USS Intrepid Remembered

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HAPPY NEW YEAR to ALL Former USS Intrepid Crewmembers

This new year, I hope to continue providing informative ‘post’ for all to enjoy, and ask that all former crewmembers (FCMs) consider sending articles/memories and stories to this editor.

Please send all correspondence to: cv11texfcm@gmail or mail to: 18730 County Road 4001, Mabank, TX 75147-2902

I hope ALL have a safe, healthy and prosperous NEW YEAR.


John Simonetti – Editor

In the Middle of the Country…

“In the middle of the country, in the middle of the century” – By Bob Greene

In the house where I grew up, there was a portrait hanging on the wall of the first floor, not far from the kitchen. It wasn’t a famous painting, not the work of a well-known artist. In fact, even though, in my mind’s eye, it is the most memorable portrait I have ever encountered, I still have no idea of precisely who held the brush and applied the oil to the canvas.

I do know that the portrait was done in Italy, during WWII, and that the artist was an Army buddy of my father’s. Apparently this man enjoyed painting portraits for his fellow soldiers in the 91st Infantry Division, and he did them during down moments in the long months the 91st spent in North Africa and Italy in 1944 and 1945. The artist’s subject – the man whose face looks off the canvas – was my dad.

He virtually never spoke about the painting; it was on the wall of our house all during my childhood, and later, when he and my mother moved to another house, they took it with them. Today the portrait hangs on a wall in the house where my mother lives by herself, now that he is dead.

The years of the war were – I now know – the most important and affecting of his life, the years of which he was the very proudest. If you were to have asked him – which I don’t think we ever did – what was the best accomplishment of his lifetime, I’m quite certain he would have said, without hesitation: serving in the United States Army in the greatest conflict in the history of man.

Not that he was a hero, or a renowned soldier; he was neither. He was there. That was enough – he, like all those American soldiers and sailors and airmen of the war years, was there. He knew he did not face the daily peril that the frontline guys, the dogfaces, did, and he never pretended that it was otherwise. But he was there – in Africa, in Italy, on the long march through the Apennine mountains and, when the victory in Europe was won, back through Bologna and Florence and Naples – and it was the period of his  manhood that mattered most. It was – un-sentimentally – the time of his life.

Perhaps, when he was alone with our mother, he spoke in detail of those days and nights, but to us children he talked of the war only in the most general of ways. It was almost as if he thought he would bore us if he told us war stories; it was almost as though he didn’t want us to think him tedious.

To be continued


Terrorism and the New American Republic

Terrorism and the New American Republic

In 1786, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson met with Arab diplomats from Tunis, who were conducting terror raids and piracy against American ships.

History records them as the Barbary Pirates. In fact, they were blackmailing terrorists, hiding behind a self-serving interpretation of their Islamic faith by embracing select tracts and ignoring others. Borrowing from the Christian Crusades of centuries past, they used history as a mandate for doing the western world one better. The quisling European powers had been buying them off for years.

On March 28, 1786 Jefferson and Adams detailed what they saw as the main issue:

“We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretensions to make war upon a Nation who had done them no Injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our Friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation. The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Thomas Jefferson wanted a military solution, but decades of blackmailing the American Republic and enslaving its citizens would continue until the new American nation realized that the only answer to terrorism was force.

“There’s a temptation to view all of our problems as unprecedented and all of our threats as new and novel,” says George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. Shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, Turley advised some members of Congress who were considering a formal declaration of war against the suspected perpetrators. He invoked the precedent of the Barbary pirates, saying America had every right to attack and destroy the terrorist leadership without declaring war.

“Congress did not actually declare war on the pirates,” Turley wrote in a memo, “but ‘authorized’ the use of force against the regencies after our bribes and ransoms were having no effect. This may have been due to an appreciation that a declaration of war on such petty tyrants would have elevated their status. Accordingly, they were treated as pirates and, after a disgraceful period of accommodation, we hunted them down as pirates.”

Because of their outlaw conduct, pirates — and modern-day terrorists — put themselves outside protection of the law, according to military strategy expert Dave McIntyre, a former dean at the National War College. “On the high seas if you saw a pirate, you sank the bastard,” he says. “You assault pirates, you don’t arrest pirates.”

Shoot first, ask questions later. Wanted: Dead or alive. Such is our official policy regarding Osama bin Laden, the most infamous outlaw of the era.

One of the enduring lessons of the Barbary campaigns was to never give in to outlaws, whether you call them pirates or terrorists. In the late 1700s, America paid significant blackmail for peace — shelling out $990,000 to the Algerians alone at a time when national revenues totaled just $7 million.

“Too many concessions have been made to Algiers,” U.S. consul William Eaton wrote to the Secretary of State in 1799. “There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror.”

Michael G. Leventhal
Editor & Publisher

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