Book Updates!!!

First, thanks to those that purchased Rimworld- Into the Green, and thanks for the reveiws.  One reviewer pointed out there is a discrepancy with some formatting of text colors, and I’ve fixed that. It appears a random switch from black to dark grey occurred on some pages, somewhere in the process of uploading the book, and converting it from paperback to Kindle.

My apologies to all those who’ve dealt with this. The corrected copy should be up tomorrow.

On The Grey Man #5, I continue to make progress, and another tease for you… As usual, stream of consciousness, unedited…

Grinding Through

Jesse huffed, blew a stray strand of hair away from her face, and picked up the next batch of papers El Paso PD had forwarded from Deen’s apartment. Bank statement, bank statement, water bill, electric, internet… Oh, wait. Phone bill. She deposited the bank statements and other bills in one of the piles on the conference table, picked up her coffee cup and headed back to the kitchen. Taking the last cup, she grumbled, “He who takes the last cup, makes the new pot. Why, do I always seem to get the last cup?” Digging around in the cabinet, she found a can of Folgers and filters, setting them on the counter, she dumped the old grounds in the trash, put the new filter full of coffee in the brewer, and hit the brew button.

She checked her watch, groaned, and steeled herself to go back to the paperwork battle. When she walked back into the conference room, Matt was sitting on the other side of the table, smiling. “What are you so happy about,” she grumbled.

“Broke the code on the phone. It was Deen’s TPO employee number. I’ve got at least forty incoming and, so far, twenty outgoing calls, and a few SMS messages, but all those look work related.”

“I’m glad somebody is getting something done. Came up cold on the banking info. His checks are direct deposit by TPO, and all of the deposits are from TPO. They match his payroll records, and his withdrawals are all at a branch that was a block from his apartment. I called the branch and they knew him. Seems like his big withdrawals were always just before he went back in the field. Other than that, he used his debit card at the grocery, the cleaners, and that’s about it.”

Matt nodded, “Ties in with what Owens told us.”

“Did the Rangers get anything off his home computer?”

“Nope, he apparently seldom used it. Most of the emails were from the company, a couple from an old military buddy, and two from that cousin we identified, Harber? No, Haber. She was bugging him to come see her, which she’d already told us when we did the phone interview, remember? No real media presence, one dormant Facebook account, one old Yahoo email, and one work email was it.”

“Oh, right. She was his emergency contact at TPO. Gah, now I know why I never did a murder investigation. This is a PITA! This is what, the fourth shift that we’ve worked on this background stuff.” Sliding the report across the table, she said, “Here’s the autopsy. Death by gunshot. One hollow-point forty-five round, Speer Gold Dot. Fired at less than a foot, upward angle, approximately thirty degrees. Powder residue on his shirt, along with stippling from the unburned powder. Round clipped the aorta, causing Mr. Deen to bleed out in less than a minute. Possible defensive wound, powder residue on the left palm, but not definitive.”

Matt replied somberly, “It’s not fun, but it’s necessary. At least we’re getting help from the Rangers and El Paso PD, otherwise we’d be driving all over hell and gone. And don’t forget, we’ve got to be back down at TPO thirty-seven this afternoon. Owens is going to meet us there with one of Deen’s friends.”

Jesse sighed, “One of his few friends. That must have been one lonely man. Parents all dead, no brothers or sisters, the one cousin that seems to be his only family point of contact. Ex-wife hasn’t seen him or talked to him in over ten years, no kids. He really didn’t have anybody, other than Owens that he appears to have ever talked to.”

“Apparently, quite a few oil field folks are loners, guess this is one more proof of that. What did you find on the bank stuff?”

Jesse handed her notes across, “So far, one checking account, eighteen thousand in it. One savings account, one hundred thirty thousand in that one. TPO HR, grudgingly mind you, did admit he was in the four-oh-one K, with slightly over four hundred thousand in it.”

“Huh, not a big spender in the last fifteen years, then. Apparently, at one time, he was a boozer and a fighter. He had an arrest record going back to the mid-eighties for fighting and two arrests for drunk and disorderly. Owens confirmed those, and I think Owens was probably with him, or at least I got a sense of that. The stopping point for both of those appears to have been his divorce, nothing after that.”

Jesse cocked her head, “Get anything off his personal cell?”

Matt grimaced, “Nope. Calls to and from Owens. One call a month ago to his cousin. A string of texts, but they were all work related. One text from his cousin, something about a family reunion, never even answered it. Only four numbers in his contact list. Owens, his cousin, TPO Operations, and his bank. That was it.” Waving a sheet of notes, he said, “El Paso PD came up dry too. Neighbors knew him to wave and say hi, but that was it. Bar around the corner recognized him, but said he only drank cokes and watched college football. Pretty much a dry hole there too.”

“Wow, so he really was a loner.” Jesse glanced at the clock on the wall, “Well, better pack this up, we need to head out to the patch.” She started putting the spread out paperwork back into file folders, as Matt put his sheets back in the evidence bags with the respective phones.

***

They pulled into TPO 37’s rig a little after lunch, with Matt backing the Tahoe in next to Owen’s truck. Owens leaned against the front fender, somberly watching them, as they got out. “Afternoon, Deputies.”

Jesse took the lead, “Good afternoon, Mr. Owens. Thank you for…”

Owens interrupted, “It’s Jim. And I was wondering… Well, have you found anything?”

Matt shook his head, as he watched a middle aged Hispanic walking toward them, “Nothing that is any different than what you told us, sir. I still need the unlock code for the Iridium though.”

Owens smacked his head, “Ah crap. I thought I gave that to you, It’s the numerics for TPO Ops.” Pulling his phone out, he read off, “Eight, seven, six, six, seven, seven. TPO Ops.”

Matt nodded, “Thanks.”

Owens turned to the Hispanic, “Jesus, the deputies would like to talk to you about Rick.”

By unspoken agreement, Matt stuck out his hand, “Thank you for coming out to talk to us. I’m Deputy Carter, this is Deputy Miller. And you are?”

Shaking Matt’s hand he answered, “Jesus Garcia. I worked with Rick and the rest of the boys for the last six years.”

“The rest of the boys?”

Jesus answered, “Si,” waving at the other men moving around on the rig, he continued, “We all work together. Same, same people, six year now.”

Matt whistled, “Damn, isn’t that kind of unusual?”

Jesus grimaced, “We… We are all, how you say, recovering.”

“Recovering?”

“Mostly booze. Jason, drugs. Danny, booze and drugs. We keep each other sober. Nobody else wants to work with us. Fine by us. Is quiet, and we get job done.”

“How long did you know Mr. Deen?”

Jesus thought for a moment, “Probably fifteen year. I fight him once on a rig. He beat some sense into me.”

“What about the others?”

“Probably close to ten year. Jim, he put us together six year ago. Call us his go-to crew. We get hard jobs, don’t screw up.”

Matt questioned him for another fifteen minutes, then asked, “Did you know or work with anybody that rode a motorcycle, anybody that got fired lately, that might have blamed Deen?”

Jesus shook his head, “No. We don’t know who get fired. We work together. Not pay attention to other crews.”

***

Two hours later, they were both sweating but had completed the interviews with all of the crew on the rig. Jesse turned to Matt, “Now what?”

Matt shrugged, “Good question. Nobody knows anybody that rides a motorcycle, and this crew obviously got along. Doesn’t seem like anybody had problems with Deen, in or out of the company. Let’s go back and I’ll pull the data from the Iridium, and we’ll go see your Grandpa.”

“Sounds good to me, I need some A/C about now. You know we probably should have used their office to do the interviews, right?”

Matt shook his head, “Nope. No telling who would have listened, or even tried to record it. This way, we had them out in the open and they didn’t get a chance to compare answers. Let’s go find Mr. Owens and get out of here.”

They trudged slowly over to the rig office, and found Owens on the phone, obviously not happy, “I don’t care what you have to do, I need two more guys for forty-four, and I need them by tomorrow! If you can’t get ‘em, I’ll pull these guys off thirty-seven and send them up there.” They heard a mumbled response and Owens started to slam the phone down, but stopped and put it very gently back in the cradle. “What can I help y’all with now?”

Jesse replied, “Nothing, sir. Just wanted to let you know we are done. Still wondering if anybody rides a motorcycle that might have interacted with Mr. Deen.”

Owens threw up his hands, “Beats the hell outta me. Only thing I can do is ask ops if anybody that works on the yard rides one. That would be the only other place he might have known somebody that rode one.”

“We’d appreciate that, sir. Sorry we took up so much of your time.”

Owens waved them off, “Not your fault, you’re doing the best you can, it’s just that I’m short people, and HR is screwing around with the hiring. I need people now, not in two weeks!”

Matt said, “Good luck with that, we’ll go through the Iridium phone, and I should be able to release that back to you next week.”

As they started for the door, Owens asked softly, “Anything on the equipment or the truck?”

Matt and Jesse glanced at each other, and Matt replied, “Nothing that we are aware of. It’s like everything disappeared into thin air.”

Owens huffed, “Probably went across the border then. Well, that’s why the company has insurance, I guess.”

***

A half hour later, cups of coffee in hand, they were camped in the old man’s office, waiting for him to get out of a meeting with the sheriff. Yogi was sitting with his head on Jesse’s leg, as she petted him distractedly, while she and Matt played 20 questions over what they had and hadn’t found. Matt finished his notes on the Iridium, shook his head and disgustedly shoved it back in the evidence envelope, “Nothing. All work numbers, both incoming and outgoing, except a nine one dial at nineteen thirty on the… Shit! We’ve got a time for the murder, if I’m right. I wonder if he was trying to dial nine one one?”

Jesse sat forward, “How does that factor in with what Doc estimated was the time of death?” Jesse opened her notes, searched for a minute and said excitedly, “That’s in the window!”

The old man came in, asking, “What’s in the window?”

Matt and Jesse both tried to answer, and Matt finally said, “Found a nine one dial at nineteen thirty on the Iridium that fits with the date of the murder and might give us the time of the attack, if I’m right. I think he might have been trying to dial nine one one.”

The old man sat slowly in his chair, “What makes you think that? And where would a nine one one call go from an Iridium?”

Matt replied, “In the US, it would actually connect to nine one one. I know that for a fact.”

The old man cocked his head, “How?”

“I’ve used one before for an emergency evac during an exercise.”

“Okay, what else do you have?”

