Happy Labor Day
Well here it is Labor Day already. The long weekend holiday is the unofficial end of summer (hate that thought), the beginning of school (hated that), the time for expansion of the baseball rosters (hate that – 40 man rosters change the game too much going into the playoffs), and it’s time to save 50% or more on your next mattress set with no payments for at least two years (don’t need a new mattress). But it is also the beginning of college football (Go Navy), the start of professional football (that’s good, but they only play once a week), a great weekend to grill some steaks (love that), International Bacon Day (love that – you can look it up), catch some of those Atlantic salmon that made good their escape and now need to be caught (love that), NASCAR’s Southern 500 NASCAR auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015 (like it as it’s usually a good short track race), ride your bike (gotta love that), at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association holds their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals (some great names and cars show up for this one), and of course it’s the last day it’s considered acceptable to wear white or seersucker (who knew – OK fashion folk like Friend of FOD Mr. Fuzzy have this marked on their calendars to go along with the opening day of elk season). Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. Photo below right shows first Labor Day Parade in NYC in 1882. I was pretty much against labor unions until I joined Northwest Airlines. There was a snap back clause in the contract under which I was hired providing for a pay raise of the lesser of 3% or the average pay increase of the seven major airlines in business at the time. The math clearly pointed to the 3% option as all those airlines had received increased wages as airlines were making money. Imagine then our surprise when our paychecks in mid-September only included a 1.4% pay increase. When management was queried as to this decision, the reply was, “we think that’s what it should be.” Eight months later and utilizing binding arbitration, it took less than fifteen minutes for the pilot’s to prevail. The back pay was returned over a two month period and we each received a note from management in our company mailbox stating, that as the company didn’t have to pay back interest on the monies withheld over that time period, it shouldn’t be taken as a personal matter as it was only a prudent company business decision. They had an eight month interest free $84M loan paid for by the pilots. That’s why pilots have unions (but I’m not bitter – well just a little – no a lot – OK, I’ll let it go – someday).
All Rise For the Judges
It is a given that at New York Yankee games, Yankee fans all rise for AL homerun leader,
Aaron Judge. Judge has his own exclusive cheering section in the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium that’s called The Judge’s Chambers. If you’re lucky enough to be selected to sit there, you’ll receive your own robe and judge’s white wig, plus a plastic gavel. On August 31st, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sonia Sotomayor (a Bronx native and Yankees fan) hung out with fans in The Judge’s Chambers, at the game against the Red Sox. It would appear she now has another robe she can wear for her day job. The other justices will be so jealous. In the fifth inning, Justice Sotomayor showed up in the WFAN radio broadcast booth joining New York Yankees Radio Network John Sterling (below left) and Suzyn Waldman (below right). Following the final out of this Yankee victory, Sterling brought forth his signature call, “Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankees win!” Final score Yankees 6, Red Sox 2. Let’s invite her to every Yankee game! The Yankees lost to the Sox on 01 Sept, but won on 02 September.
On The Road – Raymond, Washington
Driving south from Seattle on US 101, one sees mile after mile of forests in the cycle of harvest. Most of it is a beautiful drive, with some areas clear cut of all trees and have been left very ugly. The Weyerhausser Paper Corporation watermark is evident everywhere. A denuded mountain proudly overlooks the town of Raymond. Raymond’s roadside attractions are not crafted in wood though, but in metal. Along the main drag, the “Raymond Wildlife Heritage Sculptures Corridor” is a display of dozens of rusty metal cutouts — a mixture of area wildlife and logging industry scenes. In some places, bear and fox are displayed next to loads of logs pulled by teams of oxen or horses. The Corridor was created with the work of local artists starting in 1993. It is eye-catching mostly due to the quantity and density of pieces. For the weirder statues, stop in town. The “Town of Metal People” are metal, 3-dimensional figures sprinkled through town. The subject matter seems to result more from the whimsy of the artists than any historical figures from the region’s history. One shows a photographer with a camera and telephoto snapping some wildlife. Another depicts a girl feeding an ice cream cone to a large dog/wolf. There are a few other interesting items around town, including this historic logging and founding of Raymond mural on the back of the local shopping center. I wouldn’t call it a destination, but if your trip permits, it’s worth taking US 101south toward the southern Washington beaches.
Navy Announces Stockdale Leadership Awards for 2017
The Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership is a United States Navy award established in 1980 by United States Secretary of the Navy Edward Hidalgo to honor the inspirational leadership of James Stockdale, a Medal of Honor
recipient in the Vietnam War, who exhibited exemplary leadership while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for nearly eight years. The awards were first made in 1981. Awards are given annually to a pair of current or former commanding officers — one each from Fleet Forces Command and the Pacific Fleet — for inspirational leadership. CDR Eric M. Sager, former commanding officer of the USS California (SSN 781), was selected from Fleet Forces Command, and Cmdr. Brian M. Drechsler, former commanding officer of SEAL Team Five, was the Pacific Fleet pick. Candidates for these awards are nominated by peers.
Senator John McCain Speaks Out
I don’t agree with everything Senator John McCain (R – AZ) says, but I was impressed by his opinion published in the Washington Post on August 31st. I include it in FOD. Americans recoiled from the repugnant spectacle of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville to promote their un-American “blood and soil” ideology. There is nothing in their hate-driven racism that can match the strength of a nation conceived in liberty and comprising 323 million souls of different origins and opinions who are equal under the law. Most of us share Heather Heyer’s values, not the depravity of the man who took her life. We are the country that led the free world to victory over fascism and dispatched communism to the ash heap of history. We are the superpower that organized not an empire, but an international order of free, independent nations that has liberated more people from poverty and tyranny than anyone thought possible in the age of colonies and autocracies. Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again. Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another. We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important. That’s not how we were meant to govern. Our entire system of government — with its checks and balances, it’s bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority — was designed for compromise. It seldom works smoothly or speedily. It was never expected to. It requires pragmatic problem-solving from even the most passionate partisans. It relies on compromise between opposing sides to protect the interests we share. We can fight like hell for our ideas to prevail. But we have to respect each other or at least respect the fact that we need each other. That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct. We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates. We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation. I argued during the health-care debate for a return to regular order, letting committees of jurisdiction do the principal work of crafting legislation and letting the full Senate debate and amend their efforts. We won’t settle all our differences that way, but such an approach is more likely to make progress on the central problems confronting our constituents. We might not like the compromises regular order requires, but we can and must live with them if we are to find real and lasting solutions. And all of us in Congress have the duty, in this sharply polarized atmosphere, to defend the necessity of compromise before the American public. Let’s try that approach on a budget that realistically meets the nation’s critical needs. We all know spending levels for defense and other urgent priorities have been woefully inadequate for years. But we haven’t found the will to work together to adjust them. The appropriators can’t complete their spending bills, and we’re stuck with threats of a government shutdown and continuing resolutions that underfund national security. A compromise that raises spending caps for both sides’ priorities is better than the abject failure that has been our achievement to date. Let’s also try that approach on immigration. The president has promised greater border security. We can agree to that. A literal wall might not be the most effective means to that end, but we can provide the resources necessary to secure the border with smart and affordable measures. Let’s make it part of a comprehensive bill that members of both parties can get behind — one that values our security as well as the humanity of immigrants and their contributions to our economy and culture. Let’s try it on tax reform and infrastructure improvement and all the other urgent priorities confronting us. These are all opportunities to show that ordi71d humbly, and to prove the value of the United States Congress to the great nation we serve.
SR-71 Sets Another Speed Record
On September 01, 1974, Major James V. Sullivan, USAF, Pilot and Major Noel F. Widdifield, USAF, Reconnaissance Systems Officer, set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over A Known Course when they flew a Lockheed SR-71A-LO, serial number 61-7972, from New York to London in 1 hour, 54 minutes, 56.4 seconds. They averaged 2,908.026 kilometers per hour (1,806.964 miles per hour). This is the same SR-71 that was used to set several speed records over the years. Lockheed SR-71A-LO 61-7972 at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum (NASM).
