Guantanamo Legacy?

 

Operation Enduring Freedom

In response to the SALON article:

Guantánamo’s indelible legacy: how this became a Gitmo world

Eight ways in which the toxic policies of Guantánamo Bay have contaminated American institutions since 2002.

https://www.salon.com/2020/01/24/guantnamos-indelible-legacy-how-this-became-a-gitmo-world_partner/

By Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel with research assistance from Julia Tedesco

Published January 24, 2020

My Comments:

Untrue, arbitrary, misleading and proof of Islamist apologists. Let’s take it one item at a time: 1) (Indefinite detention) Just because Carol Rosenberg, chief Islamist apologist, calls unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us, “forever prisoners,” doesn’t mean it’s true. Furthermore, “indefinite detention” is a MYTH. During WWII over 400,000 mostly German, lawful combatant POW’s were lawfully held without charge or trial “until the end of hostilities,” as per the Geneva Conventions and Law of War. Unlawful combatants, although not entitled to the protections of Geneva or Law of War, nonetheless were treated within the “spirit of Geneva,” due to the benevolence of the United States. Still, no indefinite detention. When hostilities end they may be repatriated unless accused of war crimes. Some might ask, when will we know when hostilities have ended? When all Islamists are either dead, or no longer have the will or means to kill us. And that’s pretty much up to them.

2) (A new legal language for the purpose of bypassing the law) Unlawful combatant detainees are called detainees because they did not earn the title of Prisoner of War, nor the rights and privileges thereof, because they did not follow the Geneva Conventions or Law of War in their hostilities toward the US and our allies. No “made up” language. Lawful and correct language based on FACTS.

3) (Legal cover) My deployment orders state, “In support of the Global War on Terror.” Because it’s a “Global War,” anywhere we find the enemy he can be killed or captured. Not by our choice, but by the choice of our enemies and the language of the AUMF.

4) (The sidelining and removal of professionals) You couldn’t be more wrong. It’s clear that we have a civilian led military. The President, as Commander in Chief, and the Secretary of Defense, both clearly in our chain of command; look at any wall in the HQ of any Army unit and you will see a line of photos, starting with the president and ending with the unit’s Command Sergeant Major. Knowing the chain of command is an inspectable piece of information that every soldier, from E-Private Snuffy to the commanding general is expected to know at all times. It was Donald Rumsfeld who told my boss, the Camp Commandant at Camp X-Ray while we were there, that we would treat all detainees “within the spirit of Geneva.” The command structure at the time, in early 2002, was two Joint Task Forces. One for incarceration, JTF 160, led by one-star (brigadier) general Lehnert of the US Marine Corps (Lehnert had been in charge of X-Ray back in the early 1990’s with the Cuban and Haitian boat crises). And a second JTF (170), with a two star (major) general, Dunleavy, in charge of intelligence and interrogations. The mission objective was to get as much critical information from the detainees as possible as quickly as possible in order to save lives, and then to keep the detainees safe, secure and healthy; the latter item being my area of responsibility. Not only were we all professionals, we had trained long and hard, and many in my brigade and detachment veterans of the First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), where tens of thousands of uniformed, lawful combatant Iraqi soldiers surrendered en mass in a matter of days after the first shots were fired. My unit, the 455th Military Police Detachment (Brigade Liaison Detachment), 800th Military Police Brigade (EPW), formed the essence of the Joint Detainee Operations Group at Gitmo in early 2002, which oversaw the detention operations for JTF 160, the on-site command group. Below us was the incarceration Military Police Battalion, which provided the inside the wire guard force. Incredible soldiers, led by an incredible battalion commander, who worked 12-14 hours days, 7 days a week for over 6 months straight. To the side of us were the various support elements from all other military branches: Marines were the garrison and Camp X-Ray security force; Air Force provided in-flight medical and supplemental JTF 160 medical services (flight surgeons), and also air space security and transportation to and from Gitmo; Coast Guard provided supplemental port security and ground operational guard force, protecting ground access to Camp X-Ray and other classified areas, and Guard Force medical support; The Navy had port security (after all Gitmo is a US Naval Station), ferry service to and from Leeward (airport) to Windward side of the base, hospital and fleet hospital (think navy M*A*S*H unit) for detainee healthcare, environmental and preventive medical support, Seabee’s (“We build, we fight!”) support and other base services, including transportation, recreation, communication and housing, to name a few.

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5) (The use of military for detention operations) Is legal and proper, but remember, the Reserves and National Guard hold almost all combat support and combat service support units in the military during peace time. You don’t need Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) or many medical or transportation assets unless there is a war. So it takes TIME to train necessary regular unit types after the balloon goes up. Gitmo was used because of the prison riot in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. The Law of War dictates detention operations in the theater of operations UNLESS it is unsafe to do so. The prison riot proved it was too dangerous to keep detainees in a war zone; too much of a high value target for fratricide (enemy killing enemy), to stay in Afghanistan. My unit was one of the only EPW units in the Army, and the Army is the only branch that does EPW operations. Army military police who are not EPW trained are at least trained in military incarceration, but are not specialists. Just like a civilian police officer is not trained for full time corrections, they are familiar with incarcerating people. Marines were only perimeter guards and in the very early days some of the internal reaction and security inside the wire. The Army and Marines both worked the perimeter security, supplemented by the Coast Guard at check points. As things settled into a battle rhythm, the Army picked up the perimeter mission full time. Yes, things were put together quickly, and there may have been concerns, but inside the wire you had professional soldiers doing their jobs in all aspects of the mission better than any other force on earth. In fact, International Committee of the Red Cross physicians I worked with at Gitmo and later in Iraq, told me, “No one does [detention operations] better than the US.”

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6) (Secrecy and the withholding of information) We hid things and kept secrets from the press because it was classified information essential for the safe, effective and secure operation of the mission. You only get to know what you need to know. I’ll never forget CNN correspondent Bob Franken threatening to “make it up” if we didn’t share classified information with him. We refused and so, almost on a daily bases, he filed FICTIONAL REPORTS. That’s right, pure FICTION! This is where I learned to loathe the MSM. The daily reports from Franked included things such as non-existent “riots” at Camp X-Ray, abuses, clandestine operations, complaints from the ICRC, and on and on. The kicker was when he insisted on knowing when we were going to move the detainees from the spartan Camp X-Ray to the new Camp Delta in the spring of 2002. He accused us of not letting him do his job. We accused him of trying to find out classified information to leak which would put the mission and those conducting it in unnecessary danger. We wouldn’t tell him, so he published a lie. We made sure the detainees were NOT moved when he said they were going to be moved, and instead of a two or three day operation, on the spur of the moment during the actual move, we decided to move them all on one day, a nearly 16 hour operation of continuous movement. Each detainee, nearly 300 of them, moved individually by two MP’s, one at a time, from their cells to a bus to their new cell. I observed every single transfer. Most of them thought they were being taken to be executed. Why? Because that’s what they would have done with us.

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7) (Disregard for international law and treaties) As for international law and treaties, NONE of them were written to protect unlawful combatants. In fact, all of the detainees could have been lawfully shot dead on the battlefield. The Geneva Conventions nor the Law of War applied to them, virtually all of them technically clandestine operatives, spies, mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, etc. not a one of them a lawful combatant entitled to the rights and privileges of a lawful combatant POW. They were all lucky to be alive. 731 of the nearly 800 detainees were eventually RELEASED, and NONE of them beheaded, executed, blown up, hacked to death, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, drowned or burned alive. All things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies. They were all treated with dignity and respect and under the spirit of Geneva, as per Mr. Rumsfeld’s directive. They received FREE Qurans, prayer rugs/beads, directions to Mecca, time and space to pray, white robes, beards, halal and special holy Muslim holiday meals, featuring baklava and lamb, services of US military Muslim chaplains, world class health, dental and vision care, library, correspondence, TV, DVDs, video games, entertainment, recreation and sports. Club Gitmo indeed. All this and still guards would be sucker punched, spat on, and doused with Gitmo Cocktails – bodily fluids of detainees “splashed” onto them unawares. Unlawful combatant detainees earned no rights or privileges under any international law or policy. As for torture, there was none at Gitmo. And only a handful of detainees were waterboarded which provided valuable information which saved many lives. Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) were NOT torture, and were legal and approved when used at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and only by trained CIA operatives. No DoD personnel were ever trained on EIT and never performed EIT.

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8) (Lack of accountability) As for accountability, no other country on earth treats its detainees or prisoners even half as good as the US does. We were as transparent as possible, even to the point where Don Rumsfeld wrote later in his autobiography, “Known and Unknown,” that he regrets the level of transparency shown the press at Gitmo. The early photographs exploited, mislabeled, misunderstood, misconstrued and mystified the place and the fine people who work there. Possibly one of the most emotionally challenging military missions, Gitmo presented myriad difficulties that some could not handle. In the end, Gitmo is a small but essential piece to the big puzzle of how we win the Global War on Terror. It is legal, ethical and moral. In fact, there is no moral comparison between Gitmo and how our enemies treat their captives. The Islamist equivalent to Gitmo is a PILE OF HEADS. Let that sink in. Sincerely, Major Montgomery J. Granger, US Army, Retired. Former ranking US Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint task Force 160, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Author: Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.

AGitmo

Theodore

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18 Years ago today, Theodore was born. I barely got to hold him before I was off, two days later, for training prior to my first of three deployments in support of the Global War on Terror.

Where has the time gone?

We are not that much closer to even grinding out justice in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the supposed mastermind of the 9/11/2001 terror attacks. In pre-trial hearings, former CIA interrogators talk about how they feel what they did was necessary to save American lives. One said he would do it all over again.

Our President is being impeached based on no evidence, no crime, and decidedly false accusations.

Our economy is booming; 401k’s and 403b’s exploding. Energy independence, a wall, trade deals left and right. Yet the Left complains about unlawful invader’s “rights” and that “poor” people are asked to pay for anything.

What does Theodore have to look forward to? What will become of us, of KSM, of the President? Stay tuned! My high school senior is interested in all of it (thank God!).

Theodore just became an Eagle Scout! Just like his two older brothers before him, he finished the trail to the top, and now will survey the landscape before taking on the challenge of climbing yet another even higher mountain for his future.

One of my proudest moments was when Theodore accepted the role of Senior Patrol Leader for Boy Scout summer camp a few years ago, after his best friend and original SPL could not attend due to the passing of his mother, who had just lost a long battle with cancer.

Theo took the reins of the Troop, and with the help and support of the other boys and adult leaders, led us through a mindful and reverent week of learning and personal growth beyond what any of us could have predicted. Theo and the boy leadership kept our camp American flag at half staff all week in honor of their friend’s mother’s passing. They never spoke about it. They just did it, every morning, in reverent silence.

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I blame myself for his love of NASCAR racing, infecting him early and often with watching races on TV and occasionally in person, buying him brightly colored die cast cars, playing with slot car sets, and then six years ago buying my very own convertible Mustang.

Theo wants to become a member of a NASCAR team, but is not sure yet in what capacity. He wants to study automotive engineering. A great start!

Theo is a loving, thoughtful and kind person, and I couldn’t be prouder of him and his brothers (he has three; two above and one below) and younger sister. Along with their mother, my companion of 35 years and counting, I am blessed with the fun, love and challenges of a big family; with three adult men, now, and everyone searching for their own way forward.

I retired from the military in 2008, after 22 years of good service, and three deployments, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (2002), Ft. Dix, NJ (2003), and Iraq (2004-2005). I left my family for about 2 1/2 years total for training and deployments after 9/11/2001.

I felt like a criminal leaving them, every time, but duty, honor, country called.

I am proud of my service, and proud of my wife for keeping things together while I was away. I still have no clue how she did it.

Granger Family 2009

I am grateful for all my blessings, all my family, friends and social media acquaintances.

My hope for Theodore, on his birthday and all the days of his life, is that he will continue to strive for excellence in all that he does. That he will live a full and honest life, that he will show others the respect he expects in return, and that he will love passionately his family, friends and career.

He has learned a lot from life already, that it is not fair, that it is hard, but that there are rewards for integrity, hard work and loyalty.

Happy birthday, Theo!

First Marine Killed in GWOT Remembered

IMG_1633[1]40 years ago, on November 21, 1979, United States Marine Corporal Steven J. Crowley, who was guarding the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was shot and killed by radical Muslim extremists (Islamists), becoming one of the first casualties of the modern Global War on Terror (GWOT).

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Muslim extremist “students,” having heard a false story about the US occupation of the mosque at Mecca, Saudi Arabia, gathered weapons and then boarded buses that would take them to the embassy.

Once at the compound, the Islamists stormed the complex and then set fire to debris collected on the first floor of the main building.