Jesse started the review of the paper and bank records, Matt did the phones and what had come in from El Paso PD, and they laid out the timeline they had come up with, based on the phone data, interviews, and personal connections from all the data.

The old man didn’t say much, wrote a couple of notes and grunted a couple of times, but let them get all the way to the end.

“So, we have a spent Speer Gold Dot shell case, which means the perp didn’t take the time to pick it up, or didn’t bother looking. That might correlate with the nineteen thirty attempt at nine one one, it was, no never mind. Sun would have still been pretty high, so that doesn’t work. Interviews with the crew didn’t turn up any problems, nor did the El Paso PD canvass. In other words, what you’re saying is we have an unknown perp, maybe riding a Harley, or some type of road bike, who may or may not have ridden through an open gate, and murdered one Rick Deen.”

Jesse slumped, “That’s pretty much what we came up with Papa. And he’s a… was a loner.”

The old man reached for the phone, set it in the middle of the desk, hit speaker and dialed Clay’s cell. Three rings later, they heard a tinny, “John?”

“Clay, this is John, with Jesse and Matt. Want to chat about the Deen investigation.”

“Standby. They heard a click and a pop, then an even tinnier reply, “Okay, I’ve got Levi on here with us. You want to start?”

Matt and Jesse ran through their respective findings yet again, with Clay and Levi asking the occasional question. After they finished, Clay added, “Had CBP pull the tapes for the southbound lanes, three trucks matched your stolen truck, two with US plates that went down and back, and one with a Mexican border zone plate. It got flagged for no windshield sticker, but the driver claimed he’d taken it to the dealer for a new windshield and transmission work, so they let him go. That might have been your truck. Or it might have been stripped and parted out. Either way, its disappeared. Same, same on the computers. Nothing’s shown up in any pawn shops. Considering those are oil field computers, our IT guys in the JOIC[1], they may have been sold to somebody looking to see if they can get any industrial data on TPO’s operations or procedures.”

The old man said, “So dead ends?”

“Pretty much. And the Fibbies came back with the same thing you did on the motorcycle tread. Generic Avon Cobra tire, which fits most of the touring bikes. The oil patch was Mobil One, twenty W fifty. Again, generic to most touring bikes.

Jesse said, “We did ask about other people that might have ridden a motorcycle and work at TPO.”

Levi replied, “Good thinking. I’m pretty sure Deen did spend time at Ops. We’ll send you what we have, and we’d appreciate your forwarding what you’ve documented, too.”

Matt and Jesse chorused, “We’ll do that.”

“Okay, talk to y’all later. John, give me a call tonight.”

“Will do.” The old man punched off the speaker, “This one isn’t going well.” Holding up his hands he said, “Not your fault. Just too many missing pieces. Y’all go write up what you’ve got and we’ll keep pluggin’ on it, for what that’s worth.”  Matt and Jesse gathered up their papers, silently left the office, and started looking for open computers they could use to finish their documentation.
[1] Joint Operations Intelligence Center

TBT…

One more WWII video, although this one is actually a mix of actual and CGI, and has been around for a while.

The USS Laffey, DD724, was named in honor of LAFFEY (DD-459), sunk during the Naval Battle for Guadalcanal (13 November 1942). She not only participated in the D-Day landings, she also served in the late Pacific portion of the war, including the run up to the Japanese mainland.

While operating off Okinawa,  on April 16, 1945,  she was attacked by 22 Japanese bombers and Kamikaze killing 32 and wounding 71 of the 336-man crew. The heroic crew shot down 9 Kamikaze aircraft and saved the damaged ship earning her the nickname: “The Ship That Would Not Die.”

She, like many ships that have been in battles and lost shipmates, is haunted. Period, end of subject.

 

This video portrays some of that action, including actual video from the Navy Combat Camera crew that were aboard her.

In 1981, she was moved to Patriot’s Point, joining the Yorktown, the Clagamore, and now a Vietnam area.

If you’ve never been down there, it’s definitely worth the trip and a full day to see the museum. Patriot’s Point is located at the foot of the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, SC.

All of the ships there are maintained by volunteers, and those volunteers are quite the story in and of themselves.

Gun sales slump???

Not so much…

Gun purchase background checks soared to a record for the month of May, snapping a five-month streak of year-over-year declines since President Trump was elected, and suggesting the demand for guns is once again picking up amid world tumult.

More than 1.9 million checks were run through the federal government’s database in May, which is an increase of about 70,000 from the previous May.

Full article, HERE.

And something ‘different’ from Minnisota…

High school trap shooting teams are expanding!

He didn’t say that it’s the fastest-growing high school sport in the state, with more participants than hockey.

He didn’t explain that the sport is co-ed, or that it is safe, with no concussions or torn-up knees.

All he could shout, in the middle of a Tartan High School practice, was, “It’s growing because people realize that it’s awesome!”

His 23-shooter team is one of 343 teams statewide, and evidence of the booming popularity of the sport. The Minnesota Clay Target League, which manages teams and tournaments, is only 9 years old and already has 11,000 participants.

Full article HERE, and that, to me is a positive step! The more young people that get into the sport, the more safe gun handlers we have in the younger generations, and they have no fear of guns, nor are they inclined to be anti-gun…

Now if this would just spread to the blue states… sigh…

The Battle of Midway, day 4…

The 6th of June continued the Battle of Midway…

At 0510, Enterprise launched 18 SBDs (Scout Bomber- Douglas) – including planes from VS-6, VB-3, and the five Hornet SBDs – to search westward out to 200 miles. At 0645, a Hornet SBD reported an enemy battleship, accompanied by a cruiser and three destroyers, steaming slowly west. (Poor transmission caused the report to be received as one carrier and five destroyers.) Forty-five minutes later, a second Hornet SBD dropped a message on Enterprise‘s flight deck, reporting two heavy cruisers and two destroyers, in approximately the same position as the earlier report.

This time, Hornet was the first to launch, and on Saturday, June 6, her airmens’ luck changed. Launching at 0757, Hornet put 25 Dauntlesses in the air, eight armed with 500-pound bombs, the rest with 1000-pounders. At 0930, Hornet Air Group commander CDR Stanhope Ring located the enemy ships, and at 0950 initiated the attack. His victims were the hapless cruisers Mogami and Mikuma.

Two bombers from Hornet CV-8’s Scouting Eight prepare to attack damaged Japanese cruisers near the end of the Battle of Midway, 6 June 1942. The burning ship is believed to be the Japanese cruiser Mikuma. usna-img-z–1200010

 

Mogami took two bomb hits in this first attack, Mikuma several more. As Hornet recovered her strike at 1035, Enterprise prepared to launch her own: 31 Dauntless dive bombers, accompanied by the last three Torpedo Six Devastators, and an escort of 12 VF-6 Wildcats. Spruance, while convinced the torpedo planes could inflict critical damage on the enemy ships, could not accept further losses.Accordingly he instructed LT(jg) Robert Laub, who was to command VT-6, “if there is one single gun firing out there, under no circumstances are you to attack.”

Enterprise‘s attack got underway at 1045. Led by LT Wallace Short of Yorktown‘s Scouting Five, the group passed over what appeared to be two cruisers and two destroyers at noon. After flying on another 30 miles in search of the non-existent battleships, Short turned back and commenced attack on the cruisers – Mogami and Mikuma – at 1215. Again Mogami absorbed two hits, but Mikuma took at least five, leaving her dead in the water, her topside utterly wrecked. Fighting Six got in the action as well, making repeated strafing runs on the destroyers, expending 4000 rounds of ammunition and “knocking off huge pieces of metal”. Laub’s three torpedo planes hung back and never attacked. All three returned safely to the Big E.

As Enterprise and Hornet worked over the Japanese cruisers, I-168, the enemy submarine ordered to shell Midway early June 5 found Yorktown. By this time, a little after noon, June 6, things were looking up for the hard-hit carrier.

By 1237, June 6, I-168 had slipped to within 500 yards of the carrier, which made only three knots in tow by the straining Vireo. Poor acoustical conditions impeded the sonar equipment aboard the destroyers, enabling I-168 to fire four torpedoes at about 1334. One torpedo missed, one caught Hammann amidships and broke her in half, while the last two ripped open Yorktown‘s battered port side. The damage was more than the salvage crew could overcome, and at 0458, June 7, Yorktown – sistership of Enterprise and Hornet – rolled over and settled beneath the waves.

Even as I-168 delivered the fatal blow to Yorktown, Hornet again struck at the wrecked enemy cruisers, launching 24 SBDs armed with 1000-lb bombs which attacked at 1445. Shortly afterwards, Enterprise launched her last mission of the battle, two SBDs equipped with cameras, to photograph the enemy ships. Mogami managed to escape, eventually reaching Truk, and out of action for over a year.

The SBDs found Mikuma settling quickly: the photos they took rank among the best known of the Pacific War.

The Japanese cruiser Mikuma sinking following multiple attacks by Enterprise and Hornet dive-bombers, 6 June 1942. usna-img-z–1200011

The attacks on the IJN cruisers were the last piece of the Battle of Midway.  RADM Spruance concluded it would be best to break off pursuit of the enemy, as he would soon be in range of enemy planes based on Wake Island. At 1900, Task Force 16, its ships full of exhausted but victorious aviators and sailors, turned east, first to rendezvous with oilers, and then to proceed southeast to Pearl Harbor, arriving late June 13.

The impact of the Battle of Midway is still being argued over today, but regardless of which side you come down on, it was a MAJOR turning point in the war against Japan. The loss of four IJN carriers, plus pilots, crewmen, and, more importantly, maintenance personnel, did crimp the IJN’s capability to counter the US carriers.

A half a world away, and two years later, another definitive battle started… Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day was underway, link HERE.

The Battle of Midway, day 3…

June 5th was a day of retrenchment, with the Japanese withdrawing to the west, and the tattered American aviators trying to find them.

This video is directed by John Ford, and shot by actual Navy combat photographers both on Midway and aboard ships and airplanes on the 4th of June.

As they retreat, with U.S. ships in pursuit, two remaining Japanese cruisers are bombed and further damaged by aircraft launched from Midway, who finally get a piece of the action and at least get a little payback for those lost on the islands.

Yorktown, still listing with the Hughes (DD-410) standing by her, ready to torpedo the carrier, if required, through the night, reported the carrier appeared salvageable on the morning of the 5th, and by 1426, Yorktown was under tow by the minesweeper Vireo (AM-52). A salvage party, led by Yorktown‘s Captain Buckmaster, arrived, boarded the ship, and began stripping her of equipment to reduce her list. Additional destroyers, including Hammann (DD-412) arrived to cover her withdrawal.

The Japanese debacle had not yet ended. At 0342, June 5, the US submarine Tambor (SS-198) startled Kurita’s cruisers, which were then 90 miles west of Midway, retiring westward. In executing an emergency turn away from the sub, cruiser Mogami rammed her sistership Mikuma, buckling Mogami‘s bow and opening Mikuma‘s fuel tanks to the sea. By dawn, the two damaged cruisers, screened by two destroyers, were making 12-14 knots, a long slick of oil from Mikuma trailing behind them.

At dawn, June 5, Task Force 16 was steaming westward at 15 knots. In thick weather, and with too few SBDs to both scout and mount a strike, RADM Spruance gave his airmen a well-deserved rest, while waiting for contact reports from Midway’s planes. At 0700, Spruance received Tambor‘s report of “many unidentified ships” from earlier that morning. With a Japanese landing on Midway seemingly in the offing, Task Force 16 increased speed to 25 knots and proceeded to pass north of Midway. An hour later, a Midway-based PBY reported a damaged carrier with two battleships and three cruisers retiring to the northwest. As the morning wore on, an enemy assault on Midway seemed less likely, so Spruance turned northwest, to pursue the reported carrier.

With the trail growing cold, in Enterprise, CDR Browning proposed launching all available Dauntlesses at 1400, armed with 1000-pound bombs, to attack the enemy carrier. The airmen, catching wind of the plan, revolted. Their objection was not to the attack itself, but to the 240 mile gap estimated to lie between TF-16 and the enemy. Lugging a 1000-pound bomb, there was no hope the SBDs would have enough fuel to return to their carriers. A tense moment followed on the Flag bridge: Enterprise Air Group Commander McClusky supported by VS-6 Commander Earl Gallaher and Enterprise Captain George D. Murray, confronted Browning in front of RADM Spruance. In the end, Spruance overrode Browning, telling McClusky, “I will do what you pilots want.”

The plan was modified to launch the strike at 1500, with the SBDs carrying 500-pound bombs. Once again, Hornet was not kept fully apprised of the plans, and was not quite ready to launch when the first of 32 SBDs – planes from both Enterprise and Yorktown squadrons – rumbled down the Big E’s flight deck at 1512. By 1543, however, groups from both carriers were in the air and cruising northwest.

The mission itself was inconsequential. Failing to find the reported carrier, first Hornet‘s and then Enterprise‘s attack groups dove on destroyer Tanikaze. Tanikaze zigzagged furiously and fired “a large volume of small caliber and anti-aircraft fire.” Not a hit was scored, a credit to the destroyer’s commander, CDR Motoi Katsumi. In Enterprise‘s group, LT Samuel Adams of Scouting Five was shot down, with his gunner Joseph Karrol, ARM 2/c: a high price to pay for no good end, but the only US losses on 5 June.

The attack groups didn’t return to Task Force 16 until after nightfall. Spruance endeared himself to his aviators by ordering TF-16 to illuminate the ships, so the Dauntlesses could land. Enterprise recovered four more SBDs than it had launched. Five from Hornet landed on the Big E, while Hornet took in one Scouting Six bomber. There was not a single accident, though many of the pilots were not qualified for night landings.

The night of June 5-6, Task Force 16 steamed west-northwest, arriving at a position 340 miles northwest of Midway by dawn.

 NOTE: Much has been said of Marc Mitscher’s decision to “turn on the lights” late June 20, 1944, the end of the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Mitscher commanded Hornet at Midway, and he may have later been inspired by Spruance’s actions on June 5, 1942. Normally, warships operated in complete darkness at night: the glow of a cigarette was enough to alert a submarine to a ship’s presence.

h/t CV6.org

75 years ago…

One of the pivotal battles of WWII started on the 3rd of June and continued on this day…

It took place in the Northern Pacific at a little atoll in the middle of ‘nowhere’, called Midway, made up of Sand and Eastern Islands.

Thanks to the code breakers at HYPO, ADM Nimitz knew the Japanese were going to attack, either on the 4th or 5th of June, 1942. He also knew the order of battle for the Japanese fleets and knew they were spread out.

This photo is from late 1941, with Eastern Is in the foreground and Sand Is in the background. At the time, all airplanes other than seaplanes used Eastern Is.

Official U.S. Navy photo 80-G-451086 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

VP-44 had been relocated from Hawaii to Midway (Eastern Is) after Pearl Harbor and were flying search patterns extending roughly 500nm out in various directions.

Consolidated PBY-3 Catalina, 1942. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command 80-G-K-14896)

On June 3rd, this crew (one of 22 PBY’s launched that day) started the ball rolling…

Standing, left to right: AMM2c R. Derouin, ACRM Francis Musser, Ens. Hardeman (co-pilot), Ens. J.H. “Jack” Reid (aircraft commander) and Ens. R.A. Swan (navigator). Kneeling, left to right: AMM1c J.F. Gammel, AMM3c J. Groovers and AMM3c P.A. Fitzpatrick. (U.S. Navy)

While they actually discovered the attack fleet, they did not find the Japanese Carriers. They were actually looking for something else…

Their sector for that day was west by southwest, which was in the general area for a possible encounter with the twin- engine “Betty’s”.

