Wednesday, March 31, 2010

World War II Pilot Reunited with His Iwo Jima Plane

An interesting article from the February 21st Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "Pilot reunited with plane he flew at Iwo Jima."

Thomas Rozga, 87, commanding officer of a squadron of L-5Bs, called "Flying Jeeps," and "Stinsons" that were USMC observation planes, got a trip back into his past recently.

These planes were also called "Grasshoppers" for their ability to take off and land at small airfields with short runways. Their primary duty was to find enemy positions and radio back locations.

The two-seaters were unarmed and made of steel tubing, plywood and were covered with fabric.

Rozga won a Distinguished Flying Cross. Mike Polley, an aircraft historian from California met a man who had an L-5B and bought it from him. After that, he refurbished it. The plane was one of only two surviving ones from the 12-plane squadron at Iwo Jima.

Rozga and Polley met in California and the old veteran got to go up in his old plane and took the controls during part of it.

A picture accompanied the article and the L-5B looks a lot like a Piper Cub plane.

A Trip Back in the Past. --Cooter

Saturday, March 27, 2010

World Wat II Plane Found in Oregon...On Land

Almost too hard to believe that a World War II Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, the Navy's primary attack and bombing plane, has been found in a heavily wooded area of Oregon. There is also the belief that its two crew members' remains might also be found.

Dozens of pieces, including a wing, tail section and landing gear were found last week over a 200 yard area. Based on the model number, it likely crashed some time after 1945.

The Helldivers replaced the Dauntless in 1943 and carried two men, had a top speed of 295 mph, and could carry 1000 pounds of bombs or an internal torpedo (not exactly sure what this means). They were originally built in 1939, but production problems and poor handling kept them from use until 1943.

At least three planes disappeared in the area from 1945 to 1948 and there is the possibility that it might be the 1948 one.

Only one Helldiver remains flying today.

Hopefully the Crew Remains Will Be Recovered. --DaCoot

Now, That's a Doughnut!!-- Part 2

Continuing with the Britt's article in the July 2009 Our State magazine.

H. L. Britt opened the place in 1939 (70th anniversary last year). No mention, however, if it stayed open during World War II considering the mandatory blackouts along the coast.

Current owner Bobby Nivens worked for Britt from 1954-56 and bought it with his wife Maxine in 1974. Back then he had thoughts of turning it into a Dunkin' Donuts -type chain, but after a few years of seven-day-a-week work, decided against it. Plus, now it is open on weekends only from March to Memorial Day, then seven days a week, then weekends only through October. During the summer, twelve employees work it along with the Nivens.

Change doesn't happen here. As Booby says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Much of the spartan equipment is original to 1939 as is Britt's recipe, which is top secret and hasn't changed either.

This is a real treat. I'd have to say the best doughnuts I've ever eaten. It is located at #11 Boardwalk (no phone number)and definitely worth a stop. Don't be surprised, however, by the crowds that gather.

Bet you can't eat just one.

You'll Be Glad You Did. --Cooter

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Now, That's a Doughnut!!-- Part 1

And, we're talking about those mouth watering concoctions served up at Britt's Donut Shop at Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The July 2009 Our State magazine for North Carolina did me no favors by running a five page spread on one of my favorite places anywhere to eat. "Sugar Rush" by Kathy Grant Westbrook.

Even worse, they had pictures with two full page donuts and the owners holding some in that plastic paper.

Current owners Bobby and Maxine Nivens have been using the exact same recipe for the glazed doughnuts that has been around since the 1930s. The only food the place sells besides drinks (coffee, milk, and pop) is that glorious sugar-glazed item.

"A Britt's doughnut is always fresh and warm, and no matter how gingerly you hold it, it is impossible not to compress it between your fingers and your thumb." Plus, it is so light, you'll want another and another... and then another.

I'll Have a Britt's. --Cooter

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Real Schindler's List

March 23rd Reuters.

A New York memorabilia dealer is offering what appears to be an authentic list of Jewish names known better as Schindler's List of movie fame and was kept by German industrialist Otto Schindler who is credited with saving over a thousand Jewish lives during the Nazi Holocaust.

The dealer represents a private seller who, unfortunately, wants $2.2 million for the document. That would make it almost too prohibitive for most public places to bid on it.

It is one of many lists Schindler kept during the war and had been in the possession of the family of his accountant, Itzhak Stern, which sold it to the private seller. Dated April 18, 1945, it is typed on onion paper, a carbon copy, 14 pages long with the names of 801 all male Jews.

Here's Hoping That Some Museum Is Able To Get It and Put It on Display. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Slave Ship Amistad to Pay Visit to Cuba

March 18th Goldsboro News Argus, AP. "A Symbol of the slave trade joins US and Cuba."

The ten-year-old Freedom Schooner Amistad, the official tall ship of Connecticut is scheduled to sail into Havana, Cuba, tomorrow in part of a ten-day, two city trip to that island country. It was from Cuba that the Amistad sailed in 1839 with a cargo of African slaves where it entered into history and became an abolitionist rallying cry.

What is surprising even more is that the US still has its 47-year-old embargo going on against Cuba. But, the retelling of the story of the African slave trade trumps the embargo.

The ship has already visited West Africa, and in particular Sierra Leone where many of the slaves came from.

Definitely a Case of History Trumping Current Events. --Cooter

Saturday, March 20, 2010

North Carolina Tidbits-- Part 2

CHARLES KURALT-- born and raised in Wilmington.

SWEET POTATOES-- largest producer in us.

FIRST ENGLISH COLONY-- in America at Roanoke, The Lost Colony.

VENUS FLYTRAP-- native to Hampstead.

PEPSI-- invented in New Bern in 1898.


WRIGHT BROTHERS-- tested their first powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903.

I didn't know the art museum, Babe Ruth or sweet potatoes.

How Many Did You Know? --Cooter

North Carolina Tidbits-- Part 1

From the Winter 2009 Food for Thought bulletin from the Mt. Olive Pickle Company in North Carolina.

Here are some North Carolina facts, some that I knew and others that I didn't.

KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS-- founded in Winston-Salem in 1936.

The BILTMORE-- in Asheville is America's largest home.

STATE MUSEUM OF ART-- NC was the first state to establish one.

BABE RUTH-- hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville in 1914.

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA CHAPEL HILL-- oldest public university in US.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bits ' History: World War II Aircraft Crashes-- 3.1 Million

Some New News About Old Stuff.

1. WORLD WAR II AIRCRAFT CRASHES-- In the last two weeks, three vintage World War II aircraft have been involved in crashes. The most recent was in Bakersfield, California.

I'm not sure exactly why there seem to be so many right now. Of course, these aircraft are all over 60 years old.

2. 3.1 MILLION-- I read that HBO recorded an increase of 3.1 million subscribers as a result of the miniseries "The Pacific."

Let's Be More Careful Out There. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Britons Who Saved Holocaust Victims Honored

From March 10th Mail

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown honored two surviving Britons, Sir Nicholas Winton and Denis Avey, for their roles in saving intended Nazi victims of the Holocaust.

Sir Winton, 100, rescued 669 mainly Jewish children from a train in Prague in 1939. Avey, 91, exchanged places with a Jewish inmate at Auschwitz while a POW. After that, he gathered facts about the horror and helped another inmate survive by sharing supplies.

Others Britons were honored posthumously.

Phylis le Drruillence's husband Harold sheltered Russian prisoners during the German occupation of Jersey.

All these people received the Silver Medallion.

About Time. --Cooter

Monday, March 15, 2010

German Parachute Mine Blown Up in England-- Part 2

Portland Harbor is a popular British seaside resort. For some reason, there was no mention of this mine on their website. It is on the south coast of England and is part of the UNESCO Juraissic Coast World Heritage Site.

Portland Harbor is a thriving commercial port and will be hosting sailing events in the 2012 Olympics.

