Category Archives: History

A few historical “what if’s”

Those 2 readers who have read my posts concerning history over the years know that I am fascinated by the little “twists and turns” – little things in history that end up having tremendous consequences in the future –

One could make the contention but for a driver’s failure to adhere to the advised newer route – taking the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sofie – the world would look very different today.

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Cults

From the mid 70s through the mid 80s, I did a lot of driving. I was making cold calls, primarily in California. All over California. I must have made 2-3,000 cold calls. There have been times in my life I refer to as photographic moments. When what you have witnessed is permanently embossed in your mind.

I was driving in downtown San Francisco on a small street or alleyway behind a huge complex on Geary Street. In retrospect, the date was fairly easy to narrow – a few days after November 18, 1978. It was an old synagogue as I recall, and in the back had to have been easily over 100 old cars – probably closer to 200, with crates and trunks that looked ready for shipment. I remember seeing a lot of wooden crates with addresses painted – or stenciled – on them.

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ROONEY AND THE TROOPS

Posted by lex, on Thu – July 22, 2004 at 09:09 PM

Some time ago, Andy Rooney crafted a list of questions he wished someone would ask the troops actually on the ground in Iraq.

Now the troops have a chance to answer . It makes for interesting reading.

The op-ed page featured a column  * by Andy Rooney opining about the character and morale of servicemen in Iraq. Rooney offered five questions that he wished a reporter would ask the soldiers, a group he dubbed “victims” rather than “heroes.”

** 07-25-20 Link changed; originally in Montana Standard.com – Ed

 

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, GWOT, History, Iraq, Lex, Media, Neptunus Lex, Perspective, Politics and Culture

Fate and Mystery

As I have mentioned from time to time, I am fascinated by history. Not only how the past made us as we are, but how many seemingly small and inconsequential events can have profound consequences.

I am currently reading a book by a favorite author, Erik Larson, on Winston Churchill during the time of the Blitz.

It’s his contention that a German navigator’s error, in mistakenly jettisoning their bombs over London rather than a country field during inclement weather, led to Hiroshima.

Personally I think that may be a bridge too far, for reasons that I outlined here.

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Filed under Flying, History, Hollywood

He Still Headed The Wrong Way

A German Wrong Way Corrigan?

 

I just finished watching a YouTube video on a comparison between the Focke-Wulf FW-190 and the P-51 Mustang.

Learned a lot of things.  I knew that the Mustang really came into its own when a Rolls Royce test pilot, Ronald Harker,  decided to substitute the Allison V12 for a Merlin. Didn’t realize that (A) the Merlin was still more powerful at 20,000 feet  than the Allison was at sea-level, and (B) fuel consumption was significantly improved. It was a win-win, and turned the Mustang from a good fighter to an icon. Actually it was a “win-win-win” as it gave the Mustang the high altitude performance that it lacked.

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Filed under Airplanes, History, Humor

A Time Portal to Germany, May 1945

I have written a bit about the 5 Hollywood directors who went to the front lines both in the Pacific and ETO for WW2.

And I reviewed the work of one of them, William Wyler, with the brilliant restoration of his unused film in making his Memphis Belle. There is more to write about these 5 fascinating directors, but suffice it to say there is a nice Netflix documentary, with commentary by 5 contemporary famous directors, on them.

That has to be a future post for me.

In the meantime on the F/B page, Hogday posted a fascinating video from George Stevens on Germany right after the war.

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Little Big Horn – Brought To Life

One of the things I love about travel is the misconceptions finally corrected. You see things – or meet people – that change your beliefs. Both people and places have changed my outlook over the years.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

—Mark Twain

I was trying to remember the year I drove to Deadwood, SD and across Montana. Montana still had a “safe and reasonable” speed limit, and I thought that I would be in my element.

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Filed under Army, History, Politics and Culture

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 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

John Basilone

If you drive up I5 from San Diego in a half hour or so you’ll transit the massive USMC base of Camp Pendleton. If you are lucky, looking to the left towards the ocean, you may see some Osprey‘s landing or taking off.

And you will pass a sign on the right telling you that you are on the Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone Highway.

I wonder of the many thousands of people passing that sign every day know who John Basilone was?

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Filed under Heroes Among Us, History, Valor