Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog # 152: Nothing Can Stop the Army Air Corps

from Little Eddy #4

Written and first published September 29, 2007

The Lockeed B-24 Bomber, was known affectionately by many of those who flew in it as the “Flying Coffin,” required a crew of ten to fly it. The resemblance to a coffin is obvious just by looking at it.

This week's post requires a language warning as it is impossible to write

about the army of the 1940's honestly without using a certain obscenity

The most life altering experience of my young life came at age 17 when I enlisted, and a year later was called up to serve in the United States Army Air Corps. World War II had begun when I had been a sophomore in Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston, Texas.

I'll never forget the morning of Dec. 8, 1941 when F.D.R.'s voice rang forth over the school intercom system, to announce in that compelling oratorical style of his, “Sunday, December 7th, 1941, is a day that will live in infamy.” (It sure as hell will in my book) He was addressing a joint session of both houses of Congress, and he went on to announce our entrance into World War II. The miracle of radio brought his voice into our High School, and the school’s intercom system brought it into every classroom as he was speaking.

Three years later I graduated from Lamar at age sixteen (It was an 11 year curriculum back then.) They graduated us at midterm so that we could squeeze some college in before we trundled off to war. I chose to enlist in the Army Air Corps rather than letting myself get drafted into the infantry. I figured being flown was preferable to slogging on the ground using my own steam. What the hell did I know?

Return with us to those chilling days of yesteryear

Anyway, we would like to invite you to return with us to those rather naive days of yesteryear, as we do our best to give an honest look back at our time in the United States Army Air Corps, a branch of the Army which after World War II became the U.S. Air Force and was made into an equal branch of service. I was 17 when I enlisted in the Army Air Corps, figuring that riding around in airplanes beat the hell out of walking all over Europe on foot (Much less swimming from island to island in the Pacific Ocean).

After a lonely overnight Pullman ride to San Antonio, Texas, I entered into the service in October 1944 at the tender age of 18, inducted in the Army Air Corps (serial #: 18228386) at Ft. Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. I immediately got shipped to the Air Corps basic training facility at Amarillo, Texas. There we were assigned to whatever our specialty was going to be for the rest of our term of service.

To receive our basic assignments, as for everything in the service, we formed a long line. “Hurry up and wait,” If you want to know the truth, that seemed to be the motto of the army. The man in the line ahead of me was in his early thirties and had been a truck driver all of his civilian life. When he got his job assignment he found himself assigned to the kitchen detail as a baker. He looked shocked and surprised, whispering to me he didn’t know how to boil water, much less bake anything. A corporal standing nearby explained, “that’s the way the army prefers it. They get to teach you their way.

As for me, I had two eyes and a trigger finger and was too young to know better, and so naturally I was assigned to be a Sperry Ball Gunner on a B-24 aircraft. And as soon as I completed basic training I would be shipped off to join an air crew.

The man in the line behind me was also in his thirties, and had been a chef for all of his working life. He was assigned to: what else? To drive a truck. It might not sound believable, but believe me, it happened just as I have described it.

We referred to ourselves as GI’s (which stood for Government Issue) and we even had a phrase for what happened in that assignment line, a phrase whose initials were S.N.A.F.U., which stood for: situation normal, all fucked up.

One of the strangest things about my time in the service was the transformation of language. It was as if all constraints had been lifted from polite society’s speech, and the verb fucking suddenly quit its verbiness and became an adjective, one which was often used many times during a typical sentence. And one strange after effect came after the war was over, and authors trying to write honestly about the service found they could not use the word fuck in the literature of that time. Imagine, not being able to write GI speech without using the word fuck. The substitutes, of which fugg was one of the most frequently used ones, just didn’t cut it. It took Grove Press some years later, publishing books by Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, and James Joyce, to finally liberate the language, including the public’s word for making love.

The PX’s machine made unforgettable plain cake doughnuts

It is strange what we remember most about basic training. For me it was the plain cake doughnuts that the PX vending machine made from scratch, doughnuts which were completely machine made, but which to me tasted incredibly delicious served with the PX coffee, and I have been chasing plain cake doughnuts ever since. I even made my own plain cake doughnuts for awhile from an old Vermont recipe which I got off of the internet, but strangely none I have ever made or bought have come near to matching my memory of those Air Corps vending machine doughnuts of basic training. Strange what you remember sometimes, isn’t it? They were unforgettable.

My First Supreme Blockage

My dear late mother had a thing about bowel movements, in fact she lived in constant fear of missing a daily movement herself, and she often consumed laxatives to help “keep herself regular,” and she administered every kind of laxative known to civilized man/woman to me, all the while espousing that not moving one’s bowels for as much as three days was sure to lead to a grave infirmity, if not my actual demise. ExLax, Milk of Magnesia, Oil of Citrinella, you name it, she dispensed it, those were just a few of the concoctions she would serve at the slightest hint of congestion. If it moved ones bowels she was all for it.

Well, when I went into basic training my system went into a kind of shock, and I did not have a bowel movement for 16 days. Really, I counted. I ended up having one mighty jam up down there when finally things started moving again, but that incident rather punctured Ma's myth about the necessity of daily or semi-daily excretion. I have never since worried about missing a day, nor have I ever taken a laxative since. Nor have I ever had a problem with constipation. It’s all in your mind after all? What was it FDR used to say, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. He said it about something else, true, but it applies.

The One Skill I Learned

Memories of basic training have now become blurred, but I ended up learning one thing that has served me well throughout the ensuing years of my life. It happened during gunnery practice, and it was how to correctly fire an M-16 rifle.

According to what we were told, you take a normal breath, exhale half of it, then gently squeeze the trigger while sighting down the cross-hairs before exhaling the rest of your breath, making sure to follow through your squeeze as your weapon fires.

I have not fired a rifle since basic training, but I found that formula essential in the taking of good, sharp photographs. Sighting through the view finder framing what you want to appear in your photograph and then carefully focusing the lens. Bracing yourself against something if possible, or else make yourself as steady as possible, take in a breath, let half of it out, then gently squeeze the camera's trigger, not forgetting to follow through after the lens is tripped. This is a formula which if adopted is guaranteed to help you make clear, razor sharp photographs, providing of course you also got your subject in sharp focus and exposed properly.

Legend had barbed-wire fence

Only Thing Between Amarillo and North Pole

Legend has it that the only thing between Amarillo and the North Pole is a barbed-wire fence. I was stationed there in the fall, and you couldn't prove that statement by me, but from what permanent party told it, it was probably true. We did take an overnight camping trip while I was there where the weather turned cold giving a hint of its potential. It was on that trip that I learned that the less clothes you wore in your sleeping bag, the warmer you were. That is because your bare skin keeps sending heat waves back and forth with the sleeping bag. And to speed the warming process you needed only to breathe inside the sleeping. The permanent party there claimed that it was truly so, and after that one camp out I believed them.

Fortunately by winter the gods of the Army Air Corps had sent me about as far south as I could go and still be in Texas. I was to be assigned to a B-24 air crew as a Sperry Ball turret gunner and was sent to Harlingen, Texas for crew assignment and initial training. Ah, the sun soaked Rio Grande valley, the only Air Corps base I'm sure with an active fully functioning, fruit bearing orange grove taking up much of its real estate.

In telling you about Harlingen I could tell you about Rosita, the famed exotic dancer from across the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, a young lady who used muscles most females never even dreamed they had, which she used to extract fruits and vegetables from her most private areas. But, alas, this is not that kind of post. Besides, I was a good boy, I never actually saw Rosita myself, only heard about her from others more curious than myself. From all accounts, though, she really was the stuff legends are made of.

Sperry Ball Turret Explained

I should say a few words about the Sperry Ball turret along about here. It was round, literally a ball, and when the plane was in the air the ball sat completely outside of the airplane. For landing and take off it was cranked up inside the aircraft so as not to scrape the ground.

Once you entered the turret you lay on your back in a near fetal position, you rotated the turret by way of the two machine gun triggers, and you sighted and tracked your target through the gun sight between your legs.

The turret was heavily armored, and the gunsight itself was about 8” square, and was an analog computer reputed to be able to accurately mathematically figure the speed of your aircraft, and by your tracking of the attacking plane, the speed of the attacking aircraft. You controlled the turret with to two 50 caliber machine gun triggers, which like game controllers also controlled the turret. And supposedly the gunsight computed the correct lead for hitting the attacking aircraft you were tracking, as you fired at your enemy. Fortunately I was never in a position to be able to test the accuracy of the computer’s gunsight.

At Harldingen they told us that in the European theater of operations B-24 crews pulled the turret out of the aircraft, replacing it with a ring which held a machine gun on a track with which you could try and shoot at planes coming up at you from below. No fancy computer to compute your lead however, you had to guess what lead to give the approaching aircraft.

Also at Harlingen we were told the story of a Sperry Ball gunner who while on a gunnery training mission, his crew's B-24 had dipped a little low on the gunnery range, slightly scraping the ball turret along the ground. When the crew got back to the base, and cranked up the turret so they could land the plane, they found the gunner inside covered with sand. His hair had turned white, and he had lost the power of speech and the ability to walk. Stories like that really prepared us well for the big war which lay ahead. Right.

The Sperry Ball Turret lay completely out of the airplane when it was in use. The gunner was stuffed into the ball in a fetal position, controlling the turret from the machine gun triggers, and sighting his target through the analogue computer which figured the aircraft’s speed, and the target you are tracking, and computing a lead for the target.

The Sperry Ball Turret was fairly heavily armored, and the gunsight itself was about 8” square, and was an analog computer, and was reputed to be able to accurately mathematically figure the speed of your aircraft, and by your tracking of the attacking plane, the speed of the attacking aircraft. And supposedly it computed the correct lead for hitting the attacking aircraft you were tracking firing with the two 50 caliber machine guns you had at your fingertips. Fortunately I was never in a position to be able to test the accuracy of the computer gunsight.

Things Not to Do: Ditch the Aircraft

B-24's were large, bulky aircraft which when crash landed in water had a floating time of about a minute and a half (compared to a Boeing B-17 which had been known to float for up to thirty minutes upon a sea landing (in the vernacular it was called ditching the aircraft.) B-24's were known not so affectionately by those that flew in them as Flying Coffins, and were the gift of the Lockeed Aircraft Co. They stank of aviation fuel, were drafty, and were extremely conducive to air sickness. I didn't throw up during every flight, but it was pretty close, probably six or seven out of each ten flights.

We got paired into crews at Harlingen Army Air Corps Base, probably the only Air Corps base with a full fledged fruit bearing orange grove on it.

What I remember best about Harlingen was the orange grove on the base which took up quite a bit of the base real estate. On many mornings when we were to be assigned duty I was very much in luck, my last name being Badeaux, it's prounciation seemed to lie beyond the skill of the average detail sergeant, and so in their embarrassment they would either skip over my name altogether, or else mangle it so badly it wasn’t recognizable. For quite a few mornings that enabled me to disappear into the orange grove when the sergeant wasn't looking, where I would pick oranges and eat oranges for awhile, before ending up in the PX getting coffee and those incredible cake doughnuts. In any case because of my French sounding name I was able to miss many an army work detail, and so ever since I have been so thankful for my name.

Shooting Skeets from the back of a pickup truck

We practiced shooting at moving targets on the ground at Harlingen by shooting at skeets flying through the air using shotguns mounted in the back of moving pickup trucks. No fancy computational gunsight, in order to hit the skeets you had to gauge the proper amount of lead to give the target yourself. It was a little weird, but kind of fun. We also fired at real targets from our airplane turrets with our 50 caliber machine guns. The targets were hauled alongside us by airplanes which pulled the targets on very long leashes.

One day a farmer's cow was machine gunned (not by me I am quick to point out), for sport I presume, or perhaps, just because it was there. And all of a sudden all hell broke use. Soon afterwards our entire training program was shut down and all of our units were shipped to Muroc, California for continuation of crew training. The base is now named Edwards Air Force Base (and these days acts as an alternate landing field for the space shuttle), back then it was known as Muroc Army Air Field and was primarily used at that time for testing new types of aircraft.

The most unusual aircraft I saw there was called the Flying Wing, and that is exactly what it was, a huge wing painted black with the crew quarters, the bomb bay, everything, inside this gigantic wing. It was a four engine plane as I remember, it looked just like some gigantic flying bat, and I had always thought that if the Air Force had built a hundred of these apparitions and flown them over Japan the Japanese would have been so terrified they would have given up the war on the spot. The air force eventually came up with an alternate way to scare the Japanese into surrendering, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My way would have been far less traumatic and injurious to the health of fellow human beings. But armies always seem to prefer overkill, and besides they were dying to test that awe inspiring weapon which the scientific community have given them.

While we were stationed in Muroc we saw a couple of other test planes. The first one flew alongside our formation of B-24's while we were heading for gunnery range practice. The plane flew alongside us for about ten minutes, then suddenly pulled away, making us look like we were standing still. It turned out to be the XP-59, the very first jet fighter plane developed in the U.S. for the air force. The XP-59 never was put into service, and therefore never had the X (which stood for experimental) removed from its name.

