Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Last Day of the Vietnam War -- April 30th 1975

Today, April 30th marks exactly 40 years since the largest helicopter airlift in history took place. It was designated Operation Frequent Wind. April 30th, 1975, was the last day of the Vietnam War. And yes, Operation Frequent Wind would go down as history's largest helicopter evacuation ever to take place. It would become a time and date which witnessed over 7,000 South Vietnamese flee Saigon for their very lives.

Before the Operation, we were told that 150,000 North Vietnamese Communists troops were just outside Saigon, South Vietnam, ready to pounce. A few weeks earlier, we were conducting Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation by air of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

At the beginning of April 1975, Phnom Penh, one of the last remaining strongholds of the Khmer Republic, was surrounded by the Khmer Rouge and totally dependent on aerial resupply Pochentong Airport. With a Khmer Rouge victory imminent, the US government made contingency plans to evacuate American nationals and allies to get them out by helicopter to ships in the Gulf of Thailand. 

Operation Eagle Pull started on April 12th, 1975, and is said to have been a tactical success carried out without any loss of life. It was just 5 days later that the Khmer Republic collapsed, and the Khmer Rouge occupied Phnom Penh. By the end of the month, we were preparing for another evacuation, but this time it would be Saigon, South Vietnam.

On April 12th,1975, the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines (2/4), who was aboard USS Hancock, took part in Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation of Americans from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. By the end of April, Marine Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/4 would take part in Operation Frequent Wind and Saigon's evacuation.

As strange as it sounds today, we all knew when the Operation was to start back then. The signal was when American Forces Radio broadcast Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" on the morning of April 29 and announced, "the temperature is 105 degrees and rising." That was the signal. Americans and hand-picked Vietnamese began heading toward predetermined assembly spots. With that, Operation Frequent Wind was on, and soon it seemed that choppers were everywhere. 

Again and again, and again, and again. All-day and all night long, for days, choppers came and went to grab up as many as can be had. Yes, I remember the choppers and scores of South Vietnamese fleeing a land about 30 minutes away. 

Aboard the USS Hancock, as with other ships, we Marines were assigned to maintain law and order as the refugees arrived at our ship. We Marines met each chopper's landing with our M-14 rifles locked loaded -- and with fixed bayonets.

We were told that North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were trying to get aboard the U.S. Navy ships to wreak havoc and perform sabotage.

Wounded and hurt were taken to a sick-bay set up in one of the ready-rooms on the flight deck. There they would be tended to included deloused.

Marines searched men, women, children, and anything they brought aboard. Their Arms were confiscated and thrown overboard. But of course, that wasn't the only thing thrown overboard. When it became apparent that the flight deck was too crowded with Hueys, they too were soon pushed over-board.

In Saigon, it was said that chaos ruled the capital of South Vietnam. People feared for their lives as the Communist overrun of the city became imminent. Supposedly from what I was told much later, the original plan called for most flights to arrive and depart from the U.S. Defense Attache Office near Tan Son Nhat airport. 

Marine Corporal Charles McMahon and LCpl Darwin Lee Judge were the last two United States servicemen killed in Vietnam. The two U.S. Marines were killed in a rocket attack one day before the Fall of Saigon.

On April 28th, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, adjacent to the airport, came under artillery fire and attack from Vietnamese People's Air Force aircraft. The fixed-wing evacuation was terminated, and Operation Frequent Wind commenced. The evacuation took place primarily from the Defense Attache Office (DAO) compound, beginning around 14:00 on the afternoon of April 29th and ending that night with only limited small arms damage to the helicopters. 

The U.S. Embassy in Saigon was intended to only be a secondary evacuation point for embassy staff, but it was soon overwhelmed with evacuees and desperate South Vietnamese. Also, it is said that as word of the evacuation spread, thousands upon thousands of South Vietnamese began heading to the American embassy compound. 

There, crowds jammed the gates, some holding papers claiming they had worked for the Americans. Others said they were dependents of American citizens. Many rightfully feared their U.S. connections would put them in danger under a Communist North Vietnamese government. I was told later that the Embassy Marines chose who to let inside and who not to.

Those trying to get out knew about the coming massive arrests, the Communist "re-education" camps, and the on-the-spot executions at the hands of the Communists. Thousands of Americans and their Vietnamese family members wondered how -- or even if -- they were going to safely escape to freedom.

Saigon was actually beyond chaos. It was as if a tsunami of frightened people descended upon our embassy, all trying to evade the Communist wrath. U.S. helicopters that shuttled back and forth between the fleet and Saigon that day included Marine CH-53, CH-46, CH-47, Hueys, and even HH-53 Air Force choppers.

Air America, the CIA air service in Vietnam, was also shuttling evacuees out. In their case, those pilots had the task of landing on unfamiliar rooftops and openings throughout the falling city to pick-up unknown evacuees and flying them to staging areas or our Navy ships offshore. 

If I remember right, among the first choppers to start the evacuations were the Air America choppers. I think I will always remember those silver and blue civilian versions of the famous UH-1 "Huey." Marines choppers didn't start their chopper airlift until the afternoon.  Of course, besides Marine helicopters and Air America choppers, some South Vietnamese pilots decided to make their own dash for freedom during the evacuations. 

With the collapse of South Vietnam, VNAF helicopters and even some fixed-wing aircraft flew out to try to get to the U.S. evacuation fleet. Some South Vietnamese pilots commandeered helicopters and flew offshore to meet our fleet, leaving everything behind. And yes, as seen in the picture below, believe it or not, some even ditched their choppers near our Navy ships and swam the rest of the way.

Many South Vietnamese choppers could land on deck but were later pushed overboard because of a lack of space. When a huge, South Vietnamese Chinook helicopter landed aboard the USS Hancock, we Marines joined the sailors to push it over the side. It was a horrible sight, and the noise that the Chinook made when it scraped the USS Hancock as it fell into the ocean with a huge splash was incredible.

Talking with a friend the other day, a man who was an Army door-gunner about choppers in Vietnam in 1968, I was a little surprised that he did not hear about our ships having to push choppers overboard when helicopters threatened to take too much space.

During that night, South Vietnamese helicopters waiting for permission to land started running out of fuel and simply fell out of the sky. One Marine chopper that went down was a Sea Knight with the call sign YT-14. It crashed into the water while approaching the USS Hancock. Yes, there was a big bright flash, and it seemed that flares were going off would mark their spot. Then the flares died out.

My Marine brothers had crashed and were lost at sea. And yes, with them, YT-14 was the final U.S. helicopter lost in Vietnam. The pilots, Capt. William Nystul and Lt. Michael Shea was among the last Americans to die in the conflict.

By the time it was over, about 100 Marine, Air Force, and Air America choppers had evacuated an estimated 7,000 Americans and South Vietnamese out of Saigon. It should be noted that during the Fall of Saigon, the 2nd Battalion / 4th Marine Regiment was the last Combat Unit to see action in Vietnam. Elements of BLT 2/4 were landed at the DOA Compound, were at the DAO Compound received small arms, mortar, and M79 grenade fire from ARVN forces. 

At 00:30 on April 30th, thermite grenades, having been previously placed in selected buildings, were ignited as two CH-53s left the DAO Compound parking lot carrying the last elements of BLT 2/4. After sunrise, the USS Hancock sent out a final chopper to rescue 11 stranded Marines on Saigon's Embassy. The chopper set down on the Embassy's rooftop helicopter pad, and after surviving the night uninjured, all 11 Marines ran aboard. One of the Marines marked the time on his watch. It was 7:58 a.m., April 30, 1975.

Embassy guard Marine Master Sgt. Juan Valdez was the last American to leave Vietnam.  The world's largest helicopter airlift was history. A few hours later, North Vietnamese tanks smashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace. Saigon would be renamed Ho Chi Minh City. After 20 years of involvement and 58,220 U.S. military deaths, America was finally done with Vietnam.

For the record, tens of thousands of Vietnamese evacuated themselves by boats and ships in the coming months and years. Communist "Re-Education Camps" set up to indoctrinate the South Vietnamese to the rule of the new Communist State are said to still be in effect today. The Communists there are still enslaving the people of Vietnam.

A report out of Vietnam in 1985 reported that of those people which the Communist felt could not be "re-educated," over 2.5 Million were slaughtered in those camps. But frankly, none of the peace and love Vietnam anti-War demonstrators of the 1960s and '70s give a damn that that's what took place. Among them were Hollywood celebrities and others who called for peace at any price, demonstrated against the United States, and even encouraged our troops in Vietnam to throw down their weapon and desert. After the Communist took over and slaughtered all of those people who the United States attempted to save from Communism, those who spit on American troops disappeared -- not caring about all of those systematically murdered by the Communist after taking over South Vietnam. 

As for the deaths of Marines Cpl. Charles McMahon and LCpl. Darwin Judge, both Marines were members of the Marine Security Guard (MSG) Battalion at the US Embassy in Saigon for a short time before being killed in action. Corporal McMahon had arrived in Saigon on April 18th, and Lance Corporal Judge had arrived in early March of that year.

In accordance with procedures for deceased Americans in Vietnam, their bodies were transferred to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, nearby Tan Son Nhut airport. In telephone calls to the hospital on the afternoon of April 29th, the few remaining staff advised that the bodies had been evacuated when their bodies were left behind. Through diplomatic channels, the U.S. government secured the return of their bodies the following year.

Lance Corporal Darwin L Judge was buried with full military honors in March 1976 in Marshalltown, Iowa. There was a flag-draped coffin, a Marine Honor Guard, and a rifle firing salute. The flag that covered his coffin was folded and presented to his parents.  His funeral was so ignored that the mainstream news media did not attend the event. The lone exception being the Daily Iowan (Iowa City, Iowa). 

It is said that because of ignorance of his military funeral in March 1976, Lance Corporal Judge was given a second Marine burial with honors 25 years later. Cpl McMahon and LCpl Judge names will be tied together forever as the last two Marines killing in action in Vietnam.

By the beginning of May, the USS Hancock had off-loaded BLT 2/4 and then arrived in Subic Bay, Phillippines, to off-load the refugees it carried.

Lastly, the "Mayaguez incident" took place between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the United States from May 12th to the 15th, 1975, less than a month after the Khmer Rouge took control of the capital Phnom Penh. U.S. Marine contingent aboard the USS Hancock did not arrive until May 16th. By then, Washington had halted the operation.

The taking of the merchant ship S.S. Mayaquez and its American crew by Khmer Rouge pirates was the cause of the subsequent battle at Koh Tang Island that followed. The battle of Koh Tang Island is the last official battle of the Vietnam War. Of that last battle, 15 U.S. Marines were killed in action, 50 wounded, another 23 Marines were killed en-route in a helicopter. Some say the helicopter was shot out of the sky. Some say it was engine failure.

But as sad as it is to say, 3 Marines were left behind and executed. The 3 Marines left behind are listed as missing in action but presumed dead. The names of the Marines killed, and those of the three Marines who were left behind on the island of Koh Tang after the battle and were subsequently executed by the Khmer Rouge pirates are the last names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

May God Bless them and the other more than 58,000 American troops who died in that war.

Tom Correa


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Christians Not Welcome In U.S. Military Under Obama

I've wondered how a nation with a vast majority of its population, 85% at the latest survey, identifying themselves as Christian, can tolerate Christian hostilities from its government?

I've wondered how long Christians in our military will take it? And frankly, I've wondered who will be left after Christians leave the ranks of the U.S. military services?

Since most Liberals, Democrats, Atheists, and Socialist types, are usually anti-military, what would make anyone think they will suddenly feel a sense of patriotism and fill the void left by persecuted Christians who have had enough and simply tell the government to stick it? 

And don't kid yourself, these are viable questions. 

Why? Well, simply because Christians are leaving the U.S. military or are discouraged from joining in the first place because of a "hostile work environment" that doesn't let them express their beliefs openly.

Let's be frank here, in a time when teachers are openly allowing students to pray to Allah, recite Muslim prayers, dress in traditional Muslim garb, and study the Koran in American public schools, Christians on the other hand are being persecuted, ridiculed, harassed, and simply made to feel unaccepted in today's America. 

And yes, today's military is no different. 

Muslim dress, prayer, traditions, and religious rites in America's military are all perfectly acceptable to American military and politicians -- especially Democrats and other Liberal politicians who follow the Obama Islamic indoctrination as a good thing for the United States. 

While everything Muslim is in vogue in the White House, and subsequently the military, anything Christian has a target on it.

Michael Berry, senior counsel at the Liberty Institute, a Texas-based legal organization dedicated to defending religious liberty in America, said recent high-profile cases of military chaplains facing punishment for private counseling sessions that reflected the teachings of their religion could cause devout Americans who are qualified for military service to think twice about joining the military.

"People of faith are going to stay away from the military," said Mr. Berry in an interview with The Washington Times.

"I can’t tell you how many moms and dads I've spoken to who say, 'My son or daughter wants to join the military, but in light of what you've described, I’m not sure I want to let them join the military anymore,’ and I don't blame them. I would have serious reservations about my own kids joining," Mr. Berry said.

Douglas Lee, president of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, whose job it is to find people who want to be chaplains and make sure they’re also qualified to serve in the military, said growing religious hostility within the military is making it harder for him to find potential recruits and for the armed forces to maintain the chaplains it does have.

"I know people who get out, officers and chaplains, who've said, 'I can't serve the way I want to in this environment,’” said Mr. Lee, who also served as an Army chaplain. 

"People who've said, 'Because of the religious liberty challenges I see, I think I’ll serve somewhere else.' We all used to sit around and talk about planning on spending 20 years, but at some point enough is enough," he said.


Mr. Berry said he thinks the "hostile work environment" that is forcing the most religious persons out of the military is only getting worse. and that while in the past problems were mainly in the Air Force, religious liberty issues have spread throughout all the services. 

Christian member don’t think they're welcome.

"The problem is getting worse, not better, despite our efforts," he said. "There is a culture of hostility toward religion in the military right now."

While problems in the past have touched all religious groups, Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said he’s seen a recent uptick and pattern of Christians facing persecution for religious expression.

While some are trying to say differently, evidence shows that the Department of Defense does not respect nor places any value on giving our troops their religious freedoms provided by the First Amendment of the Constitution.  

Yes, troops are being denied rights and Christians are being persecuted and being refused their Constitutional Rights -- rights they fight to protect for us. 

The rights of members of the military services are being violated daily by Officers and Left-wing politicians who kiss the ass of anti-military Atheists who are out to destroy the effectiveness of the United States armed services. 

What I find real sad is that Atheist make lousy soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines, because they don't believe in anything -- and certainly not America.

Christian troops are being denied chapels, churches, in-service Christian clergy. Yes, they are being denied both facilities and the opportunities to worship. And worse, they are being singled out and harassed for their Christian beliefs while Islam is being promoted. 

And yes, American members of our military are also being prevented from having Christian bibles aboard ships and other military installations -- yet Korans are welcome. 

While this is going on, the Obama White House has successfully placed commanders in positions of issuing discipline to Christians while allowing Muslim propaganda from Islamic extremist groups to be obtained without a word. 

And yes, there are consequences to these anti-Christian actions! 

Recently former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee declared that young Christians considering military service should wait a couple of years until we get a new commander-in-chief that will once again believe that people of Christian faith should be a vital part of the process of defending America.

He was without a doubt telling Christians not to enlist in today's military. 

Frankly, while I'm not calling for an indefinite abstention from serving our country, I can't help but agree that Christians in our military today are simply not welcome.

As because I am in agreement with Mike Huckabee over this issue, as I said in the beginning of this article, the question is: Who will be left if  Christians don't enlist or simply leave the ranks of the U.S. military services? 

I'd bet there would not be enough men and women left to get a ship out of harbor, a plane in the air, a truck gased up and ready to roll, or fill a rifle company for combat.

And yes, that's the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why George W. Bush Let a Soldier’s Mom Yell at Him

Below is an excerpt from “And the Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side” by Dana Perino.

Reprinted by permission of Twelve Books (c) 2015.

