Courage under fire: Ronald Speirs and Easy Company at the Battle of Foy

I  try to occasionally post something that shows a particularly brave action from some time and place in military history. For example, I previously wrote about Medal of Honor winner Michael Murphy in 2011. Last year, his story was told more widely in the movie “Lone Survivor”, which I recommend to everyone. Today I want to highlight another hero: Ronald Speirs.

It is January 1945 and the famous “Screaming Eagles”, the 101st Airborne division, are about to turn the tide of the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne.

Let’s read about the Battle of Foy courtesy of a scenario description from the wargame “Flames of War”. (Note: LMG = light machine gun, in this case, a .30 caliber machine gun)

Excerpt:

E or ‘Easy’ Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, like the rest of the division, was ordered on to the attack on 9 January 1945 as part of a general offensive to drive back the Germans from Bastogne. In the following days the 506th Regiment, along with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, cleared the forests around the town of Foy and pushed the Germans out. Their next objective was to take Foy to allow the 11th Armored Division to attack from Foy across the fields northeast towards Noville.

[…]At 0900 hours on 13 January Easy Company attacked along the western edge of Foy, along the road. The new year had brought heavy snow and the it blanketed the ground and had reduced temperatures to well below zero. 2nd Battalion commander, Captain Dick Winters, had two section of LMGs deployed on the edge of the woods facing Foy to give Easy Company covering fire while they crossed the 250 yards of open field between the forest and Foy’s buildings. There were just a few scattered trees and haystacks to give cover. As Easy Company advance the covering fire did its job, limiting the fire on the paratroopers to sporadic rifle shots. The approach on Foy made good pace under the cover of the LMG fire, but about 75 yards out from the edge of the village the skirmish line halted and the paratroopers hunkered down in the snow. Captain Winters stared in disbelief, wondering what was going on.

Lieutenant Dike, who was commanding Easy Company, had been overwhelmed with indecision. It became obvious to Winters that Dike didn’t know what he was doing, or had had a failure of confidence. His immediate impulse was to take command himself, but he noticed Lieutenant Ronald Speirs, a capable platoon commander from D Company, standing nearby. Winters ordered Speirs to take command of Easy Company and get the attack moving again. What Speirs did next amazed many of the paratroopers who witnessed it.

On receiving his orders from Winters, Speirs immediately ran at full speed down to where Dike and his HQ had taken cover behind a haystack and told Dike his orders, ‘I’m here to take over’. After quickly being told of the situation by the NCOs he ran off towards Foy. The men of Easy Company immediately followed. On reaching the outskirt buildings of Foy, Speirs immediately sought to link up with I Company of 3rd Battalion who, despite only having 25 men, were supporting the attack from the other flank of Foy. He set off running again, through the German lines, to find I Company’s commander. After consulting with its commander, Captain Gene Brown, he turned around and dashed back through Foy and the surprised Germans. Through all this the enemy fired on him with machine-guns, rifles and guns, but not a single shot hit its mark.

Now with all that said, watch the two clips below, and pay close attention the faces of the men under Lieutenant Dike, and then later under Lieutenant Speirs. Pay close attention to how Speirs’ courage inspires the men under him to also be courageous. Especially First Sergeant Lipton, who later risks his own life to draw fire from a German sniper so that Shifty Powers can prevent any other troops from being killed by the sniper.

The two clips are from “Band of Brothers”, the episode entitled “The Breaking Point“. There is some coarse language, but no sexual language in it. Really, if you are squeamish, do not watch it. However, if you can handle it, then buy the whole DVD set. It will inspire you, and help you to do things that you didn’t think were possible. If you really want to understand the men of E Company, you can read a book by Stephen E. Ambrose called Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest (New York, 1992).

Low resolution clip, includes briefing at the beginning

This video is lower resolution, but show Winters reflecting on how Lipton had asked him not to let Dike lead the attack the night before, and also Winters carefully explaining to Dike that the American attack has to keep moving or they will get pinned down by machine guns and zeroed-in by mortars and destroyed.