One day all the flags on the base were flying at half staff. I asked one of our officers what happened, and he said President Roosevelt had died. A short time later the flags were also flying at half staff and this time I was told they signaled the end of the war in Europe. Germany and Italy had surrendered.

A couple of weeks later our crew was on a photography mission (our turrets were loaded with cameras loaded with film, and when we reached our target we were to use the cameras to photograph our target. The film would later be processed and our accuracy determined by the processed film.) At any rate on that day another strange looking aircraft flew alongside us. This plane was really sleek looking, and after flying alongside us long enough to attract our attention, it too flew away, this time at a speed so great it made us look like we were flying backwards.

Some damned fool, which as I remember was me, but don’t tell a soul, took pictures of that mysterious apparition with the film destined to be used on our targets. (This plane turned out to be the highly secret XP80 which did later get the X dropped from its name, and did get put into service late in the World War II), and that night when our film was developed the base notified the Inspector General's office in Washington that pictures of the Air Corps newest secret weapon had been developed in their darkrooms, and a couple of days later we had several FBI types disguised in Army Air Corps uniforms trying to find out what lout had had the gall to photograph this highly secret aircraft.

Paranoia was the order of the day, the rumor mill had some Japanese agent riding rampant over America's secrets (he would probably have been German had not the war in Europe recently ended). As far as I know they never found the culprit (me), and if you ask me it was the usual complete waste of the army's money. Don't fly strange exotic airplanes by us when we have loaded cameras if you don't want some damn fool like me to take pictures of it. We never heard anything more about it, and they never caught up with me. I don't know if that incident had anything to do with what came next (I very much suspect it did), however a few days later all of our crews were transferred to Tonopah Army Air Force Base near Tonopah, Nevada.

If there was one geographic characteristic you could count on it was this, next to every large mountain the air force would build an airfield. I suppose the rationale was to keep the pilots sharp and on their toes. And it put the Fear of God is those of us non flyers who were reluctantly along for the ride. Tonopah, like Muroc before it, was desert. Pure desert. On other bases when they wanted to manufacture pointless work they formed grass cutting details. At Tonopah there was no grass, we whitewashed the rocks that lined the pathways white.

The two bases were nothing alike. Muroc was all air force, and it was an important cog in the wheels of the air force. Virtually every plane that was developed for the Air Corps was tested there. Still is. Tonopah, on the other hand, had an old Calvary General as its commanding officer, and the Air Corps be damned, he was bound and determined to run the base as a traditional Army Cavalry base.

A formation of B-24s flew into the Pacific sky.

The usual missions we flew from Tonopah were called Navigation missions, and they consisted of virtually the exact same mission, where the navigator plots the course and the pilots fly it under his direction. The usual course never changed, and consisted of flying north to Reno, then due west to San Francisco, then turning south to Los Angeles, after which we turned east to Las Vegas, and finally North once again to Tonopah. Since we flew the same course every damn time I failed to see how the Navigator got much hands-on experience by charting an identical course ad infinitum.

The trips were interesting, though. Especially when we got near the ocean near San Francisco. One of the sights I will never forget on those missions was seeing the giant fog banks off in the ocean rolling into San Francisco in the late afternoon. If the fog had already rolled in, which happened once or twice, you couldn't see San Francisco at all except for a few tall buildings poking through the haze.

We flew at around 30,000 feet, and either by some miracle, or some bureaucratic oversight, I had actually made corporal by this time, but one day when the automatic heated gloves and shoes on my flight suit didn't work, I was so cold and miserable I unplugged my oxygen mask and elected to pass out. And I got busted for my trouble. Actually there were two of us back in the waist who had passed out. We had oxygen checks every five minutes while flying, and when our station didn't answer they sent the engineer back to find out what was what. We both got busted. I like to think that that oxygen deprivation had no long term effect on my brain, but come to think of it that might explain a thing or two, here and there.

I managed to pull off one other real gaff which would have also gotten me busted if I hadn't been busted already. When an officer came in the barracks the first person to spot him was supposed to jump to his feet shouting, "ATTENCHUT!" Well, one day our captain came into the barracks, and I looked at him, and he looked at me, and not a word did I utter. Much less shout. In truth I was philosophically opposed to calling a barracks full of tired crewman who had risen at 4:30, been briefed at six, and flown from 7 until 1:30 to attention just because an officer happened to come into the room. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed, the captain or me.

At any rate, the sergeant in the top bunk across from me happened to look up, saw the officer, and shouted "ATTENNCHUT!!!" on his way down as his feet hit the floor. The men of the baracks, as one man, hit the attention stance, me included. I didn't object to standing at attention, only to calling the others to attention. Needless to say my time off hours for the next few weeks were occupied in white washing the rocks that lined the walkways. Such did I serve my country? However, a short time later I did some job for another Captain, and he was so pleased with my work that he insisted on inserting a letter of commendation into my official record. That must have confused the hell out of them over at command central.

I ended up flying 256 hours in the Air Corps. It wasn't much fun. The planes were cold and drafty and reeked of gasoline. I got air sick on most flights. I'll never forget the day I ate a pint of strawberry ice cream just before take off, and not 30 minutes later at 20,000 feet I threw every last ounce of it up again, and it had refrozen onto my oxygen mask, looking exactly as it had looked before I had eaten it. The only difference was now it reeked of the odor of bile.

Another thing that was unnerving was when the engines torched in flight. An engine torching meant that it was playing like it was a comet and shooting a tail of fire out it's exhaust, and because all of the gasoline for the flight is stored in that same same wing with the torching engine, the whole event managed to be just a wee bit unnerving. B-24 engines would torch frequently, but I remember the worst torching incident happening after dark when we were on a night Navigation mission.

The engine was not only torching, but orange flickering flames were licking their way across the very wing in which all of our gasoline was stored. The tail gunner and I were both scared out of our minds and we had our parachutes on, and we were standing beside the bomb bay in case there was an evacuation in our future. The Tail gunner was praying, and I was trying my best to remember how to.

How did the pilots put out the torching engines, you might well ask? They did it by blowing out the fire, which meant revving the engine up to its maximum capacity in hopes the ensuing wind would blow out the fire before it ignited the wing tanks. Fortunately on that night blowing out the fire worked, allowing me to keep my parachute jumping record at Zero!

In Tonapah Every 3rd Establishment a Gambling Joint

In the town of Tonopah virtually every third establishment was a gambling joint. There was one three day period while I was there when a blizzard prevented all means of transportation into or out of the town. As a result the Friday night base payroll would not be able to be met. You might not believe this, but when it became evident that the army's payroll wasn't going to be able to be met the town's gaming establishments all got together and put up the entire payroll for the base. They weren't exactly being altruistic or patriotic, they did it so that the men could come into town that night and lose a great deal of their pay back to their benefactors. Ain't free enterprise great?

The war with Japan ended the night we graduated from crew training. We were given a delay in route on the way to where else, the east coast for deployment to Europe? The war in Europe had ended months earlier, but there's army logic for you. I spent VJ night in Las Vegas, Nevada, waiting up all night to catch a morning flight to Houston. I could not buy my ticket in advance, so I had to spend that entire night surrounded by crap tables and slot machines, all crying out loudly for my flight money. I gingerly fed a slot machine here and there, and went to an all night movie theater to kill a few hours. And when the next morning finally rolled around I managed to make it safely to the Las Vegas airport and I was only a few dollars short for my ticket, but luckily they had a fund to help GI's pay for tickets home when they were short of money. They are realists in Las Vegas.

After my delay in route home I took a bus to Greensboro, N. C. for the ORD (Overseas Replacement Depot) which was to send us to Europe. When you came into the town of Greensboro your duffle bags were confiscated by the Air Corps base, no matter what branch of the military you were in. Every duffle bag, whether it be soldier, sailor, marine, or air force, it mattered not, wound up at the base. It was government thievery pure and simple. To reclaim your gear you had to go out to the base and look through moutains of duffles. Well to make a long story interminable my bags were nowhere to be found, and I had to get all new issue, and at that point the army was winding down, and all they had in the way of clothes were terrible fits.

I was skinny, I went into the army weighing 118 and came out one year, ten months and twenty one days later weighing 128. The waists on the clothes I was issued were huge, they were for soldiers much fatter than I. I wore them anyway, of course, I had nothing else, and I would repeatedly get stopped by officers who asked me where the hell I had gotten my uniforms. I explained how my bags had been confiscated when I had arrived in town, and had been subsequently lost, and these clothes I was wearing were what I had been issued.

They asked me why I hadn't gotten them altered, and I told them I couldn't afford it on my private's pay. They tsked, tsked, but not a one offered any government assistance in the costs of alteration.

Once we had gotten to the base the army figured out our points and decided we had too many of them to be dispatched to Europe. So they made us what was called permanent party in Greensboro.

