Monday, May 12, 2014

Israel and Saudi Arabia Support al-Qaeda Operatives in Syria

Israeli officials have even expressed a preference for Saudi-backed Sunni extremists winning in Syria if that is the only way to get rid of Assad and hurt his allies in Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Even to the point of forming a 'de facto' alliance with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, the Wahhabi Sunni monarch (known for his gross anti-Semitism and the "Golden Chain' that financed the September 11, 2001 attack upon the United States).
Last September, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

Michael Oren

“We always wanted Bashar Assad to go,  we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran
 to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”
Even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.  
“We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” Oren said in the interview.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

It is important to remember that the attack upon the US 
was funded and organized by Saudi Arabians, not by Iran.
 Saudi Arms Shipments to Al Qaeda Rebels 
Waiting behind Iraq’s Borders with Syria
Following the Iraqi Army’s operations against Al-Qaeda forces in Al-Anbar province, the Saudi arms shipments have been stuck behind Iraq’s borders with Syria. The Saudi arms shipments entered Iraq from the Saudi city of Nakheib and via Ar-Ar border crossing.

Nearly 70 2-ton vehicles are waiting for the Iraqi army forces to end its operation and withdraw from the region giving them a chance to cross the border with Syria.
 The vehicles are packed with explosives used for suicide attacks as well as anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons.

Saudi Arabia is still supporting the Al-Qaeda terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

While Turkey has closed a large part of its borders to terrorists and Jordan has also considered restrictions for the Saudi nationals who intend to sneak into Syria, Iraq’s desert borders where the government does not have a lot of military and security supervision are regarded as the best route for Saudi Arabia’s logistical supports for the terrorists in Syria. 
 Israel Attacks Syria in Support of al-Qaeda 
Israeli struck Syria from the air at least five times in the past year in support of al-Qaeda elements in Syria. In January 2013, Israel struck a Syrian Army convoy carrying weapons while it had stopped at a Syrian research center on the outskirts of Damascus. 
CNN) -- A series of massive explosions illuminated the predawn sky in Damascus, prompting more claims that Israel has launched attacks
Israel attacked twice more, over the course of one weekend in May, targeting a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles at the Damascus international airport. 
The Israeli Air Force struck at Assad's forces at least twice in October of 2013 and then again this past week with another pair of airstrikes and an artillery barrage, in support of al-Qaeda forces, in Syria.
Covert Israeli Forces Inside Syria Within al-Qaeda Ranks
 Israeli Military Vehicle Seized in al-Qasayr 
Media sources confirm the seizure of an Israeli military vehicle in Al Qseir inside Syrian territory.
The vehicle’s licence plate corresponds to that of the Israeli military with a black background and the letter Tsade (צ) (see image below)
Al Qseir is a strategic border town on the Northern frontier of Lebanon. Occupied by rebels, it was taken back by Syrian forces on Monday.
Al-Qseir  controls the highway which runs from the Lebanese border to Homs. It is through this border city that weapons and foreign mercenaries have entered Syria.
According to SANA, quoting (unconfirmed) media source:
“The seizure of an Israeli military vehicle which terrorists had been using in al-Qseir refutes the allegations made by Israel to justify its aggression on Syria and proves the scale of Israel’s military and intelligence involvements in the events in Syria.”
Israeli military vehicle which terrorists had been using in al-Qseir
  “The source said that the Israeli military support for the armed terrorist groups proves the involvement of Qatar, Turkey and Israel in the aggression on Syria which is waged through a single central operations room.
 Israeli military support for terrorism in Syria proves once more that Israel was and still is 
adopting the policy of organized state terrorism,  stressing that the world must act to confront this terrorism.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BLM: Giving Away the Store to the Livestock Industry

When passed in 1971, the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act protected wild horses living on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is part of the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The BLM oversees roughly 245 million acres of public land in 12 western states and 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate. BLM lands are used for multiple purposes, including mining leases, energy development, livestock grazing and recreation. The Forest Service oversees 193 million acres of land in 44 states, and these lands are also used for multiple purposes, including livestock grazing, logging and recreation.
The BLM authorizes livestock grazing on virtually all BLM land in the lower 48 states, or 157 million of the 245 million total acres. By contrast, wild horses are restricted to just 26.6 million acres, --just 11 percent of BLM lands. Horses share that small fraction of BLM land with livestock, and the agency routinely allocates the majoirty of forage in designated wild horse Herd Management Areas to livestock, not wild horses.

Welfare ranching

Ranchers pay $1.35 per Animal Unit Month (AUM) to graze their livestock on BLM and Forest Service lands. (An AUM is the amount of forage necessary to sustain 1 cow/calf pair, 1 horse or 5 sheep for a month.) The fee is the lowest allowable under law and is about 1/16th of market rate, thanks to our tax subsidies. (The average monthly lease rate for grazing on private lands in 11 western states in 2011 was $16.80 per head, according to the Congressional Research Service.)
BLM issues 17,869 permits to run livestock, authorizing a maximum of 12.5 million AUMs. The Forest Service issues 6,289 permits to livestock operators, authorizing a maximum of 8.5 million AUMs. That's a combined total of more than 24,158 permits and 21 million AUMs -- an equivalent of 1,750,000 cows or 8,750,000 sheep!
By contrast the government has set a maximum allowable level of just 26,500 for wild horses and burros!
Thanks to below-market grazing rates, the federal public lands grazing program costs taxpayers hundreds of millions annually. In addition to direct administrative costs, there are costs associated with programs to: 1) restore and repair of environmental damage caused by livestock grazing; kill predators, including coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats and other carnivores, at the request of ranchers; and 3) remove wild horses, which ranchers view as competition for cheap grazing on public lands.
The Center for Biological Diverstiy estimates that the federal public lands grazing program costs American taxpayers $500 million annually.

BLM: giving away the store to the livestock industry

As stated above, wild horses are restricted to 11 percent of BLM lands. Yet even on that small fraction of land designated as wild horse habitat, the BLM gives away the majority of resources to livestock. In HMA after HMA, the BLM authorizes anywhere from 3 to 20 times or more forage to private livestock than to federally protected wild horses. As a result of this unfair allocation of resources, the agency sets artificially low Allowable Management Levels (AMLs) for wild horses and claims that the horses are overpopulating when their numbers rise above these AMLs. For example, an HMA can have an AML of 100 and an estimated population of 300 horses and 1,500 cattle on 150,000 acres, and the BLM will say that the horses are overpopulating and need to be removed without ever addressing the environmental damage caused by extensive livestock grazing.
This policy of favoring private livestock over protecting wild horses continues despite the fact that livestock grazing on BLM land is authorized solely at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, whereas protection of wild horses is mandated by an act of Congress.

40 Years Later, Same Fight to Save Wild Horses

Today, as in Wild Horse Annie's day, the primary enemy of the wild horse remains the livestock industry, which views wild horses as competition for cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands. The National Cattelemen's Beef Association is a powerful presence in Washington and a key force behind the continued mass removal of wild horses from public lands. The myth perpetuated by the NCBA and the BLM is that wild horses are overpopulating -- overruning the West. In reality, wild horses are restricted to a tiny portion of public lands in the West and are outnumbered by at least 50-1 by private livestock.


The controversy over wild horses has raged for decades and will never be resolved until the unfair allocations of resources on our public lands is addressed. Wild horses and burros must receive a fairer allocation of resources on the small amount of public land designated as their habitat and their allowable population levels must be raised. The present wild horse and burro population -- estimated to be 31,500 wild horses and 5,800 burros -- could easily be accommodated by modest reallocations of resources in HMAs. These populations can then be managed on the range, using safe and humane birth control as an alternative to the roundups, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming decade.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fort Apache and the Apache Scouts on the Expedition into Mexico

It was July 1869 when Brevet Colonel (Major) John Green of the U.S. 1st Cavalry led more than 120 troops on  a scouting expedition north from Camp Goodwin and Camp Grant into the White Mountains area of Arizona. Their mission,  to kill or capture the  Apache  they encountered.  Heading north, following the San Carlos River, the expedition  crossed the Black River, moving to the White River area near the future site of Fort Apache.

Camp Apache, 1873

Discovering over 100 acres of cornfields along the White River, Army scouts reported a large Apache settlement there.  Escapa--an Apache chief that the Anglos called Miguel--visited the expeditions camp, and invited Col. Green to visit his village. Captain John Barry was tasked by Colonel Green to follow Escapa to the village,with the mission to; “if possible to exterminate the whole village.”

Arriving at Miguel's village Captain Barry, was greeted by white flags "flying from every hut and from every prominent point," and ...
"the men, women and children came out to meet them and went to work at once to cut corn for their horses, and showed such a spirit of delight at meeting them that the officers [said] if they had fired upon them they would have been guilty of cold-blooded murder."

Returning to the White Mountains the following November Colonel Green again  met  with the Apache leaders, these were  Escapa (Miguel), Eskininla (Diablo), Pedro, and Eskiltesela. After some negotiation the Apache agreed to the creation of a military post and reservation, and Colonel  Green choose the confluence of the East and North Forks of the White River to locate it:

“I have selected a site for a military post on the White Mountain River which is the finest I ever saw. The climate is delicious, and said by the Indians to be perfectly healthy, free from all malaria. Excellently well wooded and watered. It seems as though this one corner of Arizona were almost its garden spot, the beauty of its scenery, the fertility of its soil and facilities for irrigation are not surpassed by any place that ever came under my observation. Building material of fine pine timber is available within eight miles of this site. There is also plenty of limestone within a reasonable distance.

This post would be of the greatest advantage for the following reasons: It would compel the White Mountain Indians to live on their reservation or be driven from their beautiful country which they almost worship. It would stop their traffic in corn with the hostile tribes, they could not plant an acre of ground without our permission as we know every spot of it. It would make a good scouting post, being adjacent to hostile bands on either side. Also a good supply depot for Scouting expeditions from other posts, and in fact, I believe, would do more to end the Apache War than anything else.”

On 16May, 1870 troops from the 21st Infantry and 1st Cavalry were ordered to establish "a camp on the White Mountain River ." It was initially called Camp Ord.

The troops stationed at Camp Goodwin moved to the site over the course of the 1870, and the camp would be designated Camp Mogollon, then Camp Thomas , before the Army settled upon calling it, Camp Apache . It was in 1879 that the post became Fort Apache.

Aerial view of the Fort Apache site, looking east, with canyon of East Fork of White River in foreground,
and the white cone roof of Nohwike'
 * * * * * * *
The Punitive Expedition into Mexico

Following the surrender of Geronimo the need for Indian scouts diminished until by 1891 the number of Apache scouts in Arizona had dropped to fifty. In 1915 there were only 24 remaining in service. With Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing's Punitive Expedition into Mexico 17 Apache more scouts were enlisted to join the Army's campaign, because in 1916 the number had risen to 39, and by 1917 the number had rescinded to 22.

When  the 10th Cavalry from Fort Huachuca and others from Fort Apache joined the l1th Cavalry on their long scouts into Mexico in search of the bandit/revolutionary, Pancho Villa they were accompanied by the Apache scouts.

First Sergeant Chicken, Jesse Palmer, Tea Square, Sgt. Big Chow,
and Corporal C.F. Josh, in front of the adjutant's office at Fort Apache in 1919.
Photo courtesy Lt. H. B. Wharfield, 10th Cavalry, commanding Indian Scouts in 1918-19.
To assist in the Punitive Expedition of 1916, twenty Indian scouts from Fort Apache were assigned to the 11th Cavalry. Arriving too late to take part in the search for Villa, which had gone into hiatus because of the olitical protests by the Carranza government concerning the U. S. incursion onto Mexican territory. Regardles there was ample opportunity for the scouts show their prowess at tracking. Captain James A. Shannon of the 11th Cavalry wrote in the journal of the U. S. Cavalry Association of April 1917, "With the Apache Scouts in Mexico." In that piece he well described their cautious way of operating.

Captain James A. Shannon of the 11th Cavalry
 “The Indian cannot be beaten at his own game. But in order to get results, he must be allowed to play that game in his own way. You tell a troop of white soldiers there is a enemy a thousand yards in your front and they will go straight at him without questions. The Indian under the same circumstance wants to look it all over first. He want to go to one side and take a look. Then to the other side and take a look. He is like a wild animal stalking its prey. Before he advances he wants to know just what is in his front. This extreme caution which we don't like to see in the white man, is one of the qualities that makes him a perfect scout. It would be almost impossible to surprise an outfit that had a detachment of Apache scouts in its front
They do not lack courage by any means. They have taken part in some little affairs in Mexico that required plenty of courage, but they must be allowed to do things in their own way.
James A. Shannon.

The centuries-old hatred of Mexicans that the Apache arbored showed itself in the course of the expedition. Shannon recalled an evening when they encountered some government troops.

...As we approached this outfit and opened a conversation with them, Sergeant Chicken (First Sergeant of the Scouts) fingered his gun nervously and gave vent in one sentence to the Indians' whole idea of the Mexican situation:
 "Heap much Mexican, shoot 'em all!"
There was no fine distinctions in their minds between friendly Mexicans and unfriendly, Carranzistas and Villistas, de facto troops and bandits. To their direct minds there was only one line of conduct-
"Heap much Mexican, shoot 'em all!"
They had to be watched pretty carefully when out of camp to be kept from putting this principle into practice.

The Apache scouts proved useful in tracking American deserters and on at least one occasion located some of the villistas. They picked up the trail of some stolen American horses that were two or three days old. Shannon writes:

They started off on the trail and after going a short distance came to a rocky stretch where the trail was hard to follow. They circled out like a pack of hounds and soon one of them gave a grunt and all the rest went over where he was and started off again. After a while the trail seemed to divide, so the detachment split up into two parties following the two trails. After about an hour or so, one of these parties overtook the villistas in a very narrow ravine. They shot two of them, and on account of the narrowness of the pass, unfortunately shot two of the horses, one of which proved to be the private horse of Lieutenant Ely of the Fifth Cavalry. They recovered one government horse and got some Mexican saddles, rifles, etc.

Indian scouts Andrew Paxton, Charley Shipp, and Joe Quintero
with Dr. McCloud at Fort Apache in 1918.
 Colonel Wharfield, a lieutenant commanding scouts in 1918, would later describe how the Apaches were expected to be employed that year.

The Apache scouts were not trained or drilled to maneuver as the soldiers of the army. Their operations were in accordance with the Apache's natural habits of scouting and fighting. The only directions given by the military were general in nature for the requirements of the movements of the troops. On the march small groups of the scouts were out several miles on the flanks and in front, keeping occasional contacts with the main body. At night most of them came in, leaving a few of the scouts posted as lookouts. An Apache never wanted to be surprised, and all of their movements were based on that principle. They approached ridges and high ground with extreme caution, peeking around, looking as far ahead as possible, using cover, and keeping exposure to the minimum. In a fight they did not believe in charging and battling against all odds, which was the quality of many of the Indians of the Plains.

Always they sought for an advantage over the foe, and retreated rather than expose themselves to gun fire. These characteristics made the Apache an invaluable scout in the field for operations with troops. Likewise it accounts for the fact that small numbers of hostile Apaches were able to thwart the efforts of the army in so many instances....

During my service in 1918 at Fort Apache the scouts wore cavalry issue clothing shoes and leggins, but some retained the wide car belt of their own construction and design. An emblem U.S.S. for United State Scouts was fastened on the front of the issue campaign hat. The regulation emblem was crossed arrows on a disc with the initials U.S.S.; but I never saw such a design on the scouts' uniform nor in the Quartermaster supply room.

Lieutenant Wharfield talked about some of the scouts who stood out in his memory.

At Fort Apache I had excellent relationships with Chicken. We hunted together for a few days on Willow Creek, branch of the Black River. He was on a manhunt with me after a trooper, who went AWOL and was hiking southward toward Globe. The scouts successfully tracked the soldier. We apprehended him near the lower White River bridge, close to Tom Wanslee's trading store. In addition to those trips together, there were many other routine contacts at the fort. He, of course, did not handle the first sergeant's paperwork; that was done by white soldiers of the Quartermaster Detachment, but I always gave him the orders and other matters regarding the scouts for him to execute and pass along. He was a good leader, and a highly respected man at the fort.

During my tour of duty at Fort Apache in 1918.... old Billy was my favorite scout. He could speak only Apache and did not even understand pidgin-English. He lived by himself in a tin shack on the scout row just outside the east gate of the post proper. Frequently in the evenings when riding my mount around the post, I stopped at his place for a visit. We would squat on the ground, smoke hand-rolled cigarettes, and gaze at the evening sky without a word between us. When I got up to leave, it is my recollection that we always shook hands.

