Set Ale, with Carl and Phil

When somebody donated what they thought was a ship’s mobile compass, both Phil and Carl thought it might be a boat compass which lead to the following sea stories.

Phil-It would be a boat compass, as I remember them.  In my first ship, a Gearing-class destroyer, the Captain’s gig had a boat compass.  It is a magnetic compass and had to be compensated once a year.  My first job of the ship was a Navigator, and to the navigator falls the job of compensating the ship’s magnetic compasses.  The ship’s magnetic compass is compensated through a process call swinging ship.  The ship steers cardinal heading in sequence and the difference between the magnetic and gyro compasses are noted.


For the gig, we had go swing that, so myself and a couple quartermasters and a coxswain and engineman take the boat to a sheltered spot in Subic Bay.  Turns out it is closer to Subic City than to Olongapo.  After an hour or so out there on a hot and sunny tropical day, a local comes up to us in a bonca boat (native outrigger craft) from Subic City and asks us if we’d like to buy a nice cold beer.  A real leadership test.  Doing ship’s business during working hours.  They guys all wanted one, and we were far away from our ship, so I said OK.  And it was just one piece. (Phil remembers that each man had a San Miguel).

Carl-This is getting farther away from boat compasses, but when I was aboard USS Bainbridge, a nuclear-powered cruiser, one of the Bosun’s Mates was due to ship over. I think he was a first-class petty officer and had something to do with the guys who manned and maintained the captain’s gig. The ship was anchored jut out of Pearl Harbor during an ORE and the bosun asked to be re-enlisted in the gig. Captain “Wild Bill” Sheridan granted his request and volunteered to do the shipping over ceremony himself. They put the gig in the water and loaded a case of cold beer from the captain’s “pic-nick” supplies. The gig laid out a half-mile from the ship, the Bosun’s Mate re-enlisted, and the half-dozen or so folks aboard all toasted him with the captain’s beer. They laid alongside the ship and dis-embarked, the gig was hauled in, and they all went back to work. So, I think Phil was on solid ground with the gig crew, which is NOT a commissioned vessel, and their beer break.

Escape from the Pentagon Library

This is a written interview with my friend and National Defense University Library co-worker, Lily McGovern. In September 2001, Lily was a reference librarian at the Pentagon Library (PL) . The Library was in the section of the Pentagon hit by the plane, but because it mostly in the inner most or A ring, the plane did not penetrate that far into the building.

During the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—60 years to the day after construction began on the Pentagon—a hijacked plane struck the building, killing 189 people and damaging roughly one-third of the building.

From History.Com
  1. Where were you when the plane hit  and what were you doing?

I was at my desk in the Pentagon Library (PL).  I had been on vacation and it was my first day back at work.  Someone heard about events in New York so we were watching the planes hit the World Trade Center on the TV in the PL.  It was upsetting to watch the tragedy in NY, especially the second plane hitting the World Trade Center and the collapse of the Twin Towers, so I decided to get back to work at my desk.

I should add for anyone who is not familiar with the layout of the Pentagon that the PL was previously in space that straddled wedges 1 and 2 of the Pentagon renovation project.  The temporary wall erected between wedge 1 and wedge 2 was actually in the library area.  There was a lot of planning and physical work to rearrange the PL and squeeze into a much smaller space.  Since the temporary wall between the renovation wedges cut off the A ring at the PL, the library gained some space from what had been the A ring corridor.  The front door was now in the A ring. For over a year we could hear the sounds of wedge 1 being stripped to the bare concrete, construction equipment backing up, jackhammers, saws, drills and all that. 

When I heard the big boom, I immediately thought that someone had dropped a big heavy something in wedge 1.  They were moving offices into the renovated area and we knew that shelving was being installed in the part of wedge 1 where the PL would be.

Note: From the Pentagon Renovation Program, Wikipedia:

Wedge 1 was the first above-ground section of the Pentagon to undergo renovation. Demolition of the existing structure and hazardous material abatement began in 1998, and the first move-in of tenants occurred in February 2001. The last tenants moved in on February 6, 2003.

The renovation of Wedge 1 involved the renovation of one million square feet of space. This involved the removal of 83 million pounds of debris (70% of this was able to be recycled), and 28 million pounds of hazardous material. The renovation also saw the installation of eight new passenger elevators, new blast-resistant windows, escalators traversing all five floors, skylights, a new HVAC system, a new communications infrastructure, and a new open-plan office layout.

The Library was between Wedge 1 (in blue) and Wedge 2 (in light green). It was on the first floor in the A (or inner most ring.)

2. How as the word spread on what to do? What did you do?

One of my coworkers saw the heavy glass doors of the PL swing open as we heard the big boom.  He yelled that it was a bomb and to get away from the windows which lined that side of the library.  I recall being told to evacuate the PL and that people who exited using our fire evacuation route came back saying there was smoke that direction.  I was checking with the other librarians to see that we got everyone to leave and when we were sure, I left. I don’t recall whether the fire alarms went off. Funny how many details I have forgotten over the years. You might think I’d remember it so clearly but not thinking or talking about my experience for years has faded my memory.

3. Were you allowed to get your personal items, such as a purse or take anything with you when you exited the library?

Luckily since I was at my desk. I shut down my computer and grabbed my purse, pretty much as a reflex action.  During fire drills, it might take a while to get back into the building and I seem to always need a tissue.  My friends who left with only their Pentagon badges, which we had to wear at all times, were not allowed back into the PL to retrieve their purses and belongings for several months.  They had to cancel credit cards, replace driver’s licenses, and any important items. They also didn’t have money or their Metro passes unless they kept them with their badge..

4. How did you exit the Library and where did you go?

Since our usual exit route had smoke, we exited into the A ring through the PL’s main door and over to the exit to north parking. Going through the Pentagon there was no sign of smoke and the only unusual thing was people moving fast towards the exit or in the direction of where the smoke was seen by my coworkers.  I felt no great danger as I exited the building.

 I carpooled with Ann Parham who was the Army Librarian and worked in an office in the renovated and reopened part of Wedge 1. We were parked in north parking so I went to her car.  Once I was outside the building, security guards were telling people to move away from the building and smoke was visible around the side of the building that faces Henderson Hall and Arlington Cemetery.  People were saying that a plane had hit the building.  It was a very sunny and warm day for September.  Very soon the guards were telling us that we had to move farther away from the parking lot because there was another airplane that could be headed for us.  I scribbled a note to Ann that I was out of the building and OK, placed it under the windshield wiper and started walking away with some of my coworkers.

5. How did they account for everyone and were there any library staff who could not be accounted for?

There was no opportunity to account for everyone once we evacuated.  It was standard procedure to insure no one was left behind during a fire drill and that was done before the PL Director Katherine Earnest and the last librarians left.  Once outside we were told to move farther from the building and parking lot so couldn’t meet at our assigned spot.  Ms. Earnest and division supervisors called employees at home to account for everyone.  I know it must have taken quite a while and I’m not sure when Ms. Earnest arrived home.  Cell phones were not working by the time we were out of the building and moving.  The call volume had crashed the system.  I’m not sure when cell service was restored since I didn’t own a cell phone at the time. By the next day I heard that everyone was accounted for and all were unscathed.

6. How and when did you get home?

We had walked some distance from the parking lot and came to a road. A woman pulled her car to the side of the road and yelled out that she was headed to Alexandria and could give a ride to anyone who needed one.  I told my friends to jump in and we could go to my house.  I am eternally grateful to this woman and regret that even though she told us her name, none of us could remember it later.  She was a real good Samaritan to the 4 of us.

She asked where in Alexandria we wanted to go.  Since one of my friends lived in Maryland and rode the Metro to work, I asked her to drop us at the King Street Metro.  My house is within walking distance so the rest of us could go there and use our land line to call their families.

As we traveled towards Alexandria listening to the car radio, we were hearing all the confusing and sometimes inaccurate reports.  Traffic was getting heavy, and our angel was getting worried about getting home to her family.  She asked if we would mind if she dropped us off in Old Town rather than at the Metro.   I knew that she had saved us a lot of walking on a hot day and that we could easily walk from there.  We thanked her profusely as she dropped us off.  I only wish I could have thanked her more.

We were all hot, thirsty, and eager to contact our families.  We found a little shop where we could buy cold drinks and use a pay phone.  I was able to call my husband at home to tell him that I’m OK and will be arriving with friends. We walked to the Metro and checked that it was running through to Maryland.  I gave Shirley money for the ride home and my home phone number in case the Metro stranded her in Virginia and wished her luck. The rest of us continued on foot to my house.

7. How did you feel during and after the evacuation?

I didn’t feel in immediate danger of losing my life at any point.  I did feel shocked at what I saw happening in New York and that a plane crashed into my workplace.  I was relieved that there had been no smoke in the PL even though there was a fire not that far away in the building.  I knew from previous events that there could be a fire in a part of the Pentagon that I was not even aware of till the next day or more.  The building was built during wartime to withstand bombing and to limit damage.  That and its sheer size made me more confident that we could walk out safely. 

I was more concerned after I knew that it was a plane that struck the building and when we were told there was an unaccounted-for plane that might be headed for us.  It was a totally unplanned for type of evacuation so everyone was on their own when we were ordered to get away.  As we were walking, I was thinking how I’d get home if I wasn’t able to go back and find Ann.  Pentagon Metro was out of the question, Pentagon City would have meant going back through the south parking lot to cross under 395, and I wasn’t sure if Metro from Arlington Cemetery would have taken me past the Pentagon to get to Alexandria. I didn’t know the bus routes on streets near the Pentagon. I had used an express bus from Fairlington to the Pentagon on occasion but figured I’d have to change buses in order to get from Arlington to Alexandria. Everything was happening fast. News was sketchy and hard to come by as I walked so evaluating options was very difficult. I really didn’t have time to feel scared because I was trying to figure out what to do. When the wonderful lady offered us a ride, it beat all the options I had in mind.  I was very relieved to know I could get to Alexandria and confident that I’d be able to walk from there. I wasn’t sure what forms of public transportation were working or how well but I can walk 10 miles .

8. What did you do the next day or the next week?

I was told to stay home until notified where to report to work by my supervisor. On the 12th I talked with family and friends who called to see if I was OK, checked in with coworkers to see how they got home, and called a friend who worked across the street from the World Trade Center in NYC.  I don’t recall how long it was till we were told to report to an office building in Crystal City.  When we first arrived at our temporary space in recently vacated offices it had been stripped to the bare concrete floor, walls between rooms were sparse and showed signs that it was expected they would be replaced.  Furniture was an odd assortment of old metal desks and various chairs.  We didn’t have computers or access to internet so couldn’t really accomplish work tasks like database searches or looking for material in the library catalog. We moved several times to different locations in those office buildings as better space was available. Equipment improved and it felt less like being a refugee.

We could not access the library collection in the Pentagon or any personal belongings for 2 months. That part of the building was considered a crime scene and no one was allowed in.  It also took time for an assessment of the building to determine if it was structurally safe. There were fires in the roof area that had to be fought for days and more water was used. 

The PL Director was only able to go into the Library after a few weeks to assess what damage was done.  By that point there was water and mold from the water used to fight the fires. 

9. How were they able to save the materials in the library?  What was saved?  Did you have a role in that?

Most of the Library materials were saved due to the efforts of the PL Director.  She made the case for hiring a firm that specializes in remediation after fires or flooding.  They brought in fans and dehumidifiers to reduce the dampness and stop further mold growth.  I didn’t have any specific role in the efforts.  The PL staff were doing whatever tasks the Director assigned them.  I worked off site at the National Defense University Library for a short while because they offered office space and their computer access until we had that in the Crystal City offices.   

10. How long did it take for you to feel ‘normal’?   When were you first allowed back in the library?  

The Pentagon Library never felt normal to me again. The Library never reopened in the old space in wedge 2 or in the space that was designated in Wedge 1 before 9/11.  I left the Pentagon Library for another job in January 2002.  Books were moved into space in the Crystal City office building as the PL Director wrangled to get space anywhere in the Pentagon to provide service and let our community know we were still able to assist with their information needs.   

I recall that it was about 2 months before people were allowed back to get their purses, car keys, house keys, cell phones and important papers.  It was a hard hat area, no electricity for lights and instructions to not spend any more time than necessary getting only the most important items. Later we were allowed to clear out our desks.

11. Is there anything you would like to share with us about the experience?

I have led a very fortunate life.  From growing up in a loving middle-class family in rural central Pennsylvania, to having a rewarding career doing work I really enjoyed, to good health and good luck in more ways than I can count, I have benefited from circumstances beyond my control. I can’t claim to deserve the luck that allowed me to walk out of the Pentagon and have a total stranger offer me a ride home.  I think of the people who lost their lives, had injuries and a traumatic exit (like my carpool partner Ann), or the horrible journeys that some of my coworkers had getting home. I have no words to express my gratitude for a million things that could have gone wrong that didn’t for me on that memorable day.  My hope is that I can return the favor of the woman who went out of her way to assist strangers.

One way to assist strangers is to remind people to keep their Metro card (your local transit pass) and some form of money with their government badge.  In case you must evacuate quickly you will have means to get home.  If your workplace allows you to keep your phone at your desk or on your person, you may be able to keep your pass and money in your phone case.  Having a plan on how to get home or to some agreed upon meeting place really pays off in an emergency.  I doubt that anyone in Washington, DC expected to have to evacuate their workplace due to an earthquake when one struck in 2011.  Fires, shootings, and other extreme events can and do happen.  Please give some thought to how you could get home if something awful happens or how you would let your family/friends know where you are or where you would go if you can’t contact them by phone or email. Ask your supervisor if you don’t know the evacuation and meet up plan for your workplace.  

Ted Williams, USMC

Theodore Samuel Williams
August 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002

Ted Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, primarily as a left fielder for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960; his career was interrupted by military service during World War II and the Korean War. Nicknamed “Teddy Ballgame”, “The Kid”, “The Splendid Splinter”, and “The Thumper”, Williams is regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.

Williams was a nineteen-time All-Star, a two-time recipient of the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player Award, a six-time AL batting champion, and a two-time Triple Crown winner. He finished his playing career with a .344 batting average, 521 home runs, and a .482 on-base percentage, the highest of all time. His career batting average is the highest of any MLB player whose career was played primarily in the live-ball era, and ranks tied for 7th all-time (with Billy Hamilton).

Born (Hispanic mother) and raised in San Diego, ( Hoover HS) Williams played baseball throughout his youth. (Pacific Coast “Padres”, (later he played up in Minnesota, for the Minneapolis “Millers” (AA))  After joining the Red Sox in 1939, ($5,000) he immediately emerged as one of the sport’s best hitters. In 1941, Williams posted a .406 batting average; he is the last MLB player to bat over .400 in a season. He followed this up by winning his first Triple Crown in 1942. Williams was required to interrupt his baseball career in 1943 to serve three years in the United States Navy and Marine Corps during World War II.

( ” Williams was drafted into the military, being put into Class 1-A. A friend of Williams suggested that Williams …. as the sole support of his mother, should be reclassified to Class 3-A. Williams was reclassified to 3-A ten days later. Afterwards, the public reaction was extremely negative*,   . … so, Williams joined the Navy Reserve on May 22, 1942, went on active duty in 1943, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps as a Naval Aviator on May 2, 1944.  On September 2, 1945, when the war ended, Lt. Williams was in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii awaiting orders as a replacement pilot. While in Pearl Harbor, Williams played baseball in the Navy League. Also in that eight-team league were Joe DiMaggioJoe Gordon, and Stan Musial. The Service World Series with the Army versus the Navy attracted crowds of 40,000 for each game.     …. at Furlong Field, Hickam …..

Williams was discharged by the Marine Corps on January 28, 1946, )

Upon returning to MLB in 1946, Williams won his first AL MVP Award and played in his only World Series. In 1947, he won his second Triple Crown.

Williams was returned to active military duty for portions of the 1952 and 1953 seasons to serve as a Marine combat aviator in the Korean War.

( Williams’s name was called from a list of inactive reserves to serve on active duty in the Korean War on January 9, 1952. Williams, who was livid at his recalling, had a physical scheduled for April 2. Williams passed his physical and in May, after only playing in six major league games, began refresher flight training and qualification prior to service in Korea.

In 1952, at the age of thirty three, Ted Williams was called to duty from the inactive reserves and sent to the Korean War. As a member of the first Marine Air Wing, Williams landed in Korea in February of 1953.

At the same time, John Glenn also turned up there, and the two became good friends. The man who would go on to become the first American to orbit the earth and the Splendid Splinter were paired together on missions, with Williams as Glenn’s wingman, flying F-9 Panther jets.

After eight weeks of refresher flight training and qualification in the F9F Panther jet at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, he was assigned to VMF-311, Marine Aircraft Group 33 (MAG-33), based at K-3 airfield in Pohang, Korea.

On February 16th, 1953, Williams was part of a 35-plane strike package against a tank and infantry training school just south of Pyongyang, North Korea. During the mission a piece of flak knocked out his hydraulics and electrical systems, causing Williams to have to “limp” his plane back to K-13, an Air Force base close to the front lines. For his actions of this day he was awarded the Air Medal.

Ted Williams flew thirty nine mission in the Korean War, over half of them with Glenn. The future astronaut remembers Ted as a very capable pilot, one who got out of more than his share of tight spots. “Once, he was on fire and had to belly land the plane back in.” Glenn recalled.

“He slid it in on the belly. It came up the runway about 1,500 feet before he was able to jump out and run off the wingtip.” The plane burst into flames moments later.

In 1957 and 1958 at the ages of 39 and 40, respectively, he was the AL batting champion for the fifth and sixth time.

Williams retired from playing in 1960. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, in his first year of eligibility.  Williams managed the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers franchise from 1969 to 1972. An avid sport fisherman, he hosted a television program about fishing, and was inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame. Williams’s involvement in the Jimmy Fund helped raise millions in dollars for cancer care and research. In 1991 President George H. W. Bush presented Williams with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States government. He was selected for the Major League Baseball All-Time Team in 1997 and the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

* He was widely criticized by the press, who took out their feelings on Williams by snubbing him as American League MVP in 1942, even though he led the league in batting average, home runs, and RBI, taking the first of his two Triple Crowns. They voted Joe Gordon of the New York Yankees the honor, thus cementing a running feud that Ted Williams would carry on with the print media for the rest of his career in Boston.

Another Two Missions from Janine Stange

100th Birthday Cards for a WWII Vet and Welcome Home Cards for a Vietnam Vet
Janine’s Team Mission #58!
The summer has flown by – and it was filled with so many more missions than I had expected. Which is a good thing.  Thank you for responding so quickly! You are awesome! 
Thanks to all for sending cards to Joe Butkus (90) and Ed Hyatt (100), Pat Rudd (100) and Ann Nalley (100), and Robert Mintz (90)….also the super short-notice mission that I posted to my facebook for Denny Snow (70).   When missions are completed, the families usually send over pics of these veterans (with big smiles) holding all the cards they received ! I post the those pics on my facebook, instagram, and twitter– so make sure you’re following along on your favorite platform!  You can also scroll all the way down on this email to see recaps of recently completed missions if you don’t use social media.

…and now on to Mission 58.
We’ve got two veterans: Lawrence and Michael.  Lawrence is turning 100 and we are welcoming Michael home from Vietnam (50 years later).  Both cards need to be mailed on or before 9/23…so you only have to make one trip to the mailbox!  
Janine’s Team Mission #58 (vet 1: Lawrence)
https://americasveteransstories.com/wwii-project/john-coates-82nd-airborne/
Happy 100th Birthday, Lawrence! WWII Veteran Lawrence Decker from New Mexico is turning 100 on September 30th!! I received this note from Lawrence’s friend: Shortly after graduating from High School Lawrence was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. He served in the infantry in North Africa, France, Italy and Germany. After the war, Lawrence returned home to his family farm in Springer, NM where he continued to ranch and farm. Lawrence was also employed by the local school district as a School bus driver.  He will be turning 100 on September 30th and we’d love to present him with cards at his party! There will be a party at his senior center on the day of his birthday, so please send your cards by September 23rd. 
MAIL YOUR CARDS TO:
Lawrence Decker
POB 928
Springer, NM 87747Keep scrolling down for our second veteran….
Janine’s Team Mission #58 (vet 2: Michael)
https://americasveteransstories.com/wwii-project/john-coates-82nd-airborne/
Welcome Home, Michael! I received this note from Michael’s son:   I am reaching out to you to let you know about my father. He is a Vietnam Veteran. He served from 1970-1971. He was discharged on September 27th 1971 at Ft. Louis in Seattle Washington. He kissed the ground when he got off the plane. He was happy to be back home. Others however, were not so happy to see him. They spit at him and called him many names, names I am too much of a gentleman to repeat. He did not understand this, after all, he had been protecting their freedom. He was drafted and was only doing what his country asked of him. To serve in the United States Army in the 23rd Infantry Americal Division, an Artillery Gunman on a 155 cannon. From the time he was asked to served, he knew life would never be the same. I never got a chance to meet the man he was before he did his duty. I only know him after. I can tell you he is a proud veteran and if asked would do it all over again for God and Country. He wears a Vietnam Veteran hat everywhere he goes and has many of his brothers come up to him and welcome him home. I am proud of my father and the man he is. I am sure you have heard the phrase, “Though I have left Vietnam, Vietnam has not left me.” These last 50 years have had their share of challenges, struggles, many surgeries, and he is a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Survivor. I do not know how he has done it. If I turn out to be 1/8th of the man he is, I will be doing good. MAIL YOUR CARDS TO:

Spec. 4 Bishop, Michael L12849 OakdaleSouthgate, MI 48195

Seeking Anectdotes about Where You Were on 11 September 2001

On Saturday, September 11, we will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of 9-11 when the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon were both hit by hijacked airplanes. I would like to share your stories of where you were, what you experienced and how that has affected you.

I was working at the National Defense University Library in Washington, DC. As soon as we entered the building, our Chief of Staff told us about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center . Soon there were rumors about a second plane hitting the other tower.. Some of us rushed to a library training room where we were hoping to get an updated news report. I tried several search engines trying to get some updates, along with thousands of others. The sites crashed quicker than the news of airplane crashes.

Cell phone service was soon nonexisent. Text messages were more likely to et through. People were sent home resulting in typical Washington DC gridlock since the HOV lanes and Metro schedules were still set for inbound traffic not, outbound traffic.

It was one of the prettiest September days that Washington has experienced. NDU is located at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, at Greenleaf Point. Five us decided to wait for the traffic so subside and had potluck picnic near the river. We shared sandwiches, chips, cookies, and wine.

On the way home on 395, I remember a huge American flag waving over the Navy Annex next to Arlington Cemetery and black smoke billowing out of the E ring of the Pentagon. Seeing that flag still flying reassured me that the country would survive.

When we returned to work the next morning, traffic was backed up the entire length of 4th Street and onto M Street because each car was searched thoroughly including an examination of each vehicle’s undercarriage before it could enter the gate to Ft McNair where NDU is located.. People that lived on 4th Street were unable to get out of their drive ways because traffic was not moving and there was no place to maneuver a car out of the way.

What is your story?

Reblog of Symbols of Navy Medicine

USNS Comfort departing San Diego Harbor

From uniforms and branding to wall decorations and command seals, Navy Medicine is steeped in symbolism. Oak leaves, acorns and caducei adorn the collars and sleeves of Navy medical personnel. Red Crosses emblazon our white-hulled hospital ships. Images of triumphant eagles and fouled anchors and the colors “blue and gold” abound throughout the Enterprise connecting us to big Navy. Throughout its history, Navy Medicine has continually leveraged these powerful communication tools to create a service and mission identity. But where did these symbols come from? And why were they adopted? To read more, click here.

Reblog: Janine’s Mission 55

Happy 90th Birthday, Joe!
I know I usually say that missions are sent out about once a month, but it’s a busy summer of milestone birthdays – and I know you all can handle it! 🙂 ☀️🇺🇸🌼 Thanks to all who have been sending cards to Ed Hyatt (mission 54) – our WWII / Korean War veteran who celebrates his 100th Birthday on August 7th.  If you missed that email – and want to participate, all info is here.  Once his family sends photos from the party I will share them!  Now here is mission 55:   Korean War Veteran Joe Butkus  has a BIG birthday coming up … and YOU are invited to send him a card!  His family is having a party for him on August 16th, and they will give him all the cards on that day. So depending where you are in the country, try to get your cards in the mail before August 12th.  About Joe:   Joe is a master wood worker, mechanic and all around good guy. He served in Korea, as part of the 84th Engineer Construction Battalion. He worked on the Libby Bridge. It was noted for being the only permanent concrete bridge built during the winter during wartime. It’s known as an outstanding feat under adverse conditions. The bridge is named after Sgt George D. Libby , the first Medal of Honor recipient of the Korean War.  Joe is a proud veteran and still attends his reunions every year.  His whole family is involved in helping vets and families in need.  In fact, they participated in last year’s Holiday Salute Card drive for veterans in hospice care. MAIL YOUR CARDS TO:
Joe Butkus
c/o Mary Ellen Hart
1868 North Benson Rd
Fairfield, Ct. 06824 Please send your cards by August 12th.  Just like all missions, don’t keep this to yourself!! Know of students, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers who you think would like to participate? Share away! Let’s flood his day with gratitude and love and make this his best year yet!  

A Sea Story: Why Attention to Detail Matters

Lonnie Stephens was a member of the EOD (Explosives Ordinance Demolition) Detachment on Midway for nine months and was aboard for Operation Frequent Wind.  He told his wife that he was helping to push a helicopter over the side and just as they got it tipped up and ready to go, they discovered a Vietnamese woman and child had hidden in the helicopter.  The Midway crew got both out just before the helo went over the side. 

Background: During Operation Frequent Wind, Captain Lawrence Chambers, who was CO of the Midway at that time authorized the crew to push over several helicopters.

On April 29, 1975, South Vietnamese Air Force Major Bung-Ly made the decision to load his family — his wife and five children — into a small two-seat Cessna O-1 Bird Dog airplane. Bung-Ly took off from Saigon and made it out to sea, where he looked for a ship to land on and spotted the USS Midway. Without any radio communications, Captain Lawrence Chambers made the decision to allow Ly to land on the flight deck, even though the plane had no tail hook and it was extremely risky. USS Midway Air Boss Vern Jumper readied the flight deck for Ly’s landing.

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/apr/25/uss-midway-air-boss-remembers-heroic-bird-dog-airp/
MAJ Bung landing his Bird Dog airplane on the deck of the USS Midway

Above and Beyond–National Veteran’s Art Museum

Above and Beyond comprises 58,307 dog tags. Each dog tag represents a person in the Vietnam War and is arranged in date order of death. And, each dog tag shows their name, casualty date, and military branch.

Above and Beyond was commissioned by the National Veterans Art Museum and created by artist Rick Steinbock, and veteran artists Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli and Mike Helbing. It was originally installed at 1801 S. Indiana Ave. on May 26, 2001 to coincide with Chicago’s Memorial Day parade. Above and Beyond was created over a 2-year period as each dog tag was stamped by hand using a former military Graphotype machine.

Reblog: Janine Stange’s Mission 54–Another WWII Veteran is turning 100!

Happy 100th Birthday, Ed! I hope you had a great 4th of July!  As many of you saw on my Facebook post last week, DT Measells had an amazing 100th Birthday! He received over 1,100 cards from all of YOU!  THANK YOU to all who took the time to send a card!  Scroll down for a recap and photo of DT, his wife Imo, and ALL of his birthday cards. Now here is your next mission:  WWII and Korean War Veteran Ed Hyatt has a BIG birthday coming up … and YOU are invited to send him a card!  His family is having a party for him on August 7th, and they will give him all the cards on that day. You’ve got about a month to work on this one!  About Ed:   Ed grew up in Louisiana and graduated from LSU. He joined the Army in 1944 and was the artillery officer of the 43rd Tank Battalion which was part of Patton’s Seventh Army.  Ed made it home in January of 1946, and went into the Army Reserves.  In 1950, he was recalled to serve stateside as a communications instructor during the Korean War. He served until 1953. After the wars, Ed worked for Borden Milk Company and became the assistant controller for their division in Houston, TX. Ed was married to his wife Marie for 69 years. She passed in 2013. He now lives in Orange, TX near his daughter and son-in-law. Please send your cards by August 5th.  Just like all missions, don’t keep this to yourself!! Know of students, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers who you think would like to participate? Share away! Let’s flood his day with gratitude and love and make this his best year yet!  Their birthday party theme is 100 years and counting!! 🇺🇸🎁 MAIL TO:  Mr. Ed Hyatt c/o Ron & Susan Jones 2216 Woodmont Drive Orange, TX 77632
Mission 53: COMPLETE! DT Measells 100th Birthday! WOW!!!!! What a way to celebrate 100 years!! WWII Fighter Pilot DT Measells received OVER 1,100 birthday cards from all of YOU!  I received this message from his son-in-law John: DT was so overwhelmed by everything! It was the best 100th Birthday ever! Mayor Lynn Deutsch arranged a drive-by from the entire police and firefighters, and gave him a key to the city! Thanks to everyone who sent in cards, he’s going to have a LOT of reading to keep him busy! Thank you to JANINE’S TEAM and Phlash Phelps for helping DT feel all the love and gratitude he deserves!! Watch a video of the parade / party here.
EVERGREEN MISSION for Veteran’s Last Patrol:
This was our 51st mission, but we decided to keep it going: Veteran’s Last Patrol’s mission is to serve veterans by bringing new friendships, honor ceremonies, & emergency assistance while in hospice care. The organization is averaging a veteran’s honor ceremony a week all over the country. At each ceremony they like to give a bunch of thank you cards to the veteran being honored. Here’s your mission! Write out generic thank you cards to veterans and send them to Veteran’s Last Patrol. They will make bundles from the cards they receive and present them to our veterans. Use whatever you’d like: thank you cards, scenic cards, postcards … or better yet… MAKE cards and write notes of gratitude. Keep in mind these are for are for elderly and/or ailing veterans. Dear Veteran, Dear Hero as your salutation will work. Have children, students, young artists?? 🎨 Get them involved! Our veterans would love bright patriotic pictures, military branch logos, whatever they are inspired to create! Do you manage a group of people at your company? This is a meaningful office project too! If you’re sending more than one card (which is encouraged) no need to send each one individually – send them all in one envelope/package. Send them to: Veteran’s Last Patrol 140B Venture Blvd Spartanburg, SC, 29306 ATTN: Honor Ceremony Cards
This is an evergreen mission. So send a bunch as soon as you can, but feel free to continue this project on your own and / or involve more people.

First Army and Navy Airplanes

The Army had the first military flight at Ft Myer in Arlington, Virginia

The 1909 Wright Military Flyer is the world’s first military airplane. In 1908, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sought competitive bids for a two-seat observation aircraft. Winning designs had to meet a number specified performance standards. Flight trials with the Wrights’ entry began at Fort Myer, Virginia, on September 3, 1908. After several days of successful flights, tragedy occurred on September 17, when Orville Wright crashed with Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, the Army’s observer, as his passenger. Orville survived with severe injuries, but Selfridge was killed, becoming the first fatality in a powered airplane.

This replica is in the Museum of the US Army at Ft Belvoir.

The first naval aircraft took place the following year.

U.S. naval aviation began with pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss who contracted with the United States Navy to demonstrate that airplanes could take off from and land aboard ships at sea. One of his pilots, Eugene Ely, took off from the cruiser USS Birmingham anchored off the Virginia coast in November 1910. Two months later Ely landed aboard another cruiser, USS Pennsylvania, in San Francisco Bay, proving the concept of shipboard operations. However, the platforms erected on those vessels were temporary measures. The U.S. Navy and Glenn Curtiss experienced two firsts during January 1911. On 27 January, Curtiss flew the first seaplane from the water at San Diego Bay and the next day U.S. Navy Lt. Theodore G. Ellyson, a student at the nearby Curtiss School, took off in a Curtiss “grass cutter” plane to become the first naval aviator.

Replica Curtiss A-1 Triad at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum in Lexington Park MD.

Virtual Vietnam Wall

This is really sobering. First click on a state. When it opens, scroll down to the city where you went to high school and look at the names. Click on the name and it will give details of the person’s death, a picture or at least their bio and medals.       This really is an amazing web site. Someone spent a lot of time and effort to create it. I hope that everyone who receives this appreciates what
those who served in Vietnam sacrificed for our country. Pass the link on to others, as many knew wonderful
people

http://www.virtualwall.org

Donut Dollies, Precursors to Special Services and MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation)

When I first became the Ft Myer Librarian in the mid-1980s, I met many of my predecessors at various Special Library Association meetings in the DC area. They told me about life in the olden days when a library technician in a Special Services uniform would drive a bookmobile out to various Nike missile sites in the DC area. One such employee had begun her life as a Donut Dolly during WWII.

In the wake of the initial Normandy landings on D-Day, a strange vehicle hit the beaches: converted London buses driven by three female volunteers from the Red Cross. Their mission was to bring a taste of home to the soldiers fighting World War II. Their weapon of choice was the doughnut.

While their early food truck might have been a new contraption — 100 GMC trucks dubbed “Clubmobiles” were created for the D-Day invasion — the baked goods they were bringing to Hitler’s Fortress Europe was not. This was their second world war, too.

Click here to read more.

By the time the United States entered the Vietnam War in force, the female volunteers of the Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas were there, too, and their old nickname came with them. GIs in Vietnam also knew them as the “Doughnut Dollies.”

They weren’t limited to clubs, mess halls or hospitals. The Doughnut Dollies of Vietnam could be found on Hueys or alongside tanks headed into the bush. They were also there when some units came back with fewer men than had left.

“VIETNAM Magazine February 2011 – The Donut Dollies Are Here!” by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Statues from the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia

June 6 is the 77th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. Bedford, Virginia

The decisive World War II invasion took a horrific toll on Bedford, a town of about 4,000 at the time. Its D-Day losses were among the steepest, proportionally, of any community in America.

Statistics from the Museums’s webpage.

GEN Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SCAEF) for Operation ‘Overlord’.

Replica of the SHAPE Patch

Statue of a soldier wading ashore at Normandy

Soldiers attempting to scale the cliffs above the beach at Normandy

No Man Left Behind

My Last Night Aboard Midway

by Charles Paige, used with his permission. Charles is author of Petty Officer and a Swabbie. He served as RM3 (Radioman, 3rd class) about the USS Midway (CV-41) 1969-1972

My story is not one of combat and harrowing experiences against shot and shell. Mine is about life in the Navy circa 1968-72, on bases and onboard ship, and about interactions between the Navy and a civilian population not too happy we are involved in Vietnam. It is also about travels and experiences in exotic countries, as a young man not an officer and a gentleman but a petty officer and a swabbie is introduced to a sometimes belligerent but always fascinating world.

From his webpage:

He wrote this essay 30-31 May 2021.

It was September 13, 1972, and the last night I was to spend aboard the Midway. This is a
tale about that night; fictional as to timelines and what I may have been actually thinking
that last night, but non-fictional as to all the circumstances, events and significances. In
this version of that night, let’s say gifted to me by my more circumspect doppelganger
from a parallel universe, I am lying in my bunk, the lowest of three bunks and very close
to the deck. I’ve just finished reading a letter from my father stating he has received the
heavy load of stereophonic equipment I’ve had sent to his farm address from the Navy
Exchange in Yokosuka, Japan. Apparently I hadn’t informed him in advance, so all that
equipment suddenly showing up at his doorstep had thrown him for a loop.

It’d been a very busy day, but then again, which HADN’T been a busy day? I was bone tired but my brain was ablaze with thoughts of tomorrow and leaving the ship, perhaps for the last time ever. Also keeping my mind buzzing was a body full of coffee—how many cups I had drunk during watch only God knew, but I swear it was enough to make my blood one-quarter caffeinated. Still more keeping me awake was a throbbing left
thumb that had been crushed not long ago. I had been standing in the doorway between Faccon and Cryptographic talking to a group of guys, with my left hand propped against the door sill. Suddenly, for some reason the spring-loaded door closed, with my thumb crushed at the door’s fulcrum. Chief Wilson said I would probably lose the nail, which
had slowly turned red and then black.

Now that I was through with the letter, I no longer needed the reading light above my
head so turned it off. This was one of those infrequent occasions when it was night
outside the ship and I was able to sleep after Lights Out was announced inside. The
compartment was barely lit. There wasn’t much happening in the compartment’s small
entertainment area holding tables, chairs and the TV, so little noise came from there, and
I registered little activity in the rest of the compartment. That meant there was no need to
close the privacy curtains provided for each bunk. The reason for the quiet was obvious.
Everybody that could be on liberty was either spending it on base or in the nearby town
we called Olongapo City—what the locals called City of Olongapo.

It was Wednesday night and tomorrow…. Well, tomorrow….

Four years ago I had volunteered to be ripped from a different universe—one I had
known all my life. At that time ANOTHER tomorrow had come. And with it came my
mental and physical introduction into this other, then foreign universe. From the
beginning one explosion of events followed another followed another, and it was truly a
sink or swim situation. My neurons had no choice but to multiply and body to strengthen
to accommodate all the explosions, exposures and rigors. But I was one of the lucky ones
who learned to roll and thrive in the midst of sometimes controlled chaos and within
military structures and stricture.


Tomorrow I would be leaving behind a ship I had been virtually lashed to for three years.
I had seen it lie naked and prostrate at the hands of civilians. I had hobnobbed with its
prospective captain. I had seen its crew arrive, bringing with them the ship’s life blood. I
had seen it reborn. My Navy rank had increased as the ship’s readiness had grown, and in
so many ways we had evolved together.It had been a very busy day, but then again, what day HADN’T been?

The fact that tomorrow I’d be leaving the ship also helped animate my thinking. There was so much significance surrounding the event. Soon I would be leaving the military universe forever
and returning to one I thought—hoped—would be the same as the one in which I was raised. Dad expressed his happiness that he’d soon be seeing his civilian son back in the fold where I belonged. I knew my mother felt similarly. Yet my mind wasn’t so sure I’d be staying in that ‘fold’ very long. I could not see myself moving back from a California world of unlimited, macrocosmic experiences and opportunities, to Michigan and the conformity/uniformity required by community and family. Echoing through my mind were words from the prophetic WW I song “How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree.”

Yes, I would be returning to that universe, in whatever its current form, but that meant I
was also leaving this universe that I had been forged into being part of. I had been pulled
and stretched, pounded and flattened, puffed up and popped. I had earned the right to be
what I had become, and I had a huge amount of professional pride for what had been
accomplished during the past years.

Recently I had gotten Outstanding at a flight deck inspection by Flag, AKA
COMCARDIVONE, Rear Admiral Butts. It was my third flight deck inspection while
onboard and had gotten Outstanding on the first two. The captain promised that anyone
who got three Outstandings at such inspections would never have to stand another. This
time RAdm Butts stood before me and said “Old Shoes,” at which his attendant marked
something in the muster ledger as Flag moved to the next in ranks. I was mortified. I had
been so careful to spit-polish my shoes and ensure my silk, black neckerchief was rolled
and tied just so, my uniform wrinkle and lint free, my undershirt, hat and piping sparkling
white, and everything aligned correctly. But I had been hit with “Old Shoes.” Crestfallen,
I returned to my compartment to change back into working dungarees. One of the first
class petty officers overheard me lament and then laughingly explained “that means Out
Standing.” As relieved and good as that news made me feel, I also realized the irony of it
all. I would never have to stand another such inspection again because I soon would be
LEAVING THE SHIP.

Oh my God! Leaving the ship! Leaving my home of three years. Leaving all those guys I
had worked with, sweated with, and had fun with. We had seen each other through trying
times as we and the ship were put through the paces. There were never any times or
opportunities to put on the brakes and say “whoa, that’s enough!” I was sad when the few
who did buckle under the strain were gone—to fates unknown to the rest of us. Those
who started to buckle but could be buttressed until brought up to speed were carried by
the rest of us guys working together.


I always hated seeing guys leave us, for whatever reason. Usually it was because their
time in the Navy was up, or their time on the ship was up, sending them off to a different
command. And some left for humanitarian reasons, like one of our Faccon members
whose father was killed back home during a robbery at his business. Only one shipmate I
knew had left by dying. It occurred between when the ship returned from its 1971
Westpac cruise and the start of its 1972 cruise. That fellow was Sloan—someone I had
met during our BE/E “P” School days in early 1969. He recently had been assigned to the
ship, and I ran into him as he was buying a soft drink from an onboard vending machine.
Not long after our reunion Sloan fell to his death while unsuccessfully attempting to
climb around a barricade blocking a closed gangway while the ship was in dry dock. His
shocking death was heartbreaking enough, but because he came aboard between the two
Westpac cruises, his name was not included on either cruise book’s IN MEMORIAM
page—as though he had never been aboard.

Tomorrow I would be the one leaving—leaving behind the unceasing turmoil and
managed chaos at work, the engrained camaraderie of a well-grooved, tight-knit group,
the memorized maze enclosed by the protective and far-ranging ship’s hull, and the
profession that I had gotten so used to and good at.

My Navy career flashed before my eyes as though I were dying, but sleep finally came—
fitfully. Soon I would be dying and reborn, metaphorically. Before me was a future filled
with uncertainty mixed with possibility. I would be leaving a military that had gotten in
bad odor with much of the American public, and my service likely would be
unappreciated, even scorned, by many. Yet I was still young and full of hope. Then I
awoke and it was tomorrow.

From Janine Strange: Mission 53: Card for WWII Veteran’s 100th Birthday

Happy 100th Birthday, DT! DT Measells has a BIG birthday coming up … and YOU are invited to send him a card!  His family is having a party for him on June 26th, and they will give him all the cards on that day. You’ve got about a month to work on this one!  About DT: DT grew up on a farm outside Jackson, MS. During WWII he was a fighter pilot and flew over 50 missions in Japan.  After the war, he came back to MS, married his beautiful wife of almost 70 years, Imo. Imo turned 95 in February and they still live on their own in Jackson Mississippi. after the war DT spent the next 40 years has a teacher, with the last 20 years as the principal at Wingfield HS in Jackson.  Please send your cards by June 20th.  Just like all missions, don’t keep this to yourself!! Know of students, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers who you think would like to participate? Share away! Let’s flood his day with gratitude and love and make this his best year yet! 🇺🇸🎁 MAIL TO:  DT Measells, c/o John McCarren 5410 Sandell Court Dunwoody, GA, 30338