Thursday, July 31, 2008

July Book of the Month

WARRIOR: Ariel Sharon
An Autobiography
With David Chanoff

I thought for this month’s book review I would examine Warrior, the autobiography of Ariel Sharon who was perhaps the most daring and successful commander in Israel’s extraordinary military history. During the short span since Israel’s founding, Sharon’s life of military and government leadership is reminiscent of many of our great leaders. Raising from ordinary circumstances this modern warrior became widely admired through a remarkably successful series of military and political achievements. Sharon was aided in his spectacularly impressive career by a personal force associated with his great physical and mental strength. It is safe to say that Sharon has been bigger than life in his country and on the world stage.

Ariel Sharon was born in 1928 in Israel of Russian immigrant parents who were known for their uncompromising strength, determination, and stubbornness. His father was an individualist in a socialist setting and that created an ill fit with their neighbors adding to the family’s already hard existence. The family, even though lacking money and material possessions, did maintain a rich cultural life revolving about the Russian heritage that they had been brought up to love. However, attempting to conquer the rugged land for agricultural purposes was the main effort of their everyday life.

Sharon’s and other Israeli village families outwardly held the prejudice that their farm children were superior. And, that purposeful but difficult existence derived from the soil during Sharon’s childhood and into adolescence formed a personality that was able to make decisions quickly, firmly, and clearly in the midst of battle or political turmoil. When at age seventeen he left home for military training that would begin the career of one of Israel’s great warriors, no one would have suspected his innate abilities or the scope of his future. But seldom would that be so for any as they are, without prior awareness, thrust into positions of major leadership relying mainly, during times of immense stress, upon the bedrock character developed from their youthful upbringing. Closeness to the soil creates a love for a country to defend it to one’s last full measure of breath. For Israeli’s there was no place else to go.

Modern terrorism against the United States upon its own soil began in the 1990’s and culminated September 11, 2001 with the attack upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon resulting in 3000, mostly civilians, deaths. However, Israel has been a victim of such activity since its existence. Beginning in 1950 Palestinian terrorist groups began systematic raids within Israeli borders. Vehicles were ambushed, farms attacked, fields booby trapped, and roads mined and by 1956 nine hundred and sixty seven (967) Israelis were killed out of a population of about 1.5 million. This reign of terror was especially terrible during 1953 with over three thousand incidents, almost ten a day, with over 160 deaths.

Sharon was appointed commander of a newly created special anti-terrorist unit named Commando Unit 101 that was to be highly trained to kill and to destroy. This Unit was to strike at terrorist strong holds inflicting as many casualties as possible showing there would be a heavy price to pay for continuation of across border incursions. During the Unit’s development, Sharon showed and amazing grasp of organization, leadership, training, and tactical planning abilities. He always led from the field of battle rather than the command post. Sharon’s men came to have full confidence in him and would follow without hesitation. This was the beginning of his legendary military career, and the lessons learned by this initial terrorist-fighting cadre are still true. Today, we engage in practically the same fight; only time separates.

In Warrior, Sharon describes the major military battles that Israel was involved and in which he was a participant. His descriptions of the men, the battlefield, and the battles are lucidly described along with his role. Sharon had joined the Haganah at age fourteen, the Army at seventeen, and became an important player in all military operations from Independence through the Yom Kipper War of 1973. His discussion of the lead up to the Yom Kipper War was especially interesting. Reserves were mobilized and consisted of whole families where fathers had been participants in the early days of Israel’s founding battles and the sons had now become frontline soldiers as well. Many families lost both.

During the conflict, Sharon made one of his most famous and critical decisions that turned the tide of the War in Israel’s favor. The Israel Army could prevent an Arab victory only by crossing the Suez Canal in order to threaten the Egyptian forces in Sinai from their rear. Sharon’s division, with him personally in the lead, on the night of October 15 had taken on the most difficult, most complex, and the cruelest effort of the war by crossing the Canal. The crossing was described in Sharon’s final order of the day as the “…IDF’s greatest achievement…it brought victory.” In spite of headquarters’ doubt he made this most dramatic decision and was later vehemently attacked as a person who disobeyed orders. However, the Agranat Commission investigated and fully justified General Sharon’s actions stating that his decisions met the demands of military discipline.

Since Sharon had been called out of retirement for the Yom Kipper War, I would now like to briefly focus upon his civilian career as he returned to the political battlefield of the Knesset. He had previously been prominent in forming the Likud, a political Party to compete against the forty-five years of Labor dominance that was socialist in application. In 1981, as the Likud became successful, he was appointed minister of defense. Sharon continued to serve brilliantly and extended his reputation into the International arena as Israel prospered and as its military and commercial ties grew. There was much intrigue during that time as the Cold War was in full progress and the Middle East was an important battleground for both sides. Sharon’s description of this historic time reads somewhat like a spy novel as Communism and intrigue always threaten the fragile peace of the area.

Many of the particular occurrences described in Warrior will be familiar to C-133 crewmembers as a considerable number were participants in airlift missions relating to the events. In addition, our country as a whole was mesmerized by the depictions of the Wars on television. Sharon has described this important period in world history such that Warrior has taken its place among the most worthy and readable of modern historic documents. I have recommended it to several friends who have thoroughly enjoyed it for his informative description of significant happenings that have continued to elude resolution to this day. This we have lived.

Since Warrior’s publication in 1989, Ariel Sharon’s life has had many downturns and recoveries; and, one must turn elsewhere to learn of them. He was elected Prime Minister in 2001; endorsed The Road Map To Peace put forth by the United States; resigned from the Likud and formed another new political party in 2005 called Kadima; re-elected as Prime Minister; and, then on January 4, 2006, General Sharon suffered a massive stroke. He now lies in a long-term care facility having entered into a permanent coma with an extremely low chance of recovery.

His life was also filled with personal tragedies as he had a young son killed in a gun accident, lost his first wife, was severely wounded, had an ancient death curse placed upon him, engaged in a long libel battle with Time magazine, and was continuously involved in serious political controversy. But, through it all, he persevered to high command and sweeping victories that made him world famous. Sharon is well known publicly but Warrior helps one understand the private and complex personal side of this modern and outspoken Israeli military and political leader.

In order to obtain a critical overview here is a reference site that I suggest you peruse before you begin Warrior: Enjoy!

Click on: Wikipedia on Ariel_Sharon

Reviewed by:
Richard Spencer
39th ATS Dover AFB 1962-1965

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Agent Orange Legislation

HR 6562 - The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008
Congress Must Act to Restore Earned Benefits
to All Vietnam Veterans - Including "Blue Water" Vets!

There are many MAC/MATS aircrew who flew into Vietnam but who never were on orders to a location in Vietnam. They have had a hard time establishing their eligibility for VA treatment for ailments presumed to be associated with Agent Orange.

Today, I received info on the legislation above. Check out for more detail and write to your congressional representative.

Cal Taylor

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cover Photo/Story

The current quarterly publication (Summer, 2008) of the Air Force Museum Foundation, "FRIENDS JOURNAL," features a dramatic cover photo of an RB-57 in the National Museum of the USAF, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Visible directly behind the RB-57 is C-133A, S/N 56-2008. And inside the magazine on Page 31 is the RB-57 story and another photo with a better angle showing the 133.

Here is their website photo of 2008:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sneak Preview

Coming Soon!
July Book of the Month

With this review, Rick Spencer puts a different spin on his theme of highlighting "ordinary citizens" who became military leaders with historical impact:

WARRIOR: Ariel Sharon
An Autobiography
With David Chanoff

(1928- )

Ariel (“Arik”) Sharon was born at Kfar Malal on February 27, 1928. He served in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) for more than 25 years, retiring with the rank of Major-General. He holds an LL.B in Law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1962).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Getting close on N199AB

From John Burnett, 10 July

The Airplane will make only one stop and that will be at McChord. This stop is so that the timing is correct for the opening of the Air Show. The C-133 is due to arrive on Saturday August 30, 2008 at 10:30 am. It is scheduled to make several passes and then land and Taxi to a special roped off area. We are working hard on having a reserved area for former members of the 84th.

Now for the financial details that you are all waiting to hear.

WE NEED $ 67,000.00

WE HAVE $ 53,800.00 (as of 10:30 this morning)

WE NEED $ 13,200.00

So please help us bring 61999 home. We are so close and you can see lots of work has been put into this project so far.

Update on fuel fund for N199AB

Terry Juran tells me, this morning, that the cost of JP8 went up $1/gal, last week. The fund needs $67,500 to cover the fuel and has $48,825 on hand. That leaves another $18,875 to be raised by 1 Aug to make the Labor Day air show. Terry is contacting some other corporations that have been helpful in the past. I have a small piece in The Pacific Flyer that may also generate some interest.

Cal Taylor

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Better Brochure

I have loaded the brochure to the Gallery page on the C-133 web site.

The resolution is much higher. You can right click on each page of the brochure and save it to your computer. Then, you can print it out. Size it to 8.5 h x 11 w for the best rendition.

Cal Taylor

N199AB Brochure

I built a 3-fold informational brochure for the arrival day and for use with the airplane at the Travis Museum. It gives a capsule history of the C-133 fleet and of N199AB, both as 61999 and with Cargomaster, Inc., in Alaska. You should be able to get a better look by right-clicking on the image and then opening it in your favorite image editor. I'm working on the web site to post it in better definition.

Cal Taylor

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

N199AB Corporate Contribution

Among the contributions that have built the fuel fund to its current level was one from a European company for $10,000. They are simply interested in things aviation and saw this as a worthwhile project. I was asked to keep the name confidential but I have sent my personal thanks.

Cal Taylor

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hamilton's Capital Compromise

Rick Spencer, our Book of the Month reviewer, has added a Comment to his June review about Alexander Hamilton. It's a fitting follow-up on this Independence Day weekend. Rick said:

"In the July 5 Wall Street Journal, page A11, there is an article about Alexander Hamilton and the compromise among him, Jefferson, and Madison to locate our capital in D.C.

The author states that Hamilton did more than any other to set the U.S. on a firm financial foundation. In other words Hamilton traded a capital location to ensure our capital wealth. Or, Capitol for capital; however, you might prefer to say it."

July 5, 2008 11:49 AM

To access the WSJ article, click on: "Alexander Hamilton's Capital Compromise"

To access Rick's original June review, click on: June Book of the Month

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

N199AB Update

Terry Juran tells me today that the fuel money is at 75% of what is needed, with a recent $10k donation. That is about $37k of the necessary $50K. So, another $14k or so is needed by 1 Aug to make the move happen. Thanks to all who have helped.

Cal Taylor

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Update on N199AB

From John Burnett:

July 1, 2008

This is an update as of today on the PROJECT C-133.

The response has been overwhelming from so many of you, the former members of the 84th ATS/MAS.

Then to know that you have called upon friends, and the many responses from the information on Cal Taylor’s site has helped us to be able to say that we are almost halfway to our goal of [$50,000] being able to purchase the fuel to bring the C-133 to Travis. Cal comment: That is $25,000]

But do not stop at the half way point ---we MUST have the full amount by August 1st to assure that the arrival will be during the Labor Day Air Show at Travis.



John and Jetta

June Book of the Month

Alexander Hamilton: A Biography
Forrest McDonald
Published as a Norton Paperback 1982

In my earlier notes published upon our C-133 site referring to this series of book reviews about ordinary citizens from ordinary backgrounds that stepped forth upon the National stage to defend and to ultimately play a major role in the development of our Country, I now turn to my favorite founder of America, Alexander Hamilton.

Alexander HamiltonThe major reason I turn to Hamilton is that his early political and economic theories led to the United States becoming the richest, most powerful, and freest nation in the history of the world. Each of us owes our richness of life to him alone as he struggled with his dream of allowing every citizen the freedom and chance to be all that one could be. Winning that struggle created the framework for this historic phenomenon we have with so many citizens from ordinary origins rising to such greatness in defense of the Nation.

