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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

PACIFIC AIR MUSEUM

I  haven't been to Ford Island for some time:


My 96-year old friend, Ed Jurkens, picked me up, we had lunch at Schooners, located at the entrance of the bridge leading to the island, where I had a schooner, of course, of beer with a dish of fish and chips:


You need a special decal on your car to now get on the island.  The recently dedicated Daniel K. Inouye NOAA Regional Center is here:


and so is the Floating Golf Ball:


I regularly make fun of this radar ship (Ed tells me the base actually is a Russian oil rig semi-submersible) for it cost a billion dollars and has yet to do much of anything, and probably won't ever.  But then again, the $1.35 trillion F-35 fighter also has little hope of seeing combat, and Congress keeps stuffing money into the DOD budget to keep this dud alive.

I did not realize that there is also a U.S.S. Utah Memorial here:


Just a rusting relic, but the State of Utah might want to look into this.

Also here are the Missouri and Arizona Memorials:


An important point of information is that the Arizona, Missouri and Pacific Air Museum (PAM) tours begin at the Arizona staging ground where the public must park before getting to Ford Island.  Busses then take you to the Missouri and PAM.

Ed is a docent at PAM and saved me $35 with his personalized tour.  More than anything else, though, is that Ed is a war hero.  He largely flew the B-24 in World War II:


Ed also piloted this jet, the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star, said to be the world's most  successful first generation jet-powered fighter, first appearing at the end of WWII.

He estimates that there were 25 occasions when the bomber he piloted was attacked.  So he's 25-0 for avoiding death in combat and 96-0 for staying alive.  Over 18,400 B-24's were produced, the largest number of any American military aircraft.   Ed has incredible stories of his interactions with various people in the war zone, as for example, Joe E. Brown.  He also has an alternative answer on how Glenn Miller might have died.  

By the way, behind him in the first photo above (and to the right) is a B-25 which James Doolittle and his team used to surprise Japan in 1942.  This was an almost impossible mission which did little actual damage to the enemy, but was a supposed morale booster.  Seventy-one of the 80 crew returned home alive, but eight were captured and three executed in Japan.  The Raid was so embarrassing to the Japanese that during the search, 250,000 Chinese were killed, mostly for assisting the Americans escape.  A quarter million deaths!!!  While this was considered a victory for America,  there is no way to justify this startling statistic in afterthought.

The 1944 movie 30 Minutes Over Tokyo stars Spencer Tracy as Lt. Colonel Doolittle.  Rotten Tomato reviewers gave the film a 100% rating.

Here I am standing next to replicas of the bombs and torpedo that sunk our fleet in Pearl Harbor on 7December1941.  My mother tells me that she was carrying me when I was a year old and pointed to the smoke emanating from the attack that fateful Sunday.  


Japan made two dreadful mistakes.  It's frightening to think of the subsequent consequences had they attacked when our three aircraft carriers were also in port (it was just amazing luck that they weren't...but perhaps disgraced Admiral Husband Kimmel just might have disobeyed orders and sent them out on purpose----I wonder today if my sophomore McKinley classmate Fred Kimmel was the son--he had an appealing speaking voice, was president of our class, became a KPOI disk jockey and just disappeared--Adm. Kimmel has not yet been pardoned), and priority was given to destroying the Pearl Harbor fuel tanks.  You can get this Peter Tsouros paperback for 46 cents, while Harry Turtledove has another, with a hardcover price of one cent.


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Tropical Cyclone Edilson at 45 MPH is northeast of Mauritius and moving south, but will just skirt the island, attaining hurricane strength only after heading away from Le Reunion and Mauritius:


In the South Pacific, Tropical Storm Edna at 60 MPH will largely miss New Caledonia and head for the north island of New Zealand, but probably never reach Category 1 status.

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