Free enterprise lives on even in the oppressive throes of the USAAC. Greensboro was an Overseas Replacement Depot, the men there were restricted to quarters at night, they weren’t given passes to town because of a fear that they would take off and not return. And so a buddy and I would go into town, buy much bread, mayonese, mustard, lettuce, lunchmeat and cheese, and we would make sandwiches which we went through the barracks selling to the men who were restricted to their barracks.

It was quite a little business, the men appreciated our freshly made sandwiches, our bread and meat much fresher and more generously applied with dressing. We weren’t the only permanent party doing this however, and the PX ended up complaining to the MP’s that some soldiers were free lancing and ruining their business (our sandwiches were freshly made and consequently a lot better than those dry, stale ones the PX sold), and so one night, catching sight of roving bands of M.P.’s my friend and I decided to bring our little bit of free enterprise to a screeching halt.

Several months later after a furlough and another trip home, the army added up my points again and decided to give me an honorable discharge. They sent a whole train load of us dischargees back to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Our troop train had an overnight layover in New Orleans. We were allowed to go out on leave for the night, and for what was probably the first time in history of the army, not one soldier missed getting back to that train on time the next morning. They staggered back in all stages of inebriation, many in the company of their connubial partners of the night, but come back they all did. Not a single one missed that discharge train.

I was discharged from the A.A.C. on August 11, 1946 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, the very base at which I had entered the service. I served 1 year, 10 months and 21 days. My service number had been 18228386, a number which I remember to this day. However my story has two postscripts.

I would have you know that 10 years later, in 1956, an army vehicle pulled up in front of 1608 Haver St. in Houston, TX where I was living with my parents, and a young soldier brought two mostly empty duffle bags to the front door. Every bit of the GI issue had been removed, not one sock or pair of olive drab boxer shorts remained therein, all that was left were a few musty possessions of long ago, an electric razor, a long dried out fountain pen, a box of yellowed stationary, and what not.

I have often wondered how much money had gone into tracking me down 10 years later so that the army could return those few mostly worthless personal effects which they had arbitrarily deprived me of in the first place. And gee, wasn't that a super idea in the first place, confiscating all of that G.I. luggage?

There is a second ending to my story. In 2003 I was diagnosed as having Chronic Myeloid Lukemia. There is one drug for this, Gleevec, which costs $3,000 for a monthly dose. When it became evident that Texas HealthSpring was quite understandably not going to pay for the drug, my youngest son, Joel, who just completed his residency as a doctor, got me to enroll in the VA. When the clerk accessed the VA computer, there I was. Alive and well on his computer. It was all true. I really had been in the Army Air Corps just like I had said. And I was eligible for health care via the Veteran's Administration. As part of their treatment the VA oncologist did another bone marrow scan and found that I had been misdiagnosed the first time around, and that I did NOT have cml

I never found out whether the VA would have paid for that $3,000 a month medication, but I strongly suspect that it would not have. But it is nice to know that at 84 years of age I now have only two conditions to worry about, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. With just a touch of Acid Reflux on the side, of course.
When I stop and think back on it, there is nothing quite like the army. We had a saying, there was a Right way, a Wrong way, and the Army Way. And as we reported earlier, SNAFU was a term used universally, and stood for Situation Normal, all Fucked Up. And it always was. Every day and in every way.

The book "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller, published in 1961, summed up life in the Army Air Corps in Europe during World War II more lucidly than any other account I have read. In my mind Catch 22 should be required reading for everyone, and from all I can gather from the current news media, things haven't changed an awful lot, military wise. Read the book. It's an education. Never before has so much truth been written so lucidly.

Catch 22 should be taught in the schools. Having it compulsive reading in our High Schools might even save our country from future disasters like Vietnam and Iraq. However, the gentlemen who really need to read it are the Senators and Legislators in Congress. Peace in the world, or the world in pieces.

The Man Watching Our Back. Julian Assange, the Australian who stands behind the website Wikileaks, a very important resource which brings us materials leaked by both governments and corporations, materials that we need to know about. Our Government hates Wikileaks, but that is exactly how it should be. To access Wikileaks for yourself, go here!">here!

And so we have come to the end of yet another Little Eddy Blog. This week’s blog was first published as Blog #4, but this reprise appearance brings it illustrated with photos to help bring the words to life. We slog along each week with a new, or sometimes a revisited work. We invite you to join us again next week for our next effort. We upload on Saturday morning as I am having my breakfast coffee. See you next time. Bye Now.

The Real Little Eddy §

1 comment:

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