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.

Steinbeck

“From start to finish I found no strangers. If I had, I

might be able to report them more objectively. But

these are my people and this is my country. If I found

matters to criticize and to deplore, they were tenden-

cies equally present in myself. If I were to prepare one

immaculately inspected generality it would be this: For

all of our enormous geographic range, for all of our

sectionalism, for all of our interwoven breeds drawn

from every part of the ethnic world, we are a nation, a

new breed. Americans are much more American than

they are Northerners, Southerners, Westerners, or

Easterners. And descendants of English, Irish, Italian,

Jewish, German, Polish are essentially American. This

is not patriotic whoop-de-do; it is carefully observed

fact. California Chinese, Boston Irish, Wisconsin Ger-

man, yes, and Alabama Negroes, have more in com-

mon than they have apart.And this is the more re-

markable because it has happened so quickly. It is a

fact that Americans from all sections and of all racial

extractions are more alike than the Welsh are like the

English, the Lancashireman like the Cockney, or for

that matter the Lowland Scot like the Highlander. It is

astonishing that this has happened in less than two

hundred years and most of it in the last fifty. The

American identity is an exact and provable thing.”

Excerpted from “Travels With Charley”, author, John Steinbeck.

Publisher: Viking Penguin Inc., 40 West 23rd. Street,

New York, New York 10010, U.S.A.

Islander.

ON Aneurysms

Taber’s Medical Dictionary. [G. aneurysma, a widening] arterial dilation

due to pressure of blood on weakened tissues, forming a sac containing

blood that is sometimes clotted.

A while back I was diagnosed as having an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Went to see a vascular surgeon in Miami who after studying my case

declined to engage admitting that to deal with such a rather large

aneurysm was beyond his ken, it being 5.7 centimeters in diameter.

However he informed me that there was a surgeon up in Boca Raton

who was breaking new ground on the subject and gave us this doctor’s

name. We made an appointment and with forlorn hope went up to Boca

Raton.

The doctor immediately informed us of the risks of such a venture including

death, possible paralysis from the hips down for life or amputation of

limbs due to complications. I already was aware of inaction on my part.

If the aneurysm burst the result would be either a swift extremely painful

death or a slower inevitable death cushioned by morphine to ease the

pain. Considering the “Damocles Sword” I was living under I declared

that I was game. He immediately sent me to Boca Raton Regional

Hospital, nearby, where I had bloodwork done and a CT scan. Upon our

return to him he said he would perform the surgery, however there was

a caveat. There was a 20 page Agreement between myself and him and

the manufacturer of the stent before the undertaking could begin.

He outlined it briefly then we were to take it home study it thoroughly

formulate any questions we might have and return and sign it in front of

his liason after she had gone over it in detail. We did as instructed came

back and met with her and after a thorough revue of the Agreement I

signed it. Evidently I was entering a five year study of the stent beginning

with it’s implantation and it’s efficacy from that point on.

The stent itself was a piece of work, unique, no other manufacture like it.

Made of polyester fabric with hairlike strands of nitinol[made mostly of

nickel and titanium] woven into it and strands of stainless steel for strength.

There were four stublike appendages jutting out of the lower half

designed to interface with arteries leading from the aorta to the vital

organs. By the way, I was allowed to end the agreement at any time after

the operation without penalty.

The doctor chose to separate the operation into two phases in order to

avoid the prolonged duration under anesthesia required for implantation

of the device in one go, as anesthesia itself has it’s own dangers.

One other thing the device has not been given FDA approval yet but they

are allowing it’s implementation by certain qualified doctors in certain

qualified hospitals in the US.

The first phase was accomplished on June 6th and the second more

complicated phase, the lower half of the stent, which included a spinal

tap[necessarily dangerous in itself] was performed on July 3rd.

AS you can imagine, many thoughts have passed under the bridge since,

but a rather dark one keeps eddying.

Were we conceived on this Earth, like the good Doctor and his associates,

indeed everyone in that hospital, to benefit mankind or are we born

to destroy it. That I ask that question in our time, our vaunted time, is—-

what?—–can you tell me?—-pray tell.

Islander.