Monday, July 31, 2023


First, the good news.

Miss B had an overnight visit to the Hospital this week.  In this case, it was a planned visit to take a test.  As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, she had pulled the oxygen tube out of her nose and slept through the night without the O2 Level tester's alarm going off.  Her parents discussed that with her pulmonologist who ordered up a sleep apnea test.  I've had a couple of those, no big deal.  You go to sleep and they've got a tester on you that keeps track of your O2 level.  

Well, according to the Doctor that monitored the test, she passed with flying colors.  Of course, as with any bureaucracy, the data has to undergo review and the review has to undergo review and...and...and... So we won't know for sure for a while, but looks good so far.

And, of course, assuming she passed, then the gummint gets involved and has to decide if she and her mom can go overseas and be reunited as a family.  

So, my prayers are now several Thank You's and a Please.  

It's always something, ain't it?

On a different note, after the events of the past month, Mrs. J made an executive decision that the Family needed a getaway vacation.  So, she did a little surfing and found a nice large home that had been turned into a B&B.   It was named "The Jungle Haus"

A little kitsch-y perhaps

OK, maybe not a "little".

But it had 5 bedrooms and a dining table that sat 8.  We had grand plans to go visit some new wineries, go out to eat, you know...Do that vacation thing.  It has been a while.

Well,  Mrs J had a diabolical plan for the weekend.  It involved...

It being July in Texas, our plans to go out and about devolved quite quickly.


Miss B needed a little bit of encouragement but she and entourage were first in.

Shortly after this shot, the photographer (yours truly of course) decided to join them.  Yes, Beans, the water was cool, not cold, and quite pleasant.  Time passed quickly and by the time the College Station team arrived the desire to go out to dinner had waned.  Take out pizza, wine and Mrs J's knockout cookies were the end to a perfect day.


Cabernet and Chocolate Chip Cookie?  A match made in Heaven!  

Tara O'Brady's Chocolate Chip Recipe

The following morning allowed me some time to explore the back yard a bit.  

A nice little reading room with a Tuk-Tuk parked out front, but looks are deceiving.

I think Tuk-Tuk, in the original Thai, means Bar!  However, it was a little early for enjoying a bar, so I continued my exploration.

Swing Sets sure have come a long way from when I played on them.  Unfortunately, I'm too old for it and the grand kids are too young, so it didn't get much use. Further on in the tour, I came upon this.

Thought it was just a jungle themed storage shed.  Nope!

It's a reading/play room for kids.  Thought that was pretty cool.

About this time, MBD, The Rev and MG had arisen and I resumed my duties as swimming observer.

Even Miss B's Dad got involved.

Time passed fairly quickly and soon I had to turn in my Lifeguard whistle and don my Chef's Toque.  Dinner was Juicy Grilled Shrimp Kabobs and Grilled Corn with Feta Cheese and Chive Butter. Quite delicious, quick to cook and, being cooked on the Barbecue, easy to clean up.  Perfect Vacation Menu.

I did get a little time for a side trip.  I decided I'd do a drive by of the Boyhood home of the third worst President in my lifetime.

Joe and Barry being #1 and #2 and compared to those two, Lyndon is a distant third.

Before we knew it, it was Saturday and we had one more task, vis a vis my Sister, to accomplish.

Grindle on the left, Bentley on the right were hers, Cooper at the top was adopted from MBD.  Oskar, Annie and Atticus are around...somewhere.

Since Lisa's roommate has moved, we've adopted Lisa's dogs. We're now a 6 dog, 2 cat family.  My sanity is in danger.

Peace out, y'all.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

La Résistance

  © IWM (HU 56936)
Hauptmann Kurt-Joachim Winkler was sipping a whiskey as the train he was riding left the outskirts of Château-Thierry. He was heading home on leave, this would be the first time he had been home since leaving the year before in March as his unit was getting ready for the invasion of France.

He had mixed feelings about this trip, his unit was being redeployed to Russia, where, as he understood it, things were not going very well. His colonel had arranged things so that Winkler might spend a few days with his wife and two children before reporting for duty in southern Russia with Army Group South.

