Army Hair Throughout the Ages

It was Ben Franklin who wrote, "He who neglects his hair neglects his country." Well, all right, he never did say that but he would've had he thought of it, because Ben understood the importance of a well put together coiffe of hair. The military has undergone some variations on its way of thinking about …

A Murky Heritage: the U.S. Army, the Civil War, and Memory

"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar." - Julius Caesar Memory is an odd thing. It affects not only people, but whole societies and cultures. Take the memory of the U.S. …

Tommy and the Road to Stanley: A Bedtime Story of the Falklands Conflict

By Dan Kim Author’s note: This is the second in a series of conflicts adapted into a children’s bedtime story, aided and abetted by both Angry Staff Officer and Toby Dickinson.  Toby, I can’t thank you enough.  I apologise in advance to any member of two particular regiments who may take offence to my portrayal; with …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …