FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day December 5th through 8th, 2017

 

GO NAVY    BEAT ARMY

 

Prayers For Those In Ventura, CA

The Thomas fire has burned more than 132,000 acres (so far and the fire is only 5% contained) of sage and chaparral covered hillsides fanned by ever shifting Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 70 MPH.  I lived in the Ventura area for many years and have two friends directly impacted by the fires.  One has seen his ranch at the end of Wheeler Canyon (where I have stayed many times) completely overrun by the fires.  He lost one of his two work barns, over ten pieces of heavy equipment (bull dozers, cranes, backhoes, water truck, fuel truck, etc.).  His house was saved only because he had installed three times the required amount of stored water tanks on top of the hill.  He has also lost hundreds of oak trees that graced this beautiful hillside ranch.  Several of his neighbors have lost their homes.  (Downtown Ventura – power turned off – photo right).Another good friend sent me photos of the house they used to own burned to the ground.  I have yet to hear from a couple other people I know in the area.   The funky La Conchita area has been saved so far, but the fire has jumped US 101 in the area and threatens beach homes.  Come this winter, they’ll have to contend with mudslides.  They could use our prayers and those firefighters and all the first responders could use some good luck!

 

Some Things To Be Concerned About These Days or Fireball Rants

Taxes: It seems certain the GOP’s tax reform bill will pass.  It’s unclear as to whether or not it will actually benefit middle class tax payers.  Corporations in the US are doing very well and making lots of money as evidenced by the stock market gains over the last several years.  I’m not sure why reducing their tax rate will help all Americans benefit.   What is certain is that in permanently lowering the corporate tax rates we should see increased dividends, more stock buybacks, increased infrastructure growth and increased investment growth.  That may help with the need for additional workers and perhaps some increases in wages.  The temporary tax cuts to individuals will look nice for a couple years, but then expire.  That’s a future tax increase for individuals.  The richest Americans will see great benefits in the lowering of the estate tax and changes in pass-through income as well.    Despite the president’s repeated claims to the contrary, the biggest gains in the tax bill go to wealthy individuals, heirs and business owners, like Trump.  Most taxpayers will see modest tax cuts immediately but the bottom 20% of households would receive an average tax cut of $40 in 2019 – an amount dwarfed by the benefits for the richest households and corporations.  And this tax cut comes with huge increases in our national debt.  Few economists forcast the revenue loss from the tax cuts will be offset by revenue growth.  The Tax Policy Center estimates the tax reform framework would increase the federal debt to $2.4 trillion in the first ten years. Congress’ own Joint Committee on Taxation predicts it will add about $1 trillion to deficits over the next decade, even factoring in economic effects. That number could be understating the cost, since Republicans also say they plan to renew measures that expire under the bill, reducing its cost on paper. Whatever that huge number is, our children will be saddled with this additional debt.  Additionally I’m concerned the removal of the state and local tax deductions included to finance lower taxes will adversely affect high tax states like New York, New Jersey and California will cause huge ripples throughout these regions when it comes to spending and housing.

Geopolitics: North Korea seems to grow more unstable by the day.  President Donald Trump’s power plays and insulting rhetoric have increased the potential for war on the Korean peninsula but have done nothing to decrease the North Korean plans for its nuclear weapons program and potential sale of a nuclear weapon to another state or a non-state actor.  While China may or may not have applied some pressure to North Korea, they are certainly not taking all the steps they could take to affect the actions of North Korea.  China is a major player intent on applying their increased influence in the Asian theatre including the South China Sea and their development of the Silk Road to the Middle East. Russia continues to apply their own brand of political and economic pressure throughout the globe. Now with Putin’s announcement he will run for “reelection,” Russia will continue to fill any possible void US interests around the world.  Make no mistake – they want to defeat us at each and every turn of events.  I see nothing but the potential for new violence in the Middle East because President Trump just recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  What happened to making a deal here?  All US presidents have realized the complexity and the criticality of Jerusalem to peaceful negotiations in the region – except Trump.  The US has lost its advantage as an honest broker with the Palestinians and with other Moslem countries in the region and the US got absolutely nothing from this deal.  Our most ardent allies in Europe and in the Middle East have condemned this action and it certainly appears as if we have any influence and indeed our own self interests.  WTF?

Mueller Investigation:  The President and his team have every right and I expect them to communicate with foreign governments through both formal and informal channels.  It’s been that way since central governments were established.  In many cases the informal channels are as important as the formal channels in that they can relay personal thoughts and expectations of major world leaders.  It may be politically embarrassing when they become public knowledge and when the subject manner is trying to dig up dirt on your opponent, but it’s not against the law.  But what you can’t do is lie to the FBI or to the Mueller investigation as to the communication event or try to pretend it never happened.  The truth will come out, because too many people are involved, even when establishing private meetings.  The near impeachment of Richard Nixon and the impeachment of Bill Clinton were not about the acts of the Watergate break-in nor sex with Monica Lewinski, but were about lying to investigators and lying to a grand jury.  It’s likely to be embarrassing to the President but unless he can be found to have actively and with intent obstructed justice, he’ll be off the hook, but there’s a lot more drama to be played out.

Health Care:  The quality of health care in the US has never been the issue.  The cost of health care has been and remains the concern.  I think the average American worker is poorer than we believe without significant savings available for an unexpected event.  Health care costs are taking an ever-increasing share from workers’ paychecks.  If given the choice between health care and other family requirements, needs, or desires, many will choose the latter.  As long as Washington allows insurers to dictate how much you pay for health care and prescription drugs the more it is going to hurt all of us and it will hurt the economy as a whole.  The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is not funded in 2018 and has been defunded by the latest continuing resolution signed by President Donald Trump.  CHIP pays for health care for more than 9 million kids across the country. It’s a joint state-federal plan, part of the Medicare and Medicaid family of government health insurance.  CHIP isn’t controversial. Republicans and Democrats alike generally support the program, which makes sure children get health care if their parents are poor and even if their parents are not covered by any other insurance, including Medicaid.  What is controversial is whether to offset paying for CHIP with cuts elsewhere in government spending, and there’s also debate over whether funding should be guaranteed for a couple of years, or for longer.  CHIP’s 2017 budget was $16.6 billion. The current federal budget has slashed it to $12 billion, but Congress has to allocate that funding.

Cyber Attacks: I think we’ve just begun to see the influence of cyber warfare and cyber attacks.  When you look at the conventional order of battle for North Korea you see a bunch of aging Soviet jets and tanks and artillery pieces.  But when you look at their cyber warfare capability you see a totalitarian regime with little other technology (I’m speaking of their non-nuclear capabilities).  We have known North Korea has pursued cyber warfare since the 1980’s and has targeted banks, universities, and other organizations, mostly in South Korea.  What is surprising is they divulged their capabilities in their biggest revealed hack with the  the breach of Sony Pictures, which saw the leak of unreleased films and embarrassing emails of studio executives in 2014, because they didn’t like an satirical movie.  The Snowden leaks, which revealed the NSA had placed “covert implants” in routers and firewalls around the world, which would give the intelligence agency great insight into where an attack came from. And later comments from then Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI ) James Comey were clear:  “We could see that the IP addresses they used … were IPs that were exclusively used by the North Koreans. It was a mistake by them. It was a very clear indication of who was doing this. They would shut it off very quickly once they realized the mistake, but not before we saw them and knew where it was coming from.”  North Korea has approximately 6,000 trained hackers in its military ranks, a defector from the country told the BBC. The defector taught computer science at a Pyongyang University and said many of his former students went on to the hacking unit known as Bureau 121.  Little is known about the North Korea’s cyber warfare agency, though it does seem to employ considerable computer expertise. With its Sony Pictures breach, the hackers used a common method to gain access called spear-phishing and were able to steal credentials for a systems administrator, enabling them to burrow inside the systems for at least two months to map out their plan of attack.  “They were incredibly careful, and patient,” one person briefed on the investigation told The New York Times.  The current commander of United States Forces Korea General Vincent K. Brooks told  Senate leaders last month. (photo below left) “While I would not characterize them as the best in the world, they are among the best in the world and the best organized.”

Brooks was speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee for a hearing regarding his nomination to take over all forces in South Korea. The 57-year-old general took over that post late last month.  That an Army general would warn of North Korea’s growing progress in cyberspace comes as the Pentagon ramps up its own efforts in what it calls the “cyber domain” after the release of a new cyber strategy in April 2015. In it, the military proposed 133 teams for its “cyber mission force” by 2018, 27 of which were directed to support combat missions by “generating integrated cyberspace effects in support of … operations.”  A successful act of cyber terrorism could have major technology disclosures as well as financial consequences.

 

Continuing Resolution Passes

U.S. lawmakers on Thursday averted a government shutdown this week by passing a new funding extension to keep federal operations running for two more weeks, in the hopes of reaching a broader budget consensus before Christmas.  The vote was 235 -193 in the House and 81-14 in the Senate.  Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain was a notable “no.” McCain, R-Ariz., has railed against stopgap funding, and budget instability more broadly, for wreaking havoc on the military.  “Every day we spend on a Continuing Resolution is a day that our military must try to do more with less, modernization is delayed, and readiness is degraded,” he said in a statement.  Now the question for lawmakers is whether they can reach a deal on appropriations for all of fiscal 2018 — which began on Oct. 1 — or whether they’ll have to scramble another short-term funding patch over the next 15 days.  “There’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and co-chair of the moderate Tuesday Group. “We have to reach a budget agreement, we have to pass a second CR taking us into the new year — and accidents can happen.”

 

Confessions of a C-2 Greyhound COD Pilot

Enclosed is a link to a really good article about the life of the C-2 COD pilot sent to me by Friend of FOD Mule.  Thanks Mule.  It was announced on December 8, 2017 The U.S. Navy is sending a team of deep-water salvage experts to search for the transport plane that crashed into the western Pacific Ocean in November.  The Navy said is a statement that while “the aircraft’s last position on the surface of the water is known, the depth of water in that area exceeds 16,000 feet, beyond the capabilities of salvage assets in theater.”  The salvage experts deployed from Washington will be led by the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving. The team will board a salvage vessel in Japan and then proceed to the crash site where the group will search for the aircraft’s emergency relocation pinger.  “If the search is successful, additional deep water salvage assets will deploy to survey and recover the aircraft,” the Navy said.   When I was Maintenance Officer and the Indian Ocean XO of VF-21 (because they took our XO and made him the O-in-C of the Beach Det at NAS Cubi Point, Philippines) we invited the COD pilots to use our ready room when they were aboard USS Constellation (CV-64).  Why – because they carried the mail, brought us fresh vegetables from the A&P in Oman, but mostly because they brought us t-shirts from the Philippines that we in turn sold throughout the ship.  (They had amazing control over what went on their aircraft.)  We gave them some flight boots, and some flight suits (because theirs smelled bad and we didn’t want to get hydraulic fluid on our ready room chairs) and got them free accounts for the autodog soft ice cream machine in the dirty shirt wardroom.  So we weren’t that altruistic.  At one time our Officers Mess Treasury exceeded $13,000.  You probably couldn’t get away with that these days.  On our transit back from that IO cruise, we purchased and brought back 87 cruise boxes of liquor and stored it in the ship’s empty magazines.  That was more than the rest of the ship combined.  But that’s another story.  Anyway the COD pilots were good guys, unappreciated for the most part and flying some really old airframes.  We lost a C-2 last week.  I covered it briefly in the November 20 through 22 edition of FOD.  I recalled our old COD pilot, Tom “Bean Pole” Sawyer (his real name) –because he was about 6’2” and likely weighed 125 lb.  I hope he’s doing well somewhere.  Anyway enjoy:

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/16535/confessions-of-a-c-2-greyhound-carrier-onboard-delivery-pilot

 

Blue Angel 2018 Schedule Updated

In case you’re in one of these areas and are interested, The Navy’s Blue Angels squadron has released updates to their 2018 air show schedule, as well as a full 2019 tour calendar, the Navy announced.  Modifications to the 2018 Blue Angels schedule include:

  • Cancellation of March 17-18 shows in Tuscon, Arizona
  • Addition of April 28-29 shows in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Addition of October 13-14 shows in Minden-Tahoe, Nevada.

 

Remembering the USS Flasher (SS-249)

I wrote this story for the previous edition of FOD for December 4th, but those editors chopped it, for no good reason, so here tis.  The USS Flasher (SS-249) was a Gato-class submarine which served in the Pacific during World War II. She received the Presidential Unit Citation and six battle stars, and sank 21 ships for a total of 100,231 tons of Japanese shipping.  Flasher arrived at Pearl Harbor from New London 15 December 1943 to prepare for her first war patrol, for which she sailed 6 January 1944. Bound for her patrol area off Mindoro, she sank her first target 18 January, sending a 2,900-ton former gunboat Yoshida Maru to the bottom. Adding to what would be the greatest total of enemy tonnage credited to an American submarine in World War II, she sank the freighter Taishin Maru off Manila 5 February, and sank two cargo ships of the same convoy on 14 February. Flasher arrived at Fremantle, Australia 29 February to refit. The 2 vessels sunk 14 February 1944 were the Minryo Maru and the Hokuan Maru.  These names appear later in that the names of the vessels sunk were not known to Flasher and were only assigned after the war was over.  Sometimes major combatants could be identified however.  Flasher made her third war patrol in the South China Sea, where on 28 June 1944 she contacted a heavily escorted convoy of 13 ships. She made a cautious approach, undeterred by the escort, and shortly after midnight 29 June, broke into the convoy to sink a freighter (Nippo Maru) and badly damage a large passenger cargo ship. Her next victim was a freighter (Koto Maru), sunk 7 July. Twelve days later, Flasher sighted the cruiser Ōi escorted by a destroyer. Two attacks, each followed by a heavy depth charge retaliation from the destroyer, sufficed to sink the cruiser, a fact confirmed several hours later when a periscope observation revealed only the destroyer in sight. Seven days later, she sank another important target, a merchant tanker (Otoriyama Maru), and the same day damaged another tanker (Tosan Maru) later sunk by one of her sisters. With all her torpedoes gone, Flasher put back for Fremantle, where she replenished and refitted between 7 August and 30 August.  During her fourth war patrol, in the PhilippinesFlasher headed a coordinated attack group which included two other submarines, Hawkbill and Becuna. Although she was on lifeguard station during the air attacks preliminary to the invasion of the Philippines during part of this patrol, Flasher sank three ships, a light cruiser (Saigon Maru) on 18 September, a transport (Ural Maru) on 27 September, and a cargo ship (Taibin Maru) on 4 October. She returned to Fremantle 20 October.  Heading the same attack group, Flasher now commanded by Lieutenant Commander G. W. Grider, sailed on her fifth war patrol 15 November 1944, bound for Cam Ranh Bay. On 4 December one of her companions reported a tanker convoy, and Flasher set a converging course. As she made her approach in a heavy downpour, a destroyer suddenly loomed up before her, and Flasher launched her first spread of torpedoes at this escort. The destroyer (Kishinami) was stopped by two hits, and began listing and smoking heavily. Flasher got a spread of torpedoes away at a tanker before she was forced deep by a second destroyer, which dropped 16 depth charges. Rising to periscope depthFlasher  located the tanker burning and covered by yet a third destroyer. Speedily reloading, she prepared to sink the destroyer and finish off the tanker, and though almost blinded by rainsqualls, she did so with a salvo of four torpedoes, two of which hit the destroyer (Iwanami), and two of which passed beneath her, as planned, to hit the tanker (Hakko Maru). Once more, a counter-attack forced Flasher down, and when she surfaced she found no trace of the two damaged destroyers. The tanker, blazing away, was still guarded by three escorts until abandoned at sunset, when Flasher sank her with one torpedo. The two destroyers, both found after the war to have been sunk, were Kishinami and IwanamiFlasher contacted another well-guarded tanker convoy on the morning of 21 December 1944, and she began a long chase, getting into position to attack from the unguarded shoreward side. In rapid succession, Flasher attacked and sank three of the tankers (Omurosan Maru, Otowasan Maru and Arita Maru), receiving no counter-attack since the enemy apparently believed he had stumbled into a minefield. One of these tankers was the largest Flasher sank during the war. The other two tankers had displacements similar to each other, were tied for third largest.  Refitting at Fremantle once more between 2 January and 29 January 1945, Flasher made her sixth war patrol on the coast of Indochina. Contacts were few, but on 21 February she sank a sea truck (I couldn’t find a photo of this, but I assume it’s a small shallow draft vessel used as a supply ship) by surface gunfire, and 4 days later sank a cargo ship (Koho Maru) with torpedoes. She completed her patrol upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor 3 April 1945, and sailed a few days later for a West Coast overhaul.  Bound for Guam on a seventh war patrol at the close of the war, Flasher was ordered back to New London, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 16 March 1946, attached to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On 1 June 1959 the Flasher was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. She was sold for scrap on 1 June 1963. Her conning tower was removed and placed on display as a memorial at the entrance to Nautilus Park, a Navy housing area in Groton, Connecticut. It was then moved to the intersection of Thames St. and Bridge St. where it is the centerpiece of the World War II memorial that honors the 52 U.S. submarines and their valiant crews lost during the war.

 

 

Some Events From December 5:

1945 Aircraft squadron lost in the Bermuda Triangle

1933 Prohibition ends

1964 Army Captain awarded first Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam

1941 American carrier Lexington heads to Midway

 

First Deliverable KC-46 Takes Flight

While there are a bunch of KC-46’s of one form or another flying as part of the test program, the first Boeing KC-46A tanker plane, expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year, completed its first flight, the company has announced. Boeing announced Tuesday that it will miss its deadline to deliver the first plane to the U.S. Air Force by Dec. 31.   The contract calls for 18 KC-46A planes to be delivered by October 2018, a deadline 14 months later than originally planned. The most serious of three recent flaws seen in the plane is multiple incidents of its retractable boom scraping the aircraft receiving fuel during aerial refueling, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday.

 

And On December 6:

1884 Washington Monument completed

1976 Deaf stuntwoman Kitty O’Neil sets women’s land-speed record

1865 13th Amendment ratified

1992 Jerry Rice scores record-breaking touchdown

 

Pearl Harbor

The attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor was the state sponsored terrorism event of the twentieth century.  The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl HarborHawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions they planned in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 GMT).  The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighterslevel and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. All but the USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.  Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section), were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured.  The surprise attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan, and several days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. The U.S. responded with a declaration of war against Germany and Italy. Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been fading since the Fall of France in 1940, disappeared.  There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy“. Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.  I thought I’d mention some actions taken by individuals on that day in 1941:

As the Japanese attacked Midway Island, 1st Lt. George H. Cannon USMC remains at his post until all of his wounded men are evacuated, though severely wounded himself. Because of his dedication to his men, Cannon dies due loss of blood from his wounds. For his “distinguished conduct in the line of his profession”, Cannon is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

 

 

Captain Mervyn Sharp Bennion (USNA ’10), commanding officer of USS West Virginia (BB 48), evidenced apparent concern only in fighting and saving his ship, and strongly protested against being carried from the bridge. For devotion to duty and courage during the Pearl Harbor attack, Bennion is awarded the Medal of Honor.

 

 

 

Ensign Francis C. Flaherty remains in his turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see the escape, onboard the sinking  USS Oklahoma (BB-37) thereby sacrificing his own life. For devotion to duty and courage during the Pearl Harbor attack, Flaherty is awarded the Medal of Honor.

 

LCDR Samuel Glenn Fuqua (USNA ’23) rushes to the quarterdeck of USS Arizona, where a large bomb hits and penetrates several decks, and the explosion starts a severe fire and also stuns and knocks him down. Upon coming to, he begins to direct the firefighting and rescue efforts. A tremendous explosion forward appears to make the ship rise out of the water, shudder and settle down by the bow. Flames envelope the forward part of the ship and spread, as wounded men pour out of the ship to the quarterdeck. Despite the mayhem, Fuqua keeps calm under pressure and continues to direct the firefighting efforts so that the wounded could be taken from the ship, and in so doing inspires everyone who sees him. Realizing that the ship cannot be saved and that he was the senior surviving officer aboard, he orders the crew to abandon ship. Fuqua remains on the quarterdeck until satisfied that all personnel that could be had been saved, after which he leaves the ship with the last boatload.  He is awarded the Medal of Honor — for his actions in World War II during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Chief Boatswain Edwin Joseph Hill leads his men of the line-handling details of USS Nevada (BB-36)  to the quays, casts off the lines and swims back to this ship. Later, while on the forecastle attempting to let go the anchors, he is blown overboard and killed by the explosion of several bombs. Chief Hill earned Medal of Honor that day for his distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage, and disregard of his own safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor.

 

 

Ensign Herbert C. Jones organizes and leads a party in supplying ammunition to the antiaircraft battery of the USS California (BB-44) after the mechanical hoists were put out of action. Jones is then fatally wounded by a nearby bomb explosion and when two men attempt to take him from the area which was on fire, he refuses to let them, saying, in words to the effect, Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off.  He was  posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

 

Rear Admiral  Isaac C. Kidd (USNA ’06) immediately goes to the bridge and as the commander of battleship division one, he courageously performs his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until his flagship, USS Arizona  blows up from magazine explosions and he is killed by a direct bomb hit on the bridge.  He was a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor.  I lived briefly in the room dedicated to his honor in Bancroft Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy during some summer program.

As the mechanized ammunition hoists are put of action in USS California (BB-44), Chief Radioman Thomas James Reeves, on his own initiative, in a burning passageway, assists in the maintenance of an ammunition supply by hand to the antiaircraft guns until he is overcome by smoke and fire, resulting in his death.  He posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

 

 

As his station in the forward dynamo room aboard the USS Nevada (BB-36) becomes almost untenable due to smoke, steam, and heat, LCDR Donald Kirby Ross forces his men to leave the station and performs all the duties himself until blinded and unconscious. Upon being rescued and resuscitates, he returns and secures the forward dynamo room and proceeds to the aft dynamo room where he is again rendered unconscious by exhaustion. Again recovering consciousness, he returns to his station where he remained until directed to abandon it.  He received the first Medal of Honor of World War II.

Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John William Finn mans a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in an exposed section of the parking ramp, under heavy enemy machine-gun strafing fire. While painfully wounded, he continued to man the gun and return the enemy’s fire with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks. He was at last persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention after being specifically ordered to do so. After receiving first-aid, the chief returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. Chief (later Lieutenant) Finn earned the Medal of Honor that day for his extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor.  At the time of his death, Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, the last living recipient from the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the last United States Navy recipient of World War II.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, very few American fighter pilots were able to get airborne to fight the Japanese attackers. Ken Taylor and George Schwartz were two of them.  Second Lieutenants Kenneth Marlar Taylor and George S. Welch took two Curtiss-Wright P-40B Warhawk fighters from a remote airfield at Haleiwa, on the northwestern side of the island of Oahu, and against overwhelming odds, each shot down four enemy airplanes: Welch shot down three Aichi D3A Type 99 “Val” dive bombers and one Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 (“Zero”) fighter. Taylor also shot down four Japanese airplanes.  Although both officers were nominated for the Medal of Honor by General Henry H. (“Hap”) Arnold, they were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  Why were they denied the MOH?  Because they didn’t have permission to take-off.

