29 March 2013


by Andy Weddington
Friday, 29 March 2013

"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on." Ulysses S. Grant

Thirteen years ago James Bradley wrote a book about his father, John, and five other men who stuck a pipe in the ground.

I've read that book four or five times. More so than all else in the true story, one three-word sentence towards the end sticks with me. It haunts but in a good way - for it applies to all in life.

Three years after Bradley's book was published, and over the course of the following five or six years, I had some half-dozen impromptu opportunities to shake hands and make a few minutes of small talk with Lewis Millett. Mostly, I listened.  

Lewis Millett was not one of the men John Bradley wrote about. In fact, I don't know whether or not Bradley knows who Lewis Millett is. And vice versa. But Bradley and Millett sort of share a connection. That point will be clear, shortly.

Dare say, and sadly so, most Americans have no idea who John Bradley is nor Lewis Millett. Many reading today's short comment likely do not know them.

But that Lewis and John were born a mere 2 1/2 years apart and shared similar life experiences probably has something to do with the Bradley Millett connection. 

Yesterday, while working on the computer, yet another DoD casualty release hit my inbox. As always, I stopped what I was doing and read the sobering report:

United States Army Sergeant Michael C. Cable, 26, from Philpot, Kentucky - 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division - was killed in combat in Afghanistan on the 27th of March 2013.

For a long while now I've not believed in coincidence.

Earlier in the day I had Bradley's book in my hands.

Shortly after reading about the death of Michael Cable, I received an email from a retired Marine friend who knew Lewis Millett. He included a short paragraph as to how they met and what Lewis meant to him and his Marines. And he included a YouTube video - an interview with Lewis Millett. Millett's last sentence caught my attention. http://youtu.be/S9H7XplkI54   

And then it struck me that Michael Cable would have likewise remarked.


"Simple as that."

Post Script

That pipe John Bradley helped stick in the ground?

A flag was affixed to the top.

Petty Officer Bradley was the Corpsman, amongst five Marines, who helped raise our colors atop a hill named Mount Suribachi on the South Pacific atoll Iwo Jima. Joe Rosenthal, an Associated Press photographer, luckily captured the matter-of-fact moment on film - making him, and the six men, famous. Not until after Bradley's death, 49 years later, did family learn he'd been awarded the Navy Cross for heroism during that battle. 

Author's Endnote

Ron Powers helped James Bradley with - 'Flags of Our Fathers'

No comments: