Reblog: Why Do We Remember the Casualties of War?

Denzil Walton, of Discovering Belgium, has penned a thoughtful essay prior to Armistice/Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the US) next month, on why do we remember the casualties of war.

Some of his points include:

  • Does it remind us of the horrors of war?
  • Does remembrance help avoid future conflicts?
  • Does it express our gratitude?
Old Guard Tomb Soldier at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

The Ghost and Miss Maddy

Maddy has been selected as the subject for this year’s Library Halloween t-shirt so I decided it was an opportune time to catch up with the Midway Library’s favorite mascot. 

  • What do you think about being the inspiration for this  year’s Halloween t -shirt?  Is your ghost, your buddy from Annex 2, Monty?

Mom and I were both happy and surprised when we found out about this year’s Halloween t-shirt.  Yes, Monty is the ghost in Annex 2, but I wouldn’t call him my buddy.  I don’t feel comfortable with him and I worry about him around my Mom.  After all, it is my job to protect her.

  • Your mom recently had another fall.  Was this as scary as the fall out of the  helicopter?  How did you help with her rehab?

It was very scary.  This time we were home all by ourselves.  I knew immediately something was wrong—my Mom fell so hard.  She hit her head on the door frame, broke her left arm and fractured her left foot.  Mom got herself up, made several phone calls, put her arm in a sling, and got my food, bowls and bed together and walked me up to the neighbors.  She left me there and told me she was going to the doctors.  That was a very long doctor’s appointment–she was gone 5 days!

When she finally got home, she couldn’t lift me up by herself so we came up with a way where I would jump up and she would get her right hand under my bottom and lift me into the chair.  It was a little clumsy, but it worked. 

After a couple of weeks, the doctor had her start bending her elbow, so I would sit on her lap and give her moral support.  If I thought she was slowing down, I would pat my paw on her tummy.  When she was done with those exercises, I would get a treat for being such a big help to her.

  • Do you like Halloween?  Do you greet the Trick or Treaters that come to do the door?  Do you dress  up for Halloween?

Yes, I do like Halloween.  Mom dresses me up for Halloween.  I have been an angel, a ballerina, a pumpkin and a ladybug.  I love putting on costumes—they make me feel very pretty and everyone always smiles. 

We are in Idaho a lot for Halloween, so I just normally sit on the couch with my Mom when the kids come to the door.

  • What is your favorite season?

My favorite seasons are fall and winter.  I like the cooler weather and Mom always decorates the house, especially for Christmas.  There are lots of good scents, pretty lights and different things in the house.  For Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas I get treats, so it’s hard to choose which one I like best.

  • Do you look forward to your Mom going back to work?  What changes do you expect because of COVID?

I know before Mom got hurt we weren’t going to the ship and I couldn’t understand—in fact we weren’t going anywhere and I really like going for rides.  We went to the ship last week for the first time for a meeting and there weren’t hardly any of my special friends there. The ship didn’t have as many people there either.  I don’t understand what COVID is, but I don’t like it.  I am looking forward to things going back to normal—hopefully that will be soon. 

  • I hear the Midway Library staff wants to write a book based upon the t-shirt.  Do you think it should be a picture book, comic book, or graphic novel?  What will be your part of the book writing and preparing?  You are going to be a media star and  you heard it hear first!

The meeting Mom and I went to last week was about the book.  I’m not sure what all of it was about but I know my Mom was very impressed with the work that had been done—I heard her tell them that.  My only part of the meeting was lying on the floor and listening and then getting pets from everyone there. 

  • Are there other publicity outlets you would like to explore—plush Maddy toys, YouTube channel,  Instagram, Pinterest?

Since I really like squeaky plush toys, maybe a Maddy plush toy would be something interesting.

  • What do you and your Mom have planned for Thanksgiving?

We’re going to go to my Aunt Shelba’s house in Riverside County for Thanksgiving.  In August, my cousin and her husband moved very close to Mom and me and they will be going to Aunt Shelba’s as well.  It will be a fun day—Aunt Shelba and I are very close.

