The 18th Airborne Corps Podcast
Episode 97: We Are All Jews Here - A Battle of the Bulge Story

Episode 97: We Are All Jews Here - A Battle of the Bulge Story

December 19, 2021

Episode 97 continues the Battle of the Bulge series of episodes that began with Episode 94: A Battle of the Bulge Primer. Every day beginning Thursday, December 16th, we're releasing a new episode commemorating the 77th anniversary of the Ardennes Counteroffensive.

This episode, episode 97, tells the greatest story from that fight. In fact, this may be the most inspirational story in the American World War II experience. 

This is the true story of Roddie Edmonds, a Christian and an American Soldier who protected American Jews under his care while held captive in a German prison camp after his unit was captured during the early moments of the Battle of the Bulge.

This is a story that has inspired millions in Europe, Israel, and the United States. It is a story that earned Roddie many posthumous awards, decorations, and international recognitions, including Righteous Among Nations, a revered titled bestowed by the State of Israel on non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis for altruistic reasons. 

Roddie's son Chris, who uncovered this story after his father's death, joins host Joe Buccino to describe his father's remarkable example of love and valor.

This is a podcast episode every American should hear.

Episode 96: The Leadership of Matthew Ridgway in the Battle of the Bulge

Episode 96: The Leadership of Matthew Ridgway in the Battle of the Bulge

December 18, 2021

Episode 96 continues our daily series of podcasts commemorating the 77th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The series, which began with Episode 94: A Battle of the Bulge Primer, tells the greatest stories from the Ardennes Counteroffensive at the end of WWII and finds meaning in that struggle for Army leaders today.

Matthew B. Ridgway, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, is an under-recognized figure of the Allied response to the surprise German attack. In short order, he pushed his forces out into the line, absorbed unfamiliar infantry and tank divisions, and began a push south to "erase the bulge." This episode details Ridgway's leadership during that critical moment and places the airborne commander within the context of his day.  

The 18th Airborne Corps podcast is the official podcast of the US military. We traditionally release new episodes every Tuesday. However, we're releasing a new episode of this short series on the Battle of the Bulge every day. 

Please subscribe to the 18th Airborne Corps podcast on Spotify, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. The show, hosted by Joe Buccino and recorded on Fort Bragg, offers insight into historic events or news of the day. Please leave a five-star rating and review, as these help others find the program.

Episode 95: Rick Atkinson on the Battle of the Bulge

Episode 95: Rick Atkinson on the Battle of the Bulge

December 17, 2021

Our podcast series commemorating the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Bulge, which began with Episode 94: A Battle of the Bugle Primer, continues. For this episode we're honored to have a national treasure join host Joe Buccino to talk about the Ardennes Counteroffensive.

 

Rick Atkinson is a literary giant, a recipient of multiple Pulitzer prizes, the author of the Liberation Trilogy, and America's foremost historian. He joins the show to talk about the real meaning of the Battle of the Bulge 77 years on. He also talks about his latest work, the 2019 book "The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775–1777," the first volume in a trilogy about the American Revolutionary War.

 

We were honored to have Rick join the show. His is an interview rich with insights about the fighting in the Ardennes, the Allied leadership in WWII, and the enduring nature of warfare itself.

 

Episode 94: A Battle of the Bulge Primer

Episode 94: A Battle of the Bulge Primer

December 16, 2021

77 years ago in a remote Belgian forest, one of the most important fights of World War II roared. The Battle of the Bulge, a final major German offensive thrust on the Western Front, took place from December 16th 1944 to January 25th 1945. 

 

The Battle of the Bulge was filled with violent engagements, dramatic moments, and big figures. The names (Patton, Montgomery, Ridgway, Gavin), the places (St. Vith, Bastogne, the Losheim Gap), the stories (Nuts!, Creighton Abrams' 37th Tank Battalion) have become part of American military lore.

 

This episode, Episode 94, begins a series of episodes describing what really happened in the Ardennes and why. We'll blow up some of the myths of that fight and provide context around the truths.

 

So, this is a primer. A short overview to set up the coming series. At under 12 minutes, we're efficient and tidy with this one. We hope you'll check it out and continue along with the series.

Episode 93: Tony Manganiello on Innovation, Disruptive Tech, and AI

Episode 93: Tony Manganiello on Innovation, Disruptive Tech, and AI

December 14, 2021

You've likely never heard of Tony Manganiello, the co-founder of Austin, Texas-based data science firm Striveworks, but he's a revolutionary figure in military innovation.

