Tag Archives: History

Pearl Harbor – 77 Years Later

world war two image
Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum – Flickr Commons

On the morning of December 7, 1941 the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor was attacked by 353 Aircraft from six aircraft carriers of the Japanese Navy. 

world war two pearl harbor

Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum – Flickr Commons

Eight American battleships were damaged, four of them sunk. All but the USS Arizona were raised and six returned to service. Three cruisers, three destroyers, and a couple of other ships were damaged or sunk as well and 188 aircraft destroyed. 

world war two pearl harbor

Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum – Flickr Commons

The Japanese lost 29 aircraft and five midget submarines. It was a huge success for the Imperial Navy except that there were no United States aircraft carriers in the harbor. You see, even then the big battleships although impressive were already outdated. From then on there were very few ship to ship battles, the major battles were carried out by aircraft from over the horizon.

world war two pearl harbor

Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum – Flickr Commons

The most devastating loss was the lives lost. 2403 American lives were lost and 1178 injured. The attack sent shockwaves through America. The Japanese intended the attack to ward off American interference in Japan’s imperialist plans for southeast Asia and of course it had just the opposite effect. America declared war and three and a half years later defeated Japan.

--world war ii hawaii pearl harbor attack----

Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum – Flickr Commons

America has never done well it seems to me when we retreat inside ourselves and declare America First! When we retreat like that, other countries flex their muscles and move into the vacuum that we leave. 

_DSC0878

Several years ago I got to cross a major item off my bucket list when we visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.  It was an unexpectedly emotional place for me seeing the sunken ship underneath the memorial and realizing how many people had died there. Usually I am clicking away with my camera but I only took one or two shots on the Memorial, I put the camera away and tried to think about what happened.

_DSC0880

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the sailors, marines, soldiers and others who died that day.  

Skywatch Friday – Visiting an Old Indian Trader’s Grave

The other day I had a meeting in a field office of my employer’s in Western Oklahoma. I had  a little time afterward so I went on a little drive.

_DSC0339

I drove past a herd of cattle.

_DSC0351

Then a newly drilled well being prepared for fracking. Notice the green pipe in the foreground being built to take gas from the well for processing and delivery to market.

_DSC0348

And then I turned down a muddy farm road to get to this marker.

_DSC0343

And walked a short ways down a grassy path to this humble grave.

_DSC0344

This is where Jesse Chisholm is buried. He  blazed the Chisholm Trail from South Texas to Abilene, Kansas where tens of thousands head of cattle herded north to supply beef for the northeast. He didn’t drive cattle, he was a trader with several stores and developed the trails to restock his stores. He also had good relations with many of the Native American tribes and negotiated to recovery of several women and children who had been kidnapped by the tribes.  He also helped facilitate several peace treaties. He died of food poisoning near where he is buried.

I think it is amazing that somebody who had such a huge part of the history and legends of the West has such a humble grave.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Bellingrath Greenhouse 3_DSC0026-Edit

The entire property is lush and provides lots of opportunities for photographs. I loved the greenhouse.

On our recent family vacation we decided to make a small detour and visit the Bellingrath Gardens and Home on the Fowl River near Mobile, Alabama. We were glad we did. It is a 65 acre garden and home built by an early Coca-Cola entrepreneur and his wife. When they died without children, the entire estate passed to a foundation entrusted with the 65 acre garden and home.

Bellingrath Greenhouse 2_DSC0017-Edit

I love reflections.

This is one of those places that I have heard about for quite a while and I had high expectations and they were surpassed. The grounds are immaculate and the landscaping design is superb, especially for those of us with a camera. The gardens are just packed with great visuals wherever you go.

Bellingrath Greenhouse_DSC0003-Edit

We stayed several hours and still did not see it all. I took over 130 photographs.s

Bellingrath Courtyard flowers _DSC0057-Edit

The place has been maintained well and one can tell from our conversations with the staff and guides that their’s is a labor of love.

Bellingrath courtyard iron railing_DSC0067-Edit

What a great courtyard with a the wrought iron fence on the balconty, big huge windows that open, a little fountain, and archways. And I love the brick.

We paid for a tour of the Bellingrath home and it is exquisite. It was built in the 1920’s and had several features that seemed ahead of its time. They didn’t have electricity at first, but the family anticipating it coming had the house prewired and included features you don’t see today such as automatic lights that come on when you open a closet.

