The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pithy Friday Musings..

This post will be kinda short, I am feeling under the weather a bit and my motivation is lacking, kinda like the Puerto Rican politicians...Oh wait did I just say that....well anyway..

    There is a bit of a kerfluffle going on right now, apparently President Trump called the widow of a serviceman that was killed and apparently she had the local cuukoo for coo coo puffs congresscritter listen on another line whom immediately went for political points on Trump...Really?  Apparently she is known for being strange.  I surmise because they have been trying to score points on Trump about Puerto Rico and "dissing" brown people  and that area of Florida is heavily "brown".  They are pushing the "white supremacist " angle on him again.

   And speaking of political points, apparently the local Puerto Rican politicians in the finest tradition of the 3rd world are taking the food aid and other things and either keeping it for themselves or are passing it only to their political supporters.  Between the politicians blaming Trump and rewarding their followers...wait that sounds like California and Chicago.  Oh well gutter culture is as gutter culture does. 

    And it has come out this week that the Clintons sold a chunk of our Uranium to Russia and Bill got a huge speaking fees payout and the Clinton Crime syndicate foundation got a huge payout and finally people are making noise about the Russia angle with the Clinton's.
And apparently there have been calls from the WSJ and"The Hill" that Robert Mueller witch hunt is going farther and farther afield looking for "Russian interference in our election"  there is a great fear that now that if there is no crime found, they will "find" one to justify the Witch Hunt and this is bad when you use the judicial system to go after your political opponents.  This is the stuff of 3rd world banana republics, this is where the rule of the mob replaces the rule of law.

    On a different note, and people are not really talking about it, the Economy seems to be doing much better we have had 3% growth and that hasn't happened in 16 years or something like that and the Establishment GOP is waffling on the Tax cuts that Trump wants to further expand our economy and bring back to the United States all the money that the companies have stashed offshore to avoid the punishing tax rates the United States has against American businesses.  I keep hearing that  it rewards "The Rich", well Duh...The Rich have the money and capital.  The poor don't have that.  The Tax cuts also will benefit the middle class that have been getting hammered on taxes and because they are the middle class they don't get the subsidies to their Obamacare premiums and they don't get subsidies from the tax system because they are not "unfortunate" and get subsidized by the system. 
   Perhaps I am sounding hateful but it does gall me to see people making poor decisions and getting rewarded for it.  When does stupid going to hurt?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Kamikaze

I had done a post on the Wildcat and earlier I have completed several post about the Invasion of Japan and the resulting fanaticism of the Japanese, their total resistance and willingness to die for the Emperor.  I honestly believed that this fanaticism was part of the reason for the dropping of the Atom bomb.  When allied planners predicted 1,000,000 allied casualties for the invasion of Japan and the eradication of the Japanese culture to get them to quit.

“Transcend life and death. Eliminate all thoughts about your life and your death. Only then you will disregard your earthly life totally. You will be empowered to focus your attention on eradicating your enemy with unwavering determination. In the meantime, reinforce your excellence in flight skills.”
Text from the manual of the Kamikaze pilots, located in their cockpits.

The Mongols invaded Japan in 1281. The powerful warlord Kublai Khan led the attack. Just when the Mongols were on the verge of defeating the Japanese, a destructive typhoon swept through the land. This typhoon, named Kamikaze (Divine Wind) by the Japanese, eliminated the whole Mongol army.

After the fall of Saipan (July 1944), the Japanese restored the memory of Kamikaze by ascribing it to the suicide attack missions of their air force. The commander of Japan’s First Air Fleet in the Philippine Islands, Vice Admiral Takashiro Ohnishi, had pointed out that the best way to inflict maximum damage on the warships of the Allies was to deliberately crash aircraft into them.

Lt Yoshinori Yamaguchi's Yokosuka D4Y3 (Type 33 Suisei) "Judy" in a suicide dive against USS Essex.
Lt Yoshinori Yamaguchi’s Yokosuka D4Y3 (Type 33 Suisei) “Judy” in a suicide dive against USS Essex.
He also pointed out that one plane crash targeting a ship could cause more destruction than 10 planes firing relentlessly at it. Based on this combat observation, it was decided that pilots would deliberately crash their planes into the warships of the Allies.

St Lo attacked by kamikazes, 25 October 1944
St Lo attacked by kamikazes, 25 October 1944
In the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Philippines, the Kamikaze Special Attack Force began the first of its suicide missions. On October 25th, 1944, 5 Zero airplanes were escorted to the target by the top Japanese pilot Hiroyoshi Nishizawa. USS St. Lo, an escort carrier, was the first important warship that was sunk by a Kamikaze attack.
The Kamikaze strike resulted in massive fires that led to an explosion in the ship’s bomb magazine. The carrier sunk within an hour. Kamikaze pilots scored several direct hits that day. They caused severe damage to other warships of the Allies as well.

