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In this, the 80th anniversary month of the start of WW2, I’ve been led to think about how rare and exceptional in human history are our present (Western) days. Preview Open
Here’s a picture of my parents, far right, in 1944-1945. They met when my Dad studied for a semester at the University of Michigan in 1943. Dad then was offered a job at the Naval Research Lab when he worked from 1943-1980.
He started working on the space program in 1952 and eventually invented GPS. Mom moved to DC a year later when she joined the WAVES (it was not a coincidence that Dad was working there). Just to the left of my Dad is future Nobel Laureate in Physics Philip Anderson who worked at NRL during WW2.
This is the first of two essays of which I mean to deliver myself, concerning American Christians at war. I’m enough of a movie critic to raise an eyebrow when people start saying Christian things in stories. It’s pretty rare; it occurs usually in period pieces. I’ve a few things to say about this that you […]
The conversation you will find below started in Mr. Aaron Miller’s fun discussion of games & therefore I felt it should be taken out, because it’s ugly stuff. The book is, I believe, a must-read for people interested in American war & modern warfare. I expect more than a few people here on Ricochet have read […]
My father, who died in his seventies back in 1996, served during most of the Second World War aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Taney, now one of the half dozen ships preserved as floating museums in Baltimore Harbor. I only asked him about the War a few times. He just didn’t like to talk about it. He told a few funny stories readily enough — once when the Taney was in port in San Diego, he and a shipmate hopped from the deck onto the dock, then strolled off to spend the day enjoying themselves, but when they returned that evening they found that the tide had come in, lifting the deck far above their heads, and the only way they could get back aboard was by hauling themselves up the ratlines. But talk about combat? The warfare part of the War? All I ever got out of him was a story about Okinawa.
He was on deck one day as an American plane approached a nearby aircraft carrier, preparing to land. Although the Navy issued its pilots frequent new approach patterns, my father explained — they had to make it impossible for the Japanese to use captured American aircraft to stage kamikaze attacks — and this pilot was using the wrong pattern. How my father knew this, I can no longer recall — were all the ships able to listen in to a single radio frequency? — but he described a long several minutes as the entire American fleet seemed to freeze, silent, as the aircraft carrier signaled to the pilot again and again to correct his approach … and finally shot him down. “We never learned what had happened,” my father said, “but you couldn’t get the idea out of your mind that it was one of our guys who just got confused. It made us all sick to our stomachs.”
One story, and that was about it.