Putting down the cell phone

Discussion in 'Quackenbush's' started by Crockett, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. Crockett

    Crockett 5,000+ Posts

    I needed breakfast and stopped into a fast food place one morning this week. I noticed most folks 60 and younger were, like me, looking at their cell phones as they sipped coffee and ate scambled eggs. As I looked up I saw a elderly man in a cap indicating he'd served at Midway in 1942. I've read books about the battle and watched the movie Midway a half dozen times, and spoken with a guy who served on the Hornet during that battle. But I never knowingly encountered with a Midway island defender.

    I picked up my sausage biscuit, move to the table next to his and asked if he participated in the battle.
    He said he'd been a Marine there and had been preparing for the Japanese onslaught for about a month. Told me something I didn't know -- that Midway was a sand island and many Japanese bombs did little damage because they penetrated the sand and exploded underground -- much less damaging than if they had exploded on the surface as intended. He was grateful for the US Navy sinking three Japanese carriers before the bombers could rearm and come back. We didn't even talk about the impending invasion force ... which had to have been a terrifying prospect. He said the movie was a pretty accurate depiction of what happened.

    We visited for maybe 5 minutes. I thanked him for his service. Nothing on the internet or my inbox could have been so worthwhile.
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  2. nashhorn

    nashhorn 1,000+ Posts

    Nice Crockett, real nice!
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Crockett

    Crockett 5,000+ Posts

    I stopped into the same McDonalds this morning and by luck had a chance to spend a few more minutes with the Midway Veteran. I asked what he expected if the US Navy hadn't sunk the Japanese Carriers. "I wouldn't be here." he told me. The Japanese troops in the invasion force would have outnumbered the Midway island Marines by about 7-1. What defenses enemy aircraft hadn't destroyed before the "Main Force" arrived would have been subjected to naval bombardment from Japanese Capital ships including the Yamoto, a ship he said could hurl 18-inch shells 25 miles. He said Midway was barely a mile wide and there were few natural barriers. He said he owes his life to the code breakers, whose deciphering of intercepted messages allowed US carriers to surprise the Japanese.
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