Author Archives: Dennis Gill

Five Simple Words

Five Words……. “Thank You For Your Service.” Five simple words that have become part of the American lexicon. We hear it routinely now, but it wasn’t until last night that I realized the incredible power of those five simple words. Once again, it was at dinner. And with a fine Belgian Ale and a great piece of steak (never underestimate the cognitive benefits of both!) I was with two gentlemen who had served in the army of a European country during the Cold War. These two gents were incredible. They had a Doctorate’s level of knowledge about the Battle of the Bulge, and a passion for preserving history. I found … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Luna 15 and the Race to the Moon

The “space race” is a phrase that most of us have heard of.  We understand it to be the race between the United States and the Soviet Union to get to the moon.  The race to the moon was one of the many “battles” fought during the Cold War, and America’s winning of that war was in part because we beat the Soviets there.  But many have not heard of the literal race that began on July 13th, 1969, three days before the launch of Apollo 11 which would result in Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin being the first humans to walk on the surface of the moon. Three days … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Historic First Steps

July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon.  While this feat didn’t feature direct combat against a hostile nation, it was part of the broader Cold War being waged against the Soviet Union.   President John F. Kennedy, a fierce critic and opponent of communism set the bar extremely high when, during his speech in Houston on September 12, 1962, set the goal of landing a man on the moon and bringing him home safely before the end of the decade.  He said we should set this as a goal, “not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”   At … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Stuart Light Tank

The M3 Stuart Light Tank was designed for service during World War II by The U.S. Army Ordnance Department and built by the American Car & Foundry Company.  A manufacturer of railroad cars, ACF built approximately 22,744 Stuarts between 1941 and 1944 in both the M3 and M5 variants. The M3 and M3A1 Stuart got it’s power from an air-cooled radial engine while the M5 variant used twin Cadillac V8 automobile engines.  The later version of the Stuart had many advantages over it’s older brother.  It was quieter, ran at a cooler temperature, had more room inside for its four man crew,  and its operation was easier to learn because … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost at Sea

Lost at Sea, Somewhere, 1780……. Last week we all gave thought to the thousands of Americans that charged ashore on the beaches of Normandy.  Places like Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Dog Red, and Pointe Du Hoc are all indelibly connected with their sacrifice. But I want to highlight a broader view of Americans in Wartime that you might not think about.  The many that have served, and sometimes given their lives for America, that are just “Lost at Sea.” This blog post had its genesis last week in a dinner with a former US Ambassador.  An incredible gentleman, he told many a story—large and small—over a dinner of “stuffies” and seafood.  As he … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Liberation of Europe

75 years ago today, June 6, 1944, over 160,000 Allied troops made their way across the English Channel, landing along a 50 mile stretch of beach to begin the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany. Thousands of ships and aircraft would support the troops who landed on the beaches that day, thousands of whom would be killed or wounded.  In the end, Nazi Germany was defeated and Europe liberated. Michael Hubiack was one of the thousands of U.S. troops who took part in what was code named Operation Overlord.  Very early in the morning the troops climbed down rope ladders to landing crafts.  As the morning haze lifted, they could … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

A moment of remembrance on Memorial Day

By Nick Ralston Program Manager, Google Veterans Network Lead, and former Marine Major I always wanted to be a Marine, but it wasn’t until the first day of rugby practice at the Naval Academy my sophomore year that I knew I was going to be a Marine. One of my coaches, an active duty, larger than life Marine officer took one look at me and declared, “Yep, you’re going to be a Marine.” That was Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Shea, who was killed the following year in combat near Fallujah, Iraq. He was the first person I knew to be killed in action and the first person I think of on … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lt. Col. John D. Jenkins: In Memoriam

  On February 6th, 2019, United States Army Lt. Col. John D. Jenkins (ret.)  passed away after a long illness.  He was 79. After graduating from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Mr. Jenkins served two tours in Vietnam from 1966-1967 and again from 1971-1972.  Among other awards, he received two Bronze Stars for his service during the war. After retiring from the Army in 1980, Mr. Jenkins went on to work for the Fairfax County Public Schools.  In 1981 he was elected to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors representing the Neabsco district.  His 36 years on the board make him the longest serving supervisor in Virginia. In … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Flying in the Aluminum Overcast – but seeing Shady Lady II.

In between this year’s constant rains, on a spectacular blue fall day, I flew in a B-17. It meant a lot to me. My father flew them 74 years ago. He was one of thousands of American GI’s who were stationed at Polebrook, England’s 351st Bomber Division. The B-17’s would conduct daily bombings of Germany. My Dad called it “the milk run” — and they were on the 23rd mission when he was shot down on a bombing run of Ludwigshafen, Germany — 430 miles away. His Bomber Group served as “Tail End Charlie” for the 1,000 + Bombers. They were to fly “high” at 29,000 feet. In youth we … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2018 Tank Farm Open House

This years Tank Farm Open House was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 22-23 in Nokesville, VA.  Due to rain overnight on Saturday and all day Sunday, the second day of the event had to be canceled.  Despite the challenges imposed by significant rain in the weeks prior, Saturday was a huge success with thousands of people making their way through the gate. Tanks and military vehicles where, as usual, the featured attraction, but by no means the only one.  The vehicles displays were enhanced by several groups of reenactors who set up their camps at various locations around the farm. The Marine Corps Historical Society conducted demonstrations to include … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments