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  • Originally posted by McMax View Post

    I had a mentor who had the cover photograph on his office wall at the US Army Command and General Staff College. It's an official US Marine Corps photograph from the Battle of Okinawa. Private Paul Isen of the 5th Marines is crossing a blasted landscape known as "death valley" to those who fought there in May 1945.

    The mentor researched the photo. "On the day of the photograph was taken, "death valley" was raked by Japanese machine gun fire. Isen is running through the fire at full tilt, his body in the attitude of a sprinter just off the blocks. His rifle is not at port arms, held in the usual way across his his chest; his right hand grips the stock of his weapon at the balance point.
    "All the angles described by Isen's figure suggest the most intense concentration and speed. As if to confirm the danger of the scene, the photograph has been taken from the relative safety of a nearby hole. On can see the lip of the cameraman's haven in the foreground of the shot. When I look at this picture, I think of it as the essence of soldiering.
    "Isen is alone in the picture. Although combat soldiering is an affair of groups, the members of which sustain one another, often at the risk of their own lives, the final proposition of soldiering in modern times is that it is an intensely personal struggle against death and destruction. Isen is alone in another respect as well--that is how history has left him. Across the long march of military history, the combat soldier has often been the last and least important consideration of those who make war and those who study it." (Quoted from the lead paragraphs of Roger J. Spiller's article, "Isen's Run: Human Dimensions of Warfare in the 20th Century" in Military Review, May 1988.)
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
      The mentor researched the photo. "On the day of the photograph was taken, "death valley" was raked by Japanese machine gun fire. Isen is running through the fire at full tilt, his body in the attitude of a sprinter just off the blocks. His rifle is not at port arms, held in the usual way across his his chest; his right hand grips the stock of his weapon at the balance point.
      "All the angles described by Isen's figure suggest the most intense concentration and speed. As if to confirm the danger of the scene, the photograph has been taken from the relative safety of a nearby hole. On can see the lip of the cameraman's haven in the foreground of the shot. When I look at this picture, I think of it as the essence of soldiering.
      The book includes a description of the events surrounding the photo. IIRC, however, it wasn't a machine gun, but a sniper that took a shot at Isen as he was sprinting for cover. I'll have to look it up in the book.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by DingBat View Post

        The book includes a description of the events surrounding the photo. IIRC, however, it wasn't a machine gun, but a sniper that took a shot at Isen as he was sprinting for cover. I'll have to look it up in the book.
        Thanks, the odds would have been a little better against a sniper. Your author's research would be interesting.

        Spiller finished his article, "I have not had the courage to inquire whether Isen survived his war. If, however, when I am writing in my office I can imagine Isen nodding his head approvingly, my standards for remembering war will have been met."

        IIRC, some years later, Spiller received a letter from Isen who had heard or read his article. He had survived the war and living in Florida. He mentioned that he had crossed "death valley" several times that day.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

        Comment


        • Here's the relevant passage in the book. The author spells the name "Ison".

          A day later, with his battalion due to assault Wilson's Ridge the following day, demolition man PFC Paul Ison and other members of the 3/5th Marines' Assault Platoon were sheltering from the rain in an Okinawan burial tomb when their commander, Lieutenant Ellington, appeared at the door. 'Ison', he said, 'get up early in the morning and take your squad up on the line. Captain Smith has a job for you.'

          Next morning, after breakfasting on cold C-rations, Ison and his team went to the ammunition dump to get their satchel charges, one per man. They were turned away by the sergeant in charge. 'I've already sent a working party up to the front line', he told them, 'with all the TNT charges they will need.'

          So Ison and his men moved out, and eventually came to the 'draw, between 2 hills' that was known as Death Valley. Some of the Assault Platoon were already on the far side. Spotting Ison, one of them called out: 'Send one man at a time across.' With machine-gun and mortar fire raking the valley, Ison knew this made sense and did just that. When it was his turn, he ran with shoulders hunched, clutching his new M1 in his right hand. He was just nearing the far side and safety when he noticed, out of the corner of his right eye, someone in a foxhole raise a camera and click the shutter. Moments later he joined two 'good buddies' in another foxhole. 'Hey, Ison,' said one, 'that guy took your picture as you went past.'

          'Well,' replied Ison, 'I'll never live to see it.'
          It also turned out that the TNT never reached Captain Smith, and Ison and his squad had to return across Death Valley to get their satchel charges, then recross a third time.

          Apparently, the name of the photographer was Private Bob Bailey.

          Comment


          • Just finished this from Audible Books:
            • Generals in the Making
            • How Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Their Peers Became the Commanders Who Won World War II
            • By: Benjamin Runkle
            Not bad. Have a pretty long and extensive reading history on this topic and related. This kept my interest regardless of familiarity on many aspects.
            I often think how much easier the world would have been to manage if Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini had been at Oxford. Lord Halifax

            Comment


            • Enjoying this series by Barrie PItt

              crucibleofwar.jpg

              Comment


              • Nightrunners of Bengal by John Masters.

                Pruitt
                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                Comment


                • Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post
                  Enjoying this series by Barrie PItt

                  crucibleofwar.jpg
                  That looks like an interesting series, Otto. How far are you into them?

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by DingBat View Post

                    That looks like an interesting series, Otto. How far are you into them?
                    Wavell's Command, Chapter 4, The "Five-day Raid'
                    Just crossed the wire with 7th Armored and 4th Indian divisions as we prepare to strike Graziani's 10th Army in Operation Compass. Well detailed
                    AfricaMap1.jpg
                    Last edited by OttoHarkaman; 21 Aug 20, 19:29.

                    Comment


                    • Just started reading this:

                      Comment



                      • The Rebecca Code : Rommel's Spy in North Africa and Operation Kondor

                        5d15007a9c6ae4376dea0b73ad848bd4.jpg

                        Double Cross in Cairo: The True Story of the Spy Who Turned the Tide of War in the Middle East

                        e9ff1345627275fe78c7b42d87238a7a.jpg
                        Last edited by OttoHarkaman; 31 Aug 20, 12:13.

                        Comment


                        • I am reading "The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat, Reality versus Myth" by Earl J Hess.

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                          Comment


                          • Hi

                            Strangling the Axis (The Fight for Control of the Mediterranean during the SWW) by Richard Hammond plus the last article from the this 1/4's (July 2020) Journal of Military History.

                            Regards

                            Andy H
                            "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                            "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by ktnbs View Post
                              Just finished this from Audible Books:
                              • Generals in the Making
                              • How Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Their Peers Became the Commanders Who Won World War II
                              • By: Benjamin Runkle
                              Not bad. Have a pretty long and extensive reading history on this topic and related. This kept my interest regardless of familiarity on many aspects.
                              Hi

                              I've not read or listened to that title but I'm always wary when a books title contains overly hyperbolic language. I know its a marketing tool and you should take them with a pinch of salt. However, like with newspaper or TV headlines, many viewers don't go any further in their reading beyond the headline.

                              Regards

                              Andy H
                              "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                              "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

                              Comment


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