Tuesday, October 09, 2007

His War, My War

Last weekend Skychick and I saw the Blue Angels perform over San Francisco Bay again, but this time we watched them from the middle of The Bay aboard the World War II transport ship the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien. Watching the air show from that perspective, on that ship, was nothing short of fucking awesome.

Trivia: The O'Brien is the only surviving ship from the 6,900 ship armada that stormed Normandy on D-Day. WOW.

Yes, yes the Blue Angels are a sexy recruiting tool for the Navy and the military industrial establishment is bullshit... but it annoys me that certain special interest Hippie Shit groups can't simply appreciate the history and skill displayed by these pilots. They fly their jets in formation as close as 18 INCHES apart.. 18 FUCKING INCHES! I can't cut a 6 inch straight line with a pair of scissors. Whatever... I've loved watching the Blue Angels perform since I was a little kid.

Program from Air Show '77
Moffett Field, Mt. View, CA - July 1977
(From the Umlaut Archives)

The Summer of '77 sure was badass; my Summer of Star Wars, KISS, and the Blue Angels! Growing up in Sunnyvale, CA meant my parents' house was only 5 miles from Moffett Field, which meant when the Blue Angels made their annual visit we had easy access to them. During their runs the jets would blast directly over my house! Pretty cool, right?

Trivia: The Blue Angels started visiting Moffett Field in the 1950's and continued to perform there until 1992. Ironically, 1992 also marked when Umlaut started his stint working at Moffett Field. Irony!

Whenever I see the Blue Angels perform, I think of my Dad. He couldn't make it to see them with me this year due to scheduling commitments. He's still a busy guy!

Yes, my Dad and I butted heads quite a bit when I was a teenager, but he was the person who gave me an appreciation of History and who created my inner World War 2 Geek. In 1945, as soon as he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy because he wanted to contribute to the war effort. He was 17 years old and initially stationed aboard the battleship USS Maryland.

Trivia: Prior to my dad signing up, the Maryland was a survivor of Pearl Harbor and had participated in major battles, including Saipan, Leyte Gulf, and Okinawa. The ship was hit twice by kamikaze planes in 1944-45.

Later, my dad was stationed on a submarine chaser, the PC-1080 nicknamed Hell Hornet, and was steaming towards Japan when the A-bombs were dropped. It's certain that my dad would have seen combat if the invasion of Japan had gone as planned. I'm sure my dad wishes he had been older and participated in combat, but fate only had him old enough to be in the wartime Navy for the Summer of '45... but he served his country. Of course, if he had seen combat there's a chance I might not be here typing this. I chew on that sometimes.

At 17-years old my Dad left his small Central California hometown and found himself on a warship during The War. My late uncle once said that my Dad left home for the Navy as a boy and came back a man. When I was 17-years old I was listening to Heavy Metal bands thinking METAL was my war... and I still live my life in a state of retarded maturity.

My Dad is a badass Chink.