Thursday, June 30, 2022

Out Back of Beyond

Poland, near Leśna, Golice, Masovian Voivodeship
They had bivouacked the night before after a long march from the railhead. As they had moved east, all the men saw was forest and fields, forest and fields. They had marched through the  occasional rundown village along the way, all of them deserted.

"Where are all the people?" Schütze Hans Warstadt had asked. They had seen German-manned checkpoints but hadn't seen hide nor hair of the local population.

"Perhaps they're in hiding," offered Oberschütze Leon Schwarz, "I mean, there is a war on you know."

"But that was over a year ago!" Warstadt protested.

Fahnenjunker-Unterfeldwebel Jürgen von Lüttwitz stood at the side of the dirt track watching his men pass. As it got darker he didn't want the squad behind them to get lost. "It might be smart not to ask those kinds of questions, Hans."

Von Lüttwitz had seen how the Poles were treated by both the SS and the police, even Army units were guilty of atrocities against the Poles. His battalion commander had passed down the word to all of his officers and officer cadets, stay focused on the mission, don't concern yourselves with the Poles. The Party wants them gone, especially in the border regions adjacent to the Soviet-occupied zone.

Jürgen suspected that the people were being moved to places beyond the eyes of the world, and then killed. He had heard rumors and he had actually seen a "special action group" in Siedlce grabbing civilians off the streets and marching them away. One man had protested, he had been beaten to the ground.

Apparently there was no room in Poland for actual Poles.

He had not slept all night, getting the men in place. Oberleutnant Ferdinand Busch, his company commander, and Leutnant Fritz Acker, his platoon commander - recently returned to the unit from hospital - had come by early in the morning and the three men had discussed what they were supposed to be doing and how they were supposed to do it.

Busch assumed that they would be moving further east when the sun came up, they were some sixty kilometers from the border with the Soviet zone. Division wanted them no closer than twenty kilometers from that border. Once there, they were to dig in, and wait. Jürgen had remarked that life in the army required a lot of waiting.

"And digging, don't forget digging." Busch had said with a chuckle.

Unlike many officers, Busch carried an entrenching tool of his own. He dug his own protection out of the earth rather than require the men to do it.

Schütze Bodo Hermann was the first man in the squad to awaken. He sat up and looked around and muttered, "Mein Gott, wir sind am Arsch der Welt¹."

He shoved his buddy, Schütze Michael Offenbach, who was just starting to stir. Offenbach threw off his blanket and looked around himself.

A dirt road stretched to the horizon, there were small stands of woods everywhere the eye could see. There was a lone peasant hut not too far away, but other than the road and the hut, it looked like a place humans had never been.

"Scheiße, wo sich Fuchs und Hase gute Nacht sagen!²" he groaned aloud.

Both men saw their squad leader approaching, von Lüttwitz looked like death warmed over.

"Rough night, Herr Unterfeldwebel?" Offenbach quipped.

"Very. Now get up and get your gear together, we're marching as soon as everyone is ready."

The men grumbled, as soldiers always do, but they were up and about in no time. Good thing too, the battalion commander came up and was bellowing at the laggards in the other  platoons and companies.

"Ah, good work von Lüttwitz, at least two of my officers have their heads out of their asses this morning! Let's go lads, lets go!"

In Berlin, the Führer was holding another planning session. He insisted that first thing in the spring, the Wehrmacht must be ready to invade Russia and destroy Soviet Communism.

It was October 1940. The nights were getting cold, winter wasn't far off. It was the last winter many of the men in Busch's company would see.

¹ "My God, we're in the middle of nowhere. (German) Literally, in the asshole of the world.
² Another colorful German expression for the "middle of nowhere" - Where the fox and the hare say good night.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Moving On

Royal Air Force Operations in the Middle East and North Africa, 1939-1943
Imperial War Museum
Corporal Willis O'Donnell watched as Leading Aircraftman George Frasier closed up the engine compartment on Flying Officer Reginald Morley's Hurricane, C for Charlie. He had to admit, the lad knew his business.

"Where'd you learn how to do this laddie?" O'Donnell asked.

"I worked for Hawker Siddeley before the war, Corporal. I'd still be there if it wasn't for the Huns going into Poland."

"I should have thought chaps like you would get a deferment, that's automatic for a war industry isn't it?"

"Wasn't drafted, I volunteered Corp, right after we learned that my brother had been killed in France. I wanted the infantry, like my brother, but the government decided that having me work on Hurricanes in the RAF would be just the thing. So here I am."

"Well, I for one am glad we've got you."

"So Corp," Frasier hesitated for a moment, unsure if he should be talking about the rumor he'd heard in the Other Ranks mess the other day, "are we really going off to Egypt?"

O'Donnell turned to the young airman and said, "Well, it ain't official as of yet, but yeah, we are. The Eyeties¹ are gettin' frisky, Mussolini claims that he's going to resurrect the Roman Empire, Egypt's his first stop."

"Think we'll see the Pyramids then?"

"Dunno lad, if we go it'll be to fight a war, not do any sightseeing, but ye never know. Ye never know."

Reginald Morley sat with his new wife, Janice Worthington-Morley, he took another sip of the champagne that she had managed to acquire and looked with longing at his lady, her face still showed the scars from her injuries received in a Luftwaffe bombing raid, but he rarely noticed them at all.

"Do you know when?" she asked him.

Distracted, Morley set his glass down on the table, "When what, love?"

"Egypt, when are you lot off to Egypt?" she had a surprise for him, but wasn't sure how to broach the topic.

