Thursday, May 17, 2007

Incidentals to D Day

Incidentals to D Day, are important to me and should certainly be of necessary knowledge to the rest of us. There are some facts that are givens, and never mentioned.These facts are lost.Here are a few that I intend to save for us.
My Company, had a rainbow like arc, painted in bright royal blue, a 3/4 inch wide stripe, in the shape of ,the top half of a circle ,with a 7 inch diameter, and open at the base,on the front of our steel helmets. I never researched the the origin of the colors that were used but the 90th Division personnel had a yellowish, red stripe.therefore assuming them to be other than Brigade, Regimental or Army Corp identity. Some others on the beach had light blue, white, green or shades of red.
Officers had their Bars, Leafs, Eagles and Stars painted in White under this singular,upside down cup shape. These Commissioned IDs were hurriedly removed as soon as it was found to be detrimental to ones health.In addition, many Officers removed all their Brass insignia or wore them under their jackets,making saluting , almost improper. I never found out what the designated colors meant. I'm sure they were important to someone. My C.O. once said in passing, that if there was one thing he would like to know before he got out was, why the Stripe at all, when it had no meaning to anybody.

A few days before going up the gangplank of the SS Pickett we were issued Life Preserver Belts. What is unique about these belts is their adaptability. We found ourselves using them for everything except for "life saving".These contraptions, came in so handy, that in hindsight,
I have to smile whenever they come to mind. Their composition was a soft rubber and cloth combination with two parallel inflatable compartments 48 inches long and approximately 5 inches wide. The thickness being less than one inch made them very transportable.
They were fastened on ones waist, with an adjustable buckle and a couple of snaps.Inside an opening at one end of its length was a devise that punctured a couple of C.O. cartridges. When the carbon dioxide cylinders released their contents, the gas inflated the belt. It became extremely buoyant .Presto! A Life Preserver .
These CO cartridges and the belts could only be used once and then the whole thing was discarded.
That is, until necessity became the mother of invention.
Medics started using them, for making wounded more comfortable while and after they were treated. Even as they waited for transport, the belts added warmth for the injured men who were on the beach.
I recall,later on,there were trucks picking up the discards.These belts made, excellent pillows, and mattresses, and great cushioning in the bottom of your foxhole when you had an extended stay.
At this moment I need a breather.
I would like to get back to the main subject of the landings, if I may.
Bear with me for a few days and my experience at H Hour on June 6th will follow.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

re: "Paths of Glory" & "Private Ryan"

Thought about it for a short time, and posted the following in these broken segments, as I collected my feelings and memory of a this film, from a long while back.
I will not try to give a review of the Tom Hanks or the other characters performances, because I don't have the credentials for evaluating these.
I can just mention the movie was tolerable and very shallow with development of the Ryan character when they finally found him.
Why didn't Ryan tell us he was interested in finding out how this whole
effort came about and why, in detail.
How he felt, before he decided to sacrifice himself.
With his death, the mission was aborted, and enabled the movie to end on a patriotic note.
Personally, I like "Paths of Glory" with Kirk Douglas.
Made in 1957, about the antics of the French Brass and their relationship to their enlisted men in W.W.I. This feature is closer to the truth about
how wars are really fought, with guile, hidden culpability, and spin.
Only the bottom line in focus. Whatever went wrong, I wasn't at fault.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

" Private Ryan" Premise

"Private Ryan" was well done and a a little too high minded for for a war story.
After all, "stop what you are doing, Captain, take this detail and find this individual",so that we can console a grieving mother from more grief. Huh!High minded ? This guy they wanted, was not some Congressman's son. Just a man,son of a Gold star mother of which, there were thousands of.
I know it was done with the Sullivan brothers in the Navy when some idiot put all 4 brothers on the same ship that went down.
But that's the Navy,not the Army. It would have to be fictitious fiction to happen in the Army. I cannot imagine the repercussions if one was to ask for this type of request. It took them 5 weeks to find my Paybook. I think I'm getting the hang of this, Miselaineous.

Opinion on "Saving Private Ryan"

Private Ryan started off on the wrong foot for me because the plot concerned the preservation of some GI by some high "mucky muck"
in the Pentagon, for some high morality reason.
Immediately after the Captain and his detail get their assignment,
they are beyond the Allied front lines and plodding though an open field, with a full view of a wooded area 100 or so feet behind them in the camera shot, when they stop to get their bearings.
The Vertical White Stripe, painted on the back of every Officer's helmet, was the target of the day for the local sniper. Enlisted men, a Horizontal Stripe. They all still had stripes, even after they found Ryan,months later, when they got to the bridge.
We scraped off the paint at our first opportunity. Officers first, then us.

Positive aspect of "Private Ryan".

The easy going attitude of the combat veterans with their superiors
was interesting to me because of its reality.
First name basis and no saluting was essential for direct communication without making you feel like a whipped dog who was being punished for not doing anything wrong. We took our orders and carried them out,from
guys we trusted with our lives at times, and these guys knew we were dependable to a fault.
I can't tell you anything about the bloody landing on Omaha Beach
depicted in the movie, but some people think it was,too bloody.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Blog misconception

When I opened this Blog, I thought this was a way for me to inform
the curious about my experience.
I've been told that this is not how a blog works.

It seems that I should post something provocative to get a visitor
into some kind of dialogue of his or her choice.

If I knew how to do that, I would be publishing a book.
So, here I am.
How about flying our flags at half mast, all over the country, every day,
till the end of hostilities,for the brave men and women who die in Iraq
every single day!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Blog Reasoning

I created this Blog simply because I could.
I am very proud in acquiring minimal computer skills at my age and would like to share some of my old "fuddy duddy" views with anyone
willing to listen.
Hopefully I can hold the interest of any prospective Blogger, digging
for a look at the last 75 years of my opinion or recollection.

Important Issues

Important issues I would like to discuss are the following.Though not necessarily in the order of my concerned interests.
They are;
Political Spin
Media speculation on factual data.
Military corrosion,
Woman's rights,
American decline in manufacturing,

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

First response

Now, I have received my very first successful posted comment.
A lot of serious questions have been asked, that require a lot of serious answers
I want this Blog to be a place that Veterans and the public, find answers
to this historical event of the Utah Beach landings as perceived by one who was there.Your questions are welcomed and my response will be quickly, honestly and accurately reported.