Saturday, November 30, 2013

30 November 2013 Safer in Afghanistan than at Wal-Mart

Cassi Creek: From the safety of our home
Verify the incidents before passing the numbers on.  One of these is a reprint from a 2008 incident. 
          The insanity driving these and other such incidents escapes me.  No sale item is important enough to justify mob behavior.  No store that excites such behavior deserves to be in business.  If a rock band stirred up that number of injuries, or if its fans popped the doors, the cops would quickly marshal and arrests would follow. 
          However, our national value scheme is somewhat skewed.  It is apparently all right to get drunk and behave badly at franchise sports events.  It is also apparently all right to advertise sale items, knowing that the inventory will fall far short of demand. 
          Is it any wonder that Wal-Mart is so widely hated?

Friday, November 29, 2013

29 November 2013 Didn’t get nothing Had to pick up the garbage in the snow

Cassi Creek:  Yesterday didn’t quite go as planned. 
          After prepping the duck and getting the grill ready, I suddenly realized that my wedding ring was missing from my hand.  Instant anxiety! 
          The charcoal was already burning.  The wood stove had been cleaned, all the ashes removed to a galvanized bucket that lives outdoors.  The trash, including all the dinner prep trash and garbage, had been bagged and dragged out to the trash cart. 
          We spent 30 minutes or so looking at possible locations it might have found after dropping from my finger.  I went through all the gloves I had worn to clean the stove, bring in wood, and take out trash, to no avail. 
          The next step was to go through all the garbage in the trash cart.  We donned latex gloves and pulled every trash bag out for dissection and discovery.  No ring appeared, magically or otherwise.  After picking up the garbage in the snow – yes, we really did do that on Thanksgiving – we were at a loss.  I ran the garbage a 3rd time, hoping for some sort of magical outcome but knowing one would not appear. 
          Dinner was served, along with a surprise phone call from my older son, Joshua.  Unable to ignore the missing ring, I went out with a flashlight to attempt finding it by reflection.  Again, nothing.  By this time, I’m thinking metal detector and Gloria is pricing new wedding rings. 
          About 2100 I took Loki outside.  I put on a pair of gloves I’d worn and searched several times yesterday.  I decided I would set the alarm for 0 dark thirty this morning and dump all the garbage and trash onto a tarp in a last desperate attempt to find my ring.  On the way, back inside I felt something hard brush a fingertip I held that position until returning inside, let Loki off lead, and started exploring the seams and folds of my fold-back fingerless mittens, in a finger pocket between two seams was my ring. 
          Turned out to be a great end to the day.  I don’t know if the dump was closed or not.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

28 November 2013 Throw another log into the stove

Cassi Creek:  Temperature fell to 16°F last night.  There was light snow after dark and the deck and steps became icy again despite a dose of de-icer.  This morning I spread more de-icer on the deck, swept the snow off the grill, and am trying to decide whether to smoke the duck outdoors or roast it inside.  I’m making a cranberry-pistachio chutney to accompany a Chinese flavored duck, and Brussels sprouts with chestnuts.  I made a baked pumpkin custard for Gloria, yesterday, for her dessert.  I have a chocolate fudge pie in the freezer. 
          We’re running through a lot of firewood this month. 
Had a long, enjoyable phone call from my older son this evening.
Happy Thanksgiving to all
Chag Sameach


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

27 November 2013 Turkeys are hitting the ground

Cassi Creek Tradtional thanksgiving entertainment in these environs include the movie Alice’s Restaurant and the WKRP “Turkeys Away” segment. 
          Alices’s Restaurant is somewhat faded now that it is two wars later and lacking a national conscription-fed army.  The WKRP segment is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on television.  The segment is based upon at least one and possibly more actual publicity stunts which involved live turkeys and massive amounts of mainstreet damages. 
          You can find this bit at
For added cold war humor, see the tornado episode as well


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

26 November 2013 Early carols not so long ago encounter

          The season of Christmas muzak has descended upon us.  Every public or commercial building we enter greets us with treacle-laden renditions of seasonal songs.  The first day or so, it isn’t too hard to dial them out, letting them get lost in the constant buzzing, whining background that is always there. 
          However, each trip outdoors, be it for groceries or gasoline adds to the cumulative overburden of unwanted sound.  By the 1st of January, It has become sufficiently annoying that I’m looking for speakers to rep from th overhead.  So far, I’ve avoided such action.  That may, however, be due to my short stature than to my observance of any social contract. 

Sometimes, a decent parody will arise and alleviate a bit of the annoyance.  Those of us old enough to recall anything about the Kennedy administration not reserved for the annual November festival of what if and othe mourning, may recall this little gem.  It works best acappella.

12 Days with Khrushchev

On the first day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"Your wife's looking mighty pretty."

On the second day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"You must leave Berlin,
and your wife's looking mighty pretty."

On the third day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"Don't bother Castro,

On the fourth day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"Our power's growing fast,

On the fifth day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"We'll bury you,

On the sixth day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"Stop the U2,

On the seventh day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"We'll beat you to the moon,

On the eighth day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"We'll have Vietnam soon,

On the ninth day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"Isn't Congress sticky,

On the tenth day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"Please call me Nicky,

On the eleventh day we met, Premier Khrushchev said to me,
"How's Mississippi,

On the last day we met, Premier Khrushchev heard from me,
"Listen Mr. Red, we're still ahead,
Stop all your feigning, your power's waning, common Market's
You're losing Nasser, faster and faster, isn't that a gasser,
Don't feed me a con,
Put your shoe back on,
We won't leave Berlin, how's China, meeting will adjourn
Get your hand off Jackie's knee."

Monday, November 25, 2013

25 November 2013 visited by beasts

Cassi Creek  preparing for bad weather. 
          Today’s creature count includes one chipmunk, six squirrels, nine turkeys and one raccoon.  In addition, the monthly bug extermination took place today. 
          I’va a clear shot at the raccoon with either rifle or shotgun.  But there will be no trash pickup until Saturday.  That’s a bit too long to let something ripen in the trash can.  So It requires patience and planning to remove the creature.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

24 November 2013 Take off your old coat

Cassi Creek:  Shortly after we moved to TN, it became apparent that I needed to replace my Gore-Tex shell parka.  I had donated my 16 year old Marmot shell, a first generation product that had begun to leak badly, to one of the charity organizations. 
I found a great shell in the LLBean catalog, I bought the down vest insert for it the first winter we lived here.  I decided to hold on the shell.  By the next winter, I realized I needed the shell as well.  To my surprise, it was no longer listed in the catalog.  I called the company and they found one in the returns warehouse in the guide gold color I wanted.  I paid, it arrived here, and I have worn it through rain, snow, wind, and other foul weather ever since.
          Last Wednesday I noticed that the Gore-tex tapes around the water resistant zippers had begun to delaminate.  Every time I put the shell on, the damage became more apparent. 
          What to do?  I called LLBean and told them my favorite shell was failing in function.  They did what most companies don’t, offered a replacement  They are sending me the current analog to my Mountain Guide Jacket.  The color won’t stand out like the school bus effect Gloria laughs about when I wear my current shell. But the cayenne color should provide a moderate degree of visibility that may make it safer to walk around these roads in rainy, misty, or cold days. 
          The new one has shipped.  When it arrives, I’ll pack up the old one and send it back to LLBean.  They never questioned me about use or misuse, took my work for what I recalled paying for it, and demonstrated why I spend most of my clothing money with them. 
Gore-Tex – laminate (film)  at 6 years.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

23 November 2013 44 and getting colder

Cassi Creek: We’ve had slightly more than an inch of rain in the last 24 hours.  The temperature has fallen from 55 to 44 degrees since midnight.  The forecast calls for lows at about 20.  The continued drizzle and mist gives reason to be concerned about ice build up on trees and lines. 
          There is a wind chill warning in effect for tonight and a prediction for rain Tuesday changing into snow on Wednesday.  Typical Thanksgiving weather forecast.
          Quick trip to Greeneville and back.  The sky has become partially clear and the risk of ice seems to have vanished for tonight.  However, the NWS has this to say about next week
Tonight A 20 percent chance of snow after 1am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 21. North wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 31. North wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Sunday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 18. North wind around 5 mph becoming southeast after midnight.
Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 43. South wind around 5 mph.
Monday Night A chance of rain and snow before 10pm, then a chance of snow and freezing rain between 10pm and 11pm, then a chance of rain or freezing rain after 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Tuesday Freezing rain likely before 10am, then rain likely. Cloudy, with a high near 43. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Tuesday Night Rain. Low around 35. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Wednesday Rain and sleet likely. Cloudy, with a high near 38. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Wednesday Night A chance of snow, freezing rain, and sleet. Partly cloudy, with a low around 17. Blustery. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Thanksgiving Day Sunny, with a high near 38

Good week not to have to travel

Friday, November 22, 2013

22 November 2013 In a long ago land called Camelot

          1960 saw the torch passed from the WWI generation to the veterans of WWII.  We saw it happen as JFK stood in the snow and cold proclaiming the shift and intending to make it happen. 
          After WWII and Korea, after FDR, Truman, and Ike, the apparent youth and energy of JFK and his family made the comparison to Camelot an easy one.  The popularity of the administration and the first family became intermixed and mingled with the popular musical. 
          It was a time when science was in vogue, when men in white shirts and narrow ties used slide rules as tools and as weapons as the U.S. faced down the USSR in every imaginable venue.  From beneath the polar ice cap to the moon, competition drove us to make this a better nation. 
          Then, a single sniper took the image of Camelot away from us.  LBJ did not and could not fit into the images we had formed around Kennedy.  He was, in fact even blamed for the assassination in an adaptation named “McBird”
          It’s been a long 50 years since the murders in Dallas.  We think we know what would have changed, what might have been the future of the U.S. if Kennedy had lived.  However, that’s all conjecture.  My war, and that of all VietNam vets might not have been.  Johnson’s Great Society might have been derailed by Kennedy’s New Frontier. 
          We’ve spent 50 years listening to conspiracy theorists who could and did prove absolutely nothing.  We’ve spent 50 years listening to and watching bits of history that changed our images of the Camelot years and players.  In the end, many of us idolized JFK and believed him to be more than we now know he was.  His death was a watershed moment in our lives, a generational billboard on the highway of American history.  But, Johnny, we hardly knew ye!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

21 November 2013 Everybody drag your feet

Cassi Creek: 

Boeing cargo jet to take off from Wichita airport's short runway

By Tom Watkins and Ed Payne, CNN

November 21, 2013 -- Updated 1430 GMT (2230 HKT)

This must have been a real exercise in bowel control.  Planting a cargo carrying 747 onto a landing strip 3000 feet too short for designed operational envelope can’t be fun.  On the other hand, the crew and plane landed safely and probably now hold some sort of aviation record.
I’d like to see them get this plane safely airborne.  My best guess is that they will have to use JATO/RATO bottles to compensate for the missing take space.
Since the U.S. Congress is still intent upon screwing everything up here’s a bit of science the GOP/teavangelists can blame on whomever they think that they can blame and get their voter base to believe.  Shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

20 November, 2013 Driving that train high on cocaine

Cassi Creek: 
By Keith L. Alexander and Aaron BlakeUpdated: Wednesday, November 20, 9:50 AME-mail the writers
Rep. Trey Radel pleads guilty on charges of cocaine possession
Freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of cocaine in a D.C. Superior Court judge Wednesday, after allegedly buying cocaine at a restaurant in Dupont Circle late last month.
          There is, of course the matter the Florida demand for drug screens to be performed on people receiving public assistance, disability, or other taxpayer-funded instances.  It seems to me that a U.S. House of Representative member should be held liable to the Florida standard for public funding.  The House, according to John Boehner will deal with the matter through the courts. 
          Radel is being charged with a misdemeanor and will never see a day of jail time.  One has to wonder what a homeless veteran arrested with an equal amount of cocaine would be charged with and how much time he or she would serve. 
          Way to go, teavangelists.


Monday, November 18, 2013

18 November 2013 , And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

Cassi Creek:  We watched the line of severe weather move in from the west yesterday afternoon.  When we crawled off to bed at midnight the line was still active, still producing watches, warnings, and advisories.  At some point to our west, the line broke up or weakened enough that we heard only 3-4 brief periods of heavy rain and little or no wind.
          Today, NASA plans to launch the MAVEN mission to mars.  They intend to drop another robot that is designed to look for evidence of prior atmosphere and water, collecting data that, it is hoped, will tell us why Mars became a dead planet.  The launch is scheduled to be streamed beginning at 1100 EST. 
MAVEN Launch Updates
·         MAVEN Launch Day Arrives
November 18, 2013 - 7:35 AM EST
Countdown clocks at the Atlas Space Operations Center on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are counting down to the liftoff of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Launch is set for 1:28 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 41. Forecasters from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predict a 60 percent chance of favorable weather during the two-hour launch window. The main concerns are for cumulus clouds, disturbed weather and thick clouds in the launch area.

Join our live commentary and prelaunch coverage starting at 11 a.m. on NASA's Launch Blog at and on NASA Television at

Sunday, November 17, 2013

17 November 2013 Lookin’ out my back door

Cassi Creek:  Yesterday w3 hosted a battle between one dog, 6 squirrels, 2 raccoons, and 9 turkeys.  A single chipmunk was noted but wisely avoided becoming involved.  This all took place in our back yard as the various wild creatures faced each other down to lay claim to birdseed and corn.  The turkeys seemed to win the conflict by default.  At the height of the conflict, the dog, Loki, remained indoors barking at squirrels that entered her game boundaries.  The squirrels gave way to the raccoons, who gave way to the turkeys. 
          Losses – one hummingbird feeder damaged by the raccoons.  The area beneath the bird feeders is heavily scratched up by the turkeys.  The raccoons took several small pellet hits as we tried to discourage their presence in a non-lethal manner.  That, by the way, has proven singularly unsuccessful.  Heavier caliber, higher velocity intervention may eventually be required. 
          The weather changes during the last several days have caused a great deal of pain in various joints.  In addition, I find that the more I hurt, the more I notice some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s.   Driving into town last night was an exercise in searching for a position of least pain.  Counting out the admissions money last night was rather difficult.  Making change took more time as well.  Came home to watch Michael J. Fox’s sitcom.  I’m a little discouraged watching the program as it is a likely prediction for me.  OTOH, bits and pieces of it are funny because of what they present. 
          We’ve taken the day off with respect to Obama Care and with respect to the Kennedy assassination. 

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.”


Saturday, November 16, 2013

16 November 2013 Dog rules and other miscellany

Cassi Creek  Dogs seem to have their own set of operational rules that vary from dog to dog and must be taught to them in puppy school.
          Our previous dog, Shelly, had several games she seemed to have invented.  The most unique behavior involved a toy frog, which she would throw into the pool.  The frog would travel around as the filters pulled water.  At some point defined only in a dog’s brain, she would trot around the pool and grab the frog.  Then, she’d drop it into the pool for another circuit. 
          She also felt compelled to stick her head between fence pickets and metalwork. 
          Tova was compelled to bark incessantly for no apparent reason. 
          Loki, current resident dog, fights a never-ending battle with the squirrels over possession of the platform bird feeder.  The squirrels are allowed to be on the deck floor, on the uprights and rails, and on the ground beneath the platform feeder.  Loki will watch them and do nothing that threatens a squirrel.  The minute one lays a paw on the feeder, she changes from guard to attack mode.  She begins ,muttering and growling, goes to the door, and waits for us to open the door so that she can chase the rodents away and pursue them.  It seems to require about four pursuit cycles before the squirrels give up for the morning or afternoon.  Loki will play this game, with her own defined limits until she’s worn out or until the rodents give up for the day. 
          We’ve made attempts to modify her game.  When she enters pursuit mode, she will leap after her targets.  Only the need to choose between multiple targets running in multiple directions has kept her from catching one of them.  If there are squirrels at the foot of the deck stairs, we can get her to the door but her game changes and she merely walks out to the stairs, looks at the running rodents and then at us before turning and reentering the house. 

          Dog rules seem never to be the same from dog to dog.  Your dog’s rules may be as unique as ours. 


Friday, November 15, 2013

15 November 2013 Poached salmon OK, poached turkey not OK

Cassi Creek:  The bad neighbors across the road continue to burn through big bore ammunition as if it is cheap firecrackers.  Nearly every day we hear them shooting at something or some place.  With big bore ammo at $1.00 or more per round, if available, they’re wasting lots of ammo.  Most of the time it seems as if they are not shooting for accuracy, but to see how quickly they can empty a magazine.  It’s not my money or my ammunition.  But I worry about the possibility of stupid intersecting with chemical impairment and firearms. 
          Elsewhere in the valley, we hear more distant single rifle or shotgun reports.  The turkeys are back in the area and thanksgiving is approaching.  If I had to wager, I’d bet that the single shots are being fired by folks laying in a wild turkey for the holidays. 
          We have had turkeys showing up for about a week now.  They have discovered the seeds and corn left from the bird and squirrel feeding stations Gloria maintains daily.  There is enough spilled seed to bring the turkeys almost close enough to brain with a skillet.  Certainly, I could hunker down in a blind on the back deck and harvest a turkey or two.  However, I don’t have a turkey permit and don’t want to violate fish and game laws.  Poaching game is just not something I’m willing to do.  Poaching salmon provides a decent meal and doesn’t cause me to be at risk of losing my firearms and tackle. 
          The forecast is for rain but no freezing precipitation tonight.  I’ve brought in enough firewood for the night. Debating driving over to Greeneville to get a haircut.  We’ll see whether I can summon the interest and energy to make the trip.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

14 November 2013 Walk carefully and carry a big stick

Cassi Creek:  My friend, Paul Scotton, sent me his good wishes for Veterans’ Day.  He attached a graphic he found, thinking it would amuse me. 
          He’s right, it does amuse me. 

