Famed Aviators Flew into History 85 Years Ago Today on July 2, 1937

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is a significant anniversary in American flight history.  “Eighty-five years ago today on July 2, 1937, the Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan left Lae, New Guinea. The pair were attempting to fly around the world when they lost their bearings during the most challenging leg of the global journey: Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, in the center of the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca was in sporadic radio contact with Earhart as she approached Howland Island and received messages that she was lost and running low on fuel.” (The History Channel)

Throughout the almost one century since Amelia and Fred were declared lost, various hypotheses have been offered, most of them eventually proven as either false or unlikely.

The most likely answer to the flight is offered up by Mike Campbell, a world-renowned Earhart researcher and expert.  His three books on her last flight all detail her ditching her Lockheed Electra 10E airplane in the Marshall Islands near the Mili Atoll, where she was captured by the Japanese and taken to the island of Saipan. 

More than 100 eyewitnesses….

More than 100 eyewitnesses, including US Army and Marine Corps military members and many Saipan natives, have detailed Amelia and Fred’s imprisonment in Garapan Jail on Saipan and their subsequent execution by beheading by Japanese soldiers.  Her aircraft, which was seen by Soldiers and Marines on Saipan, some of whom eventually rose in the ranks to General, was eventually burned and it and Amelia and Fred were buried under what is now a large airport tarmac there. 

The conclusion to their flight was even revealed to a world-famous CBS reporter, Fred Goerner, by no less than US Navy Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz.  The cover-up of her final flight by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the US Government is greatly detailed in Mike’s blog and books.

For much more on the final flight of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan that began eighty-five years ago today, see Mike Campbell’s web blog: earharttruth.wordpress.com and his excellent most recent book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.  That book is more than 400-pages long with hundreds of footnotes, photographs, and eyewitness accounts to the end of this daring pair of aviators. 


Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

Compiled by HB Auld, Jr.

(Editor’s Note: The following was posted on Facebook by Paul Harrington, but it has been around in many different forms, including a book, for years. It is NOT an original post)

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said, ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

“…recognize people who pack your parachutes.”

COLONEL CHARLES PLUMB

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it: When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.


The Battle of Midway Ended 80 Years Ago Today on June 7, 1942

by HB Auld, Jr.

On this date, 80 years ago, the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the war against Japan, ended. The Japanese fleet was limping back toward Japan, licking its wounds, as the US Pacific Fleet celebrated the victory with the first triumphant reply to Japan’s surprise ambush against US Forces at Pearl Harbor, six months earlier.

Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, Japan’s architect of the war against the United States, had planned to feint an attack against the Aleutian Islands, strung out from Alaska. He planned to hide his four carriers near Midway Island in the Pacific and when the US diverted its forces and answered the false attack against the Aleutians, he would invade Midway Island.

(PERSONAL ASIDE: I was stationed with the US Navy at Adak, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands from December, 1966, to December, 1967. When I was there back then, quonset huts dotted the island, left over from World War II. The Quonset huts were constructed for American troops to hunker down in during the expected Japanese naval attack that never came. The Quonset huts there on the island were still usable. Many of the naval departments on the island “homesteaded” a hut for department parties and just to get away from one of the five bases still on the island).

Unfortunately for Admiral Yamamoto, the United States had just secretly broken the Japanese JN25 military code and learned of the false attack. When Yamamoto attacked Midway Island, the US was ready and waiting on June 4, 1942.

When the smoke cleared four days later on June 7, the battle was over and Japan had suffered 2,500 casualties and lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft. The US Pacific Fleet lost one carrier (the behemoth USS YORKTOWN (CV 10), one destroyer escort (USS HAMMANN…DE 131) 145 aircraft, and 307 casualties. Japan’s losses brought them down into parity with the US.

In August, 1942, the US pushed its counter-offensive at Guadalcanal, eventually leading to Japan’s surrender three years later.


A Story from World War II

https://www.facebook.com/watch?v=331192474386016

Quoted from ARGunners Magazine, December 20, 2918

by Guest Author: Harold Gerwien

Here is a sad video of Loyce Deen being buried at sea during World War 2 on Nov. 5, 1944. He was a Gunner on a Grumman TBF Avenger but after attacking Japanese vessels during the Battle of Manila Bay, he received a direct hit from Anti-Aircraft fire. As the body was too badly mangled and the aircraft badly damaged, he was buried with the aircraft at sea with military honor and still is the sole soldier to date who was buried at sea with the aircraft. Also ordered was that they didn’t remove the guns from the aircraft, which was normally the procedure!

