Thursday, March 31, 2011

C-133 on Facebook

A Facebook site for C-133 has been set up.!/group.php?gid=217652143790 Only five people on it, right now, but it is another link. Cal Taylor

Saturday, March 26, 2011

From Sea to Shining Sea

Thanks to our 133 colleague, James Mitchell, for the following link....

Go to the following website and read the Story of "Thank You, Soldiers!" then click on the YouTube link below the name of the video at the bottom:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bob Depp, Sr.

Yesterday, 22 Mar, Bob Depp, Jr. told me his father died on 6 Nov. He was assigned to the 39th and the 84th and flew with 1st crews, too. I had the honor of meeting him only via correspondence, when he gave me great stuff for the book. Bob, Jr. is at

Cal Taylor

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Winter 2010/11, List & Book VII

I. James Madison by Jack N. Rakove

II. The Law by Frederic Bastiat

III. Present at the Creation by Dean Acheson

IV. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

V. The Math Book by Clifford A. Pickover

VI. Before the Dawn by Shimazaki Toson and translated by W.E. Naff.

VII. The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge

30th President of the United States
In office
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929

This read was not on the original list that I suggested for the winter 2010/2011. But, after receiving it as a Christmas gift from my daughter-in-law who sent it along with the ‘buzz’ she heard as a terrific read, I could not resist the temptation to spend a weekend with it. “Silent Cal”, scrupulously honest and a man of few words, was the 30th President of the United States taking office upon the sudden death of Harding.

Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative Republican and presided over the “Roaring Twenties”. Coolidge elected not to run for a second full term and departed office with considerable popularity. Subsequently falling out of favor during the depression and the Progressive movement toward bigger government, he was resurrected during the Reagan years as an icon of thriftiness.

Most of the recent autobiographies by public servants tend to be a “mile wide and an inch deep” where they write the script that defends their actions and excoriates their enemies. Few are worth reading. But, Coolidge’s along with Grant’s and Acheson’s are the opposite, they can be more rightly described as a “mile wide and a mile deep.”

For some time I have touted Grant’s and Acheson’s as the two best autobiographies by America’s public servants. Each detailed their lives and decisions within the context of the chaos they faced during their tenures without ad hominem attacks upon their political enemies. They were true memoirs about their lives and times spread over hundreds of pages of script by their own hand. Each was interesting and informative; and, we still live with many of the decisions they ushered into our thread of life. These were bonafide works of history that became a part of the critical documentation of the workings of our government.

But, Coolidge takes a slightly different tact with his. In a mere 247 pages he describes his life and the Presidency in minimalist terms loaded with amazing insights about the American people. As one historian noted, “He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class….” Following his terse speaking and writing style, not only was Coolidge silent about his enemies, he never mentions them. He felt that a large part of his success was linked to his refrain from abusing other people. Coolidge knew the words of a President have an enormous weight and were to be used judiciously.

Coolidge fits well the stereotypical view of early New England citizens with their responsible, honest, hard working ethos that settled the country, leaders during the Revolution; and, mostly, just wanted to be left alone to pursue their own path to happiness with their families that a free country with limited government provides. However, when called upon for public service, they were quick to respond with honesty and hard work. During those early years they never shirked their civic duty and they were fully trusted by their fellow man. That was Coolidge: quiet, unassuming, trustworthy, responsible, a family man, and above all actually had the best interest of his constituents in the forefront of his policies. He always felt that being entrusted with public service was of the highest calling. Many view Coolidge as the most underrated President ever to serve the country.

It is likely that the first two chapters, “Scenes of My Childhood” and “Seeking an Education”, will be of most interest to C-133 Crew members. As New England sages were quick to note, the education of a child should begin several generations before birth. Further, one’s power over the future depends upon what one does with himself in the present. It seems that within these two chapters is a description of the childhood and the quest for education that many of us had upon joining the USAF. At our last reunion, many of the attendees mentioned how grateful they were to have been part of an organization that helped them fulfill those dreams of their childhood.

The Autobiography of Coolidge is a pithy insight from a seemingly ordinary man who became President largely through the trust the people had in him; and, it was successful because of the trust he had in the people. The declaration of the belief by the people in his presidency was his greatest satisfaction.

Coolidge and the people believed that wealth comes from industry and from the hard work of human toil; and, for that reason Coolidge worked to create an economy that would not unduly burdened either group. It was to be an economy that enriched each in all forms of life, and it came to be called “The Roaring Twenties”. What better proof of his success? Enjoy!

