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— This Month —
When Strategy Bumps Its Head
– Say, When Is That War
With North Korea Supposed To Start, Anyway?
OCS Signalmen Go To War In The
– Without Logistics,
Tactics Are Impossible. Without Tactics, Strategy Is
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When Strategy Bumps Its Head Against Tactics
Say, When Is That War With North Korea Supposed
To Start, Anyway?
Is it us, or are we the only ones that seemed to
have noticed that a momentous military event
took place just last week? With only the rarest
of exceptions, all of America’s media seemed to
have completely ignored it, if they even know it
What event are we talking about? We’re talking
about an order that President Trump signed on
October 20; an order that for all practical
purposes announced to the world exactly when
America’s soon to take place war with North
Korea will occur. An order that, for those that
know anything about military logistics, one can
actually use to calculate the likely starting
date of that war, if one wants to.
How could the corrupt, biased, politically
driven news media not have picked up on this,
and jumped on it for all its worth? We don’t
Well, actually, we do know. We answered our own
question: they are corrupt, politically
motivated and biased. All they care about is
promoting the Russia, Russia, Russia story… so
this particular event, having nothing to do with
Russia, went unreported.
As to exactly what this military event was,
that’s simple to answer: On October 20, 2017,
President Trump signed an executive order (EO)
amending President George W. Bush’s Executive
Order 13223, originally issued on Sept. 14,
2001. Trump’s amendment to Bush’s order allows
the military service secretaries (the
secretaries of the Air Force, Army and Navy),
subject to regulation by the Secretary of
Defense, to recall retired service members to
Why is that a big deal, you ask?
How about this for an answer: within 5 minutes
of the signing of the order the Air Force
announced that it would immediately be calling
up 1,000 retired combat pilots, to return to
active duty… with that number possibly being
increased by a further 500 in a few weeks.
Focus on this again, if you will: the Air Force
is recalling 1,500 bomber, transport and air
combat pilots, for immediate active duty, for a
period of time that will last at least 3 years.
When was the last time that happened? And why
would something like this be happening if
America wasn’t going to war?
You see, as all of us former Army Officers know,
it’s nice to have 1,600 tanks available for
combat duty, but those tanks are useless if you
have only 500 men trained to drive and shoot
them. If that’s the case, you might as well have
no tanks at all. And that’s the situation the
Air Force is in right now: lots of airplanes,
not so lots of pilots.
While the Air Force has plenty of aircraft, what
they don’t have are plenty of pilots to fly
those aircraft. Well, actually that’s not
accurate either. The Air Force has plenty of
pilots if the combat work they have to support
stands as it is today… but not if a new war is
about to break out.
Or put another way, if a war is about to break
out somewhere in the world where the U.S.
military is going to look to the Air Force to
transport, say, 350,000 troops from three
different regions of the world, involving
assembly centers located in four different
countries, all at distances of 10,000 – 12,000
miles from the target country, all within a 1.5
week period of time, as well as fly
tens-of-hundreds of bombing missions every day
to prep the field of combat for those troops
being brought to the target country, for about,
say, 3 – 5 months; as well as fly twice as many
combat fighter support missions every day, once
those troops cross into enemy territory, and
maybe do this for perhaps years to come, well,
then they better get busy bringing on board a
bunch of pre-trained, combat experienced pilots.
See our point? Stores of combat
equipment—especially tactical aircraft—are nice
to have if you are going to war, but only if you
have enough trained troops to man that
- - -
Our guess is that in the last NSC and Joint
Chiefs of Staff meeting the President sat in on,
someone with a star on his shoulder asked him
when—if America is going to go to war against
the Rocket Man—he thought such a war would
start. Our further guess is that the President
answered by saying something to the effect of...
“After my trip to Beijing in the first week in
November, to meet with Xi Jingping, I’ll know if
China, possibly with Russia’s help, will take
steps to mount a coup against the Rocket Man… to
take him out and replace him and his government
with one more to our—the U.S., China and
"They won't tell me this, but I will sense it.
If I get the sense that they will decapitate the
leadership of North Korea, rather than their
risking my acting as the crazy they all think I
am, by impetuously starting a war
in their back yard, then you can be assured that
there is little likelihood of us going to war
against the Rocket Man.
