 engaged, and all its field officers were wounded. It reported 10 killed, 22 wounded, and 5 missing in the Maryland Campaign, totalled 297 men in October, 1863, and had 49 killed or wounded at the Petersburg mine explosion. The 23rd had many disabled at Sayler’s Creek and surrendered 5 officers and 103 men.

The unit surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse along with the Army of Northern Virginia. He received his parole there.

A full list of battles the regiment fought in include:

  • 1862: Malvern Hill, Rappahannock Station, 2nd Manassas (Bull Run), South Mountain, Sharpsburg (Antietam)
  • 1863: Siege of Jackson, Charleston Harbor
  • 1864: Bermuda Hundred, Siege of Petersburg, The Crater
  • 1865: Fort Stedman, Five Forks, Appomattox Court House

More on Baxter Quinton

He married Elizabeth Hudson, a direct descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. They had several children including William Baxter Quinton, my great-grandfather.

E. Baxter Quinton died on August 21 in 1899 in Chester County.

Maryland’s Crossland Banner

Crossland bannerThe Maryland state flag‘s alternating quadrants consist of imagery from the Coats of Arms of the Calvert and Crossland families. William Cooke has blogged extensively about Maryland flags and banners, including the Crossland banner.

The Maryland state flag is one of only four state flags that doesn’t contain the color blue. It’s also the only one based on English heraldry.

At left is the Crossland Banner. You can purchase your own Crossland banner here.

The two symbols were first put together in 1648 by the second Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert.

Here’s what Wikipedia notes about historical usage of the Crossland banner:

The red and white colored arms of the Crossland family, which belonged to the family of Calvert’s (Lord Baltimore’s) paternal grandmother, gained popularity during the American Civil War, during which Maryland remained with the Union despite a large proportion of the citizenry’s support for the Confederacy, especially in the central City of Baltimore and the counties of the southern part of the state and the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Those Marylanders who supported the Confederacy, many of whom fought in the Army of Northern Virginia of General Robert E. Lee, adopted the Crossland banner, which was red and white with the bottony (trefoil) cross (seen as “secession colors”) and often used a metal bottony cross pinned to their gray uniforms or caps (kepis). The black and gold (yellow) colors with the chevron design of the Calvert familywere used in the flags and devices and uniform pins of the Union Army regiments in the northern Army of the Potomac.

After the war, Marylanders who had fought on either side of the conflict returned to their state in need of reconciliation. The present design, which incorporates both of the coats of arms used by George Calvert, began appearing.

The current state flag with both the Crossland and Calvert heraldry include was first flown publicly in 1880 at a parade honoring the sesquicentennial of Baltimore. It was also flown in 1888 at ceremonies marking the erection of monuments at Gettysburg honoring the Union regiments from Maryland who fought there. The new state flag was officially adopted in 1904.

More on the Crossland banner

More from Cooke:

It is interesting to point out that the Crossland Banner has not attracted the negative attention that other Confederate flags have. I believe that this is because the design was created centuries before the Civil War and should not even be considered a Confederate flag, on its own. Rather it was just one symbol that Confederates in Maryland adopted. Hate groups have not used the Crossland Banner, thankfully. Flying the Crossland is not seen as controversial as it has such a rich history and has a prominent place on our State flag. Indeed, ultra-liberal Howard County, uses the Crossland Banner on their county flag.

Don’t forget to purchase your own banner here.

Cuban MLB player joining U.S. Army Reserve

MLBBrayan Peña, a catcher and first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals in MLB tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he is joining the Army Reserve after this season ends.

Peña tweeted:

Im very proud to announce with the support of my wife & family that i will be joining the ARMY RESERVE this off season ” God Bless America “

Peña just recently came off the disabled list. He previously played for the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, and Kansas City Royals.

Peña was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. His best friend growing up was Yunel Escobar, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels. Pena defected in 1999 at a tournament in Venenzuela. Escobar would later follow him to Major League Baseball.

Here’s Peña’s tweet from earlier today:

Other MLB players in the military

Just three days ago, the Braves and Marlins played a game on-post at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. One active-duty Army Lieutenant stationed at Bragg was featured during coverage of the game. 2LT Alex Robinette, who appears to be a field artillery officer, was profiled during and after the game. Robinette is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in June 2015 and played for the Staten Island Yankees that season. He has decided not to continue his baseball career and is focused on his career as an Army officer.

A list of other baseball players who served in the military has to begin with Ted Williams, who left baseball in the prime of his career to be a Navy fighter pilot during WWII. He later was a Marine pilot in Korea. Another World War II veteran who played Major League Baseball was Jackie Robinson. There’s a fairly long list of MLB players who have served.

 

Army spending $200K on transgender bathroom?

ArmyA congressman from South Carolina tonight posted on Facebook that the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is constructing a bathroom and shower for a transgender employee that will reportedly cost $200,000. The construction is reportedly taking place at Hartwell Dam, which is a dam in the Savannah River between South Carolina and Georgia.

Congressman Jeff Duncan made a public post on Facebook earlier this evening (screen capture below) reporting that he was informed of this news and is looking into it further. USACE’s facility at the  dam is in South Carolina’s Third District (which Duncan represents) and the nearest municipality of any size is Anderson.

duncan

A couple of questions  come to mind:

  • Is there a women’s bathroom/shower in existence at the USACE facility at Hartwell Dam already?
  • Or is this bathroom and shower being built because there is only a men’s facility already there?

Without knowing these facts, the initial reports are hard to totally digest. No matter what your position on the transgender issues that are in the news lately, it seems like a bit of overkill financially to accomodate one person.

I hope Congressman Duncan will follow up with these details later after he speaks with the commanding general of USACE.

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