Saturday, February 28, 2015

World War Two veterans honored

I attended the luncheon  honoring World War II veterans Friday at Barksdale Air Force Base.  I was accompanied by my wife, Jen, and brother, Jon.  Among the veterans were two who were at Hawaii when the Japanese attacked December 7, 1941, and two survived the Philippine death march.

Veterans  were recognized as they paraded through the "Saber Honor March."  Last to be recognized were those receiving the Louisiana Honor Medal, of which I was one.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Flag raised on Mt. Suribachi

Some four or five days after the first landings on Iwo Jima the fighting was still fierce.  There was no doubt we would capture the island. We had too many men and almost uncontested airpower, but our casualties were high.  I was still manning phones, day and night, positioned where I could see our boats bringing back the wounded.

Someone yelled, "the flag is up on Mt. Suribachi1!"  We fought for binoculars and I got to see the flag waving defiantly.  A few minutes later the flag was down, but soon it was up again.  We didn't know at that time that the flag was raised twice to allow Joe Rosenthal to take pictures, one of the flag raising that became so famous.

Rosenthal traveled to Iwo on our ship, the USS Pickens.  I never met him but he became friends with some shipmates, including  Mike White,  ship photographer and father of John White.  John has provided information on the Pickens to relatives of  those who served aboard the ship.

A boat division officer  showed me a newspaper with a picture of his boat, PA  90 Boat 10.  I believe it was the first picture sent to the states by Rosenthal.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Into every yard a little snow must fall

A little snow is not too bad.  Ice on the highways can be a big problem especially over bridges and elevated highways.  Predictions are that tomorrow could be bad, or it may not.  This uncertainty is a problem, especially for schools.  Should we play it safe and call school off or decide we can't afford to miss more days of school?

I'm glad others have to make those decisions.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Just a few remarks

I have neglected my blog not on purpose but because I have been feeling poorly for several days. I"m better today although I have the  sniffles and a sore throat.

I attended the Cub Scout Blue and Gold meeting Friday night where my grandson Kyle received several awards.   I left a few minutes early because I felt bad and I wanted to avoid the rain.  I had a blood pressure of 180.  Every time I checked the reading was higher, reaching 214 over 104. I didn't know what to do but go to bed.

At the meeting the professional  Scouter made  a call for funds.  I was reminded of  how we held fund drives in  Homer.  It would begin with a breakfast meeting, the last person to arrive  being rewarded with a live hen. Each volunteer worker would receive names of five people to contact that day and the drive would be completed that day.

I worked closely with the professional Scouts and remember some, especially Harry Fite. He took some Scouts on a camping trip, with each Scout taking food to prepare for supper and breakfast.  One Boy Scout brought two big cokes, one for supper and one for breakfast.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Remembering Iwo Jima

Yes, I remember Iwo Jima.  I was on deck at a debarkation station where the boats were put into the water.  I remember the Marines climbing down cargo nets into the boats.  And I remember boats coming back to the ship with the wounded.

It was early the morning of February 19, 1945.  I was a radarman but when we unloaded troops I manned a phone at a debarkation station.  I had served this duty when we practiced  the operation.  Everything went fine  then, but when I put on the phones that morning, there was no sound.  I don't remember what action I took, but I soon had phones that worked.

Serving on deck throughout the battle, I was able to see a lot but could not see the Marines as they climbed the volcano hills to face Japanese, who were sheltered by concrete bunkers.  This was the only battle where the Marines had more casualties than the enemy.

Some events in my life I will not forget.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Yoy have gone too far, Obama, in your support for radical Muslims

A spokesman for the state department  makes the amazing claim that instead of   killing ISIS murderous, we should give them jobs.   I don't think we have any openings for those who behead Christians  and burn alive all who  oppose them.    Twenty-one were beheaded because they were Christisans and ISIS followed this by burning 45 people alive. Why can' t we fight these inhuman terrorist murderers with all our power?

Can't Obama and his cohorts see what is happening?  A religious war is being waged on Christians, Jews and Muslims who do not subscribe to the radical ideology.  We must fight ISIS and other terrorists now or they will destroy Western civilization.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Just two days from Iwo Jima

Seventy years ago, on  February 17, 1945 the USS Pickens was  two days from Iwo Jima,  being part of a convoy carrying Marines to invade the Japanese island.  Five years ago on this blog I wrote for the first time of my experience.  I plan to observe this anniversary as long as I am able.

We were carrying the Fourth Marine Division, a group composed of veterans of other island campaigns and men who would see action for the first time.  I had a long conversation with a first-timer who was nervous and yet looking forward to combat.  He was optimistic, saying they would take the island in three days.

On board our ship was the noted photographer, Joe Rosenthal, who took the famous picture of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi,  I was on deck and saw the flag go up, come down, and go up again.

I will have more to say by February 19, the day of the landings.

Monday, February 16, 2015

I still feel that way

It was the fall of 1949 and I needed only a few class hours to graduate from LSU.  I decided to take a speech course and enrolled.  Our first day assignment was to deliver a five-minute speech and to help we were given a list of possible topics.  One was why a person should attend Mardi Gras.

I had never attended the festival but I had heard plenty about the lawlessness at parades.  Many  people know me to be a contrarian and would not be surprised that   I spoke  on Why You Should Not Attend Mardi Gras.   Unfortunately, the professor complimented me  and announced that I made the best speech.  As a reward I was to present a panel discussion at our next class.  I had no idea how to proceed and felt my only  course was to drop the class.

I am unable to make a speech to this day.

Presidents Day

Today, February 16, is observed  as Presidents Day in most states.  The date varies as it is always the third Monday in February.  While four presidents were born in February, their birthdays will never coincide with the official celebration.

Ronald Reagan was born February 6; William Harris on the ninth; Abe Lincoln on the 17th, and George Washington was born on February 22.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Will America be free a year from today?

Is that a silly question?  Maybe it was a silly question this day in 2014, but it is serious today  as  ISIS gains more territory, more power, more members, more influence, more  power, and more victories.

Unless our leaders face the threat from terrorists this nation could be subject to control by radical Islam and suffer torture such as being beheaded or burned alive.  Who is going to fight the terrorists?  Not the United States if Obama and Congress agree on a promise to ISIS that we will not oppose them with "boots on the ground."  I am so sick of hearing those stupid words.   We cannot hope to win without troops on the ground.

Plant your Irish potatoes.

Time to plant Irish potatoes and set out onions.  When  I was a kid we seemed to be able to plant a     number  of vegetables in February, but lately the wether has not cooperated  -- too cold or ground too wet.  This year in this area conditions have been suitable to start the spring garden early.

Not that I will be  participating.  I was remembering  my childhood.  Even if conditions   are perfect, I am unable  to physically have a garden or even flowerbeds, and I those activities.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Global warming is bull

I wonder how he feels?  A man looking for a job opens  a   window and sees five feet of snow.   He turns on his radio for the weather report and hears President Obama declare "man-made global warming" is the greatest  threat to America and the world and requires billions of dollars and life changes.

In my opinion,  shared by many, this insistence on global warming   being a threat is bull and borders on being criminal.  Fake, doctored data are used to make the case for people like Obama and Gore. While many millions suffer from lack of  food and energy, the globalists make billions.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pickens on the way to Iwo Jima

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that the USS Pickens was cooperating with Marines in preparing for an island invasion, altthough I cannot remember when we learned our target was Iwo Jima.  On January 27 of 1945,  the Pickens left Pearl Harbor in company with Transport Divisions 43 and 45 carrying units of  the 4th Marine division en route to Iwo Jima.

We went by way of Eniwetok (Marshall Islands) to take on supplies and on to Saipan where we joined Transport Baker,   then headed out for Iwo Jima.

I seem to remember that Tokyo Rose gave us the date we would attack; it was wrong and she  gave another  false   date before she correctly said we would arrive February 19. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why the same old lies, Obama?

Asked in a recent interview what is being done against ISIS, Obama claimed the United States is "doing all we can."   He was immediately called for being dishonest.  It was pointed out that we make seven sorties a day compared to as many as 1100 against Saddam.

Jordan is a tiny country but it is waging  a greater war effort than we are.  Do we want to continue to merely make a show or  will we commit to eliminating ISIS?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Jessica bikes 20 miles

Jessica  bicycled 20 miles a day earlier this week, a step in preparing for the triathlon she plans to run in April.  The triathlon includes one mile swimming, 20 mile bike ride, and several miles of running.  Her biggest test will probably be swimming.

Jessica will complete seminary at Duke this semester.  In addition to her job she is preparing to be interviewed before she can be commissioned.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yes to enforced vaccinationss

As an individual who has strongly favored parents having the maximum  freedom in dealing with their children,  it is surprising that I take a strong stand in requiring vaccinations against certain diseases.

As a child I suffered from whooping cough, chicken pox, two kinds of measles, mumps,  scarlet fever, colds and influenza, and probably pneumonia.  During the summer I lived in dread of polio, which we knew as infantile paralysis. All of these diseases joined small pox as eliminated or reduced in severity through vaccinations.

Big, intrusive government is abhorrent to me, but I  stand for enforcement of action that can guard us against horrible diseases.