Author Archives: Comjam

Three Of Our Own…

Are gone now.  In the blink of an eye, almost, into a fallow field among the flattened hills and shallow valleys of north central Washington state. Not in combat or at sea out on the forward edges where diplomacy and power merge.  Not on work-ups or COMPTUEX.  It was a Replacement Air Group (RAG) instructional hop, almost at the end of the years-long training pipeline for a couple of Fleet Replacement fliers and their instructor, along with another bird.  Along a very familiar Visual Route that so many of us who have flown out of Whidbey Island at some time or another know well.  Less than a week after many of us who post here and so many of you who stop by to read our thoughts and stories noted the Annum past since our friend Lex went west.

For many of us with a certain amount of time and distance behind us, when we got the news, we no longer had to ask ourselves instantly who we knew flying Prowlers or Growlers at the present time.  That hard burden now lays with those many of us trained, or mentored or who we know distantly.  It now is for their Year Groups to look around themselves, count the numbers and note them lessened.  For “PETA” (his tactical call-sign, not the organization, thank you) this one has been a personal loss.  Sadly not his first, for his graduating class from the past decade at the Naval Academy was a “Wartime Class,” and several of his classmates have already given the last, full measure of devotion.  So while he is already accustomed to the final exit, this marks something so many of us know is very different, somehow more visceral; it is someone with whom you have shared schoolhouse and ready room and flight line.  This time, it is indeed personal.  His words follow:




I can’t tell you exactly how much we miss you because the quantity is indescribable. Your unwavering compassion for others was only matched by the character in which you delivered it day in and out to everyone around you. Dedicated, hardworking determination. coupled with a smile and caring hand to anyone that asked. Your dignified constancy in the den of unruly student aviators was a feat that you made look easy. In and out of the squadron you were yourself and we loved you for that. You were a lover of life, science, flying and compassion. Those whom you could guide or help, you would or even anyone who just looked to you. Who did I call when I moved to Meridian for the gouge on where to live and how to prepare? You kept your head when we all knowingly or unknowing lost ours either in town or in the ready room. “Mom” was the most affectionate yet ribbing call-sign I think we could conjure. How can you tease a Saint?

Val, in the din of a restaurant in San Diego after a rough day at the range and for you just finished at the boat we had the conversation of “what ifs” and how to remember each in the most dark of moments. Feeling low, it seemed appropriate that even though it wasn’t the best day it could have always have been worse. A petty way to cheer ourselves though hyperbole and until the fantastic dinner and vino did its work to comfort. I never thought I’d be fulfilling your wishes for at least another 70 years. This weekend I’ll find that expensive white wine and watch the sun go below the horizon westward over the water. It seemed poetic to look over the water I never asked why, but where the Severn overlooks the bay always calmed me and so through the unspoken meaning it was understood that’s what I’d do. On the lacrosse field you had that view every day at practice; it’s why you and Sean and many of us from the boat school loved running at Bonita lakes in Meridian. The water and the lights were a reminder of hospital point and of the place that brought us together. I understand now.

That thought of remembering was simple but so poetic and meaningful. A beauty and lover of life and of the good and beauty in all of us. A trait that by comparison to many other strike and Naval aviators seems angelic and so refreshing. You demanded perfection of everyone and strive everyday to meet it like all of us did. You just made it look easier than we knew it was.

It’s incredibly unfair that it was you. I’d give anything to see that it wasn’t but it’s a selfish notion to think that. It is without a doubt that you are one of a kind; I can truly understand the meanings of “priceless” and “irreplaceable.” It’s a gap that can’t be filled. You can now be forever skyward watching us, guiding and urging us as you always did. Until it’s my turn, I’ll be meeting you for the CV and you can lead me to the gates for my Charlie time with that LSO of a gate keeper, St. Peter. Then we’ll have that incredible meal with all the different french sauteed greens and salmon like you prefer and a bottle of great white wine in the O-club in the sky. All will be right. Until then you are in our hearts.

We miss you Val.
Requiescant in pace

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Filed under In Memoriam

One Year On

There are dates you remember is your Naval Aviation life: Day you received your wings (28FEB76), day of your last flight as in a Duty Involving Flight Operations (DIFOP) status (24SEP92) and the first time someone you were close to died in a mishap (6FEB79).  Those days mount up, over time.  As I remarked once before, you maybe do the tally once or twice, then move on; for to dwell there too long does little good.

