Monday, November 13, 2017

Episode 394 (11-13-17): For Veterans Day 2017 – The U.S. Army and Its Wide-ranging Water Connections

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:31).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 11-10-17.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of November 13, 2017.

SOUND - ~7 sec

This week, that sound of Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters opens our focus on the U.S. Army, the latest in a series of annual episodes in honor of Veterans Day.  Have a listen for about 25 seconds to the Army’s familiar anthem, played by the U.S. Army Concert Band.

MUSIC – ~26 sec

The U.S. Army began on June 14, 1775, as the Continental Army, formed by the Second Continental Congress to fight the Revolutionary War against Great Britain.  The army started with about 27,000 militia soldiers, but in 1776 the Continental Congress established a standing force separate from the state militias, which became the regular army.  Throughout its history, the Army has seen many significant expansions during wars and contractions during peacetime.  As of 2017, the Army was authorized for over 1 million active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard soldiers, serving roles in combat but also in medicine, humanitarian relief, civil affairs, and other areas.  The Army has a large presence in Virginia, with several bases and other facilities.

Despite being the branch of the military services most thought-of as land-based, the Army’s never been far from the water.  Historically, army forts often were near rivers or other waterways—one Virginia example is Fort Monroe on the Chesapeake Bay beside Hampton, which was an Army installation from the early 1800s to 2011.  And as George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in 1776 reminds us, countless water bodies have been a barrier or a line of defense for U.S. soldiers.  Today, water transportation, navigation, and water supply remain key functions within the Army: the Maritime Division of the Transportation Corps provides vessels for moving people and materials; water-treatment and supply specialists serve both in military and humanitarian missions; and many water-related projects—both military and civilian—are conducted by the Corps of Engineers, established as a permanent Army corps in 1802.   Fort Monroe is now a National Monument owned by the Commonwealth; its presence on Virginia’s Chesapeake coastline symbolizes the U.S. Army’s long history of facing, using, and defending waterways.

Thanks to Army veterans and current personnel everywhere for their service and sacrifices, past, present, and future, and we close with a few more seconds of “The Army Song.”

MUSIC - ~16 sec


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The helicopter sound was taken from the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), “2-227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade helicopters [Black Hawk and Chinook] arrive at Katterbach Army Airfield in Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany,” video online at  Copyright information at the DVIDS sites states, “In general, all media on the site is produced by U.S. DoD or Federal Agencies, and is in the public domain, i.e., not protected by U.S. copyright; however, other restrictions might apply, such as, but not limited to, the right to enforce trademarks, and the right of privacy/right of publicity, any of which might restrict use of some of the media.”

The U.S. Army Concert Band’s recording of “The Army Song” was accessed at  The Web site states that all music files on that page are free for download and duplication.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.   More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at

Click here for a 96-second sampler of comments about Army activities and experiences. The comments were excerpted from interviews made available by the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System. The interview titles, dates, and online locations are as follows (listed in the order played in the sampler):
1. “Brig. Gen. Leela Gray Interview at 2017 AUSA conference,” Washington, D.C., 10/10/17, online at
2. “Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges JMTG-U interview,” Yavoriv, Ukraine, 3/22/17, online at
3. “VTARNG [Vermont Army National Guard] Zodiac Boat Training Exercise, Burlington, Vermont, 8/12/17, online at
4. “Hurricane Harvey—Capt. Brian McCauley and 2nd Lt.Stephanie Jasper (126th Brigade Engineer Battalion) Interview,” Beaumont, Texas, 9/9/17, online at
5. “U.S. Army Reserve Medical Team Provides Needed Healthcare After Hurricane Maria,” Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, 10/24/17, online at
6. “HA/DR [Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief] Exercise at Yokohama North Dock,” Yokohama, Japan, 3/17/17, online at
7. “U.S. Tanks and Heavy Armor Train in Romania,” Cincu, Romania, 7/29/16, online at

Virginia National Guard helicopters leaving the Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston, Virginia (Henrico County) on a disaster relief mission in Texas, 8/31/17.  Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Terra Gatti, made available by the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, online at
Virginia National Guard training on rail load and seaport operations during a drill weekend, June 9-11, 2017, at Fort Eustis, Virginia.  Photo by Cotton Puryear, courtesy of the 1173rd Transportation Company, made available by the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, online at

From the U.S. Army Music Home Web site, “‘The Army Goes Rolling Along’—The Official Song of The United States Army,” online at

“The song was originally written by field artillery First Lieutenant [later Brigadier General] Edmund L. Gruber, while stationed in the Philippines in 1908 as the ‘Caisson Song.’  The original lyrics reflect routine activities in a horse-drawn field artillery battery.  The song was transformed into a march by John Philip Sousa in 1917 and renamed ‘The Field Artillery Song.’  It was adopted in 1956 as the official song of the Army and retitled, ‘The Army Goes Rolling Along.’”

For more on the history of the song, see F. Peter Wigginton, “A Soldier’s Song,” originally published in Soldiers Online, July 1994; excerpt available at the U.S. Army Music Home Web site, online at


Encyclopedia Britannica, “The United States Army,” last updated 11/7/17, online at

Fort Monroe Authority, online at

Historical Office/Office of the Secretary of Defense,, “Virginia Military Bases,” online at

Ryan Murphy, “Five years into its civilian life, Fort Monroe remains a work in progress,” [Newport News] Daily Press, 9/24/16, online at

National Park Service, “Fort Monroe National Monument,” online at

National Park Service, “Washington Crossing State Park,” online at

Gary Sheftick, “Fort Monroe handoff to preserve history, military housing,” U.S. Army Web site,

U.S. Army, “Careers and Jobs,” online at

U.S. Army, “Army is hiring: Army increases end strength by 28,000 Soldiers,” 3/20/17, online at

U.S. Army, “History,” online at

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “A Brief History,” online at

U.S. Army Music Home Web site, “‘The Army Goes Rolling Along’—The Official Song of The United States Army,” online at

U.S. Army Transportation Corps, “Watercraft Categories, Watercraft Units and Equipment,” online at; and “Maritime Qualification Division,” online at

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the Community/Organizations and the History subject categories

Following are links to previous Veterans Day episodes on branches of the military:
Episode 187, 11/11/13 – all five branches;
Episode 239, 11/10/14 – U.S. Coast Guard;
Episode 289, 11/9/15 – U.S. Navy;
Episode 341, 11/7/16 – U.S. Air Force.


Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

This episode may help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Earth Science Course
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs:

Grades K-6 Civics Theme
2.5 – why U.S. citizens celebrate major holidays, including Veterans Day.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.9 – how national events affected Virginia and its citizens.

United States History: 1865-to-Present Course
USII.8 – economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world after World War II, , including role of U.S. military.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.13 – U.S. foreign policy since World War II, including the role of the military.

Government Course
GOVT. 12 – role of the United States in a changing world, including responsibilities of the national government for foreign policy and national security.

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 249 (1-19-15) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade;
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.