Torpedo Squadron Eight

Synopsis: Two flights of the torpedo squadron flew to attack the approaching Japanese fleet. One from land and one from sea. We have seen the Avengers from Midway meet their fate; now the Devastators from the Hornet would meet theirs.

“JAPANESE STRIKING FORCE                                                                                                    TORPEDO SQUADRON EIGHT                                                                                               0917

Staring into the distance, Waldron suddenly saw the wispy smoke columns dead ahead of them. The enemy ships began to take shape as dark silhouettes on the cryslalline sea.                                                                                            To Tex Gay, it looked like they almost covered the ocean. As the squadron closed in on the enemy task force, he could see three carriers in the first group, and a fourth following behind.There were battleships and cruisers and destroyers all over the place. Maybe all that guff about the skipper’s Sioux intuition had been right after all. He had gone straight to the enemy fleet like they had been on the end of a plumb line.                                                    Waldron was on the radio again. He was attempting to contact Commander Stanhope Ring to let him know that they had located the Japanese carriers. “Stanhope from Johnny One,” Gay heard him say. “Enemy sighted.”              There was no response. “Stanhope from Johnny One…answer,” he called again. “Enemy sighed.”                                                                                                          Flying behind Commander Ring in the Hornet air group, Leroy Quillen, the radioman-gunner in the dive bomber piloted by Ensign K. B. White, heard Waldron loud and clear.                                                                                                         “Stanhope from Johnny One,” he repeated once more.                                           As Waldron continued leading Torpedo Eight toward the vanguard of the enemy striking force, Tex Gay observed that one of the four Japanese carriers was in the process of landing a plane. Remembering that the original attack plan called for hitting the carriers  while their aircraft were off bombing Midway, his first reaction was, “Oh Christ, were late.”               Waldron was back again on the radio, this time talking to his men. “We will go in,” he said, sounding very calm. “We won’t turn back, we will attack. Good luck.”                                                                                                                                    The skipper put his nose down before leveling off at about five hundred feet as he headed in. The rest of the squadron followed him in perfect precision, almost like synchronized swimmers. He had told them that they might have to go in alone, and now the worst had come.                                                                  His words gave Tex confidence that they had a fighting chance to get in and drop their torpedoes, then light out for home. A moment later, the sky around them was filled with Zeroes. The enemy fighters swung around in half loops and wingovers to gain better firing positions.                                                               “Johnny One under attack,” Waldron radioed.                                                              From the bridge of the carrier Akagi, Commander Minoru Genda, Admiral Nagumo’s operations officer, watched with almost detached fascination as the fifteen torpedo planes came on. The slow-moving Devastators reminded him of a flock of waterfowl crossing a lake. To Genda, it was sheer idiocy for them to attack without fighter protection, and a total violation of the first rule of war, which was to concentrate one’s forces.                                  At last they have come, Genda thought to himself, having wondered when they would arrive ever since the American carrier force had been sighted. It puzzled him that they were coming in so low.”

Excerpted from “A DAWN LIKE THUNDER”, author, Robert J. Mrazek.           Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group.                             237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10012.

To be continued:    Islander

Here’s to Old Times Past

Burns said it best, I don’t have to repeat him, everyone gets his message.       That said, it strikes me that more and more people, around the world most likely, but particularly in America I think, are cutting threads, jmportant threads, with the past.                                                                                                             Is it because we, they, our parents or granparents or beyond, cut threads with their past to come here? Of course, but only certain threads, religious oppression, political oppression, economic oppression.                                        But some threads they kept. Again religion, because they could, their culture, freedom of expression.                                                                                            But Americans nowadays seem to live from Apple 12 to Apple 13, if that.                         Ha, ha,—ha,ha,ha!                                                                                                                  Islander.

Torpedo Squadron Eight

“NORTHEAST OF MIDWAY                                                                                                          JAPANESE STRIKING FORCE                                                                                                FLAGSHIP CARRIER AKAGI                                                                                              0715”   