After graduating from West Point in 1977, Tony had a successful career as an Army officer. Upon retirement, he entered the financial trading industry where he helped digitized the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. He then went into the tech industry where he focused on data and AI. Over the past five years, through his contacts across the Department of Defense, he helped push America's Special Operations Forces units into data analytics.

Tony joined host Joe Buccino in the 18th Airborne Corps podcast studio on Fort Bragg, North Carolina for a discussion on the importance of military leaders embracing disruptive technology, the value of data as a strategic asset, and the future of military Artificial Intelligence.

 

This is a fascinating discussion, one that holds value for any military leader. Tony tells wild tales from his multiple careers as a change agent.

 

Tony’s lived many rich lives: he’s been

  • A Soldier,
  • A Wall Street financial analyst,
  • A West Point math teacher,
  • An advisor to several key figures in national defense,
  • An industry titan, and
  • A confidante to many senior Army leaders.

His voice is one of experience and wisdom and one that needs to be heard throughout the US military.

Episode 92: What To Do About Military Food Insecurity

Episode 92: What To Do About Military Food Insecurity

December 7, 2021

Military food insecurity - the inability of America's active duty service members to feed their Families - is a real problem, one that's been in the national news for the past month or so. So, we here at the 18th Airborne Corps podcast had a few questions about it: 

- How big is this problem, really?

- What should we do about it?

- What is the military already doing?

- What resources are available to Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and Guardians?

- What should leaders do for their troops in this regard?

To answer these questions, we spoke with our friend Scott Pence, an Army Soldier with a Family himself, an all-around awesome guy, and the commander of Fort Bragg. You may remember that we spoke with him way back in episode 57 about the renaming of Fort Bragg.

Hope you enjoy the episode. Let's make sure all our service members and their Families are cared for this holiday season.

Thanks so much for listening. 

Episode 91: The Tanker War

Episode 91: The Tanker War

November 30, 2021

Remember the Tank War? No? Well, then you really should listen to this episode.

In the 1980s, Iran and Iraq, embroiled in a massive land war, engaged in a series of shoot-outs on the high seas. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, supported by the United States, believe it or not, started the whole thing. He began attacking Iranian shipping vessels in an attempt to weaken Iran's ability to fight on land. The US eventually became involved and, with the world watching, the whole thing became, well....it became really complicated.

American forces were involved in a series of exchanges at sea. An Iraqi jet fire two missiles into an American frigate, killing 37 Navy Sailors. An American ship hit a naval mine. Our Navy engaged in the largest American sea battle since WWII.

This is a WILD story, one in which Clausewitzian fog of war serves as a principle character. In 1988, an Iranian passenger plane was tragically shot out of the sky by an American guided missile cruiser, killing all 290 on board in a chaotic mistake. To this day, many in Iran believe this was a targeted shoot down ordered by the White House.

We have no better guide on this compelling journey back to the Reagan days of foreign policy: David Crist, a senior historian for the Department of Defense and the author of a RIVETING book published in 2012 titled "The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict With Iran." David has been studying Iran for decades and he joins host Joe Buccino to describe the Tanker War in vivid detail.

This is a story that begins with Iran as an early Cold War American ally. It's a story of the Iranian Revolution and the subsequent hostage crisis.

It's a story with big moments: the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, the storming of an Iranian ship by Navy SEALS, the American shelling of an Iranian oil platform.

It's a story of big global figures: Ronald Reagan, Ayatollah Khomeini, Zbigniew Brezinski, Casper Wienberger, Oliver North.

It's also a story of American miscalculation and incompetence. 

Finally, it's a story that involves the bizarre Iran-Contra scandal that almost brought down the Reagan presidency.

All these elements are manifest in this episode.

So, give us an hour and 5 minutes, because we break all this down in this fantastic episode.

Anyone looking to understand our relationship with Iran today must first understand how we came to the edge of a full-scale war with the Islamic Republic during the Tanker War. This is an episode rich with insight about the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and Tehran's motivations.

 

Episode 90: The Thanksgiving Episode

Episode 90: The Thanksgiving Episode

November 25, 2021

This past week, President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited a Fort Bragg, North Carolina hangar full of hundreds of Soldiers and Family members for a Thanksgiving dinner celebration (the White House actually called it "Friendsgiving"). Our host, Joe Buccino, alongside his friend Matt Visser, recorded this podcast episode from the event. 