The crew hoped for an encounter with one of these aircraft. The night before one of the crew members had traded some beer for 5 new explosive .50 caliber shells from a B-17 crew. The ordnancemen on the crew had loaded them on the port waist gun.

The flight came to the end of their outbound 600 mile leg with no sightings. The crew urged Jack Reid to go further to see if they couldn’t make contact with a “Betty”.  Jack checked with navigator Bob Swan and was assured that they still had plenty of fuel to go another 20 or 30 minutes on the present course. Jack agreed to the plan and told Bob, just give me as heading when we get to the end of the time limit.

The flight continued on for the allotted time and as Bob was about to give Jack the new heading for the  dogleg and at that instant Jack spotted specks on the horizon. He gave the binoculars to the second pilot Gerald Hardeman saying, ”Are those ships? I think we’ve hit the jackpot.”  Hardemen concurred.  Moments later John Gammell, in the nose turret, sang out “Ships dead ahead, about 30 miles dead ahead.” a radio message was immediately sent to Pearl Harbor saying, ”Sighted main body”, minutes later, a second message, ”Bearing 262, distance 700 miles.” Midway being the target of the Japanese force.

Jack Reid scouted the force for another two hours. He kept the Catalina at low altitudes and came up from different positions, counting the sightings at each one and radioing the results. The long wakes in the ocean from the armada led him to either port or starboard of the ships. He knew full well, if detected they would be hit by a sky full of Zero’s to a large force of scouting aircraft.

The force sighted consisted of 17ships, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and transports headed for Midway.

44-P-4 landed back at Midway with little fuel to spare. When asked why they were able to stay aloft for an additional 3 hours, Bob Swan replied, ”Raymond Derouin (the plane captain) has three dependents-a wife and two daughters. He always puts in an extra 50 gallons for each one.”

Note: This was illegal, and AMM2c Derouin could have been in serious trouble if the command had found out, as they were counting individual gallons of gas to fuel all the airplanes that needed to fly daily.

When Reid’s crew called in the sightings, nine B-17s took off from Midway at 12:30 for the first air attack. Three hours later, they found Tanaka’s transport group 570 nautical miles to the west.

Under heavy anti-aircraft fire, they dropped their bombs. Although their crews reported hitting 4 ships, none of the bombs actually hit anything and no significant damage was done. Early the following morning, the Japanese oil tanker Akebono Maru sustained the first hit when a torpedo from an attacking PBY struck her around 01:00. This was the only successful air-launched torpedo attack by the U.S. during the entire battle.

At 04:30 on 4 June, VADM Nagumo, IJN launched his initial attack on Midway itself, consisting of 36 Aichi D3A dive bombers and 36 Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers, escorted by 36 Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters. At the same time, he launched his 8 search aircraft. Japanese reconnaissance arrangements were flimsy, with too few aircraft to adequately cover the assigned search areas, laboring under poor weather conditions to the northeast and east of the task force. As Nagumo’s bombers and fighters were taking off, 11 PBYs were leaving Midway to run their search patterns. At 05:34, a PBY reported sighting 2 Japanese carriers and another spotted the inbound airstrike 10 minutes later.

American radar picked up the enemy at a distance of several miles, and interceptors were scrambled. Unescorted bombers headed off to attack the Japanese carriers, their fighter escorts remaining behind to defend Midway. At 06:20, Japanese carrier aircraft bombed and heavily damaged the U.S. base. Midway-based Marine fighters, which included 7 F4Fs and 21 F2As, intercepted the Japanese and suffered heavy losses, though they managed to destroy 4 B5Ns and at least 3 A6Ms. Within the first few minutes, 3 F4Fs and 13 F2As were destroyed, while most of the surviving U.S. planes were damaged, with only 2 remaining airworthy. American anti-aircraft fire was intense and accurate, destroying 4 additional Japanese aircraft and damaging many more.

Of the 108 Japanese aircraft involved in this attack, 11 were destroyed, 14 were heavily damaged, and 29 were damaged to some degree. The initial Japanese attack did not succeed in neutralizing Midway: American bombers could still use the airbase to refuel and attack the Japanese invasion force, and most of Midway’s land-based defenses were intact.

On the morning of 4 June,

RADM Fletcher, a surface line officer, was in overall command of the combined TF16/TF17 aboard Yorktown, but he had been ‘taught’ how to use carriers and aircraft by RADM Fitch during the Battle of Coral Sea. He ordered RADM Spruance (another surface line officer who had replaced VADM Bull Halsey) to launch against the Japanese ASAP, while holding Yorktown in reserve in case any other Japanese carriers were found.

Spruance judged that, though the range was extreme, a strike could succeed and gave the order to launch the attack with Halsey’s Chief of Staff, Captain Miles Browning in charge. Browning suggested a launch time of 07:00, giving the carriers an hour to close on the Japanese by almost 30 miles. This would place them at about 155 nautical miles from the Japanese fleet, assuming it did not change course. The first plane took off from Spruance’s carriers Enterprise and Hornet a few minutes after 07:00. Fletcher, upon completing his own scouting flights, followed suit at 08:00 from Yorktown.

