1961

Veterans Day 2019

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Veterans Day Image One

Last year, I did a post on World War I for Veterans Day as it had been 100 years, exactly, since the end of that war. I also covered how other countries memorialize and/or celebrate and, ended the post with two poems. I’ve written in a previous post about my almost Army brat status and referred to my significant other in this post.

Ken Image One
Hargrave Military Academy Circa 1958

Ken’s first foray into the ‘military’ was the Hargave Military Academy in Virginia. His mother sent him there for summer school to assist with grades after a poor eighth grade year. He stayed for his ninth grade year and did very well. Unfortunately, it was extremely expensive and he returned to regular high school for tenth grade.

At the end of his junior year, he’d had enough of regular high school and made it clear to his mother that he wanted to go into the Navy. The military was all he was interested in. So, at the tender age of 17, his mother signed him into service. He went into the reserves for two years and began to train as a Corpsman. His sea duties were aboard the USS Robinson (DD-562), a Fletcher Class destroyer, the second ship in the Navy to be named after Captain Isaiah Robinson (Continental Navy). The “Robbie” received eight battle stars for World War II service and appeared in the movie Away All Boats.

Robinson Image Two
The Robbie
Circa 1953
Ken Image Three
Circa 1961

After two years of training, he went active duty…and the Navy lost its mind. Orders to report to his new ship in hand, he was sent to Charleston, SC, to be assigned to the USS Canisteo (AO-99), a Cimarron Class fleet oiler, named for the Canisteo River in New York and the only ship to bear that name. It’s crew received nine medals.

Unfortunately, upon his arrival, there was no ship to board. The Charleston Naval Base had no record of it being there and, in the meantime, he was sent to the transit barracks. While waiting, he volunteered to be a lifeguard for a week. The remaining time was spent waiting at the barracks. After three weeks, the Navy adjusted his orders and sent him to Norfolk Naval Base, the home port of the Canisteo. Upon arrival, no ship. He was, again, assigned to the transit barracks…until they could find the ship. After a four-day wait, the Navy adjusted his orders a second time and he was sent to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard. The shipyard had no record of the Canisteo being there so, he was sent…a-gain…to the transit barracks. His ship was finally found at the Todd Shipyards in Red Hook Brooklyn, a civilian shipyard. With his orders in hand (now, a rather large portfolio of paperwork), stamped by the Navy (adjusted a third time), he headed to his ship. He reported to the Officer of the Deck and was told that he had been reported AWOL. The OOD examined the orders, informed him that his Corpsman striker slot had been filled due to his (unintended) absence and, just like that, he was transformed into part of the deck force, wiping out two years of training. He became a Bosun’s Mate striker. *facepalm*

Canisteo Image Three
The Canisteo
Circa 1961
Ken Image Four
Circa 1962
While on board the Canisteo, he participated in the Cuban Blockade

He left active service in 1964 and rolled into the IRR, waiting for the end of his contract to expire. On March 8, 1965, Marines landed near Da Nang, marking the beginning of the ground war in Vietnam. Ken was working a full time job and was watching what was going on. By the summer of 1966, he decided that he was going to go back to the Navy, interested in the River Patrol (and PBRs) and went to see a prior service recruiter. The recruiter told him that the Navy would not give him his rank back. Ken left his office and was stopped by a Marine recruiter in the hallway. He told him to go back in and ask about the Seabees. He did so and the Navy prior service recruiter changed his tune. Off he went to Camp Endicott in Rhode Island for training. He was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 and sent to Gulfport, Home of the Seabees.

He arrived in Vietnam in July of 1967. His base was Camp Haskins on Red Beach in Da Nang. The Marines were on Monkey Mountain across the bay and at Da Nang Air Base in the opposite direction, across the highway. At the beginning of the Tet Offensive, the bombing of the Air Base in January of 1968 nearly knocked Ken out of a guard tower. He was designated a builder and did his share of such but, spent most of his time running patrols with the Marines.

Ken Image Five
Gulfport, MS
Ken on the left.
The puppy had been rescued from a house fire.
Circa 1967
Ken Image Six
Camp Haskins
Notice the guy waving in the background.


On November 3, 1967, a fellow Seabee had an accident with a saw while cutting some wood. A sawhorse shifted and the man injured himself, accidentally. The blade cut an artery in his thigh and Ken’s Corpsman training kicked in. He, literally, stuck his hand into the guy’s thigh to clamp the artery with his thumb and forefinger. When the rescue helicopter arrived, the coagulated blood on Ken’s arm prevented him from being able to remove his hand from the guy’s thigh. Ken got a free ride in the helicopter to the hospital with his charge. A life was saved (the actual details are pretty gruesome).

Ken Image Seven
A life saved…

And, this concludes my long-ass tribute to my Fleet Navy/Vietnam Seabee veteran. If you have a veteran in your life…hug them. ~Vic

[Addendum: When I moved in with Ken some years ago, I was looking at his DD-214. He swore he only had one and I saw from the data that he had two. We sent off for his records and, sure enough, there were two. I discovered that, when he went to the prior service recruiter, the guy didn’t bother to check to see if Ken was still on contract. He was and, had he checked, Ken could have returned to the Navy, with rank intact, and left for Vietnam as part of the Brown Water Navy…and most likely died. The life span of PBR guys was fairly short.]

Wayback Wednesday: Hurricane Carla 1961

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Hurricane Carla Image One
Photo Credit: weather.gov

I realize that September 11 is usually reserved for the remembrance of 9/11 but, that seems to be all over the news as it is. There are other things that have happened on September 11. ~Vic

Fifty-eight years ago, today, Category 4 Hurricane Carla slammed into Texas, making landfall near Port O’Connor. She was the first Category 5 of the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season.

From the National Weather Service:

Carla was the most intense hurricane to make landfall on the Texas coast in the 20th century and second in recorded history only to the Indianola hurricane of 1886. Carla was the last of 6 hurricanes to make landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds stronger than 130 mph, in the 20th century. Carla ranks as the 9th most intense hurricane to affect the United States since 1851.

Carla made landfall on the afternoon of the 11th on the northeast part of Matagorda Island as a strong Category 4 hurricane […]. The eye of Carla moved across Port O’Connor and Port Lavaca and, then, inland just east of Victoria. Carla weakened to a tropical storm on the morning of the 12th just east of Austin.

Carla was an extremely large hurricane with devastating effects from the winds and storm surge […]. The extreme tides inundated downtown Port Lavaca with 2 feet of flood water and displaced fishing boats and tug boats on Highway 35. With the slow movement of Carla, the hurricane pushed a storm surge of 22 feet above mean sea level at the head of Lavaca Bay in Port Lavaca. This is the highest storm surge in Texas hurricane history.

Hurricane Carla Image Two
Photo Credit: weather.gov

From Wikipedia:

[Little-known] newsman Dan Rather reported live from the second floor of a building in Texas City during the storm, an act that would be imitated by later reporters. This marked the first live television broadcast of a hurricane. Rather also alerted the public of the size of Carla in a way that “literally changed the way the world sees hurricanes”, according to a fellow reporter. Broadcasting live at the Weather Bureau Office in Galveston, Rather asked a meteorologist to draw an outline of the Gulf of Mexico on a transparent sheet of plastic. He then held the map over the black and white radar screen, which put the size of Carla into perspective, saying that Carla was the size of the Gulf of Mexico. CBS was so impressed with Rather’s work that he was offered the position of correspondent.

Carla remains number one on the Hurricane Severity Index.

ABC13 Houston Report

Shutterbug Saturday: Tribute Pictures 7.0

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Texas & American Flag Image One
Photo Credit: Matthew T. Rader on Unsplash

I have reached the end of my tribute. I have showcased all that he sent me. Previous posts:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

I have missed my life in Texas and I still miss him. He was such an interesting man. He wasn’t perfect but, he was himself and he charmed. Thank you for sharing your life with me, Sir.

RIP W. H. Patton (July 16, 1939 – July 21, 2012)

Patton Image Two
Shot of him at about ten years old.
He wanted to drive the 1938 Ford in the background.
I think his cousin took this.
Patton Image Three
He loved this 1934 Oldsmobile.
Patton Image Four
His journalism years.
Patton Image Five
He always had a guitar or two on stands ready to play.
Patton Image Six
He disliked this photo.
1970s perms were not his friend.
Discussing business.
Patton Image Seven
Cattle show in 1978.
Wife Glenda, son Sean & daughter Shari.
Patton Image Eight
Young Glenda.
Love of his life.

Patton Image Nine
Texas Tech University graduation picture.
1961

 

One last bonus photo…

Patton Image Eleven
Taking pictures at my wedding.
Always the photographer.
September 2004

Throwback Thursday: January 31 Trivia Bits

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January 31 Calendar Image One
Image Credit: axial.net

January 31 doesn’t appear to be a day where anything really Earth-shattering happened. I have gathered up a few noteworthy thingys…

1940…….Ida May Fuller was issued the very first Social Security check (numbered 00-000-001) for the amount of $22.54.

1958…….The very first satellite put into Earth orbit by the United States was Explorer I. Launched at 10:48pm EST, it was the first to detect the Van Allen radiation belt.

1961…….Ham the Chimp was launched from Cape Canaveral in the Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) test flight of Project Mercury. He was returned to Earth, safely and lived an additional 22 years.

1971…….Apollo 14, the third mission to land on the Moon, was launched at 4:03pm EST. Mission Commander was Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot was Stuart Roosa and Lunar Module Pilot was Edgar Mitchell. They landed in the Fra Mauro formation, the aborted Apollo 13 mission’s destination.

2000…….Dr. Harold Shipman, British serial killer, was found guilty of murdering 15 patients under his care. The Shipman Inquiry estimated the total victim count to be 250. Known as The Angel of Death, he hung himself in prison in 2004, one day before his 58th birthday.

Notable Birthdays
1892 Eddie Cantor (d. 1964)
1919 Jackie Robinson (d. 1972)
1921 Carol Channing (d. January 15, 2019).
1923 Norman Mailer (The Executioner’s Song) (d. 2007)
1929 Jean Simmons (d. 2010)

Notable Deaths
1606 Guy Fawkes (b. 1570)
1945 Eddie Slovik (the only American soldier to be court-martialed and executed for desertion since the Civil War) (b. 1920)
1956 A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh creator) (b. 1882)
1974 Samuel Goldwyn (b. 1882)
1976 Ernesto Miranda (Miranda vs Arizona & “Mirandize”) (b. 1941)

Tune Tuesday: Casa Loma Orchestra 1944

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Glen Gray & Casa Loma Orchestra Image One
Image Credit: hotmusiccharts.com

Seventy-five years ago, today, the #1 song on Billboard (pre-hot 100 era) was My Heart Tells Me (Should I Believe My Heart?) by Glen Gray, his Casa Loma Orchestra and singer Eugenie Baird. Written by Harry Warren (Lullaby of Broadway, Jeepers Creepers & That’s Amore) with lyrics by Mack Gordon (Chattanooga Choo-Choo), this was the theme for the 1943 musical film Sweet Rosie O’Grady. Betty Grable sang the song in the movie.

Glen Gray & his Orchestral version was number one for five weeks from January 29 to February 26, boosted by the popularity of the musical. As a popular standard for the 1940s, other well-known artists with their own versions include Etta Jones (1961), Frank Sinatra (1945), Nat King Cole (1958) and Tony Bennett (1955). Glenn Miller & his orchestra had a go in 1944, broadcasting to German soldiers. From Dance in the City (Page 191):

“One of the paradoxes of the Nazi terror was that SS officers themselves demonstrated a fondness for swing (Vogel, 1962).

Mike Zwerin (1985), in his exploration of jazz under the Nazis, described a Luftwaffe pilot who switched on the BBC hoping to catch a few bars of Glenn Miller before bombing the antenna from which these forbidden sounds were being broadcast. Allied propagandists recognised the potential for exploiting the contradictory allure that jazz possessed with Nazi society.

The sound barrier of 1944 was marked on the one hand by the music of the Nazi marches and on the other by the big band swing of Glenn Miller. The Allies attempted to exploit the popularity of swing inside Germany. On October 30, 1944, Miller’s swing tunes were aimed at German soldiers through the American Broadcast Station in Europe (ABSIE) in an effort to persuade them to lay down their arms.

Major Miller addressed German soldiers in their own language with the assistance of Ilse Weinberger, a German compere and translator. Ilse introduced Glenn Miller as the ‘magician of swing’ and, through a strange act of cultural alchemy, tunes like Long Ago and Far Away and My Heart Tells Me were rendered in German by vocalist Johnny Desmond.”

Tune Tuesday: UB40 1993

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UB40 BBC Image
Photo Credit: bbc.co.uk

It’s Tune Tuesday! Twenty-five years ago, today, the number one song was I Can’t Help Falling In Love, a Reggae version of Elvis’ hit from the 1961 soundtrack and movie of the same name, Blue Hawaii. Both of these versions topped the U.S. & U.K. charts.

I am also posting the clip from the movie. Elvis’ original didn’t make it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (which is usually where I get my number one songs from) in the U.S., getting stuck at number two behind Peppermint Twist but, it did make it to number one in the U.K. & Australia in early 1962. It was a number one hit on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart in January 1962:

Plus, I have to confess that, while I like Reggae, I am an Elvis fan and I prefer the original (no offense, guys!).

~Victoria