  • What do you think of all of the wild fires on the West Coast?   Have you been affected by them yet?

The fires are terrible and I know they have hurt a lot of people.  We had one not too far from our home and with the Santa Ana winds moving in there was fear that it could come close to our home.  It was a very tiring day.  Mom spent a lot of time going from room to room and putting things together and since I knew she was upset, I had to follow her everywhere.  Finally when the afternoon came and I was exhausted, I would lay in the hallway so I could see what room she was in. 

  • What is one thing you would like your legions of adoring fans to know about you? 

I just hope everyone is well and that soon we get to do the things we always did.  I miss seeing all of my friends–you know I’m a very social girl!

Since Maddy and Nan answered these question, they are both happily back on the Midway.

Reblog: Book Review of the Photographer of the Lost

Britain made the decision not to repatriate the bodies of servicemen killed on the Western Front. Instead, the families would be sent a photograph of the grave marker. Denzil’s book review, The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott, covers this, in addition to the story of a widow who receives a photo of her husband looking older than the last time she saw him. The photo arrives in an envelope with a smudged date stamp and no other information. To find out more, click here.

WWII Sketchbooks have been Digitized by Library of Congress

Eyewitness drawings of military life created while Victor Lundy served in the U.S. Army; from his training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina; through transport aboard ship across the Atlantic; to frontline duty at various locations in France.

To Lundy, who survived the war to become an architecture, sketching was as natural as breathing.

From Modern Met, “Lundy, who went on to have an acclaimed architecture career, donated his eight sketchbooks to the Library of Congress in 2009. The sketchbooks have all been digitally archived and are now available for viewing online. Lundy’s gift is a precious one, as in this age of continued war and terror it is more important than ever to learn from our past history.”

Janine’s Mission 46

Reblogged from National Anthem Girl

Some of you may recall Operation Holiday salute from last year – well you all did such an AMAZING job that Veteran’s Last Patrol decided to make this annual effort! 

Teachers, managers, families, coaches, associations, companies…this is a GREAT group project.  There are veterans who are in hospice care confined due to social distancing that could use extra love this holiday season. Please take an hour or so out of your day to write to them.  

Create your own cards, buy a batch of cards, send postcards…they will love it all!  You can also use the very same cards that I used during my 50 state journeyHere is all the information you will need to participate: 

Patriotic citizens from around the country will join us in bringing some holiday cheer to America’s veterans in hospice care. Last year we received over 4000 cards from Americans that we then delivered to veterans in nursing homes and hospices. The response was amazing. It was a beautiful thing to see the “WOW” in their eyes.  This year we again wish to receive cards and small gifts from grateful patriots, folks with a family military connection, children, clubs, schools, and other organizations that would like to help us express gratitude one final time during the holiday season to those who have served in our Armed Forces. We’re motivated to deliver as many Christmas & Holiday Greeting Cards to veterans in hospice care around the country as we can.

To support us please mail your cards to:

Veteran Last Patrol
140B Venture Blvd
Spartanburg, SC, 29306
The salutation on the card itself should be: “Dear Veteran” or “Dear Hero” We would like to receive all cards not later than DEC 7th.
Learn more about Veteran’s Last Patrol’s year-round efforts here.

Poem for the end of a war

Some people continue to deny the truth, no matter what war or conflict is being fought. My least favorite group are the Holocaust deniers.

Pacific Paratrooper

B-29 air raid damage in Hachioji, Japan, 1 Aug. 1945

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

GI hooks a tow rope to a Type 97 Te-Ke tank during cleanup of the Okinawa battlefields at the end of WWII in 1945.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

U.S. and Japanese soldiers collaborate to rebuild Japan

Someone, broom…

View original post 261 more words

Reblog of the Forgotten Mechanic

“Planes can fly without pilots, but they can’t fly without mechanics.”

