Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Tale of Two Bicycles
I believe that it all started in 1975 when our oldest Son received an AMF Junior Coaster Bike from his Grandparents in Macon, Georgia for his third Birthday.  This Bike traveled with him to California and back to Macon before he outgrew it.  At that time we placed it in the attic to save for the future.

This past Summer I thought it would be a great idea to gift this AMF Junior Coaster Bike to our Grandson, our oldest Son's Child.  In early November I got a quote on a custom "John Deere Paint Job" from a local Auto Body Shop.  That would be quite expensive so I took the Bike to the same repairman we used when our Children were much younger at Capital Bike Shop.  Calvin has his own shop at their new location.  When I dropped the Bike off for Calvin to replace the worn out pedals and acquire new handlebar grips I was told that he would call me when he came in to work.  Calvin only works a few days each week.  So I waited and never received a call from Calvin.  Therefore I went on the world wide web and searched for an AMF Junior Coaster Bike.  I found one in Coopersburg, PA which is near Allentown.  I called the contact number and waited.  A few days later I called again.  This time I got a call back and I told the seller that I was interested in the Bike but I would like to know what the shipping charges would be.  The seller told me he would find out.

Then, Calvin called me and informed me that he could do the replacement parts and align the handlebar for a sum of cash which was not too high.  I told him to do the replacements and repairs.

So, I have one bike getting ready for the Christmas Gift for our Grandson.  No problem.  Then a few days later the Seller in Pennsylvania called and informed me that it would be $80.00 to ship the bike by either UPS or FedEx.  I asked if he could take it apart and put it in a smaller box and ship it United States Postal Service.  So on the Friday after Thanksgiving the seller called me and said it would take $20.00 to ship the bike to me in Macon.  I said, ship it.  I then sent him a postal money order for the sum of the bike plus the shipping charges.  It arrived seven days later.  It took me a few minutes to unwrap the parcel's contents and about fifteen minutes to rebuild the AMF Junior Coaster Bike. 

So I now had two Bikes for the Grandson.  I decided that he could share the second one with his older Sibling Sister.

The Two Bikes at our Home in Macon.
Appropriate bows on each.

The original bike with the new white pedals and the black
handlebar grips.

The bike from Pennsylvania with the original pedals
and grips.  The seat is slightly different.

All packed up for the Christmas Day Trip to deliver to the Grandchildren.

Our oldest Son unveiling the two bikes.

The Granddad, the daughter-in-law and our oldest Son
getting ready to surprise the Grand Young Ones.

My Bride captured the grandchildren as we
rounded the corner of the garage.

Modeling the bicycles.

The Pennsylvania Bike modeled by our Grand Son.

The Original bike modeled by our Grand Daughter.

Christmas 2012
128 Weatherby Drive
Macon, Georgia

This Nativity Scene was a gift from my
parents many years ago.

We obtained this Nativity Scene about six years ago
at the Macon Christian Book Store.  It was close to
Christmas and it was on sale for $49.95.

Of Course the Stockings were Hung on the Chimney with
care.  Also shown here are several pictures of family members.

This is the very first Nativity Scene I ever had.
I obtained it for the Christmas of 1971 when
I observed my first Christmas in Macon, Georgia.
I had just been assigned to Navy Recruiting Area Three
and I needed a Nativity Scene for
my home in Wells Mobile Home Park
Jones County

This custom made decoration features two lovely
Grand Children

Detroit:  How to create 100
percent of nothing

On December 20, 2012 I read the Walter Williams article in "The Telegraph" here in Macon, Georgia.

He certainly provides a keen insight into the current situation in our Country.  I quote the last line of his article:

"It's safe to conclude that the focus on political power doesn't do much for ordinary blacks."

To read the entire article I suggest that you visit:

Third Thursday Organ Interludes

Today's Post will feature the Third Thursday Organ Interludes which for the 2012-2013 Season are being held at Saint Joseph Catholic Church at 830 Poplar Street in downtown Macon, Georgia. 

I attended the Interlude on Thursday, December 20, 2012 and also enjoyed the delightful lunch after the thirty minute performance by the Organist at Saint Joseph's, Ms. Nelda Chapman.  She performed seven selections and I especially appreciated the arrangements by renown Organist and Composer, Paul Manz which were:

Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying
Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice!

The pictures which follow are of the interior of Saint Joseph Catholic Church.  I hd the good fortune to participate in a Middle Georgia Camera Club Field Trip on 26 November 2011 when we visited this magnificant Church.

The schedule for the balance of this season is as follows:

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Dr. Kui-im Lee

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Young Artist In Concert

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Flint Dollar

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Dr. Fletcher Anderson

Please note that the Organ Concert Series for the week of March 18-22 will be at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church as part of the 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival.

