Archive for June, 2010

To better understand what is happening to veteran legislation as it proceeds through Congress it is useful to know the language used by our representatives as they conduct business. Following are some of the words or expressions you will see while reading about or listening to House and Senate sessions:

• BASELINE. This is the standard used to assess how bills, if enacted, would change current budgetary levels. Baselines must assume projected levels of federal spending and revenue, so they are often disputed.
• THE BELTWAY. This is an interstate highway encircling Washington, DC & passing through Maryland and Virginia suburbs. “Inside the Beltway” Asserts that an issue is only of interest to Washington, DC residents and workers.
• BILL. A Bill is a legislative proposal which would make law if it passes both the House and Senate and if it receives Presidential approval. Bills are introduced as “H.R.” in the House, and as “S.” in the Senate. Besides bills, joint resolutions are the only other type of legislation which makes law [H.J.Res. or S.J.Res.]
• BLOCK GRANTS. These are funds given states by the federal government to run programs within defined guidelines.
• BLUE DOG DEMOCRAT. One of 51 conservative Democratic Members of the House of Representatives who have banded together to support a more centrist position on economic issues than that held by their party’s leadership.
• BUDGET ACT. Refers to the 1974 Congressional Budget Act. It created the current budget process. It also created the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the House and Senate Budget Committees. The annual budget resolution and reconciliation bills are processed under the terms of the 1974 Budget Act.
• BUDGET RESOLUTION. This is the annual decision made by Congress to set spending and revenue levels. It provides a voluntary framework within which Congress agrees to limit subsequent money bills. The Budget Resolution may also instruct committees to change current law in order to save money.
• BULLY PULPIT. This term stems from President Theodore Roosevelt’s reference to the White House as a “bully pulpit,” meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word “bully” as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. Roosevelt also had political affiliation with the Progressive Party, nicknamed the “Bull Moose” party. It got the moniker when Roosevelt ran for President as its candidate in 1912, after declaring himself as “fit as a bull moose.”
• BYRD RULE. This is used on the Senate floor to challenge certain language added to a reconciliation bill. The purpose of reconciliation bills is to reconcile spending levels with revenue levels. If proposed language steps outside of this primary purpose, it can be challenged on a point of order. The Byrd rule can be set aside by a 3/5 vote. It is named after its author, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV).
[Source: C-SPAN Congressional Glossary Jun 2010 ++]

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Funeral Honors

Posted: June 19, 2010 in Funeral Honors

Military Funeral Honors have always been provided whenever possible. However, the law now mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family. As provided by law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps. Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by electronic recording. Today, there are so few buglers available that the Military Services often cannot provide one. Funeral Honors are provided by the Department of Defense at no cost to the family. The Services request at least 48 hours in order to organize the funeral honors detail. Military families of eligible veterans request funeral honors through their funeral director. The funeral director will contact the appropriate Military Service to arrange for the funeral honors detail. The core elements of the funeral honors ceremony, which will be conducted on request, include Flag folding, Flag presentation, and Playing of Taps. The veteran’s parent Service representative will present the flag. The Veterans Administration establishes eligibility. Your funeral director will assist you in obtaining a flag. Additionally:

• A list of funeral directors by state and service is available at http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/hnrs/owa/director.show_select.
• More information on burial flags is available at: http://www.cem.va.gov/bflags.htm .
• A Presidential Memorial Certificate will be provided upon request. This is a parchment certificate with a calligrahpic inscription expressing the nation’s grateful recognition of an honorably discharged, deceased veteran’s service in the Armed Forces. The veteran’s name is inscribed and the certificate bears the signature of the President. Next of kin, other relatives and friends may request the certificates in person at any VA regional office or by mail. For information about requesting a Presidential Memorial Certificate and additional information refer to http://www.cem.va.gov/pmc.htm.
• Your funeral director will assist you or if you have questions about grave markers. Family members can write to the VA at: Memorial Programs Service (41A1), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Road, Quantico, VA 22134-3903. For more information refer to http://www.cem.va.gov/hm.htm.
• Those eligible for military funeral honors include:
a. Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
b. Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
c. Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
d. Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
e. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

• Those not eligible for military funeral honors include:
a. Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran’s benefits.
b. Any person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service.
c. Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
d. Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
[Source: http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil Jun 2010 ++]

Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) is many things to many people. To some, it’s not worth the headache. For others, it’s a chance of a lifetime. The program has its flaws, like many other programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are many layers to the process that, if completed, can result in a win for any veteran. Unfortunately, the vast program majority of veterans who apply for the program drop out prior to developing an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP). For a comprehensive guide on what needs to be done refer to http://www.disabledveterans.org. As a quick guide, if you follow the below five steps in order you will likely succeed in receiving the training you wish for the ideal job you want:

1. Apply for the benefit. The first step to any application for benefits can be found on the VA’s own website http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre. Look over these pages. They are the only source of information you will get directly from the VA prior to the first meeting. After a week, you will receive a notice as to whether or not you meet the initial requirements. Then, you will receive a notice of your first appointment.

2. Research the regulations. If you’re applying for benefits, it’s important to do your research prior to your first meeting. Start by reading the regulations. These can be found online and are called the 38 CFR Part 21 http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr21_main_02.tpl and the VA’s own M28 http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/M28.html . Between these two sources, you will be able to understand the process more fully. Read over them and put your own situation into the context of those regulations. Your own case must make sense within the criteria of the regulations or it will get denied. Be real with yourself and with your counselor. If the regulations do not support your case, it is likely you will be denied.

3. Find appeals cases that are similar to your situation. Once you get through this portion, turn to the VA’s Board of Veteran appeals site http://www.bva.va.gov. Search for instances where the Board had to review a Voc Rehab case. Read what you can find and compare it to your own situation. This will allow you to see how the CFR applies to real veterans’ issues. Simply enter into the search “Chapter 31” and the relevant regulation to your case, say “21.50” since that’s the relevant regulation for someone seeking initial approval for entry into Chapter 31. To see what an approved appeal case looks out you might want to check out http://www4.va.gov/vetapp10/files1/1003094.txt where the person wanted training to become a dog trainer.

4. Search the internet for your ideal job. Do a little job market research of your own. A great website for this can be found on O*Net at http://online.onetcenter.org. Try to take a step back to see what type of career you may be aptly suited for. Then, do the research to see if you could realistically complete the training requirements. If you have a hard time reading, becoming a lawyer or doctor may not be likely. Now, if you struggle with reading because of a learning disability or cognitive disorder, that’s a very complicated set of issues to work through, but not impossible. Voc Rehab has a myriad of tests at the disposal of the professionals working within the department that can help distill the issues.

5. Put together your presentation. The more grandiose your training request, the more difficult it will be to gain approval. It is much easier to gain approval for an undergraduate degree in business than to gain approval to become a psychologist. If you get a denial, it does not mean you should stop pushing. On the other hand, it may mean you need to look for different ways to finance your training:
• Most law school universities will give their students around $50,000 per year in scholarships and student loans to cover tuition and living expenses. Similarly, the process of completing an MBA or PhD can be financed.
• PhD’s at the best schools go along with some other graduate programs. At no additional cost. Princeton has a great Master’s in Public Policy program that is available at no cost for qualified applicants.

If your goal is to better yourself with further training to get that dream job, versus merely wanting more free benefits, there is always a way to make it happen. The only question is whether or not Vocational Rehabilitation will be your partner in the process. Good luck! [Source: Military.com Ben Krause article 20 May 2010 ++]

PTSD Update

Posted: June 19, 2010 in PTSD Update

A study published 8 JUN by Archives of General Psychiatry examines how many soldiers develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health disorders after deployment. Researchers from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command examined 13,226 anonymous surveys completed by veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The investigators found that roughly one in 10 survey-takers had PTSD that was severe enough to cause ‘serious functional impairment. Between 9% and 14% of the soldiers were diagnosed with PTSD or depression resulting in serious impairment, while 23% to 31% were deemed to have some impairment. CNN /Health.com (6/7 Gardner) reported. Notably, the risk of mental health problems may be more persistent among National Guard soldiers, the study suggests. A greater proportion of men and women in the National Guard than in the Army were diagnosed with PTSD and depression one year after their return, although the two groups had similar rates at the three-month mark.

The researchers conclude that it’s clear even a year after deployment many combat soldiers have not psychologically recovered. And, because the time between deployments is often only a year to 18 months for active soldiers, a sizable proportion are likely returning to with lingering mental health issues. According to HealthDay approximately 50% of those with strictly defined depression or PTSD also admitted to alcohol misuse or physical aggression. The study’s findings suggest a need for improved post-deployment screening, the researchers said. A related study has found that veterans over the age of 55 with PTSD may be almost twice as likely to become demented as veterans who did not have PTSD. Researchers from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California-San Francisco arrived at that conclusion after tracking some 180,000 veterans over the age of 55 for some seven years. The researchers theorized that years of prolonged stress may cause changes in the brain leading to dementia. [Source: Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Cnn News, and HealthDay articles 7 Jun 2010 ++]

An Invasion Not Found in the
History Books

by James Martin Davis
reprinted from the Omaha World Herald, November 1987

Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped “Top Secret”. These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan during World War II. Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched. Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945. It called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire.

In the first invasion code named Operation Olympic American combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 50 years ago. Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and aerial bombardment. (Note – The 11th and 13th Airborne Divisions based on Okinawa would be used to fill in the gaps of those units destroyed in the amphibious assault. G L Wells)

The second invasion on March 1, 1946 code named Operation Coronet would send at least 22 divisions against 1 million Japanese defenders on the main island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain. It’s goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan. With the exception of a part of the British Pacific Fleet, Operation Downfall was to be a strictly American operation. It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the 7th Army Air Force, the 8th Air Force (recently redeployed from Europe), 10th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force. More than 1.5 million combat soldiers, with 3 million more in support or more than 40% of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945 – would be directly involved in the two amphibious assaults. Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy. &nb sp;

Admiral William Leahy estimated that there would be more than 250,000 Americans killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General Charles Willoughby, chief of intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, estimated American casualties would be one million men by the fall of 1946. Willoughby’s own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate.

During the summer of 1945, America had little time to prepare for such an endeavor, but top military leaders were in almost unanimous agreement that an invasion was necessary.

While naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered to be useful, General MacArthur, for instance, did not believe a blockade would bring about an unconditional surrender. The advocates for invasion agreed that while a naval blockade chokes, it does not kill; and though strategic bombing might destroy cities, it leaves whole armies intact.

So on May 25, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after extensive deliberation, issued to General MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Army Air Force General Henry Arnold, the top secret directive to proceed with the invasion of Kyushu. The target date was after the typhoon season

President Truman approved the plans for the invasions July 24, 1945. Two days later, the United Nations issued the Potsdam Proclamation, which called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face total destruction. Three days later, the Japanese governmental news agency broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender. During this same period it was learned via monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts that Japan had closed all schools and mobilized its school children, was arming its civilian population and was fortifying caves and building underground defenses.

Operation Olympic called for a four pronged assault on Kyushu. Its purpose was to seize and control the southern one-third of that island and establish naval and air bases, to tighten the naval blockade of the home islands, to destroy units of the main Japanese army and to support the later invasion of the Tokyo Plain.

The preliminary invasion would began October 27, 1945 when the 40th Infantry Division would land on a series of small islands west and southwest of Kyushu. At the same time, the 158th Regimental Combat Team would invade and occupy a small island 28 miles south of Kyushu. On these islands, seaplane bases would be established and radar would be set up to provide advance air warning for the invasion fleet, to serve as fighter direction centers for the carrier-based aircraft and to provide an emergency anchorage for the invasion fleet, should things not go well on the day of the invasion. As the invasion grew imminent, the massive firepower of the Navy the Third and Fifth Fleets would approach Japan. The Third Fleet, under Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, with its big guns and naval aircraft, would provide strategic support for the operation against Honshu and Hokkaido. Halsey’s fleet would be composed of battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers, dozens of support ships and three fast carrier task groups. From these carriers, hundreds of Navy fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes would hit targets all over the island of Honshu. The 3,000 ship Fifth Fleet, under Admiral Raymond Spruance, would carry the invasion troops.

Several days before the invasion, the battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers would pour thousands of tons of high explosives into the target areas. They would not cease the bombardment until after the land forces had been launched. During the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 the invasion would begin. Thousands of soldiers and Marines would pour ashore on beaches all along the eastern, southeastern, southern and western coasts of Kyushu. Waves of Helldivers, Dauntless dive bombers, Avengers, Corsairs, and Hellcats from 66 aircraft carriers would bomb, rocket and strafe enemy defenses, gun emplacements and troop concentrations along the beaches.

