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23 December 2020

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Charles I

Please Santa all I want for Christmas is more, painful as it must surely be.

Maureen Lang

Time for a re-read of DPH- I'd forgotten that Balthazar had been Falstaff in "Merry Wives."

Ahhhh, my favorite character in all the novels, the wonderful Smoot!

Thanks for posting this excerpt, dear brother- hoping for a few more of them on SST/TA in 2012.

optimax

"Our American Cousin," a nice bit of foreshadowing. Good writing allows the reader to slip easily into the environment and mind of the characters. Well done, Col.

Saw The Conspirators recently, too timely, as if we've gone full circle but with the twist that we seem to be preparing for a civil war instead of ending one.

The Twisted Genius

Ah, my old friend John Balthazar. His ability to turn the men that don't fit in into a quality fighting force is something I admire and can relate to. A common disciplinary tool in the 25th Infantry Division in the late 70s was the rehab transfer. When a young soldier became a problem and a candidate for a chapter 13 discharge, the brigade commander would often transfer that soldier to another battalion to give him one more chance to prove himself. After having great success with two of these rehab transfers, my rifle platoon became the repository for the brigade's rascals, sad sacks and ne'r-do-wells. I ended up with more than a third of my platoon being rehab transfers. Unlike Balthazar, I was not given the opportunity to interview these rehab transfers. These hard cases seldom became angels, but they had great field initiative and ingenuity. My platoon often served as the second scout platoon for the battalion.

turcopolier

TTG

I know the feeling. pl

steve

Just finished reading "Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson" by S.C. Gwynne. His chapter on winter quarters of 1862-1863 is wonderful with its description of the theater produced by the soldiers. Folks would come out from Richmond for the productions.

Also mentioned is the great snowball fight, with hundreds of men fighting in battle formation commanded by field officers, complete with regimentmal bands and full military display. General Lee himself was pelted a few times.

Then too was the mention of the Union and Confederate bands playing at each other across the river. After the Union boys played "John Brown's Body", the Confederate soldiers hollered back, "now play one for our side". The Union band promptly played a rousing rendition of Dixie.

kgw

Tears rise up...

Ed Lindgren

On Monday the statue of General R.E. Lee was removed from the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

And the likes of Northam, Kaine, and Pelosi gloat that a man of Lee’s character has no place of honor in the Statuary Hall.

In a hundred years, no one will remember Northam, Kaine, or Pelosi. R.E. Lee will be remembered by tens of thousands (and for all the right reasons).

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas to all SST contributors and readers.

haris

Ah, my old friend John Balthazar. His ability to turn the men that don't fit in into a quality fighting force is something I admire and can relate to. A common disciplinary tool in the 25th Infantry Division in the late 70s was the rehab transfer. When a young soldier became a problem and a candidate for a chapter 13 discharge, the brigade commander would often transfer that soldier to another battalion to give him one more chance to prove himself. After having great success with two of these rehab transfers, my rifle platoon became the repository for the brigade's rascals, sad sacks and ne'r-do-wells. I ended up with more than a third of my platoon being rehab transfers. Unlike Balthazar, I was not given the opportunity to interview these rehab transfers. These hard cases seldom became angels, but they had great field initiative and ingenuity. My platoon often served as the second scout platoon for the battalion.

turcopolier

haris

You have read "Down the Sky?" The scene of the destruction of Balthazar's battalion is based on my personal witness of the destruction of D 2/7 Cavalry on 3 December, 1968 at Ap Bhu No in Phuoc Long Province as well as a previous day in which while accompanying the same unit on an Arclight BDA we came upon an NVA officer blown completely to pieces but somehow still living. I have never been able to escape those events.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

That's weird. Haris' comment is a copy of the comment I left five years ago. Either Typepad is having a nervous breakdown or Haris really liked what I wrote years ago. I still feel that special kinship with Balthazar.

