It Happened On This Date (More or Less)

August 15

1845 – U.S. Naval Academy established at Annapolis, MD on former
site of Fort Severn,

1895 – Commissioning of Texas, the first American steel-hulled
battleship. Texas served off Cuba during the
Spanish-American War and took part in the naval battle of
Santiago. Under the name of San Marcos, she was sunk in
weapon effects tests in Chesapeake Bay in 1911. Her hulk
continued in use as a gunnery target through World War II.

1908 – First Navy post offices established in Navy ships.

1944 – Operation Dragoon, Allied invasion of Southern France.

1953 – First naval officer appointed Chairman, Joints Chiefs of Staff,
Admiral William Radford. He served from 15 August 1953
until 15 August 1957.

1958 – USS Lexington (CVA-16) arrives in vicinity of Taiwan.

It Happened On This Date (More or Less)

August 12

1812 – USS Constitution captures and destroys brig Adeona.

1918 – SECNAV approves acceptance of women as yeoman (F) in
U.S. Navy.

1942 – USS Cleveland (CL-55) demonstrates effectiveness of radio-proximity fuze (VT-fuze) against aircraft by successfullydestroying 3 drones with proximity bursts fired by her five inch guns.

1944 – LT Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., USNR, the older brother of
John F. Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot in a mid-air
explosion after taking off from England in a PB4Y from
Special Attack Unit One (SAU-1). Following manual takeoff,
they were supposed to parachute out over the English Channel
while the radio-controlled explosive filled drone proceeded to
attack a German V-2 missile-launching site. Possible causes
include faulty wiring or FM signals from a nearby transmitter.

1957 – In first test of Automatic Carrier Landing System, LCDR Don
Walker is landed on USS Antietam.

1958 – USS Nautilus (SSN-571) arrives Portland, England completing
first submerged under ice cruise from Pacific to Atlantic

Old Age Can Creep Up On You

Frequently, when I look in the mirror, I wonder “Who is that old man and why is he staring at me so hard?”

That “old man,” of course, is me. When did I get old?

Was it at the age of 32 when, while packing to move to New York and kneeling down to retrieve a toy from one of my young sons’ bed that I felt my very first tinge of arthritis? Was it when I realized I had more gray in my beard than black? Was it when I found I could not dance without my ankles “freezing up” on me? Maybe it was all of these and more.

At any rate, I think I am now officially “old!” It seems a week does not go by that I don’t have an older relative or friend who dies. When your older relatives die frequently, you are getting “up there” too.

I remember when I was about 10 years old, wondering when I would be “old” and how would I know it. I decided, capriciously, I now realize, that I would be “old” when a current comedian I admired died. I figured he was older enough than me that when he died, I would be “up there” too. That comedian was Bob Hope.

Bob Hope died several years ago. I guess that is when I remembered my decision at age 10 and knew I was then “old.”

Yesterday, we went to the funeral of a dear friend’s mother. This friend is in his late 50s. He still had both his mom and dad living until earlier this week when death from cancer took his mother, Lula Mae. Standing at the funeral yesterday, I realized that one day, my children would be in the same place as Bill, mourning the passing of a parent. It’s just the nature of things.

When did Old Age creep up on me? It snuck in the back door at night when I was sleeping, dreaming of the future, oblivious of the present that was too quickly passing me by.