The Bow Ramp

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Marc Lee Memorial Services III

12:30 pm. After screening the mourners from the morons, we (the various counter protesters) were invited inside for the service. We've stepped out a little early to take up station again, but I don't see the Phelps group.

Update: I was told that the Phelps group packed up and was driven by limo back to Portland soon after we went inside.

The service was very nice. There were several hundred people in attendance. There was an Army Color Guard and a Navy Honor Guard. Marc was buried earlier this month at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetary in San Diego. It says something about Marc and his family that he was buried there in such good company, rather than in his home town. Afterwards, we (those who had come to block the Phelps crowd) formed a flag lined corridor between the entrance of the building and the parking lot when the mourners left. All of the family members came by and personaly thanked each of us. Two other ladies who came and thanked us were relatives of Marc's wounded team member. The woman who was standing next to me (who seemed to be one of the motorcyclists) pointed out an elderly mourner being helped into the limo. She told me that the man was one of the Flying Tigers of WW II fame. I then discovered that the woman lived about 30 miles from me in Independance, Oregon and that her own son had been killed in Iraq. He had been a Blackhawk pilot. She has been assisting the families of other Oregonians killed or wounded. My hat is off to her. It has to be gut wrenching every time she attends one of these services.

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I Spoke Too Soon

Well, the vermin have shownup.

Only four of them so far.

Update: All in all, I think there were a total of 6. Not sure because I had my back to them for most of the time. Now that I have experienced it in person, I can only agree with Smash and Blackfive. These people are in it for the money as well as publicity. Mrs. Phelps (the attorney) was walking back and forth behind our line taunting us with the most vile personal slurs. Her words were obviously intended to goad people into assaulting her. If the average Vietnam vet was anywhere as close to being as out-of-control as the urban legends would have it, she would have been beaten to death. I could almost hear the teeth grinding over the sounds of the motorcycle and the bagpipe we were using to drown out their chanting. This is a fine example of why the legal "profession" is held in such low esteem. Why in the world hasn't this harpy been disbarred? Free speech is one thing, but to purposly take advantage of it to incite violence so that you can sue for damages is unethical at the very least. I understand that groups tend to protect their own; but this sort of behavior really crosses the line. Kansas Bar Association -- grow a pair and get rid of this woman. She is an embarrasment to every lawyer in America.

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Marc Lee Memorial Services II

10:15 am The Patriot Riders are arriving en masse.

Over 100 of them. Lots of other folks arriving as well. The services are being held at the Hood River Expo Center. No sign of Phelp's group. I hope they are no-shows.

Update: The actual head count of Patriot Riders was 68.

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Marc Lee Memorial Services I

Patriot Guards
It is about 9:15 am and I have arrived in Hood River. Here is a photo of the first few Patriot Guards to arrive for the funeral.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Guns, Guns, Guns

As promised earlier, here is some Gun Pr0n for John and the gang at Castle Argghhh!!! from my trip to Charleston.
Click on the links for hi-res versions.
First off, in honor of the work John did on the twin 40mm mounts aboard the USS John Rodgers/BAM Cuitlahuac, here are some quad 40's.

This quad 40mm mount was originally aboard the USS Franklin (CV-13). It currently is exibited aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at Patriots Point in Charleston, SC

Next up, something "Old School"

This is a 13" coastal defense mortar from the Civil War.

Now, how about a Dahlgren gun from the same era.

Finally, here is a 15" Rodman located at Fort Sumter. This was the largest gun used in combat during the Civil War.

Role Reversal

On the way home tonight, I got to thinking that there seems to be an odd sort of role reversal regarding actual behavior vs. stereotyped behavior of the political Right and Left.

The folks on the Left frequently portray themselves as logical, enlightened, evolutionists, while to them; the poor benighted fools of the Right are just a bunch of moralistic, ignorant, Bible-thumpers. Not that this is actually the case, its just the impression one gets reading all those posters at the anti-war protests (twice a week in front of the courthouse -- rain or shine) in my little slice of Heaven.

So how do many of the folks on the Left wish to deal with terrorism?
Turn the other cheek
Love thy neighbor
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
Thou shall't not kill
Sounds like a Sunday school lesson doesn't it.

Meanwhile, many on the Right (especially those in the military)think thusly about the GWOT.
Clash of civilizations
Nuke 'em 'till they glow, then shoot 'em in the dark (my personal favorite from many years in the past)
Barbarians at the gate
Do unto others before they do unto you
Gee, pretty hard-headed, pragmatic, survival of the fitest sort of attitude. Darwin would be pleased.

Now obviously, the above is mostly just a bunch of crap, and should not be taken seriously. Yet, I have a sneaking hunch that there is just a little bit of truth buried in there as well, and I hope it might lead my one or two readers into some beneficial thinking about how we each make generalizations.