"Ah, Saturday next. We're off by ship, apparently we're transitioning to Spitfires once we get there. Don't know where the aircraft are coming from, we'll probably still be in Hurricanes for a while. Not that I mind, the Spitfire is a sweet aircraft, but I know the Hurricane inside and out. I like flying it and it's kept me alive so far."

Morley took another sip of champagne then said, "You know Janice, that you can rely on my Mum and Da' for anything and everything while I'm out East, right?" He noted his wife's nervous smile, then set his glass down.

"I assure you love, my parents think the world of you ..."

Janice interrupted him with, "I've had a posting of my own you know."

"What? Where? Dear God I hope the service isn't sending you off to ..."

"Cairo darling, I'm going to Cairo, to work in the headquarters there."

Morley sat for a moment, flabbergasted, "Cairo, why would they send you to ... Oh Lord, you asked for it, didn't you?" Morley sounded upset.

"Of course I did, d'ya think you men are the only ones worried about stopping Hitler and Mussolini?" Worthington-Morley had an edge to her voice which Morley recognized, he had no desire to fight with his new wife.

"Of course not, love. Just that I worry about you, England is safer and ..."

As he said that, the air raid sirens were going off in the near distance. Another German raid was inbound.

Both realized that as the world sank further into darkness, there were fewer and fewer safe places to be.

¹ British slang term for the Italians.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

They Only Come Out At Night ...

Gefreiter Alois Holweck paused momentarily and set aside the letter he was writing. He wanted to tell his sweetheart back home what he had faced over the past few weeks, but he knew that he could get in trouble with the officer who censored the men's letters home. If the words he put to paper were read by the wrong people, and were not in accordance with the views of the Party, he could find himself in very serious trouble. Perhaps even a firing squad or a disciplinary battalion would be in his future.

His unit was having serious morale problems due to the ever changing tactics of the high command. At first they were chasing shipping in the Channel, then their attacks had shifted to British airfields, now they were bombing factories and dockyards. Or so the intel officers told them, but Holweck had seen the truth from the air. They were bombing area targets, typically cities. There may have been a factory in the area his unit had set aflame last night for instance, but for the most part they were bombing civilians in their homes.

They now bombed at night because casualties during the day had grown to such a height that they were unsustainable over the long run. Though Herr Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda claimed that the Royal Air Force was on its last legs, their last daylight mission a few weeks ago had shown that for the lie it was.

As the formation had approached the English coast, the aircraft's navigator - Feldwebel Leo Habicht - had spotted aircraft approaching, English aircraft. They had turned out to be a squadron of Spitfires. Their Bf-109 escorts had peeled away to engage the enemy, keeping them away from the heavily laden bombers.

The Spitfires had the advantage of both altitude and speed, looking aft from his gunner's position, Holweck had seen at least one Bf-109 spinning down out of control, a thick stream of smoke trailing behind. It took time for the escorts to gain the speed and altitude they needed to fight the English aircraft, something which Der Dicke¹ in Berlin had discounted when his fighter commanders had protested the order to provide close escort.

Holweck could see why, if close escort was supposed to improve the bomber crews' morale, what was seeing their escorts cut to ribbons supposed to do?

Oberleutnant Johannes Boden, their pilot, had come on over the intercom, ordering his three crewmen to their gunner's stations. "Looks like the Hurricanes are coming in boys, heads up!"

They never made it to the target, Holweck shuddered as he remembered the screams of Leutnant Scholl. He had been hit by flying debris from the glass nose of the aircraft after one particularly accurate pass by one Hurricane which had bored in nose to nose. Boden had hissed "Scheiße ...," anticipating a head-on collision with the British fighter.

It had been a narrow miss, the Tommie had actually clipped the very top of the vertical stabilizer, tearing away the radio aerial. Holweck had nearly shit himself when the enemy bird had passed over so closely. But he had managed to squeeze off a burst which had crippled the Tommie.

The Tommie had managed to wound Scholl and hit the left engine before Holweck had put a burst into him. That engine had been shot up badly, forcing Boden to drop from the formation and head back to France. There had been some doubt as to their ability to even make the coast. But by the grace of God they had, crash-landing on a fighter base just behind the coastline.

Though they survived, their aircraft was a complete write-off.

Holweck picked up the letter again, most of it was fairly innocuous and should make it past the unit censor, it told Paula almost nothing of what they were going through over England. As he began to finish the letter, Leo Habicht walked in.

"Finish it up Alois, briefing in 15, we're on for England again tonight. My buddy in intel says we're hitting the London dockyards again. What are you doing lad, writing letters to that girl again?"

Holweck blushed, Habicht was from the next village over from his in the Harz Mountains, he knew Paula Braun very well, she lived on a farm between the two villages. She had been very popular. Habicht always referred to her as "that girl," knowing that she was completely out of Holweck's league.

"I'll finish this tomorrow, Leo. Have you heard the news about Leutnant Scholl?"

"Yes, poor bastard is blind in his left eye. The doctor's doubt they can save the right one as well. Oberfeldwebel Jürgens is flying as our bombardier tonight, they say he's good."

"As long as you can find the target Leo."

"Ja, there is that. Maybe we can find our way to Spain instead?"

"Don't even joke about that Leo, the Party has their ears everywhere."

"You worry too much, Junge, now come on, let's go or the Oberleutnant will have our guts for garters!"

Flying Officer Reginald Morley and Assistant Section Leader Janice Worthington were arguing, Morley thought it was a bad idea to even think of getting married when his squadron was about to be posted to North Africa.

