One of our own, Comjam, talks about flying and fighting in the Intruder.
Category Archives: Navy
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.
In between working on another post, which may take a few days, I was watching a program on Amazon Prime involving that famous trio, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
Lex wrote so many things that I consider to be timeless. I’ve told people from time to time that many of his blog posts were not so much posts as essays.
And here he describes in a succinct and complete manner, the nature of a Navy command.
He wrote this 15 years ago, but it could have been written yesterday.
I had an interesting conversation with a good friend the other day. He is quite a fan of the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens. In looking at a lot of ancient ruins, he believes there is evidence of extraterrestrial presence everywhere.
I can remember when I went to Egypt, every guide that we had would have a different story as to how the pyramids were built. One thing they could all agree was the site of the quarry – some miles from Giza and the pyramids.
I don’t believe that extraterrestrials built the pyramids – but with so much in history, it’s what we don’t know and assume that piques my interest. It would be fun to be able to travel back in time as an invisible witness – to see how things really evolved.
By lex, on May 25th, 2007
That the sh!t hit the fleet *.
After torturing the plebes one last time on Herndon, we’d had a week’s worth of fin de siecle parties on and around the campus – the “N” dance for varsity athletes over at Hubbard Hall, where the crew team tormented themselves for most of the year, was a highlight – it was the only affair in the Yard that served champagne, as I recall. Tropical whites and tiki torches reflected the Severn River. With all of the beautiful young men and women, it had the feeling of a movie set from the 1940′s, the “before” picture setting the left bookend to an unknowable “after” – an “after” whose ghostly contours are now, after 25 years, growing daily more distinct.
Finally the preparations were complete it was time to mill around smartly outside as the underclasses marched to the stadium to bid us farewell with ever-descending degrees of sincerity; the second class with whom we had become fast friends, the youngsters who still eyed us with all the caution that one uses around a biting dog that wags its tail, the plebes with a cordial loathing. A rustling in the seats as we sat down, an interminable speech or two – brave new world, sea lines of communication, the defense of the republic from the Soviet Menace, etc. Then, finally, graduation and commissioning of the top 10% in order of class rank, the rest of us alphabetically (your correspondent was solidly in the top 90% of his class). Hats up (and down, it turns out). The fat gold bar of an ensign replacing the thin one of a first class midshipman.
The smiles and handshakes after, the promises to keep in touch, that we’d see each other in the fleet. Promises we sometimes kept, but the tendency of things is always towards disorder, towards chaos. There would in any case be new loyalties to supercede that sacred word “classmate” – a word that had gotten us all through a difficult four years. There would be roommates, wingmen, squadron mates, messmates, shipmates, service buddies, Marines, dogs and finally, sojers.
Today we head down to the university campus to see our replacements join the line, NROTC midshipmen from the local universities: SDSU, UCSD, USD and Point Loma Nazarene. Three young people that we have fed and entertained for the last three years will be commissioned, two will change uniforms entirely. Our young man will lead the color guard, having exchanged the two diagonal stripes of a midshipman second class on his shoulder boards with the single, thin, horizontal stripe of a first class midshipman .
The cycle continues.
* 08-08-2018 Link Gone; no replacement found (Was Lex Post Midshipmen from 06-21-2004– Ed.
A couple of years ago at a dinner, I had the honor of meeting a well-dressed elderly woman while sipping a martini (both of us!). I learned that she was one of the 1,000 or so female pilots in WW2 who became known as WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots).
The WASPs weren’t the Army’s idea, but the idea of famed aviatrix Jackie Cochran, who, with so many men going off to war, suggested the idea of women ferrying new planes to bases to Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor made it happen, but the WASPs were not really taken seriously by the Army Air Force.
They were issued used mechanic’s overalls that the women called Zoot Suits, men’s sizes only, 44 and up. Of course these were too big for most women. But the women actually turned lemons into lemonade, making them look fashionable (with the sleeves rolled up).
They were not even integrated into the military, but seen as a civilian auxiliary.
By lex, on July 22nd, 2011
Navy’s newest operational concept had a little test cruise:*
By lex, on May 5th, 2011
The White House is going silent on the net about the dramatic mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, cross threaded at having to substantially change the story about how and why he was shot after the initial fog of war lifted. The administration also backed water on publishing photographs of his bloody corpse – a good call, in my humble: Those inclined towards conspiracy theories will cry “photoshop!” anyway, and there’s no reason to give the perpetually aggrieved set another bloody shirt to wave.
With that in mind, the Sandy Eggo Union Tribune is carrying an AP wire story that releases about as much detail as we’re likely to get: