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Category Archives: past issue
“DAMN THE TORPEDOES FULL SPEED AHEAD!” – Admiral David G. Farragut/The Civil War (Posted by L.H.K.)
“DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP!” – Captain James Lawrence/The Naval War of 1812 (Posted by L.H.K.)
“PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMUNITION” – Lieutenant Howell M. Forgy/Pearl Harbor (Posted by L.H.K.)
“WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND THEY ARE OURS…” – Oliver Hazare Perry/The Naval War of 1812 (Posted by K.A.G.)
“I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT!” – Captain John Paul Jones/The Revolutionary War (Posted by K.A.G.)
“THE NAVY HAS NO PLACE FOR GOOD LOSERS! THE NAVY NEEDS TOUGH SONS OF BITCHES WHO CAN GO OUT THERE AND WIN!” – Admiral Jonas H. Ingram/ 1926 (Posted by K.A.G.)
By A. R. Graham
Mount Soledad sits high above the Pacific Ocean with a breathtaking 360-degree view of San Diego. A concrete cross measuring 29-feet tall and 14-foot wide was installed in 1954 as a war memorial.
As I walk around the towering concrete monolith, an air of solemn reverence is present. Five minuets earlier, an army of media had assembled to broadcast a live report about the most recent ruling from the San Francisco Supreme Court; and once again, it has been deemed, “illegal to display a religious symbol on public land.” In 2001, a non-profit 501c corporation, Mount Soledad Memorial Association, added a memorial wall, where thousands of black granite plaques have been installed in memory of the fallen.
It is now no longer a lone cross since the wall was added. This brought a more human side to the equation. Before it was a memorial of the countless and faceless souls who died in battle. Now, the plaques tell of great heroes who sacrificed their lives for the nation. A gentle wind is blowing, and the morning sun illuminates the giant white cross. As if reciprocating in kind, it reflects billions of fragmented sun rays onto the wall below. As I descend the steps with the warm sun at my back, I am almost overcome with a great sadness at such loss. The flag’s giant shadow caresses the wall. The faces on the plaques reflect back at me telling me where, when, and how they all died. I am sure that there will always be an effort to remove the cross; but at the same time, I feel that it will always be there beaconing high on “Solitude Mountain”.
The original wooden cross on Mount Soledad was erected in 1913 by private citizens living in La Jolla and Pacific Beach, but was stolen in 1923. Later that year, it was affixed back in the ground in Mount Soledad Natural Park only to be burned down by the San Diego chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
The second cross was erected in 1934 by a private group of Protestant Christians from La Jolla and Pacific Beach. This sturdier, stucco-over-wood frame cross was blown down by blustery winds in 1952.
Beginning in 1989, the cross had been involved in a continuous litigation regarding its legal status. According to the interpretation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the “No Preference” clause of the California Constitution by the opponents of the cross, it is illegal to display a religious symbol, such as a Christian cross, on public land, as it demonstrates preference to a specific religion and thus violates the separation of church and state. Judges have sided with plaintiffs on multiple occasions and ruled that the cross is illegal and had to be removed or sold to the highest bidder. Defenders of the cross explored several options for preserving the cross. The land under the cross was eventually transferred to the federal government. Critics of the cross allege that, even if the transfer itself is legal, it does not solve the fundamental problem of the argument that the cross is not legal on any government-owned property.
The American Civil Liberties Union proposed ways to resolve the situation such as the cross may be dismantled or the cross may be sold to a third party and physically transferred off the public land. An Episcopal church, located within a few hundred feet from the present location of the cross, has agreed to place it on its property. Another option is the government may hold an auction and sell the parcel of the land with the cross to the highest bidder.
Defenders of the cross saw all these options as unacceptable and were determined to find a way to leave the cross intact in its present location. A cross has been on the site since 1913. Architect Donald Campbell designed the present Latin cross in recessed concrete with a twelve-foot arm spread in 1954. In 1998, after the sale by the city of the cross and the land it stands on to the nonprofit Mount Soledad Memorial Association, the cross was transformed into being the centerpiece of a newly erected Korean Memorial.
Original Dedication Ceremony on April 18, 1954
Besides all of its controversy, the cross and its site provides a rich part of San Diego history. Having been first used as a Memorial Park in 1914, it went onto be used by the Lindbergh’s for glider flights in the 1920s. It was part of the military’s early-warning defense system in WWII. The 29-foot cross was dedicated on April 29, 1954 to honor Korean War veterans; and has been long used by planes and ships for navigation. It was transferred to the federal government on August 14, 2006 as the National Veterans Memorial.
Mount Soledad also holds the last home lived in by Dr. Seuss. His widow, Audrey Geisel, still resides atop Mount Soledad in a lavish home that includes “The Cat in the Hat” and an observation tower that is referred to as the “Seuss House” by the locals.
There is also an urban legend that in the 1930s, a group of little people who earned money in Hollywood by appearing in movies such as The Wizard of Oz, came to San Diego where they built miniature houses on Mount Soledad. The legend gained support due to the fact that several houses were built on steep slopes overlooking the Pacific and, as you drove or walked by, it was easy to believe, due to optical illusions, created as you looked down at the houses from the road that the doors and other features were smaller than normal. If you actually walked up to the houses, it was easy to see that they were normal sized. Most of the supposed, “Munchkin Houses” have been remodeled and the effect is no longer present. “We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz…”
Current status of the cross: At the beginning of our new year, 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that a veterans’ memorial featuring the 43-foot cross on Mount Soledad is unconstitutional. “The use of such is distinctively Christian symbol to honor all veterans sends a strong message of endorsement and exclusion,” wrote Judge M. Margaret McKeown for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “It suggests that the government is so connected to a particular religion.” The decision that the La Jolla, California memorial violates the Establishment Clause reverses a lower court ruling does not determine what will happen to the cross. “This does not mean that the memorial could not be modified to pass constitutional muster, nor does it mean that no cross can be part of this,” McKeown concluded. This case has wound through the courts for two decades. Its future is still beknownst.
The Memorial Today
The memorial and cross are presided over by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, a nonprofit California 501(c)3 corporation, who purchased the land in 1992. Their mission statement is: To enhance and preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial honoring veterans who have served our country and to educate the general public about service to our country and the sacrifice that veterans make to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. In August 2006, the Memorial was officially transferred to the Department of Defense and is now managed and operated by Commander, Navy Region Southwest located in San Diego, California.
The walls that have been constructed ultimately hold 3,200 black granite plaques which can be purchased by donors and engraved with the names and photos of war veterans. Currently, more than 2,700 are in place. Each plaque tells the story of a veteran’s military service or that of a group’s military service. It includes members of all military services: the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps., Air Force, Coast Guard, and also the Merchant Marines who served during World War II. A large American flag flies over the Memorial. The brick pavers honor veterans and supporters as well. The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is open to the public and docents are available as well as volunteer opportunities exist.
Where Thousands Gather to Honor Our Veterans
By Suzi Pignataro
He’s been watching me for about forty minutes from behind a creased and dog-eared trade copy of Don Quixote. I guess a hippie chick stirring a pot of wax over an open fire on the beach might be more captivating than a self-deluded Spaniard – especially if you’re a young dude who’s obviously a long way from home and most likely chasing after an impossible dream or two of his own. Midwestern farm boy of German extraction is my guess, judging by the Wrangler jeans, faded flannel shirt, close-cropped blond curls and naturally tanned skin. He’s long and lean with surprisingly delicate hands. Hmm…Maybe not a farm boy after all, maybe just some small-town kid hitch-hiking through California. His Converse sneakers look new, as does the Padres cap: probably threw away his cowboy boots and hat at the border.
I’ve been eyeing him, too, you see.
It’s my last week in Coronado, the town where I was born and have lived my first eighteen years. Next week, I pack up my goods in my ’67 Volvo that I’ve christened Gunnar, and caravan with my parents up Highway 101 to Sonoma County. I’m college bound.
I take orange, red, and yellow crayons out of their box, strip off the paper, and break them into bits that I drop into the melted paraffin. I stir the liquid with a wooden spoon and watch the colors swirl and bleed into each other.
“‘Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and – ’”
I let out a yelp and drop the spoon into the pot, splattering hot wax on my hands.
With the boy trotting next to me – flustered and chanting, “CRAP-crap, CRAP-crap” to the rhythm of his footsteps – I run down to the shore, flapping my blistering hands and crying out, “AhGhee! AhGhee!” like a wounded bird. We squat at the water’s edge where I bury my hands in the cold wet sand.
The boy scrubs his face with his shirt sleeve. “I am so sorry. I should have known I’d startle you.”
He’s not from the Midwest: not with that voice, and not with quoting Shakespeare. The game is still in play in my head. I need him to keep talking.
“No sweat,” I reply. The salt stings my skin; I feel the wax tightening as it cools. “So, why Don Quixote?”
His hands flutter toward the water. Long straight fingers lightly tap the surface. He laughs. It’s almost a girl’s giggle, and one at his expense. When he looks up at me, I see his eyes clearly for the first time. They’re the color of a Greek Island cove flecked with gold coin.
“It’s comforting to find a dreamer crazier than myself, I guess,” he confesses.
Hmm…Educated, articulate, wry humor, and no discernable accent. Grew up in various parts of the country, maybe even the world.
“You’re a Navy brat,” I declare triumphantly.
The boy rocks back on his feet, which, like mine, are soaked. He hugs his knees and frowns at me. “How do you know?”
“And not just any Navy brat,” I continue, ignoring him. “One with a high ranking dad – maybe even some mucky-muck in Europe, hence the Spanish novel and Macbeth – and you’ve had some private school education.”
He eyeballs me, taking in the long expanse of patchwork velvet and lace, the black army boots, the braids framing my face, and beaded earrings dangling from my ears. He wants to be amused, annoyed or curious. He settles for curious. “I take it you are not a Navy brat.”
“Well, I’m definitely a brat,” I reply evasively. I begin to peel off the solid wax from my hands. Underneath, the skin is puckered and red.
The boy furrows his eyebrows. “You need to have that looked at.”
I wave a blotchy hand. “Nah. It’s okay.”
“No,” he persists. “You don’t want it to get septic.”
Hmm…Make that Navy surgeon of high ranking. Possibly head of a Navy hospital in…where would it be…Gibraltar? Marseilles? Where do we have Navy hospitals in Europe? Are we in Europe?
“Your dad a doctor?” I ask.
The boy shakes his head impatiently, but a smile begs to break out on that handsome face. “You lose.”
Two fighter jets roar over our heads, their wheels dropping in preparation for landing at North Island. I look up to watch, but the boy ducks his head. He seems unnerved by the planes and their bone-jarring shriek. He takes me by the elbow. “Let’s go back to your cauldron, witch.”
After tucking Don Quixote into his knapsack, the boy joins me at the fire where I demonstrate how to make sand candles. He gets a little misty-eyed when I tell him they’re a parting gift for my mother: a reminder of her daughter away at school. He confides that he didn’t leave his mother anything to remember him by when he left home.
“And where is home?” I prod, as I pour sunset colors into a mold in the sand.
The boy shrugs into himself as another jet screeches overhead. I wait patiently for its blast to pass, then observe, “You may be Navy, but you’re not naval air.”
The boy chuckles nervously. “How can you live with that?”
I return the pot to the fire and throw in more paraffin. “I can’t. Where I’m moving to has no military bases; just rolling hills and redwoods.” I look him in the eye. “So, where are you from?”
The boy watches the wax melt. “I’m taking some time off before I go to Columbia.”
The boy didn’t answer my question, did he? Twice now, he’s evaded it. I turn and face him, digging my fists into my waist.
“Are you going to tell me where you’re from, or are you going to continue to drive me crazy?” I demand.
The boy laughs, but there’s respect in his voice when he says, “You’re something else, you know that?” He takes the spoon from me and stirs the wax. “It’s like you said: I’m a Navy brat. I’ve lived in lots of places. And for your information – because you’re dying to know – I don’t like tons of metal and weaponry flying right over my head, and my dad is not a doctor.” He extends his free hand. “I’m Jay*.”
“And I’m Suzi,” I reply. I offer my own hand. He accepts it, carefully avoiding the burns.
“Nice to meet you, Suzi.”
Jay drives a blue and white VW bus, which he insists upon using to transport me and my candle paraphernalia back home. The bus bears Virginia plates. A Navy duffle bag inscribed with the name, “J. R. Hess”, lies on the floor in the back, along with the accoutrement necessary for camping. Some sort of Native American crystal-and-bead mumbo-jumbo hangs from the rear view mirror by a circular webbing of rawhide strips. Questions percolate. This guy’s pay dirt.
“So, where did you live in Virginia?”
Jay turns the engine and signals to leave the curb. “The usual Navy brat places,” he replies absently while checking his side mirror.
“Why the Navy bag with your name on it? Are you full German?”
Jay collects his patience and directs it into his white-knuckled fists. They relax. “It’s my dad’s. We share the same name. And, no, I’m not full German. My mom’s family is Dutch and English.”
“Oh.” I flick my finger at the crystal-and-bead hanging. “And what’s with the Indian whatchamacall–”
Jay slams on his brakes as three sailors dressed in whites run right in front of us. I grunt on impact with the dashboard; my fingers grab the hanging for purchase and wrench it – along with the mirror – from the windshield. Jay yells and gesticulates. The sailors flip us off and call us “dirty hippy freaks” with jaw-dropping originality. Jay and I look at each other, then at the amputated mirror, and laugh.
“I’ve heard worse,” I say, settling back into my seat, the mirror and hanging sitting in my lap as we finally make our way down Ocean Boulevard toward the Del. “They really hassle the local girls. I mean it can get pretty scary.” I point at the Navy ships anchored just past Point Loma, the helicopters practicing maneuvers out over the waves. “This war. It’s not just being waged over in Nam. It’s being carried out here, in my own home town, between the swabbies and us.” I turn to Jay. He’s watching me with an intensity that makes me feel exposed. I look away.
He clears his throat. “Have the sailors hassled you personally?”
I grimace. “I’ll answer you if you answer me.”
“Answer you what?”
“Why do you have your dad’s duffle bag, and what are you doing in Coronado?”
We drive along the beach in silence.
I am but a tiny thread in the timeless spinning of my family’s yarn, and we are but a minor yarn in the ever-expanding fabric of the human race. Yet, without me – and those threads that came before me and will come after me – the fabric would bear a miniscule hole. Too many of those holes and the fabric would fray, unravel and fall apart into a grimy heap of unimportant tissue on a blue planet. The fabric needs my thread, my parent’s thread, my children’s thread.
All my life, I’ve wondered about my family’s contribution to the history of humankind and who I carry in my blood: Germans, but what type: Teutonic? Franconian? Angle? Saxon? Or, like Jay, Hessian? Celts, but what tribe: Strathclyde? Gael? Pict? Were we Welsh farmers always, or did we also mine coal? And when did my Scots ancestors transplant to Northern Ireland? And why?
By the time I meet Jay, my thirst for such knowledge has reached beyond my own kin. I now seek it from everyone. So, I ask questions. Sometimes, people invite me to climb their family’s tree with them, introducing me to each and every limb; other times, they push me out and I land on my ass.
I want to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of this person called “Jay”, and who he carries in his blood.
“Jolly! Your name is Jolly?! That’s what the J stands for? What does the R stand for? Friggin’ Roger?!”
“You’ll have to excuse my daughter. She’s not exactly the queen of tact.”
We’re standing in my kitchen with my mother, who beams at Jay as if Monty Hall’s personally delivered him from behind door number three. Jay looks like he’s just licked a banana slug, and I’m fantasizing about shoving chicken guts down my mother’s polyester pants suit. All in all, it’s a weird moment.
Jay walked through my kitchen door and right into the sticky web that’s my parents’ Everything-Navy world. As soon as I introduced him to my mother – standing at the counter frosting a cake while singing along with Andy Williams on the radio – he was caught and wrapped like a prize fly. Recognition lit up my mother’s blue eyes, as she exclaimed, “Not little Jolly Hess!” Jay blushed and shuffled his feet, and gave up any hope of flight.
“No. I mean, yes. I mean, no and yes,” Jay stammers in reply to my ill-mannered question. “It’s Jerald Roger. I couldn’t — ”
“He couldn’t say his name — ‘Jerry’– as a little boy,” my mother interrupts with gusto, pointing at him with a spoonful of gloppy Ganache. “He called himself Jolly, and it stuck.”
I’m counting the seconds before the Ganache slides off the spoon and onto her fastidiously polished white sneakers.
“And just precisely how do you know this?” I ask; but I’ve already guessed the answer, and it’s pissing me off.
“Because your father and I know Jolly’s parents – Admiral and Mrs. Hess – and met Jolly at their home in Honolulu.” My mother waves the spoon and fails to notice that chocolate goo now decorates her blond head. There is a god after all. “You were eight,” she says to Jay, then turns to me. “And you were seven. Remember that time your father and I went away for a second honeymoon and left you kids with your grandmother?”
Jay doesn’t recollect meeting my parents and he apologetically admits as much to my mother. She forgives him with a laugh and a smile, and invites him not only to dinner but to sleep in my sister’s old bedroom rather than suffer another brisk night in the bus. Jay accepts, but I can see it on his face that he’d rather not be corralled by family friends.
As for me, I’m about to burst an aorta. I’m eighteen years old, and as far as my parents know, I’ve never had a boyfriend or even a date. This is because they warned me that only jocks or Navy officers’ sons – preferably one and the same – would be accepted into their good graces. With my attraction to liberal males with long hair and peace signs, I’ve had to keep my love interests a secret. The only reason my mother is fawning over Jay is because he’s NAVY. I’m pretty sure she’ll be planning our engagement party over dessert.
I abruptly excuse Jay from my mother’s clutches and lead him to the farthest corner of the back yard, where I hide the candles in the firewood bin. I turn to him, wringing my hands.
“I am so sorry about this,” I cry. “I had no idea she knew you. You don’t have to stay.”
Jay stares at our lemon tree as if it’s the Burning Bush; but there are no heavenly words of wisdom coming forth from its yellow fruit. Not even a “Hey, life’s a bitch, pal,” from the ghostly remains of our pets buried beneath its branches.
“If it’s all the same to you,” he replies after a moment, “a home-cooked meal and warm bed sound awfully good right now.”
I bury my face in my hands.
Dinner is a culinary success and a social disaster. My parents hold their own naval court from their respective places at the bow and stern of the table, while Jay squirms in his seat like a foreign dignitary keeping one anxious eye on the gangplank. My dad subjects him to a ruthless interrogation; my mom plays “good cop”. I quietly eat my beans and potatoes, praying for a swift and painless death.
“Columbia,” my dad repeats, making a face. “Why would you want to go there? It’s for bastard Commie intellectuals.”
And he’s off!
Jay coughs behind his fist, stealing a glance in my direction. I shrug back. I can’t help him. Once out the gate, there’s no holding back my father. Jay will just have to deal with it.
“I didn’t know that, sir. I’ll reconsider my options,” he remarks diplomatically. Not a bad liar; he just might survive this.
My dad lays his own fist on the table. Not a good sign. “Why aren’t you attending the Naval Academy like your dad?” he challenges, tight-throated. “If you’ve got the grades to get accepted into that hotbed of Bolshevik potheads, you’re smart enough to be a naval officer and serve your country. Don’t be an idiot.”
“Anyone for cake?” interjects my mother with false cheer. She’s worried my father is ruining her only chance at becoming true Navy aristocracy.
I stand up, grab my plate and silverware and look Jay in the eye.
“Later, Mom. We have a date.”
We sit at the shore admiring the last purple-hued breath of sunset. Everything Navy has disappeared for the time being; Coronado is once again a quiet town of locals and tourists, floating on an emerald lily pad.
We escaped my parents by car. Gunnar choked into life like a grumpy old man and reluctantly carried us to the Del. From there we walked along the water’s edge until our legs gave out, laid down an old quilt I keep stashed in Gunnar’s trunk, and fell wearily on our butts.
I’ve apologized for my father’s rudeness so many times, I’m sick of the words. I move on to a happier subject.
“I want to live on a farm, with lots of animals and a huge veggie garden,” I say. “I can’t think beyond that.”
Jay nods. “I can see it. I hope you get everything you want. I really do.”
“Thanks. And what about you?”
Jay sifts sand through his hands while carefully considering his response. He’s taking so long I grow impatient.
“What’s that impossible dream you think is so crazy?” I prod.
Without looking up, Jay replies, “Suzi, there’s something I need to tell you. I should have told you right off.”
I feel all tingly, and not in a good way. “Sure.”
Jay turns to me. He lays his hands in his lap and composes himself with a deep breath. “The bus belongs to my oldest and best friend who’s ship is coming into North Island from Nam in a couple of days. I drove it out from Virginia Beach for him.”
I laugh from relief. “That’s a good thing, isn’t it? I mean he’s coming home, right? And you got to go on a road trip before going off to college.” Then it dawns on me. “Oh, shit. I’ve been talking trash about sailors, and your best friend is –”
Jay holds up a hand and I shut up.
“He’s shipping in and I’m shipping out.”
The clock on my nightstand says it’s 5 A.M. I stare at it and decide it’s old-fashioned – and not in a cool way. I pick it up and chuck it toward my trashcan. It clears the sides and lands on a pile of papers with a thud.
I’ve been lying awake all night carrying on a battle that leaves me spent but wired. I’ve thrown mental grenades at everyone – my parents, Jay’s parents, Jay – only to wail over their broken bodies. I’m pissed off and sad and scared. I want this fucking war to be over. Despite my pacifist leanings, I want Jay to go to Columbia to study journalism and reach his dream of becoming a war correspondent, just as he’d stated to me on the beach, the night before.
“But why put yourself through this first?” I’d yelled at him. “What’s being a sailor going to do for you that will come to any good?”
“It will give me the perspective of the men at the bottom of the ladder, rather than the one I’ve always lived with: that of the men at the top,” he explained, his voice steady and patient. “And it will help me find out if I can really handle being around war.”
“You’re just doing it for your father!” I accused. “You’re placating him!”
“Not at all,” Jay responded evenly. “If that were the case, I’d be at Annapolis right now.”
But he’s not at Annapolis, or Columbia. He’s down the hall in one of my sister’s twin beds. In a little while he’ll wake up to the travel alarm he set before turning in. He’ll enter my bathroom, use my toilet, sink and shower; dry off with the towels my mother laid out for him. Then he’ll dress in his whites, which are carefully folded in that cursed duffle bag, scrounge up some food, and leave.
“Will you eat breakfast with me and say good-bye?” he’d asked me last night, in the kitchen, as we ate the slices of cake left out for us by my mother.
I wanted to throw my plate at him. Take my fork and stab him in the arm.
“Of course,” I replied with a reassuring smile. I’m not a bad liar, either.
At dawn I give up on sleep and pad out of my room and into the den, where I’m shocked by the image of my father feeding doves in the back yard. The tenderness with which he talks to the birds and their unconditional trust in him leads me to believe I’m witnessing a daily ritual about which I knew nothing. That, and the way my father shivers against the morning cold brings tears to my eyes. Did I ever know this man? Was he ever this gentle and open with me?
I slide back the patio door, and he turns toward me so casually it’s as if he’s been waiting for me. He continues to scatter birdseed as he asks, “Did you get any sleep, honey?”
I’m unnerved by the consideration in his voice. “Um…well…you know…not really.”
He nods his head in understanding, and I hold back more tears and the urge to run to him for comfort. I can’t remember the last time he held me. Then it hits me. “Wait a minute. You know?”
“I called his dad after you two left last night,” answers my father. “I wanted him to know we had Jolly — I mean, Jay — under our care and” — my father chuckles — “to try to knock some sense into Jerry about his son going to that Commie school in New York. I have to say, I was surprised by the boy’s plan.” He looks me in the eye. “I gather so were you.”
We move back into the house and to the warmth of the den. How often do I sit with my father and talk to him in any real sort of way? Never. We’re like two porcupines unwilling to sacrifice personal comfort for a hug.
“Daddy,” I begin, shy and unsure, “is he going to be okay?”
“Honey, no one can answer that. I’ve been through two wars and was lucky never to be in harm’s way. I was in command of a destroyer in Korea. They’re big and well armed.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be an aircraft carrier. I don’t like tons of metal and weaponry flying right over my head.
“He’ll be a hell of a lot safer than most, I can tell you that,” my father concludes.
“I think he’s crazy,” I gripe.
“Well, you shouldn’t, Suzi. He’s brave, and he’s right. He does need to know how it feels to be in a war, if he’s going to write about it. I wish all these left-wing journalists had half as much courage and forthrightness as Jay has.”
I leave my father to his morning coffee. As I approach the back of the house, expletives explode from inside my bathroom. I knock on the door.
“Oh — sorry,” comes Jay’s sheepish reply. “I didn’t know anyone could hear me.”
“Hey, it’s me.”
Jay opens the door. He’s in white boxers and a T-shirt. He’s cut his thumb while changing razor blades; his blood — and the blood of every ancestor that’s come before him — runs down his raised arm.
“What?” he asks. From the way he says that one word I know he’s been up all night, too. His fear is like a wild animal frantically clawing its way out from inside his skin, desperate to escape his madness.
“I want you to tell me your family history.” I eye the razor on the counter; the open wound. “And I want us to be blood brother and sister.”
Jay takes my hand.
~ ~ ~
* All identifying information regarding “Jay” and his family has been changed.
By Kimberley Graham
Several years ago, when our children were very young, there was an adorable, friendly couple who lived a few doors down from us: Mandy ‘n’ Randy. Mandy was a civil engineer and Randy in flight command with the Navy. We lived happily near each other for years. They had a precious Pomeranian and an apartment full of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia. Randy used to frequently come out and watch the kids play engaging them with their toys and childhood innocence. They were the only ones we ever trusted to watch our kids in an emergency.
Randy went onto begin training with the UDT teams. One momentous 4th of July, unbeknownst to any of us, Randy began drinking very early in the morning as do most of us who live on Orange on the Fourth. Also unbeknownst to us was that he had been thrown out of the UDT due to mental issues receiving no psychiatric care or follow-up. As we all sat outside enjoying the parade, his ex-team members came by on a float jeering and teasing him on. Right over the edge, Randy went (and had done so, we later found out with his wife, on many occasions).
He began marching around in the median with an American flag he had commandeered while shouting and acting a huge-bit nuts. Then he went home and smashed out all his windows while throwing a Bouie knife into the wall. It turns out Randy had been sleeping with an arsenal under his pillow and bed for years becoming increasingly paranoid at the same time.
Mandy ran down to get my husband’s help who approached our distraught friend very slowly. He found Randy passed out on the floor. After a long talk, Randy agreed to drink coffee, sober up, and quit terrorizing his Mandy and doggie. Well, when he got down to Central Liquor with his wife to get that coffee, he changed his mind and wanted to get some more booze. The store refused to sell him any more liquor. Another hysterical march down the median with his American flag and deflated patriotism ensued.
Once again, Mandy ran hysterically down to find my husband, Al. This time, Randy had gotten into his storage in the communal courtyard and was unpacking a chest of weapons and ammunition. After this discovery, Al stealthily returned home to secure the kids, Mandy, the neighbors, and to call 911. I was at work while all this was occurring. The Coronado police battalion arrived to find him sitting in an armchair in front of the back door aiming a gun to any passers-by. SWAT team was called in and the area was cordoned off. The stolen American flag was poised next to our friend, who we always thought was “dear sweet harmless Randy”. While my kids hugged and tried to comfort their beloved “Mandy” friend, a single shot was fired and Randy took his life. All the neighbors were hiding and it took a long time for the exorcism of this event to occur. Broken out windows, yellow police tape everywhere, and a devastated widow, doggie, all the neighbors, my kids, and us were left behind in the human’s ashes of a very disturbed young soldier.
When Randy was discharged abruptly from the UDT training program due to questionable mental disabilities and psychological disorders, he never received any counseling from the Navy or follow-up even though his superiors knew he was a very unstable and dangerous young man to himself and to others. We hope this sort of treatment has been corrected for similar service people who are clearly “at risk” putting the community at large in peril.
May Randy rest in peace?
Submitted by Ray Fletcher
“Good Ole Days”
The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers).
However, let it be noted that according to her ship’s log, “On July 27, 1798, the USS Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder, and 79,400 gallons of rum. Her mission: “To destroy and harass English shipping.”
Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wineOn 18 November, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days, she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each. By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home. The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799 with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water. GO NAVY!
By Nina Odele
I’m proud to be a Coronado resident. I love my Crown City and have been fortunate enough to live here most of my life. When I was a young girl in the 1960s, Coronado was all about the Navy. As it should be! Many of my childhood friends’ dads were Navy. Our family had lots of Navy friends. Orange Avenue was always full of men in uniform. Of course, back then, I wasn’t aware of exactly what the Navy actually does. We were civilian.
I have great memories of going to the pool and the movies on Base with my Navy kid pals. It was a simple time then and even civilians could get on Base fairly easily. My best friend worked in the commissary. I loved going there as a teen. Great deals on the mascara I loved but wasn’t (technically) allowed to wear yet!
During the Viet Nam War, every TV news show was chocked full of war footage: Pure carnage — Every day — Crazy stuff — Guys half blown up — Grief stricken young widows back home in the States — Children suddenly fatherless. Sadly, I simply took it in stride as “normal.” I had no real concept of who was getting blown up by whom or why. I was too young. That was grown up stuff and I was busy being a kid.
When I was in high school (GO ISLANDERS!) The young enlisted men used to hoot and holler at us local gals everywhere we went. Sometimes we’d get them to buy us beer with promises of meeting them down at the beach to party. This practice was called “tapping”. Of course, we’d get the beer, put it in our back packs, then haul on our bikes over to a friend’s house whose parents were out of town, and laugh our butts off at what suckers those Navy guys were to believe us! Alright, I’m not proud of it, but it was what it was.
When I learned details about Viet Nam and the horrible injustices our Navy personnel endured when they came home to the States, I was incredibly shocked and humbled. The fact that our great Country treated these brave people who had fought for our freedom abroad like monsters upon their return was beyond all reason. Those Veterans got the shaft from the very place they were protecting. It was ugly. I still remember those news shows and how horrible the carnage was. It haunts me to this day.
I cannot fathom how the men who saw it all first hand could cope once they were back home. A great many couldn’t cope. They went crazy or committed suicide. There was also a huge divorce rate among Navy families after the war. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was epidemic due to the fact that even our own Government turned their backs on the Veterans who were so desperately in need of monetary and psychological help.
After every other war, our returning veterans were treated like kings. I remember feeling so heartbroken for the Viet Nam era guys. And ashamed at the powers that be for allowing such blatant neglect. Where was “Big Brother” during all this injustice? I had already gained a great deal of respect for the Navy by that time. This Twilight Zone type homecoming amplified that respect ten-fold.
Last week, I read something in the local newspaper that instantly made me quite ill. It was an article about how several Coronado residents were complaining about the “noise” from the Navy base. Not jets, not ‘copters — the FLAG raising and lowering ceremonies! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Each morning at 0750, two separate locations on Base play “Reveille” with bugles. At 0800, they raise the American Flag(s) and play the Star Spangled Banner. Each evening at dusk, the same locations lower our Flag(s) and play “Taps.” These ceremonies have always brought out the Patriot in me. They also make me feel well protected and extremely thankful for my freedom. We live somewhere in the middle of the two locations described above. The bugles sound at the same time every day. You can set your watch by them! I love standing outside hearing them in “stereo.” The fact that “several Coronado residents” are bothered enough by the bugles to complain is one thing. These residents are most likely transplants with no respect for Navy tradition or their own freedom for that matter!
The Flag ceremonies are not a new addition to Coronado. They are tradition and have been exactly the same as long as I’ve lived here (50 years). The thing that bothers me the most is that our esteemed Mayor actually took these complaints seriously enough to bring the subject up at City Hall. Shame on you Mr. Mayor. Are you really going to tell the Navy to “keep it down” due to a few rich idiots who have nothing better to do than complain? I think not. In a perfect world, these whiners would be told to move (preferably out of the USA) if they don’t like it. Sadly, this world is far from perfect. I suggest these “citizens” take a crash course in Naval history (emphasis on the Viet Nam era “homecoming”). Another suggestion would be for these sour few to be taken on Base and be forced to clean all the latrines with their personal toothbrushes!
The good news is that 99.9 percent of Coronado residents do have a very healthy respect for the Navy. Even though our “Big Admirals”, who used to be everywhere are now giving way to a new generation, we honor ALL Navy personnel — past or present, living or dead. Those who choose not to honor them should not be Coronado residents. We don’t want them here anyway! Ironically, the Navy fights for our freedom. And people can live anywhere they please. It’s because of the Navy (and all branches of Military) that whiners are free to whine. Like I said before, it’s not a perfect world.
By Al Graham
I have not heard a word from my friend Silent since he was deployed in August. He is in a hostile land defending his country, and in particular, the lives of those in combat. He has fought many a fray; he fought and he won. He is called when our troops are plagued by enemy sniper fire. He is the antidote and/or the cure.
It is hot as hell in a dusty, Afghan village. An enemy “Super Sniper” proudly wears a gruesome merit badge signifying “Top Dog” status awarded for dissembling the lives of young Americans by the score. Today another young Marine will be felled from far off by a remorseless assassin.
Silent has been tasked to “terminate with extreme prejudice”, and he will do just that. The hunt is on; and if past record is lived out, Silent will bring down his quarry in bulk. Silent is also “Top Dog” in his field. Even now after eight deployments and many close calls, he excels. Not long ago, he lost his left hand in a training accident; and to all, it looked like the end of his career. Silent had other ideas. Even before he had fully healed, he was back with a determined vengeance.
It takes two hands to do Silent’s highly specialized job. He does it with one hand and one hook — a device he fashioned for himself from leather and steel. At nine a.m., Silent is half buried in the ground. He has been there for two days waiting and watching. He tells of an unseen and foreboding presence – a just before presence of every encounter. Hairs on the back of his neck bristle and all becomes deathly silent. In that awesome stillness lies a tension that could smash steel, but it is encased in serene assuredness; and Silent is about to drop the curtain bringing an end to this deathly minuet.
By Kimberley (Dill) Graham
On November 18, 1955, I was delivered into the arms of a stellar beauty queen and a dashing young medical student in the fair city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the day, my mother and I performed typical 1950s housewife chores and primped, in eager anticipation of our knight in shining armor’s return. We were a beautiful young family, full of promise and hope.
Jan and Don Dill had been teenage sweethearts and were now youthful adults setting out on their quest for the All-American Dream. Deeply in love and blessed with enormous passion, the “perfect ones” were an idyllic couple. They quickly completed our family with the addition of my two fine-looking brothers.
My parents grew up together in Ohio. They came from similar backgrounds; their parents were restaurateurs of German and French descent. It was a wholesome beginning, with my father a star football player and my mother a cheerleader, homecoming prom queen and beauty pageant winner. Janet Reller and Donald Dill were the envy of their small hometown, and were the most likely to succeed in life and in the fulfillment of The Dream.
After graduating at the top of his class at Jefferson Memorial Medical School, my father interned at the hospital of the same name. My mother was his stunningly gorgeous stay-at-home wife and mother of his three adorable children. My parents managed on very little money, driven by the assurance of a brighter future.
In order to further his career as well as fulfill his duty to God and Country, my father joined the Navy in an officer program where he served as a Lieutenant Flight Surgeon. We were whisked away to Pensacola, Florida, where my father received his military training. After completing a tour of duty in South America, he was commissioned to the Naval Air Station on North Island, across the bay from San Diego, California. We arrived in 1960, settling into the officers’ quarters directly across from the airstrip. It was a good life, with the guarantee of it only getting better.
North Island shared a rock-bed peninsula with the bright and sunny beach town of Coronado – the “The Crown City” or, “Emerald Isle”. It got its name from when it was separated from the town by a channel of water dubbed “The Spanish Bight”. When the Navy took over the island, it filled in the channel, turning North Island and Coronado into one land mass.
As kids, my brothers and I lived in a fantasyland of constant adventure as we explored every nook and cranny of North Island. We ran wild with no cares. We played in the “enchanted forest” behind our home (a small grove of eucalyptus trees that separated us from the rest of the world). We climbed trees and fences. We swam in the Officers’ Club pool every day and frequented the base’s private beach, where we built sand castles and wiggled our little toes in the warm comforting sand while eating hot greasy French Fries smothered in ketchup. Each morning we awoke to the rumbling engines of jet fighters readying for military maneuvers. It was a child’s paradise, rivaling any created by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson or Daniel Defoe.
On Sundays, we went to church where my mother assisted in the Sunday school. We always dressed to the nines, with my mother adorned in harmonizing hats or bonnets decorated with an array of flowers, bows and ribbons matching her superb coiffure. As with all of the talented housewives of her generation, Janet found immense pleasure in creating her own hats, dresses and suits. She took great pride in dressing us in matching outfits for all to admire, her handsome Lieutenant husband/Prince Valiant gracing her side.
After our obligatory morning at church, we attended the double feature at the base’s theater. Every movie show began with a black and white news communiqué warning us of the Communists who, we were informed, were coming to get us. We lived in fright of this threat. It was very real to us, and I remember being terrified that my father would be called away to war. That fear is still vivid in my memory.
Another crystal-clear memory of living on North Island is of President Dwight D. Eisenhower passing by our home, waving to us from inside a convertible absent of Secret Servicemen. Life was easy then. People were not afraid for their president’s safety. John F. Kennedy and the tragedy of losing our president was still years away.
In 196o, after three years of base living, the Dill family continued its pursuit of the All-American Dream. Having successfully served his naval commission, my father was once more a civilian. Dr. James Mushovic asked him to join his small family practice in Coronado. The office was located in a very small building on the corner of Eighth Street and Orange Avenue, and was the type of practice where doctors delivered babies and made house calls. My father readily agreed to join medical forces with “Doctor Jim”.
As there was no medical insurance in those days, people paid what they could; yet, my father never had to worry about affording repairs or paying for groceries. Dr. Mushovic and Dr. Dill knew all of their patients on a first-name basis, and knew the names of all their family members, having delivered most of them.
My parents soon began their search for our first home. They found it in a lovely Spanish style abode at 1132 Glorietta Boulevard. It was a two-story house – a mansion by our standards – with a large back yard, a lanai, and a maid’s quarters over the garage. Directly across from the home lay the Coronado Municipal Golf Course, beyond which one enjoyed breathtaking views of the exquisite Glorietta Bay and Pacific Ocean. There were no Coronado Shores then; you really did see the ocean from our top floor, the only obstacle being the “Castle” standing guard over the town’s pristine beaches. The Castle, of course, was the magically enchanting Hotel Del Coronado. In that year, my parents purchased this sprawling property for the hefty sum of $13,500.
With our time on North Island come to an end, we moved into our spacious home on Glorietta Boulevard – the best street in town, in many of the locals’ opinion – and onto a new fantasy life for the Dill family, with the promise of bigger dreams coming true. The adventures were about to begin – and surely they did. As a young child and remembering back, this is the way I saw my life.
In loving memory of my father, Max LeVine, a Pearl Harbor Survivor.
These Pearl Harbor photos were taken from a sailor who was on the USS Quapaw ATF-110. They were found in an old Brownie camera in a foot locker and just recently taken to be developed. What quality from 1941!
Isn’t it amazing how a film could last so long in a camera without disintegrating! Taken over 68 years, these photos are fantastic! Some of you would have to go to a museum to see what a Brownie camera looked like. Here is a simple picture of what we are talking about:
On Sunday, December 7th, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii . By planning this attack on a Sunday, the Japanese commander, Admiral Nagumo, hoped to catch the entire fleet in port. As luck would have it, the aircraft carriers and one of the battleships were not in port. The USS Enterprise was returning from Wake Island, where it had just delivered some aircraft. The USS Lexington was ferrying aircraft to Midway, and the USS Saratoga and the USS Colorado were undergoing repairs in the United States.
In spite of the latest intelligence reports about the missing aircraft carriers his most important targets, Admiral Nagumo decided to continue the attack with his force of six carriers and 423 aircraft. At a range of 230 miles north of Oahu, he launched the first wave of a two-wave attack. Beginning at 0600 hours his first wave consisted of 183 fighters and torpedo bombers which struck at the fleet in Pearl Harbor and the air fields in Hickam, Kaneohe and Ewa. The second strike, launched at 0715 hours, consisted of 167 aircraft, which again struck at the same targets.
At 0753 hours, the first wave consisting of 40 Nakajima B5N2 ‘Kate’ torpedo bombers, 51 Aichi D3A1 ‘Val’ dive bombers, 50 high altitude bombers and 43 Zeros struck airfields and Pearl Harbor. Within the next hour, the second wave arrived and continued the attack. When it was over, the U.S. losses were:
Casualties – 2,403 KIA; 1, 178 WIA; Battleships Total Loss — USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma; USS Utah; 3 others were sunk, raised, & repaired; 3 suffered light damage; Cruisers – 1, heavily damaged; 4 lightly damaged – all repaired; Minelayer, Seaplane Tender, Repair Ship, Harbor Tug – 2 sunk, raised, & repaired; 2 severely damaged, repaired; Aircraft – 188 destroyed.
Women have had a continuous and growing presence in the U.S. Navy throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Women worked as nurses for the Navy as early as the American Civil War. The United States Navy Nurse Corps was officially established in 1908. Whenever international or domestic events dictated the need, the Navy expanded its opportunities for women to serve.
The first large-scale employment of women as naval personnel took place to meet the severe clerical shortages of the World War I era. The Naval Reserve Act of 1916 had conspicuously omitted mention of gender as a condition for service, leading to formal permission to begin enlisting women in mid-March 1917, shortly before the United States entered the “Great War.” Nearly six hundred Yeomen (Females) were on duty by the end of April 1917, a number that had grown to over eleven thousand in December 1918, shortly after the Armistice.
The Yeomen (F), or “Yeomanettes” as they were popularly known, primarily served in secretarial and clerical positions, though some were translators, draftsmen, fingerprint experts, ship camouflage designers, and recruiting agents. The great majority were assigned duties at naval installations in the continental United States, frequently near their homes, processing the great volume of paperwork generated by the war effort.
Yeomen (F), all of whom held enlisted ranks, continued in service during the first months of the post-war naval reductions. Their numbers declined steadily, reaching just under four thousand by the end of July 1919, when they were all released from active duty. Yeomen (F) were continued on inactive reserve status, receiving modest retainer pay, until the end of their four-year enlistments, at which point all women except Navy nurses disappeared from the uniformed Navy until 1942.
Many honorably discharged Yeomen (F) were appointed to civil service positions in the same Navy yards and stations where they had served in wartime. Entitled to veterans’ preference for government employment, they provided a strong female presence in the Navy’s civilian staff through the decades after World War I.
We could begin anywhere with the history of women in the military forces, and especially in the naval forces. So, let’s just start with the WAVES: The U.S. Navy created a division which consisted entirely of women in the World War II era. WAVES is an acronym for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service”. With the word “emergency” included, it implied that women were only accepted to this all-men league in unusual circumstances of war and that at the end of such war, the women would not be allowed to continue in naval careers.
After a twenty-three year absence, women returned to general Navy service in August 1942, when Milfred McAfee was sworn in as a Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander, the first female commissioned officer in U.S. naval history. Lt. Commander McAfee was also the first Director of the WAVES. This legendary female was also President of Wellesley College. This occurred two months after the WAAC (Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps) was established and Eleanor Roosevelt convinced Congress to authorize a women’s component of the Navy – the WAVES.
Lt. Commander McAfee
In the decades since the last of the Yeomen left active duty, only a relatively small corps of Navy nurses represented their gender in the naval service and they had never had formal officer status. Now, the Navy was preparing to accept not just a large number of enlisted women, as it had done during World War I, but female Commissioned Officers to supervise them. It was a development of lasting significance.
An important distinction between WAAC and the WAVES was the fact that the WAAC was an “auxiliary” organization serving with the Army, not in it. From the very beginning, the WAVES were an official part of the Navy, and its members held the same rank and ratings as male personnel. They also received the same pay and were subject to military discipline. The WAAC became the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in July, 1943, giving its members military status to that of the WAVES.
WAVES could not serve aboard combat ships or aircraft. Initially, these women were restricted to duty in the continental United States. Late in WWII, WAVES were authorized to serve in certain overseas U.S. possessions, and a number were sent to Hawaii. The war ended before any could be sent to other locations.
Within their first years, the WAVES were 27,000 strong – mostly assuming clerical work. The WAVES did not accept any African-American women until late 1944, at which point they trained one black woman for every 36 white women enlisted. In 1948, with the passage of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, women gained permanent status in the armed services. Although, the WAVES officially ceased to exist at this point, the acronym continued to exist until well into the 1970s.
The first six enlisted women to be sworn into the regular Navy on July 7, 1948 were Kay Langdon, Wilma Marchal, Edna Young, Frances Devaney, Doris Robertson, and Ruth Flora. On October 15, 1948, the first eight women to be commissioned in the regular Navy were Joy Bright Hancock, Winifred Quick Collins, Ann King, Frances Willoughby, Ellen Ford, Doris Cranmore, Doris Defenderfer, and Betty Rae Tennant. They took their oath as officers.
The WAVES kept the homefront affairs of the U.S. Navy going while the men were assigned to ships serving around the globe. While the official song of the U.S. Navy men was “Anchors Aweigh”, the WAVES’ official song was sung in counterpoint to the men:
WAVES of the Navy,
There’s a ship sailing down the bay.
And she won’t slip into port again
Until that Victory Day.
Carry on for that gallant ship
And for every hero brave
Who will find ashore, his man-sized chore
Was done by a Navy WAVE…
Women in the Naval Reserve were recalled along with their male counterparts for duty during the Korean War. Nurses served aboard the hospital ship, USS Sanctuary in the Vietnam War era. Only nine non-nurse women were authorized to serve in country during this period; however, no enlisted Navy women were authorized.
Major changes occurred for Navy women in the 1970s. The first female naval officer was appointed to flag rank in 1972, Captain Alene B. Duerk. She was followed in 1976 by RADM Fran McKee as the first female unrestricted line officer appointed to this rank. During this time, women began to enter the surface warfare and aviation fields. They also gained access to officer accession programs previously only open to men. Women started to screen for command opportunities ashore.
In 1973, the Secretary of the Navy announced the authorization of naval aviation training for women. The next year, the Navy became the first service to graduate a woman pilot, Lt. Barbara Allen Rainey. In 1976, the United States Naval Academy along with other military academies first accepted women and commissioned its first female graduates in 1980. That same year, women also began attending Aviation Officer Candidate School. In 1979, the Surface Warfare Community opened to women with the first female obtaining her SWO qualification. We also saw the Naval Flight Officer program opened to women this year & Lt. Lynn Spruill became the first woman naval aviator to obtain carrier qualifications.
Three decades into the future, the Department of the Navy authorized a policy change allowing women to begin serving onboard Navy submarines. The new policy and plan is set in motion with the integration of female officers to begin early in 2012.
Today, there are over 52,000 women serving on active duty in an array of traditional and non-traditional ratings or careers in the U.S. Navy. Like their male counterparts, female enlisted sailors are expected to adhere to regulations, specific to appearance: grooming, health and physical fitness. However, some differences exist in relation to pregnancy and parenting provisions.
In the Navy, women are eligible to serve in all ratings except as a SEAL or Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen. The current policy set by Congress and the Secretary of Defense excludes women from direct combat billets in the military.
NOTED NAVAL NURSES IN U.S. HISTORY
Nursing, in the sense of bedside attendance of the sick and injured, has existed in the Navy from the first. Performed by enlisted crew members, the function was increasingly formalized during the 19th Century as part of the duties of the emerging hospital corpsman rates.
Even in the early 1800s, there was a recommendation that women be employed as Navy nurses. Nothing much came of this until the American Civil War, when Catholic Sisters of the Holy Cross served in Navy facilities and on board the pioneer hospital ship USS Red Rover. This was part of a great endeavor by women during the conflict, an undertaking which led to the post-war establishment of nursing as a real profession requiring formal training – a profession both open to and dominated by women. The U.S. Navy officially established the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908.
In 1862, Sisters of the Holy Cross served aboard USS Red Rover, the Navy’s first hospital ship, joining a crew of 12 officers, 35 enlisted, and others supporting medical care. Red Rover remained the only hospital ship in the Navy until the Spanish-American War.
Loretta Perfectus Walsh (1896-1925), became the first American active-duty Navy woman and the first woman to serve in any of the United States armed forces other than as a nurse. Walsh enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on March 17, 1917. She subsequently became the first woman Navy petty officer when she was sworn in as Chief Yeoman on March 21, 1917.
Captain Ruth Alice Erickson was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1962-1966. As a lieutenant in the corps, she witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. She served as chief nurse at three major naval hospitals before becoming director.
Retired Rear Admiral Frances Teresa Shea-Buckley was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from1979-1983. Shea joined the corps in 1951 and stayed in the Reserves when she left active duty in 1954. She earned a masters degree in nursing service administration. After returning to active duty in 1960 with a stint in Vietnam, she became the director in 1979 and became the commanding officer of Naval Health Sciences Education and Training Command as well as deputy commander of Personnel Management, Naval Medical Command.
Retired Rear Admiral Mary Joan Nielubowicz was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1983-1987. She was promoted to Commodore, in which this rank was changed to Rear Admiral in 1985. The following year the members of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States established the Mary J. Nielubowicz Essay Award in recognition of her outstanding support and encouragement of active and reserve nurses. Retired Rear Admiral Mary Fields Hall was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1987 to 1991. She was the first military U.S. military nurse to command a hospital. She became the commanding officer at Naval Hospital, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1983, and later, commanded Naval Hospital, Long Beach, California.
Rear Admiral Joan Marie Engel held the position as the 18th Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1994-1998. She concurrently served as deputy commander of personnel management in the Health Sciences, Education and Training Command, and later as assistant chief for Education, Training and Personnel. Engel earned the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commandant Medal, and the National Defense Medal with bronze star in her distinguished naval career.
MODERN WOMEN’S MILESTONES IN NAVAL HISTORY
1990, Rear Admiral Marsha J. Evans, USN was the first woman to command a Naval Station. She assumed command of Naval Station, Treasure Island San Francisco. ￼
In the same year, Lieutenant Commander Darlene Iskra, USN was the first Navy woman to command a ship, the USS Opportune. ￼
In 1993, Congress repealed the Combat Exclusion Law allowing women to serve on combatant ships.
In 1996, Carol Mutter became the first female three-star officer in the military. Patricia Tracey became the second a few months later.￼
In 1998, Lillian Fishburne became the first black female promoted to flag rank.￼
Also in 1998, Commander Maureen A. Farren became the first woman to command a combatant ship when she took command of USS Mount Vernon, an amphibious dock landing ship.
In 2001, Captain Vernice Armour, USMC earned her wings. The Department of Defense acknowledged her as the first female African American combat pilot in the military during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She completed two tours in the Persian Gulf. After leaving the Marine Corps, she became an international motivation speaker.
In 2006, Angela Salina was the first Hispanic woman Brigadier General in the Marine Corps.
Zenaida Colon, a native of Puerto Rico and the Navy’s only female Master Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician joined the USS Bataan crew also in 2008.￼
On January 9, 2009, Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus announced that women would be assigned to Ohio Class submarines. The first women are expected to report to subs this year.
WOMEN AS ADMIRALS
Rear Admiral Cynthia A. Coogan
Rear Admiral Cynthia Coogan is currently assigned as the Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Criminal Investigations. It is her responsibility to direct, coordinate, and oversee intelligence operations and activities that support all Coast Guard mission objectives, the National Strategy for Homeland Security, and National Security objectives. Throughout her career, she has received the following awards: two Legion of Merits, the Meritorious Service Medal with the Operational Distinguishing Device (five awards), 9/11 Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal (two awards), and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal (five awards).
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USN
“A Legend in Her Own Time”, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper dedicated her life to the Navy. As a pioneer computer programmer and co-inventor of COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), she was known as the “Grand Lady of Software”, “Amazing Grace”, and “Grandma COBOL”. Grace’s life consisted of one success after another including significant contributions to the computer age and the Navy.
After graduating from Vassar in 1928 with a BA in Mathematics at the age of 22, she went on to Yale University where she earned a MA in Mathematics as well as Physics; only to continue her education by earning her PhD in 1934 from the same edified university. Hopper began teaching mathematics at Vassar in 1931 where her first year’s salary was $800.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor bringing on World War II, Grace wanted to serve her country by joining the military. The obstacles would have deterred a lesser person. She was 34, which was considered too old for enlistment, and the government had declared her occupation as a mathematics professor as crucial. Navy officials told her she could best serve the war effort by remaining a civilian. Undaunted, she managed to get special permission and a leave of absence from her teaching position at Vassar. She also wrangled a waiver on the weight requirement. Weighing in at 105, she was sixteen pounds underweight for her height of five feet six inches. Grace persevered and was sworn into the U.S. Navy Reserve in December 1943. For 43 years, she proudly served the Navy she loved so dearly.
Upon being sworn in, Hopper was commissioned a LTJG and ordered to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University. There she became the first programmer on the Navy’s Mark I computer, the mechanical miracle of its day. Hopper’s love of gadgets caused her to immediately fall for the biggest gadget she’d ever seen, the fifty-one foot long, 8 foot high, 8 foot wide, glass-encased mound of bulky relays, switches and vacuum tubes called the Mark I. This miracle of modern science could store 72 words and perform three additions every second.
In 1946, Hopper was released from active duty and joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where her work continued on the Mark II and Mark III computers for the Navy. In 1949, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in Philadelphia, later called Sperry Rand, where she designed the first commercial large-scale electronic computer called the UNIVAC I. Grace’s love affair with the Mark I ended when the UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer) won her affections. This computer system operated a thousand times faster than Mark I did.
She changed the lives of everyone in the computer industry by developing the Bomarc system, later called COBOL. COBOL made it possible for computers to respond to words rather than numbers. Hopper often jokingly explained, “It really came about because I couldn’t balance my checkbook.” She’s also credited with coining the term “bug” when she traced an error in the Mark II to a moth trapped in a relay. The bug was carefully removed and taped to a daily log book. Since then, whenever a computer has a problem, it’s referred to as a bug.
Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander at the end of 1966. She was recalled to active duty in August of 1967 for what was supposed to be a six-month assignment at the request of Norman Ream, then Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy for Automatic Data Processing. After the six months were up, her orders were changed to say her services would be needed indefinitely. She was promoted to Captain in 1973 by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations. And in 1977, she was appointed special advisor to Commander, Naval Data Automation Command (NAVDAC), where she stayed until she retired.
In 1983, a bill was introduced by Rep. Philip Crane (D-Ill.) who said, “It is time the Navy recognized the outstanding contributions made by this officer recalled from retirement over a decade and a half ago and promote her to the rank of Commodore.” Rep. Crane became interested in Hopper after seeing her March 1983 “60 Minutes” interview. He’d never met Hopper, but after speaking with several people, was convinced she was due the added status of being a flag officer. The bill was approved by the House, and at the age of 76, she was promoted to Commodore by special Presidential appointment. Her rank was elevated to rear admiral in November 1985, making her one of few women admirals in the history of the United States Navy. She retired at the age of 80. It was at her retirement that she was presented the highest award given by the Department of Defense – the Defense Distinguished Service Medal – one of innumerable awards she received from both the Navy and industry.
Other awards include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the National Medal of Technology, awarded last September by President George Bush. She also received the first computer sciences “man of the year” award from the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA) in 1969. Other achievements include retiring from the Navy as a Rear Admiral and the oldest serving officer at that time, and being the first woman to be awarded a PhD in Mathematics from Yale University.
Retirement didn’t slow Grace Hopper down. Shortly thereafter, she became a Senior Consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation where she was active until about 18 months before her death. She functioned in much the same capacity she did when she was in the Navy, traveling on lecture tours around the country, speaking at engineering forums, colleges, universities and computer seminars passing on the message that managers shouldn’t be afraid of change. She always placed very high importance on America’s youth. Hopper often said, “working with the youth is the most important job I’ve done. It’s also the most rewarding.” This seems perfectly natural since she spent all her adult life teaching others.
One dream Hopper didn’t fulfill was living to the age of 94. She wanted to be here December 31, 1999 for the New Year’s Eve to end all New Year’s Eve parties. She also wanted to be able to look back at the early days of the computer and say to all the doubters, “See? We told you the computer could do all that!”
Her insight into the future will stay with us even though she’s gone. Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery in the first month of 1992.
Rear Admiral Nora W. Tyson
Tennessee is where Rear Admiral Tyson graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She then went on to attend Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., receiving her commission in the U.S. Navy in December of that same year. Tyson reported for flight training in Pensacola, Florida where she earned her flight wings as a naval flight officer in 1983.
Amongst her duties was command of the amphibious assault ship USS BATAAN leading the Navy’s contributions to disaster relief on the U.S. Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rear Admiral Tyson was also deployed twice to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tyson earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Affairs from the U.S. Naval War College in 1995.
Ashore, she served as Airborne Communications Officer Course instructor and officer in charge at Naval Air Maintenance Training Detachment 1079, NAS Patuxent River, Md. She has also completed tours on the Joint Staff as a political-military planner in the Asia-Pacific Division of the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate; as executive assistant for the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; as director of staff for commander, Naval Forces Europe/commander 6th Fleet, and as executive assistant for the chief of naval operations. Her most recent assignment was as commander, Logistics Group, Western Pacific/commander, Task Force 73.
By A. R. Graham
The wealthy guests of John D. Spreckels’ once went riding across North Island hunting jackrabbits. The land was then separated from Coronado by the ‘Spanish Bight’, a shallow channel that ran from the Pacific Ocean to the bay. Used in the late 19th century for horseback riding and hunting by guests of the Hotel del Coronado, it was nothing more than an uninhabited sand flat. Many famous figures have left their prints on this tiny piece of land and sand.
A division of the U.S. Cavalry once exercised their horses along its golden shores. An English prince ran off with the wife of the base’s first commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Earl W. Spencer, Jr. His wife was Wallis Warfield, a prominent socialite who was to remarry twice, and finally, become Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson Windsor, better known as the Duchess of Windsor, for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne in 1936.
The list of American military pilots trained at North Island reads like the Who’s Who of aviation. However, America was not the only country interested in aviation early in the twentieth century. Six years before, the Naval Air Station was commissioned, Glenn Curtiss trained the first group of Japanese aviators at his flying school on North Island. Among them was a Lieutenant Yamada, later the head of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Naval Aviation arm in World War II. North Island was commissioned as the Naval Air Station in 1917 and called Naval Air Station San Diego until 1955. On August 15, 1963, the station was granted official recognition as the “Birthplace of Naval Aviation” by resolution of the House Armed Services Committee.
The Navy’s first aviator, Lieutenant Theodore Ellyson, and many of his colleagues were trained at North Island starting as early as 1911. This was just eight years after Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the first manned aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
In 1886, North Coronado Island and South Coronado were purchased by a developer to become a residential resort. South Coronado, which is not an island but the terminus of a peninsula known as the Silver Strand, became the city of Coronado. Fortunately for the Navy, North Coronado was never developed. Instead, Glenn Curtiss opened a flying school and held a lease to the property until the beginning of World War I. In 1917, Congress appropriated the land and two airfields were commissioned on its sandy flats. The Navy started with a tent city known as “Camp Trouble”. As its name suggests, things did not always go well in the early days. The Navy shared North Island with the Army Signal Corps’ Rockwell Field until 1937, when the Army left, and the Navy expanded its operations to cover the whole of North Island. In 1914, then-unknown aircraft builder, Glenn Martin, took off and demonstrated his pusher aircraft over the island with a flight that included the first parachute jump in the San Diego area. The jump was made by a ninety-pound civilian woman named Tiny Broadwick. Other aviation milestones originating at North Island included the first seaplane flight in 1911, the first mid-air refueling, and the first non-stop transcontinental flight, both in 1923.
One of history’s most famous aviation feats was the flight of Charles A. Lindbergh from New York to Paris in May 1927. That flight originated at Rockwell Field on North Island on May 10, 1927, when Lindbergh began the first leg of his journey.
Forefathers of today’s “Blue Angels”, the three-plane “Sea Hawks” from VF-6B, the “Felix the Cat” squadron, were thrilling audiences with flight demonstrations as early as 1928. They demonstrated the training skills of Navy fighter and bomber pilots, and on many occasions, flew their aircraft in formation with the wings tethered together.
During World War II, North Island was the major continental U.S. base supporting the operating forces in the Pacific. Those forces included over a dozen aircraft carriers, the Coast Guard, Army, Marines, and Seabees. The city of Coronado became home to most of the aircraft factory workers and dependents of the mammoth base which was operating around the clock. Major USO entertainment shows and bond drives were held weekly at the Ships Service Auditorium, which was later replaced by the 2,100-seat Lowry Theater.
Famous people stationed here or on ships home ported here during the war years included Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Guy Madison, future television cowboy star of the 1950s and 1960s as Wild Bill Hickok, who was at that time, Seaman Bob Mosely, a lifeguard at the NAS crews pool. Stars like the Marx Brothers and Bob Hope appeared regularly at USO shows at the auditorium. Two films of a bygone era were also filmed here including Hell Divers with Clark Gable in 1931 and Hellcats of the Navy with Ronald and Nancy Reagan in 1957.
In 1944, the Army Corps of Engineers filled in the Spanish Bight to allow for more construction. North Island today is an island in name only.
Today, the Naval Air Station at North Island is part of the largest aerospace-industrial complex in the Navy. It includes Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Outlying Field Imperial Beach, and Naval Air Landing Facility, San Clemente Island. The complex totals 5,000 acres stretching from the entrance to San Diego Bay to the Mexican border. North Island itself is host to 23 squadrons and 75 additional tenant commands and activities, one of which, the Naval Aviation Depot, is the largest aerospace employer in San Diego.
Admiral George Stephen Morrison
George Stephen Morrison was a Rear Admiral and naval aviator in the United States Navy. Morrison was commander of the U. S. naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August 1964. He was the father of Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the legendary rock band, The Doors.
Morrison was born in Rome, Georgia to Caroline and Paul Morrison. He was raised in Leesburg, Florida. Morrison entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1938. He graduated in 1941, was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy, and was sent to Hawaii. Assigned to the minelayer Pruitt (DM-22) at Pearl Harbor, he witnessed the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.
In 1943, he studied flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, graduating in spring 1944. Morrison flew missions in the Pacific Theater for the duration of World War II.
After the war, he was an instructor for secret nuclear-weapons projects in Albuquerque. During the Korean War, he was assigned to the joint operations center in Seoul, earning a Bronze Star for his part in combat operations against North Korea and Chinese forces.
In 1963, Morrison took command of the Essex-class aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), flagship of a 3rd Fleet Carrier Division (today’s Carrier Strike Group) in the Pacific and based at Naval Air Station, Alameda, California. Morrison was in command of the Carrier Division during the controversial Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which resulted in a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam War. In 1966, he was promoted to Rear Admiral; at age 46. In 1972, he was appointed Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in the Marianas. As such, he was in charge of relief efforts for Vietnamese refugees sent to Guam after the 1975 fall of Saigon.
Admiral Morrison was the keynote speaker at the decommissioning ceremony for Bon Homme Richard, his first ship as an admiral, on July 3, 1971 in Washington, D.C., the same day his son, Jim Morrison, died in Paris, France at age 27.
Morrison retired in 1975.
Morrison met and married Clara Clarke in Hawaii in 1942. Their son, James Douglas, was born in 1943 in Melbourne, Florida. A daughter, Anne Robin, was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a son, Andrew Lee Morrison, was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California.
In retirement, the Morrison’s lived in Coronado and Chula Vista, California. Clara Clarke Morrison, 89, died after a long illness in Coronado on December 29, 2005. Rear Admiral Morrison died in Coronado on November 17, 2008. His private memorial service was held on November 24 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. His ashes were scattered at sea near the same spot off Point Loma, where his wife’s ashes had been scattered nearly three years earlier. Admiral George Stephen Morrison left behind the legacy of an outstanding military career as well as his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
A Silver Medallion
Admiral Morrison was Commander-in-Chief of Carrier Division 9 stationed at Sasebo, Japan. He had a fleet of carriers and was doing some serious ass-kicking during the Vietnam War. One of the carriers used was the mighty battleship, the New Jersey, which had 16-inch guns and once unleashed a salvo which sank half of a small island. The Admiral received a glowing citation which was written on fine parchment accompanied by a silver medallion as big as your face. He read it to us out loud at a family gathering. His countenance radiated deep pride and pleasure.
Admiral George Stephen Morrison was so small as a child that he was given shots to spur his growth to little or no success. He stands 5’8” and his sisters and parents were also petite. Anne is 5’7”, Andy is about 5’11”, and Jim was 5’10”. Jim appeared taller because he wore boots that elevated his height by several inches. Jim was not big-chested and neither was his father, who was perfectly toned, but never large nor muscular.
The Admiral used to tell us stories of his years as a cadet at the U. S. Naval Academy. He always inserted the Morrison touch of humor into all. This was one of his favorites:
Because of his stature, he had difficulty keeping up with his long-legged shipmates, who ran him ragged. Running was the order of the day. The cadets ran everywhere.
When the dinner bell rang, Steve, as part of a fire crew that consisted of a cart, ladder, and fire bell propelled by six galloping cadets, took up the rear. By the time they reached the dinner table, the fire crew was lobster-hot in addition to the sauna-like Maryland heat. “Wow! My feet never touched the ground a lot of the time!” When the Admiral told this story, he did it with so much animation that it left us in stitches with his theatrics.
The Admiral is, among other things, a superb athlete. We played doubles table tennis regularly. The Admiral was laser precise, NASCAR-quick, and impossible to beat.
He was also one of the rare ones that excelled on the rings. He can be seen in action from photographs in the 1943 graduation book of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Steve has remained in perfect shape all of his life. So much so that over fifty years later, he could easily wear the uniform he graduated in to naval academy reunions – and it fit him perfectly.
In the early 1970’s, the Admiral came to visit Anne and I. While we were in the backyard playing with the kids on a set of regulation parallel bars, he gave us a few pointers. He walked languidly to the bars, grabbed them, and went into a perfect kip – a stunning piece of aerial choreography. It was like watching Nureyev as he landed like a leaf. For a split second, he maintained perfect posture as if he was in a competition and the judges were watching.
The Admiral and the UFO
Back in the day, we were sitting around talking about UFOs, Area 51, and all the other lunatic alien legends. We were laughing about the accounts of people claiming they had been abducted by aliens who then proceeded to fiddle or tamper with them. The Admiral suddenly pronounced, “I chased a UFO once.” We sat in rapt silence waiting for the punch line. His story went like this:
Steve and his fighter squadron were patrolling the skies during the Korean conflict when they saw a silver object at three o’clock moving at a high rate of speed. Steve radioed for permission to pursue the unidentified flying object. He and a few other members gave chase for ten minutes. When they finally got near enough to see more clearly, the object started shimmering in the bright morning sunlight. It appeared to be picking up speed while simultaneously sending an urgent transmission.
The young aviators were fixing to blow this sucker out of the shy, when Lt. Commander Morrison, who had arrived on the scene first, discovered that the UFO was an escaped shiny metallic weather balloon.
The Admiral Wore Desert Boots
When Captain Morrison became Admiral Morrison, he received orders for duty at the Navy building in London, England. Clara leased a huge apartment on Bayswater Road just a few miles from the American Embassy. Anne was attending an extension of the University of Gainesville on an Air Force base outside of the city and Andy attended an extension of the American high school system.
The Admiral would take a brisk morning walk to work every day. In 1966, England’s fashion scene was wild. The mini-skirt was barely a skirt at all and most young people looked like peacocks with colors so dazzling one needed furnace goggles just to walk down the street.
The Morrison’s dressed conservatively, indeed. Americans were so shocked and amused to see a nation of popinjays with funny accents that it was a laugh-riot to them.
One day, Andy challenged his father to be more with it and dress in some modern clothes. That evening, when the Admiral came home from work, he told Andy that he had a surprise for him. He left the room and returned ten minutes later wearing Andy’s buttoned down, collegiate-striped shirt, bell-bottomed Levi’s, and a pair of tan desert boots. This was the standard dress for most American high school kids at that time. The clothes fit the Admiral perfectly.
The Admiral always looked young for his age. Even then, at the age of fifty, he sometimes looked like a young man. He wore the clothes the rest of the night. When friends came over to visit, nobody said a word, neither the Morrison’s nor the guests. Clara almost burst her lungs trying not to laugh.
The Admiral Goes Back to School
When the Admiral retired from the Navy, he was only in his fifties. So, he considered a second career as a university mathematics instructor. He began taking refresher courses at San Diego State University.
There is a fine distinction in the Navy when it comes to rank. When a commander retires from the service, he is awarded a final promotion in the form of the rank of admiral. As you can imagine, there are a great number of admirals who are so in name only. Admiral George Stephen Morrison was not one of those. Instead, he rose through the ranks at lightning speed due to hard work and dedication. He was also one of the youngest admirals in the entire history of the United States Navy.
The Admiral’s math professor was a retired naval commander himself and a strict no-nonsense teacher. However, using the previous equation, that would in actuality, make the math professor a lieutenant commander, the lesser rank. The professor, who applied this military manner in his dealings with all the students, was unaware that he had a retired bona fide admiral in his class.
“Class begins at 0800 hours and I require strict punctuality.” The stern officer/teacher had issued this edict to the entire class on the very first day. It had been made the order of the day.
Not too long after that, the Admiral forgot his reading glasses. So, he went home to retrieve them, making him late for class. This, in turn, caused the professor to sneer, “Well, Mr. Morrison, what did they say to you when you arrived late for work at your job?”
The Admiral responded with superb biting humor, never missing a beat, “They used to say, ‘Good morning, Admiral.’”
The silence was deafening and it prevailed for what seemed like an hour as the professor’s face underwent many contorted shapes. The Admiral sat in his chair with all the confidence of a trial lawyer who had just dealt a smug prosecutor a lethal and unexpected legal ass whipping.
The professor/lieutenant commander was blinking faster than “I Dream of Jeannie” as he tried to snap himself back to some semblance of the control he believed he once had. The Admiral sat in bemused silence and so did the rest of the class.
The chastened professor/officer saluted the Admiral every morning after that, especially when he was late.
The Admiral was a specialist in electronic warfare. One of his projects was to put the first ever Navy spy satellite into orbit around the earth. He kept a replica of the hand-sized metal sphere which had five “My Favorite Martian” antennae protruding from its center. “Back then, that’s all we could throw up there”, the Admiral would say, “and there are still things about the project I am not allowed to discuss.” He was true blue when it came to the rules. “Suffer the consequences if you violate the rules.” He was not a lenient man nor was he harsh in his application of discipline with his children and the men under his command.
Yet there was another side to him. While the family was driving across the country on one of their many trips connected to tours of duty, the Admiral said, “The rules were made to be broken intelligently.” I believe there is a part of him that understood that many people cannot function in a gray society or strict environment. In that belief system, you must challenge the boundaries, but not head on. In other words, “You must do what you want without appearing to have broken the rules.” In essence, “Don’t get caught. If you do get caught, you should not receive special treatment and must be punished under the full penalty of the law.”
Celebration of the Piano
The Morrison kids grew up singing around the piano. Over the years, Clara Morrison recorded get-togethers and kept them “in a well by the side of the road”.
Oftentimes, when we gathered at the ivories, Captain McDairmott, the Morrison’s longtime friend and the Admiral’s shipmate, would record our sessions. Some went back to the days when the Morrison kids were quite young. I have a recording of Jim singing, “You Get a Line and I’ll Get a Pole”, when he was ten years old.
During one of our songfests, the Captain asked the Admiral to say something into the microphone for a test. He deferred to me. I, in turn, asked him to repeat something he had said earlier in his lecture about nuclear energy.
“E to the high of pi (or high pi) plus one equals zero”, which he explained was the entire basis of mathematics. In mathematical language, this means, God.
The Admiral Arrested
Admiral Morrison loved to go to Las Vegas to play cards. Two or three times a year, he and Clara would check into one of the big resort hotels for a week of relaxation and gambling. Clara had terrorized every slot machine in Vegas for many years and invariably won.
The Admiral had a formula that he unflinchingly adhered to. It was a mathematical equation known only to him. This method never failed in the big picture — for even though he lost a few hands, he always came away from the table a winner. The only flaw in the Admiral’s near-flawless enterprise was the amount of money he wagered. It was always the same, no matter what. The Admiral was a measured man, who would never indulge in excess to any degree, and so it was with gambling. His bet never exceeded two dollars, ever.
