Vindication for all the Dumb Blonde jokes: Blondes vs Brunettes
Blondes win, 36½ – 24½!Brains and Beauty!
Link isn’t working for me, but as a former brunette that is now a blonde I claim victory for both sides.
On the other hand, down in Texas recently, there was a well-attended “Powder Puff” football game to raise money for charity. Blondes vs Brunettes. The Brunettes won going away, with a great passing attack being the key factor. Of course, the real winners were the charity and all the “Bubbas” in the stands.
So, the BLONDES have the brains, and the Brunettes have the BRAWN?
Cathymac’s husband appears to have a two-fer package.
For lack of a better place and seeing that Memorial Day is coming, I would like to jump in here and present a story which involves three men who were a part of our family either by blood or through marriage. If Jack or Jacob wants to move this up to a separate Memorial Day thread, that is fine with me.
THREE BOYS FROM THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND WHO WENT DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS.
The first boy was named Ray. He was born on a farm in Illinois and then moved with his family to the Kansas City area. His father was a teamster and a laborer. They lived along the banks of the Missouri River.
Ray decided to join the US Navy in 1939, at a time when America was still at peace despite the clouds of war in Asia and Europe. He became a Navy coxswain, one of the crew who manned the small boats attached to Navy ships.
Ray was on duty one fine Sunday morning as his ship was tied up in the harbor, when out of the azure sky came a wave of death. That harbor was soon filled with smoke and flames and the sounds of bullets, torpedos, and bombs.
Ray never made it home to Mom and Dad after the war. He perished that Sunday morning with hundreds upon hundreds of his shipmates. All that is left of Ray is his name on a memorial to the lost. For, on that Sunday morning, Ray was a coxswain aboard the USS Arizona. He sleeps forever with many of his mates deep in the waters of a place called Pearl Harbor.
Not too distant from Ray at that moment in time was another boy named Albert. He lived not far from Ray in Kansas City with his widowed mother and his siblings. Albert also joined the US Navy in 1939 at the age of just 18 and became an electricians mate.
Albert was serving on that fateful Sunday morning aboard another battleship, the USS Nevada. Of World War I vintage, she was 583 feet long and 27,500 pounds of steel. The crew of the Nevada was fortunate that day. Their ship was moored away from the nest of battleships and was the only one with some freedom of maneuver. As that wave of death swept over Pearl, her engineers fired up the steam; and her captain headed her toward the channel, hoping to escape to the open sea. But the wave of death saw her and attacked. She took a torpedo and several bombs; and, by the time she could center her bow on the channel, she was a steel platform of smoke and fire. But her intrepid crew stuck to their guns and managed to down three of her tormentors.
The USS Nevada was in peril. Believing that, if she sank in the channel she would block in the entire fleet, Navy commanders ordered her captain to beach her in the harbor. So, she turned her great bow toward the shore, carrying the smoke and flames with her, still under ferocious attack. But her gunners never quit. Even as that great ship neared the mud of the shoreline, they managed to down four more of the attackers. But there she sat, a flaming hulk with her keel fastened tightly to the shoreline. Some say that she had been hit by as many as ten bombs in all.
Albert survived that day, although over 60 of his shipmates did not. He eventually came home to Mom, met the love of his life, married, raised a family, and finally passed away with the thoughts of that Sunday morning still firmly etched in his memory. He is buried in the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas. He was a proud member of the Survivors of Pearl Harbor.
And the USS Nevada? Well, sir, she also survived. They hauled her off the shore and eventually repaired and reoutfitted her. You could have seen her big guns at Attu in Alaska when that island was taken back from the Japanese. You could have seen her as she pounded the German defenses during the Normandy Landings. You could have seen her in the waters of southern France, where, some say, her big guns played a decisive role in obliterating the German shore defenses and facilitating the landings of the US and Free French armies. And you could have seen her at Okinawa in April 1945, when she battered the enemy strongholds, even while fighting off a kamikaze attack. She was a great ship. She earned 10 battle stars in that war.
Maybe Kenneth saw her at Okinawa. Kenneth is the third boy in our trio. He was a farmboy living a bit south of Kansas City. He joined the Navy later than the other two. His brother, Barney, had been killed while with the US Army in Europe. Kenneth was not at Pearl Harbor. He became a Fireman deployed aboard the USS Colhoun, a destroyer.
On 6 April 1945, the USS Colhoun was at the invasion of Okinawa, one of the last major stepping stones to the Japanese mainland. On that day, a sister ship, the USS Bush, came under attack from successive waves of kamikaze aircraft. The Colhoun sped to her rescue, being deliberately positioned between the Bush and the attackers. And then the kamikazes began to focus on the Colhoun.
The first attack was in a wave of four kamikazes. The Colhoun’s gunners sent three of those attackers into the sea. The fourth, however, smashed into the Colhoun’s 40mm gun, sending a wave of flaming wreckage across the ship’s deck. A bomb came loose, bounced across the deck, fell into the fire control area, and exploded. But, able to maintain power and shifting to emergency steering, the Colhoun fought on.
And then came the next attack, this time a trio of kamikazes. The Colhoun’s intrepid gunners managed to down two of them. The third? That one slammed into the starboard side of the beleaguered destroyer, gouging a huge hole below the waterline, cracking her keel, and piercing her boilers. And now the Colhoun was in dire distress.
When the third wave of attackers came, the Colhoun had little left in her. She had no power or steering. She was starting to list. But her gunners stayed at their posts, knowing that, without power, they would have to maneuver their guns manually. And they did. The third wave was another trio. Those amazing gunners shot down two of the attackers. But the third one managed to get through and and hit and destroyed the bridge of the ship.
And now the USS Colhoun was done. Sister ships finally arrived to rescue her, but all they could do was remove the remaining living and the wounded. 39 of her crew lay dead. They tried to tow her to Okinawa, but she was listing too much. So, they backed away, unlimbered their own guns, and sent that heroic ship to a watery grave in the Pacific.
In a small cemetery on a wind-swept prairie in Kansas are two grave markers. On one is written “Barney.” On the other is written “Kenneth.” But Kenneth is not there. Kenneth was never seen again after 6 April 1945. He was listed as missing in action,and his body was never found. He sleeps somewhere in the Pacific. His name is on a stone in that same memorial in Hawaii where one can find the name of Ray. That memorial to the forever lost.
This is a story of three American boys from the Heartland who went down to the sea in ships. Only one of them came home again. To you, the reader, I ask only that, on this Memorial Day, you remember that our freedom has come at a dear, dear cost — to our family many times over, and most probably to your own.
And to all those men and women who still go down to the sea in ships or fly the aircraft of the US Navy, this old hymn in the form of a prayer belongs in its spirit to you and to you only, no matter the particular religious faith you may practice.
“Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep,
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.”
Uh, before anybody might get the idea that the US Navy had an oversized canoe at Pearl Harbor, let me amend the previous post to state that the USS Nevada was 27,500 tons of steel, not pounds. Since I cannot edit from here, maybe Jack or Jacob could make that change?
Excellent story Wolverine. Reminds me of the Sullivan brothers from Iowa.
The USS Nevada wasn’t the only vessel to be courageously beached that infamous day. A repair ship the USS Vestal was moored along side or near the Arizona. When a fatal blast hit the Arizona the concussion literally blew the men off of the USS Vestal to include their Captain. Captain Cassin Young with great heroism swam back to his ship and going against orders to abandon ship, took the helm and got the flaming USS Vestal underway and grounded her, clearing her potential wreckage from the harbor and the channel.
Captain Young later died in battle commanding the USS San Francisco. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for that action.
A destroy was named after the captain. The USS Cassin Young. It is on display at the Boston Navy yard and is a fantastically restored and maintained example of a WWII warship.
I think folks these days have very little idea what happened back then, the perils we faced and the brave men we preserved freedom. Enjoy Memorial Day everyone.
You’re not going to believe this, BO; but, when the USS Colhoun had been reduced to a flaming hulk with a dangerous list and had to be “put down” at sea, the vessel called upon to put her down was another destroyer called the USS Cassin Young.
No sh*t! Poetic. Tragic.
Isn’t it, though? You are absolutely right about the late Captain Young. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Pearl Harbor. I understand that the explosion aboard the USS Arizona which killed our Ray and blew Young and his crew clean off the USS Vestal was so enormous that it momentarily snuffed out the fires aboard the Vestal herself.
It is May 21, 2013, 1:36 pm