Ensign Kiyoshi Ogawa, who flew his aircraft into the USS Bunker Hill
Ensign Kiyoshi Ogawa, who flew his aircraft into the USS Bunker Hill


The average Kamikaze pilot was a university student. Loyalty to the Japanese Emperor, family, and nation were his key motivations. He was in his early 20s and pursuing science. He prepared for his worthy destiny by writing farewell poems and letters to his loved ones, receiving a 1000-stitch sash, and taking part in a final ceremony.

The 1000-stitch sash was a garment in which thousand different women put in one symbolic stitch each. The final ceremony included a drink of spiritual concoction that’d ensure success in the mission. Then, he’d wedge himself between 500-pound bombs.

USS BUNKER HILL hit by two Kamikazes in 30 seconds on 11 May 1945 off Kyushu. Dead - 372. Wounded - 264. (Navy) NARA FILE #: 080-G-323712 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 980
USS Bunker Hill hit by two Kamikazes in 30 seconds on 11 May 1945 off Kyushu. Dead – 372. Wounded – 264.
The Kamikaze artists were told that they’d be fighting for God, their Emperor. And their supreme act would bring deliverance to Imperial Japan as it’d done in the 13th century.
Calls for Kamikaze pilots received a great response. For every available Japanese plane, there were three applicants. Experienced pilots were refused the chance to become Kamikaze pilots because they were needed to train the raw volunteers.

Like other regular military personnel, the Kamikaze pilots were also indoctrinated with the following oath:
  • Loyalty is your obligation.
  • Propriety is your way of life.
  • You must esteem military valor highly.
  • You must have the highest regard for righteousness.
  • You must live a simple life.

The Mitsubishi A6M2, nicknamed the Zero, was the Kamikaze pilot’s premium machine. Its range was a decent 1,930 miles. The Zero could hit a maximum speed of 332 mph. This flying coffin was almost 30 feet long, and its wingspan was about 39 feet. The Japanese modified this aircraft to accommodate one 500-pound bomb.
The Zero had been the main strike plane during the Pearl Harbor attack. But other sophisticated planes forced the Zero to this humble role. And you can take many Pearl Harbor tours that show the destruct the Kamikaze attacks can truly cause.

April 6, 1945, is perhaps, the biggest day in terms of Kamikaze attacks in WWII. Over 350 Kamikaze aircraft made a desperate dive at the Allied fleet in the crucial Battle for Okinawa. This simultaneous Kamikaze wave drove several Allied sailors almost insane.
Twenty Kamikaze aircraft made a simultaneous lunge toward USS Laffey. Her gunners took out nine within seconds, but six rammed into her. Fortunately, the USS Laffey had a world-class Commanding Officer. The ship came back to fight in the Korean War.
USS Laffey Kamakaze attacks featured on The History
channel "Dogfights"
The USS Laffey is in Charleston South Carolina
at Patriots Point as a Museum ship
Although Kamikaze attacks dominated the final Japanese defense of Okinawa, the Allies gained victory at a heavy price. The Allies lost almost 13,000 personnel but killed 110,000 Japanese in this operation. Imperial Japan had set aside several thousand Kamikaze planes in the event of an attack on the Japanese mainland.
Little Boy (Hiroshima) and Big Man (Nagasaki) ensured that this wouldn’t be necessary. Kamikaze pilot trainees are alive even today 70 years after the war to tell the tale.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

If Firefly characters were in the Army

I saw this on Angry Staff Officer, yeah blame Mack for this one.  I saw Firefly when the Movie "Serenity" came out and it was really good movie, and I would draw parallels of the "Alliance" as the Nanny State and the "Browncoats" as the people that loved Freedom.

Here is a great line from the movie and it is very telling to me for people that are tired of running and plan on causing trouble because their backs are against the wall and there is no choice.  The Pics are compliments of "Google".  If you never seen the show before, it is worth a look.  There was only 1 season then the fans raised soo much hell, that they made a movie. called "Serenity"

If you’re like me, you discovered the TV show Firefly well after the time it first ran in 2003. While we were spared the original heartbreak that came when the show was not renewed for a second season – damn you, Fox – we are still reminded of our loss every time we watch the show. And we watch it again, and again, and again, because it’s incredibly addictive television. And if you haven’t seen it – well, I’m not sure what I can do for you other than to tell you to see it, because who doesn’t love a space western?
As I was watching it this past time, it dawned on me that I’ve seen all these characters before: in the military. So here are the crew members of the cargo ship Serenity, as they would appear in your military unit.

Malcolm Reynolds
We first meet Mal as an non-commissioned officers fighting in the Browncoats, a force holding out against the Alliance. The first thing out of his mouth is a request for air support as he’s getting pummeled by enemy fire. He then steals a code off a dead officer to get the radio working. So yeah, he’s your basic NCO. Equipped with a quick wit, a sharp right, and the ability to talk or shoot himself out or into any situation, he’s your standard or garden variety E-7 turned officer. His rhetoric is easily identifiable: “I guess you weren’t burdened with an over-abundance of schooling” is something that you’d hear on the range from an E-7 asking a private why they decided to point their weapon at something other than the target. “My days of taking you seriously are rapidly coming to a middle,” could be heard from a sarcastic staff officer. Although Mal wouldn’t let himself be trapped on staff – he’d find some way to escape. Possibly without clothes. Most likely either cav or engineer.
And yes, Mal is the leader that I aspire to be. Or at least to have his vocabulary.


Crazy shirts, crazy hair, plays with toy dinosaurs, mouths off to anyone in authority with impunity: yup, we’ve got ourselves a warrant officer rotary-wing pilot over here. Been flying so long that he often forgets that he’s actually piloting the craft. Manages to not care about any regulations; somehow lands the hot and tough E-6 as a wife. Confuses the hell out of all non-aviators. 

Zoe is that E-6 in the platoon who is smarter than even the company commander, but because of that intelligence, realizes that she does not want to become an officer. Often bears the workload of the company and is simultaneously liked and feared. Feared, because everyone realizes that she can engage targets out to 30 meters while firing from the hip which unnerves the dudes in the infantry unit that she’s now in. Drawn to nerdy pilots, and no one can figure out why. 

Jayne is the kind of guy that you want to keep close to you if there’s a fight but far away from unsecured supply rooms. There is at least one Jayne in every infantry platoon. Sometimes there are even whole platoons of Jaynes. Big, loud-mouthed, with an affinity for large weapons and any woman that will tolerate their presence for more than five minutes. Will wear silly hats without realizing that they are silly.

Kaylee is the kind of maintainer that you would want in your unit. Able to diagnose just about any engine problem just by the sound it makes, she’s worth her weight in gold. Not super helpful in a fight, but incredibly loyal. However, you do have to worry about her falling in love with the battalion PA, which will cause some problems if the PA’s sister is completely insane.

Shepherd Book
Totally not your normal chaplain. Definitely one of those chaplains with mysterious prior service that he won’t tell you about but who somehow has a TS/SCI clearance and knows how to handle a weapon with ease. Very passionate about their beliefs but won’t shove them down your throat. Because of that, very rare and not welcome in most conventional houses of worship, hence their being drawn into the military. Can be most often found trying to find his way into a deploying combat unit.

Simon Tam
Rich white boy with oodles of privilege joins the Army and discovers that people like the infantry exist, gets punched in the face, learns how to adapt. That’s basically the Simon Tam story. Almost always an officer. And sometimes they don’t adapt.

River Tam
Yeah, so, probably was once a CIA test case for something or other but was then moved over to the military. Decidedly crazy. Can’t not control you with her mind, but perhaps can. Either found in a psyops unit or military intelligence. Either way, usually disturbs unit briefings by screaming loudly about imaginary things in the room. On second thought, might be the most genius thing ever to get out of briefs.

Not exactly sure how to categorize a Companion in military terms…but most probably civil affairs. No one understands exactly what she does but it makes everyone vaguely uncomfortable, so yes, most definitely a civil affairs officer. So mysterious that even the infantry guys stay away from her.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Music "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley

I figured I would change up "Monday Music" for a real oldies...Not big band oldies but mid 50's.  I know that Elvis was popular and my Dad had all of Elvis's records, until they were stolen during a PCS move.  He was really bent out of shape about that, it was the same PCS move where the movers drove a forklift through my Moms Schrank(German wall unit)  This was when we moved to Fort McClellen Alabama.   Well this song was played a lot by a lot of people and it is a huge cultural phenomenon.  This song has a segment in my sons band performance

The 1956 song "Love Me Tender" puts new words to a new musical adaptation of the Civil War song "Aura Lee," published in 1861. "Aura Lee" had music by George R. Poulton and words by W. W. Fosdick. It later became popular with college glee clubs and barbershop quartets. It was also sung at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
The principal writer of the lyrics was Ken Darby, who also adapted Poulton's Civil War tune, which was in the public domain. The song was published by Elvis Presley Music.  and credited to Presley and Darby's wife Vera Matson. Presley received co-songwriting credit due to his Hill & Range publishing deal which demanded songwriters concede 50 percent of the credit of their song if they wanted Presley to record it; Presley had songwriting input on only a very small number of the many songs he recorded  When asked why he credited his wife as co-songwriter along with Presley, Darby responded, "Because she didn't write it either."

