War Games

May 11, 2012

Our Guest Blogger—GPO’s Public Relations Specialist  Emma Wojtowicz—takes a look at the U.S. Naval War College publication on war gaming.

This recently reprinted publication from 1966 has not only been reborn, but has also received a face lift to make it look like the relevant book it still is today. Do not let its age fool you.

Fundamentals of War Gaming is a third edition reprinted publication by the United States Naval War College that explores the history and practice of war gaming.

To put it simply, war gaming is like the game of chess. This book applies the chess board to war scenarios exposing readers to the fundamentals of war gaming. Chess pros learn how their skills can be adapted to conceptualize military operations and novices receive an introduction on the theories and practice of war gaming.

War gaming is more prevalent in today’s society than one might think and I am not talking about war-related video games.

A few examples include:

  • The recent one year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden reminds us of the news coverage from last year that detailed the way Navy Seals prepared for the mission. Creating a replica of bin Laden’s compound and practicing and simulating different scenarios is the practice of war gaming.
  • For fans of the Hunger Games books and movie, the hunger games tributes strategize how to use the skills to eliminate their opponents and the game makers use their futuristic technology to manipulate the tributes to do and go where they want them and that is war gaming.
  • Perhaps the best example of war gaming is in an episode of the television series the West Wing. President Bartlett is playing chess with Sam Seaborn and he equates the game of chess to a military situation that he is confronting in the Taiwan Strait. President Bartlett repeats, “see the whole board,” “look at the whole board” which is crucial when playing the game of chess and when strategizing for diplomatic and military situations or war gaming.

Figure: 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Iraq with giant chess set. — 8 October 2005. Source: SoldierChess.org, a charity that sends free chess sets to deployed troops

History and popular culture has familiarized us with the concept of war gaming, but the publication Fundamentals of War Gaming provides a broader picture. Before World War II, the Naval War College relied on manual games such as chess and other board games to train and prepare officers.

One chapter in the book is dedicated to the history of chess and war gaming focusing on the use of war gaming by individual countries as well as the Naval War College. World War II and the various types of warfare used during the war led to the need for more sophisticated ways of training.

The development of computers, in as early as the 1950s, changed the war gaming methods from manual to simulated gaming using NEWS, or the Navy Electronic Warfare Simulator.


Image: NEWS or Navy Electronic War Simulator. Source: Defence Talk

Fundamentals of War Gaming contains various charts and graphs depicting the statistical methods of war gaming and also historic photographs showing the evolution of war gaming from life-size chess boards to giant computer simulators.

This well-rounded portrayal of war gaming appeals to a large audience from math-oriented chess fans to history buffs. It may be an older publication, but it is still an interesting read and relevant today. Like I said, don’t let its age fool you.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS “The United States Naval War College Fundamentals of War Gaming”?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library.

Beauty and the Best- Two calendars inspire New Year’s resolutions

January 18, 2012

In January of every year, people around the world find themselves making their New Year’s resolution. However, resolutions that come from the Government tend to be about serious topics like laws or declaring war. Case in point: George Washington himself famously said in a letter in 1775 justifying the American colony’s inevitable steps toward declaring independence: “We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”

Thus, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that the Federal Government can also help us with some of our personal resolutions as well. The most popular personal resolutions tend to be about getting fit, or finding more time to “stop and smell the roses” by relaxing and enjoying the beauty around us.

With their decorative and inspiring calendars for 2012, the National Park Service and the Marine Corps are ensuring that we can meet both these New Year’s resolutions with showing us both “Beauty” and “The Best”.


The National Historic Landmark 2012 Event Planner Calendar

This 12-month wall calendar / event planner from The National Park Service features the winning photographs from their Twelfth Annual National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Photo Contest.