You also think, once you “hang up your spurs,” that you won’t need to keep counting, but I was wrong.  My friend Carroll “Lex” Lefon left us a year ago today, to the collective shock, surprise and sense of loss and grief to many around the world.

For those of us who either were or still are “in the profession,” I think I say what many think is all really needs be said: He was a good stick.

Lex Departing Poster Large ver2


Filed under Heroes Among Us, In Memoriam, Lex

OK, Just So We’re Clear About This…

There’s quite a bit of what passes for “conversation” about the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States going on right now.  Here’s what it says, verbatim:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Of course, being ostensibly a nation of laws, there’s been a lot of parsing of its meaning over the years.

Of late, as emotions and overblown rhetoric have ramped up, and sadly been exploited by those who disagree on What Is To Be Done about these things, we have now resorted to what I consider the Corollary to Godwin’s Law: When all else fails, and you have already implied, either directly or indirectly, that your opponent in the “discussion” is a “Nazi,” play the trump card and imply or say directly, that their point of view is “racist.” Game over, you win.

See: Here.  And: Here.

So, there you have it: If you support the Second Amendment of the Constitution, you’re a racist.  If you support gun controls, you’re a racist. Unless, of course, you’re a person of color, in which case, you’re a racist.



Filed under Idiots Among Us, Perspective, Politics

Newtown: A First Responder’s Perspective

My friend, Geoff Sjostrom, (not to be confused with our “own” Geoff) is a retired LEO, having served a career in law enforcement in a city just across the western city limits of Chicago, IL.  He’s given a lot of thought about the events in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO and Arizona.  He’s given me permission to republish his essay that appeared the other day here.  I’ll let his own thoughts speak for themselves:

What Could Have Prevented the Newtown Massacre?

Different people see the question through different lenses, based on their political views and their differing beliefs in how people’s behavior may best be regulated.  Some say that Newtown is a clear sign that stricter gun control is necessary to keep semiautomatic weapons with high magazine capacities out of the hands of the madmen who seek to murder us in large numbers.  Others say that the mental health system should be used aggressively to identify those who are likely to commit mass murder and prevent them from acting on their impulses.

So, how can we prevent future tragedies like Newtown?

To answer that question, we first need to understand the people that commit mass murder.  Law enforcement calls them “spree killers”, an oddly festive name for these murderous monsters.  The FBI defines a spree killing as “two or more murders committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling-off period”.

Spree killers do not wake up in a rage one morning and decide to murder a lot of people with whatever weapons are available to them at the time.  Although rage may motivate them, they generally plan their rampages for days, weeks, months, or even years before executing their plans.  They spend that time carefully choosing their target and acquiring the weapons, ammunition, and other equipment (bombs, body armor, disguises) necessary for accomplishing their goals.

So, will strict gun control laws keep weapons out of the hands of spree killers?

Take a look at the case of Anders Breivik.  On July 22, 2011, Breivik set off a car bomb in Oslo, Norway, killing eight people.  Later that day he went to a youth camp on Utøya Island and, wearing a police uniform, killed 69 people with a semiautomatic pistol and a semiautomatic rifle.

Breivik says he planned his rampage for nine years.  During that time he sought the weapons he needed both legally and illegally, ultimately acquiring his guns legally.  He had to acquire the police uniform, of course.  And he found the perfect site for killing as many people as possible:  An island.  His victims couldn’t get away.

Norway has gun laws that are as strict as any American gun control advocate could wish for, but that didn’t prevent Anders Breivik from legally obtaining the guns he wanted.  Spree killers will spend all the time necessary and all the money they have to acquire weapons, ammunition, and high capacity magazines, legally or illegally.

What about outlawing the ownership of such guns completely?  Some people would turn them in, but most guns would just be driven underground, like alcohol during Prohibition.  Guns and high capacity magazines would become immeasurably more valuable to their owners. 

Furthermore, guns are extremely durable.  With sparing use and proper care, they can continue to operate for centuries.  If we were to stop the manufacture and importation of semiautomatic rifles and pistols today, it would be fifty years before the number of those weapons in this country began to decline significantly.

So, let’s turn to another possibility:  Stepping up the monitoring of the population so that the dangerous mentally ill can be identified before they commit their mass murders.

Anders Breivik is again an illustrative case.  Although his political views were extreme, he was able to simulate sanity long enough to join a gun club (which allowed him to obtain the pistol) and obtain a hunting license (which allowed him to purchase the rifle). 

In this country, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the Columbine High School killers, are also illustrative.  They lived at home with their parents in a prosperous suburban area in Colorado.  Because they were minors, they were forced to acquire their weapons illegally.  The boys had minor brushes with the law but nothing that would have indicated that they were planning an act of extreme violence.  Klebold and Harris were able to plan the attacks over the period of a year without being detected.

Think back over the reporting on the Newtown tragedy:  In all the discussions, did you hear any reputable psychology professional claim that he could have predicted Adam Lanza’s rampage?  You didn’t, because they can’t.

There is no shortage of frustrated young men ranting to their friends, in person and on the internet, about their violent plans.  Sometimes those outbursts, however disturbing, are merely jokes.  Other times the violent impulse is real.  But only an infinitesimal number of them attempt to act out their murderous fantasies.  And no one knows which tiny few are the ones who will act on their impulses.

What about quicker responses by the police?

The rampage of a spree killer may be carefully planned over a long period of time, but it is frequently over in minutes.  Police may be able to interrupt a murder spree once it has started, but they cannot respond quickly enough to prevent a substantial loss of life.

So, what’s to be done?  The supply of semiautomatic weapons in this country is already beyond control, and no one can identify spree killers before they act.  What should we do to prevent spree killings at schools?  Let’s analyze the pattern.  The following is the number of spree killing events at schools in the U.S., from 1990 through 2012 (from Wikipedia,






















































33 at Virginia Tech















27 at Newtown

In many cases the offender committed suicide at the scene, and it’s not clear from the Wikipedia table whether the offenders are included among the fatalities.  If they are, the actual number of spree shootings and fatalities from spree shootings may be considerably lower.

What does this tell us?  Far from showing that school shooting sprees are common, the numbers show that these events are extremely rare.  In the last 23 years there have never been more than three incidents in one year, and in 10 of those years there was either one incident, or none.  And what about the rate of fatalities?  In 18 out of 23 years the number of fatalities was eight or lower.

How does this compare to other risks in our lives?

According to the United States Weather Service, an average of 54 people are killed by lightning every year.  How much time, effort, and money do parents devote to preventing their children from being struck by lightning?   The fact is that an American is seven times more likely to be killed by lightning than to die in a school spree shooting. 

So what more should we, as a society, do to prevent future school spree shootings?  Nothing.  These events are already so rare that there is no reason to believe that they can be substantially reduced in number by any action that would be tolerated by the American public.

And what should parents do to prevent their children from becoming the victim of a spree killer at school?  Nothing.  Yes, it may happen, just as your child may be killed by lightning on the way to or from school.  But rather than worrying about mass murder, parents should concern themselves with the real risks to their children:  Accidents of all kinds, which are by far and away the leading cause of death for children aged 5 to 14.

Unfortunately, none of this is any help to school and police administrators.  The public will demand that they do something in response to the Newtown tragedy.  These officials cannot just tell the public not to worry because such events are rare and unpreventable. 

So what can be done to deal with the public demand for action?

There can be merit in doing things that make people feel safer even if they don’t actually increase safety.  How?  Because if people believe they are safe, they will go about their lives productively, not worrying about unlikely dangers.

For instance, if a rich school district wants to spend money on target hardening and as a result parents worry less about sending their kids to school, the taxpayers will have gotten value for their money even though that money might have been spent more productively elsewhere. 

In less affluent areas the police should consult with the schools on emergency plans and give training to staff and students.  This has the merit of being relatively inexpensive, diverting few resources that would be better used elsewhere.

But above all, to parents:  Relax.  Send your children to school, and don’t frighten them with advice on how to avoid being killed in school by a madman.  At least not until you’ve taught them about the dangers of lightning. 

Geoff Sjostrom is a graduate of Northwestern University and a retired sergeant from the Oak Park, Illinois, police department where he supervised the juvenile section for nine years.

© 2013 Geoff Sjostrom


Filed under Uncategorized

Another Ghost, Reborn

“They’re gone away, never to return.”  “No more of them, except in museums.”  Don’t tell that to people who care.  Who find a place in their budgets to seek out the rare, the wreckage, the lost carcasses, then send them on to those who understand the meaning of the word “craftsmanship.”  Slowly, steadily, with blood, sweat and above all love, they put a bird back into it’s natural environment.

A Ghost, Long Dead

A Ghost, Long Dead

Down in New Zealand, they worked and worked.  A ghost was given life.  A DeHavilland Mosquito, twin-engined (Merlins, no less), two-seat (seem familiar, BusBob?) bit of hell-for-leather, butt-kicking airplane; one of those graceful, nay, beautiful planes that seemed to come with regularity off British design boards, came to find her way back into her natural environment.

KA114 Flies Again

KA114 Flies Again

So, click here, download the 1080p version.  Crank your bass and volume to 11, and enjoy.  Those of us who’ve perhaps, on occasion, zorched around the landscape at low levels and high speeds, will especially be pleased around 3:15 in.  The pure sounds at the end will also give auditory pleasure, should you care to linger on, as the credits roll.

Oh yes, she’s coming over this side of the Pacific, come this summer.  I will be seeking her out.

Postscript 08JAN13: Take a close look at the cockpit, as seen from outside.  That’s a pretty darn small airplane to cram a couple of aircrew into.  Imagine flying for hour upon hour, either down in the weeds or way, way up there, over places where there are those who mean you the utmost hostile intent.  Imagine being the pax that were crammed back into the rear fuselage for very special runs, across the North Sea, into Sweden and other locales both neutral and unfriendly, across Occupied Europe.  Damn. [Testicular Arrays] of Steel.


Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Airplanes, Flying, History, Plane Pr0n


The shock, the sense of helpless horror and the sense of frustration are, very slowly, beginning to recede.  Now, in its own sad way, begins the opportunism, the posturing and demagoguery that seems now to always follow in the wake of such things.

“Something must be done!” “We must act!” “The other side has gone too far!” And so it goes on as though, somehow, this will make everything right and good and proper.  It will not.

There are some small points that bear making in all this din, in the hopes that somehow it will be more than background noise:

— Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun sales and possession laws in the United States.  Every one of the weapons used or in possession of the person were purchased legally under that state’s laws.

— The first victim of this rampage of death, the individual’s own mother, had openly expressed fear of his behavior and potential for extreme violence to others. Nothing was done.

— Signage, displayed so primly and properly, does not dissuade those bent upon evil acts.

Your Humble and Obedient Servant is smart enough to know he is not smart enough to have a solution.  Some others, however, who are indeed smarter than I, have some recognition that those who are responsible for this, as well as other acts of evil perpetrated not out of ideology (with rare exception, we leave that to others, elsewhere) but out of a deep, pervasive darkness of the soul that we, as a collective society and culture, have let spiral out of control. I’ll let them both speak, unedited, at their links:

There was a time, once, whether it was fair, or just or even proper, when we sequestered those we felt to be a threat to the greater good of our society.  It is time to really speak, openly and without great vitriol, on the topic.  Have we, as compassionate humans, let the pendulum of mental patients’ rights swing so far in the other direction that those who know them best, who feel the maelstrom of their rage and despair and violence no longer have a voice or power to budge a inertia-bound bureaucracy to act for a greater good?  I do not presume I know the answer.  But this question needs to be asked, loudly and frequently.

In their names, I recite the Mourner’s Kaddish:

Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba (Cong: Amein).
May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (`Cong: Amen.)
b’al’ma di v’ra khir’utei
in the world that He created as He willed.
v’yam’likh mal’khutei b’chayeikhon uv’yomeikhon
May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days,
uv’chayei d’khol beit yis’ra’eil
and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel,
ba’agala uviz’man kariv v’im’ru:
swiftly and soon. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)
Amein. Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varakh l’alam ul’al’mei al’maya
(Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.)
Yit’barakh v’yish’tabach v’yit’pa’ar v’yit’romam v’yit’nasei
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
v’yit’hadar v’yit’aleh v’yit’halal sh’mei d’kud’sha
mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One
(Mourners and Congregation:)
B’rikh hu.
Blessed is He.
l’eila min kol bir’khata v’shirata
beyond any blessing and song,
toosh’b’chatah v’nechematah, da’ameeran b’al’mah, v’eemru:
praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)
Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya
May there be abundant peace from Heaven
v’chayim aleinu v’al kol yis’ra’eil v’im’ru
and life upon us and upon all Israel. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)
Oseh shalom bim’romav hu ya’aseh shalom
He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace,
aleinu v’al kol Yis’ra’eil v’im’ru
upon us and upon all Israel. Now say:
(Mourners and Congregation:)


Filed under Uncategorized

The Thanksgiving That Wasn’t

Today, on this, one of the most unique holidays in the United States, (along with the Day of Independence) I’m enjoying family companionship and basking in the sun very close to Lex’s (and mine own) old haunts in Sandy Eggo.  But I reflect, with a somewhat rueful smile, on a time, long, long ago, on a sea far, far away…

Now as I remember it, and since this is my sea story, I get to remember it this way:  We scallywags were embarked, as it were, on the Mighty Big John, basking in the dubious position of being both the unwanted and unpopular, both by the Air Wing and the ship itself.   Given our shadowy mission, it wasn’t too surprising that we couldn’t really explain why we were there to other than a few.  Since only a few outside of the Flag Staff were “read in,” we were seen as, at best, an inconvenience and more often as an outright annoyance.  Time is distance, and to reach out as far as we could with our abilities, we needed to launch early in the event cycle.  But Big John’s CO didn’t want to tax his fossil-burning plant by getting up speed early in the launch cycle to help lift the mighty Skywarrior off the pointy end of his war vessel, and so consequently, we launched last, sometimes 40 minutes into a big launch.  Gee, thanks for that.  You just cost us a few hundred miles in our radius of action.

The Whale, undeniably, was big.  How big, you ask?  Uh, how’d you think we got our nickname? So we were deeply unpopular with the Handler.  And just about everyone else in the Air Department.  We clogged the deck, in their view, and took up precious real estate.  Something, I might add, that every other carrier had dealt with since the late 1950’s, but on this cruise, for whatever reason, we had become a “problem child.” (Of course, pointing out that if they launched us first, instead of last, maybe they’d have room wasn’t well received)

Screwing With The Deck Multiple (Not The Guilty Party Referred To)

Now, before going further, I just want to add that as itinerant gypsies, we were hosted by a squadron in each Air Wing. Some were more gracious than others. Many times, due to our historical aircrew career cross-pollination and airframe history, we joined up with our VAQ brethren, leading to a lot of mutual cooperation and learning. Sometimes, not so much. On this cruise, we started off with our VAQ mates and five days after their very early cruise Change of Command, we found ourselves abruptly welcomed into the Ready Room of VA-34, the well-known Blue Blasters. It was a move we all found to be much to our mutual enjoyment.

So, it came to pass, as the cruise wore on, the Op tempo waxed and waned.  As we came closer to Thanksgiving, we began to look forward to break in the daily routine.  For when at sea and in the Air Wing (and ship’s company, too, I might add) you only have two days: Sunday and Not Sunday. Sunday is usually marked by some improved fare in the chow line up in the non-formal Wardroom, known then and now as the “Dirty Shirt Wardroom,” where flight suits and wash working khakis of folks like the Shooter and gang could eat without needed to make themselves pretty. Every other day, where the food was pretty much the same, was obviously “Not Sunday.”  But Thanksgiving was different. That day was a feast, and unless Directed By Higher Authority, we would fly minimally, if at all possible and other ship’s work would also be put aside wherever possible.  Visions of turkeys and sweet potatoes began to dance in our near-adolescent heads.

Calendars were marked and days counted.  Until, about three days prior, came The Word. The Powers That Be had decided our forward edge of American Sea Power was needed to flex its muscle elsewhere and Thursday would be a Fly Day.  But, in his address to all the ship’s crew over the 1MC, the ship’s CO told us that this was but a temporary inconvenience and that the New Thanksgiving would be the following Saturday, a mere 48 hours later.  While not subject to huzzahs, it at least gave us the prospect of two-count’em-two consecutive Sundays as it were.  Feasts to be enjoyed, albeit in the confines of the large, grey steel apartment house with the airport conveniently located on the roof.

And so we worked that Thanksgiving Day.  I could go into my logbooks and tell you how many hours and hops I logged that day, but shan’t. It was all good and done in the name of defending America from the insidious Communist Menace. We flew the next day, too.  We knew what lay ahead come Saturday.  Until, that is, just as we went off the pointy end on the last of our scheduled sorties on the Friday, going out to do our Spooky thing in the nooks and crannies of the Theatre, I heard from the front office those words that every aircrew just really loves to hear: “Uh, oh.”

This was not a good phrase.  At all. It never portends good things. Such was the case.  Our airplane, the finest of late-1940’s design that rolled off the Douglas Aircraft line about 16-17 years before, had A Problem.  A Problem such that no matter how much we may have wanted turkey (and I might add, all our gear in our staterooms and berthing spaces) on Saturday, the best thing to probably do was to head west and into Home Plate in the southwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula. To where the parts were.  Where we had squadron maintenance, and lots of maintainers.  And home. But we really wanted that turkey dinner. A lot.  But, given our great popularity on The Boat, the moment we announced that we had a slight problem and needed to talk to the lad designated to not fly this hop and remain on board as the “Squadron rep,” the immediate reply was “your signal Bingo, divert authorized. Notify us by message on your safe arrival, out.” OK, we can take hint.

So it was that we returned home that Friday night.  Several of us repaired to the very quiet Club, there to meet up with a few very surprised friends who greeted us gamely.  Who then proceeded to regale us with the delightful Thanksgiving feast we had all missed the day before.

Thus it was, Dear Readers, that those who remained at sea the next day feasted and stuffed themselves in Holiday Routine.  Your Humble and Obedient Servant, along with his fellow fliers, did not.  We were betwixt and between, and thus we resorted to other, more creative measures to alter our bemused status.  When we returned a couple of days later, on a Monday, to The Boat, we were forced to hear of The Feast We Missed.  To which we replied, “Yes, but you missed a great deal of ice, cold beer.” And smiled. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.



Filed under Carriers, Flying, Naval Aviation, Sea Stories

Happy Birthday, Marines


Bullet Sponges.

Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.

Call ’em what you will. Nonetheless, they have a birthday, tomorrow, falling between Hizzoner and Veteran’s Day.  Very appropriate, I’d say.  Not bad for an outfit that was quite literally founded in a tavern that doubled as a Masonic Lodge. 🙂

Semper  Fi.  That is all, carry on.


Filed under History, Perspective

The Law of the Sea

Nature, at best, is neutral it is often said.  The sea, even less so.  I have been through storms in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and have seen high seas in the Pacific as well as standing on that great ocean’s eastern shores and witnessed  strong fury that actually pales in comparison to some of nature’s real efforts. But one thing I have learned is to give Davey Jones his due and not venture out where there be dangerous waters.  Now, most of my experience was on the ample hulls of large, grey steel apartment houses, with airports conveniently located on the roof.  At actual displacement of around 100,000 tons and most measuring over 1,000 feet in length, the fact that we took rolls and damage made me a true believer in our real place in the scheme of all things aquatic.

We sometimes forget that for centuries upon centuries, humans have ventured forth upon the waters on vessels much smaller, more frail and even more at the mercy of the seas.  This morning, a recreation of one of the most well-known vessels of the 19th Century and those who remain on her, stands in deep peril off our shores as Hurricane Sandy churns the deep enroute to landfall:

HMS Bounty Crew Abandons Ship

For them, and all who venture forth, let us join in the Breton Fisherman’s Prayer:

Dear God, be good to me;
The sea is so wide,
And my boat is so small.

May they all come to shore in one piece.


Filed under Faith, Shipmates, Ships and the Sea

The Wheel of Time

One the center columns in the mythos of the United States Marine Corps, a rock upon which the legend has been built, are the horrifyingly brutal battles fought starting over 70 years ago, between Marines and land elements of the military of Japan on numerous islands that dotted the Pacific Ocean.  No quarter asked, nor any given.  Brutality of the basest order and the Reaper worked with efficiency.  The defensive strategies and tactics, with their attendant fortifications made the butcher’s bill paid by the Marines, and by the Japanese, the stuff of legend.  His Imperial Majesty’s troops were infamous for their ability to dig in, deep, and make an invading force pay a massive price for every meter of ground they took.

Now, their swords turned forcibly into plowshares and cars for perhaps a bit too long, they turn to their legendary opponents for lessons we learned from them: U.S., Japan Train for Island Defense

[“And where,”  you ask, Good Reader, “the $%^& have you been Comjam?!?” Obligations elsewhere have kept me away too long.  More are to come, but in the interval I have a couple of things I’ve been working on.]



Filed under Uncategorized