In the video: Grumman TBF avenger torpedo bomber of VT-15 Torpedo Air Group, approaches and lands on the deck of the USS Essex (CV-9) during the Battle of Manila Bay, in World War 2.

Upon landing, Lt. Robert Cosgrove (Pilot) and Sailor Digby Denzek (Radioman) can be seen in their respective forward and middle crew positions. But the rear gunner position, occupied by Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class,Loyce Edward Deen (Gunner), who has only 23 years old, has been completely destroyed by enemy 40mm shell fire.

As the aircraft is parked amongst others, with wings folded, sailors of the Essex take fingerprints and cut dog tags from the body of AMM2C Loyce Deen in the gunner position.

A Chaplain conducts services from beside the aircraft.

AR Gunner Magazine, December 30, 2018

Captain Carlos W. Wieber, Commanding Officer of the Essex, and her crew, participate in funeral services on the deck. A chaplain conducts the services from beside the aircraft, where Loyce Deen’s remains in the gunner’s position have been shrouded. Closeup of Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman during the burial service. A bugler sounds taps. Beside the bugler is David L. McDonald, who was XO of the USS Essex (and later Chief of Naval Operations in the 1960s).

Deen’s remains are then buried at sea in the TBF Avenger in which he perished. The aircraft floats off the fantail for a short time before sinking from view. Two TBF Avengers are seen flying overhead , in tribute. Crew members then disband and return to their duties.

Music: The Brigham Young University Choir: Goin’ Home (Men’s Chorus) – Dvorak; arr. Rosalind Hall. More of BYU: https://singers.byu.edu/cds-and-dvds/cd-the-road-home/

Memorial Day: May 30, 2022

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

We will remember them….

From: “For the Fallen”

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Inspiration for “For the Fallen”

Laurence Binyon composed his best known poem while sitting on the cliff-top looking out to sea from the dramatic scenery of the north Cornish coastline. A plaque marks the location at Pentire Point, north of Polzeath. However, there is also a small plaque on the East Cliff north of Portreath, further south on the same north Cornwall coast, which also claims to be the place where the poem was written.

The poem was written in mid-September, 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. During these weeks the British Expeditionary Force had suffered casualties following its first encounter with the Imperial German Army at the Battle of Mons on 23 August, its rearguard action during the retreat from Mons in late August and the Battle of Le Cateau on 26 August, and its participation with the French Army in holding up the Imperial German Army at the First Battle of the Marne between 5 and 9 September 1914.

Laurence said in 1939 that the four lines of the fourth stanza came to him first. These words of the fourth stanza have become especially familiar and famous, having been adopted by the Royal British Legion as an Exhortation for Ceremonies of Remembrance to commemorate fallen Servicemen and women.

Laurence Binyon was too old to enlist in the military forces but he went to work for the Red Cross as a medical orderly in 1916. He lost several close friends and his brother-in-law in the war.

Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.


Bonnie and Clyde Ambushed in Louisiana 88 Years Ago Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is the 88th anniversary of the ambush of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, notorious infamous outlaws who died on a lonely Louisiana two-lane road May 23, 1934.

Bonnie and Clyde were nationally known criminals who were wanted for kidnapping, auto theft, bank robbery, and the murder of 11 people, including nine law enforcement officers during their two-year crime spree. They were finally killed in an ambush on Louisiana Highway 154, outside of Gibsland, LA, near Arcadia, LA.

Six law enforcement officers from three agencies combined to ensure the pair were killed. After the killing outside of Gibsland, the pair were taken to Arcadia and laid out in the Conger Furniture Store and Funeral Home, located directly beside my grandfather’s dry cleaning shop. My father, HB Auld, had turned 20 years old the day before the shooting and still lived and worked in Arcadia when Bonnie and Clyde were brought in. My dad was born and raised in Arcadia and worked for his dad in the dry cleaning shop at the time Bonnie and Clyde were killed and brought there.

The 2000-person population grew to more than 12,000.

The 2,000-person population of Arcadia swelled to more than 12,000 onlookers who arrived by foot, car, buggy, and on horseback within hours of the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde.

I met the son of one of the law enforcement officers, Boots Hinton, in Gibsland November 5, 2005, during a visit back to Arcadia. Boots ran the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, located in the old cafe where the pair bought a couple of sandwiches before heading down Highway 154 for their dates with death: May 23, 1934, 88 years ago today.


