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Exclusive: House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul inducted into Sons of the American Revolution

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The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee told Big League Politics about his induction Wednesday into the Sons of the American Revolution and what it means for him, his family to be part of a continuum of service that stretches back to the birth of the Republic.

“My grandfather always told me growing up that I was an Addington,” said Rep. Michael T. McCaul Sr. (R.-Texas), who before his election to Congress, served as a Justice Department prosecutor specializing in counter-intelligence.

“My ancestor, Addington, was in the Carolina Wars,” he said.

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“The Carolina Wars were very ugly. The attrition rate was horrific, it was like Vietnam, it was that attrition rate that defeated the British,” he said. “My ancestor fought at the siege of Ninety-Six, which is almost like the Alamo of the Revolutionary War.”

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Ninety-Six, South Carolina is a small town in the western part of the state and the origin of its name is still debated. In the spring of 1781, Loyalist troops built an eight-point “Star Fort” with 14-foot walls in a addition to a traditional stockade garrison. From May 22, 1781 through June 18, 1781, Continental soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene, and army’s chief engineer Brig. Gen. Tadeusz Kościuszko, sieged the 500 Tories stationed there with a contingent of 1,000.

Siege of Ninety-Six, S.C. reenactors (Park Service photo)

The Patriots dug trenches, employed tunnel mines and built a 30-foot sniper tower to harass the Loyalists for the 28-day engagement.

Greene lost the battle for the town, when Francis, Lord Rawdon marched from Charleston to relieve the siege with 2,000 men. Rawdon was one of the most successful British commanders during the War for Independence, beginning with his star turn at the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he led the third and successful assault against the American position and is credited with delivering the mortal shot that killed Joseph Warren.

Shown here are the ruins of the British Star Fort and Patriot siege lines laid out by the brilliant Polish military engineer, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, at Ninety Six in Greenwood County, South Carolina. These are rare surviving examples of 18th-century military constructions (Photo by Ninety Six National Historic Site).

McCaul said, “For me, what is cool is that my fourth generation grandfather, who was a Patriot, thank God, and my father who had the same middle name–he was a WWII veteran and a bombardier on a B-17–he was part of the D-Day air campaign, so when I spoke at the SAR dinner, I talked about the line of succession between the generations going back to the Revolutionary War, WWII, my father and to the present–serving in Congress.”

In addition to his work in Congress, McCaul was the lead investigator looking into the Red Chinese operatives, who were part of Johnny Chung ring that donated nearly $400,000 to the Democratic National Committee in the two years before President William J. Clinton ran for reelection.

The next step is to visit Ninety-Six and then, Addington’s grave in Franklin County, North Carolina, he said. “It is on my bucket list.”

The chairman said he asked two fellow GOP congressmen if they also had a connection to the Siege of the Ninety-Six. “It is interesting that a guy named ‘Gouedy’ was the head of the Ninety-Six community–I asked Trey Gowdy: ‘Are you related to this?’ He said nah. My ancestor married a Deliah Duncan, so I asked Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.” Duncan told him he did not think they were related.

Joel P. Hinzman, a third vice president at District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, told Big League Politics: “Finding out your history tells you who you are and where you came from, which is really what it is all about.

McCaul said he told Hinzman his grandfather always told stories about the Addington family and how he was supposed to have a relative, who fought in the American Revolution. “My grandfather’s middle name was Addington and my father’s middle name, too–my son’s middle name is Addington”

The Texas congressman worked with Hinzman and the volunteers in the local chapter to conduct the SAR genealogy investigation, he said.

“Sure enough–well, you know with genealogy, you never know what you are going to find, could be good could be bad,” he said. “I am glad I was born in the right family, you don’t know until you actually do the genealogy.”

Hinzman said many Americans did not come from good families in Europe, but they made their names in America. “If you were coming here in the 1700s, things probably were not going that well back home.”

Rep. Michael T. McCaul Sr. admires his Sons of the American Revolution certificates and medals at his Dec. 7, 2017 ceremony in Washington along with is wife Linda and past DC SAR president Paul M. Hays. For many years, Hays was a C-SPAN celebrity as the House reading clerk. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Michael T. McCaul Sr.)

Hinzman said the volunteers spend hundreds of hours researching each potential member.

“You have to find the original documents that prove each generation, so it was not clear-cut,” he said.

“There has to be documented proof,” he said. “We heard his family’s stories and we were able to do the research to prove that it was true.”

William M. Addington enlisted in the Continental Army from South Carolina in 1781, said Hinzman.

“He served three months as a private, then three months as a lieutenant,” he said.

It is a fairly common occurrence that someone would approach a member of the SAR and ask for help revolving if their family legends were true or not, he said.

Hinzman said he is very proud of the SAR program for helping wounded warriors at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “We will chat with service members, and we will work on their genealogy as well.”

Another mission of the SAR is to work with the Veterans Affairs Department to ensure that the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers have a headstone or bronze plate.

Big League National Security

Locked and Loaded: Pentagon Grants Soldiers in DC Power to use Lethal Force

The National Guard have been authorized to use lethal force, if needed.

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Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has authorized the twenty thousand National Guard members providing security around the U.S. Capitol to carry lethal weapons as Washington, D.C., braces for Inauguration Day.

On January 12, 2021, National Guardsmen were given authorization to be armed in support of the U.S. Capitol Police to protect the U.S. Capitol and individual members of Congress and their staff,” according to a statement from the D.C. National Guard, which is commanding Guard forces in the city, including units deployed from six other states, to provide security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week,” the DC National Guard revealed in a statement “This was requested by federal authorities and authorized by the Secretary of the Army.

The National Guard Bureau declined to specify what weapons troops would carry.

National Guard members are postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities, up to and including protective equipment and being armed if necessary,” said the statement. “The public’s safety is our top priority.

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Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told media members on Monday that a force of up to 15,000 will deploy to D.C. with all their issued equipment, including their individual weapons. So if the need arises, “they are close by and they are readily accessible.”

The Pentagon initially authorized up to six thousand two hundred Guard members from Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania to deploy to D.C. on federal status to maintain security through Inauguration Day.

The history of National Guard members being a part of the presidential inauguration dates back to the first inauguration of President George Washington in 1789.

 

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