On one of the Morrison’s gambling junkets, the Admiral was having a good old time as he won every round. Each time the dealer issued him a winning hand, all eyes focused in his direction as he placed a new bet – the very same sum of two dollars – over and over again. To degenerate gamblers, this cautiously guarded playing style is a shameful practice and they are appalled by such a punk wager. He might just as well have been playing Monopoly or Parcheesi because to a real gambler, “This guy is a jinx.” His normally steady and sober gaming method elsewhere would be a virtue. However, here in this gamblers’ den of iniquity, it was decidedly unethical, or at the very least, in poor taste.
The word gamble conjures up many reckless synonyms such as action, bet, chance, punt, raffle, risk, spec, stab, toss up, uncertainty, venture, and wager. To the Admiral, it was simply the original derivative of the word gamble which is game. That is what he was doing – playing a game whilst everyone else around him was gambling. His game never changed and he always walked away from the tables either winning or not losing.
One night, the Admiral was up to his usual – that is to say – most unusual display of devil-may-care attitude toward the sacred rules of gambling. He had won nine hands in a row, but kept laying down the same paltry sum of two dollars. The dealer was becoming irritated while the rest of the table wished silently that he would make a larger bet, but he did not.
Finally, a very muscular and very drunk, hardcore gambler at the far side of the table started to laugh out loud every time the high roller won a hand or placed a new bet. In the end, the whole table joined in. Even though they were merely laughing at the drunk’s laughter, which was something between a cackle and a gagging sound, it was getting to the Admiral. Now his smile was beginning to fade. Each time he put down his two-dollar bet, the drunk would loudly sing, Hey, Big Spender, followed by that hideous cackle.
As the dealer laid down the next winning card and before the drunk could issue his next ridiculing remark, the Admiral flew off his chair faster than a light being switched on or off and was in the drunk’s face, “Do you want to do something about it or are you all talk?”
The drunk was flabbergasted and speechless. The Admiral returned to his chair and continued where he left off. He bet the very same two dollars and, by God, he won again. The table was silent and so was the drunk.
Clara related this incident to the rest of the family amid howls of laughter at the prospect of Jim Morrison’s straight-laced father in a near brawl with a drunk in Las Vegas and what a sensational headline that would have made:
“JIM MORRISON’S DAD ARRESTED FOR BEATING OF GAMBLER IN LAS VEGAS”
Andy questioned his father, “What the hell were you thinking, old man, picking a fight with a guy who could crush your head with one hand?” The Admiral answered with pronounced confidence, “I think I could have taken him.”
In his day as a young aviator, he had flown through certain death on many occasions and wreaked serious carnage on the enemy during three separate wars. Yet in civilian life and as a family man, he was the epitome of nonviolence. He never physically disciplined his children or uttered an angry word in their presence. So, it was quite out of character for him to deploy this primitive aspect of his inner self in public.
“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
It has been two weeks of visiting relatives, sons, daughter, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandchildren, and to top it off, Andy Morrison came by for a visit. He told the following story:
“Dad and I were driving to San Diego to pick up some supplies. I had just bought a new Willie Nelson CD and he was anxious to play it. But I didn’t know if Dad would like the music. On this album, Willie is doing the oldies from the Forties and one of the tracks is ‘Stardust’. Well, Dad listened to it intently and when the song was over, he popped the CD out of the deck and put it in his pocket. After a several seconds, he pulled it out of his pocket and asked, ‘Where’s the case?’ When we found it, he put the CD back in the case and returned it to his pocket. I said, ‘Dad, what are you doing?’ He replied, “I’m gonna take it home for your mother to listen to.’”
Father and son both laughed loud and long (the Morrison Anthem) at the Admiral’s sentimentality towards Nelson’s rendition of the ballad. Andy dropped his dad off and rode off to the beach to watch the setting sun.
“Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night
dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
And now my constellation
Is in the stardust of a song…”
–Hoagy Carmichael / Mitchell Parish
NOTE: The Morrison’s retirement home located at 135 “H” Avenue will be featured in the Coronado Historical Association’s Wings of Gold salute to the naval aviators dubbed the “Home Front” Project beginning in February. Each home of these noted naval aviators will have a sign with a number corresponding to a brochure with a map and a brief bio of each aviator placed in the front yard. Brochures and maps are available through the Coronado Historical Association: (619) 435-7242, www.coronadohistory.org
By:Nina Odel AKA Lynne Harpst
In the middle of the 300 block of Eighth Street stands a classical Spanish villa. Typical of many of the beautiful homes built in this style in Coronado in the 1930s, the residence is a treasure of our island. It not only captures our town’s past and present but also secures our future.
Stepping through a bold purple door – the current owner’s favorite color – the foyer affords entry into three main sections of the house: a large and inviting living room with a wood-burning fireplace, a formal dining room, and the second floor via a central sweeping staircase. Whether you choose to ascend the stairs or ride the built-in elevator, what awaits you is a master wing, complete with a spacious master bedroom suite and a large viewing deck. An adjacent wing comprises a large bedroom, sun porch, and office. The red tile roof, mature landscaping, with lush foliage and vibrant flowers, and tiled walkways enhance the beauty of this property. For seventy-five years, the owners of 330 Eighth Street have entertained prominent Coronado guests in the large patio. A generous-size cottage, complete with its own kitchen, provides accommodations for longer-term company. It is certainly a home in which to relax and enjoy the best of Island life.
330 Eighth Street was constructed in 1936 for Admiral Jonas H. Ingram. Born in 1888 in Jefferson Clark County, Indiana, Admiral Ingram was an officer in the United States Navy during both World War I and World War II.
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Ingram was the head football coach from 1914 to 1917, going on to become the Director of Athletics from 1926 to 1930. During the Mexican Revolution, he received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the 1914 Battle of Veracruz. Upon graduation from Annapolis, he served aboard the battleship New York, which operated with the British Grand Fleet during World War I. During World War II, he was Commander-in-Chief of the United States Atlantic Fleet, and was personally responsible for the safety of the convoy of American troops to Europe. In his highly illustrious naval career, he also earned the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Service Medals and the Purple Heart.
After being detached from duty as Commander-in-Chief in 1946, Admiral Ingram retired to his home at 330 Eighth Street. Ending forty years of military service, it was now time for him to enjoy retirement, and what better place to do so than the Emerald Isle! But the Admiral was not an idle retiree. He immediately accepted the position of Commissioner of the All-America Football Conference. Upon his resignation in 1949, he went on to serve as vice president for the Reynolds Metal Company as well as the superintendent of summer schools for Culver Academies. In 1952, he suffered a series of heart attacks, passing away on September 10, 1952.
Admiral Jonas H. Ingram was interred in Section 30 of the Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Jean Fletcher Ingram, who passed two years later, was buried with him.
This was not the end of housing prestigious officers for 330 Eighth Street. Sometime after the passing of Admiral and Mrs. Ingram, Admiral “Jimmy” Thach purchased the residence; and with many a fine social gathering of his peers, he continued the grand home’s naval legacy.
John Smith Thach was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on April 19, 1905. Like Admiral Ingram, he also graduated from the United States Naval Academy. He spent two years serving on battleships before training as a naval aviator in 1929Earning his wings in 1930, Thach quickly built a reputation as one of the most skilled aviators in the Navy. As a member of Fighting One – known as the “High Hats” for the tuxedo-style hat they adopted as their logo – Thach and his squadron performed stunt work for Clark Gable’s 1931 movie, “Hell Divers”. During this period, Thach also set endurance records with experimental aircraft. For the next ten years, he served as a test pilot and instructor, establishing a reputation as an expert in aerial gunnery.
In the early 1940s, Lieutenant Commander Thach took command of Fighting Squadron Three, also known as “Felix the Cat”. It was while serving this unit that he and wingman Edward J. “Butch” O’Hare developed the “Thach Weave”, a combat flight formation that could counter enemy fighters of superior performance.
The maneuver had its first disciplined test at the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942. Using the “Weave”, Thach’s VF-3 downed nineteen out of the twenty Japanese fighters attacking the carrier Lexington. The widespread employment of the maneuver at the Battle of Midway, by planes flying from the Yorktown, showed similar positive results for the U.S. Navy, establishing the legend of the “Thach Weave”.
With his tactical skill deemed too valuable to risk at sea, Thach was transferred to Jacksonville, Florida to teach combat tactics and create training films that became the standard for a generation of naval aviators. It was then that he developed the “big blue blanket” system to provide an adequate defense against Kamikaze suicide attacks.
At the close of World War II, Commander Thach returned to the Pacific as the operations officer to Vice Admiral John McCain’s carrier task force, and was present at the formal Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.
Thach was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1955. He was placed in command of an antisubmarine development unit, “Task Group Alpha”, with the Valley Forge serving as his flagship. He subsequently appeared on the cover of “Time” magazine for his contributions to anti-submarine warfare, a primary focus in the ongoing Cold War. In recognition of his outstanding performance and achievements, the Navy created the Admiral Thach Award, given to the best antisubmarine warfare squadron.
Thach was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1960 and served as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air in the Pentagon, where he presided over the development of the A-7 Corsair II among other naval aviation programs. During his stint as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, he received his fourth star. He was now a full Admiral. Among Admiral Thach’s notable awards were the Navy Cross with Gold Star and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star. Also of note is that he and his brother James were among only a handful of naval officers to serve as full admirals while on active duty.
Retiring from the Navy in May 1967, Admiral Thach settled in for some much needed and well-deserved “R ‘n’ R” at his family home. John Smith Thach died in Coronado on April 15, 1981, a few days shy of his 76th birthday. He was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. The guided missile frigate USS Thach was commissioned in his honor in 1984.
John and Madalynn Thach had four children. The family lived in the Eighth Street home for over thirty years. Heirs of Admiral Thach passed ownership of the residence to civilians in 1988. The Elliott family resided there for 14 years. In March of 2010, retired music producer George Koen and famed heiress Lynne Harpst Koen purchased the prestigious property. “Funk Palace”, as the Koen’s have fondly nicknamed it, hosts Beatles banners, Rock ‘n’ Roll trivia and the memorabilia of Ms. Harpst Koen’s incomparable family – a founding family of Coronado whose benefaction to the town is immeasurable.
On February 4, 2011, the Coronado Historical Association will open an exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of U.S. naval aviation. Entitled “Wings of Gold: Coronado and Naval Aviation”, it will emphasize the role of Coronado in that remarkable history: Coronado is often referred to as the birthplace of naval aviation. The exhibit will be housed in the Coronado Museum of History and Art, with a special members’ preview on February 3. “Wings of Gold” will include photographs, documents and objects from the museum’s archives.
There will also be a self-guided “Salute to Naval Aviators” tour beginning February 4. The home of Admirals Ingram and Thach, located at 330 Eighth Street, will be one of the featured spots on the “Home of a Naval Aviator” tour, as well as the homes of Admiral Morrison and many other notable naval officers.
Maps and brochures are available from the Coronado Museum of History and Art located at 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., 10-5 p.m. For more information, call (619) 435-7242 or log onto www.coronadohistory.org
General Mess Manual and Cookbook, U.S. Navy. [First US Navy cookbook issued in 1902.]
Traditional Navy Recipes
Do you miss some of the traditional fare from the mess decks aboard ship? Here are recipes for a number of Navy dishes from 1958. Now, invite a lot of old shipmates or get out your scratchpad and calculator — these recipes are geared toward 100 portions.
Baking Powder Biscuits
Creamed Sliced Dried Beef
Navy Bean Soup
Baking Powder Biscuits
|YIELD: 300 Biscuits or 100 Portions, each portion 3 biscuits (1 ounce each)|
2 1/2 cups
|—||1. Sift dry ingredients into bowl of mixing machine.|
|Shortening||3 3/4 lb.||7 1/2 cups||—||2. Add shortening to flour mixture and blend until consistency of cornmeal (low speed, approximately 3 minutes).|
|Milk||5 or 6 qt.||—||3. Add milk and mix until dough is formed (low speed, approximately 1 minute).
4. Place portion of dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until dough is smooth.
5. Shape into a ball and roll to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch.
- BUTTERSCOTCH BISCUITS: Roll dough into a rectangular sheet 1/3 inch thick. Spread with melted butter and brown sugar. Roll dough as for jelly roll. Cut into slices 3/4-inch thick.
- CHEESE BISCUITS: Add 2 lbs. (2 qt.) of dry grated cheese to dough. Brush biscuits with milk and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- CINNAMON BISCUITS: Proceed as for butterscotch biscuits. Spread with melted butter, granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- COBBLER: Place prepared fruit in pan. Cover with biscuit dough 3/8-inch thick; dock, and brush with melted shortening.
- ORANGE BISCUITS: Make a small indentation and place 1/2 teaspoon orange marmalade on each biscuit.
- WHOLE WHEAT BISCUIT: Substitute 7 lbs. of whole wheat flour for 7 lbs. of white flour.
Creamed Sliced Dried Beef
|YIELD: 6 1/4 Gallons or 100 portions, each portion: 1 cup|
|Butter or shortening
2 1/2 lb.
2 1/2 qt.
|—||1. Melt shortening add flour, and blend. Add pepper. Cook 5 minutes.|
|Milk, hot||4 3/4 gal.||—||2. Add hot milk slowly, stirring to prevent lumping.|
|Beef, dried, sliced
|1 3/4 gal.
|—||3. Separate beef into slices. Cook in hot shortening until edges curl.
4. Add to white sauce. Blend.
1. If beef is too salty, omit cooking in hot shortening (step 3), soak beef in hot water 15 minutes and drain before adding to white sauce.
2. If desired, freshly sliced dried beef may be added to white sauce without cooking in hot fat.
3. Serve with toast, baked potato, steamed rice, noodles, spaghetti, or cornbread.
Navy Bean Soup
|YIELD: 6 1/4 Gallons or 100 portions, each portion: 1 cup|
|Beans, white, dry||6 lbs.||3 1/2 qt.||—||1. Pick over and wash beans.|
|—||2. Add ham stock and ham bones. Heat to boiling point; cover and simmer 2-3 hours or until beans are tender. If necessary, add hot water.
3. Remove ham bones.
Onions, finely chopped
|2 3/4 cups
4 1/2 cups
|—||4. Add carrots, onions, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes.|
|Flour, hard wheat, sifted
|1/2 lb.||2 cups
|—||5. Blend flour and water to a smooth paste. Stir into soup, and cook 10 minutes longer.|
1. If beans are old, soak 3 to 4 hours prior to cooking.
2. Add salt and additional pepper if desired.
Old Fashioned Navy Bean Soup: Add one No. 10 can of tomatoes in Step 4.
The Navy Hymn
Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!
Most Holy spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
Origins of the U.S. Navy Flag
The Department of the Navy Seal, created in 1957, was to serve as the main feature of the official United States Navy flag, adopted two years later. The flag did not pass through an evolutionary development as was the case with the Navy seal.
Ships of the earliest period in the Nation’s naval history wore a variety of flags, including the striped Grand Union, and those bearing a pine tree or rattlesnake. However, these various banners may be considered steps in the genesis of the national ensign, the “Stars and Stripes,” rather than forebears of a specific flag for the Navy.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century the Infantry Battalion flag (above left) was introduced for use by naval landing forces. This was a blue flag with a white diamond shaped device in the center and a blue foul anchor superimposed on the diamond. For more than sixty years, the Infantry Battalion flag served as the unofficial Navy flag in drill formations and parades and at other ceremonies. An official Navy flag, truly representative of the Navy’s operating forces at sea, was authorized by Presidential order 24 April 1959:
The flag for the United States Navy is 4 feet 4 inches hoist by 5 feet 6 inches fly, of dark blue material, with yellow fringe, 2 1/2 inches wide. In the center of the flag is a device 3 feet 1 inch overall consisting of the inner pictorial position of the seal of the Department of the Navy (with the exception that a continuation of the sea has been substituted for the land area), in its proper colors within a circular yellow rope edging, all 2 feet 6 inches in diameter above a yellow scroll inscribed “United States Navy,” in dark blue letters.
Unlike the national ensign, commission pennant, union jack, and admiral’s broad pennant which fly from gaff, mast, or staff on board naval vessels, the flag of the United States Navy is reserved for display purposes and is carried by an honor guard on ceremonial occasions.
Presidents Who Served in the U.S. Navy
John F. Kennedy (1961-63); Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69); Richard M. Nixon (1969-74); Gerald R. Ford (1974-77); Jimmy Carter (1977-81); George Bush (1989-93)
USS Coronado (PF-38)
The USS Coronado (PF-38), a Tacoma-class frigate, was the first ship of the United States Navy named for Coronado, California. She was launched June 17, 1943 by the Consolidated Steel Corporation under a Maritime Commission contract. It was sponsored by Mrs. J. R. Crutchfield. Lieutenant Commander N. W. Sprow, USCG, was in command. Originally the PF-38 was a gunboat, but was later redesignated as a patrol frigate.
Coronado sailed from San Diego on February 8, 1944 for convoy escort duty to Australia en route to New Guinea. After escorting troop and cargo transports to Manus and support the landings there, she returned to the western part of New Guinea taking part in the landings there. Later that year, she sailed from Humboldt Bay to join in the Leyte operation. In 1945, after an overhaul back in the States, she sailed for Alaska where she took on four Soviet officers and 45 men aboard for training. Coronado was decommissioned in July of that year and transferred to Russia under land lease. Returned to the U.S. at Yokosuka in 1949, she was placed in reserve there until 1953 when she was transferred on loan to Japan under the Mutual Assistance Program. Coronado served in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (Sugi) until decommissioned on March 31, 1969. At that time, she was returned to U.S. custody in 1971. Currently, her fate is unknown.
During her commission, Coronado received four battle stars for her World War II service: the Bismarck Archipelago operation, the Hollandia operation, the Western New Guinea operation, and the Leyte Gulf operation.
By Kimberley Graham
This year, 2011, marks the “Centennial Anniversary of Naval Aviation” for those who wear the golden wings of Naval, Marine, and Coast Guard aviators. We have a very special citizen living among our ranks here on the Emerald Isle who qualifies amongst those proud aviators. His name is Captain Len Kaine. Captain Kaine is a retired U.S. Navy fighter pilot and president of the Golden Rule Society (GRS). After retiring from the Navy, Captain Kaine established the nonprofit corporation to support our troops, veterans and their families, with a primary focus of assisting the children of our nation as well as 15 other countries around the world. Over its 39-year history, the GRS has accomplished its goals through a variety of fundraising programs and activities. The philosophy of the Golden Rule Society is, “To better the lives of others is your life’s greatest reward.” This is not only the society’s philosophy, but Captain Kaine’s as well.
Captain Len Kaine’s exuberance, innovation, and hard work have not gone unnoticed. Locally, a proclamation was presented to Captain Kaine by Mayor Casey Tanaka, designating the first week of October 2010 as Golden Rule Society week in Coronado. Mayor Tanaka also nominated the organization for the “2010 San Diego Veterans Allegiance Award” recognizing the nonpaid volunteers who support our troops and veterans. In a separate nomination from Vice Admiral Edward H. Martin, Kaine was nominated as the “2010-2011 San Diego County Veteran of the Year” for his 38 years of volunteer service to those who defend our freedoms. Captain Kaine and GRS received this award alongside eight others, which were presented to he and his organization at a local luncheon by members of Congress, Susan Davis and Bob Filner, for “outstanding and invaluable community service”.
On a nation and worldwide level, Captain Kaine was presented with the “2005 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Gold Medal and Citation” for his charity work. Senator John McCain pinned on the Award at the 50th year reunion of Carrier Naval Aviators. In 2003, the benevolent Captain Kaine was nominated for the Novel Peace Prize. He received both a place on the National Role of Honor in Washington, D.C. and a Letter of Commendation from the Under Secretary of Defense (Director of Youth Activities) in 2002. These are but just a few of he and the Golden Rule Society’s many accolades.
Once again in the words of Captain Kaine and the Golden Rule Society, “To better the lives of others is your life’s greatest reward.”The Golden Rule Society is led and managed by non-paid volunteers and 100% of the net funds raised by the organization go to help children and non-profit beneficiaries. More than a million lives have been touched and improved by the very generous outreach programs offered by the GRS.“We truly welcome every child, young adult and grown-up who has access to the Internet into our educational, motivational, inspirational, and character building program, with special affinity for children of Military Service Members, Firefighters, and Law Enforcement Personnel, and all who Protect and Serve.”
For more information on the Golden Rule Society and how you may volunteer or contribute to this honorable organization visit: http://www.goldenrulesociety.org
Recently, noted journalists Bob Woodward and Tom Brokaw alongside the First Lady, Michelle Obama, joined the Oprah Winfrey Show to acknowledge the “epidemic of disconnection” we have as citizens of our great country for the over 5,800 soldiers who have lost their lives in the Iraqi-Afghanistan wars as well as the millions of soldiers, officers, and their families who currently serve this effort on our behalf. It is time as we honor our warrior heroes to also honor those who struggle in the present. Many soldiers who are fortunate to survive their deployments only return to be deployed yet once again. The soldiers miss the birth of their children and the milestones of these children we all cherish so much. Their spouses and family miss them terribly and worry about them constantly. Do we?
Who are the Gold Star families? Who are the Blue Star families? Gold Star families have lost a loved one in the wars. Blue Star families have a loved one currently serving in the wars. This article is an appeal to us as community citizens to reach out to these special families. Not only to offer our gratitude, but our assistance. What can we do for you, as a family, to show our gratitude? Adopt a Family. We, at the Coronado Clarion, would like to hear and share your stories. We will serve you and provide awareness. As a military town, this should be foremost and fundamental in our consciousness. Coronado owes a huge debt to its military. Here are some organizations you may participate with and find assistance for your very special families and friends:
“Wings of Gold: Coronado and Naval Aviation Museum Exhibit Marks 100th Anniversary”
In early 1911, the United States Navy asked pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss to train one its officers to fly. Curtiss chose a sandy, scrub-covered island in San Diego Bay as the location and Coronado became the birthplace of Naval Aviation. On February 4, 2011, the Coronado Historical Association (CHA) will participate in a national celebration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation with the unveiling of a themed museum exhibit entitled, Wings of Gold: Coronado and Naval Aviation.
Wings of Gold will be on display in one of the main galleries of the Coronado Museum of History and Art and will feature rare photographs and documents such as an early pilot license signed by Orville Wright. An original 1920s pilot uniform and a national insignia that flew on aircraft from 1919-1940 are examples of some of the items on view. A multi-media component utilizing oral history interviews highlighting the history of U.S. Naval Air Station (NAS)–North Island, will be included in the exhibit. A series of lectures, a film festival and a community-wide commemorative home signage program with map of residences lived in by over a 100 naval aviators will complement the exhibit during its six-month run.
Coronado Historical Association Naval Aviator Yard Sign Initiative: Look for signs in front of houses where Naval Aviators past and present have lived as you drive around Coronado or come by the association for a map.
The Coronado Museum of History & Art is located at 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado. Suggested donation: $4 Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., 10-5 p.m. For more info, call (619) 435-7242 or log onto: www.coronadohistory.org
“Coronado Library Centennial Exhibit: Jan-Dec 2011”
The Coronado Public Library will be commemorating the Centennial of Naval Aviation throughout 2011 with a special exhibition highlighting the progress of naval aviation from its beginning in 1911 to its role in the modern world. The hundred year story of U.S. Naval Aviation will be told in six chronological bi-monthly exhibits. The exhibits will showcase scale models of naval aircraft, historical photographs, uniforms, original paintings, flight gear, pilot log books, and other memorabilia. Of note will be a small-scale diorama of North Island and how it changed over the decades.
For more information about the exhibition or scheduled events call 619-522-7390 or visit www.coronado.lib.ca.us. The Coronado Library is located at 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, Ca. Open Monday-Thursday 10-9, Friday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 1-5. All programs and events at the Coronado Library are free to the public.
The first Sunday of November 2003, a group of local activists erected 340 wooden crosses on the beach immediately west of Stearns Wharf in the beautiful seaside community of Santa Barbara, California. The wooden crosses marked the deaths of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq.
Outraged that the Bush administration had barred U.S. media from photographing returning coffins containing the war dead from Iraq, founder Stephen Sherrill, along with a small group of local activists, erected the first installation of what has become widely known as the Arlington West memorial. “I didn’t feel that the American people were mindful of the terrible price we were paying – and were about to pay – for the invasion and occupation of Iraq,” says Sherrill. “The statistics in the newspapers were just tiny little numbers, too easy to breeze over.”
Since the first installation of the crosses in 2003, the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq has grown beyond 4,300. Every Sunday morning, members of Veterans for Peace and volunteers from the community, place crosses in the sand in remembrance of those whose lives have been sacrificed in Iraq. Hundreds of observers from across the nation and around the world visit Arlington West every week. To date, there have been approximately twenty duplications of the original Arlington West all across America, including their weekly “sister memorial” in Santa Monica, California.
In the intervening years since the memorial started, Veterans for Peace members and volunteers have effectively transformed what began as an angry anti-war protest into a genuine memorial — somber, chilling, and irresistibly moving. The memorial has been deliberately de-politicized in an effort to make Arlington West a non-threatening experience for everyone, regardless of their political affiliation. Gone are the placards denouncing George W. Bush that were there in the beginning. In their place are flowers, flags, and the names of the dead attached to the crosses and posted on makeshift bulletin boards.
The immense temporary cemetery was named after Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, a burial ground for soldiers killed in active duty. It takes two dozen volunteers about three hours to erect the display of over 3,000 crosses. Planted in straight, tight rows covering over an acre of beach, it makes a stunning visual statement. In the background, the sound of “Taps” can be heard playing nonstop from a nearby recorder. At sunset, the music ends and the crosses are taken down, packed up, and stored away until the coming week.
Each cross has a name, rank, age, place of death, and how the death occurred. It is remarkable how many ages marked are 19. The phrase heard over and over, spoken by the viewers, “This really makes you think.”
Adjacent to one of the most heavily traveled intersections in Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf has always been a favorite place for tourists to stroll. But now, it has also become a place where friends and relatives of the deceased can pay their last respects.
Unfortunately, as of August 2010, the temporary cemetery has entered into a controversial change. The cross display will no longer be erected every Sunday standing for U.S. casualties in Iraq. Instead, the 3,000-plus crosses will be swapped out for 1,236 “new” plastic markers, each one representing the death of a U.S. military member serving in Afghanistan. Since the start of 2010, there has been a “troubling uptick” in casualties in this war — nearly 250 since May versus 45 fatalities in Iraq. The other major motivating factor behind the redesign is logistics. Already a fairly involved process, this removes some of the heavy labor needed for the weekly project. Many of the wooden crosses will still remain on the site, but not necessarily erected each week. According to a spokesperson for the founding organization, VFP, “We will absolutely continue to put up crosses if people come specifically to visit them…We have no intention of abandoning the visitors who come to Arlington West.”
Although the memorial has always suggested debate due to its controversial origination, nonetheless, it serves our fallen well. Arlington West is a definite “must visit” to remember our brave and honorable American military citizenry.
By Al Graham
There are many war memorials in San Diego, but there are many more that have been forgotten, yet they still exist. Up until last year, there was no war museum in the county. So, when Captain Will Hays USN retired, heard that an old church had become available in Balboa Park – a new one was built recently at Balboa Naval Hospital; and the old one looked like it might be demolished, he went about making this abandoned church into a not-so-abandoned historical domain. Now San Diego can proudly boast that it finally has a Veterans Museum to honor the proud history of our long enduring military and its heroes.
The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center occupies the former chapel of the Naval Hospital on Inspiration Point in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The original hospital buildings have been familiar and nostalgic landmarks to countless naval personnel and San Diegans alike since the early 1920s; although the chapel itself was not built until the World War II period. Today the museum houses a unique collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and papers as well as a library holding more than one thousand volumes. Dedicated to veterans of all conflicts, the museum’s exhibits feature World War I, World War II, Pearl Harbor, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, Desert Storm, Women in the Military, and paintings by local artists of military subjects.
Do not miss a living history tour by our docents who have been there! See the first American flag to fall in the Philippines. Enjoy the museum’s unique collections of memorabilia and artwork dating from the Civil War to the present. This is the place to see and hear history. The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center is one of the very few places you will find that covers all branches of the service and is indeed a home for all veterans groups.
Museum Hours: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Admission Prices: $5 for General Adult; $4 for Veterans & Seniors (65+); $2 for Students with Valid I.D. Free Admission for: Museum Members, Active Duty Military & their Dependents, & Children 12 & under.
Veterans Memorial Museum
2115 Park Boulevard
San Diego, Ca 92101
Phone / 619.239.2300
By A. R. Graham
At the gas station on Orange Avenue in Coronado, California hangs a lonely and badly tattered black and white flag. It bears an image of an American soldier, head bowed with a Vietnamese prison guard tower in the background. The mournful letters POW*MIA are chilling to the eyes even now many years after the conflict. The flag is soaking wet from a heavy rain as a driving wind whips it into an angry frenzy.
Old Glory is hanging next to the disheveled banner. She is also buffeted by the high winds, but she is intact and vibrant as the violent gusts of air streak across her. The stars are dancing almost as if twinkling in nightlights.
Most young people today have no idea what the POW*MIA flag stands for. To see it neglected and forgotten is a dismal tribute to those who will never return. The fate of the missing is still highly disputed, and amidst this confusion, the truth may never be known.
In Coronado, there is a very special place of tribute in honor of ALL of the souls who died for our nation. One block from the Pacific Ocean lays a serene circular park. A massive pine canopy filled with tuneful birdcalls hangs above; and as the dawn breaks, the sun gently brushes the face of Old Glory and the rest of the flags hanging next to her: the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, and at the very end, flying briskly in a warm Santa Ana wind is the MIA flag. Rivulets of wind ripple across its face as the soldier’s black silhouette seems to be speaking urgently, “Forget Me Not.” “Forget Me Not.”
Or perhaps that is just this writer’s imagination.
JENKINS, HARRY TARLETON JR.
SYNOPSIS: CDR Harry T. Jenkins, Jr. was a pilot assigned to Attack Air Wing 16 onboard the USS Oriskany. Jenkins was a respected seventeen-year aviation veteran. Jenkins had grown up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from high school in 1945. In 1948, he earned his wings and reached the pinnacle of operational success, command of a carrier-based squadron, the Saints of Attack Squadron 163, on December 30, 1964. He flew many combat missions from the Oriskany.
One such mission was flown September 9, 1965. A major strike had been scheduled against the Thanh Hoa (“Dragon Jaw”) bridge, and the weather was so critical there was a question whether to launch. Finally, the decision was to launch. Halfway through, weather reconnaissance reported the weather in the target area was zero, and the CAG, Commander James B. Stockdale, had no choice but to send the aircraft on secondary targets. Stockdale and his wingman, CDR Wynn Foster, circled the Gulf of Tonkin while CDR Harry Jenkins took his strike element to look for a SAM site at their secondary target — had anything been found, Wynn and Stockdale were to join Jenkins’ group.
After fifteen minutes or so, Jenkins’ group came up empty. The group made the decision to hit a secondary target, a railroad facility near the city of Thanh Hoa. It was here that CDR Stockdale’s aircraft was hit by flak.
Stockdale ejected, landing in a village and was captured. The villagers brutally beat Stockdale as they took him captive, all within sight of the aircraft above. Stockdale was held captive for seven and a half years, and he was to see Jenkins again before he was released. CDR Wynn Foster would eventually assume Jenkins’ position as squadron commander of VA-163.
Jenkins carried a Bible with him on the ship, letting it fall open somewhere to read. One night, the passage said something about, “He shall fall into his enemies.” Jenkins wondered at the time if that was a premonition. He also dreamed about becoming a prisoner. He was worried about losing his men and agonized over planning, of finding the best way to a target. He confided to another fellow officer that he was tired, not only physically, but emotionally as well.
On one particular mission Jenkins had narrowly escaped death when an anti-aircraft shell hit his aircraft, blowing off the canopy and destroying the instrument panel. Jenkins guided the crippled aircraft safely back to the Oriskany. When he landed on the deck of the Oriskany, he discovered that shrapnel had penetrated his G-suit, but hadn’t reached the inner lining. These sorts of missions sapped the strength of the best of pilots.
On November 12, 1965, Jenkins launched in his A4E Skyhawk fighter aircraft on his 133rd combat mission on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. He was two weeks short of leaving Vietnam for home. Then on November 13, 1965, Jenkins and his wingman launched in their A4E aircraft on Jenkins’ 133rd combat mission. The target area was Dong Hoi, a quiet area where nothing much happened because of reports that the river southwest of the city was passing traffic. The two pilots went around the river but determined it was not navigable. On their return, they decided to crater a road junction in case traffic was going through there at night. They planned to slow down the traffic then return at night and check traffic again.
On the way to the junction, about ten miles from the coast, they passed a clump of trees where it appeared that a lot of traffic had driven, possibly a truck park. The wingman orbited while Jenkins went down to investigate. He flew very low, ten to twelve feet off the ground, and at fairly slow speed, looking under the trees. Nothing was around, and the area was quiet.
Pulling off and heading toward the coast, Jenkins heard a gun start firing. He looked back and could see two streams of tracers from a 37-millimeter enemy anti-aircraft gun, a twin mount, nearly dead astern from him. He quickly pulled back on the stick of his Skyhawk and sought the safety of cloud cover overhead. But the aircraft had been hit dead astern, in “the hell hole” just aft and under the seat where the control junctions, electrical buses are. The controls of the aircraft were immediately disconnected. The stick wouldn’t function, and all electrical gear was down.
A second explosion followed. Jenkins continued to climb and headed toward water, still some six to eight miles away. The aircraft started rolling very rapidly and began to drop. So Jenkins was forced to eject below 2,500 feet.
The wingman circled above. Below, the Vietnamese were all around howling and yelling. Jenkins landed on a rise approximately 12 miles south of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. The rise was covered with short brush and no place to hide. He had no time to assemble his emergency radio and ran up the hill and slid under the brush. His ejection and progress were intermittently monitored by his wingman as low clouds allowed. The Vietnamese approached him, swinging a sickle on a stick, and slashing through the brush. Another came right to his feet, poking with a stick. Jenkins gave himself up.
In Jenkins’ words, “…if that had been one of my earlier missions, there is no way that gunner would have gotten me. I’d just seen so much flak and had been hit several times. I was just tired, I guess, and not thinking.”
Meanwhile, Jenkins’ wingman had been joined by nine other aircraft within five minutes of the initial bailout. A1s circled overhead looking for Jenkins. The Vietnamese were all armed and began shooting at the A1s, evidently for Jenkins’ benefit, as with each shot came a glance towards Jenkins. Search and rescue aircraft reported observing over 100 troops and other personnel in Jenkins’ vicinity. They remained on station looking for Jenkins for about two hours, but the Vietnamese successfully hid him from view.
A Radio Hanoi broadcast on November 14th indicated that an American pilot was shot down and captured on November 13th in the Dong Hoi District.
Jenkins was moved toward Hanoi, traveling at night. During the trip, Jenkins was amazed by the large numbers of trucks that moved through the night in North Vietnam. While he had seen only a few trucks from the air at night and never in daylight as a pilot, he was astounded to see the tremendous numbers of trucks moving under low light, guiding by reflective painted stripes or plastic strips on the road about every thirty feet.
Jenkins arrived at the Hoa Loa Prison in Hanoi in the early morning hours of November 23rd. He was taken first to the “Meathook Room” for interrogation; then later to a cell where his ankles were manacled and locked together by a long steel bar topped by a heavy piece of lumber. His wrists were tied behind him, upper arms laced tightly together from elbows to shoulders.
Jenkins was the fifty-fifthAmerican POW and the first senior officer to be tortured upon arrival in Hanoi. For two years and one month, from late 1967 through most of 1969, CDR Jenkins, the third-ranking senior naval officer in a North Vietnamese prison camp, was put into leg irons at five o’clock each evening and stayed in irons until seven the next morning. As special punishment for communicating with another prisoner on one occasion, Jenkins spend 85 consecutive days in irons.
In early 1969, Jenkins became ill and was in great pain at a camp known as Alcatraz, located some ten blocks from the Hanoi Hilton. He was receiving no medical care, and fellow prisoners, led by Jenkins’ former wing commander, Jim Stockdale, put the pressure on. What ensued might be called a “prison riot”. The effort did bring a doctor to Jenkins’ cell; although the doctor did nothing to ease his pain. The next morning, Stockdale organized a 48-hour fast to demand medical attention for Jenkins. The next evening, each prisoner was interrogated and on the morning of January 27th, Stockdale was taken away to another prison center.
While the Vietnamese clearly had the upper hand on controlling their American captors, the POWs found many ways to “slip one over” on the Vietnamese. One day, Jenkins discovered a loose wire in an extension cord and secretly shorted the wire, so that when guards turned the lights on that evening, three or four fuses were blown before the lights could be made to work. Jenkins carried the fun from camp to camp. In one camp, the lights were all in a series. Jenkins bared the wire in his room and alternately shorted and restored the lights so that the camp was totally dark or completely lit at his whim. He also broke some wires in a radio speaker causing all the speakers in the camp to go out. He manipulated the wires in a radio, and, using the POW tap code, sent messages around the camp by turning the Vietnamese music on and off in code.
During the years Jenkins was a prisoner of war, he was taken across the infamous Thanh Hoa bridge. A girder that he had hit on a strike mission prior to his capture was, to his great satisfaction, still wide open.
CDR Jenkins was held as a prisoner of war until he was released in Operation Homecoming in 1973. He had been held for over seven years. He was among 591 lucky American prisoners who came home at the end of the war.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country, is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It is time we brought our men home.
Harry Tarleton Jenkins, Jr., was promoted to the rank of Captain during the years he was a prisoner of war. He lived in Coronado, California, and worked for a defense contractor. Captain Harry Jenkins died in the crash of a homemade aircraft 2, August, 1995.
“I was C.O. of VA-163 flying the A4E when shot down 13 November 1965 nea Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. During my stay in North Vietnam, I spent four years in solitary confinement. During this time I did much reflection on my life and my faith. While I hope never to repeat the experience, I feel I gained a certain insight into things I might never have obtained otherwise. Since I’ve returned I’ve been asked many times “was the war right, was it worthwhile?” There is no doubt in my mind we were right in fighting. I don’t think we had to fight to preserve America but it was necessary in order to preserve American honor.
A free people were threatened with the yoke of Communism being imposed by force, I fought to prevent that and I feel that fight was successful. Our belief in freedom of choice for all required that we help the South Vietnamese or any other nation that needs our help.
We owe our independence to foreign help, mainly French, and our honor dictates that we stand ready to offer help to others when they need it to remain free. Many men invested their whole lifetime to this cause. I invested only seven years. Though I hope never to have to, I’m ready to invest more if it is required.
I wish everyone could understand the gratitude I feel for their thoughts and prayers during those long years and I’d like to ask everyone to continue their prayers until all those not yet home have been properly accounted for.”
By Nina Odele
Coronado was such a magical place to grow up. Of course, as little kids we didn’t know that back in the 60s a nd 70s. We thought all kids everywhere had a whole Island Paradise to play in. Things were mostly on the quiet side here in our, then, sleepy little town.
Except for when one of the presidents of the United States came to visit. Then there was stirring and buzzing on every square inch of our happy childhood playground! Orange Avenue and 4th Street were cordoned off to normal traffic many hours before the heralded appearance of the very impressive shiny black Presidential motorcades. I could almost feel the collective blood pressure of all my fellow residents rising in anticipation. People would line the streets waving American flags and larger flags were proudly waving in the median strip all the way down Orange Avenue to the Hotel Del. It was very much a parade-like atmosphere each and every time.
The Presidents I can remember rolling into our Crown City were: Nixon, Reagan, Ford, Carter, and Bush Sr.
They all came by car as they had already been to various speaking engagements in and around San Diego. Coronado was and is a popular relaxing retreat for our Country’s Presidents. They spent as much time as they could unwinding here. I remember when it wouldn’t be unusual to see Jimmy Carter jogging on the beach! After 9/11 everything changed. It was no longer safe for the motorcades to parade down Orange Avenue. Even in our VERY military town. Terrorists ruined that tradition forever.
By the time Bush Jr. was in office, the safest way in was to fly straight to Naval Air Station North Island via Air Force One. I lived right on Sunset Park. One day I saw police cars driving onto, and lining up in the park — Not something you see every day. Also, San Diego Police Mounted Patrol parked their horse trailers right in front of my house. My humble corner was their official staging area. As an ex-Mounted Officer (San Diego County Sheriff) myself, this was extremely exciting! I grabbed my camera and went to go visit with them as they readied to form a barrier along the beach when the President flew in.
By this time, there were people gathering all along Ocean Boulevard. Homeland Security was everywhere as well. Everyone was finally in place. I took to my perch on the upstairs balcony with my little 35mm camera at the ready, hoping to snap a photo of AF1 as she flew in. I had no idea how close I’d be, but I was prepared nonetheless.
Suddenly, there she was, in all her glory! — Flying RIGHT over Sunset Park. I began clicking away with my camera. I couldn’t believe how close I was. The jet itself was very impressive. I remember thinking how quiet it was compared to the others that flew into North Island every day. The whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds, but I will never forget the experience! It was pretty cool watching the motorcades in those earlier days, but nothing like almost being able to reach out and touch the belly of AF1.
Here are a few of the photos I captured from that awesome day:
HISTORY OF AIR FORCE ONE
Air Force One is the designation of any airplane that serves the President of the United States government. The same planesare used by the vice-president but are called Air Force Two when he is aboard. The presidential fleet consists of two customized Boeing 747-200B aircraft (military designation VC-25A) called SAM 28000 and 29000.
The name Air Force One was established after an incident in 1953, when Eastern Airlines flight 8610 crossed paths with the president’s plane, then called Air Force 8610, although the Air Force One name was not made official until 1962.
The first aircraft configured for presidential use was a C-87A (Liberator Express) called Guess Where II, but concerns about the C-87 safety record relegated it to use by senior members of the White House staff, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on her goodwill tour of Latin America.
In its place, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster (VC-54C) was configured for the president and nicknamed Sacred Cow. It has a sleeping area, radio telephone, and an elevator to raise President Franklin Roosevelt into his wheelchair (but FDR used the plane only once). This airplane is now housed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
In 1947, President Truman replaced the Sacred Cow with a Douglas DC-6 Liftmaster (VC-118) named Independence after his hometown. Its nose was painted to look like a bald eagle. Its aft fuselage was converted into a stateroom. And the main cabin could seat 24 passengers or could be made up into 12 sleeper berths. This airplane is now housed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force as well.
In addition to the Independence, Eisenhower used two Lockheed C-121 Super Constellations (VC-121E) called Columbine II and Columbine III and two small Aero Commanders.
In 1958, Eisenhower added three additional aircraft into the executive branch service. These were Boeing 707 (VC-137) aircraft designated SAM 970, 971, and 972. These were the first presidential jet aircraft.
During the Kennedy administration, SAM 26000, a Boeing 707 (VC-137) went into presidential service. Influential industrial designer, Raymond Loewy, designed the new livery (the exterior color scheme) and the interiors. President Johnson took the oath of office on board SAM 26000, and the airplane continued to serve presidents up to Bill Clinton until 1998. It was replaced as the primary executive aircraft in 1972 by SAM 27000, another VC-137, which served until 2001. This airplane is now housed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
In 1990, the two Boeing 747 (VC-25A) aircraft used today were delivered (having been ordered by Ronald Reagan). The same livery was used, but the interiors were selected by Mrs. Reagan.
A new Air Force One is scheduled to go into service in 2017. The likely candidates are a Boeing 747-8 and a Boeing 787.