“If, however, I get the sense that China and
Russia won’t force a change of government in
North Korea, then I would say that you men can
count on going to war with North Korea either a)
immediately, if the Rocket Man tries to set off
an above ground Atomic Bomb somewhere over the
Pacific Ocean, or b) immediately upon my
believing that China and Russia are
not going to replace the current
government and leadership of North Korea."
Our further guess is that if such a meeting
happened, and such a conversation
took place, then when the President stopped
speaking a fly on the wall would have heard a
discernible “gulp” from the Chief of Staff of
the U.S. Air Force, as he realized that he did
not have the manpower to support such a mission.
That is, support the U.S. military in an all
out, soon to take place, possibly nuclear war
with North Korea...on the Korean peninsula.
It would be at that point in time in our
hypothetical conversation that the President
would have said to Gen. David L. Goldfein, Chief
of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, “David, what are
you gulping at?”
And General Goldfein would have hemmed and hawed
and mumbled something to the effect of…
“Ah, Mr. President, Sir, well, ah, you see Sir,
the Air Force can’t support such a mission Sir…
that is, not at this time Sir, not yet Sir. I
mean, Sir… we just don’t have enough qualified
pilots to take on a mission like this... Sir.
"We’ve got plenty of aircraft and the like, but
what, with all of the other wars we are
fighting, Sir, we don’t have enough pilots. The
Air Force will need 8 months to a year to get
ready for such a war, Sir, and even then we
might need more time… Sir.”
which point the President would come unglued and
scream something to the effect of, “You guys
better be ready to go to war with North Korea
next month!! I don’t want to hear this bull$#%t
about not being ready for war. What good does it
do having your own Army if you can’t use it
... at which point one of the other Joint Chiefs
would step in to save the day, and suggest that
the Air Force might be able to solve its problem
if it simply recalls some of the pilots who
recently retired. And just like that, the
problem would be solved… with everyone talking
all at once, and the President smiling because
now he could stick to his strategy of scaring
the hell out of the Chinese by making them think
he is about to go to war.
... and over coffee brought in by some staff
member who would later leak the results of the
meeting to Rachael Ray of PMSNBC fame, the group
would calculate how many pilots would need to be
recalled to bring the Air Force up to strength
to achieve its mission, and how long the whole
exercise would take,
... and they would calculate that to achieve
mission ready status the Air Force would need to
give the recalled pilots 30 days notice to get
their lives in order, which by itself would take
the Air Force 30 days to do, which meant that at
a minimum they needed 60 days—2 months—just to
get to the point where the recalled pilots were
starting to arrive at their duty stations, after
which they would need another 6 weeks of
recertification and training on the aircraft
they would be flying, then another month to post
them to their final duty stations… all of which
they would realize would mean that if a further
two weeks were allowed as a fudge factor then,
at the earliest, the Air Force would be ready to
tackle their mission some 5 months from the day
the President issued an order allowing for the
recall of, say, 1,500 Air Force pilots.
Five months… five months from October 20, 2017.
And with that the President would walk away
happy, knowing that he could go to war with
North Korea anytime after March 20, 2018.
And that would be the way it would be.
The President would get busy between now and
then trying to con the Chinese—and hopefully the
Russians too—into decapitating the leadership of
North Korea so that a war could be avoided… a
nuclear war, mind you… and if he could not do
that then at the first sign of the Norks getting
ready to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific
Ocean, the President would unleash America’s
might and take the country to war against North
Korea… supported, of course, by the Air Force.
And in the mean time, in keeping with our
fictitious story above, think more deeply on
this whole issue of assuring one has the
logistics in place one needs before one goes to
war. In fact, we encourage you to do better than
that... read our story at right about the kind of problems that arise when an Army
is not ready for war, but war is ready for them.
Read our next story about how the Signal Corps
dealt with its own attempts to get up to
speed when Japan brought war to the
Philippines before MacArthur’s Signal boys were ready.
And then, before you fall off to sleep tonight,
be sure to put a circle on your calendar around
the date 20 March, 2018.
This page last
updated 01 November 2017.
New content is constantly being added. Please check back
Update 19 October
Just found out that graduates of the former Artillery Officer Candidate School program at Fort Sill
formed an association back in 2002. The association is active and
planning its next reunion for April, 2018. You can check out their
Like our Army Signal Corps OCS Association, the
Artillery OCS group came together to support charitable and educational
activities, as well as
to capture the history and stories of Artillery OCS
graduates. Be sure to check them out, and if you
graduated this OCS program, join their organization!