Upon retirement Charles Bones located in a little Indian settlement called Canyon Day, some four miles southwest of old Fort Apache. Here he opened a restaurant and served big meals for twenty-five cents. At that price many of the Indians ate there instead of purchasing more expensive food at the trader's store. Bones had a good trade but did not much more than break even. The old scout also kept a saddle horse and a good team. He exercised his horses by riding the saddle animal in front of the team hauling the wagon, using a lariat for a lead-line. By this method the old Apache was again in the saddle instead of jolting along on the wagon seat with the pony tied behind. Of course a stranger might wonder why the wagon was taken along, but Bones probably figured that was a method of keeping his team wagon-broke.

It is noted that the officer, who commanded the scouts in 1932, failed to have Sergeant Charles Bones advanced in grade upon retirement; such as was the custom of the old army in recognition of the long years faithful service.

The separate units of Indian Scouts which had existed since 1866 were discontinued on June 30, 1921, and since that time the Apaches were carried on the Detached Enlisted Men's List.

U.S. Cavalry Fighters Are Going To Play Polo !

First Polo Clubs
In England, the first polo match was organized by Captain Edward "Chicken" Hartopp, of the British Cavalry 10th Hussars, on Hounslow Heath in 1869. However,  one year earlier in 1868, a detachment of this regiment had played a practice game near Limerick. By the 1870's, the sport of polo was well established in England.

In 1876, James Gordon Bennett, a noted American publisher, introduced the sport of polo to New York City. He organized the first polo match in the United States at Dickel's Riding Academy at 39th Street and Fifth Avenue.

In the spring of 1876, a group of polo players established the first formal American polo club, the Westchester Polo Club, at the Jerome Park race track in New York.

In 1877, Thomas Hitchcock Sr., Oliver W. Bird, August Belmont, Benjamin Nicoll, and their associates participated in the first polo match on Long Island. The polo match was played on the infield of the racetrack of the Mineola Fair Grounds.

Within ten years, there were numerous polo clubs on Long Island. Over the next 50 years, the sport of polo achieved tremendous popularity in the United States.

It was in 1892 that the the 4th Cavalry Regiment organized the first regimental polo club in Washington state, Horsemanship became synonymous with leadership, and polo was an efficient way to train soldiers and officers in the art of war. At Fort Riley, Kansas, Army polo was being played in full force by 1896. Cow ponies were bought for $15 a head and teams were assembled, schooled and sent on the road to compete against other teams in Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Bliss and Kelly Field in Texas, Fort Douglas, Utah, Fort Monroe, Virginia, and the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Popularity amongst the offiers was such that the Army Polo Association became a part of the United States Polo Association in 1902, and subsequently in 1914 there was polo being played at seventeen Army stations.

From 1900 to 1936, polo was an Olympic sport. In 1920 an Army Team was fielded and represented the United States in the Olympic Games at Antwerp, with the American squad emerging bronze medalists behind the United Kingdom’s British Army gold medal winners. United Kingdom teams were the international polo powers of the time and were medalists for five Olympiads held before the Second World War. In 1936 polo was officially dropped from the Olympic Games. It must be remembered that in fact, until the cavalry was disbanded in 1948, every single U.S. equestrian Olympic team was made up of members of the cavalry or U.S. Army equestrian team; civilians were not invited to take part until the Helsinki games in 1952, the same year women were first allowed to compete in Olympic equestrian events.

"U.S. cavalry fighters are going to play polo
in order to obtain poise in the saddle."

The experiences of US Army polo in the Philippines tell an illustrative tale.

William Cameron Forbes was an American investment banker and diplomat. During the administration of President Howard Taft, he served as Governor-General of the Philippines from 1908 to 1913. Among his passions was the game of Polo; so much so that he bought a tract of land along Manila Bay out of his personal funds and donated it to the incorporators of the Manila Polo Club which opened in November of 1909.

Forbes wrote regular articles in polo magazines abroad and soon, the Manila Polo Club’s reputation as a premier polo institution quickly spread around the world. Cameron Forbes’ book “As To Polo”. An outgrowth of that book was, “A Manual of Polo” written in 1910. It became a popular text and was utilized by the U.S. Army 14th Cavalry.

Rivalry between the Polo Club and the military always drew crowds. Among overseas officers, polo appears to have assumed the status of a distinct subculture, equal to that of boxing among enlisted men. By the 1920s the army in the Philipines boasted eight polo teams and participated in a six-month season in which matches often were played three times a week.

Forts McKinley and Stotsenberg and the “Carabao Wallow Hunt and Polo Club” at Nichols Field each had their own field and stable; officers brought their polo ponies with them and there was keen interest in breeding with European and Australian stock.
Tournaments were held in February and May of each year and played for the Far Eastern, Wood, and Langhorne Cups.
 Source: Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940, Brian McAllister Linn.

‘Black Jack’ Pershing, General of the Armies during World War I, invited the British Army to a series of matches in 1923 and '25. All horses used in play were required to be owned by officers on the active list or the property of the United States War Department.

“The United States Army polo team swept everything before it yesterday on International Field, Meadow Brook Club, Westbury, L.I., and captured the third and deciding game for the world’s military championship from Great Britain, 10-3. There is no superlative to describe the efforts of the United States representatives. Pitted against a team rated nearly twice as strong as individuals and which was mounted on far superior ponies, the Americans won simply by their own determined will to conquer and an ability to play together as a unit.”
New York Times, September 19, 1923

The back story to the 1923 US Cavalry victory over the British is informative
With the tournament against the British scheduled for September, tryouts for the U.S. Army team were held at Mitchel Field, New York in June of 1923. The Army Air Corps had a Polo center there at the air field, complete with stables, hospital, barracks, feed storage, enclosed playing field and practice grounds.

The four players selected to represent the Army consisted of  two prominent cavalry officers. Major Arthur H. “Jingles” Wilson, a 6th Cavalry Medal of Honor recipient from “knocking out the Moros” in 1909 was appointed “Captain of the Team”, and Major John K. Herr, a highly rated five-goal player who became the last Army Chief of Cavalry in 1938

The other two team members were Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Brown, Jr. and Major Louis A. Beard. The British were heavily favored to win, as their players were rated 14 goals than the U.S. team. The game was played ‘On the Level” and the US team was not granted any goals by handicap.

The U.S. Army Team was quick off the mark, preparation for the match with the English took precedence over all other duties. They spent the summer of 1923 playing in a variety of tournaments on the east coast, they were victorious at the U.S. Junior Championship before the British of the UK Army Team got off the boat. The British hit the beach on the 24th of August, bringing with them 25 first class horses and groom. Arriving when they did, gave the Red Coats a full three weeks for their mounts to acclimate and for them to prepare. Being that there were Olympic Gold Medalists on the team, the British the odds were weighted towards them to gain the upper hand and emerge victorious from the three matches that would be played at the “Yankee Stadium of polo,” the prestigious Meadow Brook Club in Westbury, Long Island.
It was an era when polo was a major spectator sport and the results of the polo matches were regularly reported on the sports pages of national papers and attendance at the games would often exceed those of both tennis and golf in overall numbers.

The Red Coats came with first rate horsemen, bringing experienced polo playing officers from lancer and hussar regiments of the British Army. They were the ream of the rop, being selected to participate in the forth coming international tournament. Lieutenant Colonel T.P. Melvill of the team had only one major concern about coming to the United States, Prohibition.

“…it is forbidden by law to drink, gamble or bet…I did all these things in the greatest luxury and comfort within forty-eight hours of my arrival.”

The visiting Brits were made welcome in the homes of the  prominent polo families to include the famous Tommy Hitchcock, a dashing figure who was the highest rated player of the day and who, it has been said, provided a foundational character for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby.

The Tournament was a best of three series and the riders rode onto thefirst match on 12 September 1923. There were 10,000 spectators gathered at Meadow Brook Club to watch the action. It took only thirty seconds for the Brits to score after the first throw in. The US players were not intimidated, but like John Paul Jones had just begun to fight, riding hard the US Army rode on to an an upset, a 10-7 victory. Team Captain Wilson leading while, according to the NY Times, 

“Herr and Beard…stroking splendidly, saving many points by their courage in checking the British attack.”

Secretary of War Weeks, and “officers and buck privates” in the stands celebrated the victory, as the Americans at a gallop style of play seemed to baffle the slower moving British. (Washington Post)
It was just four days later when the Red Coats managed a 12-10 win against the American officers with “Black Jack” Pershing and the U.S. Military Academy First Class watching from the sidelines on that fateful Saturday. The British win set the stage for the third and final match, at which who had the bragging rights for the the first International Military Polo Championship would be determined
 It was on the 18th of September that Major Herr wrote home saying,  
“Today we must do battle with our backs against the wall,” before mounting up on his string of polo horses, Liggett, Starlight, Meld and Spaghetti to ride against the British.

The US team continued to ride hard and played with a hurry up offensive style, pushing to score quickly, before their horses were spent. Herr and Brown each scored four goals, becoming the the offensive stars of the team., It turned out to be a great day for the US Cavalry, out scoring the Red Coats, 10-3, in a decisive victory over the best the British had to offer. The unexpected victory was complete and cups presented to the winning team by famous polo player Devereux Milburn and the Secretary of War.

The New York Times afterwards in analyzing the tournament identified the winning key components of the U.S. Army Team “as speed, intensity and team work,” traits that many officers later also identified as values of the sport. 

While newspaper sports writers were struggling to the proper superlatives for the US triumph over the British, the effect upon the U.S. Army was immediate, The Cavalry Journal wrote ... 

“We are continuing to justify the War Department policy of promoting polo.”

The sports popularity amongst officers increased substantially. With the USPA reporting that an additional 244 officers joined the handicap rolls with nearly forty per cent of all rated players being Army officers.

The game became so popular that in 1928 there was polo being played at forty-seven Army posts scattered across the continental United States and in the territories of the Philippines, Hawaii and the Canal Zone. 

Members of the 10th Cavalry polo team at Fort Huachuca in 1925. From left to right: 1st Lieut.J6hn H. Healy, Major Frank K. Chapin, Lieut. Halley C. Maddox, Capt. Taylor, Lieut. George C. Clausen, 1st Lieut. Kirk Broaddus. Photo courtesy Mrs. Kirk Broaddus.

It was during the 1930s that there were 1,500 polo players in the US military. This number greatly exceeded the number of civilians that participated at the sport. All these polo playing soldiers needed horses, and that's where the Army remount service came in. provided a valuable resource-not only to the military but to the sport in general as well. The remount service began around 1912 and supplied horses for the Army from four main military installations, in Virginia, Oklahoma, Nebraska and California. The Quartermaster Corps acted as purchasing agents for the Army and would meet any demand made for horses. The remount depots also became involved in a country-wide breeding program for the Army horses.
* * * * * *
When the National Intercollegiate Polo Association was formed, two of the six original were military schools-Pennsylvania Military Academy and West Point. West Point's last team, the Black Knights, played in 1946.

The 1939-1940 polo season was, perhaps, one of the greatest for polo at PMC. Under the guidance of Coach Carl Schaubel, ’30, considered at the time to be the best polo coach in the country, the team of Jim Spurrier ‘40, Emery Hickman ‘40 and “Bud” Maloney ‘41 excelled. Jim Spurrier was the sparkplug of the team. Bud Maloney formed the spearhead on attack, and Emory Hickman constantly retrieved the ball, feeding it to Spurrier and Maloney. Following the completion of a successful regular season, the PMC team once again played in the Intercollegiate Polo Tournament. They beat Harvard and West Point, but were defeated by Princeton in the Championship game. After graduation, these men, along with William Dudley ’42, a sophomore and another member of the polo team, were again teamed together in the 1st Cavalry Division. Three of these polo players distinguished themselves in action and earned Silver Star Medals for their leadership and heroism.