The Eastern Assault Force consisting of the 25th, 33rd and 41st Infantry Divisions would land near Miyaski, at beaches called Austin, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford, and move inland to attempt to capture the city and its nearby airfield. The Southern Assault Force, consisting of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 43rd Division and Americal Division would land inside Ariake Bay at beaches labeled DeSoto, Dusenberg, Essex, Ford, and Franklin and attempt to capture Shibushi and the city of Kanoya and its airfield.

On the western shore of Kyushu, at beaches Pontiac, Reo, Rolls Royce, Saxon, Star, Studebaker, Stutz, Winston and Zephyr, the V Amphibious Corps would land the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Marine Divisions, sending half of its force inland to Sendai and the other half to the port city of Kagoshima.

On November 4, 1945 the Reserve Force, consisting of the 81st and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division, after feigning an attack of the island of Shikoku, would be landed if not needed elsewhere near Kaimondake, near the southernmost tip of Kagoshima Bay, at the beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Mercedes, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard and Plymouth.

Olympic was not just a plan for invasion, but for conquest and occupation as well. It was expected to take four months to achieve its objective, with the three fresh American divisions per month to be landed in support of that operation if needed.

If all went well with Olympic, Coronet would be launched March 1, 1946. Coronet would be twice the size of Olympic, with as many as 28 divisions landing on Honshu.

All along the coast east of Tokyo, the American 1st Army would land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions along with the 4th and 6th Marine Divisions.

At Sagami Bay, just south of Tokyo, the entire 8th and 10th Armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay and attempt to go as far as Yokohama. The assault troops landing south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 37th, 38th and 8th Infantry Divisions, along with the 13th and 20th Armored Divisions.

Following the initial assault, eight more divisions the 2nd, 28th, 35th, 91st, 95th, 97th and 104th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division would be landed. If additional troops were needed, as expected, other divisions redeployed from Europe and undergoing training in the United States would be shipped to Japan in what was hoped to be the final push.

Captured Japanese documents and post war interrogations of Japanese military leaders disclose that information concerning the number of Japanese planes available for the defense of the home islands was dangerously in error.

During the sea battle at Okinawa alone, Japanese kamakaze aircraft sank 32 Allied ships and damaged more than 400 others. But during the summer of 1945, American top brass concluded that the Japanese had spent their air force since American bombers and fighters daily flew unmolested over Japan.

What the military leaders did not know was that by the end of July the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel, and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battle for their homeland.
As part of Ketsu-Go, the name for the plan to defend Japan the Japanese were building 20 suicide takeoff strips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars. They also had 35 camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases.
On the night before the expected invasion, 50 Japanese seaplane bombers, 100 former carrier aircraft and 50 land based army planes were to be launched in a suicide attack on the fleet.

The Japanese had 58 more airfields in Korea, western Honshu and Shikoku, which also were to be used for massive suicide attacks.

Allied intelligence had established that the Japanese had no more than 2,500 aircraft of which they guessed 300 would be deployed in suicide attacks.

In August 1945, however, unknown to Allied intelligence, the Japanese still had 5,651 army and 7,074 navy aircraft, for a total of 12,725 planes of all types. Every village had some type of aircraft manufacturing activity. Hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, work was being done to construct new planes.

Additionally, the Japanese were building newer and more effective models of the Okka, a rocket-propelled bomb much like the German V-1, but flown by a suicide pilot.

When the invasion became imminent, Ketsu-Go called for a fourfold aerial plan of attack to destroy up to 800 Allied ships.

While Allied ships were approaching Japan, but still in the open seas, an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters were to fight to the death to control the skies over kyushu. A second force of 330 navy combat pilots were to attack the main body of the task force to keep it from using its fire support and air cover to protect the troop carrying transports. While these two forces were engaged, a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports.
As the invasion convoys approached their anchorages, another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300, to be used in hour by hour attacks.

By mid-morning of the first day of the invasion, most of the American land-based aircraft would be forced to return to their bases, leaving the defense against the suicide planes to the carrier pilots and the shipboard gunners.
Carrier pilots crippled by fatigue would have to land time and time again to rearm and refuel. Guns would malfunction from the heat of continuous firing and ammunition would become scarce. Gun crews would be exhausted by nightfall, but still the waves of kamikaze would continue. With the fleet hovering off the beaches, all remaining Japanese aircraft would be committed to nonstop suicide attacks, which the Japanese hoped could be sustained for 10 days. The Japanese planned to coordinate their air strikes with attacks from the 40 remaining submarines from the Imperial Navy some armed with Long Lance torpedoes with a range of 20 miles when the invasion fleet was 180 miles off Kyushu.