"You shouldn't tie yourself down love, you never know what's going to happen, why take the chance of becoming a widow before you're even bloody twenty-one?" Morley desperately wanted Worthington as his wife but he also knew that the odds of him even surviving the war narrowed more and more with each passing day. RAF pilot casualties were appalling, though the switch by the Germans to bombing at night was something of a reprieve for the daylight single-seat pilots.

"Oh, you're going to fight the Italians, Reg. That's their second team, you've survived their best, you'll probably have your own squadron in no time. You'll live through this, I know you will!"

Morley just shook his head, "I wish I had your confidence, Janice."

¹ Literally "The Thick," (German), Reichsmarschall Herman Göring's nickname among the troops. The meaning translates as "the fat man."

Monday, June 27, 2022

Relax...Order has been restored to my Universe...Finally!

 And I mean it...Yesterday was CBW day! I know that for an absolute fact.  Today is CBW+1 or ABC day. (Beans, CBW+1 is the day I Answer Blog Comments.  Therefore....)  I was mostly kidding a couple of weeks ago when I talked about being worried about keeping track of Days of the Week because I use Sunday as my Anchor Day.  I go to Church and write my Blog Post, then count the days since that occurred.  When CBW=7 then CBW=0.  

Easy Peasy.  Until I did it for 10 days straight.  Seriously, I ended up putting an X on the fridge calendar before I went to bed just to keep track of days of the week..

Groundhog Day indeed.

I have no clue how Sarge and other daily bloggers do it.  But, I'm glad they can pull it off.

In any case, on with our regularly scheduled broadcast.

Any Questions?

juvat, what's the status of the Water Softener Camouflage project?

Well...One cabin is complete and has been for a month or so.  



That cabin was comparatively easy.  Had a three walled place for the equipment already part of the cabin.  However, the second cabin is a bit trickier

I've got to build walls around two of the sides, a cover on top and leave access to the light switch.  Doable...I hope, but gonna take quite a bit more time.  The good news/bad news is, up to this point, the occupancy rate is above 80% of the days per month. So haven't had enough time to start and finish this project, but the income is...nice!  This week we had guest's check out yesterday and no one will check in until Friday.  

So...with a little bit of luck, it'll be done in time.  The plan is to put two 2x4 braces horizontally across the front of the containers, anchoring them on the side of the sink and the wall with the switch.  Cedar planks will go vertically across the front from floor to just above the equipment.  On the sink side, another 2x4 will go from back to front and serve as an anchor for staves that shut off that side.  A similar solution will be done on the light switch side.  The front staves on that end will be cut off at sink height.  a permanent top will be put on that section and will serve as towel storage, maybe.  Directly above the now enclosed on three sides equipment will be a removable top for servicing equipment and replacing salt.  

We'll see how it goes.

Any other interesting events happening around Rancho Juvat there, juvat?

Well.  the other cabin will be taken off the short term rental market mid-July.  Seems that my second Grand Daughter and her Mother will be arriving from HK and will be staying with us for a few months.  Youngest Grand Daughter is expected to make her first public appearance the last few days of October which will now be officially referred to as Fall Birth Day Week.  Little J will return here a week or two prior to the due date.  The family will be together until after the New Year when Youngest Grand Daughter is old enough to fly and their accrued leave runs out. (Yes, Beans, they have a lot of accrued leave.  An extended solo assignment in Kuwait with no travel permitted (WuFlu don't you know) tends to accumulate a lot of leave.)

Why do you refer to it as Fall Birth Day Week, juvat?

Well, Mrs. J's birthday is that week, as is MG's (current Grand Daughter) and now Youngest Grand Daughter's will all be in the same week.  My Birthday, Little Juvat's Birthday and MBD's Birthday all are in the first week in June.  That has traditionally been referred to as "THE Birthday week".  Clearly, that has been overcome by events, so as the official naming Patriarch of the Family, I am now renaming it '"Summer Birth Day Week".

(After running it by all concerned...of course.)

And.....Just because I can.

MG and her supercool stroller/car seat all-in-one!

Hard to believe it's been 8 months already.  I don't know who's aging faster.  Her or me?   Her probably, I just look like I am. Heck, if you ask my ego, I'm 21 and holding.

That WAS where I was ending this post, but, not so fast! Late Breaking news.  Had to head to town for a few necessities  and while at the grocery store (HEB...Rated #2 grocery chain in the Nation AND it's only located in Texas! Whoop!), made my usual trip down the baby food aisle.

No, Beans, I'm not at that point in my life...yet.

MBD had very early on noted the potential impact the supply chain interruptions might have on newborn stuff in a large college aged population city (i.e. College Station). With that in mind, she had asked us to check baby formula aisle every time we went.  

We have...frequently...with no success. I'd like to thank that person in the White House for his astute leadership and economic skills.


Notice the empty shelves....However....

A quick phone call to confirm make and model and....

Scored the max we could (2) and now need to make delivery arrangements.  As Baron Von Richthofen once said "I'd rather be lucky than good.  Luck is more reliable."1

Peace Out, Y'all!

1. Not sure, really, who said it first.  Might even have been me.  But...attributing it to the Red Baron makes it more credible. Just sayin'

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Retirement Looms ...

Six months from now, if all goes according to plan, I shall be fully retired.

Right now I am fully retired from the U.S. Air Force, but still working full-time. Forty hours a week (well, technically 80 hours over two weeks, divvied up as 44 the first week, 36 the second) takes up a lot of time. I have many hobbies, some of which I have not pursued in many a year.

The picture above is an illustration of one of my hobbies. Napoleonic miniatures and the table-top gaming what is in it.

The last time I painted any of my many figures (all of which require far more room than I have available, mind you, the square footage is there, it's just that The Missus Herself would prefer I not leave my "toys" scattered about the living room) was 22 years ago.

We were settled in to the new digs, the new job, and I felt that I had time to pursue the hobby. I remember the day I was sitting at my desk in the Home Office (the one in Little Rhody, not the one in London) painting a figure of the Emperor Napoléon mounted upon his white horse Désirée.

We were expecting my parents, coming down to make their first official visit to the abode. So I was painting. I heard, then saw, their car pulling into the driveway, so I downed tools, put the Emperor back in his box and haven't lifted a brush since. Just haven't had the time for one reason or another.

The job has become more intense, though far more rewarding from an intellectual and financial point of view, than it used to be. Takes up most of my waking hours, either being there, or thinking about it. I can't leave it be, I'm a professional and the job takes up a lot of space in the old brain box.

In six months, that will no longer be the case.

So I have many things planned to make my retirement interesting and filled with interesting stuff. That picture above shows the latest acquisition of stuff I find interesting.

Each box contains what is called a "Starter Army," one box is Wellington's, the other is Napoléon's. Note the small package in the upper right of the photo. Paints those are, nice ones, with brushes, instructions and other paraphernalia so's that I can paint all those soldiers in those two boxes.

How many soldiers you might ask? Over a thousand in each box, infantry, cavalry, and artillery (both foot and horse) enough to wage a fair size battle atop the dining room table. (Provided management blesses that idea.) The troops are approximately 15 mm scale. I say approximately because the company in Britain which produces them wanted to have a scale of their own I guess. As they make all the stuff you need for multiple armies (the Prussians are on the way, available but not at a price I'm happy with), I'm okay with that.

I have three videos for you, two of them show you what's in those boxes (and it mentions a price, which I didn't pay, getting them through Amazon was about 2o to 30 dollars cheaper per box), both British and French (unless you're a real grognard¹, you only need to watch one of those, other than the unit types, they're both similar). The third video shows the troops deployed (though unpainted) and gives you an idea of what they look like in "action." I thought that they were quite impressive overall.

The beauty of this scale is that it doesn't require as much room as the bigger figures. Which should please management here at Chez Sarge.

They were pricy however, amazing how the cost for things plastic goes up as oil does. Related they are, related they shall remain. I used the money The Missus Herself, The Nuke, and LUSH gave me for Fathers Day. It's what happens when I have cash in hand and am left unsupervised with Amazon up on the computer.

I buy things.

In other news ...

I have hit a complete writer's block on the new novel. Currently I have one of the main characters sitting in the pilot's seat of his Ju-88 wondering just where the Hell he is and what day it is. Am I over the Channel at night, on a daylight mission, and is it late in the Battle of Britain or early on, say in September, where I left the story?

North Africa and the Eastern Front both beckon and I'm keen to get there. But I need to do the preliminaries dontcha know?

Bear with me, we'll get there.


¹ A grognard is what the Emperor called his veteran troops, literally means "grumbler." For those of you familiar with La Vie Militaire, the troops spend a great deal of time complaining. In a wargaming context, a Grognard is someone who has been at this for a long time. About 57 years for myself.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Looking Back

22nd New York Infantry, A. A. Robinson
As I mentioned the other day, we passed over the battlefield of Manassas (First and Second) not too long ago. I mentioned that my great-grandfather - Private Joseph Goodrich, Company K, 22nd New York Volunteer Infantry - had fought in that battle and, according to family legend, had been captured there.

As his obituary states that he served with his regiment until it mustered out on the 19th of June, 1863, I can only surmise that he was exchanged (the North and South did exchange prisoners of war early in the war) or perhaps that family legend has it wrong. I need to look into that further. I'm sure my nephew, The Young Vermonter, has that information somewhere, He's the family genealogist.

At any rate, those chaps in the opening photo served with my great-grandfather in the 22nd New York. Hell, for all I know one of those fellows could be my grandfather. I've never seen a picture of the old boy. As he was a private, the two fellows on either side can be ruled out, they're both corporals. The more I look at the picture, the more I convince myself that the fellow in the middle has something of a familiar aspect to him. A family resemblance, if you will. But I don't know.

He died at the age of 64, in 1905, when my grandfather (one of his sons) wasn't ten years old yet, having come along in 1896, when Grand-père Joseph was already 55. I grew up knowing that he had had my grandfather rather late in life. What I didn't know was that Grand-père Joseph's original family name had been Gaudry. The Young Vermonter tracked down that interesting tidbit a few years back. I always wondered why we were not related to any of the other various and sundry Goodrich families in the area.

Now my grandfather Louis, one of Joseph's three sons, had four sisters as well. None of whom I can remember meeting. At least one of the daughters spoke French her entire life, not having a word of English, again according to family legend. For you see, Grand-père Joseph had been born in Quebec, ya know, north of the border. French was the language they used at home apparently.

I remember my grandfather telling us tales of our name actually not being Goodrich but was something along the lines (as best as I can remember) Dubonnier de Goodry. That's the phonetic spelling as I remember it. Obviously the "Goodry" bit is actually "Gaudry." Gramp also knew a couple of songs in French that my mother always admonished him not to sing around my brothers and I. (Also "Goodry" kinda-sorta sounds like "Goodrich," pronounced in a pseudo-French kind of way.)

Anyhoo, an interesting feature of French names is that often there would be one name followed by a second, with the word "dit" sandwiched in between. In essence, the first name would be the actual family name of the person, the second was what the person was called, "dit" being the French for that. So perhaps I misheard and Gramp was actually saying something else. But he would only tell us these tales of his French-Canadian background when he was in his cups. Which was usually when my mother and grandmother tried to herd him away from the bairns¹.