US Embassy Islamabad

CPL Crowley was shot once through the head, just above his left ear, at approximately 1:10 p.m. local time, while on duty protecting the embassy from the roof of the main building. He was taken into the building and then brought to the safe room, or vault on the second floor.

At approximately 3:25 p.m. CPL Crowley was pronounced dead in the embassy vault, after an oxygen tank that was providing his threadbare connection to life ran out.

This group of Islamist “students” was later to be funded by none other than Osama bin Laden himself.

Steven was a tall, fit, blond-haired blue-eyed, chivalrous and cordial 19 year old graduate of Comsewogue High School, in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, New York, who loved to run on the Cross Country and Spring Track Teams and who was a member of the Chess Club.

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Steven Crowley Park, in Port Jefferson Station, was named for this brave neighbor of ours, and by cleaning up the park each fall we honor him and his brave and selfless service to our country. Cub Scout Pack 120 (Boy Scouts of America) has been cleaning up the park each fall at least since my 24 year old Eagle Scout son was a 6 year old Tiger Scout, 18 years ago and counting.

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We tell the boys about Steven and his sacrifice to his country and to all of us.

Steven is a hero to all the nation, and his death marks one of the very first casualties in the Global War on Terror. The incident that precipitated Steven’s murder at the hands of Islamists shook the Muslim world just the day before, on November 20, 1979.

Overzealous Wahhabi’s seized the Grand Mosque at Mecca for about two weeks. Saudi Arabian commandos, with the help of French and American intelligence, eventually retook the mosque, ending the incident. But the erroneous story that the US had seized the mosque incensed hordes of Islamists throughout the Muslim world.

The incident at the US embassy in Islamabad was merely the first in a series of events that eventually led up to the attacks by Islamists on the United States on September 11, 2001, killing more Americans than died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, or died at Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Since then our enemies have mutated into the current Islamic State, but many other Islamic terrorist groups have emerged as well, each one determined to eliminate Israel, kill all infidels, and establish a worldwide caliphate.

In Steven’s memory, and for us, and for generations to come, we must fight the forces of evil that continue to harm us and our allies. Until all Islamists are dead, or no longer have the means or will to kill us, we must defend ourselves by any means necessary.

Thank you, Steven for your service, loyalty and sacrifice. We shall never forget your chivalry, integrity and self-less service to this great nation.

Never Volunteer? One Horse Cavalryman’s Tale

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SGT George Grassman, 5th Infantry Division, 4th Squadron, 12th Cavalry, Ft. Carson, Colorado, did what every soldier is told NOT to do: volunteer. Yet there he was, a draftee mortarman (11C20) in 1965, in formation, listening to his infantry Platoon Sergeant lament about there not being enough horsemen to fill the saddles in an elite group of soldiers who would eat, sleep, live and breathe with one of the last cavalry outfits in the United States Army.

Little did George know at the time, he would be part of an original group of volunteers of the Ft. Carson Mounted Color Guard, whose motto, Semper Paratus means, “Always Ready.” The MCG celebrated its 50th anniversary in December 2015. The group’s founder Hugh Trabandt, was driven to reproduce the glory days of the horse soldier, after having been a member of the US Cavalry Horse Platoon in Berlin, Germany in 1954.

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SGT George Grassman, center

George had always liked horses. Growing up, his uncle had horses and would take George riding, so volunteering for the cavalry came naturally.

The 4th of the 12th was assigned parade and ceremony duty from time-to-time, but 24/7/365, they cared for and fed Army (and some civilian) horses, and loved every minute of it!

George told me tales of dress-right-dress in a trot for this ceremony or that; very disciplined, very serious, with every detail, from the straps to the spurs, looking perfect.

The horse cavalrymen had to make most of what they used for ceremonies, including piecing together uniforms, scarves, trim, and dyeing Army green wool blankets navy blue for the horse covers. When all was said and done, no one could tell that the trimmings and tack were homemade – the Army simply did not procure or supply cavalry fittings anymore.

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George told me about some of the more relaxed times, like one day, while out haying for the horses, the men of the unit, in civilian clothes outside the base in the hay fields, took turns to see how high they could stack the hay bales in the back of a pick-up truck to take back to the stables.

They got the hay so high that it caught the attention of a state police officer, who pulled the men over.

