Armed Forces Day is May 21, 2022

From the USO, by Andrew Lee

Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May, and it is the day Americans celebrate their military.

Armed Forces Day was created on August 31, 1949, by then-Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson, to replace separate Army, Navy, and Air Force Days. The event stemmed from the Armed Forces’ unification under one Department of Defense by then-President Harry S. Truman when he signed the National Security Act into law on July 26, 1947.

While some may be tempted to point out that the U.S. Coast Guard does not technically fall under the Department of Defense when not at war, the National Security Act of 1947 was very specific about the term “Armed Forces” in the definitions section 606 paragraph eight, which reads, “The term ‘Armed Forces’ means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.” (It should now also include the Space Force.)

The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on May 20, 1950. The annual Army Day Parade held in Washington, D.C., during the first week of April was replaced by an Armed Forces Day Parade held during the third week of May.

  • In 2021, 69% of the public had faith in the Armed Forces
  • Roughly 18 million Americans or about 7 percent of the adult population were veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2018. Ranging from 18 to over 100 years old,
  • Enlisted military members come from all fifty states and the District of Columbia, but some contribute more than others. In absolute terms, the top five for recruitment in 2018 were California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and New York, which is reflective of their relatively large populations.
  • Women make up 16 percent of the enlisted forces and 19 percent of the officer corps.
  • The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest employer in the U.S. There are more than 1.4 million active-duty personnel, 1.1 million National Guard and Reserve personnel and 700,000 civilians working for the DoD.
  • 31 of the 44 presidents have served in the military. President Teddy Roosevelt earned the Medal of Honor, the highest honor in the military. The only enlisted President who didn’t become an officer was James Buchanan.
  • The U.S. Military is one of the largest providers of international aid and disaster relief. Ships called Marine Expeditionary Units patrol the oceans watching for signs of danger and can reach the shoreline of nearly any location on Earth within 48 hours.
  • The DoD owns nearly 30 million acres of land worldwide. In the U.S., it is the single largest consumer of energy.
  • Only 28 percent of Americans ages 17-23 are eligible for military service. Nearly 1.4 million Americans, or .4 percent of the U.S. population, are active military personnel.
  • Military members are more highly educated than the general population. Those who enlist are required to have a high school diploma or a GED. That means that 99 percent of the military has a high school education. On the other hand, only 60 percent of the general population has a high school education.
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition that mapped out the west would not have happened without the U.S. Army. We may remember them only as explorers, but the members of the expedition were actually a small Army unit.
  • The U.S. military began to desegregate long before civilian institutions. Schools and other public institutions were ordered to desegregate in 1954, but many lagged behind into the 1980s. The Army, on the other hand, had the first desegregated troops during WWI.
  • The first time women were allowed to enlist in a non-nursing role was during WWI. The first women in the military worked in clerical roles and as Signal Corps operators. This allowed more men to take on combat roles. In 1948, President Harry Truman signed an anti-discrimination bill. This attempted to put an end to racial discrimination in the military, but also discrimination against women joining the military. This bill allowed women to enlist in times of peace, rather than just wartime.

Are We Allowed to Have Pride in our Ancestors (No Matter Who They May Have Been)?

I’ve been thinking about A Birthday Cake For George Washington “written, illustrated, and edited by a diverse group of people of color, including editor Andrea Davis Pinkney, who is black and a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award.” The book was pulled by Scholastic in 2016 because “(a)lmost as soon as the book was released, it received withering criticism for whitewashing the history of slavery.”

One of the people who work at the Jefferson Library at Monticello is descended from five of the enslaved families of Monticello. He is proud of his heritage and is active in tracking down the oral history of those families.

A recent 60 Minutes featured a story about Fred Miller, a 56-year-old Air Force vet. He bought the Sharswood Plantation in Pittsylvania County, Virginia to host gatherings for his extended family in the area, only to discover that his great, great grandparents Violet and David Miller had been enslaved people on that plantation. “Buying this home has opened a window into the Miller family’s past that was not discussed within their family, and that many African American families struggle to obtain.”

