Monday, May 26, 2008

Shines the name, shines the name

There seem to be few songs that celebrate individual or small groups of real soldiers or sailors. There is of course "The Sinking of the Reuben James", there is also the "Ballad of Ira Hayes", but that is really something different. And then there is the "Ballad of Roger Young", Roger Young and the Ballad are familiar to ever reader of Heinlein, of course, but he like so many heroes have otherwise slowly fallen into anonymity.

From his Medal of Honor citation (courtesy of Wikipedia)

On July 31, 1943, the infantry company of which Pvt. Young was a member, was ordered to make a limited withdrawal from the battle line in order to adjust the battalion's position for the night. At this time, Pvt. Young's platoon was engaged with the enemy in a dense jungle where observation was very limited. The platoon suddenly was pinned down by intense fire from a Japanese machine gun concealed on higher ground only 75 yards (69 m) away. The initial burst wounded Pvt. Young. As the platoon started to obey the order to withdraw, Pvt. Young called out that he could see the enemy emplacement, whereupon he started creeping toward it. Another burst from the machine gun wounded him the second time. Despite the wounds, he continued his heroic advance, attracting enemy fire and answering with rifle fire. When he was close enough to his objective, he began throwing hand grenades, and while doing so was hit again and killed. Pvt. Young's bold action in closing with this Japanese pillbox and thus diverting its fire, permitted his platoon to disengage itself, without loss, and was responsible for several enemy casualties.

What were their names.

Happy Memorial Day.

The USS Reuben James was the first United States Navy ship lost during World War II. It was named for Reuben James, a US Navy sailor who distinguished himself during the First Barbary War, in part by saving Steven Decatur's life during the burning of the USS Philadelphia.

Have you heard of the ship called the good Reuben James,
Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and of fame?
She flew the Stars and Stripes of the Land of the Free,
But tonight she's in her grave at the bottom of the sea.

Tell me what were their names, tell me what were their names,
Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?
What were their names, tell me what were their names?
Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?

One hundred men were drowned in that dark watery grave;
When that good ship went down, only forty-four were saved.
'Twas the last day of October we saved the forty-four
From the cold icy waters off that cold Iceland shore.

It was there in the dark of that uncertain night
That we watched for the U-boats and waited for a fight.
Then a whine and a rock and a great explosion roared
And they laid the Reuben James on that cold ocean floor.

Now tonight there are lights in our country so bright
On the farms and in the cities they're telling of the fight.
And now our mighty battleships will steam the bounding main
And remember the name of the good Reuben James.

-Woody Guthrie

The officers and men lost on the USS Reuben James, October 31, 1941.

