I wanted to blog about this piece but, bordering as it does on sheer politics, I’m surprised that Chad Evans at In the Bullpen nailed it already. Although he addressed it from another source, I’ll bow out to him that got there fastest with the mostest. And his post title tells all on the matter:
Hail at last the USS Achernar and those that sailed it on that fateful June 6, 1944.
The crew of a World War II-era ship has finally set the record straight about the vessel’s name and its role in the D-Day invasion.
A June 1944 issue of Life magazine included an account of the ship, Achernar, loaded with communications equipment to help choreograph the invasion. But the reporter gave the ship a false name — USS Acamar — to protect the secretive nature of the mission.
A group of nine veterans gathered Saturday to receive citations commending the ship’s role as one of four command vessels for the mission — and recognizing it by its actual name.
“I’ve been trying since the war was over to get the ship recognized properly,” said Phil Gentilcore, 82, who was a gunner’s mate.
The Achernar’s existence is well-documented, but there’s been no reference to the fact that the Acamar and the Achernar were the same until now, said Gentilcore, of Hyattsville.
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen and other politicians drew up citations acknowledging the ship and its crew in time for the veterans’ annual reunion and the 61st anniversary of D-Day on Monday.
The veterans said their adventures were numerous. Gentilcore remembers seeing the first medical tent go up on Omaha Beach, and feeling glad to know that the Allied forces were making progress and that the wounded could be treated.
He also recalled how all the sailors on destroyers wanted to come aboard the Achernar because it was one of the few ships with an ice cream maker.
The Achernar, which could carry about 400 people, received three battle stars for World War II service and three battle stars for Korean War service. The ship was scrapped in 1982.
I find it absolutely amazing that it took just under 61 years to correct the history from Acamar to Achernar.
American troops have found a vast network of bunkers beneath the Iraqi desert which insurgents used as a base, complete with kitchen and air conditioning, the US military said at the weekend.
The largest complex, measuring 166 by 269 metres, (546ft by 883ft) was carved from an old rock quarry near Karma, in the restive province of Anbar, west of Baghdad.
It included a well-stocked larder, four furnished living spaces and rooms full of machine guns, mortars, rockets, black uniforms, masks, compasses, night-vision goggles and satellite telephones.
The US 2nd Marine Division, backed by Iraqi soldiers, has been sweeping through Anbar in an effort to disrupt the communications and supply lines of an insurgency that has claimed more than 820 lives in the past five weeks.
Last Thursday the troops spotted a lone building in the desert and inside it found a chest-style electric freezer. It hid the entrance to what a marine spokesman, said was possibly the largest underground insurgent hideout to be found in the past two years.
Fresh food suggested recent use. There were showers and a functioning air conditioner; in summer, temperatures can reach 54C (130F).
Spent cartridges on the surface revealed what appeared to be a firing range. Some 50 other weapons and ammunition caches have been found in Anbar in the past three days, said a US spokesman.
The bunkers gave an insight into the logistics of using remote areas to group fighters and equipment for attacks.
Since the fall of Falluja last November, insurgents have relied on scattered bases to sustain a campaign of assassination, car bombs and suicide attacks.
US and Iraqi forces claimed another success in the northern city of Mosul when, after a brief battle, they captured Mullah Mahdi, nicknamed the Prince of Princes, with five other suspected members of Ansar al-Sunna, a group which has claimed responsibility for some of the bloodiest bombings.
And yesterday the government said that police had arrested a key aide to the leader of the Mosul branch of the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group.
Mutlaq Mahmoud Mutlaq Abdullah, also known as Abu Raad, is considered a key financier for a militant known as Abu Talha, the purported head of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s terror cell in the city.
Despite the lengthy haul, I like to amuse myself with thoughts of the possible morale hit on the insurgents with the seizure of the air conditioner.