by James Wigderson | June 6, 2016 8:39 pm
A couple of years ago Jonah Goldberg wrote about visiting Pointe du Hoc. (I had a similar reaction at Missionary Ridge in Tennessee about a battle in a different war.)
If you didn’t know, Pointe du Hoc is the highest spot between Utah and Omaha beaches and the Germans had artillery batteries there that could hit both beaches. When you’re up there even a military know-nothing like me can immediately see its tactical significance. Army Rangers attacked and seized Pointe du Hoc in one of the most legendary tales of heroism in World War II. They had to scale these 100-foot cliffs while under fire. You can read all the details elsewhere. Anyway I walked down and looked down the cliff side on my right and my left, and then muttered a bit too loudly “How the [expletive deleted] did they do that?”
About five minutes go by and one my fellow NR speakers, Bing West, wanders up. Now you should know something about Bing. The technical term for Bing is badass Marine. He led over a 100 combat patrols in Vietnam and — in his sixties — embedded with Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. He studied war at RAND and Princeton and was a high-ranking official in Reagan’s Defense Department. Suffice it to say, he has a significantly better grasp of military tactics than I do. Anyway, he didn’t see me. But I watched him as he looked down both sides of the cliff, studying the path of the Rangers assault. And then, he muttered, a bit too loudly, “How the [expletive deleted] did they do that?”
What amazing feats can men do in desperate times when their country calls.
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