Amelia Earhart Made Historic Flight 90 Years Ago Today: May 21, 1932

by HB Auld, Jr.

On May 21, 1932, 90 years ago today, famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a solo, nonstop transatlantic flight.  Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean, landing her plane in Ireland after leaving Newfoundland just 15 hours earlier.  She flew more than 2,000 miles on her flight, landing on the fifth anniversary of the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight made by Charles Lindberg on May 21, 1927.

Amelia had previously crossed the Atlantic Ocean as a member of a three-person crew.  As the first woman to fly across the Atlantic with that crew in 1928, her main function was to keep the plane’s log.  That flight earned Amelia national fame.  Americans were enamored by the daring young woman’s crossing.

For her intrepid solo transatlantic flight on May 21, 1932, the US Congress awarded Amelia the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“…soloed again from…Hawaii to…California.”

Three years later in 1935, Amelia soloed again from Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California.  That flight earned her a $10,000 prize awarded by Hawaiian businessmen. 

Two years later in July, 1937, in an attempt to fly around the world, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan, disappeared on the transpacific leg of the flight from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island. A complete account of her attempt and what really happened to end her flight can be found in Mike Campbell’s amazingly comprehensive book, Amelia Earhart:  The Truth at Last.  Mike’s book, with more than 400 pages and hundreds of footnotes, details specific eyewitness accounts of Amelia and Fred’s capture by the Japanese, their imprisonment on Saipan, their subsequent execution there, and the coverup of their execution by the US Government.  The book is readily available from Amazon and is now in its Second Printing. 

I also highly recommend Mike’s Weblog:  https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/. Mike Campbell has more than 30 years of experience researching this First Lady of Flight and is an acknowledged expert on Amelia Earhart.  Several times a week, Mike covers contemporary events concerning Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan and those who knew them, as well as precise eyewitness accounts of her flight and death in 1937 in his Weblog. 


Admiral ‘Mike’ Boorda, Former CNO, Died 26 Years Ago Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today, we remember US Navy Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda, the only Sailor to rise from Seaman Recruit up through the ranks to four-star admiral and the highest ranking office in the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations.

Admiral Boorda died on this date: May 16, 1996. He was 56 years old (November 26, 1939 – May 16, 1996).

Admiral Boorda lied to the recruiter and enlisted in the Navy at 16 (some sources say 17), not unlike many of his era. He was often referred to as a “Sailor’s Sailor” and never forgot the “White Hats” from which he came.

“He finished high school while in the Navy and rose through the ranks to Personnelman First Class (E-6)….”

He finished high school while in the Navy and rose through the ranks to Personnelman First Class (E-6) before being commissioned an Ensign under the Navy Integration Program in August, 1962.

Admiral Boorda died of an alleged suicide following a dispute regarding whether or not he was authorized to wear a combat “V” on two of his decorations. He was distraught over the unintentional wearing of the award and allegedly committed suicide rather than cause more trouble over that dispute for his US Navy.

I was privileged to meet Admiral Boorda several times at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, following my retirement from the Navy.

Admiral Boorda was a hero to those of us who served during his tenure and who respected his service to our US Navy.

May Admiral Jeremy “Mike” Boorda Rest In Peace in Eternity.


Country and Western Singer Mickey Gilley Dies at 86 in Branson

by HB Auld, Jr.

As many know by now, we lost the amazing Country and Western singer Mickey Gilley yesterday. Mickey Gilley was 86.

I had the good fortune to meet Mickey several times in the 1960s when he and his buddy, Bob Luman, would stop in at KDET AM-930 in Center, TX, where I worked. Bob’s first cousin was Royce Luman, our station Program Director, and Mickey and Bob would stop in whenever they were in the East Texas area.

Mickey Gilley was cousins with Jerry Lee Lewis and with evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. He learned to play the piano at an early age from Jerry Lee and continued Jerry’s boogie-woogie style of playing. His Country and Western nightclub in Pasadena, TX, was originally “Sherri’s Club,” named for his partner Sherwood Cryer. Later, it became Gilley’s with the reputation as the “World’s Biggest Honky Tonk.” It featured a mechanical bull, later made famous in the movie, “Urban Cowboy.”

Mickey Gilley died May 7, 2022, in Branson, MO.