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George says, initially the officer told them he was going to write them a ticket, and they would have to go back and get rid of some of the hay because there was an overpass down the road that would surely not accommodate their towering stack.

The driver of the truck, lower in rank than George, quickly pointed out that George was in charge and should get the ticket instead of himself!

The officer demurred when George told the officer it wouldn’t be a problem to lower the height of the stack. The officer put away the summons and told the men to be careful.

Such antics were unique to the Horse Soldiers. Proud of their mounts and of their special status as favored ceremonial troops, George said he really enjoyed the duty.

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I would not be telling you about George and his service had it not been for his habit of volunteering for things.

Not too long ago, when my third Eagle Scout son, Theodore (17) was planning his project, George jumped up figuratively, and volunteered not just to help Theodore, but also to lend him his garage, tools, scrap wood, patio and barbecue!

George’s generosity and selfless service are second-to-none. George lives on Long Island, New York, and is married to Roberta, and they have three grown children; two boys and a girl who have given them four grandchildren.

We believe that George’s kindness had a halo effect around my son. The three of us, Eagle Scout project supply list in hand, went off to a local Home Depot to obtain what we needed for the project.

Theodore asked for the manager, Sue, who told him, “No problem,” when he asked for a donation or discount from the store for his project. Sue told him to get what he needed and then ask for her at the check-out.

Not long into the shopping, a tall, strapping gentleman, wearing a blue baseball cap with an eagle head on it, approached my son, who was in full Class “A” Boy Scout uniform, and asked him if he was shopping for his Eagle Scout project. Why, yes he was!

The gentleman, who introduced himself as Mike, asked Theodore what his project was about (banner hangers in our church – the First United Methodist Church of Port Jefferson, NY – for an abundance of church banners!), and when he found out it was for Theodore’s church (George and I are both Trustees of the church), Mike said, “Follow me.”

We followed him to the checkout, where he promptly purchased a $100 gift card for Theodore, handed it to him and said, “Someday, pay it forward.” We thanked Mike for his generosity and promised to invite him to Theodore’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. A self-employed contractor, Mike admitted to being an Eagle Scout himself, and choosing an Eagle for his company’s logo.

But George’s good luck hadn’t yet worn off!

When we were finished shopping and then called for Sue at the check-out, prepared to pay partially with the gift card, Sue refused, saying, “It’s all on us.”

Needless to say, we were all blown away at Sue’s and Home Depot’s generosity. Sue told Theodore she wanted only one promise. Theodore had to swear to bring her photos of the finished project. Not a problem!

For the next two days we and about eight other Scouts (including Theodore’s younger brother, Hamilton (13), four more adults and Theodore’s two older brother Eagle Scouts, Benjamin (23) and Harrison (20), cut, sanded, nailed, glued and stained wooden banner hangers, ten of them, which would hold two banners each. George could still fit into his vintage Boy Scout shirt, and wore it during the project construction.

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Theodore, second from left; George, second from right; Harrison, right; Hamilton, center (red).

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Theodore and George

 

We went from George’s hand built stand-alone garage – looking good as new at some thirty-plus years old – to the back of the church’s choir room and then Theodore and George installed the hangers on the back wall.

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Mounted banner holders!

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Author, back, left; Theodore, back second from left; George, center; Benjamin, back center; Hamilton, front, second from right.

This wasn’t George’s first rodeo. Several years earlier, George had helped my second son, Harrison with his Eagle Scout project, installing energy efficient light fixtures in the church Community Room. George just can’t help volunteering for things!

This Veterans Day, seek out those veterans and their stories who might be right under your nose (maybe members of your own church or civic group), but are maybe too humble to mention their glorious past. You might be very surprised at what and whom you find.

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“Always Ready”

It took mentioning an old magazine cover I spotted in George’s garage during Theodore’s Eagle Scout project to get him to talk about his heyday. I’m very glad I spoke up. Moreover, I am glad that George volunteered to be one of the original Ft. Carson Mounted Color Guard horse soldiers.

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SOS for a British Comrade

Never let it be said that we stand by and watch our comrades in arms struggle when we can give a helping hand. As military men and women, we have a common bond, and although we’ve not always been best of friends with the British, this time of year makes us reflect on our comradeship.

Therefore, I would be grateful for all my brothers and sisters at arms out there to please join me and help keep the legacy of a local World War I hero from being desecrated by a government council in Scotland.