President George W. Bush meets with U.S. Army Specialist Salvatore Cavallaro while visiting troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

News of America’s military men and women were wounded and killed in Iraq and Afghanistan almost overwhelmed me on some days. I may have sounded strong when I was talking to the press, but sometimes I had to push my feelings way down in order to get any words out of my mouth to make statements and answer questions.

The hardest days were when President Bush went to visit the wounded or families of the fallen. If it was tough for me, you can only imagine what it was like for the families and for a president who knew that his decisions led his troops into battles where they fought valiantly but were severely injured or lost their lives.

George W. Bush talks with soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga. in 2007. 

He regularly visited patients at Walter Reed military hospital near the White House. These stops were unannounced because of security concerns and hassles for the hospital staff that come with a full blown presidential visit.

One morning in 2005, Scott McClellan sent me in his place to visit the wounded warriors. It was my first time for that particular assignment, and I was nervous about how the visits would go.

The president was scheduled to see twenty-five patients at Walter Reed. Many of them had traumatic brain injuries and were in very serious, sometimes critical, condition. Despite getting the best treatment available in the world, we knew that some would not survive.

George W. Bush announces that Dana Perino will take over the post of White House Press Secretary in 2007. 

We started in the intensive care unit. The Chief Naval Officer (CNO) briefed the president on our way into the hospital about the first patient we’d see. He was a young Marine who had been injured when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. After his rescue, he was flown to Landstuhl U.S. Air Force Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany. At his bedside were his parents, wife, and five-year-old son.

“What’s his prognosis?” the president asked.

The military aide presented the Marine with the award for a second time. The president had tears dripping from his eyes onto the Marine’s face.

“Well, we don’t know sir, because he’s not opened his eyes since he arrived, so we haven’t been able to communicate with him. But no matter what, Mr. President, he has a long road ahead of him,” said the CNO.

We had to wear masks because of the risk of infection to the patient. I watched carefully to see how the family would react to President Bush, and I was worried that they might be mad at him and blame him for their loved one’s situation. But I was wrong.

The family was so excited the president had come. They gave him big hugs and thanked him over and over. Then they wanted to get a photo. So he gathered them all in front of Eric Draper, the White House photographer.

President Bush asked, “Is everybody smiling?” But they all had ICU masks on. A light chuckle ran through the room as everyone got the joke.

George W. Bush shakes hands with soldiers after finishing his speech July 4, 2006, during his visit to Fort Bragg, N.C. 

The soldier was intubated. The president talked quietly with the family at the foot of the patient’s bed. I looked up at the ceiling so that I could hold back tears.

After he visited with them for a bit, the president turned to the military aide and said, “Okay, let’s do the presentation.” The wounded soldier was being awarded the Purple Heart, given to troops that suffer wounds in combat.

Everyone stood silently while the military aide in a low and steady voice presented the award. At the end of it, the Marine’s little boy tugged on the president’s jacket and asked, “What’s a Purple Heart?”

The president got down on one knee and pulled the little boy closer to him. He said, “It’s an award for your dad, because he is very brave and courageous, and because he loves his country so much. And I hope you know how much he loves you and your mom, too.”

George W. Bush visits with Army Sgt. Nicholas McCoy at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. 

As he hugged the boy, there was a commotion from the medical staff as they moved toward the bed.

The Marine had just opened his eyes. I could see him from where I stood.

The CNO held the medical team back and said, “Hold on, guys. I think he wants the president.”

The president said, ‘That mama sure was mad at me.’ Then he turned to look out the window of the helicopter. ‘And I don’t blame her a bit.’

The president jumped up and rushed over to the side of the bed. He cupped the Marine’s face in his hands. They locked eyes, and after a couple of moments the president, without breaking eye contact, said to the military aide, “Read it again.”

So we stood silently as the military aide presented the Marine with the award for a second time. The president had tears dripping from his eyes onto the Marine’s face. As the presentation ended, the president rested his forehead on the Marine’s for a moment.

Now everyone was crying, and for so many reasons: the sacrifice; the pain and suffering; the love of country; the belief in the mission; and the witnessing of a relationship between a soldier and his Commander in Chief that the rest of us could never fully grasp. (In writing this book, I contacted several military aides who helped me track down the name of the Marine. I hoped for news that he had survived. He did not. He died during surgery six days after the president’s visit. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery and is survived by his wife and their three children.)

And that was just the first patient we saw. For the rest of the visit to the hospital that day, almost every family had the same reaction of joy when they saw the president.

George W. Bush speaks with members of Soldier Ride 2005 National Tour Team. Soldier Ride 2005, comprised of wounded service members, is a 4,200-mile, cross-country bike ride to raise money and support to help prepare wounded soldiers for long-term rehabilitation. 

But there were exceptions. One mom and dad of a dying soldier from the Caribbean were devastated, the mom beside herself with grief. She yelled at the president, wanting to know why it was her child and not his who lay in that hospital bed.

Her husband tried to calm her and I noticed the president wasn't in a hurry to leave—he tried offering comfort but then just stood and took it, like he expected and needed to hear the anguish, to try to soak up some of her suffering if he could.

Later as we rode back on Marine One to the White House, no one spoke.

But as the helicopter took off, the president looked at me and said, “That mama sure was mad at me.” Then he turned to look out the window of the helicopter. “And I don’t blame her a bit.”

One tear slipped out the side of his eye and down his face. He didn’t wipe it away, and we flew back to the White House.

-- end of excerpt.

Editor's Note:

Dana Perino served for seven years in the administration of President George W. Bush and became the first Republican woman to be named as the White House press secretary.

She is a Fox News contributor and one of the co-hosts of "The Five," and the author of "And the Good News Is: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side."

I have just ordered her book, I hope that you do too.

Tom Correa

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Keeping It Simple -- Politicians, The Good Old Boys Club

By Terry McGahey

When we vote a particular person into office, their job is to protect the Constitution and represent the people.

They take an oath to do so but many of them only protect each other instead.

No matter who the person, or which party they represent, if they have not lived up to their oath of office they should be impeached and not allowed to run for office again. 

Notice I said which party they represent? They are supposed to represent the people and protect the Constitution, not the party or each other.

One of the best examples of this has just taken place with our new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. 

She is nothing more than another Obama "yes" person, who by her own record is pro-abortion, pro-illegal amnesty, and very anti-gun. 

This woman will do whatever it takes to push the progressive movement of Socialism, even if it takes breaking the Constitution to do so. 

She is nothing more than another Eric Holder in a female body, and we have seen how he has abused his position, and with this woman we can expect more of the same.

In this case the good old boy system has shone through very brightly. You know, "I'll scratch your back, and when the time comes, you scratch my back." In other words, "I'll vote for your nominee as long as you do something for me in return."

That's how many our elected officials do business today, rather than do what's right for the people and our country. 

Here is the perfect example of what I just said. The Republicans who jumped ship on this one are Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire, Thad Cochran, Mississippi, Susan Collins, Maine, Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, Orrin Hatch, Utah, Ron Johnson, Wisconsin, Mark Kirk, Illinois, Rob Portman, Ohio, and Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, and Jeff Flake, Arizona. 

They should all have this guy's last name! Flakes! 

Are these people progressives in disguise? Looks like it to me.

Everything this Lynch woman stands for, and against, are supposed to be the things which Republicans, and other true American representatives, are on the opposite side of. Yet these Republicans approved her nomination. 

If this isn't the good old boy system at it's best then I don't know what is. 

I do not care which party you lean towards, as Americans we should be voting for the people who will live up to their oath of office, which is to protect the Constitution! 

If those people listed above are not the perfect example of why we need term limits, then please someone explain it to me.

Just as the Republicans always look back to Ronald Regan, many Democrats still look back to John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 

If you are a Democrat, and you are old enough to remember Kennedy, or you have learned anything about him, you would realize that he would be appalled at what is going on within the Democratic party today. 

In many ways, the Republican party has become more like the Democratic party of that time period and the Democrats have become more increasingly, Socialists, Marxists, and yes, even Communists.

I grew up in a Democratic household and I myself, many years ago, was a Democrat. I didn't leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left me. 