“Through his binoculars, Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, commanding the Japanese strike force, watched the attack of the five remaining Avengers from the bridge of his flagship, the carrier Akagi.                                                    The torpedo planes were heading straight toward the carrier Hiryu, which was steaming southeast in a line parallel to his flagship. Both carriers had begun turning to port so that their starboard batteries could bring to bear a full barrage of antiaircraft guns against the Americans. Several other warships had already opened fire.                                                                                         Seeing the black bursts of smoke, the swarm of Zeroes that had been attacking the Avengers immediately darted away to safety. Exploding antiaircraft shells began blooming black in the sky all around the torpedo planes, still they came on.                                                                                                     Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who had led the Japanese carrier attack against Pearl Harbor and who was recovering from appendicitis, watched from the Akagi as the Americans continued to press home their attack in the face of such overwhelming firepower.                                             Excited shouts from the Akagi’s lookouts warned that behind the five torpedo planes were four more American aircraft, also coming from the south. They were the B-26 Marauders.                                                                     Suddenly, one of the Avengers burst into flames. It cartwheeled into the sea and created a great geyser of foam. Moments later, Fuchida heard a spontaneous roar of exultation erupt from the hundreds of sailors standing at their battle stations.                                                                                                                 Still, the four remaining Avengers came on through the hail of bursting shells.                                                                                                                                            Several of the Japanese Zero pilots boldly decided to brave the ongoing antiaircraft barrage, and sped in to make more passes at the remaining planes. One by one, the Americans began to fall. Through his binoculars Fuchida saw two of them launch their torpedoes before they were hit, but the planes were still so far away from the Hiryu that the ship easily changed course to avoid them.                                                                                                                 When the last Avenger became a flaming torch in the sky, another exultant roar swept across the flight decks of the two carriers, as if the Japanese sailors were enjoying a spectacle at the Coliseum in Rome.                                  They were gone. Ozzie Gaynier and Darrel Woodside. Vic Lewis and Charlie Brannon. And Lieutenant Langdon Kellogg Fieberling. He had chosen to follow his own course and had paid the ultimate price. The eternal sea closed over the small wisps of smoke that marked their final resting places.”

Excerpted from “A DAWN LIKE THUNDER”, author, Robert J.Mrazek.       Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group.                       237 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017.

Evidently the four B-26 bombers were also destroyed. To be continued.  Islander.

                                                                                                       

 

9/11

“A day”, to paraphrase Roosevelt, “that will live in infamy”.                                      The death toll on December 7th, 1941, was 2,403. The death toll on September 11th, 2001, was 2,977. Yet this country’s reactions to these calamities were like day and night.                                                                                       In 1941 this country held the entire nation of Japan, men, women and children responsible for what their leaders had perpetrated, and reigned death and destruction on them for almost four years, culminating with the almost total obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.                                              What was the response to 9/11, pray tell? Nay, let me tell you.                              Utter cowardice, treachery, and deceit on the part of the then administration, for they knew the truth of the event. Utter cowardice, treachery, and deceit on the part of succeeding administrations, for they knew the truth of the event. And finally, utter cowardice, treachery and deceit on the part of the current administration, for they know the truth of the event.                             To hold only one man accountable for 9/11, a citizen of a country whose rulers have always held us in contempt, and who  consider us the ultimate infidel, is absurd. He did not operate in a vacuum, that was and is clear.       Yet, to this day, the powers that be would rather invade Outer Mongolia than admit the truth.                                                                                                            Islander.

“ARABIAN PROVERB”

“He who knows not and knows not that he knows not,                                                 He is a fool–shun him;

He who knows not and knows he knows not                                                                     He is simple–teach him;

He who knows and knows not he knows,                                                                           He is asleep–wake him;

He who knows and knows he knows,                                                                                  He is wise; follow him.”

The above quotation is a test on my part to see if WordPress will publish it in the form that I have entered it, for in the recent past they have failed to do so. Today I finally complained to WebHostingHub about WordPress’s rude and crude treatment of my work in that they were totally destroying the meaning and content of the various authors and poets I quote.                     A young man by the name of Chris assured me that he would install a plug-in that would correct the situation. In a few minutes I and you will see if that is indeed the case, ha, ha!

Islander.

 

 