Forrest McDonald, as he likes to say, spends his life in the 18th Century. As a professor of history at the University of Alabama, he has authored numerous texts about America’s gestation and among those was the biography of Hamilton. His interest in doing so was because of his surprise at Hamilton’s treatment by other historians who professed neither expertise nor interest in the areas of Hamilton’s greatest contributions: economics, finance, and the law. Also, all had failed to delve into the development of Hamilton’s intellectual life that led to his prescient national and worldview.

How did Hamilton come to dream the dream about an effective and enduring national government that would set its citizens free to act in their own best personal and economic interest but retain the desire to defend the country with their last full measure of devotion? McDonald notes our early history was failing to reward man’s individual industry as status came from personal relations, family connections, ownership of land, and birthright. Hamilton had none of these and felt it was inherently unjust for those citizens in a Democracy to be encumbered by such a social order. Hamilton’s genius was to devise an economic system based upon money as money is blind and is the ultimate, neutral, impersonal arbiter that stimulates growth, change, prosperity, and national strength. Here, the fruits of one’s labor would justly reward industrious citizens, as money would become the universal measure of the value of things.

Hamilton accomplished this miracle in the face of severe resistance, especially from Jefferson and his followers. This fascinating and definitive biography of Alexander Hamilton by Forrest McDonald vividly describes the efforts by Jefferson, the Jefferson heirs, and the Jacksonian Democrats to destroy effective national government in order that each state could make its own rules. Those in the South adopted Jeffersonian rules and their society rested upon the land, upon slavery, and upon the exercise of force without the impartial restraint of law. Others adopted Hamiltonian rules and their society rested upon the market, free labor, contractual relationships, and law. The Civil War brought about the triumph of Hamilton’s way leaving the Jeffersonian South in disrepair for decades.

More so today, Hamilton’s one-man mission would seem an unlikely and impossible task; but, it is the early history of our country and it was the success of his personal leadership and intellect. McDonald notes that the American nation reached the peak of its Hamiltonian greatness in the middle of the twentieth century and after that it became increasingly Jeffersonian. He further notes we became governed by coercion and the party spirit, our people increasingly more dependent and less self-reliant, our decline candy–coated with rhetoric of liberty and equality and justice for all.

Hamilton would have “cried for his country” as his dream was slowly destroyed by modern political parties seeking power through a strategy that would institutionalize massive federal government largess rather than continuing with the limited, but effective, federal role that provided a fluid and orderly society open to merit. National elections have now become a focus to redistribute the levied wealth that was personally earned through the industry of its citizens further empowering political parties. That would certainly be an anathema to Hamilton.

Today’s deviation from the original principles of Hamiltonian theories that were designed to provide an orderly society through a limited federal role to defend the country, to provide for interstate commerce, and to negotiate international affairs of State has presently divided the country to the extent that it borders upon political paralysis. Currently, congress is the least trusted of any of our major political and national institutions. If Hamilton’s vision is forever denied, what replaces it?

Alexander Hamilton died July 12, 1804 after suffering a bullet wound the previous day in a duel instigated by Aaron Burr. At the early age of 47 one of America’s most prodigious founders had fallen to the ‘code duello’. Hamilton thought the challenge was brought about by fifteen years of an acrimonious political rivalry between the two where Hamilton had repeatedly thwarted Burr’s ambition. Hamilton considered Burr irresponsible and lacking serious principle. But, the prejudices of the country would have regarded Hamilton as a coward had he not accepted Burr’s challenge and he would have forever been denied the prospect of future public service. It is not known whether Burr miscalculated in firing as gentlemen and men of honor usually and deliberately missed and Hamilton had made that his intention to Burr. McDonald sadly writes, “About two o’clock in the afternoon of July 12, his Maker took him.”

If you are interested in the political and economic foundations of early America, this is the book for you. To find out more about it, and buy it for $2.60, click on: ALEXANDER HAMILTON: A BIOGRAPHY

Reviewed by:
Richard L. Spencer
39th ATS, DAFB