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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Today in History

1415 - At the Battle of Agincourt, the Welsh longbow defeats the armored knight.
1671 - Giovanni Cassini discovers Iapetus, a satellite of Saturn.
1760 - George III ascends the British throne.
1764 - John Adams marries Abigail Smith - their marriage lasts 54 years.
1812 - The U.S. frigate United States captures the British vessel Macedonian.
1854 - The Light Brigade makes its charges (Battle of Balaklava-Crimean War)
1870 - Postcards are first used in the U.S.
1900 - The British annex Transvaal.
1903 - The Senate begins investigating the Teapot Dome scandals of the Harding administration.
1915 - Attorney James L. Curtis is named minister of Liberia.
1918 - The Canadian steamship Princess Sophia hits a reef off Alaska, killing 398.
1924 - The "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip makes its first appearance.
1929 - Former Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall is convicted of accepting a $100,000 bribe.
1930 - The first scheduled transcontinental air service begins.
1935 - Hurricane-produced floods kill 2,000 in Haiti.
1944 - The Japanese navy is defeated at the battle of Leyte Gulf.
1945 - The Japanese surrender Taiwan to General Chiang Kai-shek.
1951 - Peace talks aimed at ending the Korean War resume in Panmunjom.
1960 - In NYC, the first electronic wrist watch is placed on sale.
1962 - Uganda becomes the 110th member of the U.N.; Stevenson demands that Soviet ambassador Zorin give an answer regarding Cuban missle bases, saying that "I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over."
1971 - Roy Disney dedicates Walt Disney World; The U.N. General Assembly admits China, and expels Taiwan.
1975 - The U.S.S.R.'s Venera-10 lands on Venus.
1978 - The Israeli Cabinet approves, "in principle," a draft compromise peace.
1983 - The U.S. invades Grenada.
1985 - The Kosmos-1700 communications satellite is placed in geostationary orbit.
1986 - The International Red Cross is ousted from South Africa.
1990 - The NY Daily News goes on strike (through March, 1991).

- Baron Grenville, British PM (1806-07)
1825 - Johann Strauss (the younger), composer (Waltz King)
1838 - Georges Bizet, composer (Carmen)
1869 - John Heisman, pioneering football coach/trophy namesake
1877 - Henry Norris Russell, astronomer (Hertzsprung-Russell diagram)
1909 - Philleo Nash, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (1961-67)
1935 - Russell "Rusty" L. Schweickart, astronaut (Apollo 9)
1967 - Julia Roberts, actress (Mystic Pizza, Pretty Woman)

1400 - Geofrey Chaucer, author
1892 - Caroline Harrison, Preident Benjamin Harrison's wife
1986 - Forrest Tucker, actor (O'Rourke-F Troop, Dusty Trail)
1987 - Cecil Brown, news correspondant (CBS)

Reported Missing in Action
Green, Robert B., USAF (TX); C47 shot down

Levan, Alvin L., USN (PA); suffered a seizure and fell overboard from PCF-87, Killed, body not recovered

Horinek, Ramon A., USAF (KS); F105D shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Lt. Colonel - alive and well as of 1998

Kromenhoek, Jeffrey M., USN (IA); A4E shot down, presumed KIA

Smith, Richard Eugene, USAF (MS); F105D shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Lt. Colonel - alive and well as of 1998

Thompson, Benjamin A., US Army (AL); swept away in current while crossing a river, Killed, body not recovered

Also listed in the POW/MIA database for today are the names of more than 80 civilians, lost when the Glomar Java Sea, a civilian oil-drilling vessel, went down in a typhoon. (There is evidence to suggest the Glomar Java Sea was attacked prior to the typhoon, and that some survivors were captured and held by the Vietnamese).

Pearl Harbor - Of Horror and Heroes

It's a hard experience to describe....from the first moments, the place is deeply moving.

If you're going to go, get there as early as you can. An estimated 4,500 people visit the USS Arizona memorial daily. Tickets are available on a first-come, first served basis, and when they're gone, they're gone.