Oklahoma Military Academy
By 1930, OMA’s enrollment was nearing 300, ten times the size of the first class 11 years earlier. That same year, the school got a Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) cavalry program, with the federal government sending 60 horses and 11 enlisted men to the Hill.

Oklahoma Military Academy Flying Cadets
The cavalry program gave birth to a polo team, which quickly became one of the best in the nation. In a famous 1934 event, sponsored by Will Rogers, the OMA Flying Cadets beat the Stanford University squad twice in a row, following a train trip that carried the Claremore riders and their steeds to the West Coast.

Value of the Sport
Polo is a dangerous game; that being one of the sport's attractions for young, energetic officers. An Army officer was killed while playing at the Meadow Brook Club in 1931. The Cavalry Journal reported a minor accident or fall rate of some 71 per cent for officers who were questioned in a survey of four tournaments. Concussions and head injuries were not uncommon, with exceptionally aggressive players such as Patton suffering numerous head injuries. You have to be tough to play polo.

Major George S. Patton Jr., head of the 1922 Army Team that won the Junior Championship, commented in an article that

“The virtue of polo as a military accomplishment rests on the following: it makes a man think fast while he is excited; it reduces his natural respect for his own safety - that is, makes him bold; it ... teach[es] restraint under exciting circumstances ... nearest to mounted combat; makes riding worthwhile; keeps a man hard ... [and] teach[es] better horse management.”

Also Lucian K. Truscott, who went on to become one of WW II’s most highly regarded Army commanders, always credited the sport with helping to develop a successful commander’s qualities. Polo’s hard riding intensity at times was indeed similar to combat. In fact, one of reasons Truscott, the chief architect of the Army Ranger concept in early 1942, was chosen for this role by Eisenhower was his well-known abilities with the sport.

Reports from the Army Polo Association described the sport as a “vital professional asset,” that improved players’ aggressiveness, decision making skills, teamwork and physical fitness.

Finally, a review of rosters from the period lists a significant number of notable Army division, corps and army commanders who went onto achieve prominence both before and during the Second World War. A review of APA officers with a recorded handicap during the interwar period includes such renowned Army leaders as Herr, Chaffee, Patton, Truscott, Wainwright, Simpson, Gerhardt, Devers, Allen, Harmon, Holbrook, and Swift.
* * * * * *

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


On July 6, 1882, about sixty White Mountain Apaches swept down onto the San Carlos Agency ; captured and took with them half a dozen squaws ; rode up the San Carlos River and a few miles from the Agency waylaid and killed Chief of Scouts J. L. Colvig ("Cibicu Charley") and five or six of his Indian police. Colvig succeeded Chief of Scouts Sterling who had likewise been killed in an encounter with recalcitrant Apaches only four months before.

Lt. Charles B. Gatewood and company of Apache scouts at Fort Apache in 1880,
at the end of the Victorio campaign. Sam Bowman, civilian scout, stands behind Gatewood.
 (Arizona Pioneer's Historical Society)
The band then rode to the north, passing to the east of Globe, then westward through the Wheatfields region above Globe, across Pleasant Valley and up by Payson and the East Verde, leaving behind a sickening trail of burned ranches and murdered settlers.
Following the news of the outbreak and Colvig's death, five separate bodies of U. S. troops were in the field after the raiders.

Troop D, 6th Cavalry, Capt. A. R. Chaffee and First Lieut. Frank E. West, were first in the field from Camp McDowell on the west side of the Basin, under orders to move to Wild Rye creek and await developments. Chaffee had with him Al Sieber and eight Tonto Indian Scouts.

Adna Romanza Chaffee was born in Orwell, Ohio on April 14, 1842.
In July 1861, Chaffee, only 19 years old, enlisted in the newly-formed 6th U. S. Cavalry as a private. In early 1862, he was promoted to sergeant, and to first sergeant in September 1862. As a reward for his good service, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton arranged for him to be appointed second lieutenant in April 1863. Although only 21 years old, he was in command of a company of the 6th U. S. by the time of the Battle of Gettysburg that summer.
 In 1904, he was promoted to lieutenant general and became chief of staff of the United States Army, a position he held for a bit over two years. He was one of two old horse cavalrymen to rise from the rank of private to serve as chief of staff of the Army, the other being Samuel Baldwin Marks Young

Troop D 3rd Cavalry, Capt. Albert D. King and Second Lieut. Franklin D. Johnson ;
Troop E 3rd Cavalry, Lieut. Converse  commanding;
Troop I 3rd Cavalry, Lieut. Hardie commanding;
Troop K 3rd Cavalry, Capt. Geo. A. Dodd commanding;
Company E, 26 enlisted Indian Scouts, Second Lieut. George H. Morgan, 3rd Cavalry, commanding, also followed Chaffee 's troop from McDowell with orders to scout the region and keep Chaffee advised of the hostiles' movements as far as possible.
Troop E 6th Cavalry, Capt. Adam Kramer and Second Lieut. Thomas Cruse commanding;
Troop K 6th Cavalry, Capt. Lemuel A. Abbott and Second Lieut. Frederick G. Hodgson commanding  All under command of Major A. W, Evans, 3rd Cavalry, left Fort Apache, on the east side of the Basin, under orders to scout the country and follow the hostiles' trail vigorously.

Two troops of the 3rd Cavalry, Capts. Russell and Wessel commanding, hurried from Whipple Barracks near Prescott.

