Category Archives: Blog

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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That Sound You Didn’t Hear

That Sound You Didn’t Hear, 1 April 2019   Last Friday I was down at the Museum restoration facility helping with some work that needed to be done. As I was changing into my coveralls, I heard the mobile recording studio being fired up. Lacing up my boots and stepping outside, the studio departed on its mission for the day. But I will circle back to that in moment. That “Sound I Didn’t Hear” that Friday was the sound of a Veteran dying. I didn’t know about it until I got home and read the email from my friend. It was his Father-in-Law. 104 years old. Wounded twice in the … Continue reading

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Toothbrush, USS Hornet

Toothbrush, 13 February 2019 USS Hornet (CV-8) was nearly 30,000 tons of fighting machine on the morning of 26 October, 1942. Steel formed her tough outer skin, while miles of pipes holding fuel, water, and a myriad other things pumped vital fluids throughout her skeleton. Her decks were crammed with thousands of rounds of AA ammunition, and her magazines held dozens of bombs and torpedoes. But by the early hours of 27 October, 1942, she disappeared beneath the waves of Pacific Ocean, near the Solomon Islands. Her service life was incredibly short….barely a year. 140 of her 2,200 sailors never came back from that day. Many of her sailors were … Continue reading

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Soggy

Soggy Northern Virginia, 31 December 2018   As a very wet, soggy 2018 changes into 2019, I am focused more on a different set of numbers. 200,000, or 400,000, or perhaps a number somewhere in between. Depending on which government source and which moment of a particular day, there are somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 members of our Armed Forces not sleeping in their own bed tonight. The numbers change continuously and by the second. These guardians of our freedom—be they men or women. Marines, Air Force, Navy, Army, Coast Guard or other. Whether on permanent change of station or temporary duty—they are manning the ramparts so that the rest … Continue reading

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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

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