This was the line of people in front of my tour when it arrived at 7:15 am:

Five minutes later, the line was three times that long behind us.

As we entered, we were greeted by a WWII vet who had been at Pearl Harbor during the attacks on December 7, 1941.

Just past the entry point, one of the Arizona's anchors is displayed. One is here, at Pearl Harbor. The other is displayed outside the Arizona state capitol building. The USS Arizona's anchors weigh almost 20,000 lbs each. This one was found some 200 feet from the Arizona - so powerful was the explosion that sank her.

Once inside, you can see the Arizona's bell.

And then you can move through the building. There's a short film on the events leading up to and during that awful day - as you wait for it, you walk past a number of memorial plaques.

Amazingly, the actual hit on the Arizona was caught on film. It's a horrible, sobering moment.

The USS Arizona was 608 feet long; her beam was 97 feet. She had a displacement of over 31,000 tons. And on December 7, 1941, there were over 1500 men aboard.

The armor-piercing bomb that struck the Arizona went through four decks before detonating - right next to 900 tons of powder in the forward magazine. They exploded, lifting the front of the ship ten feet out of the water, and she sank in nine minutes, taking 1,177 American Navy and Marine heroes with her. 75 were recovered. The others are entombed in her hulk. In addition, the ashes of some of the Arizona's survivors are also entombed there with their fallen brothers.

But Pearl Harbor wasn't just about the Arizona. All of the battleships at Pearl Harbor that morning received damage. Five were sunk. Eleven of the other ninety ships there were badly damaged. All of the damaged ships, however, were eventually put back in service, save for the Arizona, the Utah, and the Oklahoma. 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians were killed. Like all tragedies, the attack on Pearl Harbor has some particularly poignant elements -

34 pairs of brothers were on the Arizona the day she was sunk. Thirteen of those sixty-eight men survived - no fraternal pairs made it through intact.

A father / son pair also died aboard the Arizona that day.

After the film, you board a Navy shuttle and take the short ride across the water to the Memorial.

Along the way, you view some of the many markers that dot the water - markers that show the locations of ships that were in the harbor that day. Among them was the USS Vestal, a repair ship, badly damaged during the attack.

The USS Missouri, on which Japan signed the surrender papers, as seen from the Navy shuttle before we left for the Arizona memorial.

The USS Arizona memorial, as seen from the shuttle boat.

The USS Vestal's marker.

The USS Arizona memorial is striking; simple and subtle, yet profound. The structure has twenty-one windows in it, to honor the Arizona's 21-piece band, which had taken 2nd place in a competition the night before. The band never played again. The competition had been a preliminary for the championship - in tribute, the other bands awarded the Arizona's fallen musicians the 1st place trophy.

The arched design is symbolic as well:

"The form, wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends, expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory. Wide openings in walls and roof permit a flooding by sunlight and a close view of the sunken battleship eight feet below, both fore and aft...The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses...his innermost feelings" -- Alfred Preis, architect

And there are alot of responses and feelings. At the back of the memorial is a wall, inscribed on which are the names of those who lost their lives on the Arizona in the Pearl Harbor attack.

The views from the memorial are striking. There is the protruding foundation for the No. 3 gun turret, surrounded by the "black tears" of the Arizona. Local lore holds that these drops of oil, still seeping from the Arizona's sunken hulk, will only stop when the last of her survivors is interred with his brethren.

And on the other side, there is the USS Missouri, as well as other markers.

Markers for the locations of the USS Tennessee and the USS West Virginia.

The Missouri and the markers for the Tennessee and West Virginia.

I took some time to pay my respects, and then headed for the shuttle back to shore.

Views on the way back

Once back, I toured the museum. Among the items there are a japanese torpedo that was recovered from the harbor, and memorabilia from the ships in the harbor, including the Arizona. Outside, markers honor the fallen, and explain various events from that dark day. You can also get a great view of the submarine USS Bowfin, moored nearby.

The Missouri and the Arizona memorial, as seen from the Memorial's Visitors' Center.

The USS Bowfin as seen from the back of the Memorial Visitors' Center.

You can also donate to the effort to build a new memorial center. The present one is sinking; it's built on marshland. For your donation, you can get a number of mementos, ranging from postcards, to posters, to t-shirts and lapel pins. I made my donation in the memory of my grandfathers and my step-grandfather, WWII vets. To learn more about this effort, click here.

As I wandered outside to contemplate what I'd seen, I met Rose J., a park employee. She noticed my ever-present 1st Cavalry Division baseball cap (worn in honor of my 1st adoptee, now safely home), and stopped me to mention that she served in the 1st Cav., with the 15th AG. Her brother is a Vietnam vet.

When I found out I was coming to Hawaii, the first thing I wanted to do - the only thing I saw as a must, really - was a visit to Pearl Harbor. It was a very solemn experience, and I shed more than a few tears. It's hard not to.

I wanted to make the trip to honor those who fell here. I'm glad that I did.

For more about Pearl Harbor:
USS Arizona Memorial
The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December, 1941
National Geographic

Naval Historical Center
EyeWitness to History

What I'm Doing Today

I am heading to Pearl Harbor this morning; I should have some pictures to post this afternoon. Located at Pearl Harbor is the USS Arizona memorial, and the USS Missouri, the Battleship on which Japan officially surrendered, ending WWII in the Pacific theater.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, (Dec. 7, 2002) -- Gun turret number three aboard the USS Arizona Memorial protrudes from the waters of Pearl Harbor as USS Port Royal (CG 73) prepares to pass-in-review and render honors to the sunken battleship. A solemn ceremony, hosted by Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, featured Hawaii's senior Senator and Medal of Honor recipient Daniel Inouye as guest speaker. 17 survivors of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and their family members joined nearly 200 guests for the ceremony which included a wreath-laying by all branches of the U.S. military. The Governor of Hawaii, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, and more than 20 other veteran's groups were also part of the ceremony. The commemoration marks the 61st anniversary of the attack and honors the men and women who lost their lives that day. U. S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class William R. Goodwin.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Jun. 27, 2000) -- An aerial view of Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii, following exercises in support of RIMPAC 2000. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Arlo Abrahamson.

Headlines from Fox News

It's a Yes - Iraqi constitution passes

Fox is also reporting that the Long Beach, CA, airport is currently closed, after an undisclosed threat was received there. Currently, eight flights are delayed. There is no word on how long the airport will be closed.

UPDATE: Fox is now reporting that it was a non-specific bomb threat (and not credible, according to authorities). The airport is being sweeped for any problems, and is expected to reopen some time this morning.

My Heroes...

Here are a few pictures... my fiance and my brother in Iraq 2005.

It just shows how hard these guys are fighting over there.

Thank you,


My fiance, SGT V., Camp Sykes, Iraq July 2005

My brother, SGT V., Camp Speicher, Iraq returned home October 18, 2005

Melissa, thanks for sending these, and thanks to both of your heroes for all they do.

Welcome home to your brother, and tell that fiance of yours to keep his helmet on, and stay safe!

A Message from Down Under

Dear soldiers,

My name is Amanda and I am 20, I live in Australia. I would just like to post this email on your website to say THANK YOU for keeping the world safe from terrorists, you are all doing an execellent job and I hope that you all have the love, honour and respect that you all deserve.

You are all heroes in my eyes.

Yours thankfully,

Amanda H.
PREFLIGHT CHECK — U.S. Army Lt. Col. Doug Gabram, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky., runs a preflight check of the AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter prior to another mission from Forward Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, Oct. 22, 2005. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway

In Today's News - Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Quote of the Day
"We believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom -- the freedom we prize -- is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind."
-- George W. Bush

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraq Hotel Attacked
Bush says Saddam to get fair trial in Iraq

Operation Enduring Freedom
Accused drug lord is first Afghan extradited to US

Hurricane Season
Wilma Kills Six
Storm leaves 6 million in dark
Wilma Churns Waves Into Cuba
Looting Follows Wilma in Mexico
Video: Wilma Sweeps Across South Florida
Photo Essay: Wilma Aftermath
Photo Essay: Wilma Crashes into Cuba
Mexico Worried About Tourism After Wilma
Nearly 250 Rescued From Flooded Cuba Homes
New Orleans seeks federal aid for courts, jail
Design flaws may have doomed levees

Pakistan Earthquake
U.S. Army MASH Unit Rolls Into Pakistan
Afghan President Visits Pakistan Quake Zone

GOP Senator: Libby, Rove Should Go If Indicted
Cheney told top aide of CIA officer: report

Miller Blasted by Colleagues

Supreme Court
Bush 'Confident' in Miers

U.N. Scandals
Senate panel accuses British lawmaker of perjury
(why am I not surprised here - George Galloway is also apparently taking bribes)

Moonbat Watch
ACLU Alleges 21 Detainees Killed in U.S. Custody

Something you don't see too often..

Other News of Note
Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dies
Bush names Bernanke to replace Greenspan
Alleged Head of Rwandan Genocide Testifies

Fox News
Ben Bernanke to Chair Fed
Murdered Wife of TV Pundit Was Stabbed in Abdomen
Dad: Caging Kids 'Necessary'
U.S.: U.N. Should Act on Syria
DoE: Avg. Gas Price Falls

Reuters: Top News
Israel renews Gaza air strikes after rocket firings
France says too early for sanctions against Syria
(France getting in the way? What a shock)
Rice wants tough anti-Syria move at U.N
Wilma pushes Miami stations off air
Canon to develop fuel cells for printers, cameras
US computer game touches Iran's atomic nerve
"Venus Express" space probe launch delayed
More bird flu in Russia, UN says keep focus on Asia
Officials predict plenty of flu vaccine this year
World not doing enough to fight bird flu: officials

AP World News
Nigeria Seeks U.S. Help in Jet Crash Probe
Envoy Urges Israel to Reopen Gaza Borders
Ministers Discuss Ways to Fight Bird Flu
Syrians Protest Hariri Report En Masse
Search Off for Nepal Mountain Climbers
Argentina's Ruling Party Dominates Vote
Poland's President-Elect Praises U.S.
Kyrgyz Protests Enter Third Day
Rumsfeld Tour Spotlights Changing Lineup
Anglican Unity Under Renewed Pressure
New Polish Leader to Maintain U.S. Ties
U.S. Wants Russia to Push Iran on Nukes

The Seattle Times
Records show Frist got updates about stock investment
LA judge signs death warrant for Crips gang co-founder
Nigeria investigators search for cause of plane crash that killed 117
Records show violations in FBI secret surveillance operations
Female prison population growing faster than male
Trial to begin in taped abduction
Mars rover Spirit begins climb down from summit
Top U.S. charities see donations rise
Fun, and piety, at Egypt's women-only beaches
Brazil poised to reject referendum on gun ban

Boston Globe: World
Breach of peace in Congo-Brazzaville recalls civil war
Four U.S. Troops Injured as Chopper Lands
Afghans Investigate Body-Burning Incident
Insurgency Expected to Continue
Pressure-Triggered Bombs Worry U.S. Forces

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
Car Bombs, Rockets Explode in Baghdad — Story
Iraqi Referendum Seen As a Security Success — Story
Report on Syria 'Deeply Troubling,' Rice Says — Story
Troop Visits Give Doctor New Outlook — Story

Task Force Recon Team Scouts for Insurgents — Story
Afghan Police Complete Basic Police Course — Story
Paratroopers Adapt, Afghan Mission Succeeds — Story Photos

High-School Classmates Share Meal in Iraq — Story

Artist Donates Painting to Quantico — Story

Hurricane Coverage
Iraq Transition of Power

Raids Net Explosives; Marine Killed
Operations Net Multiple Suspects
Raids Helped Preempt Attacks
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Troops Injured in Hard Landing
Rumsfeld: Must Resolve Allegations
Teams Play Pivotal Role
Afghanistan Daily Update

Bush: Radicalism 'Doomed to Fail'
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Rumsfeld Lauds Mongolians Photos
National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Army Casualty — Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


National Hurricane Center

"Today in History" post coming later