From Fort Verde, Troop K 6 th Cavalry, 1st Lieut. Henry Kingsbury commanding and Troop A of the 3rd Cavalry, Lieut. Chase commanding, were rushed out of that post eastward on the old "Verde" or Crook" road, which followed closely the "Rim" of the Tonto Basin, to scout for signs and intercept the hostiles if they should attempt to climb up the bold escarpment known as the "Rim of the Basin," swing around to the east and thus back into the Apache Indian Reservation and safety.

From Fort Thomas on the Gila above San Carlos went four troops of the 3rd Cavalry with Captains Drew, Vroom and Crawford, and Lieuts. Morton, Porter, Boughton and Davis, (Britton Davis).

Thus we have a record of no less than 15 troops of cavalry probably 350 men in all; one company of Indian scouts, and fully 150 pack-mules with many civilian packers, all searching the country for the hostiles and converging on them from every side.

Those who today ride over this country on well built auto roads ; who drive easily from Phoenix to Payson, "under the Rim," in six hours, can have little real appreciation of the difficult task these army men faced in 1882. There is no rougher, more broken terrain in the United States. The granitic formation is peculiarly hard on horses' hoofs and a lost shoe on a cavalry horse or pack-mule means a lamed animal if not shod at once.

The following account of the fight is taken from Britton Davis' recent book, "The Truth About Geronimo," by permission of the Yale University Press, and also with Gen. Cruse's consent.

"For the following description of the fight, the most successful our troops ever had with the Apache after they had obtained modern arms, I am indebted to General, then Lieutenant, Thomas Cruse, U. S. Army, Retired, who for his gallantry in this action was awarded the 'Congressional Medal of Honor.'

Lieutenant Thomas Cruse, U. S. Army

"The hostiles had seen Chaffee's troop, which was mounted on white horses, and had kept it under observation from about three o'clock until dark. They counted his men and concluded to ambush him the next day under circumstances favorable to themselves. But they had not seen the Fort Apache column at all, and their watchers reported the next morning that Chaffee 's troop was still alone.

"Colonel Evans told Chaffee to keep ahead the next morning as if he were acting alone and he would follow at day break. Troop I, Converse, Third Cavalry, also on white horses, would be in the lead at the head of our column, so that if the Indians did stop to fight Chaffee he would have two troops on white horses to engage them at once and the other troops could be placed to the best advantage as they came up.

"At daylight on July 17, we moved out cautiously and saw Chaffee climb the rim of the basin unopposed; then we followed, reached General's Spring and saw signs of the hostile camp of the night before ; then went on, cursing our luck over the prospect of a tedious campaign in the rough, waterless Navaho country. About a mile farther a mounted courier from Chaffee dashed up. Converse with his white horse troop rushed forward at a gallop, and word was passed along that the Indians were camped on the far side of a deep crack in the earth, a branch of Canon Diablo (Big Dry Wash), with all arrangements to give Chaffee the fight of his life.

"The location was about three miles from where we were, and as we rapidly approached we could hear casual shots and an occasional volley crash.

"Sieber and the scouts located the hostiles on the far side of the chasm. Chaffee then  is mounted his troop and sent a few men forward to the brink When these were seen the hostiles opened fire then Converse galloped up, dismounted almost in plain view of the hostiles, sent his horses to the rear and advanced in line of skirmishers along the edge of the canon as if intending to go down the trail. Both troops and hostiles then opened up a heavy fire across the canon.

"The scene of action was in a heavy pine forest, thickly  set with large pine trees (park-like, with no underbrush or shrubbery whatever) on a high mesa at the summit of the Mogollon Range. Across this mesa from east to west ran a gigantic slash in the face of the earth, a volcanic crack, some seven hundred yards across and about one thousand feet deep, with almost perpendicular walls for miles on either side of the very steep trail which led to the Navaho country. This crossing point was held by the hostiles and their fire covered every foot of the trail, descending and ascending.

"Colonel Evans and his troops rode up and quickly dismounted about three hundred yards from the brink of the canon. Chaffee reported to him, outlined the situation, and started to suggest some dispositions of the troops. Evans stopped him ; told him to dispose of the troops as he saw best and gave him full control, saying that he, Chaffee, had located the Indians and it was his fight.

"This was one of the most unselfish actions of relinquishing command that ever came to my notice during a long career in the army ; because, mind you, Chaffee was not only Evans' junior (a captain) but also belonged to another cavalry regiment, the Sixth, while Colonel Evans belonged to the Third, and there is always rivalry for honors between regiments so thrown together.

"Chaffee got busy at once ; ordered Kramer and Cruse with Troop E, Sixth Cavalry, his (Chaffee's) own troop, Sixth Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Frank West, and part of the Indian scouts under Sieber to go cautiously to the right of the trail and cross where possible about a mile to the east. When the far side of the canon had been gained they were to form for attack and close in on the main trail. Converse and his troop were told to keep up a heavy fire across the chasm. Troop K, Sixth Cavalry, Captain L. A. Abbott and Lieutenant F. G. Hodgson ; Troop E, Third Cavalry, Lieutenants F. H. Hardie and F. C. (Friday) Johnson, and the remainder of the Indian scouts under Lieutenant George H. Morgan, Third Cavalry, were sent across the canon to the west and then to move east.
" A small group from each troop was left with the pack-trains and led horses to protect them from surprise should any of the hostiles succeed in gaining our side of the canon unperceived.

"These movements began about three o'clock in the afternoon and the sun was shining brightly. As we moved out, we heard that Converse had been shot in the head and was being brought in. I saw him as we passed and rushed up for a second and spoke to him. He said something was the matter with his eye but thought it would soon pass.