Winkler was a reservist, an artilleryman from Baden who had seen action at the tail end of World War I. After that war had ended, he had stayed with the small army allowed to the Germans by the victorious Allies. Promotions had been slow, but Winkler was content. His pay was sufficient to allow him to support a wife and children and maintain a small cottage in the little town of Gengenbach in the Schwartzwald.

Though war had come again, he didn't mind, in the artillery ...

Winkler set his whiskey down as the train's brakes began to squeal, what the devil? As the train lurched to a stop, the whiskey spilled and soaked his trousers.

"Diese verdammten Franzosen können nicht einmal eine anständige Eisenbahn betreiben!¹" Winkler muttered as he stood up and tried to wipe the liquid from his trousers.

Furious he got to his feet, looking for someone to berate, that's when he heard gunfire.

Guillaume Micheaux aimed down the tracks at the train which had come to a stop just short of the farm cart which his resistance unit had placed on the tracks. Capitaine Duroc, their unit commander, had received orders to launch attacks on the French rail system. A bold move, one which the Germans couldn't ignore.

He could see the men of his unit talking with the locomotive's engineer, that's when a German soldier stepped off the the car behind the tender. The man had a rifle and was shouting back at someone else in the car.

One of the Frenchmen turned and looked at the German, who was now unslinging his rifle, the man, without a word, raised his machine pistol and shot the German. The soldier collapsed without a sound beside the train.

"Let's go, lads." Henri Laurent was up and moving towards the train, his machine pistol at the ready. Guillaume followed, he could see other resistance men and women running up to the train and entering the cars.

Winkler was bleeding from a wound on his forehead where one of the French had hit him with the butt of a pistol. His hands were on the back of his head, his tunic soiled with blood, his trousers with spilled whiskey. He found himself at his wit's end, what were these people doing? What hope did they have of fighting back against the Reich?

The French had them moving up to the head of the train, he started when he saw the body of a dead soldier lying beside one of the lead cars. It was only then that Winkler felt a hint of fear.

One of the Frenchmen noticed him, apparently Winkler was the only officer on the train.

"Ah, un officier nazi, très gentil. Où vas-tu, cochon²?"

Winkler had no idea what the man had said, he spoke very little French, only enough to order a whiskey, really.

"Ich verstehe nicht, was ...³" Winkler began to answer.

The rifle butt hit him low in the abdomen, driving the air from his lungs and driving him to his knees. He was gasping for air and his eyes were tearing up.

He looked up at the Frenchman who had struck him and saw emptiness in the man's eyes. It was then that Winkler realized that this was the end.

Pierre Mouton fired a single shot into the German's head. It snapped over and the man slumped to the ground, dead. Guillaume, who had struck the man first was angry. Not only were his trousers now soiled with blood and brain matter, he had wanted to kill the German.

"Don't fret Guillaume, we have five other captives, you can shoot one of them."

When Pierre said that, one of the captive Germans blanched, he spoke fluent French.

"Please, gentlemen, there is no need for ..."

Hans Volkmann was shoved from behind as he tried to plead his case. Then another Frenchman grabbed his tunic collar and began pulling him to the front of the train. When he realized what was going to happen, he tried to break away and run, he didn't get far.

Guillaume chambered another round then looked to Duroc. The captain was forcing the surviving Germans to kneel in front of the locomotive. Guillaume noticed two men in police uniforms, not Germans, were among the group being forced to kneel.

"Are those Frenchmen?" he asked Pierre.

Pierre nodded, "Collaborators, they help the Boche. They are worse than the Nazis."

When the partisans left, slipping back into the woods, they left seven dead Germans and two dead Frenchmen.

The Germans began rounding up hostages within hours of the attack.

¹ These damned French can't even run a decent railroad!
² Ah, a Nazi officer, very nice. Where are you going, pig?

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Remembrances ...

London Buses in Wartime, England, 1941
Maggie Worthington sighed as she looked in on her daughter. The poor girl had done nothing but sit at that window and look out on the square since she'd got home from Egypt. She kept herself clean, she would eat, though sparingly, and she would read from her Bible. But she said nary a word to anyone.

Maggie went back to the small kitchen in their flat where her husband, Janice's father, was sitting, reading the Times.

"Geoff, I am so worried about her."