Bellingrath chairs courtyard_DSC0064-Edit

A shady area with comfortable chairs.

It really looks like a place where one could relax. Lots of quiet shady spots and courtyards.

Bellingrath flag gas light brick_DSC0058-Edit

I am a sucker for flags and gas lights. REAL gas lights.

And as in the gardens, the house is surrounded by plants.

Bellingrath Kitchen_DSC0078-Edit

The guide showed us where the Bellingrath’s cooks kept the cookies.

The kitchen was superb. They have kept it as it was when it was lived in. Two big ovens and ranges, two big dishwashers, a couple of giant refrigerators. We loved the light airy feeling of the place.

Bellingrath Dining Room_DSC0083-Edit

This was my favorite room. Not the main dining room but another one. Again, big tall windows with great light.

If you want to visit, check out Bellingrath’s web site. Lots of great info on planning and what to see. Being a garden, they always have something going on.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – A Visit to the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch

will rogers skywatch 3

Sorry about the decapitated horse to the left.

Continuing from my previous post where brother Bob and I visited the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, we drove about 20 miles or so north to the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. The Rogers family name for the place was, the Dog Iron Ranch. We were told at the museum that the ranch was a beautiful place and I can confirm that indeed it is. It is at the end of a road and the property has waterfront on a lake. The place teems with birds and very green grass and nice big trees.

will rogers peacock

We met the ranch foreman, Fred. Fred was very bossy and loved to have his photo taken and was just generally very fussy.

20180528-194353-5

We ventured briefly down a hiking trail and saw this longhorn cows. They checked us out when we first approached and then quickly became bored.

20180528-091318-1

We didn’t go very far, I hadn’t thought about needing bug spray and if we had gone any farther we would need some. I am not a big fan of chiggers and ticks.

Will rogers birthplace hdr

The house is beautiful. Apparently this kind of house was common in Territorial Oklahoma but is now rare. It was once known as the “The White House on the Verdigris.” The lower floor of the house is open.

will rogers sitting room hdr

I loved the light from the tall windows.

A beautiful sitting room with a piano. I love those old walls and the fireplace. The house started out as a log cabin, actually two log cabins with a cover over the “dogtrot” between them. The house was expanded gradually and a second story added with two bedrooms. The old dog trot was enclosed and is now the foyer. Somewhere along the way, the white clapboard siding was added. I just love stuff like that.

willrogers bedroom hdr

And the master bedroom. I love that big multicolored rug.

The ranch is a quiet place with just the horses, donkeys, Fred,  and the birds. Besides the house there is an authentic barn and wood fences. The hiking trail is a little rough but I’d of done it if I had my bug spray. The place has RV spots and and airstrip!! You have to make arrangement in advance to stay out there as there is no staff on site.

I recommend a visit highly. It is one of the nicest place I have been to in Oklahoma.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – The USS Batfish, Oklahoma’s WWII Submarine

DSCN8606

Logan and I ventured down to the town of Muskogee, Oklahoma to look at the USS Batfish. A World War II United States Navy Submarine that is on display there. The Batfish has a distinguished war record highlighted by sinking three Japanese submarines in a 76 hour period. You can read about the history of the Batfish and its war record here.

DSCN8602

The thing about submarines is how cramped they are even though they look big on the outside. They are a war machine after all designed to sink other ships and so everything is secondary to that. Above Logan is standing next to the diesel engines that powered the vessel. I know a little bit about those engines. They are Fairbanks Morse engines and they pack a lot of power in a small space. They have two crankshafts and each power cylinder has two pistons. The crankshafts are linked together.

DSCN8586

Above is an illustration of how it works. I know about them because when pollution regulations really started hitting the energy industry in the 1970’s, somebody figured out that you buy these engines  and derated the horsepower , then the the NOx emissions were very low. So a lot of old submarine engines powered natural gas compressors until manufacturers developed the technology to make new engines very low emitters of NOx. The thing I always wondered about was that the Fairbanks Morse engines were notorious for being VERY LOUD. I don’t know how the submariners could stand it.  (Sorry for the digression)

DSCN8601

I don’t think my 6’3″ son should sign up for the submarine service.