"Poor fellow, it has never passed. A 44 calibre bullet had struck a piece of lava rock, split it in two, and one-half had penetrated the eye, wedging itself firmly in the eye socket where, in spite of the ministrations of the noted swung our line in a semicircle toward the Indians' camp, driving the hostiles in front of us and penning them against the edge of the canon.
"By this time, five o 'clock, and the shadows heavy in the dense forest, I found myself in command of the left flank of Troop E, next to the brink of the canon and probably two hundred yards in front of what had been the main camp of the hostiles, indicated only by some scattered blankets, cooking utensils, etc. Sieber was by my side.
 "As our line closed in there was a furious burst of fire from the hostiles, causing several casualties among the troops, among others, Lieutenant Morgan, Third Cavalry, who had joined West after his Indian scouts had been left behind the line ; and Sergeant Conn, Troop E, Sixth. As the line advanced from tree to tree, Morgan had chances to fire at hostiles several times and finally dropped one. Elated over his success he called out, "I got him." In doing this he exposed his position to another Indian in the same nest who thereupon fired and got Morgan through the arm, into the side and apparently through both lungs. The soldiers got the Indian.

"We thought sure that Morgan would die that night but he is still living and in good health, a colonel on the retired list. The surgeon (Dr.—later Colonel Ewing) found that when the bullet broke the arm bone its force was so lessened that it did not break the rib, as from the hole made we supposed it had, but slid around it under the skin and lodged in the muscles of the back, where it was finally dug out and presented to Morgan.

"Sergeant Conn was a character in the Sixth Cavalry and had been with the regiment for about twenty years. The bullet hit him full in the throat, made a ghastly hole, pushed aside the jugular vein (so the surgeon claimed), grazed the vertebra and passed out, leaving a hole as big as a silver dollar ; all this in the neck that wore a number thirteen collar.

"In the meantime I had pushed forward with Sieber, whom I saw kill three hostiles as they were creeping to the edge of the canon to drop over. He would say, "There he goes," then bang would go his rifle. The Indian that I had never seen, strain my eyes as I might, would, when hit throw up his arms as if trying to seize some support, then under the impetus of his rush, plunge forward on his head and roll over several times. One, shot near the brink, plunged clear over and it seemed to me kept falling for ten minutes.

"It was now about five-thirty and getting dusk ; only about seventy-five yards and a little ravine some seven feet deep separated me and my men from the Indians in the camp. I knew that unless the camp was taken pretty quick the Indians would escape under cover of darkness, so I resolved to cross the ravine and take it. I told Sieber that I was going to do it, and much to my surprise he hastily remonstrated.

'Don't you do it, Lieutenant ; don't you do it ; there are lots of Indians over there and they will get you sure.' " 'Why, Al, you have killed every one of them,' " I replied, and instructed my men what to do. They were to rush forward to the ravine, halt under cover, then, when ordered, were to advance at a run into the camp with some cartridges in hand, guns loaded. We did just that and had no casualties, due, I think, to the fact that Captain Kramer's men and Sieber smothered the hostiles with their fire.

"As we rushed forward on the other side of the ravine I soon discovered that, as Sieber had said, there were lots of Indians there, and we had business on our hands. But I had with me Sergeant Horan, Sergeant Martin, and six or eight other old-timers whom such things did not disconcert in the least. Things were going slap-bang when suddenly not over six feet away was an Indian with his gun leveled directly at me. It seemed he could not miss, so raising my gun, I stood awaiting the shock of the bullet. He was nervous and jerked the trigger sufficiently to barely miss me and hit a young Scotchman, McLellan, just to my left, and probably a foot in the rear. McLellan fell, I fired and threw myself to the ground.

"Sieber, Captain Kramer and several others saw me go down and thought for sure I had been hit. I found I was not but saw McLellan lying almost beside me and asked if he was hit ; he replied, 'Yes, sir, through the arm ; I think it is broken.'

"I told him to lie quietly, and we would get back to the ravine. In a lull, I rose up and found he was unconscious ; dragged him back about twenty feet where the slope protected us ; rested a little, then back a little farther. Finally Sergeant Horan and myself got him to the bottom of the ravine.

"In going back with McLellan, Abbott's men saw several hostiles rise up to fire, whom they had not seen before. Every man in the line turned loose on them, not knowing that I was in their direct line of fire at two hundred yards distance, and the way the air was filled with bullets showed that they were coming close inside their target. Several pieces of gravel and small fragments of rock or lead struck me in the face, making it bleed. I was sure that I was hit and would soon collapse. Kramer's men swarmed into the hostiles but darkness soon came on and the fight was over.

"I grabbed some blankets from the Indian camp and made a nice bed for McLellan, but the bullet had smashed his rib and gone through both lungs. He passed away quietly about an hour later."
This concludes General Cruse 's statement

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Second Lieutenant Thomas Cruse, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 17 July 1882, while serving with 6th U.S. Cavalry, in action at Big Dry Fork, Arizona Territory. Second Lieutenant Cruse gallantly charged hostile Indians, and with his carbine compelled a party of them to keep under cover of their breastworks, thus being enabled to recover a severely wounded soldier.
Gravesite of Pvt. Joseph McLernon Battle of Big Dry Wash July 17, 1882

The Monument to commemerate the Battle of the Big Dry Wash

(By WILL C BARNES) w/ deletions and additions.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

1928 McClellan Saddle

The greatest change was the addition of a saddle skirt and "english" type girth webbing and straps. To accomplish this, the seams on the outer edges of the saddle were opened. The skirt was nailed to the surface of the tree, after which the girth webbing was nailed down. The straps, three in number, were usually sewn and riveted to this webbing. At this point the cover seam was resewn. This may have been done to retain the strength in the seam and save time. Later modifications also replaced the sheepskin linings with hard felt pads, sewn on as were the previous sheepskin linings

This 1928 WW2 McClellan saddle follows the original specifications, original tree used, or a new wide 1904 style. New russet leather cover, correct side skirts, wool covered underbars on tree, cavalry model US covered stirrups,brass hardware, six coat straps. English style rigging

And the 1904 headstall and reins