I have never believed that only one party was right and the other all wrong, but in my opinion today, voting for Democrats is a vote for Socialism and the destruction of our Constitution which will lead to the tyrannical government our founding fathers warned us about.

That's how I see it!

Friday, April 24, 2015

California's "Man-Made" Drought

California Drought Caused By State's Environment Policies

If you want to learn how not to do something, then come to California! 

If you want to know how to take a state and successfully disable it, then come to California! 

If you want see a do-nothing state which waits and waits and waits, focuses on everything other than what is essential to its people, and refuses to do anything to prepare for a disaster, then please come to California!

In 1976, yes almost 40 years ago, I was a Marine stationed in Camp Pendleton when California was in its supposedly worse drought ever. Yes, that's what we were told at the time.

Actually, up until recently, the 1976-1977 drought is said to be the worse drought in California over the last 100 years -- some say it was the worse drought in California's history. 

The people of the state were told at the time that we were going to see more dams, water reservoirs, aqueducts, more overall water storage for the millions of people that was projected to come to California. 

We were told that the powers-to-be in the state capital in Sacramento were all 100% in favor of preparedness for the future so that that never happens again. 

We were assured by the Governor of California at the time that he would make sure that California does not go dry in the future. 

Of course we now know that nothing was done to prepare for a prolonged drought in the future. And yes, strange as it is, Jerry Brown was Governor of California at the time.

He was elected in 1975 and served until 1983 as the state's Governor.  Jerry Brown was elected again in 2011 and has been recently re-elected as Governor. 

Do I blame Governor Brown for not doing what was said about preparing for the future? Not really. 

Brown is just like all of the other politicians in California. They give us a lot of lip service, then as soon as they are elected go about paying those who they owe for their campaign funds and support.

In California, on the overall, Liberal politicians who control the state owe the Environmentalist Groups their souls. And yes, those very same Environmentalists control just about every aspect of the capitol in Sacramento. 

And there be the problem when it comes to preparedness for a drought in California -- there is absolutely none because the Environmentalists don't want dams, reservoirs, aqueducts, or any other water storage. 

Like drought preparedness, Environmentalists have successfully stopped power plants and businesses, and yes even desalination plants to turn salt water into fresh water. 

With the Pacific Ocean right there, one would think that that would have been started years ago -- but it has not because California's wacko Environmentalists say no.

As millions of gallons of freshwater rush out to sea, some counties are looking for ways to bring desalinization plants online, and are spending millions of dollars to do so.

But, as with years gone by, Environmentalists are against the plan, saying desalinization is energy-intensive and can negatively impact sea life.

Yes, the Environmentalist are worried about sea-life, a 3 inch fish, frogs, toads, spotted owls, and contribute big money to Democrats to ensure that they do they bidding. 

Make no mistake about it, the Environmentalists which have caused this drought. Not only with their money to lobby against new dams and such, but to stop the flow of water that we do have.

California Is Prime Example Of How Harmful Liberalism And The Influence Of Special Interest Groups Can Be On A People.

Environmentalists have used the Courts and stopped the construction of water storage and delivery systems through legal and political actions.

The Environmental Movement went to court to stop most new dam construction, according to Victor Davis Hanson, a Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, including the Sites Reservoir; the Los Banos Grandes facility; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir.

The Klamath River diversion project also was canceled in the late 1970s, putting an end to the Aw Paw reservoir, potentially the state’s largest man-made reservoir with 15 million acre-feet of water, or enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years.

Most in California are now accepting the fact that this drought is a "man-made disaster".  More and more people here are now being educated to the fact that California's Environmental Policies allow good water, much-needed freshwater, to flow straight into the Pacific.

Why let good water, much-need freshwater, to go to waste and flow unstopped to the ocean?

Well, in an average year, California gets enough snow and rain to put 200 million acres under a foot of water, but Environmentalist groups who oppose dams and such over several decades has allowed the majority of the freshwater to flow into the ocean.

It's true, even as the state’s population exploded to nearly 40 Million people, Environmentalists have controlled who gets water and who does not. 

The current drought has left farms parched and residents under strict water consumption orders, but most are now learning that it did not have to be that way.

"This is a man-made disaster," said Bonner Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research. 

"Southern California is an arid part of the world where droughts -- even severe droughts -- are commonplace, and knowing this, you’d think the government of California would have included this mathematical certainty in its disaster preparedness planning, but the government has done nothing, not even store rain, as the population has continued to grow."

Last week, Governor Brown mandated the state’s residents cut water usage by as much as 35 percent, saying, "As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in every way we can.” Consumers face stiff penalties, forced installation of water restriction devices and even water service suspension if they don’t comply with county mandates. Commercial users face even tougher sanctions, with one county requiring them to cut usage by 80 percent.

The problem with believing Brown or any other Politician is that California gets plenty of water to meet its needs, if it were only managed properly. 

More than half of California’s surface water flows from the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east down to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in Northern California. 

Much of the mountain runoff is managed by two of the world’s largest water storage and transport systems – the federal Central Valley Project and California's State Water Project. 

Each is a system of dams, reservoirs and distribution systems designed to send water to cities, towns and farms throughout the state.

Nothing Done To Prepare In The Last 40 Years In California!

It's true. The vast majority of the state’s 1,400 dams and reservoirs, in the two massive systems and smaller ones that supply Southern California, were built well before the late 1970s when the last big drought hit. 

"Droughts are nothing new in California, but right now, 70 percent of California's rainfall washes out to sea because liberals have prevented the construction of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades, during a period in which California’s population has doubled," said Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and likely GOP presidential candidate. 

"This is the classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other people's lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology."

Remember, Environmentalists groups have used the Courts to stop the construction of water storage and delivery systems through legal and political actions. 

Environmentalists have also fought to ensure that captured water is released into streams and the ocean -- rather than the water delivery system -- in order to boost fish populations and dilute the salinity of the delta.

Releasing the water is supposed to save the endangered fish population, including the Delta Smelt, Longfin Smelt, four runs of Chinook Salmon, the Steelhead, Green and White Sturgeon, Splittail and the Sacramento hitch, but so far the fish population has decreased, according to experts. 

Yes, while the Environmentalists are trying to save a 3 inch fish, a state of California survey in March found that just 6 Delta Smelt – four females and two males – prompting wildlife experts to estimate the species' population has dropped in the last 40 years.

Jim Burling of the Pacific Legal Foundation said while water diversions have not helped endangered fish populations, the policies are devastating to people, produce and the economy.

"The plan is not doing anything for the fish and causing a lot of pain for farmers and farm workers," Mr Burling said. "The impact of these policies on people should be considered."

A 3 inch Fish versus over 80,000 Farms and Ranches?

Yes, that's the case. The state has more than 80,000 farms and ranches, which generate more than $44 billion in annual sales. 

California produces more than 250 different crops, leads the U.S. in production of 75 commodities, and, according to the Water Education Foundation, is the only state to produce 12 key crops such as almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwi, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes and walnuts.

During the current drought, it is estimated that billions of gallons of water have been diverted from farmlands, according to a report by the Washington D.C. based Heritage Foundation, with the American Farm Bureau estimating that between 400,000 acres and 500,000 acres of crops will be lost.

Ms Fiorina said it’s a "tragedy" that the agricultural land in California, the most productive in the world, has been destroyed, along with farming jobs because of politics, policy, and Liberal Environmentalists.

Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican who represents a Central Valley district in Congress, said roughly 21 million-acre feet of water is flushed into the Pacific Ocean annually. 

One acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons, the average annual water usage for a suburban family household. 

Like many other Californians who are waking up to the truth, Rep. Nunes also blames Environmentalists for the fact that the state is dry.

"The environmental groups did not expect to run everyone out of water, but they got greedy, shut down the whole system, and ran the whole damned state dry," Rep. Nunes said.

"California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition," said Mr Davis Hanson in a report. "Environmentalists also diverted irrigation and municipal water from reservoirs and moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities".

Rep. Nunes introduced the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act of 2012 and co-sponsored the Sacramento-San Joaquin Emergency Water Delivery Act of 2014:

"To restore water deliveries cut off by environmental lawsuits and federal regulation; streamline environmental regulatory processes to speed up 5,000,000 water reliability projects and transfers; expand the use of the Central Valley Project to allow water deliveries by non-federal sources; and end the effort to protect non-native species and instead focus on native species."

