Dogs In The US Military

When discussing the sacrifices that military personnel have made over the years, we would be remiss to not talk about our canine soldiers. The dog has been a part of the military since the early days because they bring to the table a few skills that humans just can not match.

Smell

A dog has 10 to 20 times more smell receptors in their nose than humans do. This is why dogs have been used in roles like bomb detection, tracking and security. They can smell an intruder far before anyone can see them which makes them quite useful in military operations.

Speed

Their speed and agility makes them perfect for use as messengers. They can speed through treacherous territory unharmed when a man would stand little chance.

Discipline

Breeds like German Shepherds are fiercely loyal and disciplined. They will give up their life to fulfill their duty without question. This makes them ideal in situations where they are asked to do so to spare the lives of human soldiers.

Breeds Used

Overwhelmingly, the vast majority of military dogs are German Shepherds and are trained at Lackland AFB. They are fast, strong, aggressive, intelligent and very easy to train. This makes them almost the perfect military animal.

Having said that, over the years, other dogs have been used in military operations. Golden Retrievers, for example, are used for training to detect one single smell such as narcotics or an explosive material. Besides Goldens, many sporting breeds have been used over the years for single purpose missions. These include pointers and even the occasional poodle.

Military Dog Missions

Dogs are raised for a variety of military missions. A new puppy may serve in one of many important fields. Here are a few examples.

Explosives Detection

This is your classic military dog. They can be used to detect bombs and improvised devices. There use in this area has saved thousands of human lives.

Drug Detection

Training for drug detection is very similar to that of explosive detection. These dogs undergo months of rigorous training and then are used at airports and points of entry into the country.

Search & Rescue

Some dogs are trained to simply find wounded soldiers. They can lead rescue personnel to the site of those injured but unable to communicate. They can also be used to find cadavers.

Dual Purpose Missions

Primarily the realm of the German Shepherd dog, dual purpose missions will generally be used for many purposes including patrol and detection duties.

In Conclusion

As you can clearly see, the military dog has aided soldiers for years and provides services that can not be attained anywhere else. They have honorably served for years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The 4 Greatest US Victories

Last time we wrote about the costliest battles in US military history. This time, we are going to talk about the greatest victories. All victories come with some sort of loss in terms of casualties but some are worth more than others, even despite the cost. Let’s look at a few of the greatest.

D Day

Also one of the costliest battles in US history, Operation Overlord was one of the greatest as well. Taking place in June of 1944 the battle took months to plan. It would involve a US and UK led coalition of over 150,000 troops as well as countless aircraft and landing craft.

Though it would prove costly from a casualty perspective, the invasion of France would turn the tide of the war and it would be one of the finest days for American military forces.

Battle of Midway

The Battle for Midway was an attempt by Japanese forces to lure the American carriers out to fight. The Japanese had, up until that point, dominated the Pacific and they sought to cement their dominance with the destruction of the US Carrier force.

What would happen is that US code breakers would decipher Japanese communications and set a trap. They would spring it on Japan who would wind up losing 4 carriers. The battle tipped the balance of power in the Pacific away from the Japanese who would soon be forced to go on the defensive.

Battle of Yorktown

This was a decisive battle for American troops in the revolutionary war. It would take place in the first part of 1781when Lord Cornwallis began an invasion attempt in Virginia. He wound up occupying Yorktown and the US forces saw an opportunity for a decisive win as the city would be easier than others to cut off completely from reinforcements.

The siege of the city began in September of 1781and would go on for three weeks until Cornwallis, unable to get reinforcements, surrendered. The defeat would lead to peace negotiations that would ultimately lead to the end of the war.

Battle For Mexico City

The Mexican American war began in 1846 when the US decided to annex a large portion of Mexican territory. Mexican forces would avoid a major conflict by avoiding heavy US forces until the Battle of Mexico City.

US forces led by Scott invaded and eventually took and held the city. The idea was that Mexican forces would be forced to fight to get the city back and the assumption proved entirely correct. The Mexican forces were never able to mount a serious attack to regain the city and the battle would ultimately force Mexico to the negotiation table.

After negotiations, Mexico would give up a third of its territory in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the US would now stretch from coast to coast.

The 5 Deadliest US Wars

There is one certainty in any Military conflict. People will die, loved ones will be lost. It is a fact that every soldier understands and accepts which makes Military service such an honorable thing.

Over the years, the United Stated has been in some major conflicts. Some, have been deadlier than others however. So, which ones rank as the deadliest? Let’s take a look.

#1 The Civil War

You should have been able to guess that this would be the deadliest war in history because of the scale of the conflict. Although records of Confederate deaths is a bit sketchy, it is estimated that nearly 500,000 Americans (North & South) would lose their lives. Nearly 8000 would die at Gettysburg alone. The incomprehensible number of killed in action and due to related causes make it the deadliest conflict in US history.

#2 World War 2

Just over 400,000 soldiers would die during this conflict. With multiple fronts and an enemy that often did not care about their own casualty rate, it would be hard to prevent a massive toll on US forces.

#3 World War 1

With the use of trench warfare you would think that this war would have ranked higher on the list but it still racked up a toll in American casualties. Over 100,000 Americans would lose their lives in the war. A war that would resolve little and eventually lead to another, even greater conflict.

#4 The Vietnam War

With almost 60,000 deaths, the war in Vietnam comes in at number four. This number includes fatalities back from the start of conflict in the era, the mid fifties. This number is particularly hard to swallow because of the ultimate outcome of the conflict. So many soldiers losing their life for a lost cause.

#5 The Korean War

Just over 35000 soldiers would lose their life in this war. While the war did end in a stalemate, it also slowed communist advancement in the region.

In Conclusion

There you have it, the five most deadliest conflicts in US Military history. With a little luck, there will never be a conflict that knocks one of these lower on the list.

Veteran Benefits – Loans, Money & More

After reading about the lengthy Military history of this great country, you might be encouraged to make the Military a career, or at least start off your adult life there. This could be a great decision, even if you do not plan on being a career Military man or woman. Take a look at some of the benefits that are only available to Military Personnel & Veterans.

Cash Money Bonuses

If you enlist in the Military, you may be able to receive a sign on bonus of up to 40,000 dollars. That is a notable amount of money and one that, if you are smart, can set you up well after your Military service.

If you elect to take advantage of a cash sing on bonus, we advise you to please be smart about it. Unfortunately, most new recruits are young, 18 to 19 years of age. They lack the maturity to use this money smartly. Please seek the counsel of a knowledgeable financial planner who can help you use the money wisely.

Consider this. You are young. If you took that entire 40,000 sign on bonus and put it into a retirement savings, you could have over 300,000 dollars and that is without adding a dime to it. That is the power of compound interest over time.

Great Loans

The VA loan is one of the most incredible home loans that you can get. For Veterans, it means that you can get into a home far easier than your average civilian. Take a look at some of the advantages.

  • No Down Payment
    Conventional financing requires 20 percent down to purchase a home .Even FHA loans require 3.5 percent but with a VA loan, you can get into a house with zero deposit. Nothing beats a zero down loan.
  • No Mortgage Insurance
    Mortgage insurance, required on most other loans with less than 20 percent down is not needed with a VA loan. That can save you hundreds of dollars a month on your mortgage loan.
  • Easy Qualifications
    VA loans tend to be easier to qualify for because of the guarantee by the government. This often allows for lower credit loan approvals and even bad credit loans that might not have been approved with other home loan programs.
  • Loans Are Assumable
    If you sell your home to another Veteran, they can assume the loan. This can make your home more attractive if interest rates climb.

Money For College

These days, most college students leave college crippled with debt. As a veteran, you can get your education on the government dime. The GI Bill, may be able to get you an education and a degree without all of the debt.

It is a huge advantage to be able to go to school without worrying about where the money is coming from. Then, when you graduate, you could start your career without being crippled with debt.

That could allow you to choose the career and job that you want to do, not the one that will pay for your debt. This is a choice that most college grads do not get.

Healthcare Benefits

As a Vet, you may eventually be able to take care of a number of health benefits including inpatient care, outpatient care and mental health services. In addition, you may qualify for life insurance benefits and burial benefits upon your death.

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Fiercest Us Battles

In the almost 250 years of this nations existence, military conflict has occurred quite often. Between military actions and all out wars, our country has seen it all. Of the battles that have occurred, some have obviously been fiercer than others.

It occurred to us, why not list our top 3 fiercest battles, so we did. Here is our top 5 list for your reading pleasure. A list chosen more on emotion than any criteria, so keep that in mind.

1) D-Day

There should be no argument that this is one of the fiercest battles in the history of this nation. Just the logistics alone to pull off this massive land sea and air battle alone are hard to imagine.

D-Day changed the tide of a war and put the balance of power in our favor. When it was over, the cost would be high but the reward was immeasurable.

D-Day or Operation Overlord began on June 6, 1944 although planning had been taking place for months. It involved over 170,000 troops transported on more than 6000 landing crafts and ships. Of those soldiers more than 10,000 would lose their lives with nearly 7000 of them being Americans.

Because of the impact of this battle, we encourage everyone to visit the D-Day memorial at least once in their lives.

2) Battle Of Gettysburg

The largest battles of the Civil War occurred at Gettysburg when General Lee sought to win a decisive victory on the North in their own territory. He led his forces north while being pursued by the Unions General Meade and his army.

The two forces would meet on July 1 1863 at Gettysburg and at the time, the Confederate forces would outnumber the Union forces nearly 2 to 1. At the end of the first day, outnumbered, the Union forces would be forced to retreat.

The forces would meet again on the second day with both sides gaining important reinforcements. Lee would begin an assault on Union forces but this time, they were able to hold strong.

Day 3 brought yet another attack by Lee, this time an aggressive one. He sent over 12000 men on a direct charge of Union forces. This would prove costly with the charge suffering an over 50 percent casualty rate.

Humiliated and defeated, Lee was allowed to retreat back into the south. He had lost nearly a third of his forces in the deadliest battle of the Civil War.

3) Battle Of Chosin

It seems that the Korean War is often overshadowed by other conflicts but the brave men who fought it would tell you that the conflicts were fierce. The fiercest was the Battle of Chosin.

At the Chosin Reservoir, US forces were on the verge of defeating North Korea when they were met with thousands of Chinese forces. They were quickly surrounded and greatly outnumbered. The only choice they would have would be to fight their way back to the coast.

The battle would last 17 days and in that time, the US forces would suffer almost 10,000 casualties with over 800 killed in action.

Mathematically the battle was a win for the US with Chinese losses estimated to be between 30,000 to 70,000 killed. Out of 10 divisions, 6 were completely wiped out.

Why Tell Kids About War?

This is a question that has been asked many times before. Why should you tell kids about war and military conflicts? After all, war is all about violence and aggression right?

War History Makes For A Better Future

If you do not learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it. I am sure that you have heard this about a million times and it holds true.

If you look at the military conflicts that have occurred in the past, I mean really look at them, you can see where mistakes were made. Mistakes that ultimately led to huge conflicts.

By studying the past, you can learn the lessons without repeating the cost. This is particularly important for the young leaders out there.

War History Makes Us Thankful

In addition to providing for a brighter future, studying conflicts of the past also teaches us to be thankful. The generations before us gave up much to secure freedom.

It is a shame that so much of the youth in this country lacks gratitude. They think that they deserve the world even though they have fought for nothing.

Studying history, particularly wartime history, helps to combat this.

War History Helps Us Understand Our Elders

Like it or not, war has been a big part of our history and it will probably continue to impact us. There will always be war of some kind because of the nature of people.

Because of its permanent place in our history, studying war can help us understand why people were the way they were. It is not hard to imagine that a large conflict such as WW2 or Vietnam could have an impact on a society. Understand the wars and you better understand the people.

In Conclusion

On the surface, it is easy to understand why people would question studying warfare. If you look deeper though, it is not very hard to see just how important it is to remember.

Battle of Khe Sanh

 

In 1967 North Vietnamese forces began building up around the Khe Sanh air base. NVA soldiers would continue to be spotted in the area but no attack would come. Commanders were faced with the decision to either reinforce the base or abandon it. They elected to reinforce it, setting up one of the longest battles of the war.

In January, US forces learned that an attack would soon come and on January 21st of 1968 it would begin. One of the surrounding hill outposts was attacked and the base at Khe Sanh received heavy shelling. The initial attack was thwarted but the NVA did manage to breach the Marine defenses at one point.

Fighting at Khe Sanh would continue for over two months with NVA troops assaulting nearby outposts and constantly shelling the base.

During the siege of Khe Sanh resupplying the air base would prove difficult. Land resupplies would prove impossible so the only option was air drops. Because of the heavy anti aircraft fire in the area, this was not going to be an easy task. Cargo plains would have to brave heavy fire during resupplies and develop special tactics to make it in and out safely.

Airpower would prove to be the lifeline for the base. They depended on it for supplies and the firepower was much needed to pound the surrounding area and suppress the enemy. Without the superiority of US airpower, the base would have surely been overrun.

The siege of Khe Sanh would continue through March, 77 days in all. In March, NVA troops began exiting the area, although shelling of the base would continue. US troops were eventually able to break through the remaining attacking forces and put an end to the battle.

From a numbers standpoint, the offensive was a huge loss for the NVA. Americans suffered casualties of 703 killed and 2642 wounded. NVA losses, are estimated to be greater than 10,000 dead.

Psychologically, the siege had an effect though. It proved what the enemy was willing to, they were willing to incur massive losses. This fact alone would raise questions about how long this war would really take to win.

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Battle Of Midway

If you know anything about WWII, you know about the Battle of Midway. It was a turning point in the Pacific theater and a must win battle for the Americans.

Without a victory at Midway, the war against Japan would have been much more prolonged and the outcome would not have been certain.

The Target

The Battle of Midway occurred at a small US airbase located on the Midway atoll. Japanese forces planned to attack the atoll and quickly overwhelm the defenses. They could then build an air base and await the US aircraft carrier forces whom would surely arrive.

Their goal, to take the atoll and then destroy the US carrier fleet. What would happen would be much different however.

The Battle

American intelligence was able to intercept communications that revealed the plan. This would give them time to not only prepare for the defense of the island, but plan an ambush of the Japanese fleet. They positioned their own carrier force in a position to intercept Japanese forces.

On June 4 of 1942, the ambush was sprung and the US forces were able to knock out 3 Japanese aircraft carriers while losing 1 themselves. The atoll’s air base, although slightly damaged would survive the attack as well.

The Effect

The Battle of Midway was a turning point in the war. Before the battle, Japan dominated the Pacific theater. They had a superior fleet and with their carriers, superior air power. After the battle, US and Japanese forces would be equals and the power would soon shift the other way.

Following Midway, US forces would be able to push Japanese forces back with invasions of Guadalcanal, the Phillippines, etc. In addition, if Japan had won the battle, they would have been allowed to push on to Australia. This would have resulted int the US losing important submarine bases and could have resulted in a recall of Australian troops from Africa.

As you can see, although this explanation is very brief, Midway was one of the most important battles of the war. Without it, the conflict could have lasted years longer and ultimately, the outcome could have been much different.

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The Tet Offensive

North Vietnam and its ally China had many advantages in the war in Vietnam. They could play without their hands behind their back, they could break with tradition and they had a complete disregard for the lives of their troops. All of these advantages would come to a head with the Tet Offensive.

Tet, the lunar new year, was one of the most wildly celebrated holiday in the North. As such, nobody expected an offensive, much less a massive one on that date.

Summary

The Tet offensive involved well coordinated attacks on a number of targets in South Vietnam. The North used the cover of the holiday to mask the troop build up. Preceding the holiday, troops would be rushing home to families, so it would be much easier to hide troop movements.

The first phase of the assault would begin on January 30 of 1968 when several cities and bases containing high levels of US troops were attacked. There would also be a second phase of the attack launched in May and yet another third phase in August.

In the end, although the North would claim a victory, the US and South forces would go on to reclaim all territory lost in the attacks. In addition, they would almost completely eliminate the attacking forces.

What the North did win however, was a media war. Americans at home, seeing what the North was capable of, found it harder to imagine a quick ending to the war. After the offensive, support for the war fell dramatically.

Results

While not a victory in the true sense of the word, the Tet Offensive was very successful for the North. It would eventually bring the Americans to the table and speed up their eventual exit from the war.

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