I like that one because it shows the briefing, but the next clip is in 720HD.

High resolution clip, does not include briefing

This is a higher resolution version that is only 8.5 minutes long, but doesn’t have the briefing.

If you listen closely when Speirs explains what everyone is going to do, you can here one of the NCOs say “thank God” as he pats the other on the back.

Leadership

To be a good military leader, you have to know many things. A knowledge of strategy and tactics, a knowledge of military history, the ability to see the battlefield, knowledge of your opponent, knowledge of weapons, and so on. But surely the greatest of these is courage. As Von Clausewitz says in his famous book “On War”, “War is the province of danger, and therefore courage above all things is the first quality of a warrior.” Nothing inspires troops like a commander who is willing to take on the same risks that he asks his troops to take.

Take a look at this article from the Ivey School of Business journal, which talks about the characteristics of Canadian generals in Afghanistan.

Excerpt:

A leader must be in front of subordinates.  This takes courage.  Leadership from the front encapsulates the adage, never ask a subordinate to do something that you, the leader, wouldn’t do.  In Afghanistan, the leader must not only be in front, but he or she must be seen to be in front.  Subordinates seek this reassurance from their leaders at all levels.  Though they may be tentative, leaders must demonstrate character and moral strength.  Their credibility is inextricably dependent on their ability to do so..  During his frequent visits to Afghanistan, former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Rick Hillier, made a point of visiting troops that were situated in some of the most IED-laden areas of the Canadian sector.  Through his demonstrated courage, he inspired leaders of all levels.  “If the CDS goes there, so can I” was the resulting mindset.  The current CDS, General Walt Natynczyk, has successfully continued this practice.

[…]All leaders need courage. It is the lynchpin of effective leadership.  No one respects a wimp who will buy in to any idea no matter how inane it might be.  Courage is having the strength of character to persist and hold on to ideas in the face of opposition.  Here, I’m not restricting my treatment of courage as it relates to fear.  It’s also about strength of character and devotion to causes and ideas.

As Christians, we have a leader who led by example. We all need to learn to not be so concerned with looking out for ourselves and our happiness first, but to instead be willing to take risks and sacrifice ourselves to do the right thing. We Christians should all be courageous, because we are led by a courageous leader.

That doesn’t necessarily mean going halfway across the world, it can mean reaching out to someone right there next to you who needs your help and support. Maybe that person has been running on an empty tank for a long time, but still trying to do the right thing. You never know when the opportunity to do something amazing will arise, but you won’t take it if you keep thinking of how you might get hurt. You have to reconcile yourself that you are not here to avoid every possible kind of suffering. It doesn’t mean that you take unnecessary risks, but it does mean not letting fear stop you from doing the right thing.

Now get out there and take that attack on in.

Canadian judge bans pro-life ads, because free speech makes people feel bad

This pro-life ad was banned because it hurts people's feelings
This pro-life ad was banned because it hurts people’s feelings

This is from Heat Street. It reminds me what a joke of a country Canada has become since their 50 year slide into secular left fascism.

Excerpt:

A Canadian city was “proportionate and reasonable” in censoring a pro-life ads from the sides of its buses because the banners were “likely to cause psychological harm to women who have had an abortion,” according to a ruling.

Justice C.S. Anderson has ruled that the city of Grande Prairie in the province of Alberta “reasonably” balanced the freedom of speech rights of the pro-life advertiser with the city’s own policies of providing a “safe and welcoming” space for bus passengers and pedestrians with its advertising.

According to the judge, the ruling won’t prohibit every pro-life ad in the city, but he stressed that it was reasonable to ban banners specifically produced by the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR) because they might upset women and children.

The pro-life group’s ad showed unborn babies at seven weeks’ and 16 weeks’ gestation followed by an empty frame filled in red to represent an aborted baby. Underneath the images were the captions: “growing,” “growing” and “gone.” The ad also read: “Abortion kills children” and showed the group’s website.

Judge Anderson said that CCBR website includes messages such as “Now is the time to put an end to the slaughter. Now is the time to look evil in the face and say, enough. Now is the time to join together, and lend our voices to those who had theirs brutally taken from them.”