Of interest, I found out that the British battleship HMS Hood, launched in 1891, was scuttled there Nov. 4, 1914, to block the southern ship channel from attacks by German U-boats in World War I.

It was to be scuttled, but tides started moving it so explosives were set off, causing it to turn over because of the weight of the turrets.

The wreck became known as "The Old Hole in the Wall" and was a popular dive site before that was banned in 2004 due to safety reasons.

This HMS Hood is not to be confused with the one sunk by the German battleship Bismarck in World War II.

Glad They Found the Mine Before It Could Do Damage. --Cooter

German Parachute Mine Blown Up in England-- Part 1

From the March 4th BBC.

A German parachute mine, dropped in Portland Harbor on the southern coast of the country in World War II was found and disposed of this past week.

The 3/4 ton mine was moved to deeper water in Weymouth Bay and Royal Navy bomb disposal divers had a controlled explosion of it. I saw the video and it put up quite a wall of water. To think that it still could have blown up a ship.

It had been air dropped by a German bomber. Last week, a survey vessel using sonar equipment in preparation for harbor improvements located it and pulled it up before carefully returning it to its resting place once they knew what it was.

An exclusion area was established and divers using an inflatable lifting bag raised it.

Let's be Careful Out There. --DaCoot

Facts About the Battle of Peleliu

I went to Wikipedia for this.

The battle was fought from September to November 1944 and had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific.

The initial landing was September 15th when 22,000 Marines came ashore.

Japanese casualties were 10,695 killed and 202 captured.

American losses were 1,794 killed and 8,010 wounded.

That's some serious fighting. After seeing the Japanese casualties, what would have been the case had American troops invaded the Japanese homeland?

About Time Most People (Including Myself)Learned About Peleliu. --Cooter

"The Pacific" Miniseries on HBO-- Part 3

I read that HBO spent $200 million on the miniseries, the most ever spent on one. This is almost twice what they spent on the then biggest-budget TV miniseries-ever, "Band of Brothers" about World War II in the European Theater.

I wonder if some of the scenes will match the opening of "Saving Private Ryan?" That was something else.

Filming lasted ten months.

Some Other Pacific War movies

Guadalcanal Diary, 1943 with Anthony Quinn
The Thin Red Line, 1964 with Keir Dulles
The Thin Red Line, 1999 with Sean Penn
Flying Leathernecks, 1951 with John Wayne
Sands of Iwo Jima, 1949 with John Wayne.

And, of course Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Forefathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima" which gave the Japanese point-of-view.

Quite an Effort. --DaCoot

"The Pacific" Miniseries on HBO-- Part 2

The first segment aired last night, but unfortunately, I didn't get to see it because I don't have HBO. Guess I'll have to wait awhile until the History Channel or somebody picks it up.

The Battle of Peleliu will be featured in about a quarter of the series (about two and a half hours). After reading a little more about it, I'd have to say that it is about time people learned about it. The fighting was intense to say the least.

It sounds like the battlefield there was frozen in time and executive producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman found it "a convenient place to show the horror of battle as experienced by the real-life Marines whose stories they are telling."

The Pacific Theater is described as being "unglamorous, mind-wrenching mire" and "on the other side of the world, on tropical archipelagoes with names nobody knew, for purposes that often seemed pointless...."

Tom Hanks, a long-time military buff put it well when he said, "You're fighting for nowhere in the middle of nowhere."

March 7th Chicago Tribune.

As We Continue to Lose the Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maureen Ryan, the Watcher, Takes a Look Back at TV in the "Aughts"

December 18th Chicago Tribune. TV Columnist "The Watcher," Maureen Ryan wrote a column about a look back at TV in the Aughts. Some of her comments:

1. TV breaks the Box. We now have appointment TV where you can run your own network with DVDs and DVRs. Hey, what about those old-fashioned VCRs which I still use?

2. HBO's Three Davids: David Simon "The Wire'" David Chase "The Sopranos," and David Milch "Deadwood." I've heard of the last two, but don't get HBO.