John Francis Bauer Jr., Chief Radioman, USNR
Harold Hamner Beasley , Seaman first class, USN
James Mead Belden, Lieutenant, USNR
James Franklin Benson, Machinist's Mate second class, USN
Joseph Peter Biehl, Seaman second class, USN
Paul Rogers Boynton, Yeoman first class, USN
Harold Lelie Britt, Coxswain, USN
Herbert Ralph Burrell, Seaman second class, USN
Hartwell Lee Byrd, Seaman first class, USN
Leftwich Erastus Carbaugh, Jr., Fireman first class, USN
Joseph James Varuso, Radioman second class, USN
James Brantley Clark, Fire Controlman second class, USN
Raymond Cook, Mess Attendant first class, USN
Carl Eugene Cooperrider, Gunner's Mate third class, USN
Lawrence Randall Cosgrove, Gunner's Mate second class, USN
Alton Adelbert Cousins , Cheif Machinist's Mate (PA), U.S.N.R.,
Charles Beacon Cox, Chief Torpedoman (AA), USN
Dennis Howard Daniel, Yeoman third class, USN
John Justus Daub, Lieutenant (junior grade), USN
Lawrence Delaney Devereau, Chief Boatswain's Mate (PA), U.S.N.R.
Leonidas Camden Dickerson, Jr., Storekeeper third class, USN
Gilbert Joseph Doiron, Water Tender first class, USN
Karl Lee Drinkwalter, Seaman first class, USN
Nebraska Dunston, Mess Attennndant third class, USN
Corbon Dyson, Radioman third class, USN
Heywood Lane Edwards, Lieutenant Commander, USN (Commanding)
Gene Guy Evans, Boilermaker second class, USN
Linn Stewart Evans, Fire Controlman third class, USN
Carlyle Chester Everett, Fireman second class, USN
Edwin Louis Farley, Seaman first class, USN
John Joseph Fitzgerald, Quartermaster third class, USN
William Aloysius Flynn, Torpedoman second class, USN
Hartley Hardy Franks, Ship's Cook second class, USN
Ralph George French, Chief Commissary Steward, USN
Lester Carson Gaskins, Machinist's Mate first class, USN
Benjamin Ghetzler, Lieutenant, USN
John Calvin Greer, Chief Electrician's Mate (PA), USN
Ernest Dwane Grey, Jr., Seaman second class, USN
Arthur Raymond Griffin, Signalman second class, USN
Donald Knapp Gunn, Seaman second class, USN
Charles Waldon Harris, Seaman second class, USN
Charles Chester Hayes, Seaman second class, USN
William Henry Henniger, Gunner's Mate first class, USN
Francis Robert Hogan, Gunners' Mate third class, USN
Hugh House, Gunner's Mate third class, USN
Maurice Woodrow Hudlin, Fireman first class, USN
Joseph Johnson, Mess Attendant first class, USN
Dewey George Johnston, Lieutenant, USN
Glen W. Jones, Chief Quartermaster (PA), USN
Anthony J., Kalanta Boatswain's Mate second class, USN
Leonard A. Keever Chief Machinist's Mate (PA), USNR
Ralph W.H. Kloepper, Signalman third class, Class V-3, USNR
Joseph Gustave Little, Seaman first class, USN
Paul L. Magaris, Radioman first class, USN
William James McKeever, Sean second class, USN
Windell Harmon Merrell, Fireman second class, USN
Auburn F. Merritt, Seaman second class, USN
Gerald Edward Mills, Seaman second class, Class V-1, USNR
Albert J. Mondouk, Chief Water Tender (PA), USNR
Edgar W. Musslewhite, Machinist's Mate first class, USN
Kenneth Cecil Neely, Seaman second class, USN
Aldon W., Neptune Seaman first class, USN
William Harding Newton, Yeoman third class, USN
Harold J. Orange, Seaman second class, USN
Pedro Ortizuela, Officer's Cook first class, USN
Benjamin T. Owen, Seaman first class, USN
William H. Painter, Seaman first class, USN
Joseph J. Parkin, Chief Water Tender (PA), USN
William N. Paterson , Coxswain, USN
Burl G. Pennington, Quartermaster second class, USN
Joseph C. Polizzi, Seaman first class, USN
Corwin D. Porter, Seaman first class, USN
Frederick R. Post, Boatswain's Mate first class, USN
Lee P. Powell, Pharmacist's Mate first class, USN
Elmer R. Rayhill, Seaman second class, USN
Lee Louis N. Reid, Torpedoman first class, Class V-6, USNR
John R. Ress, Seaman first class, USN
James W. Rogers, Seaman first class, USN
John J. Ryan, Jr., Coxswain, USN
Clarence Rygwelski, Seaman second class, USN
Edward Peter Saltis, Boatswain's Mate first class, USN
Eugene Schlotthauer, Chief Water Tender (AA), USN
Sunny J. Settle, Seaman first class, USN
Walter Sorensen, Gunner's Mate third class, USN
Wallace L. Sowers, Seaman second class, USN
Craig Spowers, Ensign, USN
Anthony Gedminus Stankus, Seaman second class, USN
Jerome Stelmach, Seaman first class, USN
Wilton L. Taylor, Fireman first class, USN
George F. Towers, Chief Gunner's Mate (AA), USN
Lewis Aubrey Turner, Signalman third class, USN
Loyd Z. Voiles, Seaman first class, USN
Harold M. Vore, Fireman first class, USN
Howard Voyer Wade, Ensign, USNR
Jesse Weaver, Seaman first class, USN
Chester L. Welch, Fireman second class, USN
Kenneth R. Wharton, Fire Controlman first class, USNR
George Woody, Jr., Seaman first class, USN
Edwin E. Wray, Seaman first class, USN

Thanks to my brother.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The irony of the internet.

On my music blog, I posted about a couple songs on shipwrecks, specifically "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot and the "The Sinking of the Reuben James" by Woody Guthrie. In light of the "What were their names, What were their names" chorus of the "Reuben James", I initially wanted to include list of the names of the men lost on both ships. However, a Google search failed to turn a list of the names of the men lost on the Reuben James, but it did turn up a list of the names of the men on U-Boat 552, the German submarine that sank the USS Reuben James.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bag of guns

Another tale from the surgery department of the big-city trauma center.

