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I always remember and as I look about to see what Americans are today, it is examples such as this that remind me what we once were, still are as a whole, and what will be required shortly in the future.
FROM MOUNTAIN MEDIA
EDITORS: A LONGER VERSION, AT 2,000 WORDS, ALSO MOVES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATED OCT. 22, 2000
THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz
Oct. 26, 1942: The last man did not fail
Oct. 26 falls on a Thursday this year.
Ask the significance of the date, and you're likely to draw some puzzled looks -- five more days to stock up for Halloween?
It's a measure of men like Col. Mitchell Paige that they wouldn't have had it any other way. What he did 58 years ago, he did precisely so his grandchildren could live in a land of peace and plenty.
Whether we've properly safeguarded the freedoms he and his kind fought to leave us as their legacy, may be a discussion better left for another day. Today we struggle to envision -- or, for a few of us, to remember -- how the world must have looked on Oct. 26, 1942. A few thousand lonely American Marines had been put ashore on Guadalcanal, a god-forsaken jungle island which just happened to lie like a speed bump at the end of the long blue-water slot between New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago -- the very route the Japanese Navy would have to take to reach Australia.
On Guadalcanal the Marines built an air field. And Japanese commander Isoroku Yamamoto immediately grasped what that meant. No effort would be spared to dislodge these upstart Yanks from a position that could endanger his ships during any future operations to the south. Before long, relentless Japanese counterattacks had driven the U.S. Navy from inshore waters. The Marines were on their own.
World War Two is generally calculated from Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939. But that's a eurocentric view. The Japanese had been limbering up in Korea and Manchuria as early as 1931, and in China by 1934. By late 1942 they'd devastated every major Pacific military force or stronghold of the great pre-war powers: Britain, Holland, France, and the United States. The bulk of America's proud Pacific fleet lay beached or rusting on the floor of Pearl Harbor.
As Mitchell Paige -- then a platoon sergeant -- and his men set about establishing their last defensive line on a ridge southwest of the tiny American bridgehead at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on Oct. 25, it's unlikely anyone thought they were about to provide a definitive answer to that most desperate of questions: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill against 2,000 desperate and motivated attackers?
The Japanese Army had not failed in an attempt to seize any major objective since the Russo-Japanese War of 1895. But in preceding days, Marine commander Vandegrift had defied War College doctrine, "dangling" his men in exposed positions to draw Japanese attacks, then springing his traps "with the steel vise of firepower and artillery," in the words of Naval historian David Lippman.
The Japanese regiments had been chewed up, good. Still, American commanders had so little to work with that Paige's men had only four 30-caliber Browning machine guns on the one ridge through which the Japanese opted to launch their final assault against Henderson Field, that fateful night of Oct. 25.
By the time the night was over, "The 29th (Japanese) Infantry Regiment has lost 553 killed or missing and 479 wounded among its 2,554 men," historian Lippman reports. "The 16th (Japanese) Regiment's losses are uncounted, but the 164th's burial parties handle 975 Japanese bodies. ... The American estimate of 2,200 Japanese dead is probably too low."
Among the 90 American dead and seriously wounded that night were all the men in Mitchell Paige's platoon. Every one. As the night wore on, Paige moved up and down his line, pulling his dead and wounded comrades back into their foxholes and firing a few bursts from each of the four Brownings in turn, convincing the Japanese forces down the hill that the positions were still manned.
The citation for Paige's Congressional Medal of Honor adds: "When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire."
In the end, Sgt. Paige picked up the last of the 40-pound, belt-fed Brownings -- the same design which John Moses Browning famously fired for a continuous 25 minutes until it ran out of ammunition in its first U.S. Army trial -- and did something for which the weapon was never designed. Sgt. Paige walked down the hill toward the place where he could hear the last Japanese survivors rallying to move around his flank, the gun cradled under his arm, firing as he went.
The weapon did not fail.
