Sunday, May 27, 2018


I am known by some as the man who led the army that ended the war to end all wars. Did it... end all the wars? The great war ended in a rail car in the French countryside with something called an armistice. Then politicians and potentates re-negotiated the outcome in the Palace of Versailles and we have been paying the price for that for nearly one hundred years.   
Wars don’t end wars, but peace does not create itself. I believe war can best be prevented by something every peace-loving nation should practice, but we –the United States – did not. It is something I dedicated the last years of my military career to… Preparation. If you are prepared for war and your adversary knows it, you may never meet on the battlefield.
I did not learn that lesson in the hallowed halls of my Alma Mater, the Military Academy at West Point. I did not learn it in the deserts of the south west chasing the Apache & Comanche or the Badlands against the Cree Indians. I did not learn it in the Jungles of Mindanao convincing Muslim fanatics to give up their jihad. I did not learn it or in the deserts of Mexico chasing the bandito Pancho Villa.
I learned it when I had to steal food, ammunition and supplies for my Buffalo Soldiers after we rushed into war in Cuba with the Spanish. We had obsolete rifles and the Spaniards and the latest weaponry from Germany. I learned it again when the president who won re-election promising to keep America out of Europe’s war was compelled months later to declare war with an army of 200,000, half of whom couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a rifle. My commander-in-chief promised the King of England 5,000 aeroplanes when I finally arrived in Europe. As His Majesty toasted America’s promise I knew we had 8 and 5 of them I’d left in Texas because, as fighting machines, they weren’t worth the oil that leaked out of their engines.     I soon realized that expectations of our allies had been inflated by their absolute desperation and the promises of our politicians. The American Expeditionary Force would grow to two million men in Europe and nearly that many state-side in training 17 months after our arrival in France.
The French had buried nearly a million men since the war began 3 years earlier and 90 of their divisions had some men dropping their weapons in the trenches and walking home. The British had lost half that many and couldn’t find volunteers. They were desperate for salvation and we were their only chance.
I had the privilege of serving with millions of men who risked their lives and many lost their lives in the pursuit of something much greater than themselves. For parents who lose a soldier-son, there is no greater loss. The service of the soldier is exceeded by the sacrifice of their mother. I believe that is the destiny of the soldiers under my command to defend the high ideals for which America stands that must endure. It should never be their destiny simply to die for one’s country. American soldiers offer themselves to a cause and a purpose greater than themselves. For those who did not lose a loved one but claim the losses were too great – the politicians and partisans – I ask if perhaps their version of peace is not great enough to justify the such a loss.
116,514 Americans paid the ultimate price in the Great War. How many of those brave, young men believed they had a destiny beyond the battlefields of France? Some civilians & statisticians may consider them to be mere casualties of war. Their loved ones may have believed they were cheated out of their future, prevented from achieving their destiny. I believe a power much higher than us deemed that their destiny was to sacrifice for a cause and a purpose much greater than themselves.
Nearly 100 years ago, men such as these were honored, then largely forgotten, over-looked and now again today, they are being honored and remembered. As long as we choose to acknowledge their efforts, to remember their experience and to honor their sacrifice, their destiny lives on.
Our military was called upon to rescue the great societies of Europe, from where many American’s or their ancestors had come.  And in doing so we repaid our debt to the land of Lafayette.  But this nation was terribly unprepared for the undertaking and the commitments and promises we would make. As our Army grew quickly there was precious little time for proper and thorough training, but they were enthusiastic compared to the millions of war-weary men already entrenched in pits, and bunkers and fortifications that stretched 450 miles from the North Sea to the Swiss alps in the south. Eventually the American Expeditionary Force would grow to two million men in Europe and nearly that many state-side in training at the end of the war. For nearly three years the aged European empires had battered each other and spilled the blood of the working classes while wasting the lives of their best and brightest in a protracted war of attrition. Historians and experts still criticize my casualty rates after 100 years. They never mention that my conversion from their deadlocked trench warfare to Open Warfare enabled us to break the stalemate and allow nearly 2 million American men to remain in America.
As the Empires of Europe were battering each other on battlefields that became wastelands, I and 13,000 men were protecting our southern border against the Bandit Pancho Villa who attacked Columbia, NM in an attempt to start a war between Mexico and the United States. We gained valuable insight into the use of modern inventions, such as: Automobiles, Aeroplanes, Telephones and Machine Guns. There I met a cocky Lt. from California that I took a liking to. He could sure handle a horse, but he preferred a mechanized cavalry.  I took a liking to another member of his family, as well, but that occurred later.  (Patton & Staff Car)
In the spring of 1917 my Commander in Chief had chosen me to command not just a division, but the entire army. When I boarded the train in Texas bound for Washington, I was joined by Georgie Patton’s sister, Nita.  I believe she expected to arrive in Washington designated the next Mrs. Pershing to-be. That was not to be, but we did have a lovely train ride.
The American Expeditionary Force would not cross the ocean, we were not drafting millions of men, pulling them from civilian life in communities throughout our great nation to merely replenish France and England’s depleted, demoralized ranks. I had no intention of perpetuating the war of attrition and stalemate in which they were mired.
I had the support of my President and the Secretary of War, I had the hopes and dreams of patriots across the fruited plain and I had the recognition that what the American Expeditionary Force had to do was fight this war differently, if it was to be won. My commander-in-Chief declared that we must make the world safe for democracy.  I had been given simple orders: go over there and win it! And by God, with the finest young men and the support of the greatest nation in the world, that is what I had to do. The British and French did all they could to discredit me, their insults and innuendo were insufferable. But I persevered, sometimes wondering which posed the greater challenge…our enemy or our Allies.                                             
Initially the British & French were so eager for more troops, that they implored us to not bother with supply or artillery or cavalry, but just bring infantry and machine gun units. Our allies promised they would provide all the artillery and support our units would need once trained behind the lines. That ladies and gentlemen was an ambush, and I saw it coming. Once my army was growing, the commanders Foch and Haig informed me that they had no choice but to absorb my men into their ranks since we did not possess artillery and supply adequate to support our own combat operations. I compromised grudgingly, but never relented on my pursuit of our own sector and our own offensive.. If America was to achieve its Destiny through this war we would need to fight and win autonomously, as an American Army and a new nation to be reckoned with.  

