"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Ya ever seen my house?

Ya ever seen my house?
Neither have I Ted! You douchebag.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Monday, June 04, 2012

A Historic Day

On this date, 100 years ago, Massachusetts adopted the first, minimum wage law in the U.S.
Of course, this was eighteen years later than New Zealand, but we Yanks have a history of being behind the curve when it comes to not treating workers like shit.
Case in point: The link is to a Frontline article and vid about how all those wonderful, cell-phone towers we now see everywhere are increasingly being serviced by untrained, unsupervised twenty-somethings who, in the pursuit of their $10 per, are falling off of them in record numbers with no accountability whatsoever from the big boys (AT&T, et al).
WE gotta have those quick connections and apps though.
Will no one think of the apps?
In less depressing, or perhaps "differently depressing" news, Seventy years ago today, the gallant USS Yorktown was abandoned off Midway in the course of what became the greatest Naval battle in history and the beginning of the end for Japan.
What's gallant and glorious is that just three weeks prior, during another historic sea-battle (Coral Sea. The first engagement fought by air against ships that were out of sight from one another) she was also in the shit.
At the ripe age of five, CV-5 took her lumps as the video below depicts.
She took one 500#  bomb on the flight-deck, just fifteen feet from the island. It went down six levels before exploding.
Another landed on the deck but bounced off and exploded in the water alongside.
That detonation, along with another near-miss, opened up seams in the hull and water started pouring in.
The damage-control men managed to keep her afloat. Then, even with a ten degree list and taking on water, she still managed to make twenty knots as she limped back to Pearl Harbor.
Next photo: where the bomb landed; as seen from directly beneath the flight-deck. Above, the spot where said bomb stopped and did its work.
When she arrived at Pearl on May 28, without even performing the safety procedure of pumping out the av-gas which would have taken an extra day she was immediately put into dry-dock.
Before the water in the dock was entirely pumped out, guys in waders, including Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, were splashing about, inspecting the hull.
Hull repair expert, Lt. Cmdr. H. J. Pfingstag, estimated that repairs would take ninety days - and here's where some serious, unsung gallantry on the part of ship-yard workers took place.
Nimitz moved the deadline - to three days.

And so it went that 1400 men, working around the clock put her right enough to allow her to sail out into the harbor on the 30th with lots of guys still working on the inside.
She wasn't "repaired" so much as "patched".
The sprung seams were simply covered over by a big hunk of steel, welded to the hull.
And off she went for Midway.
Once the battle had been joined she was again in the thick of it.
Her air group fatally damaged the Japanese aircraft carrier Soryu and shared in the destruction of the carrier Hiryu and cruiser Mikuma.
But, dive-bombers and torpedo planes again took their toll so the old girl was abandoned on the afternoon of June 4, 1942.
Salvage crews later went aboard and were well on their way to cobbling her back into a self-mobile state again when the Japanese submarine I-168 put a torpedo into her.

Finally, on the 7th, she gradually filled, capsized and sank - three miles deep.
Bob Ballard found her in 1998 'cause... he just gets to find all the cool stuff in the world.
So, she was dead at the age of five.
But before going down she had put the hurt on four Japanese carriers, two of which were sunk along with the cruiser mentioned above. Not bad for a month's work.
She hadn't been on the job long but, over the course of her less-than-six-months of combat service, she received the following honors:
American Defense Service Medal ("A" device)
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3 stars)
World War II Victory Medal (awarded posthumously).
And how about a big shout-out to all those nameless hull-techs, machinist mates and civilian (Unionized) shipyard workers that achieved the impossible.
I won't call them "heroes", the reason being: That word is ridiculously over-used.
Chris Hayes from MSNBC got in trouble for bring this up the other day but I heartily agree.
I joined the Navy (High number. Little chance of the draft getting me) during which was technically wartime.
Now, even though I am a "Vietnam Era Veteran" I can categorically state: I am not a hero.
During seven years in the Guard, I could have volunteered to participate in George the 1st's let's-keep-gas-prices-low warlette.
Even if I had; still not a hero.
My Dad, with decorations to prove his status, would have taken serious issue with anyone referring to him as such. It would have embarrassed him.
The problem with loaded words like "hero" is best summed-up by the following quote:
"If you call Elvis Presley (or Costello for that matter) a musical genius, what do you do with Mozart?"
We need a draft.

1 comment:

John Maddox Roberts said...

I like the pic of the freikorps guys at the top. But over at the left, is that a regular-sized trooper and a couple of dwarfs or two standard-sized Germans and a giant?

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