Richard Spencer

39th ATS, DAFB 1962-1965

Last Winter Book Review to Come:
(watch for the Summer List)

VIII. The Citizens' Constitution by Seth Lipsky

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DC-8 Landing at Marble Mountain Vietnam, 1969

Thanks to Bill Neely for this amazing take-off video:

Those of us in country in 1969 will remember this incident well. This DC-8 charter was cleared to land at DaNang International at night. The crew mis-identified Marble Mountain Army airfield as DaNang which is way too short for large aircraft. Getting that loaded slug down and stopped at nite must have made that pilots seat cushion disppear forever!! All recommendations were to disassemble the aircraft and ship it home but as you see this behemoth got off the ground in 2800 feet with very little fuel aboard and landed at DaNang International a few scant miles away.

This from a guy that worked at Trans International Airlines. Names have been removed .....(Gloria)
My sister is the little blonde flight attendant in this Super 8MM footage shot by a GI in 1969.

This event is pretty well know history among the "Non Sked" flight crews flying the MAC charters in and out of Viet Nam but I had no idea it had been filmed. Marcia found it recently.

What's interesting is, once Seaboard World Flight Operations got the word on what happened, they contacted Douglas Aircraft Corp for advice...Douglas said "take it apart and ship it home".

FAA said the same can see from this footage how the flight crew handled the matter.

Enjoy a little history in this Super8 mm movie converted to YouTube video.

Click on: DC-8 lands at Marble Mountain Vietnam

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Winter 2010/11, List & Book VI

I. James Madison by Jack N. Rakove

II. The Law by Frederic Bastiat

III. Present at the Creation by Dean Acheson

IV. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

V. The Math Book by Clifford A. Pickover

VI. Before the Dawn by Shimazaki Toson and translated by W.E. Naff

I first began to read this immense novel about 19th century Japan two years ago but faltered when summer arrived. It became lost somewhere in the house unable to be found until just recently when I discovered it on a ‘hidden bookshelf’ with my page marker exactly where I had placed it those many months ago. Now, if this had been in the garage, it would still be misplaced (call that lost) according to certain family members!

Before the Dawn was first published in 1932 with the English translation being completed in 1987 by William Naff as a result of his doctoral dissertation about Shimazaki Toson, the author. Toson departed for Paris in 1913 as the first Japanese writer to take up residence outside of Japan. His reasons to leave Japan were not exactly honorable and he never intended to return, but the outbreak of WWI took him home after only three years.

Naff suggests it was some years later before Tolson was able to publicly rehabilitate himself through his second novel, Before the Dawn, by telling the story of his father’s life in the middle of the nineteenth century. This proved to be his masterpiece as it was a fictional history about that time according to Tolson, “…when the old was being discarded even though the new things to replace them had not yet been created”. These were the years leading up to the Meiji Restoration of Imperial Rule.

Before the Dawn is Tolson’s version of the Meiji Restoration, which played a defining role in those events of the nineteenth century that entered the Japanese national consciousness, and had been “…too painful and too filled with ambiguity … to be confronted by the Japanese public”.

The startling chain of events leading to the restoration of imperial rule in 1886 saw Japan evolve from being a feudal society to one having a capitalist economy with a lingering Western influence. The samurai had passed into oblivion.

The history of Tolson’s own family had also been too painful and embarrassing for him to face, and Before the Dawn thus satisfied his personal desire for a more complete and public approach to his family’s actions. It is the story of rural Japan, beginning in 1558, with his fictionalized family of samurai origins, and the great emphasis upon stability, family, and order facing the changes brought about by “enlighten rule’.

Such rule, that was to combine western advancements with eastern values to the centuries old traditions ‘of order of life’, that protected, fed, and nurtured the citizens of rural villages is told in stark detail by Tolson. Of all the shocks that Tolson’s protagonist, Hanzo, had to endure was the program of Europeanization that was so quickly initiated and most difficult to bear. Hanzo loved his vision of the imperial institution. Naff points out that the implications of what took place in nineteenth-century Japan are still unfolding in our own day and no nation or individual remains untouched by them.

Naff further states that the writing of this immense novel as marking the apex of Tolson’s career and had long since earned its author a secure place among the leading figures in modern Japanese literature. Its appearance was the major literary event of its time. To give one an idea of the prodigious writings of Tolson, Naff points us to a 1983 “selected bibliography” that lists one hundred thirty-four books, forty-seven special journal issues, and some seven hundred articles and essays. Before the Dawn, even though a fictionalized version of those historic times, remains the standard against which all other novels about that period of immense change in Japan’s culture are measured.

As I begin once again to read, I am flooded with the mental images describing the life of 19th century rural Japan by Tolson; its adventure, turmoil, and tragedy; and, the richness of its characters that come alive with his writing. I feel assured that you will enjoy this novel as much as any that you have ever read. It is loaded with all that good writing can produce. Enjoy!

Richard Spencer

39th ATS, DAFB, 1962-1965

Book Reviews to Come:

VII. Leviathan by Hobbes

VIII. The Berlin Airlift

IX. Sacred Fire