Saturday, February 28, 2009

Final Flight - Ever!




Video thanks to Dick Strouse!

"Boy, sure brings back some memories. The sounds of those engines just gives you goose bumps. Oh, for the memories. My brother Bill sent this video to me. I have never seen it before, but it has to be the best video and sound of any I've seen, especially since this is the final landing and sound of a C-133 again. My four years on the Lead-Sled made me a real Loadmaster and groomed me for bigger and better things in my Air Force career and life. As ol' Chief Hannigan would say, 'The days of wooden ships and iron men.' And how true it was!"
........Dick Strouse, 1968-1971, 39th MAS

Saturday, February 21, 2009

WW2 Unit Patches DVD

If anyone is interested in a huge collection of WWII unit patches, I have a new product. It is a DVD with 417 patches from USAAF, USN and a few USMC. Most are little known, because they are service (maintenance) units, air base units and various support squadrons. There are also plenty of fighter, bomber and transport squadrons, though not the most famous ones. The DVD has an index and each patch is in JPG and TIF format at 300 dpi and roughly 3" x 3". Some samples are shown on the C-133 web site, click on: Cal Taylor's WWII Unit Patches . It is linked through the home page, also.

I'm alspo working on a facsimile reproduction of a 150-page Douglas report on the C-132. The report gives lots of detail about how the airplane would have been equipped and on its size, features and performance. The package will include a 36 x 70 1:72 scale drawing with lots of cross sections. That should be available in the summer. The airplane would have been the C-5 of its day.

Cal Taylor

Monday, February 9, 2009

February Book of the Month

THE FIRST SALUTE:
A View of the American Revolution
By Barbara W. Tuchman
Alfred A. Knopf, New York
1988


November 16, 1776, Fort Orange, St. Eustatius, “Here the sovereignty
Of the United States of America was first acknowledged.”

Saluting is a pleasant part of military life that began with Roman soldiers. It is a courteous exchange of greetings with the junior member always initiating the salute to the senior member. It is not an onerous or demeaning aspect of military duty, as many who have not served believe. To this day, when entering a military base and exchanging salutes with the guard, I enjoy the instance of comradeship that is always rendered with a smile. I sense a feeling of safety for America emanating from these proud and dedicated young men in uniform. After all, our citizens deem them belonging to the most highly acclaimed public institution that America has. They are truly our best and brightest and many are family members.

Barbara Tuchman is a most highly read author who has written widely about America’s military history. Two of my favorites were The Guns of August and Stillwell and the American Experience in China. In The First Salute she turns her mastery homeward to give us an insightful view of a pivotal event during the Revolution that might be one of the most overlooked and critically important of all.

On November 16, 1776, the Andrew Doria, flying the red-and-white striped flag of the Continental Congress, entered the Dutch port of St. Eustatius in the West Indies and received the returning and ritual cannon salute to a foreign vessel entering its waters. From an unassuming fort on this diminutive Dutch island the small voice of St. Eustatius was the first to greet the largest event of the century; the entry into the society of nations of a new Atlantic state destined to change the direction of history.

Tuchman tells much of the story about this mostly unrecognized but vastly important event from the view and incredulity of the British that the Dutch would recognize the sovereignty of these break-a-way colonies. But, as throughout world history, following the money leads to the answer. The Governor of the Island by intentionally encouraging, in defiance of his own government, Dutch trade in military armaments to the Colonies, St. Eustatius increased its wealth and the Colonies received the firepower they needed.

St. Eustatius was known as ‘The Golden Rock’ for the flood of commerce that flowed through its free ports stuffing the coffers of its merchants with the proceeds. Edmund Burke, in 1781, opined that “its utility was its defense, the neutrality of its nature was its security, and it was an emporium for all the world, with prodigious wealth, all arising from its industry and the nature of its commerce.” It was a free port without custom duties. The instinct of the Dutch for commerce early persuaded them that profits were more likely to come from a free flow of trade than from restrictions. One said that the Americans would have had to abandon their revolution had it not been for Dutch greed. But, as we know, greed lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Tuchman’s documentation of the Dutch Ascendancy, after its revolt and freedom from Spain, is reason enough to read The First Salute. Few of us are knowledgeable of the dynamic accomplishments of the Dutch in almost every realm of endeavor; they were the most interesting people in Europe largely unknown to the world. And, in no small way they were the saviors of the Colonies through their wide ranging commerce and their political past. As Tuchman rightly notes, the winning of the Netherlands’ sovereignty and independence in 1684 vindicated the struggle for political liberty that was to pass in the next century to the Americans. But, jealousy of the extraordinary accomplishments of the Dutch clouded the European view as no nation of Europe “was more estimable in proportion.”

Attention is now turned to The Maddest Idea in the World-an American Navy. Being largely composed of seaboard colonies, America understood the urgency for a fighting Navy; and, early on, an American fleet was called for. The importance of sea power as a strategic weapon was well understood and the Second Continental Congress, on October 13, 1775, created the first navy of the United States. The Andrew Doria was one of the first four ships composing the commissioned fleet.

This leads the author to examine in fascinating detail world naval history of early times; including the wretched life aboard ship, naval fighting maneuvers, the fortunes made, several significant historical naval figures, and the neglect and decay of the European navies through inadequate funding, corruption, political chicanery, and the ill discipline of the men that extended into battle. Superpower naval forces had fallen into disrepair and this weakened their ability to retain supremacy of the sea as a strategic weapon. This fell to the Colonies favor.

Last Chance – The Yorktown Campaign is the final chapter of The First Salute; and, “miraculous” is the term applied to this decisive phase of the American Revolution. Washington in conjunction with the French was to march an Allied Army over 500 miles from New York to Virginia to lay siege to Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. They would be a mixed group of newly acquainted allies foraging and bivouacking along the way. These plans involved a serious risk of failure; and, were it to be so, would defeat America’s desire for independence. Tuchman deemed this decision as bold as Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps.

The Revolution was saved when at ten o’clock on the morning of October 17, 1781, after a major bombardment and with the hope of escape diminished, a British officer with a drummer boy alongside walked toward the American lines under the banner of a white flag. The siege at Yorktown then began a cessation of hostilities leading to surrender of the British Army to Washington. That was in the eyes of one ”…the most melancholy news Great Britain ever received.”

It took two days to work out the surrender and the surrender ceremony as defeated Armies in those days had certain ‘rights of honor’ to be granted that suggested they had put up a good fight. Washington and his staff rejected many of these; but, on October 19, 1781, an agreement was reached that began inaugurating the existence of a new nation. Tuchman paints us a touching description of this final scene, “…notifying the Old World that the hour of change to a democratic age had come.”

But, oddly, the War was not officially over as it took two more years to negotiate a peace treaty that was not concluded until 1783. Lastly and sadly, in 1777 her crew in the Delaware burned the Andrew Doria, bearer of the first greeting recognizing American sovereignty, to prevent British seizure: A bitter and unfortunate ending for this fine ship that had received America’s First Salute.

All in all, The First Salute is a genuinely good American history text about the birth of our nation; and, some would say, the birth of the modern Western World. I hope you enjoy it as much as I.

Richard Spencer
39th ATS KDOV 1962-1965

To buy The First Salute for $1.00, click on:
The First Salute

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Keynes vs Hayek

Our dedicated "book reviewer" Rick Spencer offers the following current Comment relating to a review he did on this blog back in December, 07 (click here to refer back to the original review):

In Dec 07 I reviewed Hayek's 50th Anniversary edition of The Road To Serfdom. In it, Hayek offered good reason to be skeptical of government actions that encroached upon an individual's personal or economic freedoms. Dick Armey, in the WSJ 4 Feb 09 edition, has authored an article offering the reader a most cogent explanation of Keynes vs. Hayek. For those wanting to understand the difference between these two opposing economic views, this is it. It is especially important as Keynesian economics is at the root of the proposed stimulus bill. Read and decide! Here it is (click on the red title):

OPINION FEBRUARY 4, 2009
Washington Could Use Less Keynes and More Hayek
The late Austrian economist offered good reasons to be skeptical of government action.

Rick Spencer

Sunday, February 1, 2009

C-17 Globemaster

Here's another pretty remarkable video:

video