Anyway, I did some digging, remembering bits and pieces of information shared with me by The Young Vermonter. Here's what I found -

The majority of his unit's service during its most active period was with John Pope's Army of Virginia (oddly enough, a northern army named for a region, not a river) in Irwin McDowell's Third Corps:

Army of Virginia
Major General John Pope

Third Corps:
Major General Irvin McDowell

First Division
BG Rufus King (ill)
BG John P. Hatch (w)
BG Abner Doubleday

First Brigade
BG Hatch (w), Col Timothy Sullivan

22nd New York: Col Walter Phelps, Jr.
24th New York: Col Timothy Sullivan, LtCol Samuel Beardsley (w), Maj Andrew Barney (w)
30th New York: Col Edward Frisby
84th New York (14th Militia): LtCol E.B. Fowler (w), Maj W.H. de Bevois
2nd United States Sharpshooters: Col Henry A.V. Post

Note that his division, the First, went through three commanders in fairly short order during the fighting around Manassas, Brigadier General King having taken ill, Brigadier General Hatch (Grand-père Joseph's brigade commander) took over, after he was wounded, one of the other brigade commanders, Abner Doubleday (yes, that Doubleday) took over the division.

The regiment was hard used at Second Manassas.

The regiment lost 10 officers and 42 men killed or mortally wounded, 9 officers and 55 men wounded, and 4 officers and 60 men missing out of 379 engaged. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas was mortally wounded and Captain George Clendon of Company E wounded. (Source)

Grand-père Joseph was one of those, I suspect, 60 men missing. Some dead, bodies not recovered, some falling into Confederate hands as POWs. To be exchanged at a later date, before the war turned even more brutal.

Prior to seeing combat at Manassas, Grand-père Joseph saw combat of a different sort in the streets of Baltimore, MD when a mob attacked his unit as it passed through on the way to the nation's capital.

While transferring between train stations in Baltimore, Private Edward Burge of Company I was shot and killed by a mob. The regiment returned fire, wounding several civilians, before Baltimore police intervened. (Source

The 22nd New York was a "two year" regiment, most of the men signing on for just two years. some signed on for three and were transferred to other regiments when the 22nd was mustered out.

Duty in the Defences of Washington, D. C., till March, 1862. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15. Camp at Upton's Hill till April 9. McDowell's advance on Falmouth, Va., April 9-19. Duty at Fredericksburg, Va., till May 25. McDowell's advance on Richmond May 25-29. Operations against Jackson June 1-21. At Falmouth and Fredericksburg till August 6. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Fords of the Rappahannock August 21-23. Battles of Gainesville August 28. Groveton August 29, and 2nd Bull Run August 30. Maryland Campaign September 6-22. Battles of South Mountain September 14; Antietam September 16-17. Duty in Maryland till October 29. Advance on Falmouth, Va., October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. At Belle Plains till April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Pollock's Mill Creek April 29-May 2. Fitzhugh's Crossing April 29-30. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Three years men transferred to 76th and 93rd New York Regiments Infantry. Mustered out June 19, 1863, expiration of term. Regiment lost during service 11 Officers and 62 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 28 Enlisted men by disease. Total 102. (Source)

As for Grand-père Joseph's particulars -

GOODRICH , JOSEPH.—Age, 18 years. Enlisted, May 25, 1861, at Port Henry, to serve two years; mustered in as private, Co. K , June 6, 1861; mustered out with company, June 19, 1863, at Albany, N. Y.  (Source)

There is even an extant muster role in existence, at this Source (Warning, PDF.)


One of the veterans of the civil war in the person of Joseph Gaudry, alias Goodrich, died on the 12th inst., at the St. Johnsbury Hospital at the age of 64 years and six months, after an illness of over three months, which he bore in a truly edifying spirit of Christian resignation and patience. At the opening of the civil war in 1861, Mr. Gaudry enlisted in the 22nd regiment of New York and took part in ten of the principal battles of the war, among them that of Bull Run. He was one of the war pensioners. On his return to Vermont he made his home in Danville. He leaves a wife and seven children, three sons and four daughters, two of whom are married; Mrs. Patrick Demanche and Mrs. Paquin, both of St. Johnsbury. The funeral was held Friday morning from Notre Dame de Victoire church, Rev. J. A. Boissonault officiating.

Source: St. Johnsbury Caledonian, April 19, 1905
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau. (Source)

I often wonder what he was like. I'm sure the war changed him in many ways. Remember, his service was when the North was suffering defeat after defeat at the hands of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. No doubt when thinking about re-enlisting (if he did), all those defeats probably made him say not just "No," but "Hell, no!"

Hard to say, I know very little about him.

Unlike another relative of mine who served in the Civil War (or whatever your particular dogma cares to call it) on my mother's side of the family, Pliny Gammell. I'm not a descendant of his but he's the only other relative I know of who served in the 19th Century in North America. I wrote about him here.

We have letters of his, even a picture. I rather wish we had the same for my great-grandfather.

Ah well, perhaps I'll get to meet him in the afterlife. Sure hope so.

¹ Bairn is Scottish for baby or child. My grandmother was born in Scotland and came over when she was not yet a teen, as I recall.

Friday, June 24, 2022

It's Alive!!!

 Yeah, still here, just been buried under lots of... stuff. Yeah, stuff.  Someone's body decided to try to kill someone and, of course, the medical profession (hwack-ptooie) did more to try to kill someone than someone's body did.  Long story, we are alive, and, yes, we still hate the medical profession.  You know, when one is ill and facing surgery, making them go every day to yet another doctor or testing center or processing center is NOT the way to encourage the someone to feel better about the process, and then to be told that part of the problem is someone someone's self.  Yeah, no kidding, no, aliens made someone ill, right?  Then there's the whole "You know you've been running high white cell counts for years" that makes someone's spouse think someone's doctor needs to go swimming with the fishes, or at least face a few minutes getting a swirly facial in the nearest porcelain throne. (And this is from one of the best doctors in the area.  Gee, once the white cell count comes down to normal, amazing how someone's blood sugars and A1C fall almost into the normal range (for someone with blood sugar issues, that is.))

Gah.  The pox on the medical profession, all.

So I've been surviving on a steady diet of worry, concern, on-line gaming, reading, watching too much TV and... reading.  Yes, I know I already said reading, but that first reading was referring to reading books, you know, traditional reading. What I am referring to in the second 'reading' (dang, starting to sound like Church here, isn't it?) is reading captions on... Anime.

Yeah, Anime.  Animated Japanese manga. I caught the 'Otaku Flu' (otaku being overly obsessed manga/anime fans) but only got a minor case of it.  So no 'Sailor Moon' body pillows, no stacks of manga piled everywhere, no wall-to-wall posters of various cartoons and such.

Thing is, though there's a lot of, er, ah, adult themes in somewhat a badthink way in Anime, a lot of it is surprisingly mature and well written and well drawn and well animated and, well, is just darned good.  Much better than your average Marvel or DC product, especially modern products from those two houses.  MUCH BETTER.  Like real pathos, real comedy, real characters that you can relate to, real villains, characters that are multi-layered.

Want to watch an anime about a 30ish old office worker who suddenly becomes the guardian of his 6 year old aunt?  That would be "Bunny Drop."  What to do with the daughter of your grandfather and his house cleaner?  Who takes care of her?  How does one relate to her?  How does it change the guardian's life?  And what questions will be answered?  Bunny Drop | Anime-Planet

Want to watch an anime about the mysteries surrounding the Chinese Zodiac animals and a supernatural curse?  That would be "Fruits Basket" Seasons 1 and 2.  Crazy drama comedy revolving around one orphaned girl who's basically alone in the world except for her best friends and she gets involved into a large clan that revolves around said zodiac animals and...  The end episode of Season 2 is rather wonderful and is more romantic and heart-warming than many 'Major Motion Pictures' or even Hallmark-ish movies.  Very sweet, very sad-happy.  Fruits Basket 1st Season | Anime-Planet Fruits Basket 2nd Season | Anime-Planet Fruits Basket the Final Season | Anime-Planet

College student suddenly becomes the guardian of three girls?  That would be "Listen to me, Girls. I'm your Father!"  Really great story about all the issues of a single guy dealing with school, adult girls and 3 girls while living in a small apartment.  Listen to Me Girls, I'm Your Father! | Anime-Planet

Anime dealing with the interactions between humans and dragons in the modern Japanese world?  That would be "Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid" and, let me tell you, this anime deals with lots of rather deep and profound issues, alongside with silly stuff and all of it is handled rather well.  Well scripted, well drawn.  And the last episode of the first season  ends in a rather sweet and nice ending which made me tear up (but then again, I'm one of those sappy idiots who cry over emotional movies.  Mrs. Andrew makes fun of me for that.) Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid | Anime-Planet Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S Short Animation Series | Anime-Planet Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Valentines and Hot Springs! (Please Don't Get Your Hopes Up) | Anime-Planet Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S | Anime-Planet

Orphaned girl ends up being kidnapped into the alternate paranormal world of Japan because she was 'sold' by her grandfather to an ogre as a bride?  "Kakuyiro: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits"  Rather interesting drop into the world of the Japanese supernatural and all the weird things that go on.  Being a barbarian outsider, you will learn lots about Japanese culture from this one.  Tense, interesting and, yes, a sweet ending.  I'm a sucker for sweet endings.  

"Natsume's Book of Friends" deals with a kid getting stuck cleaning up his mother's supernatural messes, and finding the true meaning of friendship and wonder. Natsume's Book of Friends | Anime-Planet  And, poop, just found out there's 6 seasons of this show, will have to watch them soonest.

Then there's a whole two-season anime that deals with how the Japanese military would deal with a Gate that leads from a medievalish-Game of Thrones type world to the heart of Tokyo.  And this is where it gets interesting to some of the readers here at The Chant.  There's wonderfully animated F-4 Phantoms in it.  "Gate, Thus the JSDF Fought There."  (you can watch it free on BiliBili at:  gate: so the jsdf fought there - Bilibili search )  Really good animation, really good mature subjects handled well, really good.  I won't spoil any of your fun and give you spoilers.  Just go and watch and read Episode 1 and if you aren't hooked, well, that's on you.  This was the 'documentary' on the JSDF and the F-4 Phantom I referred to the other day.

And so much more. 

Haunted apartment complex?  "Elegant Youkai Apartment Life." Elegant Youkai Apartment Life | Anime-Planet

Salary Worker who is being crushed by work?  "The Helpful Fox Senko-san."  The Helpful Fox Senko-san | Anime-Planet

And sooo much more.

You can watch them free on AnimePlanet or BiliBiliTV or sometimes on yousetubs.

There's a little (or a lot) of everything.  Magical Girls!  Cat Girls! Monster Girls! Ghost Girls! Witch Girls! And guys, too.  Sucked into computer games, sucked into alternate worlds, sucked back in time, sucked up by aliens....


Thursday, June 23, 2022

I'm Back ...

So yeah, that was my morning, afternoon, evening view (well, the light was different each time, but you know what I mean ...) for most of last week.

BTW, today is the first time I noticed the giant light bulb in the foreground. Sorry, I was focused on the water ...

Anyhoo, I had a great time with The Missus Herself, two daughters, one son-in-law, three granddaughters and one grandson. The latter and one of the former shown below. I tell ya, the lad is going to be a proper rocker someday. (Or maybe a fighter pilot like his Dad, Lord knows he's smart enough to be a Nuke like his Mom. Smarter 'n me he is. Though that bar is set rather low indeed.)

I know, I know, I haven't put up a proper post in a couple of weeks. Truth be told, this is the longest stretch I've gone without posting in quite some time.

At first I was kind of worried, I was jonesing to write something, anything. That feeling passed after the first day when I awakened to find this. On the drive down to Maryland (My Maryland), I was a bit concerned as to the possible breaking of the streak, i.e., the consecutive days where we have posted something (damned near anything).

About the time we hit the Delaware state line, I stopped stressing about it. There have even been days when I've contemplated throwing in the towel on this blogging thing, heaven forfend, yes, 'tis true. As juvat has mentioned, it ain't easy doing this every day. Though he did it well, I fear I have overstressed his airframe. Yup, carrying the load for much of the last ten days may have over-G'ed juvat. (As an aside, no juvat, you can't have next Monday off. Scrooge I've been, Scrooge I remain.) Oh yeah, Tuna pitched a couple of innings as well, he's a great relief blogger.

Anyhoo, the lads did well, I'm proud of them. Also feeling rather rested, writing-wise, so here we are.

In the next photo, no, I'm not teaching my grandson to blog, we're looking at pictures of puppies, in preparation for watching the official video for AC/DC's Thunderstruck. Yes, he's a big fan, the Metallica shirt above notwithstanding. Forgot to mention, that's L'il Sweetie on the right in the photo above, LUSH's youngest. Which reminds me, the youngest grandson doesn't have a callsign yet.

Hhmm ...

I'm on dangerous ground here, The Nuke, while she does have a sense of humor, is literally a mother bear when it comes to protecting her progeny.

Good Mom there.

Looking at the photo above, all I can say is, damn, I'm getting old.

The trip to Maryland was not too bad, Waze routed us over the Tappen Zee, rather than endure the sometimes agony of the Cross Bronx Expressway. Spent a bit of time on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut, a road which the only benefit to is no trucks. Other than that, I tend to avoid it, traffic along I-95 in western Connecticut, though it is a colossal pain most of the time, is, at least, a known colossal pain. The Merritt Parkway seems clogged these days with people looking for a driving school, as most of them need it.

All that being said, Monday the 13th of June was the very first time I have actually operated a motor vehicle closer to DC than Annapolis. No fun, no fun at all. Note the map above, once past the "DC area" (whatever that means) I-66 was "OMG, will this effing construction ever fricking end?" NBC, all the way.

I was flying number two on the trip down to Lake Anna, Tuttle and The Nuke have been there the past cuppla summers, so he was flying lead. He led, I followed. No, I didn't close my eyes, though I was tempted at times.

On the way back I noticed this -

Period fence at Manassas Battlefield
Saw the signs for the "Manassas Battlefield," of which the above is an example of what I noticed. Old fences, "period" fences if you will. "Cool," I thought.

I mentioned to Lush that her great-great grandfather had been captured at one of the two battles fought in that area. (I never remember which one.) At which point L'il Bit, the senior granddaughter, after a moment of intense calculation, said, "Geez Grampa, you're old."

Yup, my grandfather's father fought in the Civil War (or whatever your particular dogma insists that it be called). So yes, I am old.

All that being said, why Manassas? Why not Bull Run? (Which is what the north called the battles, First Bull Run and Second Bull Run.) The south calls it First Manassas and Second Manassas. As they won both encounters, seems right that they get to name it.

The North seemed to like naming armies and battles after rivers and creeks - the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the James, First Bull Run, Antietam, etc. Whereas the South liked to name armies and battles after places - the Army of Northern Virginia, Army of Mississippi (state, not river), First Manassas, Sharpsburg, etc. Just thought I'd mention that.

Anyhoo, drove through the battle area, didn't stop, not with an almost two year old starting to tire of riding in a car seat. Speed was of the essence.

Anyhoo, I'm back, vacation was good, travel is taxing, can't wait to do the former on a near permanent basis come December.

Really looking forward to that.

And I think Beans is up tomorrow. My return is semi-short-lived, but I am back and will pick up the WWII series soon, I promise. (Sorry to those who don't care for it, but it's my thing, history ya know.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Stuff That Falls Out

No, this is not a flashback/rerun of a post, but if it sounds familiar, you're right- I've used that title before.  That name works for random musings I come up that fill up my brain when I try to help out here at the Chant.  So here you go with some semi-eclectic thoughts I've had recently.  

I'll start of with Top Gun Maverick.  Mild spoilers ahead, so skip past the next 3 photos if you need.  Several folks have provided their reviews either here or on social media, and mine are essentially the same.  It's a great movie, partially because it didn't try to force any social justice or wokeness down our throats, just focusing on pure entertainment.  It was just a fun and exciting flick, that didn't try to be more than it is- no lessons for us, or trying to guilt us about the climate or our foreign policy, and didn't feel the need to force feed us positive images of specific demographics or life choices.  Sure, it was unrealistic with regards to training rules and some challenges with physics, and by that I mean them pulling so many G's as they're climbing out of that canyon, but it was really well done, and I am glad Tom Cruise is getting all the tickets sales that he is. It's apparently his highest grossing movie ever.  It also has a few laughs, but my only critique would be that there weren't enough memorable lines that we will quote for the next 3 decades.  One that made me chuckle though was Maverick saying "There will be GPS jamming, so the F-35s are out."  By the way, when they released the first trailer couple years back which showed a Tomcat flying over the snowy mountains, I guessed that he would be shot down and would have to steal a Tomcat.  It was fun to see that I was right.  I was planning on seeing it again this past weekend but I wanted to go to an IMAX screening.  Unfortunately, in its third weekend it has been relegated to the smaller screens now it seems. I tried to go IMAX the first weekend it was released but all the IMAX tickets were sold out for the times I was able to go.  It's playing on base next weekend so maybe I'll go then.  No IMAX, but good company. 

I-Bar on NASNI  Source

By the way, the bar featured in the movie, is not the actual World Famous I-Bar that inspired it.  They built a set on the beach on North Island and used many of the same plaques and mugs that are over in the I-Bar, but the production crew tore it down a few weeks after filming.  A friend of mine who lives next door to the real thing was able to get inside the set, which he said was amazing, wishing the I-Bar could have been moved in.  Anyhoo- it used to be the hangout for S-3 Viking guys, (and its courtyard was the site of my retirement), but has now been relegated to rotor heads.  Unfortunately a lot of our S-3 stuff went missing over the years.  Damn rotor-heads.

Has anybody seen 2000 mules? I've watched and read several reviews of it, but haven't plunked down the money.  Although it will just confirm what I already believe, that there really was fraud during the last election.  Or are we supposed to still believe the narrative that 2016 was stolen, and 2020 was completely on the up and up?  Whatever truths that documentary revealed, they'll never make it into the public record though as it would wreck our institution of pseudo-stability here in the US.  Was there enough fraud to change the outcome?  According to Dinesh D'Souza there is, but that's an ugly truth that will remain suppressed I expect, too many prominent people would be outed as officially corrupt and well deserving of jail.

Speaking of elections, it's my prediction that the Democrats will put Pete Buttigieg up as their candidate in 2024, assuming Biden can't.  Harris' campaign would be DOA.  I think they know there is no chance they can win, so they will put up a sacrificial lamb that checks some identity politic blocks.  They also know his loss will be more acceptable than a loss by any future/better candidates.  Lambs to the slaughter comes to mind.

Anybody know the going rate for bird seed? I recommend you invest in it based on how much my wife has been buying recently.  We have four bird seed containers on our back fence which seemed to have to be filled nearly twice a week. It's not the birds that seem to eat the most, although there are quite a few of them that visit regularly, but we have a mama squirrel and two babies that have learned where the feeding trough is and they are voracious. They have learned to use their paws to dig through the bird seed to find the better seeds like sunflower seeds, spilling a ton into the canyon and on to our side of the fence. Our corgi did not eat one night and I discovered why, as her waste was almost entirely bird seed.  She hasn't done that since, so I think she learned her lesson. 

Speaking of pets and going rates, is $90 about average for dog grooming and nail clipping? Freaking expensive if you ask me.  I don't spend that in a year on
my haircuts, although I do my own nails.  I guess there was some de-shedding done as well, or some other procedure that gets rid of all the loose undercoat.  If that keeps us from having gigantic dust bunnies for a month or so, maybe it's worth it.  In case you didn't know, Corgis shed like no other, and we have two of them.  I joke that we get another Corgi every week.  We have lint rollers in all of our cars and I have one at my desk as well.  We can't escape it. 

Is anyone else tired of the constant talk of the trans issue?  I don't know why the left has been co-opted by a small select group of folks that refuse to accept what truthful physicians say about it.  There's a very common-sense cartoon I found that compares how we treat anorexia and schizophrenia, yet accepts what is another mental disorder.  It's really sad that this issue, and nearly every social issue the left has taken on, seems to be rooted in a lack of factual evidence, and based solely on feelings and emotion.  Any discussion to the contrary is labeled as racist, intolerant, or filled with ad-homonyms.  It reminds me of the quote by Carl Sandburg:

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

The left is quite adept at their only game- yelling like hell. 

It's not only the social issues, but clearly that ignorance with regards to their economic, energy, and immigration policies is what were having to deal with now- rising crime, runaway inflation, gas prices through the roof, and constant caravans of illegals coming to the border.  I just hope things aren't beyond saving by the time the next congress or administration can get to work.  Yeah, I'm pessimistic as heck, but I don't see a lot of silver in those linings.

Maybe I just need to have the positive outlook of our Veep.


These gas prices here in the "Golden" State have tamed me.  I haven't driven my Mustang over 75mph in over a week, relaxing in the slower lanes more often, and using cruise control when able.  I paid over $6 a gallon for regular last weekend!  Painful prices for sure, and it's just going to make everything else even more painful as fossils run our country.  I have no problem with EVs, but am not so naïve to think I'd be more environmentally friendly by doing so.  The lack of understanding of economics by our Administration with their energy policies, and the naiveite by the libs who push for an end to fossil fuels astounds me.  The seemingly endless rise of prices are clearly hurting a lot of folks, and something's gotta give.  While it's discretionary spending right now, voting left is definitely gonna give way this fall.  

While these gas prices are concerning, what I'm really worried about is Sarge reducing my pay here at the Chant!

Ok, enough spillage for today.  Sarge should be back in his regularly scheduled timeslot tomorrow.

Barry Alman Photo via FB