Self Portrait: Kakazu Ridge Revisited (77th Infantry Division Living History Reenacting on the island of Okinawa, Japan)

I earned one of my Army Achievement Medals as a junior enlisted, US Army soldier while assigned to a strategic level Signal Battalion.  I earned that medal by continuing to pursue the reenacting and living history endeavors without any change in the enthusiasm I had for them prior to going on active duty.

I miss my time on the island of Okinawa, Japan.  I earned much needed military historian practical knowledge while working closely with my Battalion S3 Officer in Charge while I was a Private First Class.  He was an older Major who spent time in Desert Storm.  It was a hell of a time, working with that gentleman.

It enabled me to appreciate my own time at war by learning from men and women who spent time in the Middle East with next to nothing for equipment as advanced as the stuff I would use.  These older officers and NCOs went into Kuwait in 1991 with equipment that hadn’t changed much in the years immediately following the Vietnam War (M1977 Equipment/Gear).  A young man could not help but respect that fact, especially considering that young man’s living history and reenacting experience prior to his own time in service.

My vision is for men and women, regardless of race, creed, religion, and everything else outlined by the Army as discriminatory, to join me in my endeavors to success in the activities of Military History Living History & Reenacting.  Basically be a legal adult, American, and willing to be humbled through military history, and everybody can get along.  Even if you’re not exactly the best person when you start this endeavor, either physically, socially, or both, these activities will enable you to better yourself and others simultaneously.

The best part is that this battlefield which uses simulated blank ammunition is much more forgiving than real combat.

I promise you that if you perform to the best of your abilities, you will gain respect for yourself, respect for others, tactical experience, and emotional and social bonds with others that cannot possibly be gained anywhere else, not even on a real battlefield.

Become a student of yourself by becoming a student of military history!

Pictured below is my best attempt at recreating a moment in the past while serving in the Army in 2009.  My mentor who assisted me throughout the creation of my 77th Infantry Division “impression” was a real life combat veteran who served in the regiment I was researching.  The man’s name was Roy, and with his assistance, along with the positive technologies found using the internet, we were able to tell his story through living history.

Roy gladly told me the details only another soldier with a military history background may readily ask about; things like bayonet lugs on M1 carbines, the supply and health problems experienced with the HBT cotton uniforms, and jungle fighting in leather boots just to name a few.

Roy is now dead, but thanks to our mutual efforts, Roy will live forever, so long as I can remember him.

Rest in Peace, Roy.

(Please note that the unit who took Kakazu Ridge were men of the 96th Infantry “Deadeye” Division, and not personnel from the 77th Infantry Division.  I created this impression to remember Roy; this photo opportunity gives the memories of Roy a chance to better bond with the memories of another infantry division that fought on Roy’s immediate flank.)

Kakazu Ridge Revisited 2009

“Cattle die, and Kinsmen die…” -Havamal

-EJH

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