Drawn to the Battlefield

So I'm driving right now,  heading up the road from the National Capital Region, and I see on my left the long lines of marching hills. Treetopped ranks stretching into the distance. The South Mountain Range. Home of so much of what I've studied in war, in history, and culture; and suddenly my heart seems … Continue reading Drawn to the Battlefield

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The Ghost of Black Jack Pershing: the US Army and the Centennial of WWI

It’s the 100th anniversary of the U.S. participation in World War I, as many of you know. The Department of Defense has tapped the Army to lead the way for the whole organization when it comes to centennial activities and planning, because - let’s face it - it was an Army run show. Yes, the … Continue reading The Ghost of Black Jack Pershing: the US Army and the Centennial of WWI

ASO’s Summer Reading List

Summer means many things: vacation, lazy days by the beach, cook-outs, and the smell of freshly mowed lawns. Or it means yet another NTC rotation, another deployment, a PCS move, or other less-fun Army experiences. Whether you're burying your toes in the sand on the beach or trying to get the sand out of your … Continue reading ASO’s Summer Reading List

The History of the Military Knife Hand

  There are many iconic images in U.S. military history: Washington crossing the Delaware, the surrender at Appomattox, troops landing on Omaha Beach, to name a few. But few paintings or photographs have managed to capture one of the most significant weapons in the U.S. arsenal: the knife hand. Able to cleave the air with a … Continue reading The History of the Military Knife Hand

Wonder Woman & the Great War: How WWI gets the Heroine it’s Always Needed

WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW Wonder Woman struck the big screen in a blaze of action and glory last week, depicting the heights to which people will go for each other - and the lows of which humanity is capable. The settings for the film could not have been more different - a paradise island where the … Continue reading Wonder Woman & the Great War: How WWI gets the Heroine it’s Always Needed

Impenetrable Terrain – Isn’t

There's one of those old pithy military sayings that is so old that it has been attributed to everyone and no one: "Friendly fire - isn't." I'd like to paraphrase that regarding military terrain: "Impenetrable terrain - isn't." Terrain is one of those features of military history and analysis that I feel never gets its … Continue reading Impenetrable Terrain – Isn’t

How Experience in WWI brought the U.S. Army to Victory in WWII

We’re in the early months of the centennial of U.S. participation in World War I, the so-called, “War to end all wars.” With the vantage of 20/20 hindsight, we now know that rather than “making the world safe for democracy,” as Woodrow Wilson hoped, World War I instead set the stage for the next round … Continue reading How Experience in WWI brought the U.S. Army to Victory in WWII

Why 1866 Set the Stage for Two World Wars

When some search for the roots of the First World War, there is a tendency to look towards the Balkans. After all, it was the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo in 1914 that precipitated the kick-off of the greatest and most deadly bar-brawl in the history of the … Continue reading Why 1866 Set the Stage for Two World Wars

Use of Force: 7 U.S. Military Actions You’ve Never Heard Of

Last week, the U.S. hit a Syrian airfield with 59 cruise missiles as retaliation for Syria’s alleged use of banned nerve agents on its own civilian population. Some have questioned whether or not the strike went too far or perhaps did not go far enough. Many - including myself - equated it to the Clinton … Continue reading Use of Force: 7 U.S. Military Actions You’ve Never Heard Of

” Look! Here are the Americans!” The U.S. in World War I and Popular Memory

One hundred years ago this week, the United States entered World War I. “Too late to make a difference!” say some, often British or Commonwealth. “Should never have joined it at all,” say others, usually non-interventionist Americans. “World war what?” say many, usually all other Americans. “Thank you,” say a great many, almost always French. No … Continue reading ” Look! Here are the Americans!” The U.S. in World War I and Popular Memory