Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pearl Harbor and the Fiddler Crab Flu

In case you have been wondering where I have been for the past month, it has been crazy. In mid-November, Rising Sun, Falling Skies was due to the printer, so we had to make the final edits to the text and finish up the maps. We got it turned in on time, and the book is on schedule for its March 2014 release. Just as I turned that in, I got what I think was the flu. Since nowadays every strain of influenza has to be named after an animal, I'm calling it the Fiddler Crab Flu. Because why not? It rendered me literally unable to get out of bed for an entire weekend, then left me with among other things, a shattering cough that destroyed my voice and my ability to sleep. I am still not quite recovered from that. On top of all this, my laptop, from which I do most of my blogging, is dying. It's only ten years old. So I've been struggling to get anything posted. So if some of this post seems a bit dated, you know why.

In the interim we have had, inter alia the anniversary of both the disappearance of Flight 19 in the Atlantic off the Florida coast in 1945 and, obviously, the Pearl Harbor anniversary. The December 7 edition of "Civil Discourse Now" discussed Pearl Harbor, with me as a guest. You can listen to the podcast -- and my shattered voice -- here. In my Veterans Day Post, I shared a picture of the attack by the Japanese Kido Butai on Pearl Harbor. I want to show that picture again, because I want to point out an often overlooked detail.

Look at the far right at the very edge of the picture. Maybe about 40% of the way up. You should see what looks like something poking its nose into the picture. Entering it at maybe a 45-60-degree angle from the horizontal.

We talk about the USS Arizona and her horrific destruction when her forward magazines exploded. And she gets most of the attention. What is often lost in the equation is the sinking of the battleship USS Oklahoma. Disemboweled by Japanese aerial torpedo hits, she capsized and sank into the mud at Pearl Harbor. For her crew trapped below decks almost upside down, it must have been horrific. Most died of suffocation before rescue crews could cut their way through the hull to them.

That angled thing at the right edge of the picture is the mainmast of the Oklahoma in the midst of her capsize. It's one of the few images of any kind of her sinking.

Please do not forget her or her crew.

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