AS YOU WERE...
WAR YEARS MEMORIES
December 1999 Edition
Compiled by Bill Hillman
Wherein we share an eclectic assortment of items
- whacky and wise -
gleaned from the
Internet, media and contributing readers.
Visit Our Past Issues Archive at:
As You Were: Contents
December 25 entry:
Please send your ideas and contributions to the
Twas the night before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the skies,
Air defenses were up, with electronic eyes.
Combat pilots were nestled in ready-room beds,
As enemy silhouettes danced in their heads.
Every jet on the apron, each SAM in its tube,
Was triply-redundant linked to the Blue Cube,
And ELINT and AWACS gave coverage so dense
That nothing that flew could slip through our defense.
When out of the klaxon arose such a clatter
I dashed to the screen to see what was the matter;
I dialed up the gain and then quick as a flash
Fine-adjusted the filters to damp out the hash.
And there found the source of the warning we'd heeded:
An incoming blip, by eight escorts preceded.
"Alert status red!" went the word down the wire,
As we gave every system the codes that meant "FIRE"!
On Aegis! Up Patriot, Phalanx and Hawk!
And scramble our fighters -- let's send the whole flock!
Launch decoys and missiles! Use chaff by the yard!
Get the kitchen sink up! Call the National Guard!
They turned toward the target, moved toward it, converged.
Till the tracks on the radar all finally merged,
And the sky was lit up with a demonic light,
As the foe became pieces in the high arctic night.
So we sent out some recon to look for debris,
Yet all that they found, both on land and on sea,
Were some toys, a red hat, a charred left leather boot,
Broken sleighbells, some gloves, and a ripped parachute.
Now it isn't quite Christmas, with Saint Nick shot down.
There are unhappy kids in each village and town.
Can the Spirit of Christmas even hope to evade
All the web of defenses we've carefully made?
Just look how the gadgets we use to protect us
In other ways alter, transform, and affect us.
They can keep us from things that make life more worth living,
Like love for each other, and thoughts of just giving.
But a crash program's on: Working hard, night and day,
All the elves are constructing a radar-proof sleigh.
So let's wait for next Christmas, in cheer and in health,
And be good boys and girls, as Santa goes STEALTH
Gleaned from the Net: (December 18 entry)
An interesting American observation which I'm sure many Canadians can relate to:
Our beloved President shares our pain . .
I was embarrassed to read that President Clinton and his advisors have said,
"The older generation must learn to sacrifice as other generations have done."
That's my generation. I knew eventually someone would ferret out the dirty secret: we've lived the "lifestyle of the rich and famous" all our lives. Now, I know I must bare the truth about my generation and let the country condemn us for our selfishness.
During the Depression we had a hilarious time dancing to the tune of "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?" We could choose to dine at any of the country's fabulous soup kitchens, often joined by our parents and siblings... those were the heady days of carefree self-indulgence.
Then, with World War II, the cup filled to overflowing. We had the chance to bask on the exotic beaches of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa; to see the capitols of Europe and travel to such scenic spots as Bastogne, Malmedy and Monte Cassino. Of course, one of the most exhilarating adventures was the stroll from Bataan to the local Japanese hotels, laughingly known as death camps.
But the good times really rolled for those lucky enough to be on the beaches of Normandy for the swimming and boating that pleasant June day in '44.
Even luckier were those that drew the prized holiday tickets for cruises on sleek, gray ships to fun filled spots like Midway, The Solomons and Murmansk.
Instead of asking, "What can we do for our country, "an indulgent government let us fritter away our youth wandering idly through the lush and lovely jungles of Burma and New Guinea.
Yes, it's all true: we were pampered, we were spoiled rotten, we never did realize what sacrifice meant. We envy you, Mr. Clinton, the harsh lessons you learned in London, Moscow and Little Rock.
My generation is old, Mr. President...and guilty; but we are repentant. Punish us for our failings, sir, that we may learn the true meaning of Duty, Honor, and Country.
Robert J. Grady, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret), Colorado Springs
IN THE NEWS:
IT'S OFFICIAL: GERMANS LEAVING
The Canadian Press
Brandon Sun ~ Saturday: December 11, 1999
BRANDON - The German Army -- a major tenant at Canadian Forces Base Shilo for the last 25 years -- is going home.
Defence Minister Art Eggleton announced Friday he has been given notice by his German counterpart that the move will take place late next year.
...Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworth said he's hopeful other countries can be recruited to use Shilo, a sprawling base used primarily for tank training. ...More than 4,000 German soldiers have trained at Shilo each year since 1974, under an agreement known as GATES, or German Army Training Establishment Shilo.
"The Germans brought a lot of money into the area," said Brandon-Souris MP Rick Borotsik. "They added to the community from an economic standpoint and from a cultural standpoint."
THIS MONTH'S RECOMMENDED WEBSITE:
Canadian Military Hall Of Honor
A webring with 51 sites of interest to Canadians
THIS MONTH'S RECOMMENDED WEBSITE:
WORLD WAR II TIMELINEhttp://www.worldwar2timeline.dial.pipex.com/
This site is comprised of timelines of the day by day events that occurred during the six years that encompassed World War 2 and includes seven distinct theatres of operation:
1) Sea War in the West - (North and South Atlantic, North Sea, Arctic Ocean, Caribbean and so forth.
Basically, anywhere that the western allies fought the German and axis forces on the high seas).
2) Africa and the Middle East - (Covers all land and air combat in this region by all nations).
3) Asia Pacific - (Covers all operations that occurred on land, sea and air in the Asia and Pacific region).
4) The Americas - (All military and political events that occurred in North and South America).
5) Western Europe - (Covers areas where the western allies committed land and air forces against the axis in western and northern Europe).
6) Southern Europe - (Covers areas where the western allies committed land and air forces against the axis in
southern Europe, such as Italy, Albania, Greece, Crete, Malta).
7) Eastern Europe - (Covers areas where both German and axis forces fought the Red Army as well as the strategic bombing attacks by the western allies against Eastern Europe).
THIS MONTH'S RECOMMENDED WEBSITE (Dec. 11 Entry):
RCAF IN NORTH AFRICA... and in particular, the involvement of a hand full of airmen from across Canada who voluntarily joined the RCAF in 1940 and early 1941, trained as air gunners and wireless operators and were subsequently attached to squadrons of the 12th Bomber Group U.S.A.A.F..
RCAF PARTICIPATION WITH THE
12th BOMBER GROUP U.S.A.A.F. IN NORTH AFRICA
Of special interest to Canadians are photos from:
1. No.1 Wireless School in Montreal during the summer of 1941
2. No.1 Bombing and Gunnery School in Jarvis, Ontario
3. Life in the desert
4. Aircraft Of The 12th Bomber Group
5. German Aircraft (shot down)
as well as such features as:
* Canadian personnel and medals earned
* Memorial Tributes
* Official News Dispatches issued between September 1942 and May 1943
* Correspondence, including:
THIS MONTH'S RECOMMENDED WEBSITE (Dec. 11 Entry):
A Soldier's Farewell to Egypt
Land of heat and sweaty socks,
And sun and tons of pox,
Streets of which I gave no name,
Steets of sorrow, streets of shame,
Streets of filth and stinking dogs,
Harlots, thieves and pestering wogs,
Hordes of flies that buzz around,
Piles of wog shit on the ground,
Clouds of dust that choke and blind,
Driving blokes out of their mind,
Aching hearts and aching feet,
Gyppo guts and camel meat,
Adam's heaven, soldier's hell,
Land of basterds fare thee well.
TRIBUTE TO THE XII MANITOBA DRAGOONS & 26 RCAIncluded in the family of websites maintained by the CATPM Webmaster is the XII MANITOBA DRAGOONS/RCA ARMY MUSEUM site. Over the last few weeks we have had a flood of letters from the Netherlands from people wishing to thank the Canadian Armed Forces - and in particular the 12 Manitoba Dragoons -- for the role they played in the liberation of Holland. Dick van Faassen has contributed an illustrated tribute site (in Dutch) especially for these Canadian Forces which we have incorporated into the Dragoons Museum website:
Dick hosts another website (in English) which should be of special interest to CATPM members:
Air Battle over Holland - May 1940:
Actions of the Dutch Air force in the early May days of 1940
We wish convey to Dick and the Dutch people our sincere appreciation for their
REMEMBERING -- after all these years.
Can-do couple earns awards
By Diane Nelson
The Brandon Sun ~ December 4, 1999
Saturday front page excerpt
BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Gord and Diane Peters of Cando Contracting Ltd.,
are the recipients of the
Westman Award for Outstanding Philanthropy,
nominated by Archie Londry (left) of the
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum.
Gord and Diane Peters believe in supporting the community in which they live. And their "exceptional generosity" has earned them the Westman Award for Outstanding Philanthropy.
...The Brandon couple were nominated by the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, since their company, Cando Contracting Ltd., is the exclusive sponsor of the Tiger Moth vintage Second World War training aircraft.
"During the past 10 years Gord and Diane have actively formulated a long-term financial commitment to Brandon area projects that establish or maintain this community's health," said Archie Londry, president of the CATPM. 'This commitment comes from their feeling of responsibility to the community in which they live, and to the mentoring they have received from others on the value of 'giving back' some of one's good fortune."
Remember when we used to let our imaginations paint the pictures...
A nostalgic look back at the Christmas of our youth with the:
AMOS 'n' ANDY CHRISTMAS SHOW
This scene was first performed on Christmas Eve 1940
in the early years of WW II.
It opened with Andy visiting Amos to exchange greetings of the season
and included some rather poignant lines where one gets a real sense of
the vulnerability and loneliness underneath Andy's blustery facade.
After Andy leaves, Amos goes in to tuck in his daughter Arbadella,
who was then four years old.
She asks him to turn on the radio, and when the choral arrangement
of the Prayer comes on, she asks him what it means.
In a gentle non-sectarian speech, Amos offers a line-by-line explanation
which emphasizes the importance of simple everyday human kindness.
Here then, is an excerpt from the script of the
traditional the Amos Ďní Andy Christmas Show -
a show which debuted in the War Years and was repeated every
Christmas season until the show's demise in the mid-fifties.
Announcer: The Christmas Choir continues with the Lordís Prayer.
Arbadella: Daddy, could you get some Christmas music on the radio?
Amos: Why, darling, this is the very best Christmas music you could get.
Theyíre going to sing the Lordís Prayer.
Arbadella: Oh, I can say the Lordís Prayer with Mommy. Sheís been teaching
it to me.
Amos: Yes, I know.
Arbadella: What does the Lordís Prayer mean, Daddy?
Amos: Well, it means an awful lot and with the world like it is today, it
seems to have a bigger meaning than ever before.
Arbadella: But, what does the Lordís Prayer really mean, Daddy?
Amos: The Lordís Prayer...well, darling, Iíll explain it to you.
Arbadella: Oh, will you, Daddy?
Amos: Yeah. Now, you lay down and you listen. Now, the first line of the
Lordís Prayer is this...Our Father which art in Heaven...now, that means
father of all that is good where no wrong can ever dwell. And then it
says...Hallowed be thy name. Now, that means, darling, that we should love
and respect all that is good. And then it says after that...Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven....and that means, darling, as we
clean our hearts of all hate and selfishness and fill our hearts with the
love, the good, the true and the beautiful, then earth where we are now will
be just like Heaven.
Arbadella: That would be wonderful, Daddy.
Amos: Then it says...Give us this day our daily bread. Now, that means to feed
our hearts and minds with kindness, with love and with courage, which will
make us strong for our daily tasks. And then, after that, the next line of
the Lordís Prayer is...And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Do
you remember the Golden Rule?
Arbadella: Yes, Daddy.
Amos: Well, that means that we must keep the Golden Rule and do unto others
as we would want them to do unto us. And then it says...And lead us not into
temptation, but deliver us from evil. Now, that means, my darling, to ask God
to help us do and to see and to think right so that we will neither be led or
tempted by anything that is bad. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the
glory forever. Amen. That means, darling, that all the world and everything
in it belongs to Godís kingdom...everything...your mommy, your daddy, your
little brother, your sister, your grandma, you and everybody. And, as we know
that and act as if we know it, that, my darling daughter, is the real spirit
Arbadella: Thatís good, Daddy.
And, so it was...
December 1 Entry
THROUGH THE VIEW FINDER
An excerpt from a Website of Interest to CATPM members:
Check out the photos and stories.
THE RAF LICHFIELD ASSOCIATION
HISTORY OF RAF LICHFIELD - ENGLAND (excerpts)
RAF Lichfield known locally as Fradley was constructed in 1939 and early 1940. Its first role was to receive aircraft from the manufacturers and carry out any modifications before delivery to Squadrons. When hostilities ceased large numbers of aircraft were broken up and the Unit remained active until the closure of the airfield.
In 1941 it took on the role of training Aircrew on Wellingtons and here the crews mainly from the Commonwealth Countries were formed before going on to their Squadrons. Operational Bombing Missions were flown in 1942-43.
The airfield closed in April 1958. Since that time a few civilian light aircraft have used the airfield but no flying takes place now. The airfield is now a barren wasteland and within a few years is likely to be completely covered with housing and industrial units.
A LiteSide Entry: December 1 OERs
The following are actual lines out of Air Force Officer Efficiency Reports
or OER's (performance appraisals):
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Got into the gene pool while the lifeguard wasn't watching.
A room temperature IQ.
Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together.
A gross ignoramus -- 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.
A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.
A prime candidate for natural de-selection.
Bright as Alaska in December.
One-celled organisms out score him in IQ tests.
Donated his body to science before he was done using it.
Fell out of the family tree.
Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.
Has two brains; one is lost and the other is out looking for it.
He's so dense, light bends around him.
If brains were taxed, he'd get a rebate.
If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.
If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean.
It's hard to believe that he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm.
One neuron short of a synapse.
Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.
Was left on the Tilt-A-Whirl a bit too long as a baby.
Wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.
A LiteSide Entry: December 1
The German controllers at Frankfurt Airport were a short-tempered lot.
They not only expected you to know your parking location but how to get
there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement
that we (PanAm 747) listened to the following exchange between
Frankfurt ground and a British Airways 747 (radio call Speedbird 206)
Speedbird 206: "Good morning Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the
Ground: "Guten morgan, taxi to your gate."
The British Airways 747 pulls onto the main taxiway and stops.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, ground, I'm looking up the gate location
Ground (with typical German impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you
never flown to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, in 1944. But I didn't stop".
A LiteSide Entry: December 1 Air Force Maintenance Reports
Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force
pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews:
Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."
Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."
Problem #1: "#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution #1: "#2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem #2: "#1, #3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage."
Problem: "The autopilot doesn't."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."
Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."
Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."
Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."
Problem: "Dead bugs on windshield."
Solution: "Live bugs on order."
Problem: "Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent."
Solution: "Cannot reproduce problem on ground."
Problem: "IFF inoperative."
Solution: "IFF inoperative in OFF mode."
Problem: "Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick."
Solution: "That's what they're there for."
Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."
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