Submitted by Jim Hornstra If the video doesn't work, go directly to YouTube to see it
Written and submitted by Dick Martin
“From the Halls of Montezuma.” The opening line of the Marine Corps hymn is familiar to all Marines and probably brings a tear to the eye of many of them when they hear it. But where are the Halls of Montezuma? For emoting so much emotion, why don’t most people, including Marines, know where the Halls Montezuma are and where the opening lines to the hymn come from? As it turns out, the words come from a revision of an 1867 Jacques Offenbach French operetta. An operetta!! Just what grizzly marines did not want to hear. The Halls of Montezuma were part of the 1847 Battle of Chapultepec, which was part of the Mexican-American War, and which the Marines only played a very small part of. Most of America’s contribution to the battle came from the US Army. Probably the most significant part of the battle were the officers who played a big part in it. The commanding general was Winfield Scott, the most famous and highly thought of general at the time, despite his over 300 pound frame. Scott counted on his hand-picked future Confederate generals, Engineer Captain Robert E. Lee, Engineer Lieutenant PTG Beuregard, and future Union General Lt. Ulysses S Grant. They did not disappoint.
The Halls of Montezuma was the name of the original site of the National Palace in Mexico City, where General Scott established his headquarters after defeating the Mexican Army under the command of General Santa Anna, the victorious Mexican general at the Alamo. All of the original Aztec structures were long gone, not that it mattered to the Marines. The few Marines in the battle liked it and the rest is history.
Taken as a summary of part of an article in the September issue of Army magazine written by retired Lt. Gen Daniel P Bolger.
Preamble by Dick Martin
We will do our best to provide a new topic or article provided by the viewer on Sunday's Feature. From time to time, we will not have a new topic or article to put on Sunday's Feature. If that happens, we will use a previous biography or something else that has already been on the web site. Because I do not think our veterans can get enough recognition, I do not have a problem doing this. I hope you do not either. This week will be an example as we use Dwight Wood's biography.
Written and submitted by Jim Kirk
Dwight Wood was the first Springfield area “Gold Star Boy” of WWI. He was killed in action the morning of July 19, 1918, of wounds received from German machine gun fire while advancing with his regiment’s assault on German Army forces entrenched in the French town of Chateau-Thiery. The battle raged along the “Paris Road” between the towns of Missy-aux-Bois and Ploisy. It is believed that Wood was temporarily interred in a grave somewhere along that road but his family was never able to acquire confirmation from the War Department, as to the exact location of his permanent grave somewhere in France. His mother received word from the War Department, on August 27, 1918, that her son had been wounded on July 19, 1918. It wasn’t until January 15, 1919, that she received the news of his death. At the time of his death, Wood was serving with “L” Company, 26th Infantry Regiment, First Division, A.F.A.O., US Expeditionary Army. The Springfield American Legion Post is named in honor of Dwight Wood.
Dwight was born in Greenwood, SD on October 24, 1895, but the family soon moved to Springfield where he grew to manhood. He was the youngest of four children of Mr. and Mrs. E.D. Wood. Dwight attended school in Springfield. In 1916, he enrolled as a student in the International Correspondence School of Scranton, PA where he received a graduate certificate in mathematics and also studied electrical engineering. It was his ambition to continue his education and become an electrical engineer. Early in 1917, to acquire money to continue his education, he went to Everett, Washington to work with his brother E.V. Wood in the lumber and furniture business.
His career plans were cut short following America’s declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1916. At that time, the US was almost totally unprepared for the conflict that lay ahead. The war in Europe had been raging since July 28, 1914 between America’s allies, France, Britain and Russia against Germany and her allies. By 1916, the global conflict had developed into a stalemate in Europe where trench warfare resulted in tremendous loss of life on both sides, especially in the Army infantry. At the time of America’s declaration of war, the US held a standing Army of only 100,000 troops, ranking 17th among all other countries worldwide. In December 1916, Dwight went to Bremerton, Washington to enlist in the US Navy but failed the physical. Then he attempted to enlist in the Army Air Corp but failed again because no more men were deemed needed in that branch. A mandatory military draft registration was enacted for service in the Army and Wood was among the very first called to service early in 1917. This time, he was found physically fit for service and was inducted into the US Army and stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, where he received a month of basic training. In November 1917, he was reassigned to Fort Mills, Long Island, NY and initially attached to Company D, 161st Infantry Division in preparation for deployment to France. His Division reached France in December 1917 and was then assigned to the staging areas near Is-sur-Tille. By the end of the “Great War”, November 11, 1918, over two million US troops would serve in the fields of France.
