Category Archives: Loose thoughts and musings

Bloody Savo: Disaster at Guadalcanal

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World, Today is a lazy Sunday so nothing new, instead re-publishing an old post about a Naval Battle which most people don’t know much about. It was a battle that was one of the most disastrous in the history of the US Navy, the Battle of Savo Island off Guadalcanal which took place on August 9th 1942. It was the first of many in which the US and Imperial Japanese Navies would wage in those contested waters as the US began to re-take the areas that the Japanese had overrun in the first six months of the war. Others would follow, Cape Esperance, the Naval Battles of Guadalcanal and others. So many ships were sunk that the waters off the island were nicknamed “Iron Bottom Sound.” Today I remember all the gallant sailors and ships, of both sides who fought so hard in that bloody war.
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

USS Quincy under attack off Savo Island

On August 8th 1942 the U.S. Task Force supporting the invasion of Guadalcanal was tired. The crews of the ships had been in continuous combat operations conducting naval gunfire support missions, fending off numerous Japanese air attacks and guarding against submarine attacks for two days.  The force commanded by Admiral Richmond K. Turner was still unloading materials, equipment and supplies needed by the men of the 1st Marine Division who they had put ashore on the morning of the seventh.

On the afternoon of the eighth Turner was informed by Admiral Frank “Jack” Fletcher that he was pulling his carrier task force out of action. Fletcher alleged that he did not have enough fighter aircraft (79 remaining of an original 98) and as low on fuel.  The carriers had only been in action 36 hours and Fletcher’s reasons for withdraw were…

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Religious Fanaticism and Politics: The Danger of the “True” Believers

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World. It has been a busy day trying to get a lot done at work going into the Labor Day weekend, and to help my wife in making some wonderful Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread to give to friends this evening. I didn’t sleep much last night, yet another Iraq nightmare that woke me up about 2 AM followed by my oldest dog whacking me and telling me that she needed to go crap at 4:15. I guess that is better than her crapping in the bed so nothing ventured nothing gained. I met with my new shrink this morning for my PTSD symptoms, which my regular readers know have been kicking my ass the past couple of months. She seems like she will be a good therapist for me and is getting me into a provider to manage my meds. My experience at the local Navy Branch Clinic for the Very Very Nervous was much better than at the main Mental Health department at the Naval Medical Center, so this should be good all the way around. It also means that I don’t have to fight the traffic through the Downtown Tunnel to get to my appointments. Anyway, I digress…
A couple of notes, I found a new TV who that I like, “The Blacklist” starring David Spader. Very well written and suspenseful.
Finally, with all the people out there championing their religious rights above other people’s right to believe in a different God or no God at all, I figured that I would share something I wrote last October. I just figure that anyone with half a brain would look at what is going on Iraq and Syria right now and realize the dangers of any particular group having the exclusive franchise to belief is not a good thing. And please don’t tell me that ISIS is any different than Christian groups throughout history that forced conversions, exterminated opponents and put heretics to death, because unfortunately there are some Christians in the United States right now who would use the police power of the state to persecute and even kill those that they deem unbelievers or heretics. All you do is have to look at the rantings of Gary Fischer of the American Family Association who says that the Constitution only guarantees religious liberty for Christians; David Barton, the fake historian who loves to justify the extermination of Native Americans because they “rejected the Gospel;” “Pastor” Scott Lively who takes his “let’s persecute and kill the gays” campaign to African countries where he receives a better welcome than in the United States and a host of others including big name politicians, pundits and preachers. These guys would have been the fringe at one time, but they have become part of the Evangelical Christian mainstream. Frankly that is dangerous for all of us. That is why I am doing this re-run today.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend,
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

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“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The First Amendment of the US Constitution

“no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” Thomas Jefferson in the 1779 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

Those that read this site and have gotten to know me through…

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The Devil Wears My Sister’s Face

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World

I don’t re-post other blogs often, but this is one that I think is important.

As a Chaplain I have helped care for many people who have been the victims of abuse by spouses, parents, other older relatives or by “friends” of the family. Some is physical, some sexual and most also involve emotional abuse. However, little is written about abusive siblings, though it is quite common, usually these siblings are also the victims of abuse who take out their anger on the only people they can, usually younger or weaker siblings. Thankfully I was never abused by any family members. However my wife Judy suffered a lot of abuse, verbal and physical abuse by her father, the same and worse by her sister and had a mother who allowed it to happen.

This is Judy’s latest blog over at the Abby Normal Abbess site, which I encourage you to visit. It is quite powerful.

Peace

Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Abbeynormalabbess's Blog:

When I think of the Devil, I see an angry, red, scowling face. I don’t see a mythical figure. I see my sister. This is the only part of her I ever saw.

“Nobody will ever love you. Nobody will ever want you. Nobody will ever be your friend. You’ll never be anybody,you’ll never do anything.” So went the litany of non-affirmations she heaped on me constantly. She drew an imaginary line down the middle of our bedroom, and I was never, ever, allowed to cross it, unless it was to reach the closet, or one of the two doors leading out of our bedroom. She was older than me. She knew me better than anyone. She had to know what I was really like. I believed her. Sometimes, I believe her now. When I entered a room, she wrinkled her nose, like she smelled a foul odor. I was…

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Requiem of Empire: The Yamato Class Battleships

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
One last re-run until I post some new material tomorrow. This one on the largest battleships ever constructed, the Yamato and Musashi of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Second World War. They were amazing as well as tragic ships, both sunk by U.S. Naval airpower, Musashi at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 and Yamato in a suicide mission to attack U.S. invasion forces at Okinawa in April 1945.
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

Emperor Hirohito on Musashi in 1943

The is a long delayed installment of my series on Battleships. Previous were about the Battleships constructed under conditions of the London Naval Conference.  These have dealt with the British King George V Class, FrenchDunkerqueandRichelieuClasses, ItalianVittorio VentoClassand the American North CarolinaandSouth Dakota ClassesI then wrote an introduction to the Post Treaty Super-Battleships. This article is the first in that series which will include articles on the GermanBismarckand Tirpitz, British Vanguardand AmericanIowa Class.

They were the largest and most heavily armed battleships ever built. Shrouded in secrecy by the Imperial Japanese Navy and Government the ships were designed to offset projected American numerical superiority. Their names were symbolic of Japan’s history. Yamato was named after Yamato Province, the ancestral home of the Yamato People, the dominant…

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The First Aircraft Carriers Part One: The First American Flattops- Langley, Lexington and Saratoga

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World
As I am using this weekend to catch up on a few things, and to rest and regroup, here is another old article about the first aircraft carriers that served the U.S. Navy. None were initially designed as carriers but they helped pave the way for the carrier force that drove the Imperial Japanese Navy from the Pacific in World War II and have been a facet of U.S. Military and diplomatic power ever since. Have a great Sunday. Now down to my chapel…
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

saratoga aircraft approach for landingAircraft over Saratoga

Note: This is the first in a series on the early aircraft carriers.  Two others will follow on the British and Japanese carriers.  My dad was a Chief Petty Officer in Naval Aviation.  As such I grew up around Naval Air Stations, Squadrons and of course Aircraft Carriers.  My dad retired off of the USS Hancock CVA-19 in 1974.  I spent two weeks underway on USS Coral Sea CV-43 as a NJROTC Cadet in the summer of 1976.  It was an experience that I will never forget.  While on the Cruiser USS Hue City CG-66 we deployed with the USS John F Kennedy CV-67 for Operation Enduring Freedom.  There is something about the power and majesty of the modern carriers at the same time there is a sense of timelessness in the first aircraft carriers.  Three of the first four American ships were converted from other platforms. …

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100 Years of Navy Aviation: Part One the Aircraft Carriers

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
Today a break from writing anything really new. For those that don’t know, I grew up as the child of a Navy Chief Petty Officer. Growing up around naval bases and naval air stations in the 1960s and 1970s I became enthralled by the Navy, ships, aircraft and naval history. I still am, though due to my writing on Gettysburg I have not done much new writing on the subject in the past year or so. This is an article from 2010 that I have updated today. It is about the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. It is a “wave top” treatment, really more of an introduction than anything else. I followed it with a number of articles about the U.S. Navy carriers, as well as the British carriers of the 1920s, 1930s and early World War II carriers. Those articles can be found by clicking on the Warship and Naval Battles tab.
Have a great weekend,
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

Eugene Ely makes the first takeoff from USS Birmingham on November 14th 1910

On a blustery November 14th in the year 1910 a young civilian pilot hailing from Williamsburg Iowa became the first man to fly an aircraft off the deck of a ship.  At the age of 24 and having taught himself to fly barely 7 months before Eugene Ely readied himself and his Curtis biplane aboard the Cruiser USS Birmingham anchored just south of Fort Monroe in Hampton Roads.  Ely was there because he was discovered by Navy Captain Washington Irving Chambers who had been tasked with exploring how aircraft might become part of Naval Operations. Chambers had no budget or authority for his seemingly thankless task but hearing that a German steamship might launch and aircraft from a ship hustled to find a way to stake a claim for the U.S. Navy to be the first…

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Miscellaneous Thoughts on a Friday

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Friends, I am tired. It has been a busy week and I am going to try to rest some over the weekend as well as spend some quality time with my wife Judy.

Part of the issue with my tiredness is that I haven’t been the same since my experience over the last month or so dealing with the military mental health system. I won’t bore you with details since I have already written a lot on it, including the fact that I got some resolution, but frankly I didn’t realize just how fragile that I was still was. I had no idea that trying to get help would be so emotionally punishing. Truthfully, I have not had a good night sleep since the initial conflict with the physician and the system. The nightmares, terrors and restlessness are all back. Hopefully in a few weeks or months things will settle out again.

On the positive side I was provided new hearing aids which are quite remarkable in their capabilities and are already helping me to understand speech better. For those that don’t know I hear noise just great. I have almost no loss of that ability. However, since Iraq I suffer unending tinnitus and my speech discrimination, a neurological function is in the third percentile, meaning that 97% of people understand speech better than me. So I am grateful for the hearing aids, as Judy, who was becoming ever more frustrated with me not understanding her or others. The ironic thing is that she has been severely hard of hearing her whole life and has a 77% hearing loss, but she usually understands speech better than me. a funny thing did happen yesterday. I was asked by a Charismatic Christian about praying from my hearing. While I appreciate that and I am touched by such sincere desires to help, it would be a shame if the government wasted over 5,000 on the hearing aids that are working so well.

Likewise, it looks like I have been invited to speak at the Military Officers Association of America conference in Washington DC in September on the topic of being a care giver to those suffering from PTSD while suffering from it myself. That should be interesting. In a way it is something that I hope to do on a regular basis once I retire from the military.

I have been writing a lot about Gettysburg and each thing that I write helps bring me a better understanding of the battle, but also the people, as well as the culture and philosophic ideas that had such an influence on those times. So you can expect that as I write new material and revise old material that I will share them with you here.

Finally as to current events. I am troubled by the events in Ferguson Missouri, especially many of the surprisingly racist reactions by “white America.” Since I wrote about that recently as well, I won’t go back into it.

The situation in Iraq with the rise of ISIS and its “Caliphate” has me greatly concerned. This is not a normal terrorist organization, it is Al Qaeda on steroids. The Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hegel, sounded a clear warning in the wake of the public execution of  American photo journalist James Foley and threats to bring their war to the United States and the west. I do not think that Secretary Hegel, a very circumspect man would make such an announcement if there was no real threat. The problem is that back in 2003 the Bush Administration sewed the wind in Iraq and left a very fragile and unstable state, whose leaders failed their people, and now we are reaping the whirlwind. We want peace, I know I think I speak for everyone, but the rise of ISIS with its apocalyptic vision, vast financial resources, international reach and success on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq is drawing radicalized Moslems to it’s black banner around the world. Because of this I expect that we are in for a long hard fight, and that our new opponent will cause us grave damage.

That being said, I fear for civil liberties in the wake of any attack, and I especially fear that, if something bad happens in the United States, that we will react not just against the culprits; but innocent, loyal and patriotic Americans of Moslem or Arab descent or because they look like the bad guys, or because they share the Islamic religion. Since I know a good number of such people I worry. We can be quite a xenophobic people when aroused, and our quite often “yellow journalism” and jingoistic politicians and preachers stir the cauldron of hatred to the point of paranoid insanity. Our history is colored by such xenophobia.

Finally, the news that the Russians may be attacking in the Ukraine is seriously bad news, which we all, Americans and Europeans need to wake up to.

So I close this Friday sharing my sense of foreboding even while I hope and pray for peace and justice.

Peace and have a wonderful weekend.

Padre Steve+

 

 

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