Friends, while the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation in 2013 and 2014, California Democrat Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein refused to sign on to the plan.

And yes, believe it or not, as with other Democrats who have total control of the state, Governor Brown who was in charge of California from 1975 to 1983 and then again since 2011 also expressed opposition to the plan. 

As the crisis in California grows, Rep Nunes hopes to get the legislation through the Senate and to President Obama for his signature.

"If we had stored water and built three new dams, the state would be flush with water," Rep Nunes said.

For me, I say fat chance of that happening. Obama is like other Democrats in that the Environmentalist own him -- and he will do as they instruct him to do.

Preparedness? That Word Does Not Apply To The State Of California. It Is Not How California Operates.

Some say preparing for future droughts and making it through this one all comes down to math and engineering, but I don't see California's Liberal Politicians bucking the Environmentalists who throw millions of dollars at them.

The Democrat solution is to cut of water to cities, tell Californians to go without showers, to drive dirty cars, drain swimming pools, rip out lawns, and conserve, conserve, conserve. 

No during this "man-made disaster," we hear a lot of lip service all too reminiscent of what some of us remember hearing almost 40 years ago.  

Bonner Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research states. "We know the systems we have to build to make sure the state has plenty of water, but instead we have wasted millions of acre feet of water in the last 10 years."

Frankly, I agree 100% with him when he said. "The thought that you can conserve your way out of this is not going to lead to any success."

So yes, while we have Democrats in charge of California, Liberals who gleefully kiss the backsides of Environmentalists.

As long as the Environmentalists wackos are in charge in this state, we here in California will continue to have a do-nothing state mired in denial.

California is a state where it's elected officials worry more about social programs and Socialism, than they do the simplest of needs of their citizens -- food and water.

California Sets A Bad Example For Others!

I remember the story about the father who had three sons. The second son was an honor roll student in college, the third son was an Engineer.

The oldest son, the one who was deemed to have the most potential growing up, was lazy, didn't work and was on drugs. Yes, he was a real party animal.

The father woke him up one morning and called his oldest son to breakfast. There the three sat, and the father looked at his oldest son and smiled.

The father then said, "Thank you. I realized this morning that you are not completely useless. You have served as a bad example for your brothers who don't ever want to be like you."

California's liberalism and laziness to prepare for disasters and not fight the Environmental lobby is not completely bad in that California stands tall as a wonderful example to the citizens of other states of what not to become.

If you want to learn how to screw your citizens and serve only your own self-interest, then come to California and see how state management is done.  But frankly, do so only if you want to screw over you own citizens.

Come to California which has had 40 years to prepare, but simple has refused to so.

Come see a do-nothing state where its elected politicians are more concerned about pleasing special interest groups, taking campaign money, imposing more and more anti-business regulations, and furnishing Illegal Aliens with Drivers Licenses, catering to gays, and trying to take away your firearms.

Come see where Democrats rule and can't address the most basic needs of its citizens -- providing resources to grow food and provide water.

Come see what happens when Liberal ideology and big money screws a people!  You too will learn what NOT to do!

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Keeping It Simple -- Muslims In Government

By Terry McGahey

It truly amazes me that this president will not identify our enemies in this age of world unrest.

Even worse, this so called president of our country is pandering to our enemies, the radical Muslims and Iran.

How in the world does Obama believe he can negotiate with Iran which has been a sponsor of terrorism for years, and believes that Israel should be obliterated.

Iran is playing Obama for the fool that he is if he truly believes he can solve the problem through negotiations, while all the time they keep working towards becoming a nuclear power, as well as seeking to build ballistic missiles which could reach our Eastern Coast.


As far as the Muslim connection goes, below are the names of Muslims who are embedded within our government, which Obama has approved of and has even appointed himself:

1. Mohammed Elibiary. Homeland Security Advisor.
2. Arif Alikhan. Assistant Secretary For Policy Development Of Homeland Security.
3. Rashad Hussain. Special Envoy to the Islamic Conference.
4. Salam Al-Marayati. Obama Advisor and Founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
5. Imam Mohamed Magid. Obama's Sharia Czar from the Islamic Society of North America.
6. Eboo Patel. Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.

I don't recall any president in our country's past appointing a possible enemy, notice I said possible enemy, into government positions.

Did Franklin Roosevelt appoint a Nazi to a government position before World War Two? I think not!

Did John F. Kennedy appoint a Communist North Vietnamese to government? I think not!

Did Ronald Reagan appoint a Communist Russian to government during the cold war? I also think not!

If people in this country don't believe Obama to either be a Muslim or have his sympathies lie with the Muslims, then please think of this:

His father was a Muslim, his mother was a Muslim, his step father was a Muslim and his grandfather was a Muslim. This man was raised as a Muslim, period!

If some people don't believe he has ties to the Muslim communities then common sense is something that has totally been a void in their life.

Again, look at the appointees above, that should tell you something!

The Muslim faith, no matter if radical or not, does not coincide with our Constitution and our freedoms, that's the bottom line.

If people don't believe that, then they need to take a little bit of their own time to read at least some of the Koran. Then make that judgement for themselves, rather than listen to the propaganda that comes from the media and special interest groups.

I am sick to death of the touchy feelly world of "your okay I"m okay."

This is especially true when it comes to an enemy who believes in our destruction, and who is doing their best to infiltrate our government.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

General Martin Dempsey issues an Apology

A few of you have written asking me about the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey and how he responded callously to reports that Ramadi, Iraq has fallen to ISIS.

Gen. Dempsey has come under fire from lawmakers and Veterans groups for downplaying the strategic importance of Ramadi. Yes, Gen. Dempsey said that he saw no strategic importance to a place which cost us the lives of so many Americans troops to take in the first place.

His description has caught many people off guard. His words are making people wonder why a U.S Army General, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, would trivialize those American troops who were wounded and paid the ultimate sacrifice by being killed in action?

Why would the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs say the lose of a capital of Iraq's northern province of Anbar, the fall of Ramadi to ISIS is "not symbolic in any way"? 

Maybe this is more of the change that Obama promised us? Maybe it is now accepted as no big deal to lose the ground that was won with the blood and deaths of American troops?

Remember, even Hillary Clinton famously asked "what difference does it make" when she was asked about not furnishing American military support for those four Americans in Libya who were left there to die by Obama and Clinton.

Maybe the Obama administration's hatred for our military has adversely affected our Joint Chiefs of Staff?  All of these were my first reactions to hearing about Gen. Dempsey's asinine statements.

In an open letter, Debbie Lee, whose son Marc was the first Navy SEAL casualty in Ramadi, responded to his remarks.

She wrote:

I am shaking and tears are flowing down my cheeks as I watch the news and listen to the insensitive, pain inflicting comments made by you in regards to the fall of Ramadi.

“The city itself is not symbolic in any way”? Oh, really? Are you willing to meet with me and with the families who have lost a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, aunt, uncle, grandson, or teammate?

My son Marc Lee was the first Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life in Ramadi Iraq Aug 2, 2006. His blood is still in that soil and forever will be. Remember that was when so many of our loved ones were taken from us. You said that “it’s not been declared part of the caliphate on one hand or central to the future of Iraq.” My son and many others gave their future in Ramadi. Ramadi mattered to them. Many military analysts say that as goes Ramadi so goes Iraq.

What about the troops who sacrificed their limbs and whose lives will never be the same. Our brave warriors who left a piece of themselves in Ramadi. What about the troops who struggle with PTS/TBI who watched their teammates breath their last or carried their wounded bodies to be medevac’d out of Ramadi.

I’ve traveled to Ramadi and visited Camp Marc Lee in 2007. I brought back soil from that city where Marc breathed his last. I interviewed Iraqi General Anwer in 2010 when I returned. I asked him “If you could say one thing to the American people what would you tell them? He paused and with deep emotion said “We will tell our children, our grandchildren, for generations to come we will tell them what Americans have done. There is American blood poured out on our soil.” It seems the Iraqis understand the importance more than you do sir.

You sir owe an apology to the families whose loved ones blood was shed in Ramadi. Ramadi matters to us and is very symbolic to us. You need to apologize to our troops whose bodies were blown to pieces from IEDs and bullet holes leaving parts and pieces behind, Ramadi matters to them. You need to apologize to our troops who endured the extreme temperatures and battled the terrorists in some of the worst battlefields in Iraq, Ramadi matters to them. They carry vivid memories of the battles and the teammates whose future is gone, Ramadi matters to them.

You and this administration have minimized that Ramadi could fall, now you are minimizing that it is falling, but you Sir WILL NOT minimize the sacrifice my son Marc Lee made or any of our brave warriors!

Awaiting an Apology
Debbie Lee

I want to say that the callous disregard for those who fought and died, and regarding those who were wounded, in Ramadi is unbelievably overwhelming.

And yes, Gen. Martin Dempsey owes an apology to Debbie Lee as well as to the hundreds of other parents who lost their sons fighting to take Ramadi -- or had their sons returned wounded.

This morning, April 21st, it was reported that Gen. Martin Dempsey issued an apology to Debbie Lee.

The Gold Star mom complained that the joint chiefs chairman trivialized the Iraqi town where her son became the first Navy SEAL to die in the Iraq War.

The Arizona mother and founder of the group, America's Mighty Warriors, promptly penned an open letter to Dempsey, roundly criticizing him for the "insensitive, pain-inflicting comments" about Ramadi – which became the epicenter for insurgency groups after the fall of Fallujah in 2004.

“The city itself is not symbolic in any way”? Oh, really? Are you willing to meet with me and with the families who have lost a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, aunt, uncle, grandson, or teammate?” Lee wrote to Dempsey.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Gold Star mother he was sorry for the way his words came off.

Lee got an apology in the form of a letter on Monday.

“I've read your letter, and I do apologize if I've added to your grief,” Dempsey wrote.

“Marc and so many others died fighting to provide a better future for Iraq. He and those with whom he served did all that their nation asked. They won their fight, and nothing will ever diminish their accomplishments nor the honor in which we hold their service,” he said.

But, Dempsey noted, “We are in a different fight now, with a different enemy, and with a different relationship with the Government of Iraq.”

“They must determine the path and pace of this fight. That's what I intended to convey,” he wrote.

Debbie Lee is, as she should be, very protective of the memory of her son, Navy SEAL Marc Lee, who died fighting in Ramadi.

Lee, who said Dempsey is expected to call her by phone later today, described the letter as a “soft apology” but said, “it’s still an apology and that’s huge.”

“I accept it,” she told, “Though I’m going to be watching and I won’t hesitate to call him out again if I hear something that’s not right.”

Lee was 28 when he was killed in Ramadi on Aug. 2, 2006, after fellow SEAL Team 3 member Ryan "Biggles" Job was seriously injured by sniper fire. 

While other SEALs tended to Job, Lee single-handedly provided cover fire and was mortally wounded. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.

I have to say that Gen. Dempsey surprised me with his asinine statements. And yes, I lost a lot of respect for the man,

Much of my respect for him has now been restored as a result of his apology. It takes a big person to admit when he or she is wrong about something.

I frankly didn't think he's issue an apology, but I am certainly glad that he has.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Last Tribe To Get The Black Hills

A few years ago, I was contacted by a friend in South Dakota who asked me to research the history of the Black Hills and the claim by the Lakota Sioux that the area is their ancestral homeland. My friend sent me all sorts of information that I read and found interesting. After looking into this, this is what I've found. So, if this sounds like a report to my friend in South Dakota, that's why.

The Black Hills are a small isolated mountain range that rises up from the Great Plains in western South Dakota and extends into Wyoming. Harney Peak, which rises to 7,244-foot elevation, is the range's highest summit. Today, the Black Hills actually encompass the Black Hills National Forest. The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota Sioux Indian tribe who called them "Ȟe Sápa." And while that's true, it should be noted that the Cheyenne Indians called them "Moʼȯhta-voʼhonáaeva" for a hundred years or more before the Lakota Sioux ever arrived there.

The hills were so-called "Black Hills" because of their dark appearance from a distance because the hills were covered in trees. Although some tribes say they occupied that area in the year 1500 to 1530 AD, we do know that the Arikara Indian nation arrived there around 1100 AD. To my knowledge, they were the first to occupy the Black Hills. In fact, after reading about the Arikara, it is pretty much a given that they had the Black Hills first -- and the longest. Yes, long before everyone else. If there are people who want to give the Black Hills "back to the Indians" as the saying goes, then it should be to the right tribe. Yes, the right tribe.

The Arikara in the Black Hills was followed by the Crow, Pawnee, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Lakota Sioux, and then to the United States. The Lakota Sioux arrived in the region after getting kicked out of Minnesota in the late 1770s by other tribes. The Sioux took over the region after they drove out the Cheyenne Indian nation. The Sioux forced the Cheyenne to move West. 

The Lakota Sioux people, and Teton Sioux, are part of a confederation of seven related Sioux tribes, the "Očhéthi Šakówiŋ" or "Seven Council Fires." Siouan language speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and then migrated to the Ohio Valley. They were all farmers and may have been part of the Mound Builder civilization that took place from the 9th to 12th centuries.

The tribes belonging to the Siouan linguistic family are the Lakota, Assiniboin, Omaha, Ponka, Kansa, Osage, Kwapa, Iowa, Oto, Missouri, Winnebago, Mandan, Hidatsa, Crow, or Absaroka, tribes whose territories sat in the region now known as Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. The Biloxi, who were formerly near Mobile Bay, the Catawba, of South Carolina, the Tutelo, Sapona, Occanechi, of North Carolina, and Virginia were also part of the Siouan language-speaking nation. The Dakota-Lakota-Nakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi Region in present-day Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and later in the Dakotas. 

Among tribes, the wars were more brutal than most realize. Warfare among the Native American Indian nations was brutal and not unlike savage warfare anywhere else in the world. Waging war did not always turn out well for the Lakota. Their wars with Anishnaabe and Cree nations pushed the Lakota Sioux west and into the Great Plains in the mid to late-1600s.

Historically the Anishinaabe peoples maintained close alliances with Cree nations, including the Atikamekw, Montagnais, Moose Cree, Swampy Cree, and Plains Cree. Other allies included the Noos (Abenaki), Miijimaag, Nii'inaa-naadawe (Wendat), Omanoominiig, Wiinibiigoog, and Zhaawanoog. Other closely related Algonquin groups such as the Zhiishiigwan and Amikwaa were incorporated into the Anishinaabe family of nations through alliances. Due to competing interests for land and resources, from time to time, the Anishinaabeg had strained relations with the various Iroquois nations, Sauk, Fox, and Dakota peoples.

From the east in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Anishinaabe, who the Lakota Sioux called the "Chippewa" (Ojibwe), fought with the use of muskets supplied to them by the French and the British. That superior European war-fighting technology, European tools for waging war on other tribes, enabled the Anishinaabe to push the Lakota Sioux further into Minnesota and then West and Southwest. 

No, this is not the only example of European war-fighting technology being given to one native nation to conquer another. We should remember that even in Hawaii, King Kamehameha I, also known as Kamehameha The Great, could not have united the Hawaiian islands without the use of European war-fighting technology such as the musket, swords, and even a small cannon given to him by the British. The use of superior European technology, and the support of the British, enabled the ruler of one island to conquer the other islands. Islands that were said to be as different as Germany is from France when it came to language, customs, traditions, and spiritual beliefs. 

Americans gave the name "Dakota Territory" to the U.S. northern expansion West of the Mississippi River and up to its headwaters. Around 1730, the Cheyenne nation introduced the Lakota Sioux to horses. Yes, the Cheyenne are said to have been the tribe that introduced horses to the Sioux and taught them to ride. The Cheyenne called horses "šuŋkawakaŋ" which means "dog of power, mystery, wonder." After their adoption of horses, like the Cheyenne, the Lakota Sioux became a horse culture. The Sioux then became a society centered on the buffalo hunt on horseback instead of farming.