To me, these three examples show that despite how reprehensible slavery was, people still managed to accomplish extraordinary things that their descendants are proud of. Should we denigrate or ignore those accomplishments because they were achieved by enslaved people? Is sharing that heritage to be dismissed as “Woke” because it does not follow the traditional narrative?

Evolving Bully Culture

For several weeks, Holly has ruled the pasture and the fenceline during chow call. The good news for Buddy, the Bullies, and Nanny is that Holly is usually the last animal to amble up to the fence so they have a reasonable chance of getting most of the offerings.

This past week, the three donkeys have been grazing close to the fence when we show up. (We usually show up in early or midafternoon but we can also show up in the morning or late afternoon so there is no set time on when the chowline will be open. We also do not show up every day.)

This week also had a chance of rain almost every day. We know from experience that the goats are reluctant to come out of the shed and get wet. However, our visits usually coincide when it is not raining.

On Thursday, Bully Senior was the only goat to come out to partake of the offerings, when Bob hee-hawed. We saw Bully Junior gazing at us from the shed. Normally he is the first one out of the shed and trots at a brisk pace so he gets at least one of the treats before being butted by Bully Senior.

That day we also noticed that Holly had a bite on her back, sort of like the type of bite she tries to use on the goats or Buddy.

Holly’s bite can be seen as a red blotch just below her mane.

When we went to the farm on Friday, not a single goat appeared. It was just the three donkeys–so Holly only had Buddy to boss around. She seemed to enjoy chasing him off.

I’ll be curious to see who shows up and in what condition on our next visit.

This weekend the bullies were at one end of the fence while the donkeys were in the middle. A swarm of children was feeding the animals so there was enough distraction and feeders to accommodate all of the animals.

May 16–Full Moon

Is there a full moon in May 2022?

The full “Flower Moon” will be 225,015 miles/362,127 km from Earth on May 16, 2022, so it’s technically a “supermoon,” though the full Moons of June, July, and August this year are actually closer.

Known as the Flower or Blood Moon, it is also a full lunar eclipse.

  • It’s a longest ‘prime-time totality’ this century–lasting 84 minutes
  • It’s a technical ‘supermoon. This total lunar eclipse occurs close to the Moon’s perigee—the point in space when it’s closest to the Earth during its monthly orbit—which will make the Moon appear about 7% larger than average.
  • It’s a global event visible by half the planet
  • It’s got a once-in-430 years ‘twin’ eclipse (next one is 7-8 November 2022)
Flower moon, Blood moon too
Egg-laying and Budding 
are other names 
we have for you

Across the pond your different name
was Milk from Anglo Saxon fame
The Celts called you after Mothers
Bright, and Hare, and Grass were others

By any name your light will dim
when across your surface earth's shadows skim
The umbra will last for over an hour
with only the penumbra to show off your power.

Vlad the Imploder

He planned an invasion
that was supposed to be quick
It wasn't successful
Is Vlad really sick?

The carnage was high
Lots of buildings destroyed
Deceptions and lies
were immediately deployed

Casulties mounted 
progress was halted
Troops redeployed
and civilians assaulted

The Ukranian victory
not  yet achieved
Russian alibies
seldom believed

Can  a Jew be a Nazi
as Vlad has proclaimed?
This re-written history
where the victim is blamed.

They made me do it!
Vlad's head is exploding,
in the meantime
his victory just keeps imploding.

Cracked brick wall painted with a Ukrainian flag on the left and a Russian flag on the right.

Jefferson Library: A Virtual Tour

From the webpage: “In 2022, the Jefferson Library at Monticello celebrates its 20th anniversary. From its beginnings as just an idea for a “scholarly campus” to the busy center of discovery and connection it has become, the library has experienced great growth and change over the last two decades. In this exhibit we tell the story of the library so far through the lenses of place, people and community, collections, and contribution.”