Update 10 September– What's WAR with North Korea
going to look like? Read this
excellent article by a former Army Officer that
strategized war games with the NORKs. Some of it is a bit
far fetched, but most of it is spot on. You'll enjoy it.
OCS Signalmen Go To War In The
Without Logistics, Tactics Are Impossible; Without Tactics,
Strategy Is Meaningless
Editor’s Note: The article that follows is a revision and
rewrite of transcribed content gathered by third parties from
various "official histories" of World War II. Please
read our full disclosure below regarding these sources.
We all know the story of the Signal Corps’ role in the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the detection of the
incoming sortie of airplanes by an SCR-270 radar set. Most
know too of the incredible damage the Japanese did.
Beginning at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 UTC), the base
at Pearl Harbor was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese
aircraft, including fighters, level bombers, dive bombers,
and torpedo bombers. In two waves launched from six aircraft
carriers, the Japanese managed to damage all eight U.S. Navy
battleships, sinking four in the process. They also sank or
damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft
training ship and a minelayer.
Adding insult to injury as well as to make sure that our
American military didn’t just pick up the pieces and carry
on as usual, before returning to their carriers the Japanese
proceeded to wreck further havoc on Pearl Harbor's infrastructure,
by going after the base’s power stations, dry docks,
shipyard, maintenance facilities, fuel and torpedo storage
facilities, and the submarine piers. Then, not satisfied
with even these accomplishments, they finished the job by
destroying a further 188 U.S. aircraft. In all of this the
Japanese killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178 others.
On their side of the equation, we were able to shoot down
only 29 aircraft and sink five midget submarines. For
America, it was not a glorious day.
This we know. What many of us have forgotten however is that
over the next seven hours the Japanese also mounted
coordinated attacks on the Philippines, Guam, Wake Island,
Malaya, Singapore, Howland Island, and Hong Kong.
What’s the lesson in all of this? Since no one detected
their coming attacks in sufficient time to do anything about
it, it’s that having in place operational coast watches and
surveillance operations to guard against surprise enemy
attacks is an absolute necessity. If a country is going to
operate bases and military facilities remote from its
national territory, at a minimum, it has to be able to
protect those facilities and the men that man them.
One would think that the U.S. military of 1941 would
have known this. Apparently it did not, as all of these
successful attacks by Japan proved.
Fortunately for America, while the attacks accomplished
their intended goal, they turned out to be largely
unnecessary. This is because unbeknownst to Yamamoto, who
conceived the original plan, the U.S. Navy had decided as
far back as 1935 to abandon a strategy of “charging across
the Pacific towards the Philippines" in response to an
outbreak of war, to instead adopt something they called
"Plan Dog," which emphasized keeping the Imperial Japanese
Navy out of the eastern Pacific and away from the shipping
lanes to Australia, while the U.S. concentrated its military
efforts on defeating Nazi Germany.
From a strategic standpoint the U.S. military’s
decision to ignore the kind of damage a Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor and the other bases could do, in lieu of
achieving the higher strategic goal of winning the war in
Europe, might have made sense; but it did nothing in terms
of protecting either America, its military infrastructure,
its servicemen or the civilian society those servicemen were
charged with protecting. Instead, all of this was sacrificed
to the cause. They—the military servicemen and civilians who
lived in the places under attack—were left to defend
themselves and to die for a dubious cause, by leaving the
front door that formed America’s perimeter defense open, for
the Japanese to enter.
What then should America’s military have been doing, and how
should it have acted during that period of time from the
moment Japan first prepared for these attacks, until it
concluded its perfidy along the Pacific rim? Given that
there was strategic military logic in America deciding to
sacrifice the Pacific in order to focus its resources on
Europe, how should it’s military have prepared for war
against Japan, and how should it have protected the military
assets and civilian societies that it was charged with
The answer is simple: more than building up a robust
response capability like battleships and aircraft carriers (i.e.
tactical capabilities) in places like Pearl and Manila,
America should have built up a robust coast watch and
observation capability in these areas. If there was no
intention to fight off the Japanese, American military
resources should have focused instead on tracking what the
enemy was up to, and countering those activities whenever
possible. If this had been done, then the tragedy that
befell Pearl Harbor and seven other bases in the
Pacific may been avoided.