The Imperial Navy had 23 destroyers and two cruisers which were operational. These ships were to be used to counterattack the American invasion. A number of the destroyers were to be beached at the last minute to be used as anti-invasion gun platforms.

Once offshore, the invasion fleet would be forced to defend not only against the attacks from the air, but would also be confronted with suicide attacks from sea. Japan had established a suicide naval attack unit of midget submarines, human torpedoes and exploding motorboats

The goal of the Japanese was to shatter the invasion before the landing. The Japanese were convinced the Americans would back off or become so demoralized that they would then accept a less-than-unconditional surrender and a more honorable and face-saving end for the Japanese.

But as horrible as the battle of Japan would be off the beaches, it would be on Japanese soil that the American forces would face the most rugged and fanatical defense encountered during the war.

Throughout the island-hopping Pacific campaign, Allied troops had always out numbered the Japanese by 2 to 1 and sometimes 3 to 1. In Japan it would be different. By virtue of a combination of cunning, guesswork, and brilliant military reasoning, a number of Japan’s top military leaders were able to deduce, not only when, but where, the United States would land its first invasion forces.

Facing the 14 American divisions landing at Kyushu would be 14 Japanese divisions, 7 independent mixed brigades, 3 tank brigades and thousands of naval troops. On Kyushu the odds would be 3 to 2 in favor of the Japanese, with 790,000 enemy defenders against 550,000 Americans. This time the bulk of the Japanese defenders would not be the poorly trained and ill-equipped labor battalions that the Americans had faced in the earlier campaigns.

The Japanese defenders would be the hard core of the home army. These troops were well-fed and well equipped. They were familiar with the terrain, had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and had developed an effective system of transportation and supply almost invisible from the air. Many of these Japanese troops were the elite of the army, and they were swollen with a fanatical fighting spirit.

Japan’s network of beach defenses consisted of offshore mines, thousands of suicide scuba divers attacking landing craft, and mines planted on the beaches. Coming ashore, the American Eastern amphibious assault forces at Miyazaki would face three Japanese divisions, and two others poised for counterattack. Awaiting the Southeastern attack force at Ariake Bay was an entire division and at least one mixed infantry brigade.

On the western shores of Kyushu, the Marines would face the most brutal opposition. Along the invasion beaches would be the three Japanese divisions, a tank brigade, a mixed infantry brigade and an artillery command. Components of two divisions would also be poised to launch counterattacks.

If not needed to reinforce the primary landing beaches, the American Reserve Force would be landed at the base of Kagoshima Bay November 4, 1945, where they would be confronted by two mixed infantry brigades, parts of two infantry divisions and thousands of naval troops.

All along the invasion beaches, American troops would face coastal batteries, anti-landing obstacles and a network of heavily fortified pillboxes, bunkers, and underground fortresses. As Americans waded ashore, they would face intense artillery and mortar fire as they worked their way through concrete rubble and barbed-wire entanglements arranged to funnel them into the muzzles of these Japanese guns.

On the beaches and beyond would be hundreds of Japanese machine gun positions, beach mines, booby traps, trip-wire mines and sniper units. Suicide units concealed in “spider holes” would engage the troops as they passed nearby. In the heat of battle, Japanese infiltration units would be sent to reap havoc in the American lines by cutting phone and communication lines. Some of the Japanese troops would be in American uniform, English-speaking Japanese officers were assigned to break in on American radio traffic to call off artillery fire, to order retreats and to further confuse troops. Other infiltration with demolition charges strapped on their chests or backs wold attempt to blow up american tanks, artillery pieces and ammunition stores as they were unloaded ashore.

Beyond the beaches were large artillery pieces situated to bring down a curtain of fire on the beach. Some of these large guns were mounted on railroad tracks running in and out of caves protected by concrete and steel.
The battle for Japan would be won by what Simon Bolivar Buckner, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army during the Civil War, had called “Prairie Dog Warfare.” This type of fighting was almost unknown to the ground troops in Europe and the Mediterranean. It was peculiar only to the soldiers and Marines who fought the Japanese on islands all over the Pacific at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Prairie Dog Warfare was a battle for yards, feet and sometimes inches. It was brutal, deadly and dangerous form of combat aimed at an underground, heavily fortified, non-retreating enemy.

In the mountains behind the Japanese beaches were underground networks of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals connected by miles of tunnels with dozens of entrances and exits. Some of these complexes could hold up to 1,000 troops.

In addition to the use of poison gas and bacteriological warfare (which the Japanese had experimented with), Japan mobilized its citizenry.

Had Olympic come about, the Japanese civilian population, inflamed by a national slogan “One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation” were prepared to fight to the death. Twenty Eight Million Japanese had become a part of the National Volunteer Combat Force. They were armed with ancient rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails and one-shot black powder mortars. Others were armed with swords, long bows, axes and bamboo spears. The civilian units were to be used in nighttime attacks, hit and run maneuvers, delaying actions and massive suicide charges at the weaker American positions.

At the early stage of the invasion, 1,000 Japanese and American soldiers would be dying every hour.
The invasion of Japan never became a reality because on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was exploded over Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Within days the war with Japan was at a close.

Had these bombs not been dropped and had the invasion been launched as scheduled, combat casualties in Japan would have been at a minimum of the tens of thousands. Every foot of Japanese soil would have been paid for by Japanese and American lives.

One can only guess at how many civilians would have committed suicide in their homes or in futile mass military attacks.

In retrospect, the 1 million American men who were to be the casualties of the invasion, were instead lucky enough to survive the war.

Intelligence studies and military estimates made 50 years ago, and not latter-day speculation, clearly indicate that the battle for Japan might well have resulted in the biggest blood-bath in the history of modern warfare.

Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture. When the invasion came, it would have come after several months of fire bombing all of the remaining Japanese cities. The cost in human life that resulted from the two atomic blasts would be small in comparison to the total number of Japanese lives that would have been lost by this aerial devastation.

With American forces locked in combat in the south of Japan, little could have prevented the Soviet Union from marching into the northern half of the Japanese home islands. Japan today cold be divided much like Korea and Germany.

The world was spared the cost of Operation Downfall, however, because Japan formally surrendered to the United Nations September 2, 1945, and World War II was over.

The aircraft carriers, cruisers and transport ships scheduled to carry the invasion troops to Japan, ferried home American troops in a gigantic operation called Magic Carpet.

In the fall of 1945, in the aftermath of the war, few people concerned themselves with the invasion plans. Following the surrender, the classified documents, maps, diagrams and appendices for Operation Downfall were packed away in boxes and eventually stored at the National Archives. These plans that called for the invasion of Japan paint a vivid description of what might have been one of the most horrible campaigns in the history of man. The fact that the story of the invasion of Japan is locked up in the National Archives and is not told in our history books is something for which all Americans can be thankful.

gotten from: http://offgridsurvival.com/solar-storms/

Nasa is warning that the world could face massive widespread blackouts, travel problems and damage to our power grids beginning in 2013.

Why 2013?

Every 22 years the Sun goes through a magnetic energy cycle, in 2013 this cycle will coincide with a time when the number of solar flares will be at its highest level (which happens every 11 years). When these two solar phenomenons combine they will create huge amounts of radiation. Solar flares from the storm may cause huge problems for everyone.

The problems could get so bad that Dr Richard Fisher, a Nasa scientist, warns “the world could face being without power for several months.” While we have no way of knowing how bad the solar storms will get, experts are defiantly starting to make preparation for this rare event.

What would be effected?

If precautions are not taken the storm could wreak havoc on the world’s emergency service systems, power grids could overheat, hospital equipment and other critical electronics systems could be damaged, and major satellites can stop working. Everyday items such as cell phones, computers and other personal electronic devices will also be effected. The devices would be rendered useless should the strength of the magnetic energy reach high enough levels.

How bad could it get?

A couple of years ago The National Academy of Sciences warned that a powerful solar storm could cause “twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina”. They went on to say that the solar activity could completely knock out power grids, GPS navigation, banking and financial systems, air travel, & radio communications.

If our grid is destroyed as a result of a massive solar storm, the National Academies warns it would cost the country somewhere around $2 trillion in damages and take at least four to 10 years to fully recover from the damage.