Spruance ordered the striking aircraft to proceed to target immediately, rather than waste time waiting for the strike force to assemble, since neutralizing enemy carriers was the key to the survival of his own task force. Accordingly, American squadrons were launched piecemeal and proceeded to the target in several different groups. It was accepted that the lack of coordination would diminish the impact of the American attacks and increase their casualties, but Spruance calculated that this was worthwhile, since keeping the Japanese under aerial attack impaired their ability to launch a counterstrike.

American carrier aircraft had difficulty locating the target, despite the positions they had been given. The strike from Hornet, led by Commander Stanhope C. Ring, followed an incorrect heading of 265 degrees rather than the 240 degrees indicated by the contact report. As a result, Air Group Eight’s dive bombers missed the Japanese carriers. Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8, from Hornet), led by Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron, broke formation from Ring and followed the correct heading. The 10 F4Fs from Hornet ran out of fuel and had to ditch.

Devastators of VT-6 aboard USS Enterprise being prepared for take off during the battle (USN Photograph)

Waldron’s squadron sighted the enemy carriers and began attacking at 09:20, followed by Torpedo Squadron 6 (VT-6, from Enterprise) whose Wildcat fighter escorts also ran low on fuel and had to turn back at 09:40. Without fighter escort, all 15 TBD Devastators of VT-8 were shot down without being able to inflict any damage. Of the 30 aircrew of VT-8, one man, Ensign George H. Gay, Jr., was the only survivor. VT-6 lost 10 of its 14 Devastators, and 10 of Yorktown’s VT-3’s 12 Devastators were shot down with no hits to show for their effort, due to the performance of their unimproved Mark 13 torpedoes.  Midway was the last time the TBD Devastator was used in combat.

The Japanese combat air patrol, flying Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeros made short work of the unescorted, slow, under-armed TBDs. A few TBDs managed to get within a few ship-lengths range of their targets before dropping their torpedoes—close enough to be able to strafe the enemy ships and force the Japanese carriers to make sharp evasive maneuvers—but all of their torpedoes either missed or failed to explode. ENS Gay was able to close to close range, and fly parallel to the Kaga, which allowed him to attempt to escape, but he was jumped by more Zeros and shot down. He survived 30 hours in the water before being picked up.

Despite their failure to score any hits, the American torpedo attacks indirectly achieved three important results. First, they kept the Japanese carriers off balance and unable to prepare and launch their own counterstrike. Second, the poor control of the Japanese combat air patrol meant they were out of position for subsequent attacks. Third, many of the Zeros ran low on ammunition and fuel. The appearance of a third torpedo plane attack from the southeast by VT-3 from Yorktown at 10:00 very quickly drew the majority of the Japanese CAP to the southeast quadrant of the fleet. 

By chance, at the same time VT-3 was sighted by the Japanese, three squadrons of SBDs from Enterprise and Yorktown were approaching from the southwest and northeast. The Yorktown squadron (VB-3) had flown just behind VT-3, but elected to attack from a different course. The two squadrons from Enterprise (VB-6 and VS-6) were running low on fuel because of the time spent looking for the enemy. Squadron commander C. Wade McClusky, Jr. decided to continue the search, and by good fortune spotted the wake of the Japanese destroyer Arashi, steaming at full speed to rejoin Nagumo’s carriers after having unsuccessfully depth-charged U.S. submarine Nautilus, which had unsuccessfully attacked the battleship Kirishima. Additional US bombers were lost from fuel exhaustion before the attack commenced.

After the battle,Admiral Chester Nimitz, said that McClusky’s decision to continue the search and attack “decided the fate of our carrier task force and our forces at Midway …”

All three American dive-bomber squadrons (VB-6, VS-6 and VB-3) arrived almost simultaneously at the perfect time, locations and altitudes to attack. Most of the Japanese CAP was focusing on the torpedo planes of VT-3 and were out of position, armed Japanese strike aircraft filled the hangar decks, fuel hoses snaked across the decks as refueling operations were hastily being completed, and the repeated change of ordnance meant that bombs and torpedoes were stacked around the hangars, rather than stowed safely in the magazines, making the Japanese carriers extraordinarily vulnerable.

Beginning at 10:22, the two squadrons of Enterprises air group split up with the intention of sending one squadron each to attack Kaga and Akagi. A miscommunication caused both of the squadrons to dive at the Kaga. Recognizing the error, Lieutenant Commander Richard Halsey Best and his two wingmen were able to pull out of their dive and, after judging that Kaga was doomed, headed north to attack Akagi. Coming under an onslaught of bombs from almost two full squadrons, Kaga sustained four or five direct hits, which caused heavy damage and started multiple fires. One of the bombs landed near the bridge, killing Captain Jisaku Okada and most of the ship’s senior officers.

Several minutes later, Best and his two wingmen dived on the Akagi. Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese aviator who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, was on the Akagi when it was hit, and described the attack:

A look-out screamed: “Hell-Divers!” I looked up to see three black enemy planes plummeting towards our ship. Some of our machineguns managed to fire a few frantic bursts at them, but it was too late. The plump silhouettes of the American Dauntless dive-bombers quickly grew larger, and then a number of black objects suddenly floated eerily from their wings.[103]

Although Akagi sustained only one direct hit, it proved to be a fatal blow: the bomb struck the edge of the mid-ship deck elevator and penetrated to the upper hangar deck, where it exploded among the armed and fueled aircraft in the vicinity. Nagumo’s chief of staff, Ryūnosuke Kusaka, recorded “a terrific fire … bodies all over the place … Planes stood tail up, belching livid flames and jet-black smoke, making it impossible to bring the fires under control.” Another bomb exploded under water very close astern; the resulting geyser bent the flight deck upward “in grotesque configurations” and caused crucial rudder damage.

