Category: Good News for a change!
From the Feral Irishman: “The Magic Carpet Ride”
Returning the troops home after WWII was a daunting task
The Magic Carpet that flew everyone home.
The U.S. military experienced an unimaginable increase during World War II.
In 1939, there were 334,000 servicemen, not counting the Coast Guard.
In 1945, there were over 12 million, including the Coast Guard.
At the end of the war, over 8 million of these men and women were scattered overseas in Europe, the Pacific and Asia. Shipping them out wasn’t a particular problem but getting them home was a massive logistical headache.
The problem didn’t come as a surprise, as Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall had already established committees to address the issue in 1943.
Soldiers returning home on the USS General Harry Taylor in August 1945
When Germany fell in May 1945, the U.S. Navy was still busy fighting in the
Pacific and couldn’t assist.
The job of transporting 3 million men home fell to the Army and the Merchant Marine.
300 Victory and Liberty cargo ships were converted to troop transports for the task.
During the war, 148,000 troops crossed the Atlantic west to east each month;
the rush home ramped this up to 435,000 a month over 14 months.
Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard the USS Intrepid
In October 1945, with the war in Asia also over, the Navy started chipping in,
converting all available vessels to transport duty.
On smaller ships like destroyers, capable of carrying perhaps 300 men,
soldiers were told to hang their hammocks in whatever nook and cranny they could find.
Carriers were particularly useful, as their large open hangar decks could house 3,000
or more troops in relative comfort, with bunks, sometimes in stacks of five welded
or bolted in place.
Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant
The Navy wasn’t picky, though: cruisers, battleships, hospital ships,
even LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) were packed full of men yearning for home.
Two British ocean liners under American control, the RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth,
had already served as troop transports before and continued to do so during the operation,
each capable of carrying up to 15,000 people at a time, though their normal,
peacetime capacity was less than 2,200.
Twenty-nine ships were dedicated to transporting war brides:
women married to American soldiers during the war.
Troops performing a lifeboat drill onboard the Queen Mary in December 1944,
before Operation Magic Carpet
The Japanese surrender in August 1945 came none too soon,
but it put an extra burden on Operation Magic Carpet.
The war in Asia had been expected to go well into 1946 and the Navy and
the War Shipping Administration were hard-pressed to bring home all
the soldiers who now had to get home earlier than anticipated.
The transports carrying them also had to collect numerous POWs
from recently liberated Japanese camps, many of whom suffered
from malnutrition and illness
U.S. soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps
The time to get home depended a lot on the circumstances. USS Lake Champlain,
a brand new Essex-class carrier that arrived too late for the war,
could cross the Atlantic and take 3,300 troops home a little under 4 days and 8 hours.
Meanwhile, troops going home from Australia or India would sometimes spend
months on slower vessels.
Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation
There was enormous pressure on the operation to bring home as many men
as possible by Christmas 1945
Therefore, a sub-operation, Operation Santa Claus, was dedicated to the purpose.
Due to storms at sea and an overabundance of soldiers eligible for return home,
however, Santa Claus could only return a fraction in time and still not quite home
but at least to American soil.
The nation’s transportation network was overloaded:
trains heading west from the East Coast were on average 6 hours behind schedule
and trains heading east from the West Coast were twice that late.
The crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga.
The USS Saratoga transported home a total of 29,204 servicemen during Operation Magic Carpet,
more than any other ship.
Many freshly discharged men found themselves stuck in separation centers
but faced an outpouring of love and friendliness from the locals.
Many townsfolk took in freshly arrived troops and invited them to Christmas dinner
in their homes.
Still others gave their train tickets to soldiers and still others organized quick parties
at local train stations for men on layover.
A Los Angeles taxi driver took six soldiers all the way to Chicago;
another took another carload of men to Manhattan, the Bronx, Pittsburgh,
Long Island, Buffalo and New Hampshire.
Neither of the drivers accepted a fare beyond the cost of gas.
Overjoyed troops returning home on the battleship USS Texas
All in all, though, the Christmas deadline proved untenable.
The last 29 troop transports, carrying some 200,000 men from the
China-India-Burma theater, arrived to America in April 1946,
bringing Operation Magic Carpet to an end,
though an additional 127,000 soldiers still took until September
to return home and finally lay down the burden of war.
Just because, NSFW
My Gentle Readers, Frankly this has been one of my better DVD buys lately. In that it was so refreshing to go back to a time.
When the Land abounded in adults and even during a horrible Civil War. They were some giants walking the land & because of their guidance. Made us the Last Great Hope of Man.
‘I’ll Never Be the Same’: My Ukrainian Wife’s First Trip to the United States
By the size of its economy, or the strength of its military?
By the height of its city skylines, or the audacity of the moon landings?
Perhaps, by the heroism of the Marines who landed on Iwo Jima, or of the Army soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach?
Maybe. But America’s greatness is not always measured like in the movies or a campaign speech. Sometimes, an anonymous act of gratitude is proof enough, even if we, as Americans, don’t always see it that way.
In August, my wife, Lilya, and I were at dinner in Geyserville, California, with my younger brother, Drew, and his girlfriend, Gabrielle.
We’d been wine tasting all afternoon and had rounded off the day with a few cocktails to boot. Feeling a bit loosened up, my brother and I, as is our habit, slipped into a familiar topic of conversation—the war in Afghanistan.
You see, both Drew and I are U.S. military veterans. And, naturally, we get to talking about our wartime experiences whenever we’re together. Often a bit too loudly, as Lilya and Gabrielle gently suggested on that night in Geyserville.
In any case, as we wrapped up dinner and asked for the check, the waitress informed us that someone had already paid our bill. We asked who this person was, but he or she had already left, the waitress explained.
“They asked me to tell you, ‘Thank you for your service,’” she said.
My brother and I were speechless. It is, after all, all too easy to assume the country has moved on and forgotten about our wars when so many of the things that divide us seem to occupy so much of the news.
On the walk back to the hotel that night, my wife, who is Ukrainian, told me, “I’m so shocked and impressed. I’ve never seen such a kind gesture by a stranger. It was magnificent.”
I was moved by the gesture, too. But it wasn’t the first time someone in America had bought me a drink for being a veteran. What I didn’t immediately understand is that from my wife’s point of view, it was a singularly unprecedented, characteristically American, display of gratitude.
A week later, Lilya and I were having a drink at a bar in my hometown of Sarasota, Florida. We chatted with the barman and it came up that I was a former Air Force pilot and a war correspondent.
When it was time to square up the tab, the barman said with a smile that he wouldn’t take my money.
“Thank you for your service,” he simply explained.
On our way out the door, my wife stopped, took my hand, turned to me, and said, “This is the greatest country in the world.”
Love and War
In the summer of 2014, I left for Ukraine to report on the war, thinking I’d be gone for only two weeks. More than four years later, the war isn’t over and I still live in Ukraine. Most importantly, I’m now married to Lilya.
In August, Lilya and I traveled across the United States on our honeymoon. It was her first trip to America. For my part, I’d spent only a handful of weeks in the U.S. since I first left for Ukraine in 2014. So, this trip was a homecoming of sorts for me, as well as a chance to take stock of how much America had changed in the years I’ve been away.
You, dear reader, surely understand all the challenges facing our country. You’re likely bombarded with reminders of these challenges each time you go online or turn on your TV.
Yet, I want to share with you a perspective of your country that might be as foreign to you as the conflicts on which I’ve reported. It’s the perspective of my wife—a 22-year-old Ukrainian woman who was born in the shadow of the Soviet Union and spent most of her young life amid the backdrop of revolutions and war.
Despite all the broken dreams in her country, Lilya, like so many Ukrainians of her generation, possesses a clear vision of the life she wants and deserves. And you, dear reader, are already living it.
When the jet broke through the clouds and out the window we saw the lights of the New York City skyline, Lilya smiled and said, “This is the dream of all my life.”
We started in New York City. Despite my best efforts not to, I wept at ground zero, remembering things from my youth I don’t often revisit. Like watching on TV as the towers fell during a morning class at the Air Force Academy. I was only 19, but I understood what that day meant for my future.
We marveled at the skyscrapers in New York and Chicago, and we visited all of Washington, D.C.’s monuments. Later, under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, we visited the Air Force Academy, my alma mater.
I won’t lie, I bursted with pride to show Lilya that place.
