Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fox kids

PopPop said to put up pictures of our kids, so here they are. Matthew just turned 14, and Jordan 12. Jordan played Mustardseed in our Tomahawk Creek Middle School's first ever play production. It was "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Some of you have read this account. The story has been on my mind today, so I thought it would make a timely posting.

On November 29, 1944, while we were performing radar picket duty in Leyte Gulf, a formation of six Japanese planes was sighted and fired upon. When the general quarters alarm sounded, I was sitting in the wardroom. I was supposed to eat dinner and then relieve the Junior Officer of the Deck on the bridge. So dinner would be delayed. I got up and went to my battle station below the main deck in the compartment that housed the computer which took signals from the gun director and converted that information into coordinates that aimed the five-inch guns.

I didn’t know what was happening when I went below. Maybe it was just some planes flying over on their way to other targets. But when the first plane’s bomb exploded off the port bow, the ship shook, and I knew we were under direct attack. Then I saw that the signals coming from the gun director indicated another plane approaching. All the guns were firing, and the range continued to close. I can still see the computer operator turning the knobs and matching dials to send the signals that aimed the guns. That second plane was making its run, approaching from the stern, fishtailing back and forth to avoid gunfire. Hit several times, it was burning as it passed over the stern. It almost overshot its target because of the ships maneuvers. But one of the wings hit a mast guy wire and the starboard wing of the bridge, causing it to careen in and down. It crashed into the ship, and a bomb exploded.

I still didn’t know just exactly what happened, but soon found out. I was on the same telephone circuit with Bob Cousins, the gunnery officer in the director and Jim Hahn, another assistant gunnery officer on the flying bridge. I remember Bob saying, “My God, Murph, flames are shooting out of Gun 2 fifty feet in the air.” I heard nothing from Jim. He had been hit by a bomb fragment.

The next few seconds were tense for those of us in the plotting room. We knew flames were shooting out of one of the forward 5-inch guns, and we knew that the handling rooms and magazines under those guns were loaded with ammunition and were not too far forward and below us. So we knew if the flames got to the magazines, the bow would probably be blown off, and the ship would sink rapidly. But the steel casements surrounding the hoists that carried the ammunition from the magazines to the guns were supposed to be flame-proof – and they were.

The next concern was whether more planes would attack. None did, and we wondered what it was like up on the decks above. Bob Cousins filled me in as best he could, but he couldn’t see everything from his station. At one point he remembered looking down onto the flying bridge and seeing Jim lying there looking up at him with no expression on his face. Someone had already given him morphine, and he didn’t appear to be in pain. He died of his wounds just a short time later.

Casualties were heavy among the forty millimeter gun crews and on the bridge and flying bridge. Bomb fragments penetrated the # 2 five inch gun house and exploded a shell inside. All the men in the gun house and the handling room beneath it were killed by the flames and force of the explosion.

Thirty-one men were killed, one was listed as missing and sixty-five were wounded. One of the most seriously hurt was the doctor. His battle station was in the wardroom where I had been sitting when general quarters sounded. The starboard bulkhead of the compartment had been blown in, and tables and chairs were in shambles. It was not a good place to be, and the doctor, who was one of my roommates, never had the chance to carry out his mission to help others.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Our deal with the farm is off...I am sad but relieved because of the REASON. We finally had an inspection that showed THOUSANDS of dollars in damage...specifically structural and water damage.

We are disappointed but at the same time SO thankful for inspections. Emma (who HATES change) was relieved and later said "Well, you really don't need a new house when you already have one." I asked her what she meant since we don't have a new house. She said "Well Nonnie and Pop (that's what she calls mom and dad) have one." I said, "Yes, honey, but we don't LIVE with Nonnie and Pop so it isn' t the same!" She said, "Well, we can just enjoy theirs."

O.k! Lesson in contentment!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mom and I had our "Thanksgiving Meal" together at 5:30. Don't know why it was scheduled for the 19th, but for most Courtyard residents there were two seatings in the dining room, one at 5:00 and the second at 6:00. Neither time would work for me, so I asked if I could have my dinner delivered with Mom's. That worked OK, but several times she looked over at my food - I guess because it looked a lot different from her pureed helpings. I scraped the filling from my pumpkin pie crust and gave it to her.

I wrote last time about a new resident in the 600 corridor and how the first couple days were difficult for her and the staff, but she had calmed down considerably - under the influence, I assume, of some medication. Also that her situation is similar to Mom's in that she had been sharing an apartment with her husband, and he now lives in the Courtyards. If he has visited her, it's not been anytime I've been around. Based on some things I've heard her say about wanting to go home etc. I would guess that visits from him or one or more of her daughters could be upsetting for her as well as for her visitors. I'm thankful that we never had to deal with that. Actually, I hum and sing parts of "September Song" to myself as I enter and leave Mom's room. Don't know how familiar you are with the song, but you can search the title and go to a video of Jimmy Durante singing it. You can also hear Frank Sinatra and Ezio Pinza - even for comic relief, Jack Benny playing it on Liberace's show. But Jimmy's version is the one I like - he puts a lot more meaning into the ending words, ". . . these few precious days I'll spend with you. These precious days I'll spend with you."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Marine Corps Law Enforcement Gala

Maureen and I attended the black tie Marine Corps Law Enforcement gala last night. This organization started in the 90s to raise money for scholarships for the children of fallen Marines and law enforcement personnel. They have also provided support to the children of military members killed on 911 at the Pentagon, the USS Cole, and the AF personnel killed at the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

To date they have given $37 million to these recipients.

Pictured are a cross section of the military. First there is me for the AF who has been retired for 15+years. On the left is Navy Captain Cline. He is the commander at Willow Grove Naval Air Station north of Philadelphia. He will be retiring next September. In between us is Army 2nd Lt Ferry who was just commissioned last June. He is currently serving in the ROTC detachment at Drexel University but will soon leave to join an infantry company.

The speaker last night was Lt Gen Coleman, Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps (top picture center). 4 Medal of Honor winners were also honored. All were Marines from the Vietnam war. Most of the brass from the Philadelphia Police Department were also in attendance along with officers from the department Highway Patrol and numerous South Jersey police departments.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall in Tennessee

Hi everyone! I love reading updates on everyone! I want to see more grandkid pictures (Eileen!)

Here are some fall pictures and a give away on what we'll use on our Christmas cards. We are all doing well. We are in negotiations for a small farm. We are VERY excited but cautious too as the house was built in 1920 and this is our third attempt (coming Wednesday) at an inspection. Is anything ever easy?? :) I'll keep everyone updated on what happens!

Friday, November 7, 2008

School Photos

First grade and day care photos of Shawn, Melanie, and Danny.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Eileen, John, and Anya visited Nate and Heather in Oklahoma last weekend, so Steve and I drove down to meet them. We had a great time, but unfortunately, John and Eileen came down with some kind of bug on Saturday, and Nate didn't feel well. But we enjoyed the time that we did have. Little Jackson and Ethan are adorable! And Anya turned sweet 16 while we were there - how time flies!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We are having a stretch of beautiful Indian Summer here. I've been taking Mom outside after lunch. One day we stopped by my room. I wanted her to see the bright orange leaves on the tree outside my window. We also looked at the pictures on the desk. I couldn't tell if there was any special reaction or sign of recall. There is a new resident in the 600 corridor. The first couple days were difficult for her and the staff, but she has calmed down considerably - under the influence, I assume, of some medication. Her situation is similar to Mom's. She had been sharing an apartment with her husband, and he now lives in the Courtyards. I don't know what apartment he's in and don't know if he has been to see her in 600. If he has, it's not been at or around mealtime.

I'm glad the election is over. I don't have the TV on very much, so wasn't bombarded by commercials to a great extent. I hope Obama means some of comments he has made - that he realizes millions didn't vote for him. Don't know if George W. ever said that (even though more voted for Gore in 2000), but I think I'm like many - tired of the partisan conflict and hoping for more cooperation in Washington.