Coming up at dawn, battalion executive officer Major Odell M. Conoley first discovered the answer to our question: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill against two regiments of motivated, combat-hardened infantrymen who have never known defeat?
On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige alone sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see what the dawn would bring.
One hill: one Marine.
But that was the second problem. Part of the American line (start ital)had(end ital) fallen to the last Japanese attack. "In the early morning light, the enemy could be seen a few yards off, and vapor from the barrels of their machine guns was clearly visible," reports historian Lippman. "It was decided to try to rush the position."
For the task, Major Conoley gathered together "three enlisted communication personnel, several riflemen, a few company runners who were at the point, together with a cook and a few messmen who had brought food to the position the evening before."
Joined by Paige, this ad hoc force of 17 Marines counterattacked at 5:40 a.m., discovering that "the extremely short range allowed the optimum use of grenades." In the end, "The element of surprise permitted the small force to clear the crest."
And that's where the unstoppable wave of Japanese conquest finally crested, broke, and began to recede. On an unnamed jungle ridge on an insignificant island no one had ever heard of, called Guadalcanal. Because of a handful of U.S. Marines, one of whom, now 82, lives out a quiet retirement with his wife Marilyn in La Quinta, Calif.
On Oct. 26, 1942.
When the Hasbro Toy Co. called up some years back, asking permission to put the retired colonel's face on some kid's doll, Mitchell Paige thought they must be joking.
But they weren't. That's his mug, on the little Marine they call "GI Joe."
And now you know.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and editor of Financial Privacy Report (subscribe by calling Nicholas at 612-895-8757.) His book, "Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998," is available by dialing 1-800-244-2224; or via web site
Vin Suprynowicz, firstname.lastname@example.org
"When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The minority are right." -- Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926)
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and thus clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken
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"Government is non-consensual BDSM with the Second Amendment as the only safe-word."WP
Coffee can make women's breasts smaller: Swedish study
Published: 16 Oct 08 18:45 CET
Women who drink a lot of coffee may see their breasts become more petite, according to the results of a new Swedish study.
Around half of all women possess a gene shown to link breast size to coffee intake.
"Drinking coffee can have a major effect on breast size," said Helena Jernström, a lecturer in experimental oncology at Lund University.
But while a regular brew appears to have a somewhat deflationary aspect, there is also one very positive effect in that coffee reduces the risk of breast cancer.
"I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls," Obama told liberal journalist Matt Bai. "[T]he way I’m portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latté-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?"Mr. Foreigner,
WASHINGTON — Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefited from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s.So Barney Fag, after you took it up the ass, you decided to fuck America- tell us when your last AIDS check was and please say it was positive.
So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions.
Now that Fannie Mae is at the epicenter of a financial meltdown that threatens the U.S. economy, some are raising new questions about Frank's relationship with Herb Moses, who was Fannie’s assistant director for product initiatives. Moses worked at the government-sponsored enterprise from 1991 to 1998, while Frank was on the House Banking Committee, which had jurisdiction over Fannie.
Both Frank and Moses assured the Wall Street Journal in 1992 that they took pains to avoid any conflicts of interest. Critics, however, remain skeptical.
"It's absolutely a conflict," said Dan Gainor, vice president of the Business & Media Institute. "He was voting on Fannie Mae at a time when he was involved with a Fannie Mae executive. How is that not germane?"
"If this had been his ex-wife and he was Republican, I would bet every penny I have - or at least what's not in the stock market - that this would be considered germane," added Gainor, a T. Boone Pickens Fellow. "But everybody wants to avoid it because he’s gay. It’s the quintessential double standard."
Today is a great day in Texas History. It's the day the first shots in the successful Texas revolution were fired. In a surprise attack at dawn October 2nd, 1835 outside Gonzales under the "Come and Take It" flag a band of noble Texicans took the Mexican force which had been sent to seize their cannons.Yes, it is time.
"When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression."
Unanimous Declaration of Independence
March 2, 1836