DSCN8597

The vessel is packed with dials, gauges, valves, and all sorts of gadgets. The sub is open and there are very few “don’t touch” signs.

DSCN8600

The sleeping areas are very small. These are triple bunks with very little room. They had cots over the torpedoes. They only had enough beds for half the crew. The crew had to share beds. Yuck.

DSCN8599

All the areas had double duty, dining table, game table, conference table.

AlDSCN8593

Not too many toilets either and they were not that easy to operate.

DSCN8587

The USS Batfish is part of the Muskogee War Memorial Park and they have a nice little museum and other information. Before you visit check out their facebook page to make sure they are open. There is a small admission charge. The place is run by volunteers who really have a passion for the submarine.

How did a submarine come to be placed in Oklahoma The Wikipedia entry for the submarine has the backstory. The submarine was placed on six barges and towed from the Mississippi River to Muskogee on the McLellen Kerr Navigation System, a 445 mile long water way with multiple locks and dams that has made Tulsa’s Port of Catoosa the most inland seaport in the country.

We had a good time and spent a couple of hours and I “found” a virtual geocache placed in the submarine.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday – Fort Reno, Oklahoma

_DSC0017

Recently I stopped in Fort Reno just west of Oklahoma City. Fort Reno has a long history. It was initially built in 1875 for the US Cavalry to monitor the Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapahoe Indians in the area. As time went on and the Indian Wars subsided the post was converted to an Army Remount Facility operated by the Army Quartermaster Corps with the purpose of breeding, raising, and training horses and mules for the military. It held that function until 1947 along with a brief interlude as a prisoner of war facility during World War II. The property is now administered by the US Department of Agriculture as an Agricultural Research Station.

_DSC0013

I love the many old buildings. Many of which are restored. Above is an old Officer’s Quarters.  It looks in good shape on the outside. I wonder what life was like back in day living out in the middle of nowhere.

_DSC0012

One of the original mule barns that it is being restored.

_DSC0005

I love the cemetery located a quarter mile or so from the rest of the post. Lots of old graves here, many marked, “unknown” , a few soldiers who died during the Indian wars and lots of employees and family from the Remount Station days.

_DSC0008

In a walled off section of the cemetery are graves of German and Italian soldiers who were prisoners of war during World War II. They didn’t all die here. Oklahoma had several POW camps and after the war the men who died were all disinterred and brought to Fort Reno.

_DSC0006

The Italian soldiers were all buried together and somebody keeps their graves decorated. A few of the men have been disinterred by the families and the remains returned to Italy.

_DSC0007

This is the most famous POW buried at Fort Reno. Johannes Kunze was a member of Rommel’s Afrika Corps and was taken prisoner in north Africa and sent to Oklahoma. He turned into an informant for the Americans and was found out and brutally murdered by his fellow prisoners. The Americans picked out five prisoners and charged them  with murder.  They stood trial, defended by an Army picked civilian attorney who had never practiced criminal law. The Army prosecutor was Leon Jaworski who later found fame as the Special Prosecutor during the Watergate scandals. Of course the five Germans were found guilty and were hung by the Army at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas right after the war ended. I posted about this last year.  I just love stuff like this.

_DSC0002

Speaking of Prisoners of War. The Germans built this chapel at the Fort during WWII. You can rent it for a wedding or other occasion. I think that would be cool.Check on how to do it here.

Our World Tuesday

Our World – New Route 66 Monument in Tulsa

DSCN7551

a bonus shadow selfie

Tulsa’s Howard Park right on Route 66 in the city’s gritty industrial west side has a brand spanking new monument consisting of three big sculpted pillars of Indiana Limestone by Utah artist Patrick Sullivan.

IMAG1735

The pillars depict Tulsa sights like Cain’s Ballroom, art deco architecture, the energy, aviation, and railroad industries and Native American heritage.

IMAG1736

I love stuff like this. This monument is here to stay. An F5 tornado may topple them but they are not going anywhere.

An article from Route 66 News with video and a lot of the backstory on the monument and the artist who created it.

Howard Park’s Facebook site

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

 

Pearl Harbor Day

80-G-71198

Japanese naval aircraft prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier (reportedly Shokaku) to attack Pearl Harbor during the morning of 7 December 1941. Captured Japanese Photograph courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy on Flickr Commons, public domain

Seventy Five years ago 365 Japanese aircraft from six aircraft carriers attacked Pearl Harbor.

80-G-182252

A Japanese Navy “Zero” fighter (tail code A1-108) takes off from the aircraft carrier Akagi, on its way to attack Pearl Harbor. Courtesy of the National Archives on Flickr Commons

The Japanese damaged eight Battleships, sinking four, and sunk or damged numerous other ships, 188 landbased aircraft, and other facilties.

NH 50929

Photograph from a Japanese aircraft of the attack on Peal Harbor. Courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy on Flickr Commons

2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded

Naval photograph documenting the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii which initiated US participation in World War II. Navy's caption: The battleship USS ARIZONA sinking after being hit by Japanese air attack on Dec. 7,1941., 12/07/1941

USS Arizona after attack on Pearl Harbor. Photo courtesy of the US National Archives on Flickr Commons

The Japanese attack, along with numerous other attacks at other American facilities the same day, was meant to keep America from interfering with Japanese plans to dominate Asia.

N_2004_6_20 Pearl Harbor -USS Shaw exploding

USS Shaw Exploding during the Pearl Harbor Attack. Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina, on Flickr Commons

It didn’t work. All it did was make the United States to declare war on Japan.

NO_41_12_395 Front page of the Raleigh N and O-Japan Declares War

Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

Japan awoke the sleeping giant and made us mad. It took several years but we beat them.

Remember Pearl Harbor Day, 1941 - 1945

National Archives at College Park – Archives II (College Park, MD) on Flickr Commons

It is one of those events that wwe will never forget. We were caught unawares and paid the price. Nothing like it ever happened again until the radical Islamic cowards killed thousands of civilians in the US years later.

_DSC0879

So a couple years ago we got to visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

_DSC0880

Normally I take lots of photographs everywhere I go, but it didn’t seem right to do so when I was actually there. The place is so sacred and humbling. Time stands still.  It is actually a tomb for sailors whose bodies are still inside the ship.

_DSC0871

Across the way, is the USS Missouri. My brother Bob served on her during the 80’s when she re-entered service. I got to attend the rechristening in San Francisco. That was a highlight of my life.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

The Chapel at Fort Reno

_DSC0768

Fort Reno has a chapel built by German Prisoners of War in 1944. It is a solid concrete structure with a basement. I don’t think any church services are held there but you can rent it for a wedding for a mere $500.  There are some by gum federal government paperwork to get the required permits out so if you are going to rent it, start early. And if you are going to toast the bride and groom with anything stronger than ginger ale, don’t do it here.

_DSC0769

So I couldn’t find out who designed it or if they just told the prisoners to go build it or just what but it has a definite German feeling on the outside and a kind of Western/German vibe on the interior.

_DSC0772

The windows are a translucent yellow and the walls and ceiling are pine and so the interior is very yellow, subdued and kind of pleasant. It is simple yet gets the job done.

_DSC0773

I loved the ceiling joists, and the chandeliers, they show a definite sense of style. 

Downstairs is a fully equipped kitchen and a big dining room. Just saying if you were wanting to have a wedding and reception with an old west military flair this would be just the place.

Ghosts of Fort Reno

_DSC0766

The Fort Reno Visitor Center. The nicest vintage building in the fort. Formerly it was Officer’s Quarters built in 1936. 

_DSC0777

The trees of the Fort tell the history with the wind whistling through them. they have been through broiling hot summers, freezing winters, drought, ice storms, and tornadoes. The ones that survive are ugly but tough. I think there are ghosts here, ghosts of soldiers, their families, and over 1300 prisoners of war. The ghost of Amelia Earhart is here, she flew here. Will Rogers used to visit because of the polo matches, Frederic Remington spent time here making drawings of the Soldiers and Native Americans.

Trees at Fort Reno hdr

These two trees with their parallel lean look like they are dancing.

_DSC0779

The guardhouse. It doesn’t look like a good place to go for a timeout.

Fort Reno Commissary HDR

The Commissary a long rambling building. I love the brick, the windows and the arches over the windows.

_DSC0792

The cemetery has a few soldiers,  lots of children and few wives. I think life was hard out here.

If you are of such a mind to believe in ghosts there is a ghost tour monthly starting in March. Check it out.  My ghosts are in my imagination thinking about all the people that came through the Fort over the years.