According to the contest rules, these original photos have to be “fantastic photographs that illustrate the significance of any of the over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks, our nation’s most significant treasures”.  One beautiful image from each National Park Service region and a stunning national winner were all chosen last fall from thousands of submissions for inclusion in this 2012 calendar, with the winning photograph gracing the cover.

The winning cover photo (shown above) by photographer Eric Vondy was of National Historic Landmark Pecos Pueblo, in South of Pecos, New Mexico. Park Service judges described it:

This evocative photograph inspires the imagination, yet this site’s real history is legendary. Led by an Indian guide called “The Turk,” famous Spanish explorer Coronado and his men set out from this pueblo to search for Quivira, one of the legendary “Seven Cities of Gold.” Abandoned in 1838, today the site, east of Santa Fe, is managed by Pecos National Historical Park.

   

Calendar Images: (Left) 1895 lumber schooner C.A. Thayer, San Francisco, California. Photographer: John Conway.  (Right) Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, Missouri. Photographer: Judy Hitzeman.

Want to see your photo win next year? If you’re a photographer, amateur or professional, you can participate in their next annual National Park Service photo contest. Read the details on their  Annual National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Photo Contest web site.

How do I get this 2012 National Historic Landmarks Photo Contest event planner calendar?

  • UPDATE AS OF 1/19/2012:  Due to the overwhelming customer response to this blog post, unfortunately GPO has sold out of its remaining stock of this calendar! If more should become available, we will update this post.

However, feel free to enjoy the beautiful images from the calendar on the National Park Service’s FlickR page for the National Historic Landmarks 2011 Photo Contest Winners.


Marine Corps Special Issue Semper Fit Sports Calendar 2011-2012

The second wall calendar is even more surprising and very inspiring as well to those who are resolved to living a healthier lifestyle through fitness.

Issued by Marines Magazine, the Marine Corps’ Official Magazine, this colorful 17-month Sports Calendar (August 2011 – December 2012) recognizes some of the outstanding athlete “leathernecks” who participate in the Marine Corps’ “Semper Fit” sports, recreation and fitness program worldwide.  (“Semper Fit” is a nod to the Marine Corps motto of “Semper Fi” short for “Semper Fidelis” which is Latin for “Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal”).

One Marine base describes the Semper Fit program:

The mission at Semper Fit is to conduct, encourage and inspire the quality of life programs for that promote Healthy Lifestyles through recreation, athletics, physical fitness, the Single Marine Program and other health and wellness activities for Marine Corps active and retired members, their families and civilian workers.

The photographs on this calendar depict everything from individual sports such as the famous Marine Corps Marathon held annually in Washington, DC, and aerial motorcycle tricks…

   

Calendar Images: (Left) Start of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. (Right) Motorbike aerialist and member of the “Metal Mulisha Troops” Marine stunt team.

…to intramural and varsity sports like baseball, basketball, wrestling, tug-of-war, the Dragon Boat Race, and the Warrior Games.

 

Calendar Images: (Left) Tug-of-war competition at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. (Right) All-Marine team of active duty and veteran “wounded warriors” at opening ceremony of the all Armed Forces Warrior Games.

Many of the athletes included are recognized globally for their athletic ability, and others are Marines who stay at the top of their game no matter their age or disability, maintaining the extremely high physical fitness standards of the Corps.

The calendar also includes Federal holidays and key dates of significance to the Corps.

The Father of Semper Fit retires

Ironically, last month after nearly 36 years of service as a Marine officer and a civilian whose final role was as Quantico’s head of recreation, Chris D’Orazio, the founder of the Semper Fit program retired.

Image: Col. Dan Choike, base commander, presents Chris D’Orazio, head of recreation, a challenge coin during D’Orazio’s retirement ceremony in the Main Ballroom at the Clubs of Quantico on Dec. 5, 2011. Source: Quantico Sentry newspaper

In an interview for the Quantico Sentry, D’Orazio explained how the Semper Fit program concept came to him back in 1985, D’Orazio when he read an article about the low life expectancy of retired Marines, whether officer or enlisted:

 “Marines, especially back then, played hard, worked hard, drank hard and smoked hard,” said D’Orazio. “I looked out the window and saw a young Marine put out a cigarette, finish a can of beer, then walk back inside the building.”

