Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Big Time, L'il Sweetie, Little Bit, The WSO
Safe and (mostly) sound after the long haul from California
L'il Sweetie and Your Humble Scribe doing the selfie thing.
Your Humble Scribe playing the fool.
LUSH, "Playing?"
Kodi is convinced the kids dropped something to eat.
Bear wants to know if the kids ever sleep.
As to the post title...

Yes, yes, we are!

I am thankful, I pray you are as well.



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Etc.

(Source)
The Nuke and the grand-dogs are in town, The Missus Herself as well.

The WSO and her tribe are also in place.

We have five adult humans, two little humans, two felines, and two canines onboard.

Yes, things might be hectic.

Posting, as the picture indicates, might be light.

I'm off all week, so I've got that going for me.

Ride might be bumpy, but it's gonna be fun.

I'll be here, hopefully, before Thanksgiving, but if not...

(Source)



Monday, November 20, 2017

Old 666

Well...I'm anticipating, but not betting on, a quiet week this week.  Faculty and Students are off, so shouldn't be jamming printers or forgetting passwords or other actions of similar "demise of all life in the universe" nature as usually occurs when they're around.  

The members of my team will be working on issues affecting our production databases and involve taking those off line for (hopefully) short periods of time.  Our boss has taken pity on us and updated our equipment.  He expects this will enhance our productivity.



We shall see if his expectations are met.

Meanwhile on the home front, Thanksgiving dinner is still being procurred
No Sarge, those are not Buzzards.  A large flock of turkey hens ran in front of the truck on the way to Church this Morn.
As Mrs Juvat is out at Trade Days, peddling women's wear, I had the opportunity to watch a little bit of Dogfights, and stumbled across this episode.


.I had originally selected it because Col Thorsness' Medal of Honor flight was included, but watched the other two segments first.  I'll leave the first segment for the members of the Staff with Navy attachments to discuss.

The second segment, however....

Piqued my interest.  It begins at 18:50.

And I realized I hadn't written one of these posts in a while, so here's the story of two more Recipients of the Medal of Honor from the Air Force or it's antecedents.

Their names are Joseph Sarnoski and Jay Zeamer.
Lt Sarnoski
Source
Major Zeamer
Source

This was kind of interesting to me for a variety of reasons.  First, when I hear about B-17s, like most people I immediately think of 8th Air Force, Great Britain and Nazi Germany.  The Flying Fortress flew in every theater of war in WWII, and while I knew that, I didn't appreciate some of the aspects of that fact.

Second, there were multiple incidents of two Medal of Honor recipients on a single crew.  One is described here. Lt Sarnoski and Major Zeamer are unique in that, although they were in the same aircraft when the action occurred, they received them for different reasons.

This site, as usual, has quite a bit of detailed information about the mission, providing some of those bon mots that bring the incident to life.  

Apparently, Major Zeamer was a natural leader, who had  had a problem checking out as a pilot in the B-26.  In fact, at the time of this mission, was NOT a qualified B-17 pilot. He had only passed the qualifications to be a co-pilot.

My interpretation of this was not that he lacked the flying ability, but that he lacked the ability to comply with what would later become the SAC way of flying.  Based on this, or perhaps because of this, he was sent to 5th Air Force in the South Pacific, in the B-26.  He raised the ire of his mates there by, apparently falling asleep, during the bomb run on missions evidently due to boredom.  He was transferred to a B-17 unit, where he was assigned to some one who "got" him, and trained him.  
Major Zeamer is 2nd from left back row, Lt Sarnowski is last on the right back row.
Source

Major Zeamer eventually put together a crew of misfits like himself, found a shot up B-17 that was being cannibalized and restored it to flying status, added additional armament to it and began flying missions no one else wanted to fly.  
Believed to be the only picture of their aircraft
Source

Such was the state of the war in that theater, that no one really asked to see his "papers" authorizing him to fly as pilot in command.  My kinda guy!  

Fighter Pilot is an Attitude, not an AFSC!

In any case, in June of 1943, Major Zeamer takes a mission to map Bougainville, in preparation for invasion.  Somebody, flying a chair, had also asked them to take pictures of the airfield at Buka.  Major Zeamer declined as that would have alerted the Japanese to his approach.

As he's approaching the target, he realizes he's 30 minutes ahead of schedule, so decides to fly over Buka and take the pictures.  He does and now back on time, but with the Japanese alerted, flies on to perform his mapping mission.

Lt Sarnoski had received orders sending him stateside in 3 days as he's been in theater for 18 months and more than exceeded his required missions.  Everything I read about him said he was an outstanding bombardier as well as an excellent shot with the machine gun.  He volunteered to go on the mission as his replacement had come down with malaria and was grounded.

The mission is going to be dangerous for a couple of reasons, as they are taking pictures to be used as maps, the aircraft cannot deviate from the flight path at all.  Straight and level.  Also, in order for the mission to be successful, the film must make it back to base.  Getting shot down is mission failure, as well as the usual bad stuff involved with getting shot down.

They are in the final phases of the mission when they notice Japanese Zero's  taking off and pursuing them.  Modifications to their B-17 were such that instead of the usual 10 x .50 Cal machine guns, they had 19.  The first Zero's that attacked from the tail were shot down.  

Other Zero's maneuvered around to the front for a head on attack.  One is shot down by Lt Sarnoski, but another one attacks and shatters the front end of the bomber severely injuring him, throwing him back under the flight deck.  Damage is such that Major Zeamer can see him through the holes.