3. Rise of Reality TV. Or, do you say Stupidity TV?

4. Rise of Cable TV shows. Some good shows like "Mas Men" and "Breaking Bad." I like both of these.

5. Documentary Aesthetic shows like "The Shield," "24" and "Friday Night Lights." I'm a big fan of the last two.

6. Improvisational vibe and wicked wit like "Arrested Development," "curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Office." I like the first and last one, especially "The Office."

7. Cable shows with female leads.

8.. Crime pays like "CSI" and now "NCIS."

9. "Lost." Well, I used to like it, but finally got so confused, I stopped.

10. Great acting "West Wing" and "Friday Night Lights." When is FNL supposed to come back on?

Still Liking My TV. --Cooter

Friday, March 12, 2010

"The Pacific" Miniseries on HBO-- Part 1

As I begin the second 1000 blog entries.

It is times like these I really wish we got HBO, but it is too expensive. Starting this Sunday, March 14th, they will be showing the ten-part miniseries "The Pacific" on Sundays. I'll have to wait until it goes to the other cable channels. Such was also the case of "Band of Brothers."

There was an article in the March 7th Chicago Tribune about it.

It said that HBO spent a record-breaking $200 million on it. It will follow a group of Marines throughout the war in the Pacific Theater.

A lot of the action will take place on a little-known island called Peleliu, site of a particularly vicious battle. I must admit that I was completely unaware of it.

A locations crew and screenwriter Bruce C. McKenna went there. He later said: "There are still skeletons in the caves, and we saw them. At the first cave we found, we walked in and there was the rib cage of a dead Japanese soldier. Up in the hills, every square inch is covered with shell casings and rusted machine guns. The place is unbelievable."

And, all this more than a half century after it took place.

Sadly, this battle never received all the news that better-known Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa did.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here It Is!! 1000th Post

I probably didn't expect to get this many entries on this blog, but here it is, Number 1000.

The first posting was December 14, 2007 and was an introduction to the new blog and the same day, I wrote about Captain Kidd's pirate ship. I had 17 entries that month.


As I said yesterday, this is definitely becoming more of a World War II blog, but I will continue writing about other historical items of my interest.

In the previous 17 posts this month, I have written about these World War II-related topics: WASPs, Iwo Jima, the oldest living Medal of Honor winner (WW II's John Finn), WW II Oscars, Canadian-Japanese Internment Camps, Mini subs at Pearl Harbor, the Centaur memorial service, the kissing nurse, the SS Gairsoppa's silver and World War II planes at Panama City.

Taking a quick look through the labels (which I didn't use at first), I see 4 for D-Day, 8 for the Doolittle Raid, 6 for Iwo Jima, 7 for Liberty Ships, 78 for Pearl Harbor, 8 for the Pacific Theater, 3 for Rosie the Riveter, many ships (mostly WW II), 186 for World War II and 12 other WW II labels.


I have also been following the world's last World War I survivors. In addition, I have done a lot with the recent discoveries of the Australian ships the HMAS Sydney (49 posts) II and AHS Centaur (39 posts).

I have learned a lot of things I didn't know about the war. Most recently that the Canadians had internment camps after Pearl Harbor for people of Japanese descent. I had never heard of them before.

I definitely would like to thank Google for providing the Blogspot so that I am able to do this and my other three blogs. On second thought, maybe I shouldn't be thanking them as this sure takes up a lot of my time, but I do enjoy it.

Will There Be a 2000th? --Cooter

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

About This Blog As It Approaches the 1000th Entry

Cooter's History Thing is the 4th and hopefully final blog that I started back on December 14, 2007. Had I known all the work, even though enjoyable, that went into keeping these going, I'm not sure that I would have started it. But here it is and away I go.

This one, like my Civil War one, grew out of the Down Da Road I Go Blog. That one was set up to be about music and my life in general, but I noticed more and more entries were on historical items, hey, I taught social studies for 33 years and have been a history/Civil War buff since I was 7.

I decided to "ship" the history stories off to this new blog.

Over the months and years, this has become much more of a World War II blog than anything else as the "Greatest Generation" continues to leave us.

In the past, I was very interested in Pearl Harbor, but now it has expanded to all aspects of the war, particularly the home front and US prisoner of war camps.

Tomorrow, Big Number 1000!! --Cooter

The Search for the Missing WASP

The March 9th Fox 2 News of St. Louis reports that a local man will be participating in an attempt to locate the wreckage of Gertrude Thompkins Silver's plane and her body in the waters off Santa Monica Bay, California. She was called Tommy by her friends and she is the last missing WASP pilot.

The October 6, 2009 Los Angeles News reported on the first attempt to find her plane this past fall which was unsuccessful. Her last name Silver came from her secret marriage as the military did not allow WASPs to be married.

In 1944, Gertrude and two others took off from Mines Field in Los Angeles and her P-51 Mustang vanished after she flew into a cloud bank and she became one of 38 WASPs to give her life in line of duty.

Her 101-year-old sister still survives and she would like to know what happened.

The search will continue this summer.

Here's Hoping They Find Her. --DaCoot

WASPs Finally Get Some Respect

Yesterday, in one of my entries, I wrote of three Women Airforce Service Pilots from Virginia who were going to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for their service during World War II today.

I just found out that not only those three, but all 295 surviving WASPs will be receiving it today. It will be presented to the group as a whole and placed in the Smithsonian. The WASPs and their families will receive bronze replicas.

According to the March 10th Dallas Morning News, a total of 31 Texans, six from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will be getting them. This was authorized by Congress last summer and will be for all 1,102 who served and 11 killed in pilot training.

Since 1992, the Texas Woman's University in Denton has been the repository of the WASP archives and 300 oral histories. A $600,000 endowment fund provides the money to operate it.

The WASPs were deactivated Dec. 20, 1944 as the war was winding down and male pilots became available to do their duties. Women were not allowed to fly military planes again until the Navy authorized it in 1974.

During the war, they flew all 74 types of US military aircraft.

A Much Overdue Honor. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bits O' History: Oldest MoH-- Respect of the Highest Order-- Drive-Ins

Bits O' History-- Some New News About Old Stuff.

1. OLDEST MoH-- The March 8th San Diego Uptown News reports that the oldest living Medal of Honor winner, John Finn, will be the Grand Marshal of the 30th Annual St. Patrick's Day parade March 13th. He will turn 101 in July and the picture of him looks like he is still of vigor.

They will also be honoring Medal of Honor winners Frank Sexton of the Army Air Corps and POW from WW II and Jay R. Vargas who won his MoH in Vietnam.

2. RESPECT OF THE HIGHEST ORDER-- The March 2nd Wilmington (NC) Star News My Reporter told the story of a marker by the Wilmington Sam's Club honoring Jocelyn "Joce" Carrasquilla, a Sam's employee who was killed by a roadside bomb while serving with the 120th Infantry Division of the North Carolina National Guard in Iraq.

He is buried in his hometown Goldsboro, North Carolina. Hats off to Sam's Club.

3. DRIVE-INS-- The Wilmington Star News My reporter also answered a reader's question regarding how many drive-in theaters were in the area. The answer, there were at least seven operating between the 1940s to the early 1980s.

The first one was likely the Carolina Drive-In at Monkey Junction which opened in 1947. The Starway operated from 1952 to 1984 where the current Starway Flea Market is located.

Although not technically a drive-in, but the Lumina at Wrightsville Beach used to have a screen in the ocean that showed movies at night over the surf back in the 1920s.

Here's to Mr. Finn!! Keep the Honor Going. --DaCoot

65th Anniversary of Iwo Jima

The March 8th CNN had an article "World War II vets make emotional pilgrimage to Iwo Jima" by Emanuella Grinberg.