The total population of the Sioux, which included the Lakota, Santee, Yankton, and Yanktonai, was estimated at 28,000 by French explorers in 1660. The Lakota Sioux population was first estimated at 8,500 in 1805. It grew and reached 16,110 in 1881. The Lakota Sioux were one of the few Native American tribes to increase in population in the 19th century.

After 1720, the Lakota Sioux branch of the Seven Council Fires split into two major sects, the "Saone," who moved to the Lake Traverse area on the South Dakota/North Dakota/Minnesota border, and the "Oglála-Sičháŋǧu," who occupied the James River valley. But by about 1750, the Saone had moved to the East bank of the Missouri River. They were followed 10 years later by the Oglála and Brulé (Sičháŋǧu) Indians.

The large and powerful Arikara, Mandan, and Hidatsa villages had prevented the Lakota Sioux from crossing the Missouri River for a long time. Though that was the case for years, with the arrival of Europeans came the great smallpox epidemic of 1772 to 1780. The epidemic destroyed three-quarters of those tribes.

Make no mistake about it, because those tribes did not have built-up immunities to diseases such as measles, the epidemics killed thousands of Native Americans. In reality, more Native Americans died from diseases inadvertently introduced through trade with Europeans. In fact, thousands more died from diseases than bullets and swords in the wars with the French, the British, the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans combined.

With less resistance from other tribes, the Lakota Sioux crossed the river into the dry short-grass prairies of the High Plains. These newcomers were the "Saone" who were said to have been mounted horsemen. With the use of horses that many tribes did not have, they increased their dominance quickly. They did this through lightning attacks to decimate other tribes.

In 1765, a Saone raiding party led by Chief Standing Bear discovered the Black Hills, which was then the territory belonging to the Cheyenne. The Lakota Sioux only found the Black Hills in 1765. Ten years later, the Oglála and Brulé also crossed the river.

In 1776, the same year that Americans went to war with the British to claim America as our own nation, in bloody warfare, the Lakota defeated the Cheyenne who had earlier taken the Black Hills from the Kiowa after a lengthy war.

Author and historian Mark van de Logt wrote: "Although military historians tend to reserve the concept of “total war” for conflicts between modern industrial nations, the term nevertheless most closely approaches the state of affairs between the Pawnees and the Sioux and Cheyennes. Both sides directed their actions not solely against warrior-combatants but against the people as a whole. Noncombatants were legitimate targets. ... It is within this context that the military service of the Pawnee Scouts must be viewed."

After being pushed out, the Cheyenne then moved west to the Powder River country. That's when the Lakota Sioux made the Black Hills their home. It was their home until they were forced out by war with the United States.

As for Americans, initial contact with the Lakota Sioux during the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806 was considered a standoff. During that time, Lakota Sioux bands refused to allow American explorers to continue upstream. The Lewis and Clark expedition reportedly prepared for battle, but that never happened.

Nearly 50 years later, after the U.S. Army had built Fort Laramie on what was considered Sioux land, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was negotiated to protect travelers on the Oregon Trail. The Northern Cheyenne, who had aligned with the Sioux, had previously attacked emigrant parties.

Though tribes were in competition with each other over resources, becoming allies against a common enemy became paramount when they saw the American settlers as encroaching on lands that were still in dispute between the tribes. Because of this, a number of tribes who were traditional enemies aligned to attack American settlers and emigrant trains.

The Grattan Massacre, also known to some as the Grattan Fight, was the opening engagement of what would be known as the First Sioux War. It actually took place on August 19th, 1854, east of Fort Laramie in what was at the time the Nebraska Territory. Today that area is part of Goshen County, Wyoming.

A small detachment of American soldiers entered a large Lakota village to arrest the man accused of taking a cow that was stolen from a Mormon immigrant. Imagine that, a cow. And though it's said such matters were supposed to be handled by the Federal government's Indian Agent according to the treaty, the Army decided to go in to take care of the situation.

The situation that would have normally been handled fairly easily and calmly is said to have quickly got out of hand. It's said one of the soldiers shot Chief Conquering Bear and killed him on the spot. The Brule Lakota there numbers about 1,400. They killed all of the soldiers and their civilian interpreter. The American dead was 28 soldiers, including Lieutenant John Grattan and the civilian interpreter.

The Grattan Massacre is considered significant in the Plains Indian Wars because it's considered what started the American Indian Wars. Less than a month later, on September 3rd, 1855, a unit of about 700 soldiers under the command of General William S. Harney was dispatched by the President to avenge the Grattan Massacre. Harney did so by attacking a Lakota village in Nebraska. He had his men kill about 100 warriors, old men, women, and even children. Yes, women and children as well. It became known as the Harney Massacre.

These events caused the American public to pressure Washington D.C. to take military action. Americans wanted the U.S. Army to "punish the hostiles." As a result, thousands of U.S. troops were poured into the area.

After that, a series of battles and skirmishes took place between 1862 and 1864. One result was that the refugees from the "Dakota War of 1862" in Minnesota fled west to align with their allies in Montana and the Dakota Territory. This, of course, increased the number of American settlers moving West after the Civil War. The consequence of that is that it caused war once again between the U.S. and the Lakota.

In 1868, the United States signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. This exempted the Black Hills from all American settlement. While the treaty was supposed to keep Americans out of the Black Hills, four years later, gold was discovered there, and American prospectors descended on the area in droves.

The Fort Laramie Treaty acknowledged Lakota Sioux sovereignty over the Great Plains in exchange for free passage on the Oregon Trail for "as long as the river flows and the eagle flies." Well, so much for that.

It is interesting that during the Black Hills War in 1876, the Arikara Indians served as scouts for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in the Little Bighorn Campaign. There was no love between the Arikara and the Sioux.

The Black Hills was seen as worth keeping, especially after the discovery of gold there. By the time the word got out that gold was discovered there, the United States government simply could not enforce the treaty restrictions against unauthorized settlement as a flood of the gold seekers poured into that area.

Of course, the Black Hills were considered sacred by the Lakota Sioux, and they objected to what they rightfully saw as an invasion. Soon the Sioux attacked the influx of American settlers. Those attacks on settlers and miners were met by military force conducted by Army commanders such as Colonel George Armstrong Custer. This was when General Philip Sheridan encouraged American troops to hunt and kill the buffalo as a means of "destroying the Indians' commissary." Imagine how cruel you have to be to want to kill off a group's food supply?

The allied Lakota Sioux and Arapaho, along with the unified "Northern Cheyenne," were involved in much of the warfare after 1860. It should be noted that the Lakota Sioux nation was still fighting other tribes while fighting the Americans. For example, the battle of Massacre Canyon on August 5th, 1873, was the last major battle between the Pawnee and the Sioux tribes. That was when the Sioux attempted to exterminate the Pawnee Indians once and for all. Yes, men, women, and children while on a buffalo hunt for food.

As for cruelty, please don't write to tell me that Native American nations were peaceful. Cruelty was common at the time. Yes, to the point of being genocidal. Genocide is defined as "the intentional action to destroy a people." That's what Indian nations did to each other long before Europeans arrived on the North American continent. If you've heard me say that before, there is a reason that I repeat it so often -- re-writing history to sanitize the actions of warring nations doesn't change what took place. And for some reason, there is an effort today to rewrite history to disregard the cruelty that Indians set upon each other.

General George Crook's Army fought the Sioux at the Battle of the Rosebud. That battle occurred June 17th, 1876, in the Montana Territory between the Army along with its Crow and Shoshoni allies against a force consisting mostly of Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. Yes, Americans had allies among the tribes. Not all Indian tribes saw the Americans as their enemy.

The battle is known to have prevented General Crook from locating and attacking their camp. It also prevented General Crook from playing a role in the Battle of Little Bighorn eight days later. Crook's Crow and Shoshoni allies left the Army for their homes shortly after the battle. The Lakota and Northern Cheyenne returned to the battlefield after Crook's departure and piled up rocks at the location of key events in the battle. Some of the rock piles they built are said to still be there.

Eight days after the Battle of the Rosebud, the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho combined their forces to wipe out Custer's 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Known to the Lakota as the Battle of the Greasy Grass, also commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, started on June 25th and finished on the 26th of June in 1876. It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, led by Crazy Horse and Chief Gall. Some say it was a fight that was inspired by a vision that Chief Sitting Bull had experienced.