Since becoming a world power, the U.S. soldier has presented a strong presence to the world.  The long line of men and women who made up the previous generations of our armed forces have cast a larger than life shadow in many desperate battles around the globe.  We’ve earned that larger shadow with our bodies and our lives, and those of our friends and families.  Then we’ve done what all soldiers do, we’ve aged, we’ve gained weight, we’ve acquired diseases that sap our strength and willpower. 
          Our bodies have let us down.  But the image we see in the mirror when we look to be sure that we’re still there is only one of two images.  We see the older people with gray hair and deep wrinkles.  We see the tremors and feel the loss of balance. 

          There remains another image.  Like the man at the WWII monument, we still see the shadow we cast when we were soldiers.  We’ve lost our durability but we’ve not lost the bits of self that allowed us to see who we had to be 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

13 November 2013 Ain’t gonna shop at Maggie’s Farm

Cassi Creek:  the annual holiday hysteria is nearly upon us.  The major chain/big box stores have decided that Thanksgiving is just another day to lure the foolish and the easily manipulated into their stores. 
          One chain is planning to be open 41 hours on Thanksgiving and the following Friday. 
          As for me, I have no intention of falling prey to such madness.  I hate mobs, I hate checkout lines, I hate Christmas muzak, and I would rather spend my Thanksgiving cooking a duck and other goodies for Gloria and me. 
          Equally abnormal, by modern American guidelines for behavior, I will not spend my time watching football in any form or fashion. 
          So until 2014 rolls around I will avoid any stores but those selling food and beverages.  If enough of us do this, perhaps we can end the annual custom of breaking down doors and trampling strangers in order to grab the items we’ve been told we can’t live without.  Join me!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

12 November 2013 Veterans’ Day is over roll up the banners

Cassi Creek:  Yesterday many chain eateries offered free food of some sort to all veterans who showed up with proof of service.  Active duty and Reserve troops were included by some chains.  Golden Corral has been offering such meals to vets for some time.  Over the last decade, the practice has expanded.  Some places offer only pancakes.  Some offer full breakfasts.  Some offer lunches, others offer only an appetizer.  Then there are places that provide full meals. 
          The local FATZ restaurant in Greeneville TN has been providing meals for vets on 11 Nov. for some time, strictly as a local decision.  This year the chain joined in.  The reward for vets was any entrée up to $15.00. 
          We drove into Greeneville last night.  FATZ has made some effort providing something beyond fried food.  There are some menu items Gloria can eat without too much worry.  We left home at 1720 and parked at FATZ about 1750.  The parking lot was packed; the outer waiting area was mobbed.  The projected wait was 45-60 minutes.   We were actually seated around 1930 and our meals were served about 2000.  The store manager came by, sat down, and thanked us for joining in the event.  She was trying to thank every veteran she could find.            The wait was longer than we anticipated and it grew chilly outdoors before we could move indoors to wait.  The employees were extremely polite, worked hard to seat, and serve a large number of vets and their family members. 
          I’m certain that the give-away meal event brought in a large amount of coincidental, non-discounted, revenue.  Honestly, I hope it did.  It was rather nice to be rewarded for having served in uniform. 
          Today did the hike with Mike.  Returned his electric guitar with thanks.  We started the hike dry.  Halfway back, we noticed some light raindrops with occasional tiny snowflakes.  By the time we returned to Mike’s, it was raining lightly.  As I brought Loki up the steps and into the house, moderate rain was falling.  It has rained off and on since then.  I managed to top off the salt in the well filters and changed out two light bulbs in the filter shack before 1100.  About 1145, we began to notice snowflakes mixed with the rain.  Now, at 1145, we have light snow, large flakes and a heavy bird presence at the feeders. 
          As for Veterans’ Day, most public acclamation has ended and the banners and podiums have been put away for another year.  The politicians have all given their patriotic speeches praising our veterans and those still serving.  Of course, none of them chose to mention that Congress has just cut the amount of food stamp assistance received by military families and veterans, pushing our troops further toward the poverty level. 

          Happy Veterans’ Day from a grateful nation and a hypocritical Congress.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

11-11-2013 Veterans’ Day 2013

Cassi Creek:

Norma Jean Baty – Army Nurse Cadet Corps 1944

My mother is the last member of our family to have served in the United States Armed Forces during WWII.  She was in the pipeline for overseas duty when the war in Europe ended.  After the end of the war, she spent 50 years working in various capacities as an RN.  Following her retirement from nursing, she has donated thousands of hours as a volunteer at state and local levels.  She was just presented with an award proclaiming her Auxilerarian of the year for her volunteer labors
          Gloria’s father was in the first medical unit to enter Dachau and organized the first Seder to take place there.  Her uncles served in both theaters. 
          My side of the family served in North Africa, Italy, in the Aleutians, and at Iwo Jima. 
          What amazing men and women!

Who we were and are.
While only a fraction of a percent of the country's population is currently serving, 7 percent of the population is veterans. There are 22,658,000 veterans in America today, just 8 percent of which are female.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 November 2013 WWII 30 seconds over Tokyo

Cassi Creek:
This is the end of an era.  I think that the common knowledge of this mission will end with the early boomers.

Major campaigns and battles Pacific Theater of Operations

·         Central Pacific Theater
·         Attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941[4]
·         Battle of Wake Island 7–23 December 1941[5]
·         Doolittle Raid 18 April 1942[4]
·         Battle of the Coral Sea 4-8 May 1942
·         Battle of Midway 4–6 June 1942[4]
·         Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign 1943–44
·         Makin Island raid 17–18 August 1942[6]
·         Battle of Tarawa 20 November 1943[4]
·         Battle of Kwajalein 1 February 1944[7]
·         Battle of Eniwetok 17 February 1944[8]
·         Attack on Truk Island 17-18 February 1944
·         Mariana and Palau Islands campaign 1944
·         Battle of Saipan 15 June 1944[9]
·         Battle of the Philippine Sea 19–21 June 1944[10]
·         Battle of Guam 21 July 1944[11]
·         Battle of Tinian 24 July 1944[11]
·         Battle of Peleliu 15 September 1944[12]
·         Battle of Angaur 17 September 1944[12]
·         Battle of Iwo Jima 19 February 1945[4]
·         Battle of Okinawa 1 April 1945[4]
·         North Pacific Theater
·         Aleutian Islands Campaign 1942–43
·         Battle of the Komandorski Islands 26 March 1943[4]

Saturday, November 9, 2013

9 November 2013 Equipment losses WWII

Cassi Creek:
WWII was a demonstration of how important industrialization had become in modern warfare.  The bombing campaigns against Germany and Japan were intended to destroy their industrial capacities, rendering them unable to continue fighting effectively.  The effect of urban destruction on the citizens of the targeted nations, while overwhelmingly frightening, was not the primary reason for the bombing campaigns. 
The hardware losses to the combatant nations spiraled upward at such a rate that even the U.S. industrial plants and resources were unable to keep up with the demands for new and replacement weaponry without rationing on the home front. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

8 November 2013 WWII Aircraft Facts

Cassi Creek: long, repetitious,  bewildering and difficult to correlate to the airwars we fight now

WWII Aircraft Facts
No matter how one looks at it, these are incredible statistics. Aside from the figures on aircraft, consider this statement from the article: On average 6600 American service men died per MONTH, during WWII (about 220 a day). Most Americans who were not adults during WWII have no understanding of the magnitude of it. This listing of some of the aircraft facts gives a bit of insight to it.
276,000 aircraft manufactured in the US .
43,000 planes lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat.
14,000 lost in the continental U.S.
The US civilian population maintained a dedicated effort for four years, many working long hours seven days per week and often also volunteering for other work. WWII was the largest human effort in history.
Statistics from Flight Journal magazine.

—- The staggering cost of war.
THE PRICE OF VICTORY (cost of an aircraft in WWII dollars)
B-17 $204,370. P-40 $44,892.
B-24 $215,516. P-47 $85,578.
B-25 $142,194. P-51 $51,572.
B-26 $192,426. C-47 $88,574.
B-29 $605,360. PT-17 $15,052.
P-38 $97,147. AT-6 $22,952.

From Germany ‘s invasion of Poland Sept. 1, 1939 and ending with Japan ‘s surrender Sept. 2, 1945 — 2,433 days. From 1942 onward, America averaged 170 planes lost a day.
How many is a 1,000 planes? B-17 production (12,731) wingtip to wingtip would extend 250 miles. 1,000 B-17s carried 2.5 million gallons of high octane fuel and required 10,000 airmen to fly and fight them.

9.7 billion gallons of gasoline consumed, 1942-1945.
107.8 million hours flown, 1943-1945.
459.7 billion rounds of aircraft ammo fired overseas, 1942-1945.
7.9 million bombs dropped overseas, 1943-1945.
2.3 million combat sorties, 1941-1945 (one sortie = one takeoff).
299,230 aircraft accepted, 1940-1945.
808,471 aircraft engines accepted, 1940-1945.
799,972 propellers accepted, 1940-1945.

Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik 36,183
Yakolev Yak-1,-3,-7, -9 31,000+
Messerschmitt Bf-109 30,480
Focke-Wulf Fw-190 29,001
Supermarine Spitfire/Seafire 20,351
Convair B-24/PB4Y Liberator/Privateer 18,482
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt 15,686
North American P-51 Mustang 15,875
Junkers Ju-88 15,000
Hawker Hurricane 14,533
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk 13,738
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 12,731
Vought F4U Corsair 12,571
Grumman F6F Hellcat 12,275
Petlyakov Pe-2 11,400
Lockheed P-38 Lightning 10,037
Mitsubishi A6M Zero 10,449
North American B-25 Mitchell 9,984
Lavochkin LaGG-5 9,920
Note: The LaGG-5 was produced with both water-cooled (top) and air-cooled (bottom) engines.
Grumman TBM Avenger 9,837
Bell P-39 Airacobra 9,584
Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar 5,919
DeHavilland Mosquito 7,780
Avro Lancaster 7,377
Heinkel He-111 6,508
Handley-Page Halifax 6,176
Messerschmitt Bf-110 6,150
Lavochkin LaGG-7 5,753
Boeing B-29 Superfortress 3,970
Short Stirling 2,383
Sources: Rene Francillon, Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific war; Cajus Bekker, The Luftwaffe Diaries; Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes; Wikipedia.

According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes — inside the continental United States. They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.
Think about those numbers. They average 1,170 aircraft accidents per month—- nearly 40 a day. (Less than one accident in four resulted in totaled aircraft, however.)
It gets worse…..
Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign climes. But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causesoverseas.
In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England . In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe .

Pacific theatre losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed. The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas .
On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theatres and another 18,000 wounded. Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number “liberated” by the Soviets but never returned. More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands. Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.
US manpower made up the deficit. The AAF’s peak strength was reached in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year’s figure.
The losses were huge—but so were production totals. From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That number was enough not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain , Australia, China and Russia . In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined. And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.
However, our enemies took massive losses. Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40 planes a month. And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours. The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.
Experience Level:
Uncle Sam sent many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training. Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned aircraft.
The 357th Fighter Group (often known as The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s. The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.
A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type. Many had fewer than five hours. Some had one hour.
With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat. The attitude was, “They all have a stick and a throttle. Go fly `em.” When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in February 1944, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition. The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, “You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target.
A future P-47 ace said, “I was sent to England to die.” He was not alone. Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft. Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade: of Jimmy Doolittle’s 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941. All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school.
In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat. The AAF’s worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours. Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139. All were Allison powered.
Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive. The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively– a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force’s major mishap rate was less than 2.
The B-29 was even worse at 40; the world’s most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons. The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.
The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but there were not enough experienced pilots to meet the criterion. Only ten percent had overseas experience. Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month “safety pause” rather than declare a “stand down”, let alone grounding.
The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone. But they made it work.
Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators. The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War. And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving “Uncle Sugar” for a war zone. Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel — a stirring tribute to the AAF’s educational establishments.

Cadet To Colonel:
It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders. That was the record of John D. Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941. He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 2� in P-40s. He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group — at age 24.
As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions.
By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training. At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.
At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types.
Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft.
The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.
Whether there will ever be another war like that experienced in 1940-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq . But within living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless.

Many of us grew up with family members who flew these missions over Europe and in the PTO.  Most of also had no valid idea how bad were the odds against survival every time they flew.  These were men and women who never applied the word “hero” to ball players (except Ted Williams).