Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Time Travel

So, what’s the last half of your month of May been like? Rainy weather, a few days kind of chilly, maybe fighting traffic on the way to work?

What say we do a little time travel on this Memorial Day weekend, to the pitching flight deck of the USS Belleau Wood, CVL-24, in the last part of May, 1945, as the war in the Pacific closed in on Japan. You’re in the “Fighting Thirty,” with Ensign Lewis M. Cobb. It was mostly an unremarkable time for VF-30, sandwiched in between much hotter fighting and a horrific typhoon that occurred in early June.

Since the F6F Grumman Hellcat is a single-seater, you’ll have to be content with looking over Lou’s shoulder. . .


Monday, May 14, 1945 At Sea
One of the roughest days of my life. Off at 0445 for two fields on the northern tip of Kyushu, had to fly up the inland sea and across 30 miles of mainland to hit them. AA was terrific saw 7 Jap fighters airborne but they didn't attack nor did we because we were low on gas. AA was very heavy. We were shot at during our whole retirement, for over 30 miles. Every second was living hell. Because of a crash we had to land on the Bennington. We were on the deck 30 minutes when we were launched again, this time to Shikoku. We hit two fields, straffing & bombing, AA fairly heavy. Carried 1 ton of bombs total and damaged two planes on the ground was in my plane from 0425 till 1400 except for 30 min. 8 hrs. flight time, am I tired?

Tuesday, May 15, 1945 At Sea
Refueled today. Weather was bad so all CAPS cancelled. I was so tired that I slept all day long without cracking the sack except to eat lunch. No mail, no "hot skinny."

Wednesday, May 16, 1945 At Sea
Still with logistic support group. Big meeting of squadron commanders over on the Hornet. Skipper brought back lots of news. We are supposed to lay around Okinawa for about 2 weeks and then we go to Leyte where Admiral Halsey will probably relieve Admiral Mitscher. All the Task Group commanders will be relieved also. There is a possibility that we will be relieved at Leyte though a air group shuffle isn't expected. Many air groups that came out at the same time we did have already gone back. We are now the senior CVL air group out here. If we aren't relieved at Leyte we are stuck with a long cruise because Halsey is expected to go on a rampage. Flew a 4 hr. CAP today.

Thursday, May 17, 1945 At Sea
Flew another 4 hr. CAP today, guess it will more of same for next 10 days. Sure wish we'd get some mail. Like to know how my honey is! I'm not counting too heavily on getting back on good time now.

Friday, May 18, 1945 At Sea
Flew a 3 3/4 hr. Rap CAP today. All quiet, nothing doing.

Saturday, May 19, 1945 At Sea
Was scheduled for two hops today, because of weather only got one 3 3/4 hr. CAP in. Flew at least an hour on instruments. Let down from 20,000 to 200 ft on instruments. Had heavy ice on our wings and wind shield. Ran through thick snow flurries. My radio went out but still had YE, came in on that. Was really a rugged hop. Two teams went on a strike to Tokuno but they did not find anything.
We refuel tomorrow, sure hope we get some mail.

Sunday, May 20, 1945 At Sea
Spent a peaceful Sunday. Did not have to fly, I spent the day playing cards, reading and this PM had some beer up in Jakes room. Just before chow we got plenty of mail I got 6 letters and some snapshots from Helen. Letters from everyone so I'm really happy.

Monday, May 21, 1945 At Sea
Lousy weather today but I flew two hops regardless. Had a 3 3/4 hr. I CAP around Amami this AM. Weather was very bad 1-200 ft ceiling & rain. Went on a strike against Tokuno this PM. Weather was zero-zero. To avoid my crew crashing into the mountains, I got my team separated from the skipper's and was unable to find him again, we returned. As bad a weather as I ever flown in.

Tuesday, May 22, 1945 At Sea
Led two divisions on a 3 3/4 I CAP today. Sturdy was shot down on a preceding hop against Koniya seaplane base, we stood by him until he was picked up by a PBM. Made one run on some warehouses and two runs on a radio station on Amami. Weather lousy.

Wednesday, May 23, 1945 At Sea
Day of rest for me and mine. Refueled today - weather very bad. Scuttlebutt is running rampant as to whether or not we will be relieved at Leyte. We are due in Leyte either on the 27th or 28th. Gosh how I'm hoping. have the 4 AM hop which means that I'm up at 0215 guess I'll hit the sack.

Thursday, May 24, 1945 At Sea
Weather bad today but I still got in two hops. We didn't take off as early as scheduled though because of weather. Got in a total of 8 hrs. both ICAP's. No business, tired rear end.

Friday, May 25, 1945 At Sea
Didn't fly today because of weather, only 4 teams flew. Pixton shot down a Frank and Skipper got a betty. The expected air attack took place today but because of weather it didn't bother us much. I think many Jap planes were shot down around Okinawa.

Saturday, May 26, 1945 At Sea
Off the deck at 5 AM for one of the most harrowing hops I've ever had. It was black and rainy with ceiling from 0-100 ft. Before we were launched the Hornet squadron commander, who was airborne, told them not to launch anymore planes because of terrible weather. We were launched on instruments and climbed to 4,000 ft before breaking out. Soon after the order came to land and we let down and landed. There were 2 mid air collisions and 2 planes that spun in. Upwards of 150 planes jettisoned bombs and rockets in the drink, what a farce!

Sunday, May 27, 1945 At Sea
Refueled today, did not have to fly. Rec'd 15 letters, 4 of them from Helen. I'm afraid she will be in for a disappointment because I don't see relief in sight for us yet. Guess its back to Okinawa for more support missions tomorrow. A jap plane landed wheels up on Yontan and 21 japs jumped out and blew up many planes and aviation gas before they were shot. Guess thats the reason we aren't going to Leyte on schedule.

Monday, May 28, 1945 At Sea
Did not fly today because of weather. One hop got up. As of midnight last night we became the 3rd fleet. Halsey has taken over though the change in command is not complete yet. Believe we will go into port for that. We are now Task Group 38.1. That really will ream us if we don't get relieved before he runs amuk.

Tuesday, May 29, 1945 At Sea
Flew a 4 hr TCAP this AM over Okinawa, weather was better but no business.

Wednesday, May 30, 1945 At Sea
Bad weather, no flights today. Refuel tomorrow.

Thursday, May 31, 1945 At Sea
Refueled today so I spent a peaceful day in the sack. Was surprised to get 4 letters, didn't expect any today. Weather pretty bad.


Whew! We survived! But for a little perspective, what were you doing when you were twenty-two years old? You’re probably like me—very grateful for those who showed up to fight when the call came.

To all those who gave the last full-measure of devotion, and to all those who risked everything but came home alive: THANK YOU!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tell me again why I should vote for Trump?

This little screed is addressed to the Trump Voter:

That the GOP party leaders are telling us to unite around Trump tells us something about the politics of the GOP leaders. You see, the GOP used to stand for something that was distinct from the Democratic Party: individual responsibility, small government, fiscal responsibility, and a strong defense. But when the leaders of the GOP can unite around a man who advocates at best—at best—only one of those positions, it tells me that the GOP leadership (and therefore the Party, for all practical purposes) has cast off its moorings and is adrift in the same post-modern soup occupied by the Democrats.

By what rational reason would I vote for a man who opposes everything I stand for? Let’s say I vote for him and he wins. Exactly what has the country gained? I’ll tell you: a liberal Democrat with an R after his name. If you trans-gender Hillary, you get something close to Trump.

Ahh, you say, but the judges! the Supreme Court! Don’t forget the Supreme Court! If Hillary gets in she will load the Court with libs that will do permanent damage, irreversible damage to the country.

Yes, she will. But maybe you should have thought about that a little earlier? Perhaps instead of bandwagoning with one of the most reprehensible characters to come down the pike since Machiavelli you should have been voting in the primaries for one of the people who had the character, the chops, the experience, the guts, worldview, the intelligence to actually uphold conservative Republican values. There were, after all, plenty of them.

Instead of indulging in Trump’s anger and triumphal bombast, why didn’t you take a close look at the man? It’s too late now. You’ve already jumped off the cliff, and dragged us along with you.

So, you think Trump will appoint better judges than Hillary? Why?
  • Is it because of the keen understanding he displays of the judiciary when he speaks of “judges signing bills?”
  • Is it because of his commitment to the Republican Party, as illustrated by his history of support of Democrats?
  • Is it because of his desire to protect the helpless, such as he has illustrated in his use of Eminent Domain?
  • Is it because of his commitment to stop special interests from buying politicians, as he illustrated in his contributions to Hillery, et al?
  • Is it because of his concern for the rule of law, as illustrated by his command of the US military to ignore the Geneva Convention?
  • Is it because of his concern for jobs for Americans, as illustrated by his properties, hotels, and other concerns importing foreign labor?
  • Is it because of his remarkable integrity and honesty, as illustrated by Trump University, and the myriad class-action lawsuits brought by people have been cheated?
  • Is it because of his incisive understanding of business and finance, as illustrated by his companies’ multiple bankruptcies?
  • Is it because of the consistency of his pro-life position, as illustrated by his support of Planned Parenthood?
  • Is it because of his consistent positions on small government, as illustrated by his ideas on healthcare?
  • Is it because of his great respect for women, as illustrated by his multiple marriages, shameless and open affairs, and so on?
  • And we could go on and on, but it shouldn’t be necessary if you are paying attention.

So, remind me again: on what grounds do you believe he will do better than Hillary? Or is it because he says he’s going to do “amazing things,” and “you’ll really be amazed” at all the “amazing things” he will do? Yes. I suspect you will be quite “amazed.” But perhaps not in a good way.