Led by Colonel George Armstrong Custer, the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry was a force of 700 men. Five of the 7th Cavalry's twelve companies were annihilated. The total U.S. casualty count at the Little Big Horn, including scouts, was 268 dead and 55 wounded. George Custer himself, his two brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law, were killed.

Some say Col. George Custer was a fool on a number of points, including refusing to accept the information brought back to him by his own scouts, his wanting to move faster, so he left his Gatling guns behind as he saw them slowing him down. It's also said that he moved his troops at a pace that wore out their horses. This meant their mounts were spent when they arrived at the Little Bighorn River there in the eastern Montana Territory. His horses were in no shape to retreat when he attacked a camp of several tribes that was much larger than he realized.

His scouts told him about the size of the village before he charged headlong into a hornet's nest. The combined allied tribes are said to have numbered over 5,000.

After the battle, the tribes struck camp and left. They actually scattered. After the Little Big Horn, it's said the Sioux and the Northern Cheyenne feasted and celebrated during all of that July because they saw no threat from American soldiers. After their celebrations, many of the Indians slipped back to the reservation, perhaps sensing that the summer of 1876 would be their last victory.

In response to the Little Big Horn, the public wanted vengeance, and the United States Congress authorized funds to expand the Army by 2,500 men. The funds were meant to specifically reinforce the Army in Montana. Once reinforcements were at hand by mid-August, General Crook and General Terry were able to take the fight to those seen as responsible for the Little Big Horn Massacre. General Nelson A. Miles took command of the effort to pursue and engage with the Indians in October 1876.

Following the defeat of the Lakota Sioux and their Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho allies in 1876, the United States took complete control of the region. But that's not to say that skirmishes didn't continue for years in the Black Hills.

In May of 1877, Sitting Bull escaped to Canada. Within days, Crazy Horse surrendered at Fort Robinson. The Great Sioux War of 1876 ended on May 7th of that next year, 1877, when General Miles defeated the remaining Miniconjou Sioux. And as for the Lakota, they were eventually confined to reservations and prevented from hunting buffalo. They had to accept government food distributions or starve.

Later in 1877, some of the Lakota bands signed a treaty that ceded the Black Hills to the United States. Years later, Sitting Bull was killed at the Standing Rock reservation on December 15th, 1890.  Right after that, the US Army attacked Spotted Elk, also known as "Bigfoot," and his Mnicoujou band of Lakota at Wounded Knee. That massacre took place on December 29th, 1890, at Pine Ridge.

The Lakota Sioux, just as the Arikara, the Crow, Kiowa, Pawnee, and the Cheyenne did before them, made the Black Hills central to their culture. Of course, the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie had previously confirmed the Lakota's ownership of the Teton Sioux mountain range -- but that treaty was rendered null and void when it was scrapped because of the war.

It should be noted that both the Sioux and the Cheyenne claimed rights to the Black Hills land. Both tribes said that in their nation's cultures, the Black Hills are considered the "axis Mundi" or their "sacred center of the world." Of course, it is a fact that the Cheyenne had it before the Sioux.

Though the Lakota ceded the Black Hills to the United States, some say that those who did that on behalf of the Lakota didn't have the authority to do it. They have never accepted the legitimacy of the transaction. Those are the Lakota who have lobbied Congress to create a forum to decide their claim.

On July 23rd, 1980, in the United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Black Hills were stolen and remuneration of the initial offering price plus interest was to be paid. That came out to nearly $106 million in 1980.

The 1980 decision acknowledged the United States had taken the Black Hills "without just compensation." But the Lakota refused the money offered and continue to insist that it is their land and they have a right to occupy that land.

The fact is the Lakota Sioux never accepted the validity of the United States appropriation. They continue to try to reclaim the property. The money supposedly remains in an interest-bearing account, which now amounts to over $757 million. And believe it or not, it's said that the Lakota still refuses to take the money.

The number of Lakota has now increased to about 70,000, and about 20,500 still speak the Lakota Sioux language. On the whole, they believe that accepting the settlement would allow the U.S. Government to justify taking ownership of the Black Hills. But to me, the U.S. Supreme Court decision or not, the Cheyenne also has a justifiable claim to the Black Hills. Just as much as the Lakota has if we're talking about who was there first.

So who would be the rightful owner of the Black Hills?

Well, since the Arikara were the first tribe to inhabit the Black Hills, it seems that they have a reasonable claim to the Black Hills. But they were forced out through bloody wars and were followed by the Crow, the Pawnee, then the Kiowa, and then Cheyenne, before the Lakota Sioux took it.

And then, there's the United States. Yes, the Black Hills was taken by the United States no differently than by any other tribe which took it from the previous occupants. Yes, by force. So to me, it belongs to the last nation that fought for it and won it. Yes, the United States.

The Lakota Sioux arrived in the West after being on the losing end of a war with other tribes in Minnesota in the late 1700s. Known as the Lakota, or simply the Sioux, they waged genocidal war on other tribes before they took over the Black Hills from the Cheyenne. So let me repeat this, they did the exact same thing that the United States did to drive the Lakota out.

What I find interesting is that the history of the Black Hills points to the fact that the Black Hills didn't belong to the Lakota in the first place. It is also interesting that there is a movement to try to return the Black Hills to the Lakota Sioux, yet they are not its first occupants. The Lakota Sioux are saying the area belongs to them, but historically its longest occupants were the Arikara Indians. And even if they don't want it, there were other tribes after them who occupied it much longer than the 100 years or less than the Sioux had it.

Can you just imagine if the United States said they were only going to turn over the land to the original occupants, the Arikara Indians? Or how about the Cheyenne? Can you imagine the uproar by the Lakota? I do find it hypocritical for the Lakota to make a claim to the Black Hill when they, in fact, took it over after a bloody war with the Cheyenne that ended in 1776. In reality, they did the exact same thing the United States did a hundred years later, in 1876.

Americans should not accept the lie that is being perpetuated regarding some aspects of American History. Who the Black Hills "belongs" to is one of the great lies.

Whether we want to admit it or not, it is a fact that Indian tribes waged war and slaughtered each other routinely. Each time a tribe chased out an enemy tribe, the victors were conquerors. They took over lands, crops, the game, made slaves of those they defeated no differently than the Germans and French did for centuries.

As for Native Americans saying they were here first. Where's here? Since those different tribes were independent nations with their own cultures, languages, customs, religious beliefs, completely separate from other Indian nations, all having pushed each other out of lands by force, who are they to say that they were here first. Being first is irrelevant when they are not the last ones standing after a battle. They proved that by waging war on each other to conquer lands.

Until the United States came along, the Lakota Sioux were only the most recent Indian nation to occupy the Black Hills after a horrible war. Fact is, so many separate tribal nations have waged an all-out war to get the Black Hills. In the end, the Lakota Sioux nation lost the Black Hills to another nation which is the United States.

If we look at the United States no differently than we do any other tribal nation, then the United States is the last tribe to conquer a tribe that was occupying the Black Hills. After all, warfare being warfare, the United States took the Black Hills in the exact same way as the other tribes did. Through a brutal war, the United States did the very same thing. The United States fought for it. The United States conquered it, really no different than the Sioux did against the Cheyenne, and so on, and on.

In summary, what took place there over the centuries reads as a simple tale that starts, "To the victor goes the spoils ..." Yes, over and over again.

The hypocrisy of the Sioux today is their anger at the United States for doing exactly what their ancestors did to other Indian tribes. That's the definition of being a hypocrite. Americans got the Black Hills after a long line of other tribes fought for it. So, like it or not, the United States is the last tribe, the last nation, the last to go to war and die to get the Black Hills. And really, here's the irony, it has now been a part of the United States longer than it was ever part of the Sioux nation.

By the way, after I published this story, my friend in South Dakota, the man who had originally contacted me about this, contacted me again. He said that a few people there have read this and are not happy with me or this story.

He then said, "But I love it, I'm Cheyenne!"

And there you have it.

Tom Correa