Monthly Archives: February 2020

Me n Sam

Until I was 10 years old, I grew up in Los Angeles through the 1950s, Studio City to be exact. And as you can see, Goodland Avenue is a nice gradual hill that goes up from Ventura Blvd, almost across from the Sportsmen’s Lodge.

Since my family didn’t have a dog (which is almost mandatory for suburbia), that was on the list. My father’s fraternity brother from UCLA (living in Westchester)  just happened to raise beagles, and the beagle during the 1950s was the most popular breed from 1953-1959.

It’s probably why Charles Schultz, in starting his comic strip Peanuts, made Snoopy a beagle.

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Fort Ord 1972 – Basic Training

Last time I mentioned a bit of how I came to be in the Army.

The Monterey Historic Races every August is an amazing event, if you have any gearhead in you. Over the years, I have seen them honor various marques, and the factories have flown their historic cars out to show them on the track.

Two of my most memorable times there were when they honored a man many consider to be the greatest driver of all time, Juan Manuel Fangio. He was at a table signing the posters that were given us, and I didn’t want to wait behind 20 others. Maybe I can attribute that to my Army days of so many lines.

Then there was the time that Audi, being honored one year, flew out their Auto Union 16 cylinder GP car and Daimler flew out their GP car to then to be together on the track; perhaps for the first time since the 1930s.

But that road to Laguna Seca racetrack also makes me a bit melancholy. You see, if you want to avoid the traffic getting there, you take the “back way”, the Salinas exit on Highway 101. And on the last turnoff to the track, you pass the remnants of what was the US Army’s Ft Ord.

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My Army Beginnings – 1972

Ghost Town

26 Sep 1972. I had been in the Army 12 days.

We were talking in the Facebook Group today about stories of our Drill Sergeants we knew in the military, and I mentioned mine. Thought I would reprint it here, and of course I can’t just mention that without mentioning a bit more.

I’m really easy to spot in the above picture of all those shaven heads, once you know my background.

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Meeting 2 Iwo Jima Veterans

Meeting 2 Iwo Jima Veterans
The Guests of Honor: Cpl Frank Wright (left) Maj Bill White (right)

They are going so fast now, the veterans of WW2. Growing up in the 50s, they were all around me. My father, of course. He had a good friend who was an Army tank commander in North Africa. Another family friend was in the 2nd wave at D-Day. My uncle was a Marine.

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Iwo Jima 75th Anniversary

Rosenthal

On February 19, 1945, Operation Detachment commenced and the landings on Iwo Jima began.

Seventy-five years ago, U.S. Marines came ashore on a desolate eight-square-mile volcanic island dominated by Mount Suribachi and located roughly halfway between the Marianas and Tokyo. Iwo Jima’s value lay in its airfields. B-29 Superfortresses that were damaged or low on fuel could land there, and Army Air Forces fighters based on the island could escort the bombers to their targets in Japan. Three Marine divisions—more than 70,000 men—had the task of seizing the island. But an operation that U.S. commanders forecast would take a week to complete would stretch out to five weeks, and the Marines’ determination and sacrifice on Iwo Jima would become enduring touchstones for the Corps.

Before that time, the Marines didn’t know that the Japanese would be in a labyrinth of tunnels, bunkers, and caves, prepared over many months in anticipation of their landing. They could wait out the massive bombardments of the Navy ships. One tunnel was 90′ deep.

They had seriously underestimated the Japanese defenses. The battle would last 36 bloody days. For every square mile of that island, more than 800 Marines would lose their lives.

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Filed under Heroes Among Us, History, Marines, Navy, Valor

The Newspaper Business

From just a year or 2 from the 1849 gold rush, Sacramento was a 2 newspaper town. Well, 2 that I know of that survived.

Actually there were up to 60 newspapers but only 2 survived.

Mark Twain, in his classic book Roughing It, honed his writing craft first at Virginia City NV, working for the Territorial Enterprise, then at Sacramento, working for the Sacramento Union.

In that book, he is known for his quip about San Francisco weather, writing that “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco“.  Less remembered was his observation of Sacramento weather:

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Brazen

There has been a battle largely behind the scene, and the stakes are high. China’s Huawei Technologies Co. , with funding from their government and the wholesale theft of technology from US companies, is working hard to establish their 5G networks around the world.

And the fear is that with pressure from the Chinese government, they could utilize the technology to spy on the users.

Imagine having a government with access over any conversation they choose in a country.

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“There I Was: Flat On My Back, Out Of Airspeed And Out Of Ideas”

A good article from Aviation Week sent to me by my retired Air Force friend. I did not know that tire pressures are much higher for Navy aircraft for carrier ops, and lowered when landing on land.

Or how critical it could be…

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The Case For Hiroshima

Three years ago, I wrote a bit in response to President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.

Probably nothing in American actions in WW2 have had more controversy than the use of the atomic bomb first in Hiroshima, and then Nagasaki.

Locally we had a mayor years ago who decided to travel to Hiroshima and apologize for our use of that weapon.

Certainly nobody disputes the horrible effects upon the citizens of those cities.

It was 25 years – 1970 – before the Defense Dept. released a classified film on the devastating effects of the blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But how would the war in the Pacific have ended if these bombs weren’t used?

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Filed under History, Naval History, Politics