“These are strong statements that vilify women who have chosen, for their own reasons, to have an abortion; they are not merely informative and educational,” Anderson added.

Now, it’s true that I am a bit of a “hold women accountable” person. In the past I’ve blogged about how women are more supportive of abortion rights and gay marriage than men. So, naturally, I wanted to know if the pro-abortion, anti-free-speech judge was a man or woman. Answer: she’s a woman:

The Honourable Charlene S. Anderson, a lawyer with Ross Smith Asset Management Inc. in Calgary, is appointed a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (Calgary) to replace Madam Justice B.L. Veldhuis who was appointed to the Court of Appeal on February 8, 2013.

Honorable!??? That’s not the word I would use for an anti-free-speech fascist, but I know that Canada is a third-world banana republic, where the right to free speech is not guaranteed in their founding documents. It’s a tax-and-spend nanny state, where the government micromanages the words of the citizens.

Oxford University Press book: is religion responsible for wars and violence in history?

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson: let's take a look at the facts
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson: let’s take a look at the facts

J.W. Wartick posted a review of a book called “The Myth of Religious Violence”, and written by Dr. William T. Cavanaugh.

Let’s take a look at some of the review.

Here, J.W. quotes from the book:

The story goes that, after the Protestant Reformation divided Christendom along religious lines, Catholics and Protestants began killing each other for holding to different doctrines. The wars of religion… demonstrated to the West the inherent danger of public religion. The solution to the problem lay in the rise of the modern state, in which religious loyalties were marginalized and the state secured a monopoly on the means of violence…

This story is more than just a prominent example of the myth of religious violence. It has a foundational importance for the secular West, because it explains the origin of its way of life and its system of governance. It is a creation myth for modernity (123).

Then writes this:

Following the lines of thinking of Voltaire, John Locke, and others, Cavanaugh argues that the myth of religious violence is perpetuated in order to marginalize that which is considered religious and give rise to the nation-state. According to this myth, “All theological religions are to be tolerated, provided they do not interfere with the obligations of citizens to the state…” (129). The myth is that religion is divisive and that they “fight over doctrines or ‘religious creeds’” so that “the state steps in to make peace” (130).

Cavanaugh shows that this myth is indeed false. The “wars of religion” had any number of motivating factors. The use of this story is not so much to tell a truth as it is a means by which to legitimize the nation-state. He argues towards these conclusions by showing that many “wars of religion” were in fact wars of economy, wars of power structures, and the like. He notes four primary factors for this myth to work: that combatants were motivated by religious difference, that the primary cause of war was religion, that religious causes are analytically separable from political, economic, and social causes at the time of the wars, and that the rise of the modern state was not a cause of the wars (141-142). He then analyzes each of these in turn based upon the historical record and shows that these all fail to account for the actual history of the “wars of religion.” In fact, the opposite is true in each case (142-177).

“We must conclude that the myth of the wars of religion is finally incredible, which is to say, false” (177).

[…]Perhaps the most challenging and paradigm-shifting portion of the book is that which focuses upon the uses of the myth of religious violence. Cavanaugh argues that the myth is so perpetuated because of its usefulness.

Cavanaugh has his BA from the University of Notre Dame, his MA from Cambridge University, and his PhD from Duke University.

Regarding religion and wars, consider this post from Well Spent Journey:

The Claim: “Religion has been the primary cause of war and oppression throughout the history of mankind.”

The Truth: In their comprehensive Encyclopedia of Wars, Phillips and Axelrod document the recorded history of warfare. Of the 1,763 wars presented, a mere 7% involved a religious cause. When Islam is subtracted from the equation, that number drops to 3.2%.

In terms of casualties, religious wars account for only 2% of all people killed by warfare. This pales in comparison to the number of people who have been killed by secular dictators in the 20th century alone.

So let’s take a look at those secular dictators.

According to the The Black Book of Communism, published by Harvard University Press, over 100 million innocent people were killed in atheistic, communist regimes in the last century. In the past, consistent atheists like Stalin who had power enough to ignore objective morality caused millions of innocent deaths. And you can even see atheism killing lots and lots of people in countries like North Korea today – where the official state religion is atheism. Why is that? It’s because the worldview of atheism teaches that the universe, and human beings, are here by accident. We are all just molecules in motion, and there is no inherent dignity or purpose to any of our lives that would obligate others to treat us a certain way.

On the Christian view, every single person has dignity because they are made in the image of God, and made to know him. Christians can never treat another person (of any religion or no religion) in any way that would discourage them from knowing God and experiencing his love for us. We could never hurt anyone in a way that causes them to turn against God. We are careful with people, because we want to act towards them in a way that helps them to accomplish this purpose.

Of course there are lots of atheists in the Judeo-Christian West who live more peacefully, because they are living in a background of objective morality and human rights provided by Western religions. But in countries like North Korea, with a state religion that cannot ground free will or objective morality or human rights or judgment after death, there are fewer restraints.

Even here, we have already seen over 50 million unborn children killed since abortion became legal. And I can guarantee you that it’s not authentic, Bible-believing Christians who are having these abortions. People who think they are going to face God when they die do not treat their fellow humans like machines made out of meat. As a group, atheists tend to be among the most radical in favor of abortion rights. The Secular Census of 2012 found that 97% of atheists vote for abortion. And of course today in the news we got the second video of Planned Parenthood top brass explaining how they sell the body parts of unborn babies to the highest bidder. I wrote about the first video here.

The idea of the strong killing the weak for their own advantage is the law of the jungle, and it’s not surprising to me that those who think that humans are just animals would act this way with vulnerable children. If you only have 80 years to be happy in an accidental universe, then anything goes. No one is there to hold you accountable when you die. If the weak get in your way, kill them all. Just don’t get caught. That’s what atheist morality teaches.

Here’s famous atheist Richard Dawkins explaining why infanticide is OK:

And here’s what he thinks of objective moral values and duties:

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

–Richard Dawkins, (River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))

You can read more about the morality of atheists likeRichard Dawkins here.

In a previous post, I looked at an article by an atheist who explained what it meant to live consistently with atheism. I really recommend reading that in order to understand what is rational within that worldview.

Fake news: Gizmodo smears Trump, then issues “correction” #fakeNews

If you want real fake news, look to secular leftists
If you want real fake news, look to secular leftists

Oh my goodness, Trump is going to explode the planet with nuclear weapons! That’s what Ashley Feinberg, a clown journalist for the far-left blog “Gizmodo” wants you to believe. (H/T Christina Hoff Sommers)

Here’s her story. (Warning: vulgar language)

Excerpt:

According to an official within the Department of Energy, the Trump transition team has declined to ask the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy to temporarily stay in their roles after Trump takes office on January 20th.

The NNSA is the $12 billion-a-year agency that “maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.” It’s unclear when the two officials will be replaced. Their offices will remain vacant until they are.

[…]Trump, however, appears determined to be free of anyone who was appointed by Obama, regardless of whether or not he has anyone in line for the job.

Oh, it’s terrible, that awful Trump! Firing critical personnel before he even takes office.

OK, so what this post is saying is that Trump’s team WAS EXPLICITLY ASKED TO RETAIN these nuclear arsenal administrators, and Trump’s team EXPLICITLY SAID NO. That would indeed be irresponsible, if it were true.

But wait, here’s a correction:

Correction, 1/9/17, 11:03 p.m., : Another NNSA official, speaking on background to Gizmodo and Defense News, has disputed this report as “inaccurate” while confirming that “there have been no discussions between the president-elect’s transition team and any of NNSA’s political appointees on extending their public service past Jan. 20.” In other words, the Trump transition team has not asked the top two NNSA officials to stay on until they can be replaced.

After speaking to our source for clarification, we have updated the story and headline to reflect that, while Klotz and Creedon have submitted their resignations, intend to depart on January 20, and have not been asked by the Trump transition to stay past that date, the Trump team has not explicitly instructed them to leave or “clean out their desks,” as we reported. According to our source, both officials “have expressed [to the Trump team] that they would likely be willing to stay to facilitate a smooth transition, if asked,” as is the tradition for key officials, and have received no response.

OH!!!!!! So the Trump team never actually asked them to leave or clean out their desks? Wow, that makes the whole story false. And the author of the post is a “Senior Reporter” for Gizmodo. She has a BA in Communication and English, which is about the least challenging major there is, except for maybe Education. The bottom of the barrel. I would imagine that this is what people who want to major in being drunk and hooking up study.

You can read more about Ashley’s “journalism” in this post on Gawker, who also employs her.

Why do Democrat voters rely on fake news for their view of the world? I guess they think that clowning is more important than accuracy.

If you ever wanted to understand how secular leftists journalists operate – I mean from the lowliest blogs right through Slate to the New York Times and Washington Post, there you have the perfect example. Ashley will probably be working for the NYT or the WaPo in the near future. She has every qualification. This is why I keep telling young people to study STEM, because at least that won’t give you brain damage.

Meet the young conservative running against a Democrat senator in Ohio

Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel
Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel

Although Republicans have the House, Senate and White House now, there are still a lot of very liberal senators who need to be defeated in 2018. In Ohio, there is a very liberal and very old senator named Sherrod Brown who faces a challenge from a much young conservative candidate.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Josh Mandel, Ohio’s 39-year-old Republican state treasurer, is making his second attempt to unseat Democrat Sherrod Brown in the U.S. Senate by running as a conservative and defender of the Constitution.

Mandel, a former Marine who served as a state representative before winning election to two terms as state treasurer, spoke with the Washington Free Beacon about his 2018 campaign to “transfer the power from the politicians to the people.”

Among Mandel’s goals as a senator would be instituting term limits to “clean out” veteran politicians who have stayed too long in Washington, torching political correctness in the fight against Islamic extremism, and rolling back federal government regulations that have squeezed entrepreneurs and small businesses. He is also passionate about enforcing immigration laws and protecting Ohio’s oil, gas, and coal industries.

“I think that everyday taxpayers are fed up with the feeling that Washington is rigged on behalf of special interests and lobbyists and I think there is a hunger for a new generation of leaders to come shake this place up,” Mandel said in Washington, D.C., just blocks from the U.S. Capitol building.

The 2018 Senate race will pit the young conservative against Brown, a liberal politician 30 years Mandel’s senior who has been in Washington for more than two decades. The way Mandel sees it, Ohio voters will have a clear choice between a veteran politician who has stayed in Washington to “do well” and a leader from the next generation who is unafraid of standing up for conservative principles.

“I think the voters of Ohio are going to have a choice of do they want someone who ran on term limits and then changed [his] mind so he could spend his entire adult life in Washington like Sherrod Brown, or someone like me who is going to come here to Washington, do as much good as possible, and then go home and live under the budget and laws that I created,” Mandel said.

[…]The young Republican likely faces a fierce battle against Brown, who he unsuccessfully challenged in 2012. Brown defeated Mandel by six points to win reelection to the U.S. Senate.

Brown has served in the Senate since 2007 and represented Ohio’s 13th district in Congress for 13 years before that. The Democrat has had a long career in politics, serving as Ohio’s secretary of state and a member of the state’s general assembly before coming to Washington.

Accomplishments:

When asked about his accomplishments as state treasurer, Mandel pointed to his work releasing the Ohio checkbook online, which gives taxpayers a look at how the state spends its money, and improving Ohio’s rating on government transparency. Mandel also helped dig the state out of an $8 billion budget hole; Ohio’s finances have moved from 43rd to 7th in national rankings since 2011.

Under Obama (and Sherrod Brown), the US national debt went from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in 8 years.

Here is Mandel’s 2018 Senate race ad:

Sherrod Brown has a conservative rating of 7% from Heritage Action. Ohio is a purple state. I think Ohio can do better than 7% in 2018.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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