“I look down and thought to myself, based on this article, this guy’s going to live less than five years after he retires,” D’Orazio said. “After a career and everything they’ve worked for, they are probably going to die that soon; that’s terrible. That was pretty much the genesis of the word ‘Semper Fit.’”

In addition to the “Semper Fit” program for USMC, D’Orazio started the “Getting Stronger, Now” fitness program for the state of Maryland, both of which were pilot fitness programs under the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

This 2012 Semper Fit calendar is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to, well, fitness!

And the photos are pretty inspiring to hang on anyone’s wall, too!

Calendar Image: Marines compete in the 37th annual Naha Dragon Boat Race in Naha, Japan.

How do I get this Marine Corps 2012 Semper Fit Sports calendar?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

So whether you aspire to find more beauty in the world around you or to be the best you can be, the Government is here to help you out!

Resolve to have a safe and happy 2012, America!


Veterans Day and 100 Years of Flying Leathernecks

November 10, 2011

November 11, Americans celebrate Veterans Day, honoring the brave men and women who have served our Armed Forces in peacetime and in war.

This holiday dates back to the end of World War I when President Woodrow Wilson declared that this day be commemorated as Armistice Day after the warring sides declared an armistice:

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as “the Great War.” (History.com)

Figure 1. Armistice Day poster. Source USFlagStore Blog

November 11th was celebrated as Armistice Day starting in 1919 and became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day in the United States. November 11 is still celebrated as Armistice Day in France and Belgium, but is called Remembrance Day today in the British Commonwealth of Nations, and is known as the Day of Peace in the Flanders Fields.

While Veterans Day is typically a tribute to America’s living veterans, it is always appropriate to include a moment of silence in respect for those who gave their lives for their country.

Honor veterans past and present by pausing for a minute of silence at 11:11 on 11/11/11, “the eleventh hour on the eleventh day on the eleventh month.” and in this case, the 11th year of the century as well!

The “War to End All Wars” instead gave birth to aerial warfare

Idealistically, many thought that “The Great War” would be “The War That Will End War” , a term first coined by famed British author H.G. Wells in 1914 and later used as “a war to end war” in a speech by President Wilson.

Instead of being the end of wars, World War I was a first in many ways, including the first war to feature the large scale use of manned aircraft for both reconnaissance and aerial combat.

It also marked the introduction of Marine Corps Aviation.

Happy 100th, Marine Corps Aviation!

2012 will mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of Marine Corps Aviation. To commemorate this noteworthy milestone, the US Marine Corps has produced a remarkable new publication entitled 1912-2012 100 Years of Marine Corps Aviation: An Illustrated History.

Figure 2. 1912-2012 100 Years of Marine Corps Aviation: An Illustrated History

A stirring snapshot of some of the key people, aircraft, and events that comprise this first century of Marine aviation, this book showcases the achievements of Marine aviation through seldom seen photographs and accounts of pivotal battles and events.

Intended as a “museum in a book,” 1912-2012 100 Years of Marine Corps Aviation: An Illustrated History includes an overview for each time period in Marine aviation, chapter introductions, feature articles, and a running timeline. A real plus is the bonus oral history CD that the Marine Corps has included in the back of the book, providing the text and photos along with first-hand accounts from select Marine aviators, which really bring the stories alive.

Particularly interesting are the exploits of legendary Marine aviators including Roy Geiger, Joseph Foss, Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, Keith McCutcheon, Frank Petersen Jr., and others, including aviator-turned-astronaut John Glenn Jr., who besides being the first American to orbit the earth, wrote the foreword for this book.

