Four history-related Amateur Radio special event stations during October stand out to me. Two o the special event stations honor important figures from US History: Dwight D. Eisenhower and Roger Williams. A third commemorates the birth of one of our armed forces: the US Navy. The fourth commemorates a key battle of the American Revolution and the subsequent surrender of British Forces at Yorktown, VA.
The Grayson County Amateur Radio Club in Sherman, TX will be operating special event station W5I from 8 October to 16 October in commemoration of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s birthday on 14 October 1890 in Denison, TX. Eisenhower was a pivotal figure in American History during World War II and the early part of the Cold War. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Eisenhower was assigned as a Brigadier General in the US Army to the General Staff in Washington DC where he was responsible for developing war plans against both Japan and Germany. Just six months later, despite having never held an active command higher than Battalion Commander, he was appointed Commanding General, European Theater of Operations and promoted to Lieutenant General. In the run-up to the North African invasion, he was named Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force, North African Theater of Operations. In late 1943, Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Supreme Allied Commander Allied Expeditionary Force. He would hold both commands until the end of World War II in Europe. Despite not having the experience of command above the battalion commander, Eisenhower proved to be an excellent appointment by President Roosevelt. The job of Supreme Allied Commander was just as much a political job as it was a military job and he did a terrific job juggling the different aims, wants, and politics of the various Allied powers as well as dealing with extraordinary personalities like DeGaulle, Montgomery, and Patton. After World War II, Eisenhower, by now a five star General of the Army served as Military Governor of the American Occupation Zone in Europe, as Chief of Staff of the Army, and finally as NATO Supreme Commander before retiring in 1952. In 1952, Eisenhower was pressed to run for President by the Republican Party and was elected. As President, Eisenhower was noted in the foreign policy arena for working to bring the Korean War to an end, Cold War policy including nuclear policy and the “domino theory,” and his handling of the Sputnik crisis and U-2 incident and in the domestic policy arena for continuing New Deal programs such as Social Security, creating the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (later split into the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education), authorizing the Interstate Highway System, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and the Little Rock Crisis. On the political spectrum, Eisenhower considered himself a moderate, progressive Republican. It can easily be argued that his experience as Supreme Commander during and after World War II gave him the experience in handling disparate groups and personalities that enabled him to be a great President; he was ranked the 5th greatest President in the 2017 C-Span Presidential Historians Survey. In his farewell address, he offered us advice which is still pertinent today:
“As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
W5I will be operating on or near 14.250 USB, 7.200, LSB, 14.040, and 7.040. QSL via Grayson County ARC, PO Box 642, Sherman, TX 75091.
Providence Emergency Management Agency RACES, KK1PMA, in Providence, RI will be honoring Roger Williams with a special event station on 13 October. Williams is a fascinating figure in US History. A Puritan minister, Williams came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony from England in 1630. Before long, his beliefs in religious freedom and separation of Church and State and his dealings with Native Americans brought him into conflict with the Colony’s leadership. First, he believed that individuals should be able to follow their own path when it comes to religion and that they should not be coerced into following a particular church; in his mind, a state religion was a religion forced upon the people. Second, he believed that it was not the place of civil authorities to enforce religious laws such as those found in the first five of the Ten Commandments: idolatry (Thou shalt have no other God before me/Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image), blasphemy (Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain), and the breaking of the Sabbath (Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy). These arguments were the antithesis of most of his contemporaries but they would influence our Founding Fathers and the direction our government would take. Also contrary to most of his contemporaries in the Colony was how he dealt with Native Americans; Williams believed in fair dealings with Native Americans. He came to question colonial charters that didn’t reimburse Native Americans for land taken to form those colonies. It was because of those beliefs that Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After his banishment, he eventually founded Providence Plantation, which eventually became the colony of and then the state of Rhode Island It’s also worth mentioning that Williams was opposed to slavery and attempted to prevent its legalization in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, it was an admirable but unsuccessful attempt. KK1PMA will be operating on or around 53.02 USB, 14.275 USB, and 7.275 LSB. QSL for a certificate via Barry Noel, P.O. Box 28091, Providence, RI 02908.
Also on 13 October, NI6IW, the USS Midway (CV-41) museum ship will be commemorating the establishment of the US Navy on 13 October 1775. The United States Navy celebrates its birthday on 13 October because the Second Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two ships, marking the beginning of the Continental Navy. The Continental Navy was shortlived; it was disbanded at the end of the American Revolution because the new government lacked the funds to maintain a standing navy. Between 1790 and 1797, the US Revenue Cutter Service (a forerunner of the US Coast Guard) provided the only armed maritime service that the United States had. In 1794, however, Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 authorizing a permanent standing Navy; the US Navy was established and by 1797, the first three of the US Navy’s first six frigates were commissioned and in service. For more information on and a good read about the beginnings of the United States Navy, I highly recommend Ian W. Toll’s Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy. NI6IW will be operating on or around 14.320 USB, 7.250 LSB, and 14.070 as well as D-STAR on REF001C. QSL via USS Midway (CV-41) COMEDTRA, 901 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.
On 20 October, K4RC, the Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio Club in Yorktown, VA will commemorate the surrender of British forces after the Battle of Yorktown. The Battle of Yorktown lasted from 28 September to 19 October 1781. Yorktown was more of siege than a battle, American and French forces surrounded the British Army on land and at sea. The Continental Army under George Washington and the French Army under the Comte de Rochambeau surrounded the British Army under Charles Cornwallis. At sea, the French Navy under the Comte de Grasse blockaded the British and prevented reinforcement attempts. The siege began on 28 September and throughout the first half of October, the Americans and French worked closer to the British positions. On 14 October, assaults of the British defenses began and on 17 October the British offered to surrender. Negotiations began and on 19 October, the surrender was official. The British surrender at Yorktown didn’t end the American Revolution, it would continue until 1783, but it did give American morale a much-needed boost. It also caused a collapse of public support for the war in Great Britain and moved the British government to negotiations to end the Revolution. To read more about the American Revolution, I would recommend Robert Middlekauff’s The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 and for reading about the last years of the American Revolution following Yorktown, I would recommend American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783 by William M. Fowler Jr. K4RC will be operating on or around 14.265 USB and 7.265 LSB. QSL via K4RC, P.O. Box 1470, Williamsburg, VA 23187.