All Third Thursday Organ Interludes start at Noon and last for 30 minutes.  All concerts are free and are made possible by the kind generosity of a Patron of the Arts from Saint Joseph Parish.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hire a Veteran
Employment Opportunities

School Security
in the
United States of America

Soon thousands of these Heroes will be returning to the United States of America as our Nation draws down the number of Military Personnel stationed overseas.

I have a suggestion today.  With the current emphasis on providing appropriate security for our School Children here in the United States of America I would suggest that each school district hire one of these returning Heroes to provide security in each school complex.  It we do not have enough returning Heroes I would also suggest that Veterans could also be hired. 

These fine young men and women have the training and skills necessary to provide appropriate security for our Nations School Children.  Sure, it will cost money; but the expense of human life if we do not provide this security will also cost us all money in the short term and the loss of productive citizens in the future.

This would be a "Win - Win!!" solution for all concerned.  Our Heroes would be provided gainful employment and our School Children would be more safe.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Georgia's Defense Initiative
I was excited this past Sunday as I read my copy of "The Telegraph" here in Macon, Georgia.  There was an article on page 1B - Local & State entitled "New effort to protect Georgia military bases."

The Governor of Georgia announced that this Initiative will be headed by Washington defense consultant Will Ball.  The article also stated that Mr. Ball had served as the Secretary of the Navy in 1988.  Right away I recalled that when I served in the USS Sellers (DDG-11) homeported in Charleston, SC that we had a Lieutenant William Lockhart Ball as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer.  I also recalled that this same Lieutenant was appointed to serve as the Secretary of the Navy.  Surely this must be the same person.

I then took out my copy of the 1971 Cruise Book from the deployment of the USS Sellers (DDG-11).  I recall that we took great pride in the fact that our ship was the best Anti-Submarine Guided Missile Destroyer in the U. S. Atlantic Fleet.

Therefore today I will share some pictures from that Cruise Book.  The first picture is of Will Ball as he appeared in Uniform in 1971.

Lieutenant Ball with the Anti-Submarine Rocket Launcher (ASROC)
in the background.  Also shown here are two members
of the ASROC Team.

During the 1971 deployment our Captain held
several Morale Building Events for the Crew.
Shown here is this Blog's Author as he
participated in a "Swim Call."

I am confident that Will Ball will perform an excellent task on behalf of the State of Georgia.  I knew him as a person who is able to get the job done.

Monday, December 17, 2012

We Remember
Typhoon Cobra - 17 and 18 December 1944

I served on the USS Hull (DD-945) from 9 December 1977 through 1 December 1978.  The previous USS Hull (DD-350) was lost at sea on 18 December 1944 as the result of a terrible storm which was named Typhoon Cobra. 

During a USS Hull reunion some years ago I had the good fortune to meet several of the survivors of the USS Hull (DD-350) Sinking during Typhoon Cobra.

USS Hull (DD 350) underway - May 1944

USS Hull (DD-350), the third of the Farraguts, was the first to be built by a government shipyard. The new destroyer was assigned to the New York Navy Yard for construction. Hull was named for Captain Isaac Hull, skipper of USS Constitution in her epic battle with the British frigate Guerriere during the War of 1812. She was the fourth United States vessel and the third destroyer to bear the name. The destroyer Hull was laid down 7 March 1933; launched 31 January 1934, sponsored by Miss Patricia Louise Platt; and commissioned 11 January 1935, with Commander R. S. Wentworth commanding.
Like her two sisters following a shakedown cruise, which took her to the Azores, Portugal, and the British Isles, Hull was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. She arrived in San Diego via the Panama Canal 19 October 1935. She began her operations with the Pacific Fleet off San Diego, engaging in tactical exercises and training. The new destroyer maneuvered with the Pacific Fleet for more than five years. , Hull was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. She arrived in San Diego via the Panama Canal 19 October 1935. She began her operations with the Pacific Fleet off San Diego, engaging in tactical exercises and training. The new destroyer maneuvered with the Pacific Fleet for more than five years.

During the summer of 1936, she cruised to Alaska. In April 1937 she took part in fleet exercises in Hawaiian waters, ultimately calling Pearl Harbor her homeport when the fleet transferred from the mainland to the advanced anchorage on 12 October 1939. During this increasingly tense pre-war period, Hull often acted as plane guard to the Navy's Pacific carriers during the perfection of tactics, which would be a central factor in America's victory in World War II. She continued these operations until the outbreak of the war.

