Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I Was Reading --- and Then

I was reading -- and then .....

It was (is) a great book too.
By Sharman Burson Ramsey.

Fort Mims
The book, Swimming with Serpents is historical fiction that evolves about the massacre at Fort Mims in 1813, just a few miles from here up the Tensaw River, North of Mobile - in Alabama. Awful Massacre. Over 500 victims and maybe a hundred of the Perpetrators, the Red Stick Creek Indians (Allied to the British (white people) to kill off the White Folk who were despoiling the Indian ways).  Tecumseh from Ohio is a cousin to several of the Red Stick leadership among the Creeks. He stomps the earth when southern tribes balk at his admonition to kill all the white people. The great Mississippi River runs backwards, the earth shakes and village structures in North Alabama fall to the ground. Scientists tell us this was the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811, but the Prophet,Tenskwatawa, a brother to Tecumseh - was not having that explanation.

Map at Frontier Land Tavern - Orlando

Blood affair.
  People were educated at Oxford on both sides of the conflagration. Family divisions. Brother and Sister and Aunt against Brother and Uncle and son. Godawful mess to sort out - even to this day. This is one of those un-highlighted events in history whose significance is the RESULTING HISTORY. Threatened citizens of Tennessee (including David Crockett and Sam Houston) joined with Andrew Jackson to come down to Alabama and erase the problem. Jackson in Pensacola. War of 1812 in progress. New Orleans. Florida becomes a US Territory. Jackson is Governor  then President. Destin Florida and 30A become a condominium destination.

Indians never lived down the massacre and by 1835 they are well on their way to being deported (along with the Allied tribes of the war, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and more) to the new frontier - Oklahoma. Well, not all of them. A large contingent remained (mostly from the White Sticks- the other side of the Creek Civil War). Generations of intermarriage with the evil usurpers puts genetic markers in every family here with roots back 100 to 150 years. The Seminoles: Well, they were formed by many of the Redsticks that got away.

What we KNOW
Disney gets a movie about  Davy (Davy) Crockett and at the very start of the Disney series is an faux antique map of the Southern Frontier. A flaming arrow strikes the map just above Mobile - and the map burns.  So --- that is all America remembers about Fort Mims.

 I had just gotten through the massacre and was recovering with some of the characters when my cat demanded I come to join Karen to watch Inspector Lewis - a BBC concoction of the uncivil murdering community of Oxford England

I begin to wonder if the commanding enemies at Fort Mims were not immersed in the art of blood-thirst in the village of Oxford, in England. (Several of them, sons of Creek chiefs studied there) I've counted the deaths in Oxford associated with the murders in these connected series. The death rate in Detroit cannot hold a candle.

Lewis (detective inspector) is a spinnoff of the last episodes of Inspector Morse.  After Lewis, the BBC went back to the young Morse and ran a whole other detective series based on the young Detective Morse (Endeavor). My cat and my wife LOVE this BBC series.  I enjoy gathering the statistics from the episodes as the deaths in Oxford pile up - urging a satisfactory end to each episode with the guilty party undone.

John Thaw - Morse
Inspector Morse ran from 1987-2000 ( 13 years 33 episodes) - still not as prolific as America's PBS productions of Barney - but a good effort for the British).

Lewis ran from 2006-2015 for 43 episodes.  Kevin Whatley is the promoted version of Lewis who was the sidekick to Morse in the prior series. Whatley is supported by Laurence Fox who is Detective Hathaway.

A character consistency of these detectives for all the series is their quirky depth of education; at Oxford usually and their preponderance for  Opera and Wagner and Mozart and good wine and an occasional flare of deep wit regarding the philosophies of life.  Not unlike my own preferences in music, Chopin and Ray Stevens and John Anderson. I wax philosophical as well and relate to their deep thoughts out of my education as an Agricultural Economist. It was UF (Florida), not Oxford, but still  .... I am nearly always right regardless of my lack of an all convincing English Accent.