The 65th anniversary of this horrendous battle in the Pacific is being commemorated right now. Since 1995, American and Japanese survivors of the battle have been returning to the 8-square mile island in a "Reunion of Honor." Death totals for the month-and-a-half struggle amounted to 22,000 Japanese and more than 6,000 Americans as the Japanese stubbornly fought against huge odds to defend the island.

Jerry Yellin had just turned 22 when he landed his P-51 fighter on Iwo Jima March 7, 1945. He'll never forget what he saw: "To one side, there were mounds and mounds and mounds of bodies of Japanese soldiers being pushed around by bulldozers into mass graves. And right behind our squadron area was the Marine mortuary, where they'd lay out the bodies, check their dog tags and fingerprint them for identification.

Mr. Yellin is now 87 and living in Vero Beach, Florida. He used to hold a grudge against Japan, but his son married a Japanese woman in 1988 and her father had been a pilot in the Japanese Imperial Army Air Service. Since then, his feelings have mellowed.

The Greatest Generation. --Cooter

Approaching Blog Entry 1000-- WASPs Getting Gold Medal

According to my blogger dashboard, this is entry 997. According to the blog itself, it is 994.

According to the March 8th (Va) news, three local women who served in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) will be receiving Congressional Gold Medals for their service during World War II tomorrow at the U.S. Capitol.

This was an experimental two year program to free up male pilots for fighting duties. These women pilots ferried aircraft, tested them and pulled targets here in the United States during the war.

They were not treated fairly after the war and it wasn't until 1977 that they received military status. Back in the war, they had to pay for their own training and would even have to set up a collection to send fallen WASPs home.

They are Mildred Carder of Williamsburg, Juklia Ledbetter of Newport News and Marguerite McCreery of Portsmouth.

An Honor Well Overdue. Congratulations Ladies!!! --Cooter

Monday, March 8, 2010

World War II at the Oscars-- Part 2

Last night was the first time since 1943 that ten movies were nominated for Top Picture. The last time was during the war years, 1943, when "Casablanca" took the honors. Two other WW II movies also were nominated that year: "In Which We Serve" and "Watch on the Rhine."

Other nominees over the years with a World War II connection:


The Diary of Anne Frank 1959
Life id Beautiful 1998
The Pianist 2002


Wake Island 1942
The Longest Day 1962
Saving Private Ryan 1997
Letters from Iwo Jima 2006


Twelve O'Clock High 1949
The Caine Mutiny 1954
Mr. Roberts 1955


Judgement at Nurenberg 19961
A Soldier's Story 1984
The Reader 2008


Mrs. Miniver 1942
Hope for Glory 1987

From Arab Times On Line.

Looking Forward to the Next World War II Epic. --DaCoot

World War II at the Oscars-- Part 1

The film "Inglourious Basterds" didn't win best picture, but Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor role, as the Jew hunter, Col. Hans Landa.

"Inglourious" joins a long line of World War II-related movies which have been nominated for the top honor. Almost 36, to be exact. The first movie was Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" in 1940.

Seven films won the Oscar from 1943's "Cassablanca" to 1996's "The English Patient." Winners in between were: The Best years of Our Lives 1946; From Here to Eternity 1953; The Bridge Over the River Kwai 1957; Patton 1970; and Schindler's List 1993.

A war movie did win, "The Hurt Locker."

From Arab Times Online.

And Then, We Have the HBO Miniseries "The Pacific" Coming Out This Month. --Cooter

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some More on Canadian Japanese Internment Camps

I came across a site about Sandon Internment camp in British Columbia by Michael Kluckner, who wrote, "Of all the god-forsaken places to be interned, there was Sandon-- colder and more isolated than the other ghost towns of the Kootenays and Boundary County. Somehow, 933 Japanese-Canadians were shoehorned into Sandon's dilapidated buildings for the duration of he war.

"I believe this was the Buddhist interment centre: Japanese-Canadians of various Christian denominations were located at other camps."

Again, before the Olympics, I was completely unaware of the existence of Canadian internment camps. I'll have to do more research on them.

I wrote about this back on February 13th.