Over a year after the US declaration of War, we were finally able to field autonomous American divisions and begin to win the respect of our allies and earn the fear of our enemies. Speaking of fear, the brash commander of our Air Corps was Billy Mitchell. He and I shared an automobile to travel through Paris for a meeting. The driver’s name was Eddie, a young, fresh enlisted man who drove that car like a madman. He chased pedestrians and scared horse drawn carts as he careened through the streets of Paris at break neck speed. Mitchell looked and me and said, “General, you look as white as a ghost”. I replied that “You would be too, if all you flyboys didn’t have a death wish!” When the car finally screeched to a stop, I leaped out and called back to Colonel Mitchell, “If Eddie’s going to kill someone with a machine, you ought to put him in an Aeroplane!” His last name was Rickenbacher. (Former racecar driver with 26 victories)
The tide was turning. We could sense it and the German’s knew their time was running out. A failed German offensive in the spring of 1918 would be followed by American led victories at such infamous places as Cantigny, Chateau-Thierry Montefucon, Belleau Wood, And then we crushed the St. Miheil Salient and took territory occupied for years and 12,000 prisoners. We also captured hundreds of cannon and over a thousand excellent machine guns….all of which would be silenced and never again spill another drop of American blood.
Eventually, my staff would include a young genius with a bright future in the military, George C. Marshall, the architect of the greatest troop movement in the war which set the stage for the final push that drove Germany out of the war. Colonel Marshall would go on to oversee another world-wide American military triumph in WWII a quarter century later.
He engineered the swift movement of 600,000 troops from one sector to another 40 miles away without the Germans’ knowledge. And so, in late September would begin a deadly assault on the German’s strength that would shove them back toward the Rhine. For 47 days, the American Doughboys clawed and scratched through the toughest terrain, the most formidable defenses the Germans could construct between the Meuse River on the right and the infamously, impenetrable Argonne Forest on the left. My goal was not to kill all the Germans opposing us, it was to defeat them, crush their morale and give them no reason to hope for a better outcome. In other words, to defeat their strategy as it is written in Sun Tzu - “The Art of War”.
I had expectations that Major Patton, who had come over as a member of my staff, would become a fine infantry commander. He never gave up on the idea of mechanized warfare and begged relentlessly to be given a tank command. Fox Conner convinced me that until it happened he wouldn’t stop asking or begging. He trained his tank battalion and took them into action early in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that would be the final push. As his troops were about to overtake the village of Cheppy, Georgie ran forward with just a pistol in his hand, intending to lead his troops into their objective. Problem was the Germans hadn’t vacated yet, and they shot my protégé’ in the…leg. When I visited him in the hospital, I told him, Georgie, Georgie! You begged me to put you in tanks. You should have stayed in the darn tank!
One splendid but sad episode occurred during the final push involving more than 500 brave men who came to be known as the Lost Battalion.  Their commander, Major Whittlesey & 6 others from the 77th Division would win the Medal of Honor in the Great War, others would as well, plus the two aviators who flew in and dropped supplies to them. They were cut off from support or rescue for four days without food, water or ammunition. Upon his return to the states, after the war,  LTC Whittlesey was welcomed as a hero as millions of Americans had read serialized accounts of their struggle in newspapers across the country, as it was happening.  But the moniker “Lost Battalion” was a misnomer.  He was a celebrity and gave of his time to testify to the bravery of his men and others just like them.  He would visit their hospital beds, attend their funerals while he was inundated by families and friends of those who never returned to tell of their last moments or whether they served bravely or suffered. The burden was great, perhaps more over-whelming than the Germans who had surrounded him for six days. (Vacation Cruise)
Today veterans are lost every day to the same fate as Whittlesey. They destroy themselves through suicide rather than continue the fight inside their own minds. We can do more for them than ring bells and lay a wreath at their fresh graves. We can help these wounded Veterans, as they are injured from a previous fight, We can help them heal. Let us pledge to do so before the bell tolls again tomorrow for another 22.
116,514 is the American death toll from the great war. Over eight million mostly men in uniform died on all sides from the entire conflict.   In the wake of war, the victorious and relieved British & French eagerly carved up the world to expand their empires. While America established a new diplomatic empire and a preeminence on the world stage. We became and remain the leader of the free world and a force for good. I wish America would learn, however, to be careful what cultures and civilizations we rescue – they never forgive us for it.
The French lost 2 percent of their population in the defense of their homeland against invasion. Would the United States be prepared to endure that price for freedom if we were invaded? Can you imagine this nation today withstanding 4 years of war and suffering over 6 million dead soldiers, because that is what 2 percent of our population would be?
I warned Washington, London & Paris against a negotiated peace – I didn’t trust the diplomats to resolve the conflict they started but couldn’t finish. Without an unconditional surrender with the Germans pushed back across the Rhine, we would be doomed to repeat this horrible process in twenty years. Peace is not the absence of war – it should be the result. If not, the war should not be fought in the first place. Soldiers don’t start wars, we finish them.  If our Destiny is to prevail against our enemies, and I pray to God it will be. We must again build our ability to wage war both as a deterrent and as a last resort.
I admit that the world I knew was a simpler place than the one in which we find ourselves today. My solutions may seem simplistic with all of today’s shifting alliances and attitudes. Fascism is a scourge against any free society and all peace-loving peoples, whether practiced by North Koreans, Persians, tribal Muslims or our largest trading partner –  communist China. 
The free world must face the fact that there is no duration to this war against the forces of evil who wish to subvert with their insidious chaos the order we attempt to create for others around the world. It may be with us for an eternity. But we cannot prevail if we continue to accommodate it and mislabel it out of fear or some misguided attempt at appeasement. Today, our enemies relentlessly hound us like jackals pursuing an elderly lion that may be beyond his last victory. The jackals are lunatics, fanatics & long-time political competitors.
This great nation will always be under threat from foreign enemies who envy or revile our principles of justice and liberty. But our nation is threatened now from within. I believe media misrepresentation also poses an existential threat to our society. When aligned with the partisanship and greed that has corrupted our governmental institutions, it represents the potential doom of our republic.
We must resolve to be victorious every day, day after day. We will only lose this fight if we decide to quit or begin to believe that there are easier short cuts to achieve peace. But make no mistake, my fellow American patriots, the Destiny of this great nation has been achieved many times, but Destiny is dynamic – ever changing – and thus Preparation for Destiny is never-ending. The Destiny of our nation continues through the constant flow of its citizens, generation after generation, millions of lives lived individually, but with many of those lives dedicated to a purpose greater than their own destiny, in service to others, to their community and to their nation.   
One never knows when the call will come, are you ready to answer that call?
We gather here today to honor those who paid the ultimate price for answering the call to serve a cause greater than themselves. We are surrounded by Veterans and their spouses who have done the same but been more fortunate.
On occasions, such as this, when I visit with you, in this extraordinarily beautiful and solemn sanctuary, this monument to the memory of patriots who have gone before, who have paid the ultimate price for what they believed in - I am heartened, I am renewed, I am uplifted in confidence.