Here's that episode, released on Thanksgiving morning, for you and your Families.

We wish you all the safest, happiest, and healthiest Thanksgiving.

Episode 89: Sebastian Junger on Life, Death, Love and Freedom

Episode 89: Sebastian Junger on Life, Death, Love and Freedom

November 23, 2021

The great author ("The Perfect Storm," "War," "Tribe") and filmmaker ("Restrepo," "Korengal") came to Fort Bragg to speak with host Joe Buccino for episode 89 of the 18th Airborne Corps Podcast.

The conversation got real deep real quick. Sebastian talked about big topics: the meaning of life, the beginning and the end of the war in Afghanistan, the role of society in human evolution. He also spoke about his divorce, his new marriage, and becoming a Dad for the first time at age 55. And then he described a stunning, bizarre, life-changing experience he had last year that you'll have to hear from him in this episode. We just won't be able to do it any justice here.

Whether you or not you've read Sebastian's work, we'll say this: this is a hell of an episode.

The 18th Airborne Corps podcast is the official program of the US Department of Defense. Recorded on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, we release new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. The podcast, hosted by Joe Buccino, covers insight from history, news of the day, and professional development and often features the Nation's top military leaders. SUBSCRIBE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iTunes, or Stitcher to ensure you never miss an episode. PLEASE LEAVE A 5-STAR RATING and a review on Apple Podcasts, as this helps others find the show!

Episode 88: Retired General Gus Perna on Operation Warp Speed

Episode 88: Retired General Gus Perna on Operation Warp Speed

November 18, 2021

Gus Perna spent his entire adult life - 40 years - leading troops as an Army officer. A career logistician, he rose to the top of his field, commanding the organization responsible for all Army parts distribution and supply chain management.

Gus and his wife Susan had long planned to retire to Huntsville, Alabama in early 2020. As things happened, however, just as the Pernas were preparing to transition out of the Army, COVID-19 changed everything.

In the early, dark days of the pandemic, President Trump asked Gus to remain in uniform and manage the production and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the shot that would get us all out of lockdown.  The Nation needed Gus Perna - the world needed his leadership - and he couldn't say no.

Operation Warp Speed, the program initiated by the Trump administration to accelerate the vaccine, the program that Gus oversaw, was among the most critical and most complicated efforts of the American government since the close of World War II. It was also among the largest in scale. 

This discussion with Gus Perna actually followed from Episode 87. In that episode, historian Arthur Herman told a story about meeting General Perna during his time at OWS. Gus had read Arthur's book "Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II," about the American business leaders who helped build the World War II Army and gleamed lessons from the book as he organized the OWS team. There are many parallels between the situation described in the book and the effort Gus was leading. The general contacted Arthur and brought him out to the OWS headquarters to speak with the team of scientists, doctors, military officers, and governmental officials working on vaccine development and distribution. After the visit, Gus wrote Arthur a personalized letter describing how much the book and the visit meant to him. That letter, which Arthur described in Episode 87, is hung on the historian's wall.

So, we caught up with Gus, who retired earlier this year after completing his mission with Warp Speed, for this episode, Episode 88. He spoke from his Alabama home about what went right and what went wrong with the operation. He spoke about his thoughts on vaccine hesitancy and his feelings on the politicization of the vaccine. He spoke about his OWS team, about the pressure of leading the world through a pandemic in one of the most scrutinized operations in recent history. He also spoke about leadership, about a lifetime of military service, about the support Susan offered when he needed it most.

We should mention that during the discussion, Gus references Dr. Moncef Slaoui the researcher who worked alongside the general at OWS. General Perna and Dr. Slaoui were co-leads for the effort, with the general serving as the CEO.

This is a candid, raw discussion with a man who gave the country all he had. It's an episode that every American should listen to because Gus' is a voice and a story that every American should hear.

The 18th Airborne Corps podcast is the official program of the US Department of Defense. Recorded on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, we release new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. The podcast, hosted by Joe Buccino, covers insight from history, news of the day, and professional development and often features the Nation's top military leaders. SUBSCRIBE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iTunes, or Stitcher to ensure you never miss an episode. PLEASE LEAVE A 5-STAR RATING and a review on Apple Podcasts, as this helps others find the show!

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