Category Archives: history

LOVE Day, 1 April 1945

okinawa

marine artillery

Seventy years ago today was Easter Sunday.  On 1 April 1945, elements of the United States 10th Army, under General Simon B. Buckner, landed on the island of Okinawa.  The landings were almost unopposed, but the 110,000 Japanese defenders soon resisted with the savagery and skill familiar to every US combat leader in the Pacific.  Half a million US troops would come ashore in Operation ICEBERG, beginning 82 days of brutal, unrelenting combat for the island.   When the battle was finished, General Buckner and one other US General were dead, along with nearly 100,000 of the island’s defenders, and 13,000 US soldiers, sailors, and Marines.  (Near the end of the battle, US Marine MajGen Roy Geiger would temporarily command US 10th Army after the death of General Buckner, until Joe Stillwell’s arrival.)

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The Japanese had fought furiously, employing in massive waves the kamikaze tactics against the invasion fleet that were first employed off Leyte.  Among the US killed were 4,900 sailors, as the US Navy lost 36 ships sunk and 368 damaged by the suicide onslaught.   One in three Japanese civilians were killed or committed suicide in the fighting, nearly 150,000 in total.  The battle, which ended with the island being declared secure on 22 June, was a terrifying harbinger of what the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands would be.

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The “Saipan ratio” used to compute casualty estimates for the invasion of Japan, was proven a dramatic underestimation by US casualties on Okinawa, which were almost four times the earlier calculations.  In addition, Allied intelligence of Japanese air strength on Formosa (within range to help defend Okinawa) had pegged the number of operational aircraft at under one hundred.  There was, in fact, eight times that figure, as the US and British Naval forces would discover to their dismay.  Okinawa (and Iwo Jima) weighed heavily in the decision to employ atomic weapons against Japan as an alternative to invasion.  With what occupation forces found on the Home Islands, the men destined for the invasions Honshu and Kyushu likely breathed a great collective sigh of relief.

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Filed under Air Force, army, Artillery, guns, history

Muskogee War Memorial and the USS Batfish

This is one of those happy accidents that you have to be ready for when traveling. For our trip to Oklahoma, I wanted my kids to learn about the different Native American tribes. After some reading and research, I decided on the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee. In hindsight, I should have focused on the Cherokee in Tahlequah. The Five Civilized Tribes Museum consists entirely of “Andrew Jackson moved us here, here’s some art.” The art was good but unsatisfying for the left-brains of the family.

A pamphlet stand for area attractions included one for the USS Batfish. A submarine in land-locked Oklahoma? This deserved further investigation.

The USS Batfish is a Balao-class submarine.

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Filed under history, navy, Personal, ships, World War II

Michelle Obama: Hooray for People Who Look Like Me!

michelle-obama-pointing

Continuing the theme of Identity Politics of her race-baiting husband, Michelle Obama declares “Black Girls Rock!”

Oh, I know, it is just a harmless event to boost the self-esteem of a racially defined section of our population.   I am also certain that any similar event called “White Girls Rock!” would be accepted with open arms by “da Black Communitah”, and no celebrities who spoke there would ever be accused of being hateful racist bigots who have neo-Nazi tendencies, or might, in fact, be Klan members.

Sectarianism and the racial double standard.  The gifts that keep giving.

 

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Filed under anthropology, Around the web, girls, history, leadership, obama, Politics, Uncategorized

Inspection Ready

Can you imagine an NCO meeting a Colonel, let alone a five star general, shirtless and greasy today?

Hap

My how times have changed.

There’s very much a place for spit and polish in the service. But there’s also very much a time for senior officers to see past the dog and pony shows and see what the actual conditions are.

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Tulsa Air and Space Museum

The Tulsa Air and Space Museum was a nice find.  A retired American Airlines MD-80 is parked outside, and an F-14 Tomcat is among the aircraft inside.

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The museum pays homage to Oklahoma aviators and astronauts, including a large display about Wiley Post, Will Rogers, and their ill-fated flight in Alaska.  Another display described the last B-24 built at the Douglas plant in Tulsa, the “Tulsamerican”, which later went down in the Adriatic. Art deco pieces of the old airport building are preserved, as well as a couple of old Spartan airplanes. Oklahoma astronauts include Apollo 10 and Apollo-Soyuz commander Thomas Stafford, Skylab astronauts Owen Garriott and William Pogue, and Shuttle astronauts Shannon Lucid and John Herrington.

Mr. RFH liked this, the Jumo 004 turbojet engine for the Me-262.
Jumo

The kids liked the interactive displays and the knowledgeable docent.
mini me
back

Last but not least was the planetarium, which had a number of shows. I liked this display, an Eagle project made of a couple of thousand Rubik’s Cubes.
2000 rubiks

They also had up-to-date stargazer news, including the rendezvous with the Dawn mission to Ceres, the solar eclipse earlier in March, and updates on the James Webb Space Telescope.

On the same road, not far from the museum is Evelyn’s Soul Food Restaurant. This was a nice place to have lunch then return to the museum.

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Filed under history, Personal, planes, space, World War II

Thoughts on Palm Sunday

I just returned from spring break, and while I usually write about space, this post will be a little different.

Athiests are trying to remove the cross of burned steel beams from the World Trade Center Museum. Somehow, the Islamic crescent of red maples at the Flight 93 Memorial is hunky-dory. History has been whitewashed so that God is not mentioned. Mayflower Compact? Washington’s first Inaugural Address? Lincoln’s second Inaugural Address? Fuhgeddaboutit. My husband’s liberal cousin and her friends lamented the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case with “Who would want to work for a Christian anyway?” (Uh, me, please.)

So imagine my surprise in finding a national monument, part of the National Parks Service, that was not cleansed by the politically correct. I almost hesitate to talk about it, lest someone in DC yell, “We missed one!” and hustle out there to “fix” it. Still, I think it’s worth bringing to your attention.

10 miles off Interstate 44, near the town of Diamond, Missouri, is the George Washington Carver National Monument. Dig this: (click to embiggen)

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Carver’s Formula for Success

 

Carver believed in God and described his conversion when he was ten years old. He said, “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”

Now, zoom in on that picture for this:

Tell that to the yahoos on the other side of the state in Ferguson, waiting for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to make their lives better. This was said by a man born a slave, who walked eight miles to attend the school in Neosho because the school in Diamond was for whites only. A man who was accepted at Highland College in Kansas, only to be turned away when they found out he was black. A man who went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State (yay, Jay!), the first black man to do so, without quotas, without affirmative action, probably fighting every step of the way. A man who witnessed one lynching and was nearly lynched himself for traveling with a photographer who was a white woman. A man invited to speak at conferences where he had to enter through the service entrance and eat meals with the hired help. A man recognized for his contributions with the establishment of a national monument despite the days of Jim Crow.

A museum true to the man it’s dedicated to – it was indeed a delightful find. I wish we had more like him.

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Salient Visible Characteristics of Fighting Ships

from Fahey’s “Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet

I have a knack for finding interesting militarily historical artifacts and after reviewing my purchases at the second annual Pritzker Military Museum and Library booksale, this is a lesson I keep having to relearn. I had that feeling I should purchase that copy of Fahey’s  “The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet“, in this instance, available there as a 5 volume set, which already having a tendency to listen to feeling, I purchased.

I found a document from the Office of Naval Intelligence dated 11 March 1942 titled: “Salient Visible Characteristics of Fighting Ships.” It provides an interesting glimpse of what the US Navy was like during World War 2. Thusly:

Hesitation caused by the uncertainty as to whether a vessel is friend or foe may lose for the aviator his opportunity to attack, and for the naval officer may result in the loss of a ship or failure to discharge a mission or destroy an enemy vessel.

Heady and still very relevant stuff especially for those currently deployed.

Below you’ll see my pictures of some of the document. Enjoy:

 
 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

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Filed under ARMY TRAINING, history, navy, ships, veterans, war, World War II