We hear the bell toll for your ancestors and neighbors who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War. We can read the names of many from your region who joined them in making that same sacrifice. And then we are reminded that they answered the call, as many of you who wear the uniform or have in years past, and that there will always be patriotic Americans who love their families and their communities so much that you and they would leave them to go and serve a purpose greater than oneself.
It is in this hallowed place that honors so many great Americans from Carroll County that we can take stock and find confidence that there will be more who will follow their splendid example of selflessness and dedication to duty by answering a higher calling as is portrayed in Isaiah chapter 6 verse 8: And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “who shall go for us, whom shall we send.” And I said, “Here am I, send me.”

Saturday, May 26, 2018



Music by the Carroll Wind Ensemble - Terry Lowry, Director

Welcome - Barry Gardner, LTC USA, Ret.

Prayer - Chaplain Larry Boswell

Presentation of Colors - Carrollton H S JROTC

National Anthem - Mark Barnes

Laying of the Memorial Wreath - Carroll County AFJROTC and Veterans Organization

Rifle Squad - American Legion Post 143 - Taps - Terry Strickland
L. to R.: Tim Bass, Steve McEwen, Joe Herrod, Dale Robinson, Clyde West, Bobby Laney, Ronnie Pate, and Karl Kessinger.

World War I Events - Barry Gardner

Keynote Speaker - Gen. John J. Pershing (David Shuey)

God Bless America - Mark Barnes
Raising of the Colors -  American Legion Post 143

Closing - Barry Gardner

Drake Pauley requested to add a new feature at the Park to honor MIA * POW and he raised over $3,000 toward the cost.  Pictured here is Pauley presenting a picture to Park President Don Levans.

Wall of Honor # 26 recently completed, which honors 48 Veterans for their service.

Abraham Baldwin Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution were proud to welcome David Shuey and thank him for presenting a wonderful living history lesson and a reminder that we need to be prepared - as best option for preventing war! Pictured left to right with David Shuey are Violette Denney, Alice Robinson, Gwyn Chesnut, Sherryll Miles, and Karen Denney.

Jerry and Alice Robinson greet Chairman of the Carroll County Commissioners Marty Smith.


Friday, May 25, 2018


CARROLL COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK is the place to be tomorrow! Wall of Honor 26 is being installed today and should be completed and ready to view at the ceremony. It is always so exciting to see our VETERANS being recognized for their service. (Just in case you didn't know there is room for more VETERANS - there are more empty Walls of Honor ready to be filled.) It is a long drawn out process to complete a Wall - orders are received and accumulated until we get 48 - enough to fill one side of the wall - plaque information is typed, orders placed, stencils prepared and proof read, and finally the VETERAN'S name and military record is sand blasted into the white marble plaque. Today Sammy Robinson was finishing this Wall # 27 so it will be available to view tomorrow.

This latest feature to be added at the Park will be dedicated tomorrow and you will be able to meet the eagle scout who chose this to be his Eagle Project and helped to purchase it.  It is a wonderful way to honor our POW * MIA MILITARY TROOPS and to be make sure THEY ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Landscape Architect Sandra Vierling says, "We are making progress on the installation of the Eagle Scout Project."  Watch for more information and pictures as this new feature is being completed.  We are so thankful for this Eagle Scout choosing to honor our Veterans in this special way.