Category Archives: History

Speakeasy

Yesterday, I had an interesting time traveling to see things I had seen dozens of times before. Except this time, I really saw them.

I have led my car club on dozens of drives through the Sacramento River Delta. I have told people that this area is completely different from the city.

Call it laid-back.

And in 10 minutes you can leave one urbane world to the beginning of this world.

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Apollo 11: A Bit of Alternative History

Today marks the 53rd anniversary of that famous flight that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins took to the Sea of Tranquility. I wrote a bit some time ago of where I was that day – in the back country of Sequoia National Park, flown in by helicopter, and clearing the trails of fallen trees. That evening, I was in my sleeping bag, looking up at the moon through these massive redwoods. I had a little 6 transistor radio, and was listening to the scratchy station in the Central Valley that it was pulling in. To hear Armstrong’s voice and looking up at the moon through those redwoods, filled me with wonder and awe.

I’m in a Facebook group that I have come to learn is filled with a lot of “movers and shakers” of NASA, past and present.

I posed the question, “where were you on that historical day?”


I’m reposting a few of their (anonymous) answers.

“I was flying a combat mission during the Vietnam War. Listened to the lunar landing on one of our radios that was broadcasting Voice of America. Back on the ground at the O-Club to watch Neil come down the ladder. A never to be forgotten sense of pride in being an American.”

“I was ten. My sister 13. We were sitting on the couch under the window air conditioner, covered in a blanket because we were cold as we watched on the black and white console tv. Somewhere before the landing I was annoying my sister who called for mom. She was on the phone with someone, and the cord wouldn’t reach us (thank goodness for corded phones!). So she threw a shoe at me to get me to stop. And the Eagle has landed! 😉 “

“It was first day of 2 weeks at Boy Scout camp with no TV. …That night in the tent, I listened to first half of moon walk on my transistor radio until the battery died.”

I was 9. Four days earlier, we’d been to the Cape to watch the launch. Now I was trying to stay awake for the first step. I can’t remember if I actually saw it live: I was dozing in and out.”

“I was a 16 year old space nerd. We had gone to my 5th grade teacher’s house (who was my mother’s best friend) to watch the moonwalk. I was absolutely transfixed by what I was seeing…humans were walking on the moon (and I knew better than to say “I wish I was up there”). After the walk was completed, I got my telescope out to see if I could find the LM. No luck but it was worth the try.”

“Our family had recently moved into a brand-new townhome in the Denver suburbs. That was the day the patio was poured, and I was allowed to carefully write the date and a little drawing of the moon in the fresh concrete.”

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Celebrating July 2nd

Apparently we’ve been 2 days off.

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted a resolution stating “That these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States.” Two days later, after further debate, it approved the Declaration of Independence, the document that, over time, brought eternal fame to its main author, Thomas Jefferson.

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8th AAF Attrition

Bill Brandt, June 24, 2022

I just started a book that Hogday recommended, about the 8th Army Air Force in England. I know that they suffered tremendous casualties, but just cold numbers really don’t tell the whole story. Yes, more were killed flying those bombers and fighters into Nazi-occupied Europe than all of the Marines killed in the Pacific. Over 26,000 airmen were lost in those skies.

One had to complete 25 missions before you could rotate home and the odds, particularly in 1943, of doing that were if not stacked against you, pretty heavy. I’m trying to remember a statistic citing death or seriously wounded before those 25 missions were complete, but 1:3 seems to come to mind.

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Russia Today: Living Under the Soviet Union’s Shadow?

For more years than I can remember since 1992, I have wondered if the West squandered an opportunity to help bring democracy to Russia. Much like during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, when people accused others of “losing” Eastern Europe after WW2. It was a UVA Professor who was very influential to my thinking who said that Eastern Europe wasn’t ours to “lose” – the Soviets already occupied it. Although surely one could argue that a geopolitically naïve Franklin Roosevelt erred greatly in agreeing to let Stalin take Berlin – and have his spheres of influence. But then, the frail and dying Roosevelt believed Stalin when he promised to allow free elections.

But could Russia have evolved differently today had Boris Yeltsin had some more help and encouragement?

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The 6th of June in History

By lex, on Thu, June 3, 2004

Milblog readers will find plenty to keep them occupied during the drive to commemorate the Normandy invasions of 60 years ago..

But did you know the date’s other significance in military history? In naval history (keeping in mind that the USMC is a naval force)?

No? Then read on:

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Filed under by lex, History, Marines, Military, Neptunus Lex

Maria Aus Stuttgart *

I’ve met some interesting people along the way, and Maria is no exception. She is in my car club, and 87 years young. When we connected a few days ago, she remembered that 20 years ago, with her husband recently passed, I took her on a club drive.

I have trouble remembering something from 2 hours ago.

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Lady Be Good

Lady Be Good, as discovered 16 years later, in 1959

She was named after a popular song that had been written by George Gershwin. It had been turned into a movie.

She was a nearly new B-24D, just flown from the States to serve in the 376th Bomb Group at Soluch Airfield, Libya where the Group was tasked with bombing Italian ports feeding Hitler’s war machine.

Her crew of 9 were typical of men during that time, all in their 20s, some leaving young wives and fiancées. They had never been on a combat mission previously.

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Ukraine – A Bit of Recent Alternative History

A Lexican recently made a post on the F/B page that surprised me.

We just past the date where the number of days since the Berlin Fell was equal to the number of days that it was up.

10,316 days.

From August 3, 1961, when I was 11 years old, to November 9, 1989 when I was 39 years old.

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Miscellaneous Ramblings – 01/06/22

If there is an informal poll for “Worst Commerical Airport – Passenger Category” – my vote would go to SFO – San Francisco. Even getting there, between the weather and the traffic, can be a challenge. I can remember years ago, picking up my parents, that the wind and rain was so strong that I would unintentionally change lanes driving over the Bay Bridge. And on that bridge, it’s a long way down.

And because traffic can really bite you, sometimes I’ll leave an hour earlier than what I think I really need.

Once you get there – turning off from the Bayshore Freeway – that’s US 101 – you are funneled into several “Y” intersections with little time to react.

I think that they built this facility over the years in sort of an “ad hoc” manner and any “master plan” to handle the traffic went by the wayside.

At least that’s my opinion.

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