John Paul Jones

“Cease firing!” Jones yelled. He ordered Lieutenant Dale to take a boarding crew across to secure the enemy ship. Grabbing a stray line hanging from a yardarm, the lieutenant swung himself across to the quarterdeck of the Serapis. Midshipman John Mayrant followed with a party of men and was immediately run through the thigh with a pike; some of the British sailors had not gotten the word. Pearson’s first officer, Lieutenant John Wright, was also caught by surprise. Dale was just informing Pearson, “I have orders to send you on board the ship along side,” when Wright, breathless from running up the ladder, appeared and asked his captain whether the Americans had struck. Dale interjected, “No sir, the contrary, he has struck to us.” Wright was taken aback. He turned to Pearson. “Have you struck, sir?” Pearson quietly replied that he had. Wright could not hide his shame. “I have nothing more to say, sir,” the first lieutenant stammered. Collecting himself, he asked Pearson’s permission to go below and silence the remaining guns. With a grinding, wrenching crash, the mainmast of the Serapis toppled over the side, ripping with it the mizzen topmast. After Pearson had crossed over, Jones ordered his men to cut away the grappling hooks and tangled rigging and let the Serapis float free. If the Bonhomme Richard was going to sink or burn, Jones wished at least to save his prize. Aboard the Serapis, Dale backed the remaining sails and was puzzled when the British ship did not respond. He did not realize that the Serapis was anchored. Deciding to investigate, Dale jumped off the binnacle, where he had been sitting in a state of semi-shock, and promptly fell to the deck as his leg collapsed under him. His calf had been badly cut by an iron splinter. In the heat of the battle, he had not realized that he had been wounded. Captain Jones may have been lightly wounded, grazed by a piece of shrapnel, perhaps; in later years, Jones would refer vaguely to the blood he shed, but no record exists of any kind of serious injury. It is doubtful that he felt any sensation besides pure exultation as he stood, begrimed and haggard but erect, to greet Captain Pearson on the quarterdeck of the Bonhomme Richard. Against the Drake, he had been cheated out of the surrender ceremony by his opponent’s demise: mortally wounded in the battle, Captain Burden had been unable to hand over his sword in the ancient ritual of submission. Now Jones moment of triumph, of sweet vindication, had arrived. Pearson, the symbol of Britannic rule, his soot-stained face struggling to remain impassive, stood before Jones, holding out his sword. Jones took it. “Sir,” Jones said to Pearson, “you have fought like a hero, and I make no doubt that your sovereign will reward you in a most ample manner for it.” Fanning and gunner’s mate John Kilby both recalled hearing Pearson ask Jones the nationality of his crew. Mostly Americans, replied Jones.*[He was telling Pearson what he wanted to hear. In fact, Americans accounted for perhaps a third of the Bonhomme Richard‘s crew, though seventeen of twenty officers were Yankees.] “Then it was diamond cut diamond,” Pearson responded. The British captain did not want to hear that he had succumbed to Frenchmen or Spaniards; Americans were at least cousins, endowed with English virtues. Fanning reported that Pearson also said that it “pained” him to hand his sword to a man who “has a halter around his neck,” i.e., a pirate who would hang if caught. This blatant snub seems unlikely, though Pearson would be surly and haughty to Jones as a prisoner in port. Jones, for his part, tried to play the gentleman. according to Fanning, he asked Pearson to join him in his cabin for a glass of wine.”

Excerpted from “John Paul Jones”, author, Evan Thomas. Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER, Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY. 10020.

Islander. To Be Continued:

John Paul Jones

“The death struggle had become two battles, a race to extinction on two fronts, one abovedeck, one below. Jones’s sharpshooters had cleared the British tops and now they were sweeping the decks of Serapis with musketry and shot from the blunderbusses and swivel guns. Captain Pearson, though stoic, was finally forced to move out of this dangerous hailstorm and take refuge beneath the quarterdeck. He still controlled the battle belowdecks, however. The Serapis’s 12- and 18- pounders continued to blast away. The cannonballs went in one side of the Bonnhomme Richard and out the other, creating ever larger holes at and below the waterline. The gun deck of the American ship was a wasteland, strewn with bodies and shattered cannon. One by one, the last of Jones’s 12-pounders were silenced. By 9 P.M. or so, the American captain was left with only three 9-pounders on the quarterdeck. When one of them was smashed, its gun captain badly wounded, Jones himself helped haul a 9-pounder across the deck from the other side and aim at the Serapis. Jones’s target was the three-foot-wide mainmast of the Serapis, painted yellow and easy to pick out in the swirling smoke. The smoke was getting thicker. Both ships were on fire. The stabs of flames from the cannons had ignited scraps of wood and canvas hanging down from the cut-up rigging and mast of the Serapis. Burning cartridge wads from the British guns were smoldering in the shattered timbers of the Bonhomme Richard. On a wooden ship laced with highly flammable tar and resin, fire was dreaded more than enemy cannonballs. Flames were creeping up the sails and the rigging; down below, hot coals were erupting in little blazes that threatened to create a conflagration that would reach the powder magazine. For a brief time the shooting and cannonading died down; as if by mutual agreement, the men left their guns to fight the fire, cutting away burning cordage and dousing flames with buckets of water hauled from the sea. Jones had a moment to catch a breather. He sat on a hen coop on the quarterdeck and looked out into the darkness, wondering what had happened to his disloyal squadron. He was glad to see that not all of his captains were timid. He could pick out the Pallas about a mile off in the night. She was bashing the outgunned Countess of Scarborough. Captain Cottineau was too cautious for Jones’s taste, but at least he had not shied from taking on the smaller British sloop. The Countess of Scarborough was beaten and would soon strike. Somewhere out there, Jones guessed, the Vengeance was biding its time, waiting to see if the British escorts would be defeated by braver men, thus leaving the merchantmen easy pray for scavengers. But where was the Alliance and its erratic Captain Landeau? Jones found out soon enough. At about 9:15 P.M., a broadside of grapeshot ripped through the bow of the Serapis and the stern of the Bonhomme Richard, wounding and killing men on both ships. It was the Alliance, apparently firing wildly into the inferno. Aboard the Bonhomme Richard, men cried out, yelling, “For God’s sake! Wrong ship! Stop firing!” But the Alliance, sailing along serenely only a musket shot away, rounded the Bonhomme Richard‘s bow and loosed another broadside of grapeshot. Among the mortally wounded on the Bonhomme Richard‘s forecastle was a young midshipman, Jonas Coram. “Alliance has wounded me,” he said with his dying breathe. Then, just as he had suddenly appeared, Landais vanished again into the blackness. Jones was “astonished.” He ordered his men to hang lanterns fifteen feet hight in the shrouds of each mast and the commodore’s private signal, two lanterns at the peak of the mizzenmast, so there would be no mistake if the Alliance deigned to rejoin the fray.”

Excerpted from “John Paul Jones”, author, Evan Thomas. Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER, Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY. 10020.

Islander.

John Paul Jones

“Pearson wanted to finish off the American. As the Serapis slid out from under the Bonhomme Richard’s lee, Pearson ordered the helmsman to head up, to cross the American’s bow and rake her again. But at that moment, Pearson’s luck ran out. The light wind died altogether; the Serapis hung without steerage way, just off the Bonhomme Richard’s starboard bow. Now Jones saw his chance. Feeling a gentle puff from the dying southerly, he ordered the sailing master, Samuel Stacy [A true-blooded Yankee,” according to Fanning], to “lay the enemy’s ship on board.” In the next breathe, he ordered the officers to muster the boarding party. Seamen and marines were handed cutlasses, pikes, and pistols and assembled in the ship’s waist and on the forecastle. The helmsman was barely able to steer the sluggish ship in the feeble breeze, but the Bonhomme Richard drifted toward the stern of the Serapis. The bowsprit of the American ship gently nudged into the rigging of the British ship’s mizzenmast. “Well done my lads, we’ve got her now!” cried Jones., full of the savage joy that seized him at moments of maximum peril. The sailors hurled grappling hooks across to the Serapis, catching them in the rigging and hooking on to the bulwarks. British seamen and redcoats, armed with axes, just as quickly began cutting them away while Royal Marines peppered musket fire at the small knot of Americans trying to climb out onto the bowsprit. It was no use. A bowsprit is a precarious bridge; the boarding party was on a virtual suicide mission. Jones called it off, and the men drew back; the lines to the grappling hooks were hacked off. The Bonhomme Richard backed its sails and the two ships drew apart. Pearson wanted to resume hammering his foe, so he ordered his topsails backed to check the Serapis and bring the two ships parallel again. The heavy guns of the Serapis flashed out and another several hundredweight of iron ripped through the Bonhomme Richard’s aging planks. At some badly mauled gun stations, the decks were wet with blood. Jones was truly up against it now. The Bonhomme Richard was barely sailing. Jones needed to make a last attempt to gain the upper hand.”

Excerpted from “John Paul Jones”, author, Evan Thomas. Publisher SIMON & SCHUSTER, Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY. 10020.

Islander.

On Jacuzzis

Next time you have access to a jacuzzi, be sure you bend your head close and smell the water. Be sure to wear a brimmed hat that will contain, condense, cloister the immediate atmosphere. Cloister, I think, is the key word. Personally, I wear an old Columbian fishing hat with an extended brim and drop-down ear to ear flap. Islander.

Over the Cliff

My wife and I were watching an event on the telly that occurred a few days ago on the White House lawn. The crowd, and it was crowded, consisted of sycophants and enablers, even to a black child ensconced in the front row. Was he there for color, ha,ha, would he in someway dilute, or ameliorate the commanding white presence? But back to the Plaguemeister and his “merry band of pranksters”. They were made up of the powerful, the wannabee powerful and —is there anyone else, ha,ha! What can you say when you see that display? My wife commented, and I’m paraphrasing her, “how can these people commit themselves to such a dangerous situation?, and the child , surely he had no say.” I grokked on that, then said, “yeah, they’re like fucking lemmings”.

Islander.