Commander John Rogers Attempts First Flight to Hawaii
On September 1, 1925, Commander John Rodgers and a crew of four in a PN-9 aircraft run out of fuel on the first attempt to fly from San Francisco to Hawaii. Rodgers was the great-grandson of Commodores Rodgers and Perry. He was born in Washington, D.C. and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1903. His early naval career included service on ships of various types before studying flying in 1911 and becoming the second American naval officer to fly for the United States Navy. In September 1911, Lieutenant John Rodgers assembled and flew a crated Wright Model B-1 aircraft delivered by Orville Wright at an armory in Annapolis, Maryland, and then bringing naval flight as a pioneer to the United States Navy. He commanded the first attempt non-stop flight from California to Hawaii. Given the technology of the time, this tested the limits of both aircraft range and the accuracy of aerial navigation. The expedition was to include three planes. Rodgers commanded the flying boat PN-9 No. 1. (above right). The PN-9 No. 3 was commanded by Lt. Allen P. Snody. The third plane was to have been a new design, which was not completed in time to join the expedition. Due to the risks, the Navy positioned 10 guard ships spaced 200 miles apart between California and Hawaii to refuel or recover the aircraft if necessary. The two PN-9s departed San Pablo Bay, California (near San Francisco) on August 31. Lt. Snody’s plane had an engine failure about five hours into its flight, was forced to land in the ocean, and was safely recovered. Rodgers’s flight proceeded with few difficulties for more than 1200 miles. However, higher than expected fuel consumption and a weaker than predicted tailwind made it necessary for the plane to land in the ocean and refuel. The plane headed for a refueling ship, but limitations of the navigation technology and erroneous navigation information provided by the ship’s crew caused Rodgers and his crew to miss the ship. The flying boat was forced to land in the ocean when it ran out of fuel on September 1. Since the position of the plane was not known while it was in the air and the plane’s radio could not transmit when the plane was floating on the water (that’s a problem), Rodgers and his crew were not found by an extensive, multi-day search by planes and a large number of ships. After passing a night without rescue, Rodgers and his crew used fabric from a wing to make a sail and sailed towards Hawaii, several hundred miles away. Later the plane’s crew used metal flooring to fashion leeboards to improve their ability to steer the flying boat while it was sailing. Finally, nine days later, after sailing the plane 450 miles to within 15 miles of Nawiliwili Bay, Kauai, the plane and its crew were found by submarine USS R-4 under the command of Lt. Donald R. Osborn, Jr, (USNA class of 1920), after a search by the US Navy. They were towed near the reef outside of the port. The harbor master and his daughter rowed out to the plane and helped Rodgers and his crew surf over the reef and into the safety of the harbor. By the time they were found by the submarine, Rodgers and his crew had subsisted a week without food and with limited water. (Next time order extra box lunches). He later shared with a newspaper, “We were taken care of by the good people of the island, who insisted on treating us as invalids, whereas as a matter of fact we were in very good shape and perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves.” After their return, Rodgers and his crew were treated as heroes. Also, despite not reaching Hawaii by air, their flight established a new non-stop air distance record for seaplanes of 1992 miles. After this experience, Rodgers served as Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics until his accidental death in an airplane crash after the plane he was piloting suddenly nose-dived into the Delaware River on August 27, 1926.
Japan Signs Surrender Ending WW II and the USS Missouri
I covered some of the events leading up to the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in the 28 through 31 August edition of FOD. After the Japanese agreed to surrender, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of the Royal Navy, the Commander of the British Pacific Fleet, boarded USS Missouri, on 16 August and conferred the honor of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire upon Admiral Halsey. Missouri transferred a landing party of 200 officers and men to the battleship Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo on 21 August. Missouri herself entered Tokyo Bay early on 29 August to prepare for the signing by Japan of the official instrument of surrender. High-ranking military officials of all the Allied Powers were received on board on 2 September, including Chinese General Hsu Yung-Ch’ang, British Admiral-of-the-Fleet Sir Bruce Fraser, Soviet Lieutenant-General Kuzma Nikolaevich Derevyanko, Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey, Canadian Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave, French Général d’Armée Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque, Dutch Vice AdmiralConrad Emil Lambert Helfrich, and New Zealand Air Vice Marshal Leonard M. Isitt. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz boarded shortly after 0800, and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allies, came on board at 0843. The Japanese representatives, headed by Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, arrived at 0856. A little known fact is that MacArthur insisted all US military present were at least six foot tall and all wore their working uniforms. MacArthur, a student of history, may have been reflecting on Lee’s surrender to Grant when the former wore his best dressed uniform and Grant wore his working uniform still mud stained. At 0902, General MacArthur stepped before a battery of microphones and opened the 23-minute surrender ceremony to the waiting world by stating, “It is my earnest hope—indeed the hope of all mankind—that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.” During the surrender ceremony, the deck of Missouri was decorated with a 31-star American flag that had been taken ashore by Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853 after his squadron of “Black Ships” sailed into Tokyo Bay to force the opening of Japan’s ports to foreign trade. This flag was actually displayed with the reverse side showing, i.e., stars in the upper right corner: the historic flag was so fragile that the conservator at the Naval Academy Museum had sewn a protective linen backing to one side to help secure the fabric from deteriorating, leaving its “wrong side” visible. The flag was displayed in a wood-framed case secured to the bulkhead overlooking the surrender ceremony. Another U.S. flag was raised and flown during the occasion, a flag that some sources have indicated was in fact that flag which had flown over the U.S. Capitol on 7 December 1941. This is not true; it was a flag taken from the ship’s stock, according to Missouri‘s commanding officer, Captain Stuart “Sunshine” Murray, and it was “…just a plain ordinary GI-issue flag.”