Merry Christmas to you, Marguerite and your herd of miniature yaks. And Merry Christmas to everyone in the SST committee of correspondence.

turcopolier


ttg

Maybe he loves him also. Or maybe he is just trying to annoy me. Merry Christmas to you as well.

English Outsider


It's a great read. You feel you are there. Must say I was surprised too by TTG appearing years later under another name. Always think of you for some reason, TTG, when I use my Swedish axe. I suspect you have a great deal more to say in that line and others if you ever feel like it. Hoping you do.

Colonel, thank you for as ever providing a beacon of sanity in a world not noted for that quality. And for that great Christmas collection of stories and anecdotes that has now become a part of Christmas over here for us.

If I get the chance - I may not, we're all grumpy as hell over in England at the moment - I'd like to quote your 'Alid Christmas on an English website, with acknowledgment of course. Would that be OK, or would it bring down upon your head just another load of trolls or whatever to be waded through and discarded?

I'm sorry about the Biden thing. I no longer accept as a workable alternative sceniario that it was just normal shenanigans. If it were they'd be falling over each other to prove that the election wasn't fixed. But it's only a setback -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdImjJzAAIs

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and to your pilgrims, Colonel, and thank you for keeping the site going.

turcopolier

EO

TTG may love Jean-Marie Balthazar D'Orgueil (John Balthazar) as do many, but he IS NOT the man. Balthazar is altogether my creation and that of General de Brigade Jacques Kolly (decede) with whom we were visiting in the valley of the Lot once at Christmas. Jacques and I spent many hours walking along the bank of the river and talking of the local Cathar leaning Nobility of the Sword and how one of them might fit into my tale of a man of noble nature come to recognize a people much like his own who sees the need to share their fate. Jacques said to me that Balthazar must die at the end because "he is the last of his people as they are the last of theirs." We climbed up one day to the ruins of Chateau d'Orgueil, destroyed by French crusaders and he prized a little piece of rock out of the curtain wall so that I could always feel it in my heart. I also have a colored sketch of the d'Orgueil blazon drawn by a local historian. They rest together in my office where I can see them every day and remember Jacques. I could not bring myself to kill him and so Claude Devereux died in his place.

turcopolier

EO

Feel free to quote whatever you like. The prince was a fine man.

English Outsider


I wrote imprecisely, Colonel. I had found it puzzling for a second or two that TTG's comment appeared twice. The novels I think are great and I begin, only begin, to understand what was meant when you said some time ago that "something was lost" that afternoon with Pickett's Charge.

I hope that General you mention appears in the memoirs. Also that the memoirs contain your encounter with the new President. Irrespective of politics or prejudice Biden's sharklike smile I find worrying. He will have little difficulty in following in Obama's footsteps and becoming Drone King number 2. If that's not an inappropriate comment at Christmas time.

The 'Alid Christmas is my favourite.

turcopolier

EO

Balthazar is a lovable fellow. Pat Devereux's widow certainly thought so. It may be happenstance that TTG's words and the other man's are so similar. Yes, John Boles appears in the memoir. His father commanded the 26th Cavalry Regiment for six years at Camp John Hay at Baguio in Luzon. My father was a troop first sergeant in the regiment at that time having been forced by the approaching date of Filipino independence to return from secondment to the Constabulary. He taught Boles the boy to ride. It made for a strong bond between us. When we served together he was Chief of Staff of the NATO command ALFSEE in Izmir, Turkey and I was the head US spook in the headquarters. In that capacity I briefed him every day. We hunted and SCUBA dived together. The day he had a silent heart attack we were out diving in the Aegean with his ADC. He survived and in retirement ran a 200 room motel at Killeen, Texas outside the gate at Ft. Hood and was the head USMA recruiter in Texas. The Turks in the headquarters were awestruck by this man. He was a 1939 grad of WP and had commanded a tank battalion from the Normandy beaches all the way into Germany. His family had been in the US Regular cavalry since the founding of the 1st Dragoon Regiment in 1833.

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