The pattern of fleet problems, plane guard duty and patrolling was rudely interrupted 7 December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and other Hawaiian Military facilities. Hull was alongside tender USS Dobbin (AD-3) undergoing repairs, but quickly put her anti-aircraft batteries into operation. Her antiaircraft battery chased off several attackers and assisted in splashing others. As the main object of the raid was battleships, the destroyer suffered no hits and with the end of the attack came extraordinary efforts to raise steam. Scant hours later, she was able to sortie from Pearl to escort USS Enterprise (CV-6) back to the still-smoking port. During the next critical months of the war, Hull operated with Admiral Wilson Brown's Task Force 11, screening USS Lexington (CV-2) in important strikes on Japanese bases in the Solomons. Her return to Pearl Harbor 26 March meant 3 months of convoy duty in the submarine threatened waters between Hawaii, and the West Coast of the United States.

Hull was soon back in the thick of combat however. She sailed, on the first anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, for Suvu, Fiji Islands, to prepare for America's first offensive land thrust, the amphibious assault on Guadalcanal. In company with her sisters, she departed 26 July for the Solomons, and on the day of the landings, 7 August 1942, she fought off enemy air attacks, screened cruisers during shore bombardment, and then took up station as antisubmarine protection for the transports. Next day she helped repel strong enemy bombing attacks, shooting down several of the attackers, and that evening performed the sad duty of sinking transport USS George F. Elliott(AP-13), burning beyond control, the transport's wounds proved too severe for damage control forces. On 9 August, the destroyer sank a small schooner off Guadalcanal, departing that evening for Espiritu Santo. During the difficult weeks on Guadalcanal, Hull made three voyages with transports and warships in support of the troops, undergoing air attacks 9 and 14 September. For the next two years, Imperial Japanese forces felt the presence of the far-ranging destroyer from the Aleutians to the Southern Pacific. DD-350 supported swift strikes against enemy held islands in the Central Pacific, sometimes as a diversion to the true invasion targets, sometimes as a prelude to full-scale landings.

The ship returned to Pearl Harbor 20 October, and spent the remainder of the year with battleship Colorado (BB-45) in the New Hebrides. She sailed 29 January from Pearl Harbor bound for repairs at San Francisco, arriving 7 February 1943. Upon completion, she moved to the bleak Aleutians, arriving Adak 16 April, and began a series of training maneuvers with battleships and cruisers in the northern waters. As the Navy moved in to retake Attu in May, Hull continued her patrol duties, and during July and early August, she took part in numerous bombardments of Kiska Island. The ship also took part in the landings on Kiska 15 August, only to find that the Japanese had evacuated their last foothold in the Aleutian chain.

Hull returned to the Central Pacific after the Kiska operation, arriving Pearl Harbor 26 September 1943. She departed with the fleet 3 days later for strikes on Wake Island, and operated with escort carriers during diversionary strikes designed to mask the Navy's real objective-the Gilberts. Hull bombarded Makin during this assault 20 November, and with the invasion well underway arrived in convoy at Pearl Harbor 7 December 1943. From there, she returned to Oakland 21 December for amphibious exercises. Next on, the island road to Japan was the Marshall Islands, and Hull sailed with Task Force 53 from San Diego 13 January 1944. She arrived 31 January off Kwajalein, screening transports in the reserve area, and through February carried out screening and patrol duties off Eniwetok and Majuro. Joining a battleship and carrier group, the ship moved to Mille Atoll 18 March, and took part in a devastating bombardment. Hull also took part in the bombardment of Wotje 22 March.

The veteran ship next participated in the devastating raid on the great Japanese base at Truk 29-30 April, after which she arrived Majuro 4 May 1944. There she joined Rear Admiral Willis A. Lee's battleships for a thrust into the Marianas and the invasion of Saipan. Hull bombarded Saipan 13 June, covered minesweeping operations with gunfire, and patrolled during the initial landing 15 June. Two days later DD-350 was detached and with other ships steamed out to join Rear Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's fast carriers as the Japanese made preparations to close the Marianas for a decisive naval battle. The great fleets approached each other 19 June for the biggest carrier engagement of the war, and as four large air raids hit the American dispositions fighter cover from the carriers of Hull's Task Group 58.2 and surface fire decimated the Japanese planes. With an able assist from American submarines, Mitscher succeeded in sinking two Japanese carriers in addition to inflicting fatal losses on the Japanese naval air arm during "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot". Hull's accurate antiaircraft fire, now considerably more formidable than the .50 cal. machine guns she used at Pearl Harbor just thirty months before, contributed to the "ring of steel" protecting the carriers from the wrath of the Japanese. Mitscher's forces so decimated the ranks of the Imperial Japanese Navy's aircrews that her carriers were never to effectively threaten the Allies again.

During July, the destroyer operated with carrier groups off Guam, and after the assault, 21 July patrolled off the island. In August she returned to Seattle, arriving the 25th, and underwent a yard refit that kept her in the States until 23 October. When she anchored at Pearl Harbor. Hull was assigned to screen the Third Fleet refueling group which kept the fast carriers in the Central Pacific operational, departing 20 November 1944 to rendezvous with fast carrier striking forces in the Philippine Sea.

Suddenly, Hull's luck had changed. Fueling began 17 December, but increasingly heavy seas forced cancellation later that day. The refueling group became engulfed in the approaching typhoon Cobra next day, with barometers falling to very low levels and winds increasing above 90 knots. At about 1100 18 December Hull became locked "in irons," in the trough of the mountainous sea and unable to steer. All hands worked feverishly to maintain integrity and keep the ship afloat during the heavy rolls, but finally, in the words of her commander, Lieutenant Commander J. A. Marks: "The ship remained over on her side at an angle of 80 degrees or more as the water flooded into her upper structures. I remained on the port wing of the bridge until the water flooded up to me, then I stepped off into the water as the ship rolled over on her way down."

The typhoon swallowed many of the survivors, but valiant rescue work by Tabberer (DD-418) and other ships of the fleet in the days that followed saved the lives of 7 officers and 55 enlisted men.

Hull received 10 battle stars for World War II service.

U.S.S. Hull DD - 350 (FARRAGUT class) - As Built

Displacement: 1,365 Tons; Length: 341' 3" (oa); Beam: 34' 3"; Draft, 16'4" (Max);

Battery: 5 - 5"/38 Anti-Aircraft Guns; 4 - .30 cal. Machine Guns; 8 - 21" Torpedo Tubes - 4 per side;
Machinery: 42,800 SHP; Curtis Geared Turbines; Twin Screws;
Speed: 36.5 Knots; Range 6500 NM@ 12 Knots;
Complement: 160

We Remember on 18 December 2012
Sixty Eight Years After
Typhoon Cobra

Iowa Honors and Remembers
Civil War Heroes

This past weekend I attended the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at Andersonville National Cemetery near Americus, Georgia.

When I visit this Cemetery I always take the time to visit the Iowa Monument.  Each of the Northern States who sent Heroes to defend the Union during the Civil War has erected Monuments to their fallen citizens.  In talking to the Staff at Andersonville I learned that they perform preventive maintenance on each of these Monuments whenever needed to keep them looking as they were just erected.

This is a picture of this Blog's Author.  I was born and raised in Iowa and I joined the U. S. Navy and I now reside in Middle Georgia.  Here you see me observing the seal on this Monument.  The Seal includes the Iowa Motto:  "Our Liberties We Prize, Our Rights We Will Maintain."  Iowa was admitted to the Union in 1846 and sent more Heroes to defend the principles of the Union on a per-capita basis than any other State.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 Wreaths Across America
Andersonville National Cemetery
15 December 2012

The first series of pictures were taken prior the Ceremony
which started at 12:00 Noon.  Every Cemetery involved with
Wreaths Across America held their Wreath Laying
Ceremony at the same time.

This is a view of the Civil War Heroes Markers. 
There are a total of over 13,000 buried here.

The Flag was at half mast, just as others across
America in Tribute to the Tragic Deaths suffered
on Friday, December 14, 2012 at Newtown, Connecticut.

Here you see a portion of the Civil Air Patrol Youth from
Griffin, Georgia.  They placed wreaths to honor each branch of

The Connecticut Monument was the site of
a special Wreath Laying Ceremony.

The purpose was to honor those who lost their lives
in the events of December 14, 2012 in the town of
Newton, Connecticut.

The Wreaths Across America received Television Coverage
in Middle Georgia

There were over 200 wreaths placed in Andersonville. 
During his comments at the beginning of the Ceremony
the Director of Andersonville informed us that his goal for 2014
is to have over 20,000 wreaths to honor each of the heroes
buried here.  2014 will be the 150th Anniversary of Andersonville
National Cemetery.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chrismon Tree
The Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity
1899 Tucker Road
Macon, Georgia
The Chrismons on the Tree were first used in 1982.  The ladies of the Church made each Chrismon and they have been in use since that time.

The Chrismon on the top of the Tree is a Crown. 

The Chrismons shown below are some of the symbols that are used on the Tree. 

You are invited to Celebrate the Christmas Season with us, at The Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity.  The Worship Schedule is:

Midweek Advent Service - Wednesday, December 19 at 7:00 P.M.
Sunday Worship Services - Sunday December 16 and 23 at 11:00 A.M.

Christmas Eve Candle Light Service Tuesday, December 24 at 5:00 P.M.

God's Blessings To You!!