A Brief History On December 16, 1965, General William Westmoreland, the American commander in Viet Nam requested an additional 243,000 US troops to go with the 184,300 US military men already in South Viet Nam.  It was not enough, and it would never be enough. Digging Deeper Viet Nam was part of the French colony of French Indochina, and had fought for its independence with success in 1954, but splitting the country between the communist North Viet Nam and democratic South Viet Nam.  The communist North was determined to reunite the country under the communist banner, and was supported by…

A Brief History On December 15, 2006, the first F-35 Lightning II multi- purpose, multi-service fighter bomber made its first flight.  The F-35 program is the most expensive military system in history.  Is it worth it? Digging Deeper The Lockheed Martin Lightning II is meant to serve the US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine Corps as a multi-role 5th generation fighter plane with excellent stealth characteristics and superb performance.  It is a single engine fighter with a crew of 1. Built in 3 main types, the F-35A is the conventional take off and landing version used by the…

A Brief History On December 14, 1836, a war between the States ended, but one you may not be familiar with.  The so called Toledo War, also known as the Michigan-Ohio War ended when Michigan chose to give up its claim on the land called The Toledo Strip. Digging Deeper Ohio had already been a state since 1803, and Michigan was eager  to join the union by achieving statehood.  Unfortunately, due to sloppy mapping and a marginal understanding of geography, there was some confusion and dispute as to where the border of Ohio and Michigan was.  On top of that,…

A Brief History On December 13, 1294, Pope Celestine V, also known as Saint Celestine, resigned from the office of Pope of the Roman Catholic Church after only 5 months as pope.  An ineffective and incompetent pope, Celestine pulled stunts such as appointing several people to the same high position and acting as a puppet for King Charles II of Naples.  The successor to Celestine as Pope, Boniface VIII, imprisoned Celestine and overturned the various decrees Celestine managed to publish.  One of these decrees was the right of a Pope to abdicate, the right under which Celestine quit.  Obviously, both…

A Brief History On December 12, 1985, the US Army experienced one of its worst non-combat tragedies in its history when 236 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division were killed in the crash of Arrow Flight 1285. Digging Deeper The DC-8 carrying the soldiers plus 20 civilians (8 of which were crew members)  was returning the soldiers to the US from duty in Egypt.  The plane had made an interim stop at Gander, Newfoundland and was attempting to take off when it lost speed and stalled, crashing about a half mile past the runway and killing all aboard. The soldiers…

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