American warplanes from Task Force 38 fly over USS Missouri (BB-63), the ship aboard which the documents were signed by the Japanese delegation and Allied military leaders, anchored in Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945. Now that’s a flyover! Look at the number of aircraft that can be seen in this photo. During the Korean War, Missouri arrived just west of Kyūshū on 14 September, where she became the flagship of Rear Admiral Allan Edward Smith. The first American battleship to reach Korean waters, she bombarded Samchok on 15 September 1950 in an attempt to divert troops and attention from the Incheon landings. This was the first time since World War II that Missouri had fired her guns in anger, and in company with the cruiser Helena and two destroyers, she helped prepare the way for the U.S. Eighth Army offensive. After the Korean War, Missouri was deactivated and was placed in Reserve Ship status (mothballed). In 1984, Missouri was reactivated, under the Reagan Administration’s program to build a 600-ship Navy, led by Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman. The ship was upgraded with the most advanced weaponry available; among the new weapons systems installed were four MK 141 quad cell launchers for 16 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, eight Armored Box Launcher (ABL) mounts for 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, and a quartet of Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS) Gatling guns for defense against enemy anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft. Also included in her modernization were upgrades to radar and fire control systems for her guns and missiles, and improved electronic warfare capabilities. During the modernization Missouri‘s 800 lb bell, which had been removed from the battleship and sent to Jefferson City, Missouri for sesquicentennial celebrations in the state, was formally returned to the battleship in advance of her recommissioning. Missouri was formally recommissioned in San Francisco on 10 May 1986. On 2 August 1990 Iraq, led by President Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. In the middle of the month U.S. President George H. W. Bush, in keeping with the Carter Doctrine, sent the first of several hundred thousand troops, along with a strong force of naval support, to Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf area to support a multinational force in a standoff with Iraq. On 29 January, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate Curts led Missouri northward, using advanced mine-avoidance sonar. In her first naval gunfire support action of Desert Storm she shelled an Iraqi command and control bunker near the Saudi border, the first time her 16 in guns had been fired in combat since March 1953 off Korea. The battleship bombarded Iraqi beach defenses in occupied Kuwait on the night of 3 February, firing 112 16 in rounds over the next three days until relieved by Wisconsin. Missouri then fired another 60 rounds off Khafji on 11–12 February before steaming north to Faylaka Island. She continued to serve with distinction throughout the Gulf War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the absence of a perceived threat to the United States came drastic cuts in the defense budget, and the high cost of maintaining and operating battleships as part of the United States Navy’s active fleet became uneconomical; as a result, Missouri was decommissioned on 31 March 1992 at Long Beach, California after an additional16 total years of active service. Missouri returned to be part of the United States Navy reserve fleet at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, until 12 January 1995, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. She remained in Bremerton, but was not open to tourists as she had been from 1957 to 1984. In spite of attempts by citizens’ groups to keep her in Bremerton and be re-opened as a tourist site, the U.S. Navy wanted to pair a symbol of the end of World War II with one representing its beginning. On 4 May 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract that transferred her to the nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association (MMA) of Honolulu, Hawaii. She was towed from Bremerton on 23 May to Astoria, Oregon, where she sat in fresh water at the mouth of the Columbia River to kill and drop the saltwater barnacles and sea grasses that had grown on her hull in Bremerton, then towed across the eastern Pacific, and docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on 22 June, just 500 yd from the Arizona Memorial. Less than a year later, on 29 January 1999, Missouri was opened as a museum operated by the MMA. Originally, the decision to move Missouri to Pearl Harbor was met with some resistance. The National Park Service expressed concern that the battleship, whose name has become synonymous with the end of World War II, would overshadow the battleship Arizona, whose dramatic explosion and subsequent sinking on 7 December 1941 has since become synonymous with the attack on Pearl Harbor. To help guard against this impression Missouri was placed well back from and facing the Arizona Memorial, so that those participating in military ceremonies on Missouri‘s aft decks would not have sight of the Arizona Memorial. The decision to have Missouri‘s bow face the Arizona Memorial was intended to convey that Missouri watches over the remains of Arizona so that those interred within Arizona‘s hull may rest in peace. Missouri was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 14 May 1971 for hosting the signing of the instrument of Japanese surrender that ended World War II. She is not eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark because she was extensively modernized in the years following the surrender. A visit to Missouri should be on your bucket list and no visit to Hawaii is complete without visiting this fine ship and this living piece of history.
