in WW2, but its pilots loved it – considering it to be a flying tank. Of course, I’m talking about the P-47 Thunderbolt.
I’ve just come across a fantastic video – on order from General Hap Arnold it was shot in color during the closing months of WW2 in the ETO with the 362nd Fighter Group.
Coupled with the color film are interviews with former squadron members many years later, on what it was like in those days.
A few things I learned:
The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo
For the last 50 years, we have had an unhealthy dependence for oil on the Middle East. Sometimes our interests have aligned, other times not. Countries act from their own interests.
In 1973, OPEC – the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – had simply decided to not sell us oil, and we had a huge dependency on them *. I was trying to find the percentage and could not readily find it, although 40% seems to come to mind.
I mentioned a bit the other day about the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, and how mission commander Neil Armstrong had to take manual control of the lunar lander since the programmed location was determined to be a crater.
I remember that there were 2 components to the lunar lander; the lower part that got them to the moon, and the upper part that, once ready to leave, blasted off the lower portion to take them back to the command module, where Michael Collins was ready to dock with Armstrong and Aldrin for the trip back to earth in the Apollo capsule.
By lex, on December 30th, 2010
On 30 June 1950, an understrength and under-equipped battalion of 430 infantrymen, along with a 134-man artillery detachment – together known as Task Force Smith – left their cozy garrisons in occupied Japan to reinforce the line in Osan, Korea. The occupation forces sent to oppose the North Korean blitz were not the same battle hardened soldiers that had driven through Europe and across the Pacific 5 years earlier. Their training in combined arms action had been perfunctory. They faced over 30 tanks and 5000 DPRK regulars – two full infantry regiments. When the North Koreans hit them – hard – they fought as well as any men might under such circumstances before they were nearly enveloped. After three and a half hours of sustained combat, low on ammunition and with their communications cut-off, they were forced to withdraw. One isolated platoon was even forced to leave behind its equipment, their dead and even some of their more seriously wounded comrades. With characteristic magnanimity, the victorious North Korean soldiers bound the survivors hands behind their backs and shot each of them once with a bullet to the back of the head.
This wasn’t the war that they had trained for.
The All-Powerful Rocketdyne F-1 engines powering the Saturn V
Was the tumultuous year in a tumultuous decade. I have always believed that the 50s really ended November 22, 1963. Of course, not by the numbers, but culturally. We lost our innocence of the 1950s that day. We then had the Berkeley “Free Speech” riots as a warm up, some spectacular serial murders, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the Chicago riots during the DNC just to name a few things. With the Tet offensive the North Vietnamese broke the truce and threw everything they had at the US and ARVN forces. Despite decimating them, Walter Cronkite declared the Vietnam War “unwinnable”. I read some time ago that after Tet, the Viet Cong were never again an effective fighting force. I would begin to form a contrary opinion about the mainstream media.
I wrote a bit about Alexis de Tocqueville the other day. He was a young French aristocrat, sent by the French Government in 1831 ostensibly to study our prisons, but he used the mission to study the American character and society. When I read his 2 volumes in 1971, I was astounded at his observations.
They are no less astounding today.
The thought occurred to me that whether or not we put it to words and paper, we all witness history through our lives. Think how many leave this world with their secrets. I’ve documented only a few. You go through these posts and you’ll see Lex left a few stories of his family.