Remembering the Forgotten Mechanic 

Through the history of world aviation many names have come to the fore. Great deeds of the past in our memory will last as they’re joined by more and more.

When man first started to labor in his quest to conquer the sky, He was designer, mechanic and pilot and he built a machine that would fly. But somehow the order got twisted, and then in the public’s eye the only man that could be seen was the man who knew how to fly.

The pilot was everyone’s hero, he was brave, he was bold, he was grand. As he stood by his battered old biplane with his goggles and helmet in hand. To be sure, these pilots all earned it, to fly you have to have guts. And they blazed their names in the hall of fame on wings with bailing wire struts.

But for each of these flying heroes, there were thousands of little renown, and these were the men who worked on the planes but who kept their feet on the ground. We all know the name of Lindbergh, and we’ve read of his flight to fame. But think, if you can, of his maintenance man. Can you remember his name?

And think of our wartime heroes Gabreski, Jabara, and Scott and all the acclaim that they got. Can you tell me the names of their crew chiefs? A thousand to one you cannot.

Now pilots are highly trained people, and wings are not easily won. But without the work of the maintenance man, our pilots would march with a gun. So when you see mighty jet aircraft as they mark their way through the air, remember the grease-stained man with the wrench in his hand; he is the man who put them there.

Phil Eakin Earns Over 16,000 Volunteer Hours for the USS Midway (CV-41) Library

A man year equals 2080 hours a year. Phil has been volunteered the equivalent of over 8 years.

Some of the highlight from Phil’s profile in the Scuttlebutt, by editor Carl Snow.

  • Philip Joseph Eakin was born on March 14 and grew up in Ft Wayne, Indiana
  • After graduating from Central Catholic HS in Ft Wayne, he attended and graduated from Villanova University near Philadelphia, PA
  • After graduation with the financial aide of an NROTC scholarship, Phil was commissioned a Navy Ensign and after some preliminary training,was assigned to USS Higbee (DD-806) as first the navigator and then the CIC (Combat Information Center) Officer
  • During his tour on the Higbee he was involved in the “Battle of Dong Hoi Gulf” where the Higbee was bombed by a North Vietnamese MiG-17
  • Phil admits that this tour was his most rewarding in terms of professional development and contribution to a naval unit
  • Phil changed focus from being a ship handler to work for Navy Intelligence. He worked for Defense Intelligence Agency and was later assigned to tours in San Diego, Hawaii, and Australia.
  • While in Australia, he met his future wife, Carol, who was working for the Australian government at the time.
  • After Phil left Australia, he received orders as the Intelligence Officer on the USS Tarawa (LHA-1). When the Tarawa was on a West Pac deployment, Carol arranged to meet Phil in Hong Kong where they sort of became engaged.
  • Phil married Carol in Canberra. They moved to Sabre Springs, north of San Diego, CA
  • Commander Phil Eakin and Carol had back to back tour in Hawaii where Phil retired. They moved to Australia after that: Melbourne, Perth, and finally Darwin.
  • During his time in Australia, one of Phil’s job was a punter, where he used his database and intelligence skills to bet on horse racing for a living, working for the leading Australian bookmaker in Darwin.
  • Meanwhile, Carol got a UN job supporting the East Timor mission.
  • They returned to San Diego, but Carol got recruited for another UN post to Khartoum, Sudan. Phil remained in SD.
  • In 2006, Phil took some guests aboard the USS Midway and impressed by the Docents. Because he had thought about getting a Masters in Library Science, he became interested in the Museum’s Library. He worked for a docent for two years and has worked the library for about fourteen years.

Why does Phil volunteer for the USS Midway?

Being around good people. I missed the camaraderie of the Navy and found that again at the Midway.”

POW/ MIA Day is 18 September

POW/MIA Recognition Day is commemorated on the third Friday of every September, a date that’s not associated with any particular war. In 1979, Congress and the president passed resolutions making it official after the families of the more than 2,500 Vietnam War POW/MIAs pushed for full accountability.

According to a Congressional Research Service report on POWs:

  • 130,201 World War II service members were imprisoned; 14,072 them died
  • 7,140 Korean War service members were imprisoned; 2,701 of them died
  • 725 Vietnam War service members were imprisoned; 64 of them died
  • 37 service members were imprisoned during conflicts since 1991, including both Gulf wars; none are still in captivity

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 83,114 Americans who fought in those wars are still missing, including:

  • 73,515 from World War II (an approximate number due to limited or conflicting data)
  • 7,841 from the Korean War
  • 1,626 from Vietnam
  • 126 from the Cold War
  • 6 from conflicts since 1991

The DPAA said about 75 percent of those missing Americans are somewhere in the Asia-Pacific. More than 41,000 have been presumed lost at sea.

Efforts to find those men, identify them and bring them home are constant. For example, the DPAA said that in the past year it has accounted for 41 men missing during the Korean War: 10 had been previously buried as unknowns, 26 were from remains turned over by North Korea in the 1990s, one was from a recovery operation, and four were combinations of remains and recovery operations.

Missing Man Honors This table is set up in many military and veterans clubs to remember the Missing.

As you entered the room, you may have noticed a special table; it is reserved to honor our missing men.

Set for six, the empty chairs represent Americans who were or are missing from each of the services – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard – and civilians, all with us in spirit.

Some here were very young, or not yet born, when the Vietnam War began; however, all Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served the cause of freedom in a special way.

Let me explain the meaning of this table, and then join me for a moment of silent prayer.

The table is round – to show our everlasting concern.

The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.

The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers.

The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured or missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast.

The chairs are/chair is empty – they are missing…………….. (moment of silence)

Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America’s POW/MIAs, to the success of our efforts to account for them, and to the safety of all now serving our nation!

Pentagon Memorial to 9-11

From the website for the Pentagon Memorial

The Pentagon Memorial design was developed by Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman. Their vision for the memorial was selected from more than 1,100 submissions by a panel of architects, family members and public figures in the Washington, D.C. area, including two former secretaries of defense.

The Pentagon Memorial captures a specific moment in time – 9:37 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, when 184 souls were lost. The $22 million memorial sits on two acres of land right outside where the jetliner struck the building.

There are 184 memorial benches dedicated to each of the victims, and they’re organized in a timeline of their ages, from the youngest victim, 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, to the oldest, 71-year-old John Yamnicky.

The site includes the pictures and a brief biography of the people who were killed that day. Merian Serva, who was mentioned in Ann Parham’s Escape from the Pentagon, has this information.

Marian was a congressional affairs contact officer for the Army. She had worked at the Pentagon for 15 years. She met her high school sweetheart in Greenville, North Carolina, and later eloped. He enlisted in the Army, and they traveled the world, raising their daughter. She indulged her love of all things outdoors, including growing tomatoes, flowers and exotic shrubs at their Stafford County home.

Marian Serva

Troy Prince, Creator of Midway Sailor Website

I have come to know Troy through all of the Midway related research, documents, pictures, and ephemera he has shared with the USS Midway (CV-41) Library over the years. His site Midway Sailor, is a wonderful source for all things Midway.

Troy as a Toon


I started out in life as a “Military Brat” because my father was in the U.S. Navy. I spent my early years moving around the States and the world. After high school, I decided that I “liked” the military life so much that I joined up myself. I spent ten years in the Navy, with nine of those stationed in Japan. I was assigned to the Gauntlets of VAQ-136, an EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare squadron for the first three years. Our home port was NAF Atsugi, Japan and we embarked aboard USS Midway, CV-41. When Midway was replaced by USS Independence, CV-62, I cross-decked over to the  Indy with the squadron. After I left the squadron in 1992, I transferred to a two year shore duty billet at NAF Atsugi AIMD. I then transferred to another shore duty billet at NAF Misawa AIMD for four years.