A sad Part of North American History, But Given the Times, Understandable. --Cooter

Japanese Mini Subs at Pearl Harbor

The December 7, 2009, Chicago Tribune had an article about the mini subs that alerted me to the PBS special.

A Japanese mini sub fired two 800 pound torpedoes in Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, most likely at the West Virginia and Oklahoma. It is believed to have been scuttled in the harbor the next day.

The Japanese submarine I-16 received a radio call from the mini sub at 10:41 pm December 8th reporting that the attack was a success, but they couldn't get out of the harbor so were going to scuttle the ship.

A photograph taken from an attacking Japanese plane seems to show a mini sub attacking in the harbor. It is believed that only the blast from a submarine-fired torpedo would have had the force to capsize the Oklahoma. Had it been hit by a lighter aircraft torpedo, it would have sunk by settling straight down to the harbor bottom.

It is believed that the mini sub was scuttled in a part of Pearl Harbor called West Loch, where, on May 21, 1944, a huge explosion took place as ammunition was being loaded for Operation Forager against the Mariana Islands. This was kept top secret and the salvage ship Valve was sent to the area to remove the debris. It is believed that the wreck of the submarine was removed at the time and dumped outside the harbor.

A Little Known Part of the War. --Cooter

Bits O' History: USS Gravely-- Tashmoo--

Bits O' History-- Some New News About Old Stuff.

1. USS GRAVELY-- The Jan. 5th Wilmington (NC) Star News reports that the 509 foot guided missile destroyer USS Gravely will be commissioned this fall in Wilmington. It is named for Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely, the Navy's first black officer. Admiral Gravely fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The ship is DDG--107 and the 57th of the Arleigh Burke class.

2. TASHMOO-- The Jan. 2nd and 6th had pictures of the beautiful steamer Tashmoo which used to give rides to as many as 1,400 people in the Detroit, Michigan area until it ran into a rock in the Detroit River June 18, 1936. It was able to reach shore and there were no deaths.

It was launched New Years Eve 1899 and was at one time considered the fastest on the Great Lakes.

3. EXPENSIVE NICKEL-- The Jan. 8th Yahoo News reported that a rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $3.7 million. It is very rare and only one of five with that date and design known to exist. It is regarded as the most famous US rare coin. It was bought by a private east coast coin collector.

Save Your Nickels. --DaCoot

Friday, March 5, 2010

More on the Centaur

March 2nd Brisbane (Au) Times

Kevin Rudd: "Because in the story of the Centaur we see the worst of humanity at work and the best of humanity. We also honor the families who then waited two-thirds of a century to discover the final resting place of their loved ones."

Survivior Martin Pash said the torpedo hit about 4:1- am and he got in a raft with eleven survivors, including Sister Ellen savage (evidently, Australian nurses were called sisters). They drifted for 32 hours in shark infested waters before being rescued by the USS Mugford.

This ship was used in the atomic blasts at Bikini Atoll in 1946 after the war. After decontamination tests were carried out, it was sunk off Kwajalein Island March 22, 1948.

The services were held in Brisbane, the largest city close to where the Centaur sank.

A Great and Noble Effort by Australia. Congratulations. --Cooter

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bits O' History: Kissing Nurse-- Looking for Gairsoppa

Some New News About Old Stuff.

1. KISSING NURSE-- Edith Shain, the nurse being kissed in the famous VJ Day photograph, August 14, 1945, photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt of Life magazine made an appearance in Visalia, Ca..

She is part of the group "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive Tour. They are asking Congress to declare the second Sunday in August as a national day of remembrance.

Feb. 11th Fresno (Ca) Bee.

2. LOOKING FOR GAIRSOPPA-- Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa, Fl., has won the right to salvage silver from the SS Gairsoppa which was torpedoed Feb. 17, 1941 off the coast of Ireland by the German U-boat U-101. The ship went down in twenty minutes before any silver could be saved.

Thirty-two crew members got off, but only one survived floating in the water for 13 days.