Ralph

Captain Ralph Hudson

Captain Ralph Hudson died 99 years ago, but there is no eternal peace for him after an unbelievable decision was made on the eve of Remembrance Sunday*. Now it seems that this Duke of Wellington Regiment’s soldier has one more battle to fight . . . from beyond the grave.

As part of his legacy, trustees for Captain Ralph Palliser Milbanke Hudson’s estate, left a piece of land to his local church to be used for burials of resident parishioner’s at no cost to them, but Scottish Borders Council (SBC) have just stopped the practice of free burials which first began in 1925.

Buried alive while marking for the Artillery opposite Messines in 1915, Captain Hudson suffered horrific injuries after surviving the German shelling and gassing.

Five years later, he sadly succumbed to his injuries and the Wolfelee estate between Jedburgh and Hawick bequeathed land to Hobkirk Parish Church in 1925 in his memory, which would enable local parishioners to have free burials.

There are around 60 plots left in the cemetery extension at the church, but the Scottish Borders Council has slapped funeral charges of up to £1000 on future burials; a move which has provoked anger among locals.

One of the locals who now lives on the estate is author and journalist Yvonne Ridley. You may know her as a former captive of the Taliban back in 2001, but she has also served as an officer in the Territorial Army.

She said, “I’ve looked in to Ralph’s family history and he was born in the same county as myself. We both served in the military as Captains, although thankfully, I saw no action unlike Ralph, and we both ended up living in the same house albeit a century apart.

“He, like me, valued the people in his adopted community in the Scottish Borders and his legacy should be preserved. I’m not even sure what the council is doing is legal and once we find the original documents or copies relating to the deeds we will prove this.

“I believe we have right on our side and if this council wants a battle then it will get one. They should remember the ‘Dukes’ motto: Fortune Favors The Brave!

“There will also be US soldiers reading this who are just as angry as me and I would ask for your help. Of course, the decent thing for SBC to do would be to capitulate and honor Ralph’s memory and legacy. This is, after all, the month of November when we remember and honor our war dead.

“Perhaps this is something the council bureaucrats would do well to remember.”

Before his death, Captain Hudson wrote a book on the history of Wolfelee, published by his family after his demise.

A preface to his History of Wolfelee says, “He was buried by a German shell whilst marking for the Artillery opposite Messines, and never really recovered from his injuries, dying from heart failure on March 25, 1920.”

SBC remains unrepentant. A spokesperson said after a council review in 2014 the authority saw that “Hobkirk was recognized as having been providing burial ground without a charge.

“The premise on which the ground was being given free was researched, including scrutinizing titles, historical records and Council-held files.

“What was established was that there was no legal basis on which the ground was being provided free of charge and that the Council was entitled to charge for the purchase of burial plots within Hobkirk.

“Charging was implemented at the start of the 2015/16 financial year and the rates are reviewed and updated annually as part of the budget setting process.”

However, campaigners say they are more determined than ever to get justice. Ms. Ridley added, “We are taking legal advice and will continue our fight for Ralph’s legacy.

“The council may want to forget all about the heroics of Captain Hudson but we will not and neither should parishioners because they have to walk past his grave for Sunday worship every week.

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Farmer Donald at Captain Hudson’s Grave

“We will definitely be planning a fitting memorial to mark the centenary of his death and expect it could turn in to quite a significant event. Hopefully SBC will re-think its policy on this occasion and do the right thing.”

She urged anyone who wants to support Captain Hudson’s legacy should write to SBC’s Chief Executive Tracey Logan at her email address (Tracey.Logan@scotborders.gov.uk) and urge her to overturn the council’s decision to trash Ralph’s legacy.

Captain Hudson was born in October 1891 in Sunderland, the only son of Ralph Milbanke Hudson and Eliza Westropp Hudson. After graduating from Cambridge, he was commissioned into the West Riding Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant. The regiment was also known as the 3rd Duke of Wellington’s.

That year he went on active service to France in January 1915, but, in the same year, was invalided home after being shelled, gassed and temporarily buried alive.

He published a book of “Trench Yarns” under the pen-name “Peter” as well as a History of the Hudson family home, Wolfelee, published posthumously.

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Captain Ralph Hudson and bride, Annie Charleston Goninan

He married Annie Charleston Goninan at Hobkirk in 1918 but never recovered from his injuries, dying from heart failure two years later.

