Sunday Musings

Haven’t felt much like writing lately. Sorry. For what this gig pays (nothing, in case you were wondering), you’re lucky I don’t just link pics of LOLCats and call it a day. ‘Tis a shame, because while I don’t feel like writing, there are things I eventually want to write about.

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. I’m visiting family and sitting next to my cousin’s pool. Don’t know why, but I haven’t really felt the urge to hop in. I prefer to just sit by it, read blogs, and sip coffee.

Tomorrow, road trip to Atlanta. I’ll check in on Dad’s grave. Say hello. It has been almost 5 years since we buried him.  Tuesday, I’ll attend his high school reunion. It was a tiny class in 1946. It hasn’t gotten any bigger since. Good people. Some went all over the world, some never left the county.

Tomorrow is, of course, Memorial Day. And nice people will thank me for my service. How do I tell them, “Not today.”  Tomorrow is for those folks that you can’t thank in person.  My day is in November. Folks still serving get Armed Forces Day.  So what do I post tomorrow? A sentimental picture? Maybe. People like them. But I’m not a particularly sentimental person, and it feels… inauthentic.  Repeat my post from previous years about enjoying your BBQ, but please take a moment to remember? I don’t know what I’ll post…

My cousin’s daughter and her friend came to her last week with a problem. They had a 9th grade history test coming up, and what did Cousin know about D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge? Not much, she admitted. At which point, I offered my services as a tutor. That turned in to a pair of 60 minute seminars on the course of World War II.  Very bright kids, and an enthusiastic audience, but their baseline of knowledge was so far from what I’m used to dealing with, it was hard to fit the material to the audience.  And I had to strike a balance between “teaching to the test” and trying to help them understand what happened. I personally think that if you understand what happened, the test is easy. But I had an evening to assist, not a semester to teach.  Still, they tell me they think they did well on the test.

I’ve decided I’m 1/32nd Cherokee.

I’m gathering from the comments that Roundhammer117 didn’t get much out of JRTC. Never went there. NTC, CMTC, sure. Had a pretty good time there. But mounted warfare training has a much different “flavor” than dismounted.

There’s some sort of “no-see-ums” here that are eating me alive. Or I’ve recently developed an advanced case of leprosy. (In honor of the series finale of House, it’s NOT Lupus!)

Flight of the Intruder was on last night on The Military Channel. Fantastic book, craptacular movie. Still, nice to see some footage of A-6’s zooming around. Back when attack jets carried more than two bombs.

Somebody tell me a joke. I’m out of funneh for the month, and need  a touch to tide me over, just till payday…

16 thoughts on “Sunday Musings”

  1. Why not write about your tutoring experience for tomorrow? Yes, Memorial Day is a somber occasion, but it can be a fun one, too.

    It’s neither leprosy or lupus. It’s rabies.

    I have decided I am 1/3 Taina. One. Third.

    I have no jokes, since usually I’m the punchline 😉

  2. I was going to put the Gettysburg Address up on Facebook. I think Abe pretty much nailed it first time, even if he was only half right at the end.

    I offer you my favorite joke, mostly as explanation why you shouldn’t ask me for jokes.

    A Priest, an Indian, and a Rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and asks “What is this, some kind of joke?”

  3. Post the pledge of allegiance, the words to Star-Spangled Banner, or Washington’s farewell speech.

    Yesterday at Scots Fest the opening ceremony was very special — First Marine Division Band back for the first time in 8 years; 500 bagpipers as backup! Two ceremonies to honor veterans, including end of watch bells for two WWII guys who have gone to their final rest. One of our regular Buchanan tent minders lost a Marine son in Afghanistan last week, so we were particularly mindful of the words to the Marine hymn.


    The most recognizable military hymn and the oldest official song in the U.S. Armed Forces, The Marines’ Hymn is a reminder of the sacrifice and courage that Marines have shown on the battlefield. It is an important part of Marine Corps culture—every Marine can recite its three stanzas by heart.

    From the Halls of Montezuma,
    To the shores of Tripoli;
    We fight our country’s battles
    In the air, on land, and sea;
    First to fight for right and freedom
    And to keep our honor clean:
    We are proud to claim the title
    Of United States Marine.

    Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
    From dawn to setting sun;
    We have fought in every clime and place
    Where we could take a gun;
    In the snow of far-off Northern lands
    And in sunny tropic scenes;
    You will find us always on the job
    The United States Marines.

    Here’s health to you and to our Corps
    Which we are proud to serve;
    In many a strife we’ve fought for life
    And never lost our nerve;
    If the Army and the Navy
    Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
    They will find the streets are guarded
    By The United States Marines.

  4. Brad, what part of Alabama are you in? I’m just two hours from Atlanta. Perhaps on a future trip we could get together. Is your father buried in the Atlanta area?

    Jeff, I’m more into Mencken’s evaluation of the Gettysburg Address. Mencken pretty much nailed dishonest Abe to the wall. But, then, being a Southron you can probably understand why I hold Lincoln in contempt.

    I doubt my Memorial Day will be too somber. Bittersweet is more like it.

  5. Three men walk into a bar, the fourth man ducks.

    A frenchman, German, and Irishman each order a whiskey. Each glass of
    whiskey has a fly in it. The frenchman turns up his nose and moans, “Mon
    dieu! I will not drink this!”

    The German shruggs, picks out the fly and tosses it away, then downs his

    The Irishman, however, turns livid. He grabs the fly, turns it upside down
    and starts spanking it, yelling, “Spit it out, ye’ thievin’ bastard! Spit it out!”

    A Force Recon Marine told me this in Jump School:
    Telling time in the Service – in the Army it is Zero Six Hundred, the Navy:
    Four Bells, the Air Force: “Too damn early to get up”, but in the Marines, it is:
    “The big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on the six.”

    The definition of “Suck” in the Army:

    A Parachute Infantryman is standing in full battle rattle somewhere in
    Grafenwoehr when it begins to rain. He smiles defiantly and says: “It’s
    Graf, bring on the suck, Rain God, I Tripple-Dog dare you! Pansy!”

    A Ranger Infantryman is training at Fake Town – The SFC Randall
    Shugart and MSG Gary Gordon Urban Warfare Center – he has been
    without sleep, a hot meal, dry socks or underwear and facing relentless
    enemy resistance for two weeks in the pouring rain. But the Rangers
    are accomplishing their mission regardless. He locks and loads, looks
    up at the clouds and yells, “This is the best friggin’ suck I ever had!”

    An SF Operator is somewhere behind enemy lines at an undisclosed
    location in the world. It begins to pour. He takes off his Oakleys and
    breaks out a bar of soap from his hygiene kit, grinning, “Could not ask
    for a better form of suck!”

    Now . . . the Air Force’s definition of “Suck”:

    With all that rain pouring outside, the satellite signal goes out, leaving a
    super plasma with a blue screen. The airman seated in front of it begins
    to cuss up a storm: “The TV’s out?! This friggin’ sucks, man!”

    Just to show I am not making light of this day, I know men who are no
    longer with us:

    1SG Micheal Curry, 173d Airborne

    SFC Matthew Blaskowski 173d Airborne

    SSG Christopher VanderHorn 101st Airborne

    SGT Joshua Brennan, 173d Airborne

    PFC Patrick Tinnell, 101st Airborne

    May I be damned if I ever forget them . . .

  6. Sorry about your Dad. Four years for me this June 21st. Lost Mom ten years ago June 28th.

    So, your cousin’s daughter and her friend are the only kids that could plot the axis of advance of VI SS Panzerarmee. Good on ’em.

    Yes, the Gettysburg Address is magnificent. But so is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural.

    In the middle of a Civil War that claimed nearly 650,000 American lives (out of a nation of 31 million), there was actually a free election. The re-elected Lincoln could say:

    “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

    American scripture. If it doesn’t bring goosebumps, you have missed the boat on what America means.

    1. American scripture. If it doesn’t bring goosebumps, you have missed the boat on what America means.
      That’s a nice way to describe it.

      They weren’t too up to speed on the enemy order of battle. But they did explain to the teacher that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was largely derived from the British attack on Taranto.

  7. Well, you did only have a couple hours to tell them about WWII. So the ORBAT and relative merits of the 7.5cm KWK 42 L70 vs the 76mm M1 cannon on the Sherman will have to wait for next year’s report. 🙂 I bet their teacher had no idea about Taranto, either.

  8. Brad, you ever read about what the Japs did to Ivan at a place called Port Arthur? That was the primary inspiration for Pearl Harbor. Taranto was just a few details they adopted.

    1. I have. And the propensity of the Japanese to attack before a formal declaration was well known to US war planners. They just expected the blow to fall upon the Philippines, not Pearl Harbor.

    2. Well if FDR hadn’t put the entire Pacific Fleet in one place just within striking distance the planners would probably have been right.

      Though I’m not sure the alternative would have done us any good.

    3. From all I can tell, moving the fleet to Pearl was to act as a provocation. Richardson, the CO of the US fleet at the time, was rather loud in his objections and it cost him his career.

      OTOH, if Nagumo had sent a second strike to go after the tank farm, the gone hunting Halsey and sunk the carriers too, then the character of the war immediately after that would have been far different. I don’t know if anyone on Nagumo’s staff urged a second strike, but it was short sighted on his part not to do so, and then hunt the carriers.

      Richardson was right, and the Japs didn’t do what they could have, and should have done.

    4. I would say the move was more an escalation than provocation.

      War with Japan was inevitable. Japan wanted the resources of SE Asia, and they couldn’t let the US in the Philippines sit on those lines of communication. If we hadn’t given them the irresistible target of Pearl they probably would have tried a Port Arthur/Tsushima combo in the PI. How that would have turned out is anyone’s guess. On the one hand our fleet would have been in much better shape than the Russians. On the other hand we were outnumbered and outgunned (especially at night), we would have been at the end of a very long supply chain, and the Japanese would have a pretty good idea of where we were going. In any event, any ships we did lose wouldn’t have been sunk in friendly shallow water for us to refloat, repair, and send back into the fight. Richardson may have been right, but this is another case where it’s better to be lucky than good.

      As I understand it Nagumo was at the extreme limits of his range. He didn’t really have the fuel for another strike, much less to go carrier hunting.

    5. Jeff, you may be right about the ships, but I think he had enough aviation fuel for another strike. As I recall, the Jap fleet had been accompanied by oilers part of the way. That does not mean they had enough fuel to hunt the carriers. I think I would have made arrangements for more fuel in case I had to hunt some ships. It’s also quite possible, that the Jap Admiral’s heads were filled with visions of Battlewagons being the decisive weapon in spite of their vision that inspired them to build carriers. It wouldn’t be the first time someone didn’t removed their blinders.

      Of course, Admiral Quartermaster has the 20-10 hindsight and under such scrutiny almost everyone looks like a jackass at sometime or other. In this case, Yamamoto had reason to regret that lack of vision at Coral Sea and Midway.

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