First Flying Leatherneck

Featured in the book is the man who started it all: A.A. Cunningham. On May 22, 1912, two years before the outset of World War I, Alfred A. Cunningham, then a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, first reported for “duty in connection with aviation”—i.e., flight instruction—to the new Naval Aviation Camp that had just been established at Annapolis, Maryland, home of the US Naval Academy.

Today considered “the father of Marine aviation,” Lt. Col. Alfred Austell Cunningham, better known to Marines as A.A. Cunningham, became the “de facto director of Marine Corps aviation.

Fun fact: A quick study, Cunningham received less than three hours of instruction before flying his first solo flight as a Marine aviator!

Figure 3. Lt. Alfred A. Cunningham floats in a Curtiss hydro-aeroplane in 1914.  Source: Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Aces in the Air: The oldest Marine air attack squadron

Also mentioned in the publication is Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, North Carolina, next to where I used to live in New Bern. MCAS Cherry Point is home to a number of Marine air squadrons, including VMAQ-1, VMAQ-2, VMA-223 and VMA-231, and hosts a phenomenal air show every year. Oo-rah to my old neighbors!

Formally established in 1919, Marine Attack Squadron 231 takes great pride in being the oldest squadron in the Marine Corps. After being re-designated the First Squadron, VMA-231 adopted the “Ace of Spades” moniker, since the Ace is the first card in the suit. The “A” in the upper left stands for “Air” and the “S” in the lower right stands for “Squadron”.

Figure 4. VMA-231 Ace of Spades logo. Source: Marine Corps

Where can you find this and other publications on aviation?

You can find 1912-2012 100 Years of Marine Corps Aviation: An Illustrated History on our online bookstore, in a library, or at our retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401.

For regular updates about today’s naval and marine aviation, you may wish to subscribe to these excellent magazines from the Navy and Marine Corps: quarterly magazine Naval Aviation News: Flagship Publication of Naval Aviation or the bi-monthly Approach: The Navy & Marine Corps Aviation Safety Magazine.

Aviation fans and practitioners in general should check out our Aviation Publications Collection on our online bookstore with books on aviation past and present and information for pilots, balloonists, and more.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that you can sign up to receive Aviation email updates about new Federal Government aviation publications as they come out.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and is responsible for marketing the US Government Online Bookstore (Bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. She is a fan of military aviation, from growing up near Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and watching Air Force One and the Blue Angels overhead, to living in New Bern, NC, near Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and watching the Harriers do practice fly over runs.


Afghanistan Up Close

November 22, 2010

Awhile back I blogged about the war in Afghanistan and international law. It’s a very big but useful leap to move from a thorough and scholarly study of the ins and outs of the rules of war or the legality of border crossings to Afghanistan: Alone & Unafraid. This beautiful coffee table book of photographs from the U.S. Marine Corps transports you from the scholar’s study directly to the landscape and people of that starkly beautiful and troubled country. The photographer, Lieutenant Colonel David A Benhoff, is a Marine Corps field historian who used his personal Camera to capture these striking images.

The first part of the book consists of photos shot in the countryside, using both color and black and white images to bring to life the mountains and plains, but above all the faces – faces of bearded men, women in head scarves, and smiling children – lots of children. Whether they smile or not, their direct and open gazes highlight the way in which these people view Colonel Benhoff, the American presence, and the world.

The second part of the book switches to the Afghan National Army, or ANA. Here, the images are more of men in the process of learning the arts of modern Western warfare than of green troops in basic training. As one marine sergeant comments, “These guys have been fighting forever….I’m not gonna teach him how to fight.”

I won’t go on an on about Afghanistan: Alone & Unafraid. The real impact of this finely produced book comes from the images, for which the front cover will have to suffice (see above). You don’t have to be an expert on Afghanistan or its troubles to be impressed by the photos, but their very vividness does bring home the continuing travails of an ancient land and its peoples, caught in the web of current international politics and crises. You can get a copy here  or find it in a library.


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