 

Some Other Events From December 7:

1787 Delaware ratifies the Constitution

1987 Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in United States for summit with Ronald Reagan

1805 Lewis and Clark temporarily settle in Fort Clatsop

1989 Sugar Ray Leonard fights Roberto Duran for the third and final time

 

And On December 8:

1980 John Lennon is assassinated in New York City

1941 Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan

1940 Bears beat Redskins 73-0 in NFL Championship game

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 27 through December 4, 2017

Maybe I Need To Write This Blog More Often

I got busy!

 

President Trump and Former Security Advisor Michael Flynn

There is ever increasing evidence against President Donald Trump supporting a case of obstruction of justice.  It includes a tweet that he fired his former security adviser Michael Flynn because he knew Flynn had lied to both the Vice President and the FBI.  If he knew Flynn had committed a felony; that of lying to the FBI, then one could draw a conclusion Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he told then-FBI director James Comey to go easy on Flynn the day after the firing of Flynn.  On December 1, 2017, Flynn appeared in federal court to formalize a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to plead guilty to a single felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI.  As part of his plea bargain agreement to avoid additional charges Michael Flynn is talking to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation team regarding Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election in order to avoid a prison sentence.  Should we believe a retired United States Army Lieutenant General,  a member of Trump’s inter-circle during the Trump presidential campaign, a member of the transition team and the National Security Advisor during the first days of the Trump presidency acted on his own in contacting the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak?  And if he received guidance to contact the Russian government then its more than likely that guidance could only have come from Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or President Trump.  Tic, tic, tic, tic.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 27 through December 4, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 16th through 19th, 2017

Charles Manson – Dead

Charles Manson, the sinister hippie cult leader who declared himself “the Devil” and dispatched his followers to commit a series of Hollywood murders in 1969 that shocked the country, died Sunday night in a California hospital.  Good.  Manson was sentenced to death in 1971 for directing the brutal murders of Tate and six other people, but he was spared two years later and was sentenced to life behind bars when California did away with the death penalty.

 

 

 

Baseball’s Most Valuable Player Awards

In the American LeagueJose Altuve convincingly won the 2017 MVP Award. He received 27 of 30 first-place votes, racking up 405 total points. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge finished in second place with 279 points and Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez finished in third place with 237 points.  Altuve played well all year, was great in the World Series and was particularly supportive of his teammates during his post award interviews.  And at 5’6” it shows you don’t have to be a big guy to play baseball at the highest level.  Altuve, 27, led all of baseball with a .346 batting average and led the AL with 204 hits en route to helping the Astros win the AL West with 101 wins, then dispatched of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers to win the World Series. He also had a .410 on-base percentage, a .547 slugging percentage, 39 doubles, 24 home runs, 32 stolen bases, 81 RBI, and 112 runs scored in 662 plate appearances during the regular season. He is the first Astro to win the MVP Award since Jeff Bagwell in the strike-shortened 1994 season.  Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was named the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He narrowly edged out Reds first baseman Joey Votto, as both received the same number of first-place votes,

JUPITER, FL – FEBRUARY 22: Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins poses during Photo Day on Friday, February 22, 2013 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

but Stanton received one more second- and third-place vote. Stanton had 302 total points to Votto’s 300.  It was the closest balloting in years.  Stanton, 28, led all of baseball with 59 home runs and 132 RBI, and led the National League with a .631 slugging percentage. He also hit .281 with a .376 on-base percentage, scoring 123 runs in 692 plate appearances. Stanton is the first member of the Marlins to win the MVP Award since the team came into existence in 1993.

 

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 16th through 19th, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 12th through 15th 2017

Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger Win Rookie of the Year Awards

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the Rookie of the Year Awards unanimously in their respective leagues, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 30: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees follows through on a second inning infield single against the Cleveland Indians in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on August 30, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Judge, 25, hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 114 RBI, and 128 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. He led the American League in home runs, runs scored, and walks (127). Judge made the AL All-Star team during the summer and just took home a Silver Slugger Award. He’s a major contender for the AL MVP Award as well.  Judge is the first Yankee to win the Rookie of the Year Award since Derek Jeter in 1996.

 

Robert Mueller Can Now Close Down Russian Investigation

In May 2017,  Robert Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel to oversee the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, one of several investigations looking into the matter.  Mueller can now close down that investigation because after chatting with former KGB agent and now President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit President Trump is contradicting the overwhelming consensus among current and former U.S. officials that the Russian leader tried to manipulate the 2016 election.  In a 26-minute question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One, the president managed to dismiss probes into whether his campaign colluded with Russia as an “artificial Democratic hit job,” said he believed Putin was being sincere when he insisted that Russia did not attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, and warned that the continued focus on Russian election meddling risks lives.  I was worried there for a while that perhaps Russia didn’t respect us or value our way of life.  So now I guess we can close down Mueller’s Russian investigation and get on with the real work of the Administration, that of giving a tax break to corporations as well as the wealthiest tax payers.  And let’s create more ciaos in the health care system that will result in people paying more for health care no matter who they are.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 12th through 15th 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 7th through 9th 2017

Fireball Rant of Day – The End of the Driving Your Automobile Is In Sight

In the beginning there were no automobiles and there was darkness along the roads.  And man said let us have cars that will move us along the road more efficiently than the horse.  At first man created basic transportation vehicles.  Once two cars were created, they raced them to see which was better.  Man then designed cars to reflect specific needs; functionality combined with beauty and style.  The brothers August and Frederick Duesenberg, Henry Ford , Louis Chevrolet, Ferdinand Porsche,  Enzo Ferrari all designed and built cars to go beyond transportation befitting our dreams of how to drive and what to drive.  I’ve been a car guy all my life.  My first car at age 3 was a pedal car very similar to this photo (below right).  David Dikowski lived two houses down from us.  He had a fire engine pedal car (below left).  We raced each other routinely ‘cause that’s what guys do.   I worn out three sets of tires on that pedal car.  The first car I bought was a tangerine orange ’69 Porsche 911 E Targa.  I purchased it from my high school French teacher, another car guy.  I’ve had Porsche 911’s ever since.  That’s mine below right.  Why?  Because they’re fun to drive; they were built to drive; to drive fast; to take corners with ease; to make a statement; to be the statement.  I’ve also had a couple street rods over the years and as most of you know I’m building a ’31 Chevy 5 Window Coupe.  (photo of a 3 window coupe – not mine) Your imagination and your wallet establish the design parameters for these most personalized vehicles.  Today’s cars are already being homogenized so as to look nearly identical.  They’re either black, white, one of the 50 shades of grey with one red and one blue car per 100 thrown into the mix.  I noted that on 07 November, Waymo, a subsidiary of Google has partnered with several other big name corporations to introduce driverless ride-sharing within the next few months, beginning in Phoenix.  Those partners include: Fiat-Chrysler for minivans, AutoNation for vehicle service, Avis for fleet management and Lyft for their ride-share technology.  Every big name automobile manufacturer is employing all available technology to create driverless ride-share.   It will only be a few years until driverless vehicles are accepted as the norm.  Children born today will never need to obtain that rite of passage – a driver’s license.

When these blob vehicles reach a critical mass of say 75%; governments will say, driverless cars all obey the speed limits all the time, they reduce the number of accidents, cars driven by individuals are responsible for 90% of vehicle accidents; therefore you have five years to cease driving your vehicles on public roads – you may keep them in your own personal museum – under certain qualifying rules of course.  What I see developing is a culture where we can’t and don’t drive.  Vehicles will be owned, operated, maintained by conglomerates.  People will just pay for a service provided ride from point A to B.  The building of great automobiles and the experience of driving those automobiles will be gone forever.  I will be both mad and sad. Comments please!

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 7th through 9th 2017”