And the final series - still in production is ENDEAVOR, in which we return to the early years when Inspector Morse was just a detective - and NEVER appreciated.  Endeavor is running now from 2012 - 2018 (22 episodes so far) and the dead continue to pile up in Oxford.

While the actors are important, they could be replaced by trained monkeys because the writers for these series are the heart of it. They build complex characters and plots that make the whole program an education and a pleasure to watch.  I do sometimes miss the predictability of my other favorite detective show (of the American variety), Hawaii Five-Oh. The Brits always have someone posted at the back door and the suspect never escapes from that direction.

The British Accent could be improved. Sometimes, I need to watch these BBC productions with English captions because they cannot speak good clear English like the Indians can (from India).

When PBS is finally done with Barney, and have some money left over from the rights they pay BBC for good programming --  I'd like to introduce them to a stable of Southern writers who have magnificent stories to tell - set in our US South.  The periods of pre Euorpean, European Contact and Pioneer settlement are woefully under represented in the colorful history of America.  Their works should begin populating good films and series for TV.

Sharmon Burson Ramsey
Gaylier Miller
Dr. Brian Rucker
Sharon D. Marsh
Brian Sullivan
Tommie Lyn
Death Statistics for Oxford England

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Korean War Vet Memory

While collecting and sorting the affects of my cousin, Rogene Kilpatrick, to be stored, moved or tossed forever - his brother-in-law, Walter Mullins (A Vietnam Vet) came upon an envelope in the 
bottom of a box with this note - handwritten - inside.  For those who know the history of the Korean War and the Chosin Reservoir and the heroic stand of Marines there, this note will bring a chill.  God Bless all those souls who suffered there. 

For those faced with similar sorting of family treasures and histories, consider museums, the university archives and simply taking digital photos of the articles that have to be discarded. UWF Archives and the Jay Museum are receiving much of these materials.

Obituary      Chosin Battle  NEWSREAL   NEWSREEL2   A personal Account  FILM

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

WW2 in the air

 is a bit of interesting military history and probably not known by many  today, particularly the millennials.


    In those days the military & naval services didn't have civilians looking over their shoulders telling them what was not PC and how to conduct operations.  Comparatively speaking we have a lot of fuzzy thinkers in this country today.


    The North American A-36 was mentioned.  I'd never heard of that plane, but apparently it was an early model P-51 with dive brakes and used as a dive bomber. 

Back in the day when America was in the "Big War" WWII, these planes were flown by young boys.

Politically correct was go to war to break things and kill the enemy. Apparently no one worried about nose art on the bombers. BTW. More airmen died in WWII than Marines. At the bottom after the pictures there are amazing stats for the Army Air Corps in WWII.

Probably would not be allowed to leave the ground today

WWII Statistics Army Air Corps.


Almost 1,000  Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign locations.

But an  eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat  causes overseas.

In a single 376  plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. 

That was a 16 percent loss  rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England ..

In 1942-43 it was  statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in  Europe .

Pacific theatre  losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces  committed.

The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost  26 Super Fortresses, 56 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas.

On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a  day. 

By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theatres and another 18,000 wounded.

Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number "liberated" by the Soviets but never returned.

More  than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in  captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands. 

Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.

US manpower made up the deficit. The AAF's peak strength was reached in 1944 with  2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.

The losses were huge---but so were production totals.

From 1941 through 1945, American  industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. 

That number was enough not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain, Australia, China and Russia.

In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined.

And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.

However, our  enemies took massive losses.

Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40  planes a month.

And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours. The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.

Experience  Level:

Uncle Sam sent  many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training. Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned aircraft.

The 357th  Fighter Group (often known as The Oxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s. The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.

A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type. Many had fewer than five hours. Some had one hour.

With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat. The attitude was, "They all have a stick and a throttle. Go fly “em." 

When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in February 1944,there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition. The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, "You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target.  

A future P-47 ace said, "I was sent to England to die." He was not alone.   

Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft.

Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade: of Jimmy Doolittle's 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941.  

All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school.

In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat. The AAF's worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents  per 100,000 flying hours.  

Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the  P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139. All were Allison powered.

Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive. The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force's major mishap rate was less than 2.

The B-29 was even worse at 40; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons.

The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.

The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but  there were not enough experienced pilots to meet the criterion. Only ten percent had overseas experience.

Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2  crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month "safety pause" rather than declare a "stand down", let alone grounding.

The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated,troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone. But they made it work.


Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators. 

The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War. And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving "Uncle Sugar" for a war zone. Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel --- a stirring tribute to the AAF's educational establishments

Cadet To Colonel:

It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders.That was the record of John D Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941. He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 2 in P-40s. He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group --- at age 24.

As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions. 

By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training. At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.


At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types. 

Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft.


The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.IN  SUMMATION:
Whether there will ever be another war like that experienced in 1940-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq.

But within living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high,  leaving a legacy that remains timeless.

Saturday, February 24, 2018


CURATED HEADLINES from 12ponder.com
Vist that blog regularly for superb curated news headlines.


The Week in Good News: The Garlic Girls, Rhodes Scholarships and an African Funk Pioneer


Inside New York's oldest store in Chinatown – photo essay


Seattle Residents Complained About A 'Confederate Flag.' It Was Actually The Flag Of Norway.


Justin Trudeau Makes A Fool Of Himself Again, Insults Entire Nation Of India With Condescending, Ethnic Attire


News Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of the Week’s Headlines (10/11)



What’s better for you: a low-fat or low-carb diet? Scientists have an answer


Good news: you’re not getting older, you’re getting better



US bank halts NRA credit card, car rental firm ends discount



OOPS! Teachers in 12 states have pension funds invested in gun stocks



Rare Footage of Wolverine on the Hunt in Montana


Rare Fossils Discovered on Lands Cut From Bears Ears National Monument



Storm Unleashes River of Rushing Rocks in New Zealand



Eyes On Vulnerable AWACS, Rivet Joint, Etc., Air Force Studies replacements



Marine Corps again lowers requirements for Infantry Officer Course ( “[The change] was not about lowering attrition, it was about making students more successful to complete the course,” ... It's difficult for me to believe that he actually said that ... it's just nonsense.)



Louisiana school bars student who said math symbol looks like gun



Democrats Say America Is The Worst Western Country For Mass Shootings. That's [not true]


US gun control advocates exaggerate benefits of Australia's gun restrictions


Trump and the GOPers have a great opportunity to steal a key issue from the Dems


The Four Reasons Congress Won’t Do Anything About Gun Control



Their daughters were held at the border – then the blackmail from fake Ice agents began



US Tightens Sanctions On North Korean Shipping



Why Richard Gates is a key player in the Mueller probe


-- "Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change." - Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), A Farewell to Arms, 1929

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Marine From WW2 interview

My friend, Don Schuld interviews Jonathan Mendes in NYC for the Naval Order of The United States.  This episode brought to you by the NYC Commandery of the Naval Order.  Selected for this page by 12ponder.com . The Naval Order is one of the oldest oldest organizations in America to promote the knowledge and history of Americas Sea Services. The New York Commandery is particularly active and promotes excellent Authorship of history through its annual Samuel Eliot Morison Awards. 


A few years ago when still in High School, my son, Alex Campbell met Mr. Mendes at the Naval Order Luncheon in NYC. Alex enjoyed talking with several of the Marines there and after his degree in History from Auburn U. he eventually enlisted and now serves in the reserves.

was begun by founding members that included Admiral  George Dewey and Teddy Roosevelt.

To learn more and to inquire about membership you may inquire HERE or email Don Schuld,

DON SCHULD and UNCLE VIC last summer when Karen and I made a trip to visit our old town of Sparta NJ.  Don sparked me to get involved with the Naval Order once he became a member. He knew me from some Rotary Club activity in the mid 90's. I was already a member because my friend Otto Schwarz of the USS Houston brought me in. I Knew Otto because of hearing is talk on the USS Houston and "The Bridge on The River Kwai" at a meeting of Tin Can Sailors .... which ..... led to my making a documentary about the Houston.   But I did not like to drive into NYC for those luncheons  superb though the were.  Don became my "driver" and good friend along with another navy vet Roy DeFranco who was another soul thirsty for history. Roy is a retired school principal. Don is a retired investment counselor.  The trips into NYC became some of my fondest memories of our time in NJ.

