Looking Back


Looking Back, May 2024 By Mark Albertson “Jackie” Her date of birth seems to be an open question, ranging anywhere from 1906 to 1911[1]  Date of death is fixed, though, as of August 10, 1980.  So is the place of origin, a small mill town in Florida, Muscogee.  And so was the name she was born with, Bessie Lee Pittman. The Pittman family was mired in poverty.  Mr. Pittman, a journeyman worker, moved his family of seven from town to town throughout Florida and Georgia. However Bessie, by the time she was eight, was working in a cotton mill, “where...

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Parochial Thinking / Seeds of Contention

Looking Back, March 2024 By Mark Albertson Parochial Thinking / Seeds of Contention On June 4, 1920, the National Defense Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. The Act saw fit to organize the United States Army as an aggregate of three subdivisions: The Regular Army, National Guard and the organized reserves of civilians or Officers’ and Enlisted Reserve Corps. The Regular Army was to have a manpower strength of 17,726 officers and 280,000 enlisted. Of course, this was dependent upon Congress and whether it appropriated enough money for a ground force of even this size. And this...

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Air Defense Tactics of Soviet Airborne Units

Looking Back, February 2024 By Mark Albertson Air Defense Tactics of Soviet Airborne Units By Thomas M. Salisbury, III Edited by Mark Albertson [Thomas M. Salisbury, III, an Intelligence Analyst with the Red Team, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, HQDA, attended the Virginia Military Institute and served in the U.S. Army Security Agency from 1966 to 1970.] * Army Aviation, pages 49-52, Vol. 29, No. 11, Army Aviation Publications, Inc., Westport, Ct., November 30, 1980. * * * * * Soviet military journals categorize the primary threat to parachute and heliborne assault forces on landing to...

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Philosophy of Command

Looking Back, December 2023 By Mark Albertson Philosophy of Command By Brigadier General George P. Seneff, Jr. General George P. Seneff, page 38, Army Aviation, January 31, 1999 issue. The following was written by Brigadier General George P. Seneff, Jr. in 1966, while he was commanding the 1st Aviation Brigade in Vietnam. * * * * * A World War I division commander whom I knew fairly well, and who was a great gentleman and fine commander, said to me one evening in 1945, “I have finally come to realize that the only way to be a good commander in...

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“Which Way Did He Go? Up!”

Looking Back, October 2023 By Mark Albertson “Which Way Did He Go? Up!” By Lieutenant Colonel Jack W. Hemingway Army War College Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania Edited by Mark Albertson Source: Pages 228, 250-252, Army Aviation, Vol. 7, No. 6, Army Aviation Publications, Westport, Ct., June 22, 1959. * * * * * Lieutenant Colonel Jack W. Hemingway, received his commission in 1942 by way of the Citizens Military Training Program. Following his assignment to the 35 th Infantry Division, he joined the 78 th and fought with that division on the European Theater of Operations. A unit commander at Camp...

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Army Aviation: Italian Campaign

Looking Back, September 2023 By Mark Albertson 80th Anniversary of World War II Army Aviation: Italian Campaign   September 3, 1943, the main weight of the British Eighth Army on Sicily crossed the Straits of Messina to establish a toehold on the Italian mainland. On September 9, elements of Eighth Army and 1st Airborne Division landed at the port of Taranto. That same day, General Mark Clark’s Fifth Army landed up the coast at Salerno. Opening phases of the Italian campaign, featuring the invasion routes by Anglo-American forces. “Fifth Army air artillery officer, Major John T. Walker, organized the Fifth...

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Army Aviation: The Coop That Flew

Looking Back, August 2023 By Mark Albertson Army Aviation: Some Gems from Art and Dottie, 1959 “The Coop That Flew” Development of a new highly mobile, air transportable communications center, designed to direct fast moving U.S. Army forces was announced recently by the Department of the Army. The system, which has an extremely high degree of mobility, can be set down almost anywhere by helicopters, and be flown out immediately for relocation elsewhere. It can also be moved rapidly from place to place on conventional Army trucks. Developed by the U.S. Army Signal Corps, it provides the vital nucleus for...

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Army Aviation: Part I: 70 Years Ago: Korea

Looking Back, May 2023 By Mark Albertson Army Aviation: Part I:  70 Years Ago: Korea The Korean War opened spectacularly on June 25, 1950.  In blitzkrieg-like fashion, over 90,000 troops of the North Korean People’s Army, backed by upwards of 150 Soviet-supplied T-34 tanks, crashed over the 38th parallel.  However strongman Kim Il-sung’s bid to unify the peninsula failed.  For in one of the decisive actions of the war, Kim’s army failed to liquidate the Pusan abscess in the southeast corner of South Korea; which together with General Mac Arthur’s bold stroke at Inchon on September 15, 1950, tilted the...

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Branchhood: Part III: Completing the Circle

Looking Back, April 2023 By Mark Albertson Branchhood: Part III:  Completing the Circle As with many of Man’s distinguished endeavors, success is attained most always with a decision that is hardly unanimous.  Why should the quest for branchhood be any different?  And so it was not.  Many had concerted opinions for; with others expressing convictions against; while there were some, such as Major General Robert L. Wetzel, commandant of Infantry at Fort Benning who, in Part II of this series, seemed to be mired in No Man’s Land.  Yet branchhood was coming, despite the contrarian viewpoints of the naysayers.  For...

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Branchhood: Part II: Discourse and Debate

Looking Back / Army Aviation, March 2023; By Mark Albertson   Branchhood Part II: Discourse and Debate Within a three-and-a-half-year study conducted by the Officer of Personnel Management System in the seventies, Major General George Putnam, Director of Military Personnel Policy, recommended that Army Aviation should be organized as a branch.  Such was disapproved by General Bernard Rogers, then Chief of Staff.  “Aviation is an ‘entry specialty’ within a combat arms affiliated ‘carrier’ branch, stressing that aviators, . . . ‘must be experts in aviation.’”[1] Yet, even among the Aviation community, opinions varied with regards to branchhood.  For instance, Brigadier General...

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