The British government has given the company two years to recover the silver and after a share given to Britain, Odyssey will keep most of what they find. Exploration will begin this summer and they have a good idea for a search area.

Jan. 25th St. petersburg (Fl) Times

Hope They Find It. --Cooter

AHS Centaur Memorial Service

March 3rd Australia Courier-Mail "Kevin Rudd marks Centaur day of sorrow."

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd led 700 people at a public memorial service on March 2nd to honor the 266 victims and 64 survivors of the Hospital Ship Centaur which was sunk by a Japanese submarine on the night of May 14, 1943.

Survivor Martin Pash spoke as well, but the finder of the vessel, David L. Mearms did not attend.

Rudd said "Centaur is part of us now. Her story is our nation's story. Lest we forget."

Premier Anna Bligh said that the sinking generated Australian outrage and rallied the country "to avenge the nurses" and raise war funds.

More than 200 family members of Centaur crew members from Australia and New Zealand attended.

A Sad Event, But I'm Glad It Came to Pass That the Wreck was Discovered. --Cooter

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright's College-- Part 2

From the Feb. 21st Panama City News Herald.

February 23rd, I started writing about this article.

The article goes on to say that at one time the 100 acre campus had hundreds of orange trees, but very few remain. Wright designed a mile-and-a-half of covered walkways to blend in with these trees. This whole length has been restored to its former appearance.


One really neat thing on the campus is Wright's largest-ever fountain project, the Water Dome. It was completed in 1948. Arcs of water shoot from 74 nozzles to form a water dome that can go as high as 45 feet.

Plus, Wright's only ever theatre-in-the-round, the Fletcher Theatre is on the campus.

Wright designed 18 buildings at Florida Southern College, of which only 12 were built. It sounds like a great job has been done so far on preservation, but more remains as funding becomes available.

IF YOU GO-- visit the Child of the Sun visitor center on campus.

Tours are offered at $10 for the basic, $18 for in depth. The Water Dome goes on four times a day for an hour.

Next Time I'm in the Area. --Cooter

Monday, March 1, 2010

Talking About Those World War II Planes in Panama City

From the Feb. 24th Panama City News Herald.

Retired Air Force Sgt. Kenneth Tucker served as a B-17 (one of the planes) tail-gunner during WW II. he was with the 15th Air Force, 97th Bomb Group, 414th Bomb Squadron based in Italy. He and his daughter wrote a book called "The Last Roll Call" about his experiences.

He visited the plane and said it was "like meeting an old friend."

"It would get you there and back better than any other aircraft."

This is one of the few B-17s still in flying condition and it has been restored to its original state.

A B-24 Liberator "Witchcraft" bomber was also supposed to have been in Panama City, but didn't make the trip because of a new engine being installed.

Looking forward to seeing these great planes at some point.

Those Valiant Young Men in Their Flying Machines. --Cooter

Mighty Expensive Comic Books

And, my dear old dad would roll over in his grave after all the grief he gave me for wasting my money on comic books while growing up.

It was a bit before my time, but a ten cent investment back in 1938 could have gotten me a cool million buckeroos this past week. A rare copy of the first comic book featuring Superman sold for $1 million at auction. This would be the "Holy Grail" of the comic book world, the Action Comics No. 1 featuring the Man of Steel lifting a car on its cover.

There are only about 100 copies of this in existence and most are not in nearly as good of a condition. This one is rated an 8.0 on a 10.0 scale. Others, in lower scale have sold for between $300,000 to $450,000.

It was bought over the site where both seller and buyer remained anonymous. The site's co-owner, Stephen Fishler said that it is stunning to see the words comic book and million dollars in the same sentence.

Now, if my mom just hadn't have pitched out my old comic books. My favorite was Sgt. Rock and Easy Company. I also liked the Classic Illustrated ones. Sure increased my knowledge of the classics.

Wondering How Much Comic Books Cost Today. I Stopped Buying Them When They Hit 19 Cents a Copy. --Cooter