Here is a photo of me and Don last summer. I presented him with one of my ship challenge coins that constitutes an IRISH BLESSING from the history of Fr. O'Callahan and the ship named for him. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Girl Scouts warn parents about forcing kids to hug relatives for the holidays (Actually a pretty good article teaching kids about consent.)

Strange tale: Why the tail chopped from your Thanksgiving turkey will travel 5,000 miles 


This idyllic Swiss village wants to pay you more than £50,000 to move there

The News in Zingers 

After Weinstein: A List of Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct and the Fallout for Each

25 Richest Members of Congress

What $1,000 invested in 15 popular stocks before Great Recession looks like now 

Toyota Warns US Workers: Build Camry for Less, or Else

Amazon wants to disrupt the neighborhood pharmacy—but its sketchy health products could get in the way

$900MM – Stanley Black And Decker Buys Craftsman

Geo-Economics in Central Asia and the ‘Great Game’ of Natural Resources: Water, Oil, Gas, Uranium and Transportation Corridors (WP)

Soil Management: Key to Fighting Climate Change?

More Harvey-Sized Hurricanes Likely to Hit Texas (Same old bulls__t ... Harvey wasn't particularly large, it just hung around for a long time.)

A Helping of Science With Your Thanksgiving Dinner

This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat

What monarch butterflies prefer

Are your medical records safe?

• Two women in Arlington, Texas, called police for help on July 10 as a mentally ill man doused himself with gasoline in preparation to commit suicide. When responding officers began talking with the distraught man, he poured more gasoline on himself and appeared to be holding a lighter in his hand. Hoping to subdue him, one of the officers used his Taser on the man and the gasoline ignited, engulfing him in flames. Officers wrapped him in blankets and removed him from the house. His family reports he was severely burned, and at press time he was in critical condition. [NBC DFW, 7/11/2017] 

FCC plan would give Internet providers power to choose the sites customers see and use (This is a really, really, really BAD idea.  The end result will be massive censorship.  If you think the problem with the liberal print media is bad, wait until the liberals control the ISPs.)

Low-skilled immigrants and their correlation with why America can't $hake child-poverty rates 

Single U.S. airstrike wipes out 100 terrorists in Somalia

The US Secretly Let Thousands Of Heavily Armed ISIS Fighters Escape Raqqa In Broad Daylight

The Latest: US slaps new sanctions on NKorean, Chinese firms 

With technology, these researchers are figuring out North Korea’s nuclear secrets (All of this might be unavailable under the proposed FCC internet rule.)

Air China suspends North Korea flights, deepening isolation


“The last resort of the competitive economy is the bailiff, but the ultimate sanction of a planned economy
is the hangman."
                ~ F. A. Hayek

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Very Worst Road: Travellers' Accounts

I enjoyed this book. It is about the National Road that crossed Georgia and Alabama enroute to New Orleans.  It was originally a native trail across the Southeast. One of my favorite parts of the book talks about the old Rev War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette making his grand tour, including Alabama in the route. At some point before the Montgomery stop and after Columbus -- he was feted by the Creek Indians with a tremendous display of "lacrosse" - a ball game. The Creeks (there was a faction of Creeks who were always allied to the Americans although the "Red Stick" faction had never settled well into the arrangments.)  were as fascinated by him as were the pioneer folks. This was the early 1820's.  Lafayette was an old man then.

The Very Worst Road: Travellers' Accounts of Crossing Alabama's Old Creek Indian Territory, 1820-1847 (Alabama Fire Ant) by Jeffrey C. Benton
The Very Worst Road: Travellers' Accounts of Crossing Alabama's Old Creek Indian Territory, 1820-1847 (Alabama Fire Ant) 
by Jeffrey C. Benton 
Link: http://a.co/3WK3UAW