We walked across the terrazzo—the academy’s massive central courtyard—and Lilya shook her head in disbelief at the spectacle of the freshmen (known as doolies) who ran along the marble strips, dutifully stopping to recite volumes of memorized knowledge at the upper class cadets’ behests.
At the academy’s War Memorial—a black stone monument to graduates who fell in battle—I took a quiet moment alone and ran my fingers across the freshly engraved names of remembered faces.
During our visit, I was honored with the opportunity to speak to a couple classes, as well as with the faculty, to share my wartime experiences. During one classroom session, the professor put Lilya on the spot and asked for her impression of America.
Impromptu public speaking in a foreign language isn’t easy. But she nailed it.
Without missing a beat, Lilya replied: “This is the greatest country in the world. But most Americans don’t know it.”
From Colorado we flew to Phoenix and drove across the desert to the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas. In California, we visited Hollywood, drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, hiked in the redwood forests, and enjoyed wine country to its fullest. We doubled back across the country to Florida and toured the Kennedy Space Center, where we saw the Space Shuttle Atlantis and a Saturn V moon rocket.
In the end, we traveled from sea to shining sea and concluded our journey in Sarasota, where Lilya met my 93-year-old grandmother, Joan, for the first time.
As they held hands and chatted, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that we were able to find a way to America while there was still time. And while more than 70 years separated their lives, I also observed a special bond between my wife and grandmother.
They both possess a unique appreciation for life’s little pleasures. And for good reason. My grandmother has lived through the Great Depression, wars, and societal upheavals. For her part, my young wife has already lived through two revolutions and a war.
Of course, you don’t have to endure such historic challenges to appreciate life’s blessings. But, I must say, it’s all too easy to misjudge the gravity of life’s problems when you’re used to peace and prosperity—after all, there’s no microaggression, no trigger, no slur or verbal insult that could ever compare with the impartial brutalities of revolution and war.
The truth is, every American, each and every one of us, is privileged. We’re privileged because we are American.
If you don’t think so then lift your eyes to the horizon, over which exists a world where the overwhelming majority of humanity does not enjoy the self-evident entitlements we so flippantly take for granted—things like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The more cynical among us will likely roll their eyes at the preceding sentence, writing it off as overwrought jingoism. But when hardship and war comprise your daily reality, you don’t take America’s greatness lightly, or for granted.
Whether we want it or not, we Americans have inherited an awesome responsibility. We are the caretakers of the promise of democracy for people around the world who yearn for it.
Of course, we’re not the only democracy in the world. But I’ve seen firsthand how the ideal of American democracy stands alone in the eyes of Ukraine’s soldiers, the Kurds in Iraq, or even octogenarian Tibetan freedom fighters. For them, America symbolizes a dream worth fighting for.
I was proudest of my homeland when I showed it to my wife for the first time and saw her eyes illuminate in witness of a dream foretold. I also silently hoped that America wouldn’t let her down.
Yes, we may fail in our time to realize the promise of our founding for every American.
Yet, despite the long shadow of our past sins and the gravity of our contemporary shortcomings, we haven’t quit yet and better make sure we never do.
Because the world is always watching us. Always. And there are plenty of dark forces in this world held at bay by the simple fact that America is still a dream worth fighting for.
Yes, we aren’t perfect. But if not us then who?
The front lines against tyranny aren’t always found on the battlefields against goose-stepping armies. Sometimes, that battle is won at the dinner table, in a classroom, in a random encounter on the sidewalk, or even in a Facebook post.
Sometimes, victory is measured by the courage to show decency and respect and to find common purpose with someone with whom you share nothing in common except for being American.
After everything I’ve seen, I still believe that if the better angels of our nature win in America, then they will win everywhere. The world is watching us, remember.
So, how do you measure America’s greatness?
My wife saw our moon rockets and our skyscrapers and our monuments and our natural wonders. Yet, in the end, what impressed her most were those unnecessary and unsolicited acts of thanksgiving for my military service by total strangers.
“I never thought that random people would be so kind to strangers just because they respect them,” Lilya told me. “America really is the greatest country on earth.”
She paused for a beat and then added, “This trip changed the way I see everything, and I’ll never be the same.”
I bet that is not a cheap hunt! Grumpy
Read more: https://www.ammoland.com/2018/10/knife-owners-protection-act-federal-switchblade-act-repeal-introduced-in-senate/#ixzz5UPFL7SIE Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Follow us: @Ammoland on Twitter | Ammoland on Facebook Knife Owners’ Protection Act & Federal Switchblade Act Repeal Introduced in Senate Ammoland Inc. by Ammoland
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) has introduced S.3264, the Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2018 (KOPA) including repeal of the Federal Switchblade Act. This is a companion to the House KOPA bill, H.R.84, introduced last year. Originally conceived and authored by Knife Rights in 2010 and first introduced in 2013, KOPA will remove the irrational restrictions on interstate trade in automatic knives that are legal to one degree or another in 44 states, while also protecting the right of knife owners to travel throughout the U.S. without fear of prosecution under the myriad patchwork of state and local knife laws.
Sen. Wicker said, “I am pleased to introduce the Knife Owners Protection Act. This legislation would provide law-abiding knife owners the appropriate protection when transporting knives across state lines. It would also repeal the antiquated Federal Switchblade Act. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to advance this sensible policy for knife owners”
Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “We are proud to have Senator Wicker leading the KOPA effort in the Senate, a bill that will actually protect traveling knife owners and repeal the archaic and useless Federal Switchblade Act. It is clear that Senator Wicker understands the plight of knife owners placed in legal jeopardy by the patchwork of knife laws they encounter traveling in America.”
Unlike S.1092, the problematic and seriously inadequate Interstate Transport Act that was recently marked up in committee and which is being promoted by one segment of the industry, S.3264 and H.R. 84 include a robust Right of Action that would actually provide real protections for knife owners that need these protections the most.
We need your help to gain additional co-sponsors. Please call or email your Senators and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation.
A Right of Action provides for persons unlawfully detained for transporting their knives properly secured in compliance with the act to seek financial compensation from a jurisdiction that ignores the intent of Congress to protect these travels. Without a strong right of action, there is no deterrent—biased and rogue jurisdictions like New York and New Jersey would have no incentive to follow the law. In a state like New Jersey, where knife law offences are felonies, it is especially critical to dissuade them from prosecuting law-abiding citizens.
Lacking a Right of Action, acting with impunity, without fear of any meaningful recourse from their law-abiding victims, these rogue jurisdictions will further persecute citizens who attempt to defend themselves from illegal, and unjust or misguided enforcement actions. A robust right of action holds jurisdictions financially accountable if they willfully ignore the law. A strong right of action causes jurisdictions to consider these adverse repercussions before they arrest or prosecute an individual that is protected under the act.
Ritter said, “ignoring the unfortunate lessons of the past and passing a knife transport bill without a robust right of action would be unconscionable and an extraordinary disservice to knife owners and the entire knife community. KOPA’s right of action provides the teeth needed to actually give real protection to knife owners.”
Ritter added, “The Federal Switchblade Act was an asinine idea when it was passed in 1958 in a wave of Hollywood-inspired politically motivated hysteria and has only become more irrelevant as time has passed. The majority of states have always allowed switchblade possession and with Knife Rights’ repeal of switchblade bans in 15 states in the past eight years, more than four-fifths of the states now allow switchblade possession to one degree or another. It is way past time to repeal this law that only serves to interfere with lawful trade and commerce.”
A FAQ on KOPA with additional details and background can be found at: www.KnifeRights.org/KOPAFAQ2017.pdf
We need your help to gain additional co-sponsors. Please call or email your Senators and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation. PLEASE use the EMAIL A FRIEND option after you email or call to ask your friends to support this effort!
You can use Knife Rights Legislative Action Center to easily email Congress: CLICK HERE to email your Senators and Representative.
Or, CLICK HERE to locate your Senators’ and Representative’ phone numbers. We have included a call script to make it easy.
About Knife Rights :
Knife Rights (www.KnifeRights.org) is America’s Grassroots Knife Owners Organization, working towards a Sharper Future for all knife owners. Knife Rights is dedicated to providing knife owners an effective voice in public policy. Become a Knife Rights member and make a contribution to support the fight for your knife rights. Visit www.kniferights.org