month we penned an article that looked at one example of
the kind of coast watch and enemy tracking and surveillance
capability that America’s military operated in the
Philippines. In it we looked at an Army Signal Corps OCS
graduate from OCS Class 43-19, Lieutenant Leon Tinnell, and
how he ran a coast surveillance and enemy tracking operation
In his case he did a superlative job of
tracking and reporting on Japanese activities and shipping
in the area. The only problem was that he was assigned to do
this work after the Japanese won the war in the Philippines
and took over the islands, not before they attacked.
ask, was this kind of mission not mounted before the
Japanese attack on Clark Field? Why was there no priority
for the staffing of cadre and equipment such as SCR-270
radars, backed by a well spelled
out mission, to do this?
Without such a mission being
assigned, and the prioritization of that mission, the bases
that the Japanese attacked at the beginning of the War
Against Japan in 1941—from Pearl Harbor to Hong Kong—not to
mention all of America’s and its military Allies’
resources—were nothing more than tempting sitting ducks for
the Japanese. It’s no wonder they attacked.
The answer to these questions is that while there was an
attempt made to do these things, it was poorly executed. For
example, there was a military mission written
to keep an eye out over the horizon for the Japanese… and
the mission was staffed. Unfortunately a) the
routines, protocols and SOPs that were needed to
mount the mission were not fully fleshed out, and b) the
equipment needed to accomplish the mission was not provided.
Mission written and assigned: yes. Manpower trained and
assigned to the mission: somewhat. Equipment and supplies
provided to support the mission: no.
One can see how the
lack of providing all three legs to this stool, each of
which was necessary if the mission was to be successfully
when not provided caused this chair to topple over when it
was needed most. QED; the mission failed.
This despite the
best and often heroic efforts of the Signal Corps men and
Officers assigned to do this task.
One can see this by looking
at the case surrounding the Japanese attack on Clark Field
in the Philippines, on 8 December 1941. Looking at this
small portion of the Japanese’s Pacific rim attacks, one can
see how not having the equipment needed to accomplish the
mission, and poorly laid out SOPs, helped contribute to
- - -
It is interesting to note that the Philippines was a focus
of Army and Navy power for over forty years before the
Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941. One would have
thought then that the U.S. Navy would have had everything in
order, as might be required to maintain its presence and
defend its facilities from attack. Certainly it, and the
Army elements that supported it, should have had all of the
SOPs and equipment that might possibly be required to secure
its facilities from attack.
It must have come as a surprise then to learn after the fact
that the one o’clock warning message that General Marshall
sent from the War Department in Washington to General Short
in Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, about an imminent Japanese
attack—which had also been
copied to General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines,
commanding general of the United States Army Forces in the
Far East (USAFFE)—mysteriously
failed to arrive.
The fact was, this message was transmitted—in the
signal sense of the term—and it did arrive. The
problem was that it was transmitted in a format that labeled
it as the “number two” message. That is, its priority was
second among a series of four messages that went out to
Panama, the Philippines, the Western Defense Command, and
Hawaii. As will be seen, this second priority level meant
that while the message was transmitted and arrived, it was
placed in queue for validation behind higher priority
Normally this would not have significantly affected the
timing of MacArthur receiving it. However, today we know
that other factors intervened to slow the message down in
its delivery. Specifically, we know that the four
messages left the War Department Message Center at 1205
hours, Washington time, and that while enroot other traffic
to the Philippines pushed it out of the focus of the message
operators. Before the portion of the message that was copied
to the Philippines got there, word of the attack on Pearl
Harbor had already begun arriving, via unofficial channels.
About 0300 on 8 December (it was then 0830, 7 December, in
Hawaii) a Navy radio operator picked up Admiral Kimmel’s
message to the fleet at Pearl Harbor, talking of an attack
by Japan. About the same time a commercial radio station on
Luzon picked up word of the attack, and both rumors and
radio traffic in the Philippines radio net began to pick up
and spread the news. In other words, scuttlebutt and rumors jumped
the message queue, forcing legitimate message traffic off
All of this can be blamed squarely on the Army and Navy’s
radio operators in the Philippines, men who tracked the more
interesting unofficial reports flooding the airwaves rather
than doing their job of decoding and recoding legitimate
traffic, and sending it on as may be required. All of
this unofficial "noise" caused the commanders involved to
lose focus on the task at hand... acting on the incoming War
Department messages and any orders they might contain.