No story that begins, "My buddy brought over this bag of guns." is going to end well.

He survived.

Stupid Names

One of the joys of working in medicine or any other field in which you see many peoples' names, is the opportunity to see truly stupid names people inflict upon their children. For years I thought that the winner was the two separate women my wife found when working for the state Tax Commission named Aquaneta. But we have a new winner. This is, sadly, third hand so it is beginning to rise to the level of urban legend.

One of our fine CRNA's at work tells the story from his days in anesthesia school. It seems that one of his colleagues had child patient. Paperwork had his name as "Liam". No problem, Lee-Um, nice Irish name. Anesthesia student goes into room and starts the usual routine, "What is little Lee-Um having done today?" Cold response from mother "His name is "Yum". "Oh, I'm sorry, we have his name as Liam." "It's pronounced Yum." I'm going to interject here that this family were white. I only mention this because some of the transliteration schemes for Asian and African languages can lead to surprising pronunciations. That's not in play here. Back to the story. Stunned silence. "OK, I'm just curious, how do get "Yum" out of L-I-A-M?" "He's named after his father......William."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hot chicks with guns

One of the medical blogs I read, M.D.O.D. is written by several ER docs. One of them is vacationing in Israel. He seems to be have made a hobby of taking pictures of attractive young female IDF members and including the pictures in his blog entries. Just because. He doesn't really talk about them, he just puts the pictures in.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tulsa before the railroad: Taylor Postoak Home

One of my original ideas in setting up this is blog is that I would talk about Tulsa's architectural history. So far I have done nothing on that. Here is a start. I want to examine some of the evidence for buildings in the Tulsa area prior to the arrival of the railroad. The pictures below were taken from the Beryl Ford Collection, provided online courtesy of the Tulsa City County Library.

Modern Tulsa got its start with the arrival of the railroad in 1882. Tulsa was initially the terminus of the railroad and loading point for cattle driven up from Texas. A small town quickly grew up around the rail station.

Tulsa's history, however, did not begin then. Plains Indians had, particularly the Osage and Wichita lived in the area for centuries before 1882. Folsom points have been found in the area. The areas architectural history started with the arrival of the Creeks in the 1830s. The Lochapoka Creek set up a traditional Creek village centered around a square near present day 18th and Cincinnati. The American Civil War was disastrous for the Creek tribe, as it became a Creek Civil War as well. The Lochapoka village was burned and the inhabitants were driven away, into Kansas. After the war ended, the villagers returned, but they did not rebuild the village. Instead they built scattered cabins and houses. Very little remains from this period.

Below is one of the photographs of buildings from this period in and around Tulsa.

According to the Beryl Ford collection, this is the Taylor Postoak home in about 1865. It was located about 1 mile south of the current site of Rader Juvenile Detention Center, on the south side of the Arkansas River. According to an interview with his son, Lincoln Postoak, Taylor was a full blood Creek who was removed to Oklahoma from the East and who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Lincoln was born in 1868, so the if the date on the picture is correct, he is not one of the children in this picture. The children are identified as great granddaughters Bessie and Amy Fife with their father Soda Fife. I, however, have doubts about the date of the picture. Most of the homes in the area were burned during the Civil War. This is an awfully substantial house to have been built in the few months after the war ended. Note that the leaves are still on the trees so this was taken in the summer or very early fall. This photo is surely from at least few years later. The problem is according to Lincoln, by 1868 the family had moved to the vicinity of Coweta.

Regardless of date and identity, this a well built house with clapboard siding of at least two rooms. It is built on a cut stone foundation. The shingle covered roof incorporates the large front porch. The tree and the horse in the foreground block what appears to be a smaller log cabin with a stone chimney. Foliage is visible between and behind the two houses, so these two buildings are not connected. You can't tell what is behind the clapboard, but the Will Rogers Birthplace has similar clapboard siding on a log cabin (see image below). According to the Beryl Ford collection, the Postoak home later burned.

Yet another blog.

I started yet another blog. This one is basically masturbatory exercise. (Not that any other blog isn't). This one will consist of links to and my commentary on music I like for various reasons. I don't expect anyone to be too interested. It is over there.