Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
At Sea With The Navy
The other day, I happened upon "Mister Roberts" on TCM and, of course, watched it. It is, after all, a classic and one of my many favorite films. And one of the many films which likely influenced my decision to enlist in the Navy some years later. It painted a somewhat false picture of the Navy at war.
The cast of the film is filled with great actors, both headliners and character actors of great renown. In the film, Henry Fonda's character (the title role of Mister Roberts) wants desperately to get into the action, to fight, to be on a fighting ship (he is on a Navy cargo ship) and is being frustrated in his desire by the captain (played by Jimmy Cagney), a vain and foolish man the crew has come to despise.
Mister Roberts, toward the end of the movie, finally gets his wish and is transferred to a destroyer which ends up headed to Okinawa just before the invasion of that island.
I know someone who was aboard a ship, an oiler I believe, in that battle. He says little about it except that it was incredibly frightening and loud and chaotic.
Mister Roberts, we learn at the end of the movie, is killed by a Kamikaze while having coffee with another officer in the wardroom. Not exactly the heroic death one might have expected. But, in war, you rarely get to choose the way you die.
I also watched a show that was about the Navy during WWII on the Military History Channel. It caused me to recall my time in the Navy and my war, one not so glorious or righteous. The nasty, seemingly endless, war called Vietnam.
I served on a destroyer, the Brinkley Bass DD-887, from July 1966 to October 1969. We made two WesPac tours during that time and we spent a total of 12 months in the Tonkin Gulf; 5 months on the first tour and 7 months on the second.
I realized something while watching the show about the Navy in WWII... I had it easy. We were never attacked, never shot at (though it was claimed at one point that we were), and faced no enemy action. I was as safe as I had ever been, safer than periods in my pre-Navy days, perhaps. To this day, I do not know how I would have behaved if I had had to face the kind of danger sailors faced during WWII. I can only hope that I would have done my job and not panicked and failed my shipmates.
I did not enlist so I could fight; I enlisted because I loved the sea, liked the uniform, feared the draft, and was bored and unhappy with my life at the time.