The military forces in the Philippines were thus fully aware
of the attacks taking place in Hawaii, yet no one was
focusing on what was about to happen in the Philippines.
While on the morning of 8 December 1941 this became the
norm, there were still a few local ground commanders who
moved to place their men on combat alert, at a point in time
that turned out to be only a few hours before sunrise and
the start of the hostile action that was about to take
Through all this noise what no one seemed to realize was
that with the Pacific Fleet crippled by the attack at Pearl
Harbor, the next prime target must be the Philippines.
Certainly this was true as far as the Far East Air Force
(FEAF) was concerned.
Why the FEAF didn’t recognize this, no one knows. With little more
thought than this, everyone should have known that the
Japanese would launch an attack in short order against the
major airfields and naval facilities of the Philippines.
Considering that of these Clark was the only big first-class
airfield for B-17’s in the islands, one could have guessed
that Clark should have been made ready for an attack, and
the planes dispersed, if nothing else.
Part of the cause of this confusion—and therefore lack of
preparedness for the Japanese attack on the Philippines—lay
in the fact that Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, Commander of
FEAF, had established his headquarters at Neilson Field, not
Clark. Neilson Field was a relatively small facility, taken
over from a commercial owner. It had poor communication with
the rest of the FEAF command, and exercised little in the
way of command and control over the FEAF operation.
The result was that radio and communication net operators
relegated it in their minds to a backwater operation, barely
part of the “system.” In their minds it was viewed in
importance as equal to all of the other second rate command
centers and air fields, such as, Del Monte on Mindanao.
Within the communication traffic arena, this meant that they
were far down on the list when it came to notifying them as
to what was going on, even though the Commander's office was
located there. For all practical purposes, as far as the
radio operators were concerned Clark Field was the only
command and communication center of importance on the
island, comparable to Hickam Field in Hawaii.
Veterans Make America Better
 An Armored
Brigade Combat Team has 90 tanks. There are 14
ABCT’s in the US. Army, (six of them being in the national guard) with a
15th in the process of being stood up right now (as at
October 2017). So, that’s 1,260 active Abrams tanks in the Army, including the ones in the National Guard. U.S.
Marines have three active
tank battalions, one per Division, for a total of 196
tanks. There might be a couple more in each Headquarters
element. The seven Marine
Expeditionary Units, which deploy on board amphibious
ships, have four tanks each. That would make an additional
28. Assuming the upper range in each case, that makes 1,490
Abrams Tanks actively available in the U.S. military. The
U.S. Army also has the M1128
Mobile Gun System, which is effectively a light tank (A
Stryker with a tank gun on top). Our records show that there
are 12 per Mobile Gun Systems per
Striker Brigade, all contained in a “weapons troop” in
Recon Battalions. There are nine Stryker Brigades (one of
which will be demobilized in 2017}, which means that there
are 108 light tanks available. In total, that’s means that
there are 1,598 tanks available, which with your permission we will round off
to 1,600 tanks. - To return to your
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Editor’s Note: The article
above is a revision and
rewrite of various content originally gathered from
“complete transcriptions of official histories from
all the allied nations of World War II.” In other words, the
content we used in the above article was gathered from
official historical documents that were originally
transcribed and created by third parties.
For the most part, the transcribed content we used stemmed from
entitled tothosewhoserved.org. It is unclear who this group
is, who within this
group transcribed the content we used as our source, and/or
where the transcriptions they created came from.
Notwithstanding this, while the source of the original
content from which the transcriptions were made may be
impossible to identify, a URL search for ownership of the
domain name that published the transcriptions indicates that
the primary site used to publish the data is registered to
"Registry Domain ID: D174535382-LROR," owned by "Registrant
Name: Chris Gage," of "Registrant City: Raleigh, NC."
wish to acknowledge this and thank this source for placing
no copy write restrictions on their transcribed content. As
a result, we have been able to re-transcribe their content,
as originally published by them, using it in much of our
article in its original form and grammatical structure.
We extend this same Free Cultural
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while we have made a best effort to validate the accuracy of
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