Geoff Worthington blinked rapidly, it was the only way he could keep from crying. His daughter's deep sadness laid a pall over everything. He understood, he remembered what it was like coming back from France in '18. He'd lost mates, good ones, and had seen things which no young man should ever have to see.

"I know, Maggie, I know. She'll come 'round, you'll see. All we can do is be with her. She's had a rough time out there in the desert. Now that she's been discharged from the forces, she's got time to get her head right. You'll see. Don't worry, she's tough, like her Mum."

Maggie shook her head as Geoff went back to his paper. Both she and her husband were struggling to help their daughter. But she knew that only time would, or would not, heal the wounds Janice carried deep inside.

Janice glanced down at the photograph of her late husband, Flight Lieutenant Reginald Morley. When word of his death had met her on the return to England, she had collapsed.

Her own physical wounds were healed, well, as healed as they ever would be, she would bear those scars for the rest of her life. People would still shudder and look away when they saw the left side of her face. Glass fragments and fire had made their mark on the young woman's good looks. Only her Reg could look past those scars and see the real woman within.

A tear ran down her cheek at the thought of her beloved Reg, dead at the hands of the Germans. She glimpsed at his picture again, then broke down, sobbing.

Her parents knew to leave her alone when she was like this. It would pass, it always did. When she'd have a good cry, then she would go back to staring out the window, seeing the faces that were no longer there.

This time though, was different. When the crying jag had spent itself, she stood up and went to the loo. She washed her face thoroughly, then studied herself in the mirror. She looked older, worn. She didn't like that.

Drying her face, she went out to the sitting room. Her mother was there, knitting, socks from the look of it.


Startled, Maggie looked up, "Yes, love?"

"I'm going down to the hospital, I'm sure they need volunteers or something. Reg wouldn't want me sitting around forever while there's a war on, would he?"

"But Janice, perhaps it's too ..."

"Too what, Mother? Too soon, Reg is gone and I have to go on with my life. Others are being hurt and dying, I feel so useless just sitting here at home. I must do something!"

Her father came into the room, "I was just heading out myself, love. We can catch the bus together."

Janice felt a little of her old self coming back, even for just a brief moment, it felt good. Then a pang of guilt washed over her, but her father had spoken to her about that. He understood, he had been there and experienced things as she had. Far worse, probably.

"Thanks, Da', I'd like that very much."

Corporal Willis O'Donnell and Leading Aircraftman George Frasier stepped off the transport after it had tied up to the pier at Valetta. Other than the offshore breeze, it felt as hot as Cairo, which they had left a week before.

"'Ow long are we stayin' here, d'ya think. Corp?" Frasier was limping slightly, he'd been injured in a Jerry bombing raid less than ten days ago, shortly before they'd shipped out.

"I dunno, Georgie, the bloody Navy hasn't confided their plans to me just yet. But Pilot Officer Preston said to stay close by, I just need to stretch me legs a bit."

The two RAF men were traveling with the remnants of their squadron, back to Britain. Reduced to only six pilots and two aircraft, the RAF had decided to bring the squadron home to build them back up to strength. Neither man was sad to see the back of Africa.


O'Donnell turned around, it was Preston, standing near the brow.


"Back aboard lads, we're pushing off as soon as we've refueled. There've been a lot of Jerry raids lately, Cap'n doesn't want to get caught here in harbor for the next one!"

"Right then, let's go Georgie. Hope ye enjoyed yer stay in Malta."

"Oh yes, Corp, wonderful time. Bleedin' RAF won't give a man a break, eh?"

"Guess not, Georgie, guess not."

Ernst Wolfram was scanning the skies ahead as Malta materialized on the horizon out of the haze. The wind was up in Africa and a lot of the Mediterranean sky looked more brown then blue.

"Eyes open, Hans! We're close to Tommy-land!"

"Jawohl, Herr Nadelkissen¹! Try to avoid the little black clouds, eh?²"

"Just keep the Tommies off of us, Klugscheißer³!"

Flieger Hans Decker grinned as he continued to guard their six o'clock position. Though Tommy fighters weren't that numerous over Valetta, it only took one to spoil one's day.

Wolfram and Decker had been flying together since Poland. They had managed to survive a shoot down over the Channel on one occasion. Briefly assigned to another pilot when Wolfram was hospitalized, they had gotten back together in time to be shipped off to the Mediterranean.

Originally they were supposed have gone over to Libya to support the Afrika Korps, but then the High Command had decided that suppressing the island of Malta might ease Rommel's supply situation. The army was doing well against the Tommies, but the flow of supplies was often choked off by ships and aircraft operating out of Malta.

So they stayed in Italy, which didn't bother either man, the food was good, the wine was better, and the girls, well, they were friendly. Decker had a steady girlfriend named Maria, Wolfram wouldn't play though, he had a wife back in Berlin to whom he remained faithful.

Didn't bother Decker, not at all.

They hit a patch of rough air which brought Decker's attention back to his job. Damn, I should lay off the vino when I'm flying the next day, wouldn't do to get Ernst and himself, of course, killed while he was woolgathering!

The transport bearing Preston, O'Donnell, Frasier, and the rest of their ruined Hurricane squadron was well clear of the harbor when the ack-ack guns began firing and the men could hear the familiar screech of the Ju 87 sirens.

"Damned things are unnerving when you're on the ground." Pilot Officer Preston muttered.

"Rather meet 'em in the air, eh Sir?" Frasier offered.

"Quite, bastards ain't so scary when we get in among 'em with our kites. Easy meat as long as you 'ware the stinger in the tail."

Frasier looked puzzled, O'Donnell nudged him and said, "The tail gun, laddie, bleedin' Stukas got a tail gun."

"Oh right, Corp, I knew that."

The men were glad to be away as they saw the swooping gull winged shapes drop their loads on the harbor. They did get to see at least one German aircraft fall from the sky, streaming smoke and flames all the way down to the surface of the water.

"Poor buggers." O'Donnell muttered.


"Nothin' lad, just sayin' they're men, just like us. Hate to die like that, hate to see anyone die like that."

"Ya know, Corporal, if they hadn't started the f**king war, they wouldn't be dyin', now would they?" Preston had turned to look at O'Donnell and Frasier, a serious look on his face.

"Ye're right, Sir, still and all ..."

"I know, Corporal, I know."

Frasier thought of Flight Lieutenant Morley, he remembered the man's face as he'd looked getting into his Hurricane for the flight he didn't return from. He remembered uncovering the man's body in the desert ...

"F**k the Jerries, Sir. Kill 'em all."

Preston looked briefly at the young man, then back towards the smoke arising from Valetta ...

"Quite right, Frasier, quite right."

¹ Pin cushion. Wolfram has been wounded more than once, his squadron mates say that he has more holes than a pin cushion, hence the nickname.
² Anti-aircraft artillery bursts appear as black puffs of smoke in the sky.
³ Smartass.

Friday, July 28, 2023

The Long Road Back

Private Oskar Olson had a death grip on his Sten gun as he boarded the small boat from the back of the British submarine which lay just off the coast of his homeland.

The submarine's hull was slippery, the sea was up, and the boat was small to begin with, getting into it took all of his concentration. Once aboard, he slung his weapon and picked up an oar. A motor would have been nice, but any German occupiers ashore might have heard it above the roar of the surf on the rocks outside the harbor.

When the team was loaded up, Captain Agnar Eriksen hissed, "Let's get ashore lads."

Eriksen, once a pilot in the Royal Norwegian Air Force, nodded as the small boat moved to a spot south of the harbor which was their objective. He had turned down a flying spot in the RAF because, as he'd told a rather angry man representing King Haakon VII, "I want to go home and kill Germans, I want to soak Norway with their blood."

That man had shaken his head and stormed off. He had returned the next day, apologetic and somewhat sheepish. "His Majesty has approved your request to join the commandos. He said that he wished he could join you. As do I."

So the former pilot was now leading a raid on a small village not far from where he grew up. He was nervous, this was the first raid which he was commanding, the earlier ones he had been second in command.

As he watched the coast get closer, he turned to check on his men, young Olson had such an intense look on his face that Eriksen had to smile. It was the young man's first trip back to Norway since he had escaped from the Germans the year before.

He reached out and touched Olson on the knee, the young man looked up, startled. "Sir?"

"Don't worry Ole, we're in and out, no fighting."

Eriksen was somewhat surprised when Olson looked disappointed.

Olson felt a thrill shoot up his spine as he stepped ashore. He was home, not permanently but this was the first step to regaining his homeland. Quickly, he remembered the seriousness and the danger of what he was about and he took up his position, watching the left flank of the team as they got ashore.

He heard Sergeant Tollefson hiss at the team to get the boat ashore and under cover. Fortunately they had landed near some scrub pine which came nearly down to the rough shingle of the beach.

As Tollefson moved forward, he slapped Olson on the shoulder. Olson moved up, his Sten at the ready and his eyes looking for anything out of the ordinary. The Germans were not supposed to have a garrison nearby, but random patrols were known to rest in the smaller villages at night before moving on.

Olson marveled that his comrades were so quiet, they moved like ghosts through the Norwegian night. No loose equipment, no clatter of extra kit to betray their presence. Their British instructors had been harsh and unforgiving during training, but that was paying dividends now.

Magnussen grunted as he stood up, the outhouse was cold and dank, but when nature called, one must answer. As he pushed the door open he found himself staring down the muzzle of a gun. It didn't look like a German gun.


"Nei bestefar, vi er norske.²"

"About time you lot came home, but those are English uniforms."

Eriksen turned his shoulder to the older man so that he could see the small Norwegian flag they all wore sewn under their Royal Commando flash.

"Harrumph, I suppose that will do."

"Any Germans around, bestefar?"

"Not now, a patrol comes through every other day, they don't stay here though, town's too small for the like of them. Nothing to drink, no women to chase."

"No women?"

"All the young ones went to the cities, only the old ones remain."

Eriksen nodded, then asked, "Do you know Per Oskarsen?"

"Ah sure, the professor from Oslo. He's here, hiding from the Germans and the Quislings."

"Take us to him, now." The look on Eriksen's face made Magnussen grunt in agreement, this young fellow looked very serious indeed. He began to have hope for his country again.

The submarine surfaced just when Eriksen expected it, though either his navigation was off, or the submarine's, because they had a hard pull to regain the boat's side. It had surfaced some three hundred meters from their position.

Once aboard, their cargo delivered and their equipment stored, the submarine again slipped beneath the waves and set a course back to northern Scotland.

Olson looked at his captain and asked, "All that for an old professor?"

Eriksen smiled and said, "Apparently they want him in London, even more than the Germans who want him as well."

"What does he teach?"

"Something called nuclear physics."

Olson thought for a moment, "Is that different from regular physics, Sir?"

"I have no idea, lad, no idea."

¹ English?
² No grandfather, we're Norwegian.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

You Canberra another post about LCS

This one is about the USS Canberra (LCS-30) so excuse my play on words with that title.  In my new position with the Navy I'm focused on Submarine and Anti-Submarine Warfare, vice Mine Countermeasures (MCM).  Therefore, I no longer deal with the oft-criticized Littoral Combat Ship which will carry our MCM systems.  However, this is not another post to pile on to the woes of that class of ship, but to share about a historical first made by the latest LCS. 

If you hadn't heard already, for the first time in history the Navy has put a new ship into commission in a foreign port.  While Canberra Australia is landlocked, Sydney Harbour filled in nicely, with the event held last weekend at Naval Base Sydney, also known as HMAS Kuttabul.  This was somewhat even more appropriate in that the base was built by the U.S during WWII. 

Why a ship named after the capitol of Australia?  It's in honor of another Canberra.  

The ship’s namesake, HMAS Canberra (D33), sunk while fighting alongside U.S. forces during the Battle of Savo Island in World War II. As a result of Canberra’s actions during the battle, Marines of the 1st Marine Division were able to continue the fight on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. In recognition of HMAS Canberra’s sacrifice to protect U.S. Forces, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the under-construction cruiser USS Pittsburgh to be renamed USS Canberra (CA-41).                                                                              Source

I found the commissioning ceremony interesting for a few reasons. 

First off, Sydney is probably my most favorite port outside the US, having first visited on the USS Independence (CV-62) in 1997 (pictured above*).  It is a beautiful city, everyone was always so friendly, there was lots to do, and you didn't feel like you had to either be concerned for your safety or your pocketbook as one might in a third world port.  Both the Indy, and the USS Pelelieu on my second visit to the country, docked at the same pier at which the USS Canberra was commissioned.    

There's also the LCS bit which I've already alluded to which is of interest due to my last job, and Canberra has some uniqueness which I like.  A little backstory: Back in 1988 I spent 30 days training aboard the USS Texas CGN-39. We sailed from San Diego to Hawaii, and then to the various warning areas around the islands testing new and old weapons after the ship had been retrofitted in the yards.  The Texas was memorable because of something unique about that ship. There were mementos throughout the ship, either donated by it's namesake, or things that tied it to the state. Even the ball caps were a little different than the rest of the Navy, in that it had a red state of Texas shape and a silver star in the middle of the ships name. 

And on the back of the cap was a set of longhorns. There are now plenty of other ships that have little unique differences, for instance the USS Arkansas hat has a razorback.  USS Kidd (DDG-100) is allowed to fly the skull and crossbones when coming into port, and that emblem is also painted on the back side of their 5-inch gun. The former Spruance Class Destroyer USS O'Brien's ball cap was green with a shamrock. The USS Green Bay has Green Bay packer stuff all over it, in addition to a green and yellow crest as opposed to the traditional blue and gold. So when I saw something a little special about the Canberra that peaked my interest, the inspiration for this post was born. 

I'm sure you've seen Royal Australian Navy ships and aircraft. They all feature the red kangaroo as shown in the rondel above.  The Canberra, while not an Australian ship, will always have a version of that red kangaroo on it.  But this Kangaroo is emblazoned with the Stars and stripes.

 Another cool feature is that the Secretary of the Navy and the CNO vowed that as long as the ship is in commission it will always have at least one Aussie aboard.

Wherever Canberra operates it will carry a little bit of Australia wherever it goes. During the ceremony, Vice Adm. Mark Hammond, chief of the Royal Australian Navy, said that he had given permission for Canberra to sail with a modified version of the Red Kangaroo which adorns all Australian warships as a funnel emblem. He also confirmed that, for as long as Canberra is in service, at least one Australian officer or sailor will be aboard due to a permanent exchange program.        Source


Now I'm not sure being an Australian with orders to board an LCS for 2-3 years is all that good of a deal, but what do I know?  They will get to be in San Diego though!

At ship commissionings, there are typically souvenirs or mementos given out, such as a ships coin, the ball cap, or something else to mark the occasion.  The RAN metalworkers that created the Kangaroos for the ships superstructure took the cuttings to make a bunch of smaller red kangaroos. 

If you'd like to watch the whole ceremony, you can view it here

On another note, did you see this headline?

Pentagon confirms myocarditis cases in troops spiked after COVID vax rollout

It's about time some of this truth is starting to come out.  With hundreds of clips of people collapsing- on stage, on the court, at a TV news desk, and stories about many others, most we never hear about unless you follow various right-centric news sites or "Died Suddenly" social media channels, they can't keep hiding the truth.  I'll say here what the media won't admit-  That vax is deadly (for some).  Young people don't go into cardiac arrest.  It happened this week with Lebron James' son.  A singer my kids like, Tori Kelly, collapsed with blood clots in her legs.  And so many others- just search for "Died Suddenly" which is rampant with young healthy people listed.

Watch here.

“When reported, the cases have especially been in adolescents and young adult males within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna),” the CDC’s website states.

Earlier this year, whistleblowers who spoke with the Daily Caller said the Department of Defense ignored numerous reports of adverse health effects related to the COVID-19 vaccines.  Source

We're just not hearing much because no one wants to admit we were wrong, that our Govt lied to us, that the vax probably (definitely?) does no good whatsoever, and that it wasn't tested the way it should have been.  Long term effects?  I'm not sure, but I wish I never took the shot, which I did as a requirement for my continued employment.  Weakened immune systems?  Maybe.  Clots?  Apparently for some.  Lets hope those skip us, if not disappear altogether.


*That photo must have been in March of 1994 just before I arrived in Japan as you can see A-6 Intruders from VA-115 which left CVW-5 late that year.