As with nearly all his early RCA recordings, Presley took control in the studio despite not being credited as producer. He would regularly change arrangements and lyrics to the point that the original song was barely recognizable. Ken Darby described Elvis Presley's role in the creation of the song: "He adjusted the music and the lyrics to his own particular presentation. Elvis has the most terrific ear of anyone I have ever met. He does not read music, but he does not need to. All I had to do was play the song for him once, and he made it his own! He has perfect judgment of what is right for him. He exercised that judgment when he chose 'Love Me Tender' as his theme song."

Elvis Presley performed "Love Me Tender" on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, shortly before the single's release and about a month before the movie, Love Me Tender (for which the reworded song was originally written) was released. On the following day, RCA received 1 million advance orders, making it a gold record before it was even released. The studio, 20th Century Fox, originally wanted to call the movie The Reno Brothers but instead re-titled it Love Me Tender to capitalize on the song's popularity.
Movie producer David Weisbart would not allow Presley's regular band (Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana) to play on the soundtrack. Instead, The Ken Darby Trio provided the musical backing with Red Robinson on drums, Charles Prescott on bass, Vita Mumolo on guitar, and Jon Dodson on background vocals, with Presley providing only lead vocals.

The single debuted at #2 on the "Best Sellers in Stores" pop singles chart, the first time a single made its first appearance at the #2 position.
The song hit #1 on the Billboard charts the week ending November 3, 1956, remaining in the position for 5 weeks and reached no. 11 on the charts in the UK. "Love Me Tender" also reached number three for three weeks on the R&B chart. It was also an achievement as "Love Me Tender" succeeded another Presley single, "Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel" at #1. This occurrence marked two important events in Billboard history. During this time, Elvis accomplished another record; the longest consecutive stay at number one by a single artist, sixteen weeks, though this was tied by Boyz II Men in 1994 and stood for eight years until being surpassed by R&B singer Usher in 2004 who spent 19 weeks at the top of the charts.

This version was ranked #437 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
In 1968, Presley recorded a 52-second track entitled "Violet (Flower of N.Y.U.)" for the soundtrack of the film The Trouble with Girls. Unreleased until after Presley's death, the song was Presley's second adaptation of "Aura Lee".
Although Presley never re-recorded "Love Me Tender" in a studio setting, two live recordings of the song were released on the albums: NBC-TV Special (1968) and Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972), with additional performances from concert and television appearances being released after Presley's death. The song was also performed in the Golden Globe-winning concert film Elvis on Tour (1972). As seen in that film, and in other filmed and recorded accounts, Presley generally performed only a portion of the song's lyrics live, instead usually using the song as a device to interact with (usually) female members of the audience.
Love Me Tender was also included in the four song Extended Play album (EP) Love Me Tender of the songs from the film. The reprise of the song was not included on the EP.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Wildcat Fighter

I figured I would do a post on a fighter that to my mind never really got it's accolades because she was overshadowed by her more powerful sibling the F6F Hellcat.  I always liked the simple lines of the Wildcat, and in the hands of a good pilot, she could hold her own against the newer fighters that the Japanese had and she went toe to toe with the most feared Japanese fighter, the legendary "Zero". 
This is a prewar/early WWII version.  The "Red" meatball in our national insignia  was removed shortly after the war started.  There was fear of target misidentification in the haze of combat since the Japanese used the "meatball" on their national insignia.

Despite its slightly odd origins, the Grumman F4F Wildcat was one of the most valuable fighter planes in the US arsenal of WWII.

 Go to the Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, they will let you "touch" the airplane...The museum is well worth the visit.
The design for the Wildcat started out as a biplane, as they were still around for many years between the world wars. It was redesigned as a monoplane in 1936, but retained many of the features of its previous design, giving the Wildcat its distinctive, slightly squat look.

Another of the Wildcat’s visually distinctive features was its entirely riveted fuselage. It gave it an industrial look that was at odds with the canvas-covered planes of WWI. Welded or flattened rivets were beginning to be used to make the planes of the 1930s and 40s more aerodynamic.

 The Arrestor hook shown lowered was to snag the Arrestor cable that was strung across the deck of the carrier to show the plane down and stop it before it crashed into the other airplanes that were in front of the carrier
The Wildcat was designed and commissioned as a carrier-borne fighter. The relatively new and distinctive use of aircraft carriers was increasingly important, as the world’s most powerful militaries started to use air power for victory at sea. The limited space available for taking off and landing and storage of planes on ships created new design challenges. It meant a different sort of fighter was needed at sea.

Although the Wildcat would become a symbol of American air power, it was first purchased by the French, who placed an order in early 1939.

Later that year, the US Navy followed suit. In August 1939, they placed their first order for F4Fs with Grumman.

XF4F-3 prototype Wildcat in flight, 21 July 1939.

With the fall of France, the F4Fs destined to join the French Navy were diverted to Britain reaching Britain’s Fleet Air Arm in July 1940.

Like the Curtiss P-40, the F4F was given different nicknames by the British and Americans. Most people remember it by its more dynamic American name, the Wildcat. Initially known to the British as the Martlet, in January 1944, they too adopted the Wildcat name.

The F4F packed quite a punch due to its extensive arsenal. It carried six machine-guns in its wings and could also carry two bombs or six rockets. Its firepower made it popular with the crews flying it.

Less popular with pilots was the F4F’s handling. It was considered a tricky fighter to control both on the ground and in the air. For the pilot who could master it, the F4F was well worth the effort, as it was very maneuverable, a vital asset in the fast-moving action of dog fights.

One of the main features of the F4F-4 were the Sto-Wing-design folding wings, a Grumman patented design.

The F4F had a maximum speed of 332 miles per hour. It was not one of the fastest planes of the war, but neither was it the slowest.

The F4F could fly to around 34,700 feet, climbing at 2,000 feet per minute toward its top altitude.

The F4F was a tough plane to bring down. It had a self-sealing fuel tank and armor plating that gave it greater endurance than many of its opponents.
The self-sealing tank was particularly crucial to the survival of a plane. Without it, a bullet through the fuel tank could turn it into a fireball or force a plane to crash due to lack of fuel. Self-sealing meant that it took a cannon shot to inflict such devastation.

Wildcat of VF-6 testing out machine guns aboard USS Enterprise, 10 April 1942.

The first Martlets in British service joined No.804 Squadron in the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland. They were used to control routes from the North Sea to the Atlantic. In December 1940, two Martlets shot down a German plane, making them the first American-built, British-piloted aircraft to do so in WWII

The first F4Fs to go to sea in wartime were Martlets of No.802 Squadron. Operating from on board HMS Audacity on September 20, 1941, they shot down a German Focke-Wolf 200 which was following their convoy.

Martlet fighters on the flight deck of HMS Formidable, 1940s.

The F4F was involved in the extensive action in and around the Mediterranean. The Royal Naval Fighter Unit deployed Martlets over the Western Desert in Africa, where they fought Italian planes in the fall of 1941. They tangled with the Italians again in August the following year while escorting supply ships around Malta.
Further south, Martlets fought against Vichy French planes over Madagascar in May 1942.

By the time America joined the war in December 1941, the F4F was the most common plane on American aircraft carriers. It was also popular among US Marine Corps units based on land. Until the arrival of the Hellcat in 1943, it was the US Navy’s only carrier-borne fighter. It played a critical role in many of the Navy’s most important actions.

One of the most important land bases that Wildcats operated from was Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The site of the first offensive operations of America’s Pacific war, it was where many Wildcat successes occurred. One eight-plane flight achieved 72 aerial victories in the space of only 16 weeks.

The leader of the group, Captain Joe Foss, was one of the most successful pilots ever to get behind the controls of a Wildcat. During the fighting at Guadalcanal, he destroyed 26 Japanese planes, five of them in one day. For his remarkable achievements, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Watercolor of U.S. Marine Captain Joe Foss shooting down a Zero over Guadalcanal in October 1942.

Despite its many successes, the Wildcat struggled against Japanese Zeros. The US Navy phased it out in favor of the F6F Hellcat in 1943.
Wildcats of Taffy 3 taking off to strafe the Japanese fleet attacking it, the Japanese fleet included the IJN Yamato, the largest battleship ever built.  According to reports, the Japanese were stunned by the resistance and the Americans throwing themselves at the enemy with such abandon, the fighting spirit of the Americans forced the Japanese to withdraw thereby saving General McAuthur's beachhead in Leyte Gulf

The last Wildcat victory of the war took place over Norway in March 1945. Wildcats of the British No.822 Squadron shot down four German Messerschmitt Bf109s