In 1998 I decided that it was time to move on and I left the service. I moved to Long Beach, Washington and went back to school for a while. After school, I worked as a custom furniture craftsman and remodeled a house. When those jobs were finished, I opened an auto detailing business.  The detailing business was great, but Washington’s notorious rainy winters put a stop to it. I then went to work for a resort beachfront hotel and started a website design business. In October of 2000, I moved across the country to Minnesota, where I am currently the Office Administrator for a company in Minneapolis.

During my younger years, I attended eight elementary schools, two junior high schools, and two high schools. Military life had my family frequently moving around the world. I have lived in San Diego, California (actually, I was born there) – Thousand Oaks, California – Key West, Florida (twice) – Bermuda – North Ogden and Park City, Utah – Pt. Mugu, California (near Oxnard) – Ferndale, California (near Eureka) – Haverfordwest, Wales – High Wycombe, England (this is where I graduated from London Central High School) – Honolulu, Hawaii – Orlando, Florida – Memphis, Tennessee, – Atsugi, Misawa, and Yokosuka, Japan – Long Beach, Washington – and most recently Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Throughout my life’s travels, I have had the opportunity to live in or visit several countries. I have been to Abu Dhabi (UAE), Australia, Bermuda, Diego Garcia, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Wales. I visited many of these countries several times and they became second homes to me. In each, I tried to learn their culture and history. I made new friends and have wonderful memories of the times spent in each country. I have sailed the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, Persian Gulf, and have crossed the equator twice.

Interview with Troy

  1. You obviously have a deep love for the USS Midway.  What did you do on the Midway and what about the ship caused you to fall in love with her?

I was an Aviation Machinist’s Mate in VAQ-136 Gauntlets aboard the Midway from January 1989 to August 1991. I loved the close relationship between the Air Wing and ship’s company. Although Midway was frequently at sea and the hours were long, the places we visited and things we saw made it an incredible experience.

  • What made you decide to establish your Midway website?  How has it  evolved over the years?

I created the USS Midway section as a subsection of my original personal website back in January 1998 and it was originally intended to simply share the history of this great ship. However, over the years, I have acquired an enormous collection of photos, stories, memorabilia, etc. and it has grown significantly. I still collect Midway-related photos, cruise books, newsletters, postal cachets, and other items to share on my website. Admittedly, I have lately been posting the majority of these items on Facebook instead of on my website, but I do plan on adding them there as well. I have also shared every publication and document I’ve collected with the USS Midway Museum’s Research Library.

  • You have an excellent rapport with the Midway Library.  How did you and the Library get in touch with each other?

Because of the research I had already finished at the time, I was approached by the USS Midway Museum in January 2004 (their name was San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum at the time) and was asked permission to use the information from my website to help them develop the beginnings of their historical records and publications for the Museum. In June 2004, I went on a vacation to San Diego to attend the Museum’s Opening Week. Upon arrival, I was (willingly) “Shanghaied” by the Museum’s Safety Team and put to work for the entire 13 days I was there. In more recent years, I had been receiving emails from docents asking questions and I had also reached out to the Midway Library if I ever had any questions. In April 2019, I began corresponding with Bonnie Brown on a regular basis and it soon developed into sharing information, as well as a good friendship.

After Troy was shanghaied to be part of the USS Midway Safety Team the week that the Museum opened, he is standing next to the roses he painted while stationed on the Midway
  • How many hours a week or a month to spend on the care and feeding of your website?

The time I spend on my website has varied over the years. I used to work on it at least two hours and sometimes longer every day. Although I haven’t done as much updating to the website in recent years, I have still been working on research projects as much as I can. I post most of my new photo and memorabilia acquisitions on Facebook in the various Midway groups. Depending on what’s going on in life, I am working on Midway projects almost every day. The times can vary from just a few minutes to over eight hours.

  • You’ve done an incredible amount of research on the Midway.  What sources do you use the most?

In the early years of my research, I relied on books from my personal library, which consists of over 1,000 books. The Internet has always been a source, but it’s not always reliable. In the past few years, a lot more information has become available online and in the form of ship deck logs and Command Operation Reports. Since developing a close relationship with the Midway Library, I’ve also had access to more newsletters and publications produced by the ship.

  • What  has been your most difficult question or project to research?

The most difficult question has been “What was Midway’s breakaway song during UNREPs?” It seems no one can agree on one specific song and many times the answer comes from their memory of being on a different ship. The most involved research has been (and continues to be) my “Deployments & Port Visits, Air Wings & Squadrons” project. It begins in 1943 and will end in 1992 with every underway period, port visit, significant event or incident, and squadron embarked listed in detail.

  • What things about the Midway would you still like to  find out?

Since I was in the Air Wing during my time aboard, I never visited many of the ship’s company spaces or learned about the jobs they did.

  • What would you like to do or learn on your next visit to the USS Midway?

See my answer to question number seven.

  • What  would you like to do next with the website?

I’ve been making subtle cosmetic changes to it over the years and would like to get that finished. I have also been exploring a new way of displaying the thousands of photos on the website. I also need to add the huge amount of material that I’ve only been sharing on Facebook, as well as finishing the long list of research projects I’ve started.

Reblog: WWII Oldest Living Vet Birthday Card Request–Deadline 1 September

The following info is from the National World War II Museum’s Facebook Page. Deadline is 9/1. 

Mr Brooks, Oldest LIving WWII Vet
Mr Lawrence. Brooks, America’s oldest living WWII et.  Now and then–still looks about the same

This year, the birthday celebration of America’s oldest living WWII veteran Lawrence Brooks will look a little different. With the global pandemic, we must forgo our traditional get together in favor of some socially distanced fun. Mr. Brooks, a New Orleans native, will turn 111 this year, and we are asking everyone to send in birthday cards to the Museum so that we can deliver them to his home. Please send your card to the address below by Tuesday, September 1:

Please send your card to the address below by Tuesday, September 1:

The National WWII Museum
c/o Happy 111th Mr. Brooks!
945 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Watch Mr. Brook’s Oral History:

Read an article from his 110th Birthday.

Phil Speaks Good ‘Stralian

Now let me say that I’m impressed by your ability to communicate in ‘Stralian. Your service history shows you have a preference for local ‘attractions’ (!)—Darryl Hill, RAAF ret.

Phil get's his 9000 hr award Apr 2016
Phil Eakin getting his 9,000 hour award on the USS Midway. Phil now has over 15,000 volunteer hours.

You are one lucky bloke.  Just so happens I shared a house on the beach with a few young (at the time)  Aussie naval officers in Long Beach, California in 1975-76 when the HMAS Perth arrived for an overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard and I happened to be a hard-working  LT for the destroyer squadron C.O. who was assigned to be the Perth’s sponsor.  I Invited the first couple guys to join me since all my U.S, flatmates were ordered around the country.  The other Aussie officers invited themselves in, it seems.  Still, a very good time and they got huge cans of dirt-cheap Fosters and hard stuff through the Aussie Consulate in L.A. the whole time they stayed.  I’ve still got a well-worn Aussie flag they purloined off the Perth and gave me as a parting gift (don’t tell anybody).

As one thing leads to another, 5 years later I have orders from Hawaii to the Naval  Post-Graduate School at Monterey, California, a swan if there ever was one, and they say they need a single guy as close as they can get to Australia to fill a brand new billet at Joint Intelligence Organization(JIO), Canberra.  I swore after Long Beach I’d never turn down orders to Oz, so, off I go.  Never looked back.  Wonderful time.  Some Aussie sheila stole my heart there toward the end, so I went back to Canberra in 1985 and married her.  Left Oz on orders as a single guy though.  Couldn’t keep the women off me.  They are not used to guys treating them right, you know.  And I had brought a canary yellow Mazda RX-7 with me from Hawaii.  Anyway, my Best Man was one of the Aussie LT’s I had flatted with in Long Beach.  By then he was Navigator at Fleet HQ.  He had arranged a swan for me to join Fleet Commander’s flagship HMAS Supply at Cannes and ride with them back to Sydney.  I gave a couple of briefs on Soviet subs and got to drink piss in the wardroom with the doctors and the dentists every night.

One of my bosses at JIO was an A-4 pilot named  Errol Kavanaugh.  A good guy.  Held the airspeed record at the time, for the world I think, in an A-4  from Sydney to Perth.  Died piloting a Soviet MiG-17 or MiiG-19  in an air show not long after he retired.  Sad.  My other boss at JIO was a Navy CDR named Ken Tuckey.  After JIO he went to the Oz Embassy in Wash. DC as an attache and got invited to the Kentucky  Derby because of his name.

Carol Eakin Employee of Month
Carol Eakin, Phil’s sheila and wife. Carol is the Military Event s Manager for the USS Midway Museum

Anyway, that sheila and I are still married.  We lived in Melbourne, Perth, and Darwin over 12 years after I retired from the U.S. Navy in 1992.  If you come to the U.S. and need an interpreter, I can do it for you.

Nothing wrong with RAAF guys or P-3 pilots.  Worked with a lot of RAAF types at JIO and socialized with a bunch of others out in town.  I leased a flat in Campbell not far from JIO owned by a whizzened RAAF Sqdnldr at JIO.  Got a RAAF flatmate to whom I was introduced at my first Quiet Sunday Afternoon function at another RAAF guy’s place.  This flatmate, Piggy Padgett, was a F-111 BN by trade but on desk duty in Canberra.  We flatted together for about two years before he got orders elsewhere.  We shared an interest in Australian horse racing and continued contact over the years.  I went back to the Gold Coast from San Diego for his funeral about 10 years ago – prostate cancer – common F-111 crew ailment it seems.  I had learned how he got the name Piggy while at JIO, but didn’t learn how he came to be a BN until his memorial service.  Seems he was a young RAAF pilot who managed to land his aircraft wheels-up at Amberley.  Between the stories his Aussie mates told about him at the service and my documentation of our time together in Canberra and later years, the officiating clergyman said it was the most entertaining memorial service he’d ever attended.  I still get invites to the Royal Avoir Club of Australia annual luncheons or some such.  I think I am an honorary penguin or something.

I was at JIO July 81 – July 84.  While I started as a SWO I had shifted to Intelligence by then.  I would have seen all the Rainform Reds, Whites, Purples, Blacks, if that was the system you guys were using back then, and it seems to me I remember them.

The United States and Australia have been strong allies since before the Second World War.  Phil’s story is an example of a strong friendship between the two countries’ military services.



Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt 18: Handwritten Cards for Service Members

Armed Forces Shields

GP Cox provided the link for this high school senior’s one-girl crusade to provide personal, handwritten cards for service members.  The Pandemic put a crimp in her original plans to deliver 2,020 cards in 2020, but she found a way around that.  Since she is from my state of Virginia, I wanted to share her story.

Reblog: Flying Tigers-Flew Against the Japanese from China

How many of you have ever heard of the Flying Tigers?  Before the US entered WWII following the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, volunteer pilots were flying in China against the Japanese.

A one-year contract to live and work in China, flying, repairing and making airplanes. Pay is as much as $13,700 a month with 30 days off a year. Housing is included and you’ll get an extra $550 a month for food. On top of that, there’s an extra $9,000 for every Japanese airplane you destroy — no limit.
That’s the deal — in inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars — that a few hundred Americans took in 1941 to become the heroes, and some would even say the saviors, of China.