I volunteer here one day a week and catalog at a higher level than I ever had to when I was working.

Jefferson Library at 20.

New USS Midway (CV-41) Research Library Instagram Page

Recently, the USS Midway Library launched an Instagram Page to highlight some of the fascinating things contained within the Research Library. Although not a lending library, the library does have an unusual collection of books, memorabilia, CDs, Videos, cruise books, and other things related to the library’s core areas of interest

  • To be a repository for resources that will help to preserve global and national naval aviation and naval history.
  • To provide support for staff research projects within the museum.
  • To provide a resource for the San Diego community.

The Instagram page is the brainchild of Lindsay, a Library volunteer since 2016. Her proposal was Purpose:  To highlight our diverse and interesting collection of books, magazines, and other items while promoting awareness of the library’s available services It is published on Tuesday and Friday.

A Playful Breeze

The breeze played
hide and seek
with the leaves
in the grove of trees.

Leaves in the foreground
rustled, then stopped.
Treetops quivered as
 the breeze changed course
to chase
through the lower limbs.

the trees all shook
when the breeze exhaled
only to pause
until the next breath.

My friend and fellow poet, JeanMarie Olivieri, recommended some improvements that I like. What do you think?

The breeze played
hide and seek
with the leaves

Leaves rustled, then stopped.
Treetops quivered as
the breeze changed course
to chase
through the lower limbs.

The trees all shook
when the breeze exhaled
only to pause
until the next breath.   

May 10th is Mother Ocean Day

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call

Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall

Youve seen it all, youve seen it all

From Jimmy Buffet’s Mother Ocean

The creator and the introducer of this day are South Florida Kayak Fishing Club, which is relatively a new celebration, and the day is introduced first in 2013. Then the City of Miami declared this day officially. Then the day is celebrated for wondering the beauty of the ocean, and it is quite surprising for the residents of Florida who come forward with this idea of celebrating the day.

Mother Ocean Day is celebrated on May 10th of every year. Mother Ocean Day spotlights the entire magnitude of the body of water, which makes our life possible on Earth. Marine biologists are unsure how many creatures are living in the ocean. Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth and contain 97% of our water.

  • Pacific Ocean is the biggest one.
  • You can find mountains and volcanoes on the bottom of oceans.
  • The deepest point in the ocean is the Mariana Trench
  • Oceanic evaporation is the source of most rainfall.
  • Ocean temperatures determine climate
  • Earth is the only known planet that has oceans (as far as we know for now).
  • The biggest animal in the ocean is the blue whale.
  • We have explored less than 5% of the ocean (to date).
From you womb we crept,
many of us yearning to 
embrace you again.

Short Quiz

There are only nine questions.

This is a quiz for people who know everything! I found out in a hurry that I didn’t. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers…

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several or more growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn’t been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters ‘ dw’ and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter ‘S.’

Answers To Quiz:

1 The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing.

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls … The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.

3 Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb

.4 The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry

.5 How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle?It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6 Three English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle…

7 Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8 The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: Lettuce.

9 Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with ‘S’:Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

Top Gun Maverick Premiere Review

From A Colleague at the USS Midway Museum

Attended the World Premiere at the North Island Naval Air Station base theater on 4 May as a guest of my wife.  That event kicked off about 2:45 PM.  We got in a little after 2 PM, found some decent seats on the aisle up the back, and then just watched the world roll by.  Lots of sailors and officers in their whites, a few Marines, and even a handful of Navy midshipmen and whatever the Air Force equivalent is called (space cadets?). 

We were called to order by a CNAP protocol type with the words that everybody was welcome to take all the photos and video they wanted with their phones of the upcoming introductions, but use of the phone in a similar manner during the movie would result in the offender’s phone being taken from them by roving security teams – and being arrested. 

Soon after, members of the royal party made their way from the back of the theater to the stage.  The 3-star Emcee was CNAF/CNAP himself, affectionately known as Air Boss.  He allowed as how in 1986 when TOPGUN I had come out that he was a fresh young pilot with a RAG of some sort getting ready to learn how to fly in the fleet.  He said at that time the Navy was having difficulty in recruiting pilots.  One year after TOPGUN hit the cinemas, Navy pilot accessions had increased five-fold; everybody wanted to be a Navy jet fighter pilot.  So, the Navy was especially thankful for version I and was only too happy to participate in the sequel.  In doing so, the Navy got to show off its pilots and sailors once again. 

As if to underscore Big Navy commitment, the person the Air Boss introduced first was SECNAV.  SECNAV did not spend overlong saying just what one would have hoped/expected he would say.  Then the big behind-the-scenes guys for the movie were introduced, and finally the Producer, one Tom Cruise, who accepted the microphone and said a few words.  The premier had been delayed excessively by the pandemic, so Tom was very happy to see nobody wearing masks, etc.  He explained how he put his actor/pilot-RIOs through a four-aircraft-type training regime (prop trainer, jet trainer, etc.) so they could get used to flying before being subjected to all the G’s they were going to pull in F/A-18s.  He said all the internal cockpit shots with the cast were in real aircraft, and he was happy the Navy had gone along with that scenario. 

Then it was time for the movie to start.  Maverick departed and went to the USS Carl Vinson over at the carrier piers where some other function was to take place while the film rolled.  From the Vinson, while the film still rolled, he flew by corporate helo over to the flight deck of the Midway Museum for what was billed as a Fan Fest.  No movie, just a live appearance by Tom and all the major cast members in typical Hollywood fashion, staged by Paramount Pictures, complete with lots of red carpet, MTV, etc. 

If you wish to see the Fan Fest, it is on You Tube and runs for an hour and 17 minutes. 

I have not watched the whole thing.  One of my two recommended good bits is Tom Cruise landing on the Midway – starting at about the 21:45 mark. 

I think that is where the above link begins, but you can go back and watch from the very beginning if you wish.  The other bit I like is a 4 X F/A-18 flyby starting at about the 1:04:25 point while a song Lady Gaga recorded, supposedly for this movie, plays in the background.  I don’t remember hearing it in the movie.  

If there are red carpet fans in your family, this UK Daily Mail article has it in spades – all the celeb photos, video clips, etc.

The guy on the left plays Goose’s son. 

HUMINT collected on the ship today includes reports from multiple sources that one of the last to leave the Midway was Tom Cruise.  Evidently, he really enjoyed the Fan Fest.  Midway types were instructed by Paramount not to even look any of the celebrities in the eye at any point in the festivities, but Tom approached one of our Midway types late in the piece and asked if she’d like to take a selfie with him in the shot. 

The Midway uses a very life-like Tom Cruise imposter for TOPGUN movie nights on the flight deck, usually once a year.  The guy is French, has studied Tom’s mannerisms very hard, and pulls off a really good impression of Tom, besides looking very much like Maverick.  This is the guy. 

Somehow, he got issued a VIP ticket for the Fan Fest and showed up wearing a non-descript t-shirt and a baseball cap, but he still got thrown off the ship by Paramount Security because women were flocking to him for photos. 

After the Fan Fest, the attendees had tickets to a late afternoon/evening showing of the movie at the CIVIC Theater in downtown San Diego.  That was followed by some sort of eating function at the new Brigantine Restaurant on the waterfront where Anthony’s Fish Grotto used to be. 

We went directly home from the NAS North Island theater when the World Premiere showing was over.  I wanted us to go to the I-Bar until the traffic cleared out, but … 

And the movie?  I didn’t care much for the original and expected a dud as a sequel, but I quite enjoyed it.  Found myself wiping tears away more than once, but I am getting old and seem to cry at the drop of a hat these days.  Only caught myself thinking, “That could never happen in real life,” a couple of times.  Cheers,