Category Archives: History

Things to remember.

Lost and Found – January 5th Edition

What to remember about January 5th…

  • 1779  American explorer and army general Zebulon Montgomery Pike Jr. is born in Lamberton, New Jersey (d. 1813)
  • 1781  Traitor Benedict Arnold, now a General in British army, leads loyalist troops to capture and destroy Richmond, Virginia
  • 1920  New York Yankees announce the purchase of Babe Ruth from Boston Red Sox; worst baseball deal in history?
  • 1933  Construction begins on the Great Depression delayed Golden Gate Bridge; most popular suicide location in the world
  • 1949  President Truman gives “Fair Deal” State of the Union speech outlining national health insurance, public housing, and more
  • 1967  U.S. Marines begin amphibious operations in Mekong Delta
  • 1970  United Mine Workers (UMW) leader Jock Yablonski and his family found murdered in their home; investigation reveals that UMW leadership had paid for their murders for disputing election
  • 1972  President Nixon signs bill authorizing Space Shuttle program
  • 1976  Pol Pot, murderous, communist dictator of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, renames the country Democratic Kampuchea
  • 1993  Serial killer and  child molester Westley Allen Dodd is executed; last execution by hanging in the U.S.
  • 1996  Palestinian master bomb maker is killed by Israel’s Shin Bet with bomb placed in his cell phone

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Lost and Found – January 4th Edition

What to remember about January 4th…

  • 1847  Texas Rangers order 1000 .44 revolvers from Samuel Colt for use in Mexican-American War; Colt Firearms born
  • 1865  New York Stock Exchange moves into its 1st permanent home at 10–12 Broad Street in New York City
  • 1884  Fabian Society founded in London; socialist society promoting internationalism, eugenics, and infiltration of governments
  • 1896  Utah is admitted to the Union as the 46th state
  • 1951  Communist forces of China and North Korea capture Seoul
  • 1965 President Lyndon Johnson unveils his plan for a Great Society at State of the Union address
  • 1974  President Nixon refuses to turn over materials subpoenaed by Senate committee investigating Watergate
  • 1995  104th Congress begins when Newt Gingrich becomes Speaker; 1st Republican Congress since Eisenhower
  • 1999  Resulting from 1992 Maastricht Treaty on European union, the Euro debuts as universal currency in 11 nations
  • 2004  NASA’s MER-A Spirit rover explorer lands on Mars
  • 2007  110th Congress elects Nancy Pelosi (D – Ca) as the 1st female Speaker of the House

colt model 1847 walker revolver

Theodore Roosevelt on Immigration

Theodore Roosevelt on Immigrants and being an American – January 3, 1919

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn’t doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one soul[sic] loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

This quote made the rounds as an e-mail a while back and I hadn’t gotten around to sharing it.  Well, I finally got around to researching it and just needed to correct a couple minor mistakes so that it be taken in the proper context.  First, the quote is NOT from a 1907 speech made by Roosevelt while still in office.  The text actually comes from a letter he wrote in 1919 just days before his death.  I also restored a couple lines that had been edited out.  If you would like to see the original document from the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, it can be viewed here.

During my research on this I found some other quotes by Teddy Roosevelton along similar lines.  Here are a couple.

“Let us say to the immigrant not that we hope he will learn English, but that he has got to learn it.  Let the immigrant who does not learn it go back.  He has got to consider the interest of the United States or he should not stay here.  He must be made to see that his opportunities in this country depend on his knowing English and observing American standards.  the employer cannot be permitted to regard him only as an industrial asset.

We must in every way possible encourage the immigrant to rise, help him up, give him a chance to help himself.  If we try to carry him he may well prove not well worth carrying.  We must in turn insist upon his showing the same standard of fealty to this country and to join us in raising the level of our common American citizenship.”

Excerpted from a speach by former President Roosevelt from The New York Times of February 2, 1916.

“I appeal to all our citizens no matter what land their forefathers came from, to keep this ever in mind, and to shun with scorn and contempt the sinister intrigues and mischiefmakers who would seek to divide them along lines of creed, or birthplace or of national origin…  The effort to keep our citizenship divided against itself by the use of the hyphen and along the lines of national origin is certain to breed a spirit of bitterness and prejudice and dislike between great bodies of our citizens.  If some citizens band together as German-Americans or Irish-Americans, then after a while others are certain to band together as English-Americans or Scandanavian-Americans, and every such banding together, means down at the bottom an effort against the interest of straight-out American citizenship, an effort to bring into our nation the bitter Old World rivalries and jealousies and hatreds.”

Memorial Day speech by former President Roosevelt from The Washington Post of June 1, 1916.

Now, I am not a big fan of either Roosevelt.  But Teddy, despite being the first progressive president, was still able to recognize the exceptional nature of America and that it needed to be protected from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Lost and Found – January 3rd Edition

What to remember about January 3rd…

  • 106 BC  Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero is born (d. 43 BC)
  • 1521  Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther from the Catholic Church, declares Luther an outlaw and heretic
  • 1777  While evading a superior British force, Patriot troops ambush straggling rear guard at Battle of Princeton
  • 1834  Founder of Texas colonies Stephen Austin is imprisoned by President Santa Ana after delivering their new Constitution
  • 1861  Vote to secede from the Union fails in Delaware
  • 1892  English author J.R.R. Tolkien is born (d. 1973), creator of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
  • 1919  Emir Faisal and Chaim Weizmann sign agreement at the Paris Peace Conference to develop a Jewish homeland
  • 1938  President Franklin D. Roosevelt creates National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis; later renamed the March of Dimes foundation
  • 1959  President Eisenhower signs proclamation admitting Alaska as the 49th state in the Union
  • 1987 Aretha Franklin becomes 1st woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • 1990  During invasion of Panama, dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. forces after 10-day standoff
  • 1999  NASA launches Mars Polar Lander atop Delta II rocket

the hobbit first edition dust jacket book cover

Lost and Found – January 2nd Edition

What to remember about January 2nd…

  • 1776  Congress publishes Tory Act to advise colonies on how to deal with persons remaining loyal to Britain
  • 1788  Georgia becomes 4th state in the Union by voting to ratify the U.S. Constitution
  • 1909 Father of modern conservatism and 5-term U.S. Senator Barry Morris Goldwater is born in Phoenix, Arizona (d. 1998)
  • 1923  Albert Fall, Secretary of the Interior under President Harding resigns over corruption charges in Teapot Dome scandal
  • 1935  Bruno Hauptman goes on trial for the murder of the infant son of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh
  • 1974  President Nixon signs Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act to establish a national speed limit during oil crisis
  • 1980  President Carter reacts to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by delaying implementation of SALT-II Treaty; Soviets unimpressed

Lost and Found – January 1st Edition

What to remember about January 1st…

  • 1781  1500 Patriot troops under General Anthony Wayne mutiny over not being paid; they march off on their own to capture Princeton
  • 1808  As the 20-year constitutional prohibition against legislation in relation to slavery expires, Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves goes into effect in any U.S. jurisdiction
  • 1863  As promised, President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in rebellious America; Union army is instructed to liberate any they find
  • 1892  Federal immigration receiving station opens on Ellis Island
  • 1934  Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring goes into effect in Nazi Germany; court ordered sterilization
  • 1942  President Roosevelt and Minister Churchill issue proclamation at end of the Arcadia Conference vowing to create United Nations
  • 1958  At San Quentin Johnny Cash plays his 1st prison performance; inmate Mearle Haggard is inspired to change his life
  • 1959  Communist led by Fidel Castro force Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to flee the country for the Dominican Republic
  • 1962  United States Navy’s Sea, Air, and Land Teams (SEALs) are established
  • 1966  Advance units of 1st Marine Division arrive in Vietnam; by march 20,000 Marines will be in country
  • 1984  As a result of 1974 anti-trust lawsuit brought by Justice Department, AT&T is broken into 7 holding companies known as “Baby Bells”
  • 2004  Roman Catholic and Protestant Boy Scout organizations reunite after almost a century of division

Spirit of WWII Would Serve Us Well Today

A friend on Facebook (thanks J.R.) shares a great quote from a book by WWII B-24 bomber pilot Ralph Welsh.  We should start each day with this in our heads and hearts.

“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon if I can. I seek opportunity, not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk, to dream and to build, fail and succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence, the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid. To think and act for myself, enjoy the benefits of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, ” This I have done..””

 

The book is WOW!: An anthology with 149 World War II stories of bombing missions, personalities, diverse life experiences by Ralph Welsh.  Check it out at Amazon.com.

WOW! by Ralph Welsh

 

Warbirds – B-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber

December 29th marks the anniversary of the first-flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.  Designed by Consolidated under the name Model 32, in 1939 the proposal was offered to the War Department as the highest flying, fastest, and most advanced heavy bomber that American forces would have at their disposal.  Though having a shorter hull and less wing area, the innovative design features of the B-24 resulted in a lighter aircraft with substantially greater carrying capacity.  Only nine months after the awarding of the contract, the first prototype took flight.

b-24 liberator line drawing

Often forgotten alongside the more famous B-17 Flying Fortress, the Liberator is still the most produced American military aircraft of all time.  More than 18,400 units were delivered by war’s end; over half coming produced at the Ford Motor Company Willow Run plant at Belleville, Michigan.  At peak, this purpose-built production plant rolled out B-24s at a rate of one per hour.  Over 1000 crewmen slept in cots at the facility just to accommodate testing and delivery of the bombers.

b-24 liberator willow run assembly line

b-24 liberator willow run assembly line final assembly

The B-24 entered service in 1941 with the British as transports and anti-submarine coastal patrols.  The first American B-24 to see action was the lone Liberator stationed at Pearl Harbor and it was destroyed on the ground during the Japanese attack December 7th, 1941.  Despite this less than heroic debut, the legacy of this aircraft is one of the most storied of WWII.  During the war, crews of the Liberators would earn every honor available to our aviators; including the awarding of several Medals of Honor.

http://youtu.be/YWOk2–CY6E

Notable crewmen on B-24s included:

  • George McGovern – pilot (Senator and Presidential candidate)
  • Jim Wright – bombardier (Congressman and Speaker of the House)
  • Stewart Udall – waist gunner (Congressman, Secretary of the Interior, author, and conservationist)
  • Jimmy Stewart – pilot, squadron commander (actor)
  • Robert Altman – co-pilot (film director)
  • Don Herbert – pilot (actor, host of TV show Ask Mr. Wizard)
  • Louis Zamperini – bombardier (Olympic runner and POW)

B-24 Liberator with Jimmy Stewart as pilot

By the end of its service life, dozens of B-24 variants flew with a whole host of nations, including:

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Germany (as Beuteflugzeug, captured aircraft, India, Italy, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Romania (At least three B-24Ds and one B-24J were rebuild from wrecks around Ploiesti in 1943–44.), Poland, Portugal, Soviet Union, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States

In its time, the B-24 was one of the most advanced and effective heavy bombers in the world.  Though crews (and history) seem to prefer the B-17, the lessons learned during the creation, evolution, and service of the B-24 would lead to the development of the B-32 and B-36.  These Warbirds would carry the Liberator’s legacy forward through Korea, to Vietnam, and into the height of the Cold War.  Today, only 3 of these historic bombers remain airworthy.

B-24 Liberators over Ploiesti Oil Fields 1943 low level run

B-24 Liberators over Ploiesti Oil Fields 1943

Warbirds – B-1B Lancer

Today’s installment of Warbirds brings us to the supersonic, swingwing marvel the B-1B Lancer.  Unofficially known as the “Bone” (from B-one), the development and deployment of this strategic bomber increased pressure on the Soviets and helped shorten the Cold War.  The B-1’s first flight took place on December 23, 1974.

b-1b lancer wireframe

Envisioned in the 60’s as a Mach 2 replacement for the B-52, it was hoped that the Lancer would have the range and payload capacity to meet or exceed her predecessor.  Actual development of the aircraft didn’t start until the 1970’s and the design changed many times as political views of what her mission would be were revised.  President Carter actually cancelled the B-1A program after 4 aircraft were built in another misguided attempt to placate the Soviet Union.  But, the Reagan administration resurrected the project in 1981 to counter mounting worldwide Soviet adventurism.  Subsequently, Rockwell received a contract in 1982 and B-1B became operational with the U.S. Air Force October 1st, 1986.

b-1b munitions layout

It was known early on that the Lancer would not be able to take the place of the Venerable B-52.  What was envisioned was a strategic bomber that had the ability to elude Soviet radar and strike without warning deep within enemy territory.  Many viewed this capability as destabilizing in a Nuclear world.  However, the necessity of countering the perceived threat of the B-1B forced the Soviets into ever more unsustainable research, development, and defense spending.   Without ever delivering a nuclear weapon, the Lancer helped shorten the war.

020419-F-6655M-021

In the 90’s, further development proceeded on the “Advanced Technology Bomber” (which became the B-2 Spirit), leading to a role change for the B-1B.  Part of the fleet was converted over to a fledgling conventional munitions capability.  However, engine issues prevented the Lancer’s participation in the Gulf War.  It would be 1998 before B-1Bs would take part in Operation Desert Fox and undertake conventional combat operations.  That successful mission against Saddam Hussein’s regime would presage deployments in Kosovo, the invasion of Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom, and they continue to perform “armed overwatch” in support of ground forces in Afghanistan today.

B-1B Lancer bombing run

Of the original 100 built, only 93 remain in the inventory and a good portion of those are in reserve storage.  Without the refits and upgrades that the Obama administration has placed on hold, the aging B-1Bs are looking ahead to retirement in the 2030s.  Debate continues over the true effectiveness of the Lancer as further deployment of the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber continues.

Further information on “Bone” can be found on the U.S. Air Force website on the B-1B Lancer Fact Sheet or in the Air Force documentary below.

 

b-1b bomber takes off over vegas at night

Lost and Found – December 20th Edition

What to remember about December 20th…

  • 1783  Virginia cedes western territory reaching as far as Mississippi River
  • 1803  French peacefully surrender New Orleans to America as part of Louisiana Purchase
  • 1946  Classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life is released in New York; Frank Capra movie stars James Stewart and Donna Reed
  • 1957  Elvis Presley receives his draft notice during the Korean War; he served in West Germany in a tank battalion
  • 1963 For the 1st time in 2 years East Germany allows westerners to enter on one-day passes through the Berlin Wall
  • 1989  After the murder of a U.S. Marine by Panamanian police December 16th, American forces invade in Operation Just Cause
  • 2005  US District Court rules against mandating teaching of “intelligent design” in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.