Flying Tigers

Janine’s Mission 43– Veteran’s Last Patrol Volunteer

Art AlumA few missions back, we sent out cards to the vets that Veteran’s Last Patrol works with.  I recently learned that one of their volunteers could use some ‘get well’ messages from all of us. Here is what Veteran’s Last Patrol founder, Claude Schmid shared with me about Art Allum:

One of Last Patrol’s earliest volunteers, Art Allum, has been a rock and a gentleman. Art’s a submariner who did 20 years in the Navy. He visits veterans in hospice to provide that end-of-life friendship we’re all about. He’s also gone the extra mile to help at least one track down an important personal record. Beyond that, Art has made food can goods deliveries to veterans unable to leave their homes, he’s participated in numerous honor ceremonies, and has driven disabled, solitary veterans to medical appointments. (The last two have been over 100 miles away.)

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago Art went in for emergency heart surgery. His recovery was touch and go for a week, but now he’s roaring back. He’s already cutting his grass. And this afternoon he says to me on the phone: “Let me know what I can do to help. I’m ready.”

I highly doubt Mr. Allum would ever ask for praise or recognition – but that’s all the more of a reason to flood his mailbox with continued prayers for his full recovery and gratitude for his service. He is a great example of selfless service by his continued commitment to serve and support his fellow veterans.

Send your cards on or before August 19th to:

Veteran’s Last Patrol

attn: Art Allum

140B Venture Blvd.

Spartanburg, SC 29304

Ship’s Bells

Bells have a centuries-long tradition of varied use in the navies and merchant fleets of the world.

  • Signaling,
  • keeping time,
  • sounding alarms

are important in a ship’s routine and readiness. Their functional and ceremonial uses have made them a symbol of considerable significance to the United States Navy.

Carl Snow’s sea story:  I was on a ship (USS Lockwood, FF-1064) when we pulled into port and couldn’t find the quarterdeck bell. The watch was set and one of the cooks brought up the blade from the bread mixer, which was hung in the quarterdeck shack and a large serving spoon from the galley was used to strike the blade. It worked very well until the XO noticed that the “bell sounds different” and wanted to know why. In less than a half-hour, the bell was found and mounted in its proper place.

Carl Snow is the Scuttlebutt editor in chief for the USS Midway (CV-41)  Research Library and sea storyteller par excellence.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica

Ship’s bell, bell used as early as the 15th century to sound the time on board ship by striking each half hour of a watch. The mariner’s day is divided into six watches, each four hours long, except that the 4:00 to 8:00 pm watch may be “dogged”; that is, divided into the first and second dogwatches, each two hours long, to allow men on duty to have their evening meal. Through the 18th century, time was ordinarily measured on board ship by using a 30-minute sandglass. The quartermaster or ship’s boy turned the glass when the sand ran through, and it became customary for him to strike the bell as he did so. Eight times in each watch the glass was turned and the number of strokes on the bell indicated the number of half hours elapsed after the men came on deck. These strokes are sounded in pairs, with an interval following each pair.

Ship's bells chart

A series of rapid, successive strokes on the bell is used as a warning during fog, and, at other times, this is a fire signal.

In 1798, Paul Revere cast a bell weighing 242 pounds for the frigate Constitution.

ship's bell--USS Constitution
In 1798, Paul Revere cast a bell weighing 242 pounds for the frigate Constitution.

From the US Naval History and Command Center:

It is of interest to note that the use of a ship’s bell contributed to the richest single prize captured by the American Navy during the War of Independence. While a Continental Squadron under Commodore Whipple lay-to, wrapped in Newfoundland fog in a July morning in 1779, the sound of ships’ bells and an occasional signal gun could be heard a short distance off. When the fog lifted the Americans discovered that they had fallen in with the richly-laden enemy Jamaica Fleet. Ten ships were captured as prizes, which – together with their cargo – were valued at more than a million dollars.

Other uses for the bell:

Originating in the British Royal Navy, it is a custom to baptize a child under the ship’s bell; sometimes the bell is used as a christening bowl, filled with water for the ceremony. Once the baptism is completed, the child’s name may be inscribed inside the bell. The bell remains with the ship while in service and with the Department of the Navy after decommissioning. In this way, an invisible tie is created between the country, the ship and its citizens.