Thursday, September 15, 2016

Winter Reading List



First, I am going to suggest a book that took me two years to finish. It was not a difficult reading, but one that I liked so much I had to figure out a way to extend its pleasure.  The Adams-Jefferson Letters, The complete correspondence between Jefferson, and Abigail and John Adams, were such a joy that I decided to make them my friends, and live in friends at that.  Every evening before retiring and with an adult beverage in-hand, I would read two or three letters only and try to imagine myself in America during those years of fruition brought forth by  our Founders.  I often cite the importance of taking care of our country for our progeny, and it happens that I am a descendant of a Revolutionary soldier.  Their spoken future is here for us. Thus, the history of our country is important to me, especially when reading the original words of those at the beginning.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson spanned half a century and the letters embrace religion, family griefs, European living, separation from family, and joy.  The Letters begin in 1777, ceases after1801 after Jefferson’s defeat of Adams for the Presidency, resumes in 1812, and continues until the death of both July 4, 1826.  Jefferson died at noon and Adams a few hours later.  Then they, the Founders, our dreamers of creating a country that allowed its citizens personal and economics freedoms under a Constitution embracing a constrained vision of governance, were all gone and the country was on its own. We became the shinning light for the world.  This book will too become your friend.


For about two years I have been searching for this text without success.  There are simply no known original paper copies to be had according to the Library of Congress, at least not by ordinary mortals as I.  So, after many attempts, I located a link to the document  that tells the story of one of our major Historians, Will Durant, a communist sympathizer, and his 'come to Jesus moment’ after a stay in Russia in 1932. Durant warns at the time, those who read it may not like his analysis as it may ruin the Liberal Cause of this 'great experiment' that was being embraced by many of his colleagues and the American Democrat electorate. 

It will take a few seconds to open, so be patience. But, it was the opening salvo, even though gently approached, of a warning about the future of this experiment of Communism that is so alien to the basic instincts of humans wanting liberty wherever they shall be. What followed is almost too sad to read about and for the younger who did not live through it, a warning to heed.  And, the inability to be able to find a copy at any library, etc., makes one feel it was suppressed for citizen distribution by those in power at the time. 




The next is very depressing as it describes Stalin's reign of terror in the 1930s. It is the definitive work describing Stalin's purges, Robert Conquest’s,The Great Terror, and was universally acclaimed when it first appeared in 1968. Harrison Salisbury called it "brilliant...not only an odyssey of madness, tragedy, and sadism, but a work of scholarship and literary craftsmanship." And in recent years it has received equally high praise in the former Soviet Union, where it is now considered the definitive account of the period. This is the most chilling account of the rise and governance by a totalitarian state that I have read.  I have been advised there are a few about Mao's rule every bit as inhumane. I cannot leave out Cuba as another possibility.  They are all rotten to the core but still the darlings of many of the Liberal Left.  



I have also completed  reading The Black Book of Communism, and here is a bit from a review:  The authors and many others wonder why so many on the Left are still unwilling to admit to Communism's cruelty and its failure; especially, since new research makes it look more despicable every day. Such findings are dismissed by the Left as "right-wing, anti-Communist rhetoric" and further explained by the author as encountering one intractable obstacle: "That any realistic accounting of Communist crime would effectively shut the door on Utopia." Unlike Nazism, they conclude that it will be a very long time before Communism is accorded its fair share of absolute evil. This is an easy to obtain book on the internet.
                                                     WHY READ THESE?

These three histories tell us why we had to live our lives enduring several 'hot wars' and a 'Cold War' of fifty years. Throughout Communist history, supposed enemies of the State were pejoratively labeled as leeches, rats, enemy agents, and capitalists. Such derogatory classifications of the enemy created the justification for terror, and totalitarian states need enemies to survive. There was no need for citizens to actually have done anything at all; extermination was in order to discipline and punish; enemies were to be killed. Trials, famine, and concentration camps were organized in the strictest secrecy and legitimized as a method. They are breathtaking in the descriptions of the tyranny used to control their people to further their false dream of world denomination.

For those our age, throughout our military service and most of our civilian lives, we were actively involved in the containment of Communism. And, it was for good reason.  Communism killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often-aggressive wars and the rebellions it provoked.  Communism was the great and evil story of the twentieth century and at its zenith, ruled a third of mankind. It seemed poised to spread indefinitely and then it collapsed like a house of cards. It had violated one of the basic tenets of civilization, “Thou shalt not kill.”

It should be noted that many of our government officials during that period visited Russia, studied Communism, and returned to the Roosevelt administration imbued with it where among many it became the promise they were searching for to guide America's future. For reasons unknown to those with a modicum of intellect many remain persuaded to this day of its purity to solve social and economic problems even in the light of its historic failures for over a century, where the basic political idea of Socialism remains their playbook for a better America.  Oddly, the American Communist Party has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President without a peep from the main stream media.  They need to read these histories!

I urge you to read these compelling, timeless histories outlining man's inhumanity to his fellow man in the fight between individual liberty and government authority that led to WWII, The Vietnam War, The Cold War,and The Sino-India War of 1962. It was the great fight to save the world during our life and military service leading to  world tragedy caused by totalitarian/socialist based beliefs that can only exist by destroying democratic forms of governance; and, that can only be done by killing a large number of their citizens. 

There was no known end to the evil needed in order to exert the brutal discipline they needed. There are dozens written, but these were by those who were once active Communists, became ex-communists, who once dreamed the dream of a false utopia before they came to confront the truth of their beliefs through their experiences.  They  found evil, not utopia!  This is a special history as it encompasses Communism and its spread throughout the world.  


 V.  AFTER  TOCQUEVILLE: The Promise and Failure of Democracy

 Now let us turn to my last suggestion.  Since we have on the board an early history of two of the major players in our development as a Nation, three histories telling us about the formation and outcome of a most evil form of governance largely developed during our lifetime and that  we engaged  the world over.  Here is one that is post WWII.  Released in 2012 and written by Chilton Williamson, jr., After Tocqueville:The Promise and Failure of Democracy.  

The fall of Communism sparked the popular notion that the spread of democracy was inevitable.  But, in the few decades since the Berlin Wall’s failure, many segments of world societies  militate against Democracy.   This piercing plain written  history raises crucial questions about the future of democracy.  What is Democracy? Are Western Societies actually more free than in their origination years? Can we adjust to a globalized world? How do we survive when most care more about procuring what they want than securing liberty?

This author through fact, opinion, and philosophy actually thinks about democracy as it addresses our future. A reviewer had this to say: “A comprehensive and continually stimulating study of how we entered a post democratic age which has subverted nearly everything that was valuable in American democracy as understood by Tocqueville.” It tackles the horrors, contradictions, and absurdities of life after Tocqueville as it leads the author to confront  “…the great question as to the probable future of democracy in a world in which the United States is either no longer a democratic nation itself or else too badly weaken by its commitment to democratic ideology to promote and defend something like the real thing abroad”? 


It appears to me that we seem to have let the future catch up to us as we are now facing the emergence of these questions every passing day; and, that makes me wonder, what is the future we are building or protecting for our progeny?  Whatever it is, it is much different from the day of the birth of any C-133 member, and seemingly more unsatisfactory. 

On September 11, 2001, came a direct attack upon our soil and we entered into a worldwide conflict against Islamic/Fascist terrorism. At this time no one knows where it will lead; we just know that we are up against an implacable enemy dedicated to the destruction of our way of life. Most serious students of military history do not think it will lead to a nation upon nation conflict but decades of Iraq and Afghanistan type military actions. But, it again raises the question of whether peace is so complex that it is beyond humanity’s reach and is merely an invention of the international bourgeois community. Maybe, Thucydides was correct in his analysis and a modern version of his quote would be,  “History has shown that peace is merely the interlude between wars?” 

Adams and Jefferson when exchanging their letters always ended with an original complementary closing.  Here is one that all C-133 members can use as written by Adams to Jefferson on Sept 03, 1816.

I am with ancient friendly sentiments,

Richard Spencer       39th ATS DAFB, 1962-1965

PS   A BONUS PICK:  If you want to obtain a good background about the historic years of the Twentieth Century other than your life experiences,  I would suggest perusing this link to Paul Johnson's Modern Times that has a chapter by chapter review from the early 1900s. I especially like the chapter about America's Suicide Attempt.It is fascinating in itself:       

Unsung Giant, the C-133

That is the name of my new group on Facebook. I post at least one photo per day along with commentary.

Books are now $24.95 and I have about 800 remaining.

Cal Taylor

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Facebook C-133 pictures

I finally got better organized and started posting pictures with brief comments on the Firstfleet Publishers Facebook page. It is I will post at least one picture daily and will hop around among various subjects.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spencer posts 2nd Hole-in-one!!

Our Crew Colleague, combination Author/Historian/Reunion Emcee, Rick Spencer, has hit Another Big One! CONGRATULATIONS, RICK!!

 Volume 6
Special Edition
May 19, 2016
Delmarva Seniors
River Run Golf Group
Special Early Season Report for
May 19th , 2016

While the Press Corp has not officially arrived good news travels fast this early in the season. It was reported to Rambling Rudy that one of our players experienced a lifetime achievement in Rumors fly constantly, these  stories are investigated, interviews conducted, verified by our Auditing Firm, Dewey Cheatem and Howe and witnesses validated prior to publishing this type of achievement...In the post game ESPN SC telephone interview Rick stated this is his second Hole in One . The first coming at the Salt Pond in Bethany Beach on the 3rd hole a 185 yard par 3 using a 3 iron. Speculation is that this had to be a LONG TIME ago as Rick hasn’t hit an iron 185 yards in years. His game revolves around hybrids and woods. He admitted he couldn’t remember the year. For some of you new to the group Rick is a colorful character, highly educated (PHD … Piled High and Deep) a man with a vocabulary to take on the Wall Street Establishment yet down to earth, whether on the course or in a social setting Here are the many faces of Rick…. Aka Andy Rooney, the golfer, the Patriot, scoring a hole in one during the May 19th weekly play at River Run.

Congratulations to Rick Spencer for his Hole in One on
Hole #2 River Run Golf Club during weekly play May 19,
2016, A par three playing 125 yards. In a post round
telephone interview Rick stated he hit a high trajectory
shot that hit on the edge of the green, bounced and
rolled about 15’ into the cup. The photo at left shows the
ball nestled in the hole. Witnesses to the spectacular
shot were Steve Mitchell, Tom Sneltzer and Tom Villa. He
used an 8 iron on the shot.Those private lessons are
paying off for old Rick…. More to come!!!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Vietnam Air War Memorial Park

The latest issue of Aloft, the Museum of Flight's monthly magazine, describes the new Memorial Park the Museum is developing. a Vietnam Air War Memorial Park. The centerpiece aircraft will be the B-52G that has sat at Paine Field for 24 years. This will be the only memorial to the Vietnam Air War in the United States and is aimed at "remembering all of the aircraft flown in Vietnam and honoring the crews that supported them."

As all C-133 people know, the Cargomaster was quickly forgotten and was paid little attention in nearly all books and commentary. When I saw this notice, I promptly wrote a long email to Jim Farmer, a Museum of Flight trustee and point man for the memorial park. I pointed out that the C-133 was flying in Vietnam from 1962 until 1971, carrying cargo that no other airplane could haul. I expressed the hope and desire that the C-133 be appropriately recognized for its role in the Vietnam Air War and offered my willingness to be involved in that regard. I mentioned that the three C-133s in the best condition are those at NMUSAF, AMC Musem and the Travis Museum.

Mr Farmer's email is

I urge other C-133 people to contact him and to provide whatever assistance and information that they are able to do.

Cal Taylor

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gen Jack Cram

For Gordy Smith, who left a Comment in Oct 2014 on my Jun 2013 post: Please contact Cal Taylor at to answer some questions about Gen Cram. I also have a contact with Gen Cram's grand-niece, Molly Boggs. Any info you have would improve the bio I wrote about Gen Cram.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

133s in the Sino-Indian War of 1962

Happy 2016! Our combination Author/Historian/Reunion Emcee, Rick Spencer, has connected on this subject that should be interesting to any of us crewing 133s in ’62, especially those actually involved in "An emergency airlift of supplies was sent to Calcutta” (a quote from a related article in the “Economist”) like he was. I highly recommend you click on the links to the WSJ & Economist articles and Sign-in/Register if you’re not a Subscriber. Here’s his story for your follow-up:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Good Day All C-133 Crewmembers:

                               We need your assistance!

There is a rich history throughout our many missions embedded within that service we provided the country during the years of the C-133, mostly the ‘60’s.  Much of this history now lies among our surviving veterans and from time-to-time we are reminded of it.

It was especially so for me while reading a recent WSJ’s book review of JFK’s Forgotten Crisis, by Bruce Riedel.  Riedel has produced a “… readable and timely account…” of the Sino-Indian War that began 20oct62.  It brought back the memory that I was on the first plane to take CIA cargo into India via a SAM mission, so I thought Riedel might be interested as a matter of curiosity as he is a bit younger.  He was delighted to hear from me and I am now in the process of attempting to recreate that flight from memories of old for his files.

Bruce O. Riedel is one of America’s leading experts on U.S. security, South Asia, and counter-terrorism. He is currently a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He also serves as a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge Group. Bruce is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst and counter-terrorism expert, serving in the Agency for 29 years until his retirement in 2006.

I then directed Bruce to our website and suggested that almost all of the CIA cargo and the actual historic memories lie within the surviving crew members who participated and that we can access them via our website.

Thus, this is a call for any and all who participated in those flights to contact Mr. Riedel via his e-mail in order to set up how they would like to communicate with him as he would like all the history that he can obtain for his file of that era and that particular conflict..  The Sino-Indian War of 1962 truly is a forgotten war.

Mr. Riedel can be contacted through his e-mail: and would very much like to hear from you.

Also, here is the link for the WSJ review of the book that jolted my memory as it will yours:

and another in the Economist:

Thank you very much for your help in this project of bringing our service history alive. 

Richard L. Spencer, 
Navigator, 39th ATS DAFB, 1962-65

Bruce Riedel: