Posted tagged ‘USS Utah’

AN “ORDINARY FAMILY” SALUTE ON MEMORIAL DAY

May 29, 2017

Memorial Day is for honoring those who lost their lives as they defended our country.     But in addition,  I’m thinking about all those who served in the military and  risked their lives,   willing to die for us.  

Flag don't tread

I thought I had always faithfully acknowledged Memorial Day here at the Spruce Tunnel throughout the years,  but a quick check of the archives shows me that I missed a few.

(In fact,  one end-of-May entry recorded my  incursion into dinosaur territory where, after wandering around, lost for a few hours in the Utah/Colorado desert I finally came out  feeling like an idiot but happy to be alive and uninjured  That was 2013.   I guess I wasn’t thinking of Memorial Day at the time.)

I’ll try to make a thorough list this time.    (We have a small family.)

My Grandpa, one of the crew of the USS Utah, serving in World War One.

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The USS Utah,  dashing through the Atlantic –   (I must have inherited some of his experience;  I love to be on the prow of a big sailboat, plunging through the waves (on the Great Lakes.)

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Grandpa was under threat  by German U-Boats, but he did come home.  The USS Utah sailed to Pearl Harbor where she bravely did duty – as target practice, until in 1941, the Japanese finished her off —

Utah down

My uncle was stationed there in Pearl Harbor in the ’40s, an MP in the Marines.   I wonder if he watched or thought of his own father’s ship being blown up.   Would like to have a photo of him . . . .

My own Dad,   Marine Corps –   18 years old.

MARINE

Hubbie’s family contributed their loved ones too.    Two sons from one family.   Finnish family.

First, Aaro Ikkala.    Sailor, serving on board the USS Aulick,  which has the distinction of being the first plane ever attacked by a kamikazi pilot.    Not everyone on board died.   Aaro did.    We have his Purple Heart.

In the days when the Internet was new and its usefulness was exciting,  Hubbie put together a wonderful tribute to the men on the USS Auulick,  even contacting some of those who had served with Uncle Aaro and remembered him.

Hubbie also put together this “genuine” replica of the Aulick which had been attacked in Leyte Gulf, Philippines:

USS Aulick

I wonder what went through Hubbie’s mind as he glued together all the tiny little pieces  . . .   We actually have the official navy report – of the gruesome details.

Hubbie lost another uncle in the next war,  the Korean war; his name was Arthur,  brother of Aaro.

Arthur Ikkala's Newspaper Article

I got quite a weird feeling in me today as I went through these old papers.   “Col. Ikkala”  looks very, very much like Hubbie at that age.

Next, for us, came the Viet Nam war –

My cousin.    Army.      It was a different kind of war:

Drew

This is a later picture, still in uniform.    Still “Proud to be an American . . .  ”

Drew in Uniform

He’s “family.”     I look at him and see my Grandma’s face.

And then Hubbie has two nephews,  West Point grads,  served in Desert Storm and whatever the next military endeavor was.   Flew  Apaches.

Apache

I’ll update with photos when I wake up my old, old computer which has their photos.  One of them patrolled around Babylon –  yes, the desert fortress city of Nebuchadnezzar  and his wannabe descendant Saddam Hussein who was in the process of restoring glorious palaces in Babylon.

We’re an ordinary family, some of whom left factories and mines and farms  (and high school) to defend our country –– to defend their families and our American way of Life. When they were done,  they returned to their factories, mines, and farms . . . .

Mem salute

Thank you, guys.

Trump Honors

America remembers.    Americans still honor all of you.

PEARL HARBOR & THE AGE OF MAN(HOOD)

December 7, 2016

(The local news gets personal.)

Our local television news decided to run a feature story on the USS Utah today.  They showed the Utah,  the Utah being blown up at Pearl Harbor, and a little of the museum they made out of its wreckage.

This 07 December 1941 file photo obtaine

Now,  the USS Utah is the ship my grandpa served on in World War One!    After its service it was taken to Pearl Harbor and used for bomb and torpedo sightings, where my uncle was stationed at the time.      But the Japanese are the ones who actually sunk it.

Afterwards  it was put to rights –

utah-on-side

My grandpa enlisted in the Navy when he was 18 years old.  

My dad enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was 17 years old.

When I was 18 and even when I was 17,  I didn’t think there was anything remarkable about those ages . . .   it sure felt old enough.   After all,  I was leaving home and going away to college and to  a job and new home of my own.

But a few decades later I had a son.

You want to know why there are all those paintings of the Madonna and Child?  All those Christmas cards with the Madonna and Child?

madonna

It’s because a woman looks on in wonder as her son grows up to be a man.    But!    Her son lives in her heart in all the ages he ever was,  including the most tender  and innocent stage of his being.    The wondrous person her little son started out to be,  with all its promise and hope;  yes, he grows up,   but the love began at his beginning and it never fades.

So when my son became 17 and then 18 years old,   and I thought of my dad and my grandpa at that age,  signing up to go to war . . .    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

It is unthinkable!

Whew!   We’ve had no wars where mothers must  make this sacrifice. . . .

And now a little story:    I heard an author on the radio last night who had just written a new book on Pearl Harbor.   He said he did all his own original research for the book, so it could be a clear and new as possible.

Among the interviews he read (and conducted)  was a man who had been at Pearl Harbor.    The man said most of the officers were sleeping that early morning of December 7th  on shore,  but the men on the ships were the very young sailors.    The author  said he hadn’t realized how   young that  group of men were who  served on those ships,  young and innocent and unsophisticated.