Editor’s Note: If you are interested in helping the campaign to preserve Captain Hudson’s Legacy or have more information about him please contact the author. There will be a wreath laying ceremony for Captain Hudson a few days ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

*Remembrance Sunday is held in the United Kingdom as a day “to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts”. It is held at 11:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in November.

 

The Medic

Combat Medic

The Medic doesn’t heal you,

The Medic doesn’t stay with you.

He is like a comma or a semicolon

In the middle of a sentence;

He’s there just long enough to give you pause.

Down the road is healing, and he may take you there

By road or stream or air,

He won’t stay with you,

But not because he doesn’t care,

He just doesn’t have TIME.

On the ground he looks at you,

Processes you,

Sees your wound, your blood, your guts,

As you.

And then he either kisses you with life,

Or leaves you there to Death.

Only long after does he cry or laugh

Having seen you die or live.

The Medic sees you cry, but can’t afford to care then –

Beyond just another wound or cut.

He’s on to the next one, and the next one,

And the next.

Until Peace comes to save him,

He’s all-in!

Never quit!

Never die!

Stick a needle in his eye!

 

 

Why Harriet Tubman Should Get Her Own Denomination

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said recently that the Obama era plan to switch the picture on the US twenty dollar bill from President Andrew Jackson to abolitionist Harriet Tubman has essentially been tabled until after President Donald Trump leaves office. Maybe not even in circulation until 2028.

Now that’s what I call kicking the currency down the road!

Why the hubbub? Why the consternation? Why the sighs of relief?

It’s as if people have been lead to believe that it is an either/or proposition.

C’mon, folks! Think outside the (cash) box?

Harriet Tubman was a US Army pensioner. Heck, she led ARMED raids on slavers! This was no demure American hero. This lady ROCKED!

Pictured here on a mock-up of the current twenty dollar bill (sans Jackson) the artist has depicted Tubman as the brave, fearless, determined leader that she was.

Hand outstretched to lead those whom she saved to freedom and liberty. Pistol at the ready to deter or enforce against those who would stop her. Harriet Tubman was the quintessential American individual.

Depicted in history books as almost a school marm, Tubman’s real life embodied the honor, integrity and fortitude of a true leader.

For Jackson’s sake, some love him (Donald Trump), and some hate him (social justice warriors). A swashbuckling populist war hero, Jackson was rough and ready.

Ironically, he actually, probably shared numerous personality traits with Tubman. Both were passionate about their beliefs and convictions. So much so that they had many admirer’s and followers. Jackson could probably boast as many enemies and detractors, though even to this day.

Tubman in her own right, can probably not be criticized, and is a consensus choice for posterity through her living image on our currency. I for one would be extremely proud to carry “Tubman’s” in my wallet!

But herein lies the rub!

Why not give her her own denomination?

Doing so would eliminate angst among the Jackson-lovers clan (of which I am one, truth be told, middle-naming my fourth son after him), and would aspire the Tubman crowd to higher heights with . . . drum roll, please . . . a TWENTY-FIVE DOLLAR BILL!

That’s right, twenty-five! Why twenty-five? Because it’s a great number! We have quarter dollars (four of them equal a George Washington – $1 bill).

Four Tubman’s would equal a Franklin ($100 bill). Four $25’s would take up less space in the wallet than five $20’s. Fewer bills overall would need to be produced. ATM’s could carry more money!

At first, you could make 25 percent fewer Jackson’s, introducing Tubman’s slowly to gauge acceptance and utility. As the stats come in you could adjust the minting and distribution accordingly.

Think of the PR coup President Trump could enjoy! Keep the Jackson twenty AND produce the Tubman twenty-five! Have your cake and eat it, too!

Trump could engage the public with a “National Twenty-Five Dollar Bill Design Contest!” Come one, come all, and design the next new currency!

Using the traditional format for continuity, the possibility of colors and fonts and security details could abound.

My pick would be the hero Tubman in the picture. It’s perfect in every way. Her descendants could be the final arbiters of the design.

If you agree that Harriet Tubman should have her own denomination, and that it should be $25 (five more than Jackson!), then share this blog post on social media, email, with friends and neighbors!

Tell President Trump and Steve Mnuchin that there is a way forward that would be a win-win for everyone!