Declining first aid, Lt Sarnoski manages to pull himself back to his position and resume firing, destroying a Japanese Dinah twin engine fighter.
Source

Major Zeamer has not escaped injury from the head on attacks either.  He's severely injured in the legs and arms, and is flying the aircraft with his fingers.  

Sources I've found say this aerial battle went on from 40 minutes to an hour as the B-17 makes it's exit from the target area. As they prepare to make a final attack, Major Zeamer pulls the B-17 into a steep dive into some clouds. The Japanese being low on fuel and ammunition, assume that was a death dive and RTB.

Major Zeamer pulls the aircraft out of the dive and continues to command the aircraft between periods of unconciousness due to blood loss.  The Co-pilot is performing first aid on Lt Sarnoski and the aircraft is being flown by one of the Gunners.

RTB takes about 4 hours and Lt Sarnoski succumbs to his injuries enroute.  Major Zeamer revives in time to make the actual landing and passes out again on shutdown hearing the medics say to "leave the pilot for last, he's dead."

Fortunately, that wasn't true, although the Doctors eventually pulled 150 pieces of metal out of him, most parts of the B-17.

He passed away in 2017.

One of the sources I found for Lt Sarnoski was entitled, "From a common man, uncommon Valor".  I think that has been a frequent summation for the folks on that monument at Lackland.


Major Zeamer's Citation:

On 16 June 1943, Maj. Zeamer (then Capt.) volunteered as pilot of a bomber on an important photographic mapping mission covering the formidably defended area in the vicinity of Buka, Solomon Islands. While photographing the Buka airdrome. his crew observed about 20 enemy fighters on the field, many of them taking off.  
Despite the certainty of a dangerous attack by this strong force, Maj. Zeamer proceeded with his mapping run, even after the enemy attack began. In the ensuing engagement, Maj. Zeamer sustained gunshot wounds in both arms and legs, 1 leg being broken. Despite his injuries, he maneuvered the damaged plane so skillfully that his gunners were able to fight off the enemy during a running fight which lasted 40 minutes. The crew destroyed at least 5 hostile planes, of which Maj. Zeamer himself shot down 1.
 Although weak from loss of blood, he refused medical aid until the enemy had broken combat. He then turned over the controls, but continued to exercise command despite lapses into unconsciousness, and directed the flight to a base 580 miles away. In this voluntary action, Maj. Zeamer, with superb skill, resolution, and courage, accomplished a mission of great value. 

Lt. Sarnoski's Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 16 June 1943, 2d Lt. Sarnoski volunteered as bombardier of a crew on an important photographic mapping mission covering the heavily defended Buka area, Solomon Islands. 
When the mission was nearly completed, about 20 enemy fighters intercepted. At the nose guns, 2d Lt. Sarnoski fought off the first attackers, making it possible for the pilot to finish the plotted course. When a coordinated frontal attack by the enemy extensively damaged his bomber, and seriously injured 5 of the crew, 2d Lt. Sarnoski, though wounded, continued firing and shot down 2 enemy planes.
A 20-millimeter shell which burst in the nose of the bomber knocked him into the catwalk under the cockpit. With indomitable fighting spirit, he crawled back to his post and kept on firing until he collapsed on his guns. 2d Lt. Sarnoski by resolute defense of his aircraft at the price of his life, made possible the completion of a vitally important mission.

Sources




Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Still No Word

(Source)
Strong winds and 20-foot seas in the area are hampering the search for ARA San Juan which hasn't reported in since early on the 15th of November. Numerous rumors are around concerning the missing submarine, nothing official has been released by government authorities.

On the bright side, if there is such a thing in these circumstances, is that it's summer in the southern hemisphere, up to 18 hours of daylight would help the search, if the weather wasn't so bad.

Apparently the British Royal Navy is also assisting in the search according to this report from Sky News. This report from ABC News provides more background on this situation.

A break in the weather is expected tomorrow, Monday at the latest. But time is not on the crews' side. If the boat is submerged, air quality will be an issue, not so much a lack of oxygen as much as an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the air. Scrubbers aboard most submarines are designed to remove the carbon dioxide from the air which we humans produce as a byproduct of breathing. OSHA considers 3% carbon dioxide to be the maximum level where a normal human can continue to function. 10% is lethal, fatal within 30 minutes.

No one not aboard San Juan knows what happened or what is happening at this moment. As you can see from the next graphic, there's a big area where the boat could be (yellow circle). For rescue purposes, shallow water is better, rescues from very deep water are problematic to say the least.

Google Earth
Prayers continue...



Friday, November 17, 2017

For Those In Peril On The Sea

S-42 ARA San Juan
(Source)
She's a T-1700-Class submarine built by Thyssen Nordseewerke. As of late Friday she had not been heard from since Wednesday, the 15th of November. She was proceeding from Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, en route to the base at Mar del Plata. Last known position was approximately 270 miles off the Golfo San Jorge (the red diamond on the map.)


NASA just happened to have a P-3 Orion down in the area, she's involved in the search. Elements of the United States Navy are also en route to assist in the search.

But it's a long ways away...

NASA P-3B
(Source)
There are at least 44 submariners on board San Juan. Right now, as I write this and until they are safe, my prayers are with them, and their families.

God grant the search crews the eyes of eagles and the strength needed to fulfill their mission.

If you're a praying sort, now would be a good time to do so.

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.

Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?

Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.

- Winfred Ernest Garrison
(Source)
Lord, have mercy...




'Tis the Season...

I don't often post things asking for donations to some cause. When I do, it's for a good cause. This one more than makes the grade. Go here to donate.

Let our sailors know that we thank them, remember them, and support them. Especially at this time of year.

It's tough being away from home and family during the holidays. DAMHIK.

Thanks.

- OAFS