Saturday, December 7, 2019

Infamy Lives




















This shot of Pearl Harbor is from October 1941, less than two months before the fateful attack. (Millenials and Common Core grads, Google "WWII". Trust me, it's a thing.)

Somebody who was only 17 that morning would be 95 today. The average age of those serving was 26, which tallies to 104 years of age now. IOW, dead. Nearly everyone from that conflict has already passed away. If you meet anyone who served then, anywhere, show some respect for your betters. They earned it, before you were born.

Then ponder that the US Navy and Army, now, are about as weak and small as they were on that day. Also twice as hamstrung, and fourfold more aimless and clueless. On a bigger, badder world stage, with even fewer allies, and a media totally captured by enemy agents and influence.

Ponder what that portends in coming days and years. Both for yourself, and 300M of your friends and neighbors.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

My Dad is still going strong at 92. He enlisted as soon as he finished high school at 17. The Nagasaki bomb was his 18th birthday present. My Step Mom is a Pearl Harbor survivor who was sent home on the SS Outline with her father's destroyer providing short escort. Yeah, the day is marked in our family.
Your assessment of our present state of "readiness" is spot on as usual, though I think we have a harder core of combat vets in the population (damn few in "leadership").
Boat Guy

Anonymous said...

Ponder too that our USMC has purged most of the pipe-hitting warfighters in every rank in favor of SJW's. We don't have the officers, NCO's or even the professional privates of the 1930's. F'cking pogues run the Corps these days.
Boat Guy

Anonymous said...

Ponder also about the status of your 300M "friends and neighbors"...

Consider there were a bit over 23M "friends and neighbors" in Yugoslavia in 1991...

-MN Steel

ADS said...

>millenials and common core grads
OK boomer
Remind me which generation oversees our military at the moment? The admirals, generals, chiefs of staff who have led our military into this toothless, top-heavy, affirmative action state?

Anonymous said...

On Dec 7th my father was walking across a bridge with a girl he was "sweet on". A friend ran up and told them about the attack.

I always pondered the symbolism of that scene....crossing a country bridge over a placid creek and learning of your world being turned upside down. The far side of that bridge became a world and lifetime away.

My father enlisted in the US Navy in March '42. He went on to serve full duration of war in South Pacific "island hopping" with naval aviation units as a mechanic.

He landed at Pearl Harbor after a quick boot camp. Ran across a cousin who was Navy lifer. Cousin was at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7. Told my father how post attack rescue teams struggled to cut through steel plate on the capsized ships. Trapped survivors banged on bulkheads for rescue.

After the banging ceased they recovered their bodies.

Many of them had finger nails ripped off. Those men suffocated or drowned trying to claw their way through plate armor and the locked bulkhead hatches. Ripped their nails right off.

My father told me that before I was a teenager. I've never forgotten.

EVERY December 7th was acknowledged in the house I grew up in. Even after leaving home any phone call around the date included an acknowledgement. Call would go something like, "You know, day after tomorrow is Dec 7th, Pearl Harbor....".

Always somber. The closest thing to a secular version of Good Friday.
So much suffering.

Anonymous said...

My old man enlisted in '40 and was one of the founding stock of the 82nd Airborne. He died in '2015 at the age of 94. In '61 I was 11 and we had a mutt dog, a cocker mix that would always bark at the mailman. She'd stand about 15 feet off and bark, never approached him. I guess the mailman was having a bad day because he walked over to the dog and kicked her. His day was about to get much worse. My old man was standing inside the screen door waiting to take the mail. He flew out like a linebacker and to this day I remember that mailman's high pitched screams as my father bitch slapped and kicked him for half a block. An ambulance was called, the cops showed up and as they cuffed his hands behind his back he looked at me standing at the door and......winked. As if to say "never sweat the small stuff kid". He was a hell of a man and I miss him sorely,

Anonymous said...

My father enlisted in the Navy in October 1941 because "he wanted to learn to fly". He did. He spent the early war years as a flight instructor in Pensacola (in the news again for the wrong reasons). In the later years he flew F4Us off the Essex. He is gone now and never said much about the war. I found him crying once when my wife had an episode of Victory at Sea - an episode about Okinawa. He mumbled something about hearing someone on one of the ships screaming over the radio something to the effect of "keep the Japs (kamakazis) off us and we'll save the ship". He explained that they couldn't - there were too many. Sad to see the misuse of young people by the military these days.

Anonymous said...

@ADS. There have been plenty of good ones as well who were purged by the last administratio. Every generation has good'uns and bad'uns.
I will simply note the participation percentage of the generations since we stopped the draft, while conceding that not all who haven't served are chickenhawks.
Boat Guy

Phil said...

End of an era: Last Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred at USS Arizona Memorial

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-07/pearl-harbor-survivor-last-interment-hawaii

Survivormann99 said...


Yes, 78 years ago today, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Sure, Roosevelt may have precipated this sneak attack because he cut off shipments of oil to Japan. The Japanese military felt that it had "no choice" but to attack the U.S. Of course, the reason for the US oil embargo all was the barbaric invasion of China where the Japanese killed millions. In the Rape of Nanking, estimates of murdered disarmed civilians range between 40,000 and 300,000. The Japanese military engaged in mass murder and rape for days, and commanders did little to stop it.

Of course, the Japanese were engaged in an effort to establish the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. In charge of all of the minion Asian nations that would be brought together under this umbrella was...wait for it...wait for it...Japan!

China lost 14 million people in World War II, and still bears a grudge toward Japan. I recently read that this was one of the reasons that Chinese investors funded the recent, excellent movie, "Midway." (The movie is awesome, but see it before it leaves the theaters because the theater sound system is crucial in doing it justice.)

Perhaps 15 years ago, I met a friend after work at an English pub here in town. We started talking about WWII. At one point, I said, "Harry Truman was a trigger-happy sonofabitch!" My friend was startled. He asked me what I meant. I said that Harry had two atomic bombs and he used them. I said, "No-o-o! He couldn't wait until he had a dozen."

My friend laughed. He pointed to his friend sitting beside him and said, "His wife's grandfather commanded the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands." Instead of being embarrassed at what some might consider to be a faux pas, I roared with laughter. I could not have cared less about what his friend thought about my remark.

Some might say that my callous attitude was inappropriate. Yet, in case you didn't know, Japan was planning a biological warfare attack on Southern California in September 1945. That little surrender ceremony on the U.S.S. Missouri interrupted the effort. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cherry_Blossoms_at_Night

Japan got every bit of what it deserved by starting its road to brutql conquest in China and engaging in an unnecessary war with the U.S., beginning with its sneak attack on men who were still asleep on a Sunday morning.

Even the Samurai's code forbade attacking a sleeping warrior.

Aesop said...

ADS,
Well Slick, since you assed, that would be overwhelmingly Gen X.
This is news to you?

If you were ever in, you weren't paying attention, because you'd have known that almost anyone born in 1965 or prior (that would be the Baby Boom generation) probably punched out mandatorily several years back, after 30 years of service. That would be practically everyone below O-7 rank (generals/admirals get special dispensation to exceed the 30-year mark, until they hit 65, IIRC.) But then again, usually people who've already done 25-30 years in the military and climbed to the peak aren't quite the Boomers you're thinking of, are they?
Boomers in the military fought in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, and OIF/OEF.
All but a scant few of them are out. (Some guy who made MSG or SgtMaj, and enlisted at 29, could still have a coupla years left, but you could count those guys on your fingers.)

And clearly, you haven't been here five minutes in as many weeks, or you'd know I have no trouble calling out TPTB of any generation without reserve, for their spineless faults over the years, going back several presidents. Welcome to the party, pal. But it's not a generational thing with them; it's a lack of character. What's your excuse? Nature, or nurture?

Maybe in the future, if something doesn't apply to you personally, FIDO.

Because if you're going to get all butthurt every time someone calls out a generation that lives up to its worst stereotypes in 98% of actual cases, you're destined to have some flaming red asscheeks for a long, long time. And you didn't exactly cover yourself with glory putting your first shot through your foot, while it was in your mouth, didja?

Thanks for living up to expectations. Put some Quik Clot on your junk, and try this again when it heals up some.

Robin Datta said...

"If you meet anyone who served then, anywhere, show some respect for your betters."

My parents were commissioned officers in the Royal Indian Army in the Second World War. Met them early. Didn't know about war, service, or shoe polish from ordure at that time.

Desert Rat said...

My father dodged the draft when Roosevelt started it up in 1940. Just before his physical he found a doctor who was willing to remove his (healthy) appendix. This laid him up for a few weeks and he had to miss his physical. He didn't hear from the draft board again. Two days after Pearl Harbor he went and enlisted in the army for the duration.

He was 24 and knew accounting and typing so after basic he was placed in a quartermaster outfit and very soon made sargeant. They sent him to Fort Hood and there he remained until late summer, 1944. He had become bored with his job and wanted to see some action so he volunteered for combat. Within a month he found himself in France. He was in action around Aachen and in the Ardennes trying to stop the German attack in December. He developed a severe case of trench foot and was withdrawn from combat - came close to losing a foot, he said.

He only spoke twice about the war and had nothing good to say about it. He was only sure of actually shooting one German. He had been given temporary command of his platoon when the Lt. was wounded (shot in the throat). Saw lots of dead men. Hated the army. Mom told me he had nightmares abut the war for several years. He died 20 years ago and it was only then that as I went through his papers I found his honorable discharge certificate and learned he had been awarded the Bronze Star.

Anonymous said...

At least we're not speaking German.

Spanish, Somali, Farsi, Hindi, Hmong, Chinese, and various click-clacks, but not German.

SiGraybeard said...

My brother's father in law is a WWII vet, but we've hardly ever talked about it other than to acknowledge it. He does a lot of traveling, filling out his bucket list I guess. I haven't seen him in three years.

Our dad enlisted after Pearl and was in the army, did something in tanks but he never talked about it. He was never deployed. Broke a few lumbar vertebrae when a tank rolled in a training accident, spent months in a body cast and was discharged. Dad died almost 38 years ago, 1982.

I don't recall dad ever making a big deal out of Pearl Harbor day.

Old NFO said...

LB and LC Curtis. USS ARIZONA, Dec 7, 1941. Lest we forget. Multiple family members in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps during the war.

Anonymous said...

My Pa turned 18 on 12/7/41, Happy Birthday Dad! Army infantry in Germany and Czechslovakia with 3rd Army. His unit came home and was shipped across to CA for beach training then put on ships for Operation Coronet. Was in the PI when the bomb dropped practicing beach assaults. They were told to expect 70% plus casualties. He never talked about it. Just stuff I learned from reading. I do know the CIB was very important to him.
Use to have a drink now and then with a fellow at a local bar. Sailor who was in a PT squadron based in the PI when the war started. Great guy very humble and I guessed had seen the beast up close many times. My hat is off to all those great men who did what was needed and never asked or expected any praise because they all had done it.

OvergrownHobbit said...

generals/admirals get special dispensation to exceed the 30-year mark, until they hit 65, IIRC.

In my father's day, that meant every year it required an Act of Congress specifically allowing the officers to remain every year (or two? It's been a while) Which means that all flag ranks are political and anyone who stays in to four stars is some shade of dirty.

Anonymous said...

All three- and - four stars are political and nearly all of them are dirty; depends greatly on the administration and distance from the flagpole. I knew of one four star who didn't go butt-up until he went from a combatant command to the Pentagon. That was pre-911.
Boat Guy

George True said...

My dad was already in the Army when WWII began, he was an artillery officer. He served for the duration of the war.

This past summer I was visiting several sisters and their families in Minnesota. Was talking with my next elders sister's husband, whose father (Chuck) had recently passed away in his mid-nineties. We were talking about WWII and my brother-in-law mentioned that his father had been a Marine and had served on Guadalcanal and several other places in the Pacific. I was blown away to hear this.
All these years, and I never dreamed that this quiet, unassuming, and really, really nice guy had been a Guadalcanal Marine. He never mentioned it, at least not to me.

John said...

I can't add much. My grandfather was a Navy man. WWI and re-enlisted for WWII.
Sent home from the Pacific in '45, passed away before I was born, so I never met him.

But my father told me that his father would have had a fit to know that his grandson married a girl who was half Japanese, and half German. Only in America.

Peter B said...

My father was stateside in WWII. He never told me what he did, but from what my mother told me about where they lived and a few other details, he was at the Vigo plant in Terra Haute. This was an ordnance plant built in 1942 which was then converted for biological weapons work. The basic research was done at Fort Detrick, and in Indiana the Army was developing the methods to produce anthrax on an industrial scale and weaponize it. Among other things, this involved testing the equipment for leaks, and testing containment procedures and protective gear for use in the plant using a bioindicator strain of bacteria.