He said it was a Wally Cleaver world!

wally-cleaver

Wally Cleaver

I do hope you are familiar with the older brother of the Beave,    in Leave it to Beaver.  Wally was a typical teenager of his times,   good, sincere,  open to the world,  a little bit on the klutzy edge of approaching adulthood.     A real guy.

Echoing the attitude of Wally Cleaver,   this interviewee of the author of the new Pearl Harbor book said,  after watching the ships blowing up,  “Gee,  we didn’t even know the Japs were sore at us!!”

Why was Japan mad at us?    Why would they bomb us?

Well, there are all kinds of “grown-up”  theories about why Pearl Harbor happened.  We may never know the complete truth,  but we do know that many, many, many of these very young men,  teenagers,   learned how to fight hard for their country and many, many died.

It’s a heck of a way to grow up into manhood.

flag-dont-tread

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 7TH – AND ANOTHER MOVIE RECOMMENDATION

December 8, 2015

(An impassioned rant today)

This is what men fight for:    “Mom, hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball.”

And granddaughters.

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That’s my Grandpa and me, a long, long time ago.     Grandpa fought in WWI.         Navy:

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One of those men is Grandpa –  I think in the middle, back row.    He served on the USS Utah in 1918.  Transport ship.

On the deck of the Utah in the Atlantic.

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Swedish descendant of the Vikings.   I think he enjoyed his time in the Navy.

Then the ship was decommissioned   and brought to Pear Harbor.

USS Utah

There she is.  No longer seaworthy,  but doing her part in keeping the Navy strong and keeping American defenses strong.   Protecting grandchildren — as well as moms and sisters and wives and daughters.

She was used as target practice at the Pearl Harbor naval base.

Until December 7th,  1941.

shps blow

I hope children in school are taught the details of our military strength,  of the attack on us that day,  of the many men who lost their lives that day, and of the many thousands of men who rushed to sign up to defend our country in the Navy, the Marines,  and the Army (and Army-Air Force).

But I fear children have not been taught why we fought in those days.    There is no other reason why a generation or two of people, under age 45,   have not raised a mighty protest at the news last week that young women are going to be placed in Combat  situations.

Combat.   A fine waste of womanhood — because they can’t do it!   They can’t do what men do in battle.  Women have aptitudes and skills and courage and determination and certain abilities that are needed by any society,  and even in some places in the military — but they can’t do combat.

Unless you think that being a soldier just  means “pulling a trigger.”

The strongest and biggest, most well-trained women still have 40% less upper body strength than men.

The strongest, biggest, most well-trained women still have the lung capacity of a 50-year-old man.   Nothing wrong with 50-year-old men;  it’s just that we don’t expect them to do the same work as a strong, young 22-year old warrior.

Women don’t produce much of the hormone needed to be aggressive enough in battle (combat) situations.    There is a level of aggressiveness that is needed in battle — that would horrify most  peace-time Americans.

Our  Marines just spent many millions of dollars  (36 million)  to  determine whether women can perform as well as men in combat situations.      They can’t.     36, 000, 000  — spent on what our grandparents and parents already knew.    The Marine Corps also spent a lot of money to produce female infantry  officers.     No woman passed the course.

Shame on political philosophies which ignore human reality.  Shame on the nation that puts its women in “combat”  situations.   Shame on the society that dishonors its own women.    Shame on the political agenda that weakens our military readiness.    Shame on the generations who allow themselves to be indoctrinated into “gender neutrality.”

Men are important for certain things in a society.  Women are important for certain things in a society.   Men are not women.  Women are not men.

Mankind has known that instinctively —   but as we know,  instincts can be (almost) bred out of an oppressed society.    Political Correctness and Distorted Role Models are hammered into people.

December 7th – and a movie?    I would highly recommend The 13th Warrior.     Don’t fret that it is a classic tale written down in the early Middle Ages and handed down orally from centuries before that.   I suspect it’s based on actual history and it’s very relevant for today.  Perhaps even an antidote for the effeminacy that has been inserted into our society.

Watch it for the comparison of a civilized culture  (the Moors),  a half-civilized culture  (the Vikings).  and a primitive, rather uncivilized culture.    Observe the differences.

Sure, there is blood, gore,  battles, fear, death,  and  mysteries,  but there is also the defense of what is important to human beings:  courage, intelligence,  determination,   comradeship,  earned respect,   men of good character who communicate across cultures.

A brutal, savage attack brings out the best in the men and the attack is repulsed. . . . and civilization can continue to develop in that area of the world.

Best lines of the movie:   The refined and cultured Moor asks, “I don’t suppose we have a plan . . . ”      The rough Northmen:  “We ride until we catch up to the enemy and then we kill them all.”

That’s a virile, courageous answer.   That’s what’s needed when men are called upon to be defenders.     That’s what protects “Mom, apple pie, hot dogs, and baseball. ”   Or whatever is your way of life.

Women,   children,  families,  your tribe, your clan, your ethnic group,  your nation, your empire — whatever it is,  you protect it in order to continue on with the best your society offers.

December 7th, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day,  when America also was attacked — and men rose to the occasion in combat.

(Please don’t play the marxist conversation-stopper game:  “But what about the . . . .”       “But what about women, don’t leave them out; they can do things for the war effort too…”    Of course they can.   That wasn’t the point. )

Let us keep Pearl Harbor Day as a “Day of Infamy,”     yes,  but also a day to be proud of our fighting men who answered their country’s call.   Our enemies meant to defeat us,  but our soldiers pushed back and fought back.

I wish we would stand up and push back and fight back and take our country back.    If not, if we don’t blush with shame at out Rulers’ agenda for us,  to confuse us and weaken us  with their agenda of “gender neutrality,”  we’ll lose it all.

In the real world,  men are not women and women are not men.