In June 1918, the 161st was divided to fill up depleted regiments and Dwight was assigned to Co. L, 26th Infantry Division I, “Yankee Division”. He and his Division fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood, in June of 1918, where US sustained casualties of nearly 10,000 troops, including almost 2000 KIA and another 2000 MIA. Total allied casualties exceeded 150,000. However costly in lives this battle was, it stopped the German advance of nearly 50 Divisions from proceeding deeper into France. Immediately following Belleau Wood, allied forces went on the offensive and into the battle of Chateau–Thiery where Wood was killed. Many historians contend that the battles at Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thiery marked the turning point of WWI. The breakout of Allied Forces and the sustained, fierce and terribly costly battles that followed eventually lead to Germany’s surrender and the Armistice of November 11, 1918. Edwin Dwight Wood is listed on the “Tablets of the Missing" at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Belleau, France. The Springfield American Legion Post commemorates the service of Dwight Wood and all WWI Veterans by placing a wreath in his honor during their annual Memorial Day ceremony. A significant amount of information for this biography was obtained by the author from a history written by his mother, Mary E. Wood, for the Woman’s Auxiliary, Dwight Wood Post #132. Mrs. Wood’s history, written sometime following the War, was in turn compiled in part by reference to several letters she received from other WWI Veterans and Regimental Officers that served alongside Dwight.
Submitted by Perry Lundin
Eglin Joint Base Command located near Ft. Walton, Florida, is presently the largest Military Complex in the world and encompasses a large contingent of Air Force units, Naval Warfare units, and the 7th Army Special Forces and 6th Army Rangers.
My home is exactly 5 miles outside the main gate of Eglin AFB. Most folks in the USA don't live in a Military Town, with lots of guys in uniform walking the streets and jets over head daily. They go on with their lives unaware of what a Military Town is all about. And that's OK .... but I want to share with you what it's like to live in a Military Town. We see guys in uniform all the time, we have state of the art, high performance aircraft in the air nearby all day long. We hear the SOUND OF FREEDOM when an F-22, or F-35 streaks over the house ..... and we read in the local paper, some times daily, but at least weekly, of the loss of one of our own in combat in the Middle East. And that is what brings me to the reason for this email.
Staff Sergeant Mark DeAlencar was 37 years old, had a family and was a Green Beret with the 7th Army Special Forces stationed here in the Fort Walton area. He was killed on April 8, 2017 while fighting Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan. In January of this year, he was deployed for the second time to Afghanistan. He promised his adopted daughter, Octavia, that he would be home for her High School Graduation. He didn't make it. But she went to graduation anyway. And in the audience were eighty (80) US 7th Army Special Forces soldiers from her dad’s unit in full Parade Dress Uniform. Additionally, they brought THEIR FAMILIES to be with them, as well.
As Octavia ascended the steps to the stage to receive her diploma THEY ALL SILENTLY STOOD UP. And when she was presented her diploma they ALL CHEERED, CLAPPED , WHISTLED .... and YES CRIED. Everyone in attendance then stood up and cried and cheered. Octavia had graduated and yes she had lost her Dad .... but she had 80 other DADS to stand there with her and take his place.
I just wanted to share this moment with you ..... and remind you that THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE IN A MILITARY TOWN. THIS is the real America we all love ..... and I'm proud to be part of it. May God bless our men and women in uniform and their families who give so much.
(Take a second to pass this along to someone you know. It's the least we can do for Octavia and SSgt Mark DeAlencar, 7th Special Forces, United States Army.)