Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prepare to repel boarders!

One of the fun things to me doing research is the contacts that are made and the information shared. One of the first was John Fitzgerald, who was the archivist at Seattle NARA in charge of Navy Records, amongst other things, when I first started researching there. John has since moved on, but we keep in touch, and when he comes across things in his research that he feels are interesting, he'll photograph them and send them on if he's got the time.

This is one such document; a history of the Destroyer Escort DE-51 Buckley written in October of 1945. She was an interesting ship, and this provides some more information than her Dictionery of American Naval Fighting Ships entry.

Special thanks to John for sending it to me!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weird Duck.

One of the things that once bothered me took place in 8th grade history; I had for some reason not been able to eat lunch at the normal time and was eating my turkey sandwich. Only when I was halfway through did I realize that the footage of a german WWII death camp that was playing on the TV featured humans whose flesh looked about as colorful as the turkey I was eating. I wasn't disturbed by this as much as the realization that I could eat while watching emancipated bodies being pushed into mass graves.

To this day, I can still watch footage of war's aftermath without revulsion. I should clarify that; the results are certainly revolting, but it does not turn my stomach or make me feel ill. On the other hand, it is also not something I enjoy; it is just an acknowledgment of war's brutality and horror.

So I find myself bothered tonight, watching The History Channel's WWII in HD, that they've blurred out *some* of the carnage. While describing the Japanese civilian suicides at Saipan, there were areas where the viewer can see dead bodies and bits smashed against the rocks, there are areas that are blurred out. One clip shows a woman's bloody, disfigured face, but most of her body is blurred out.

I believe this does a disservice to history, thus increasing the odds it will repeat itself.

We don't have a weapon that wins wars by making the enemy neatly and cleanly lie down. We are still hacking and rending bodies apart, just with fancier and more expensive weapons. A guided missile still explodes into tiny pieces that seek to smash and tear an airplane enough that it cannot function.

We still, even in this "modern" day and age, smash, tear, and destroy when we fight each other. If you don't show the FULL horror of war, people will forget how horrible it is and it will be less likely that there will be restraint and efforts to avoid it in the future.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ops Check Good!

As I wrote back in September I was only able to get half of the BuOrd manual for the 1.1" due to time... I went back last month to try and finish it off and the scanner jammed internally just after finishing the first scan.

This was not happy for a couple of reasons; the obvious being that the rest of the day and therefore month's research was pretty much shot. Second, I had disassembled the thing after returning from San Bruno to remove dust that had accumulated internally after a year and a half of scanning NARA records (Note: they don't vacuum the records: expect dust & dirty and disgusting looking white gloves by the end of the day. Bring a mask if you're allergic to dust), so there was the possibility I had damaged it in the process and would need to tell my wife the present she got me was dead.

Thankfully, it turns out there was simply a nut loose on the keyboard. Scanners have a locking mechanism to keep the head secure during transportation and I am not above forgetting to unlock the scanner when setting up. In this case I heard it start to have troubles when I did the first scan and quickly unlocked it, but apparently not all the way and the head pressed into the locking mechanism as it returned and cocked itself enough to jam. I opened it a second time tonight and was able to free it and make some test scans to ensure that it worked multiple times.

So I should be good to go for this Saturday's session, which is a full day due to the IPMS Seattle meeting being pushed back to the third Saturday. Wish that happened more often....

Finished a document on Mk 49s for December and have Kearny's initial Damage report (photos submitted to Navsource a while ago) well under way. That should allow me to get a handbook on shore based facility camouflage (useful for shipyards, airbases, etc.) going for a January posting. I'm trying to work into a schedule of two shorts and one long alternating every other month for a bit so that I can slam out the short ones and then give myself a month and a half or so for the longer ones. We shall see. The 1.1" booklet looks like it might be pretty quick to do as well, so I might try for that one soon as well.

Friday, November 6, 2009


FINALLY have finished getting all of the text into this beastie. While it's not as large as some I've done, it had by far the most amount of table work to get it to lay out the same as the original. This was the document that got me musing on growth last month; at nearly 125k it will take someone running a 56k modem nearly 20 seconds to get the whole thing.

This is the US fleet at the start of 1941. By and large the organization is the same as it was later, when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. It also contains information on turret tops and scout aircraft colors and will be linked to from the Turret Tops page. It's also... NOT PROOFREAD!