Blanche Scott Takes to the Air
Blanche Stuart Scott (April 8, 1884 – January 12, 1970), also known as Betty Scott, was the first American woman aviator. After receiving flight instruction from Glenn Hammond Curtiss, Miss Blanche Stuart Scott became the first woman in the United States to fly an airplane when she made a solo flight in a Curtiss biplane at Lake Keuka Field, Hammondsport, New York, on September 2, 1910. In 1910 Scott became the second woman, after Alice Huyler Ramsey, to drive an automobile across the United States and the first driving westwards from New York City to San Francisco, California. The trip was sponsored by the Willys-Overland Company and the car was named the “Lady Overland”. Scott and her passenger, a woman reporter called Gertrude Buffington Phillips, left New York on May 16, 1910, and reached San Francisco on July 23, 1910. The New York Times wrote on May 17, 1910: The publicity surrounding automobile journey brought her to the attention of Jerome Fanciulli and Glenn Curtiss who agreed to provide her with flying lessons in Hammondsport, New York. She was the only woman to receive instruction directly from Curtiss. He fitted a limiter on the throttle of Scott’s airplane to prevent it gaining enough speed to become airborne while she practiced taxiing on her own. On September 6 either the limiter moved or a gust of wind lifted the biplane and she flew to an altitude of forty feet before executing a gentle landing. Her flight was short and possibly unintentional but Scott is credited by the Early Birds of Aviation as the first woman to pilot and solo in an airplane in the United States, although Bessica Medlar Raiche‘s flight on September 16 was accredited as first by the Aeronautical Society of America at the time. Scott subsequently became a professional pilot. On October 24, 1910, she made her debut as a member of the Curtiss exhibition team at an air meet in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was the first woman to fly at a public event in America. Her exhibition flying earned her the nickname “Tomboy of the Air”. She became an accomplished stunt pilot known for flying upside down and performing “death dives”, diving from an altitude of 4000 feet and suddenly pulling up only 200 feet from the ground. In 1911 she became the first woman in America to fly long distance when she flew 60 miles non-stop from Mineola, New York. In 1912 Scott contracted to fly for Glenn Martin and became the first female test pilot when she flew Martin prototypes before the final blueprints for the aircraft had been made. In 1913 she joined the Ward exhibition team. She retired from flying in 1916 because she was bothered by the public’s interest in air crashes and an aviation industry which allowed no opportunity for women to become mechanics or engineers. On September 6, 1948, Scott became the first American woman to fly in a jet when she was the passenger in a TF-80C piloted by Chuck Yeager. Knowing Scott’s history as a stunt pilot, Yeager treated her to some snap rolls and a 14,000 foot dive. In 1954 Scott began working for the United States Air Force Museum, helping to acquire early aviation materials.
Hit For The Cycle, But Lose the Game
I watched this game on September 2, 1995. In the Bronx, Tony Fernández becomes the tenth Yankee to hit for the cycle when he goes 4-for 5 against Oakland. The shortstop will complete the unique feat with a double that will lead to the tying run being scored in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Bombers will suffer a 10-9 loss when Rickey Henderson goes deep in the top of the tenth frame. It was so great to see someone hit for the cycle and then to lose the game was so disappointing. Fernández played for the New York Yankees in 1995. It was because of an injury early in the season to Fernández that Derek Jeter was called up to the major leagues for the first time.
First Instant Replay In Baseball
Yankee Alex Rodriguez’s towering fly ball, which bounces off the Tropicana Field catwalk behind the foul pole in left field, is immediately ruled a home run by Brian Runge. The third base umpire’s decision, which is disputed by Rays catcher Dioner Navarro, proves to be correct as the men in blue take 2 minutes, 15 seconds to review the video, becoming the first crew to use new instant-replay system since its implementation last week.