I guess the thing that set me off is that I hate slogans. Slogans are just spoon-fed generalizations; which means they have very little to do with our real, messy, complex world. Thats why you will never see a bumper sticker on my car. If I'm going to make a fool of myself exercising my right of free speech, I prefer to do it with my own words, not someone else's.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I thought I woud be blogging up a storm while at my Navy reunion, but it turned out that I could never tear myself away from my shipmates long enough to do justice to anything I thought about to post. I did make one attempt at the beginning though. I thought I'd try an experiment of uploading a hi-res photo from my Treo. I swapped the memory card in the Treo with the one from my digital camera and tried posting some comments and four, 1MB photos. All it managed to do was hang up the Treo. Oh well, leason learned. From now on, only crappy lo-res photo posting from my PDA.
The reunion was a resounding successs though. Even though it was over 100 degrees out, we had a great time on the tours and I even managed to sneak in some time to visit the Coast Guard station here for a little busman's holiday. Best of all was, of course, catching up with all my old shipmates and their families.
Unfortunatly, old age and our past sins are starting to catch up with us. We've suffered a couple of deaths this last year. A few others were not able to attend because of health issues. Worst of all, one of my good friends was just diagnosed with lung cancer a couple of days before the reunion. Its bad enough thinking about your own mortality when you're young and death seems problematical. Now-a-days, I keep getting my nose rubbed in it!
Sheesh! Enough with the navel gazing. Our Saturday night banquet was really great and featured a wonderful Elvis act. Pictures will be forthcoming in a day or two -- including lots of Gun Pron for the Castle gang.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I've landed and checked into my hotel room. Met with our association president and filled the 'ol tank. Now I'm enjoying a cervesa in a salute to the armorer's fine work down in Mexico (as good of an excuse as any.)

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Onward to Charleston
The flight to Houston went very well. Upon arriving at George Bush Airport, I slogged over to terminal B for my next flight. Terminal B is the cattle car terminal. Despite the sardine can feeling in the waiting room, I have to say that things went pretty smoothly and the Continental Airlines personnel have been very nice and quite efficient. I don't fly often enough to really amass an opinion about which airline is best, but I'm a happy traveler today. Hopefully the good times will continue to roll for the rest of the day.
This will be the eighth Patrol Gunboat reunion I have attended in as many years. I have only missed the first one in '98 (they hadn't found me yet.) It is great to get together with such a wonderful group of people. The lovely Mrs. 74 is quite upset about not going this year. Every year we go to a different location around the country. This means that there a core group of us that vacation together every year and quite a few drop-ins who live nearby and either can't afford the recurring travel, or can't get the time off. So far, its worked out well.

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On The Plane
I had just enough time to finish posting one of John's communiques from Mexico when it was time to board my flight. I'm bound for Charleston, SC via Houston for my annual Navy reunion. As usual these days, the plane is full. Unusually for me, I didn't bring a book to read -- so I'm going to blog a bit on my Treo and post this when I hit the ground in Houston.
My lovely wife can't make it to the reunion this year, so I'll be "batching it" for a few days. Also this year I'm arriving a day early to help set up. As I've written earlier, Dave Donaldson our association historian died a while back and I've been filling in temporarily. Last week, I shipped a case full of material to the hotel and I'm also lugging some more stuff with me today. Dave always did a great job of putting up and displaying our momentos. My efforts won't be nearly as good, but it should be adequate.
A couple of days ago, I received some emails from my old shipmate Manoog Kaprilian. He won't make it this year. He moved to Armenia a while back. It was great to hear from him though. "Kappy" and I were steaming buddies aboard the USS Antelope. For you non-Navy types, it means we were best friends and spent a lot of time watching each other's back on liberty -- sort of like a battle buddy only in a non-combat environment. :-) I hope to be posting a lot from the reunion and maybe Manoog can have a virtual experience.

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Finally made it out of the Sargasso Sea

Well, John has completed his trip to Mexico and is home resting. On the ohter hand, I have been off the air the last three days preping for my trip. It is about 5:30 am at the Portland airport and I am trying to catch up with John's previous posts. As usual, I am quoting his complete post and hosting the pictures on my own server to avoid sucking his bandwidth. Please however, visit his site at Castle Argghhh!!!for other great content

Today, we'll be documenting her condition in detail to start generating the shipyard work orders to restore her to her WWII configuration.
My piece of all this, the armament, is in great shape, so today we'll be dismounting and disassembling her 20mm guns. She has four, one mostly complete, and three in varying stages of cannibalization.
So, mostly today what I'll be doing is stripping stuff from the Gearing-class that sits next to her - the one destined to be a reef in November - for stuff we can use on the Rodgers (we need four watertight doors, for example) and stuff we can bring home for trading material.
And mebbe something that will fit in my luggage...
Say hello to our Pretty Woman from a different perspective than yesterday:

And for you Destroyer aficionadoes out there - hi-res (right click and save as, please)
More to come. I'll have to tell you about my romantic walk along the beach with a Mexican Admiral...