Simultaneously, Yorktowns VB-3, commanded by Max Leslie, went for Sōryū, scoring at least three hits and causing extensive damage. Some of Leslie’s bombers did not have bombs as they were accidentally released when the pilots attempted to use electrical arming switches. Nevertheless, Leslie and others still dive-bombed, strafing carrier decks and providing covers for those with bombs. Gasoline ignited, creating an “inferno,” while stacked bombs and ammunition detonated. VT-3 targeted Hiryū, which was hemmed in by Sōryū, Kaga, and Akagi, but achieved no hits.

Within six minutes, Sōryū and Kaga were ablaze from stem to stern, as fires continued to spread through the ships. Akagi, having been struck by only one bomb, took longer to burn, but the resulting fires quickly expanded and soon proved impossible to extinguish; she too was eventually consumed by the flames and had to be abandoned. All three carriers remained temporarily afloat, as none had suffered damage below the waterline, other than the rudder damage to Akagi caused by the near miss close astern. Despite initial hopes that Akagi could be saved or at least towed back to Japan, all three carriers were eventually abandoned and scuttled.

Japanese response-

Hiryū, the sole surviving Japanese aircraft carrier, counterattacked with D3As and 6 fighter escorts, followed the retreating American aircraft and attacked the first carrier they encountered, Yorktown, hitting her with three bombs, which blew a hole in the deck, snuffed out her boilers, and destroyed one anti-aircraft mount. The damage also forced Admiral Fletcher to move his command staff to the heavy cruiser Astoria.

Yorktown at the moment of impact of a torpedo from a Nakajima B5N of Lieutenant Hashimoto’s 2nd chūtai

Repair teams were able to temporarily patch the flight deck and restore power to several boilers within an hour, giving her a speed of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph) and enabling her to resume air operations. Thirteen dive bombers and three escorting fighters were lost in this attack (two escorting fighters turned back early after they were damaged attacking some of Enterprises SBDs returning from their attack on the Japanese carriers).

Approximately one hour later, Hiryū’s second attack wave, consisting of ten B5Ns and six escorting A6Ms, arrived over the Yorktown; the repair efforts had been so effective that the Japanese pilots assumed that Yorktown must be a different, undamaged carrier. They attacked, crippling Yorktown with two torpedoes; she lost all power and developed a 23-degree list to port. Five torpedo bombers and two fighters were shot down in this attack.

News of the two strikes, with the reports each had sunk an American carrier (actually both strikes had damaged, but not sunk, Yorktown), greatly improved morale in the Japanese carrier task force. Its few surviving aircraft were all recovered aboard Hiryū. Despite the heavy losses, the Japanese believed that they could scrape together enough aircraft for one more strike against what was believed to be the only remaining American carrier.

And the American counter attack-

Late in the afternoon, a Yorktown scout aircraft located Hiryū, prompting Enterprise to launch a final strike of 24 dive bombers (including 6 SBDs from VS-6, 4 SBDs from VB-6, and 14 SBDs from Yorktown’s VB-3). Despite Hiryū being defended by more than a dozen Zero fighters, the attack by Enterprise and orphaned Yorktown aircraft launched from Enterprise was successful: four, possibly five bombs hit Hiryū, leaving her ablaze and unable to operate aircraft. Hornets strike, launched late because of a communications error, concentrated on the remaining escort ships but failed to score any hits.

After futile attempts at controlling the blaze, most of the crew remaining on Hiryū were evacuated and the remainder of the fleet continued sailing northeast in an attempt to intercept the American carriers. Despite a scuttling attempt by a Japanese destroyer that hit her with a torpedo and then departed quickly, Hiryū stayed afloat for several more hours, being discovered early the next morning by an aircraft from the escort carrier Hōshō and prompting hopes she could be saved, or at least towed back to Japan. Soon after being spotted, Hiryū sank. Rear-Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi, together with the ship’s captain, Tomeo Kaku, chose to go down with the ship, costing Japan perhaps her best carrier officer.

Hiryū, shortly before sinking. Taken by Special Service Ensign Kiyoshi Ōniwa from a Yokosuka B4Y off the carrier Hōshō.

William Keonig’s reconstruction of the timeline and positions of the various participants.

“Seeschlachten der Weltgeschichte” by William Koenig (German Version of “Epic Sea Battles” ISBN-10: 0706404459 ISBN-13: 978-0706404456)

Timeline of the Battle of Midway (acc. to William Koenig)
4 June
  • 04:30 First Japanese takeoff against Midway Islands
  • 04:30 10 planes (Yorktown) begin to search for the Japanese ships
  • 05:34 Japanese ships detected by a PBY from Midway I.
  • 07:10 6 TBF Avengers and 4 USAAF B-26 (from Midway I.) attack
  • 07:50 67 dive bombers, 29 torpedo bombers, 20 Wildcats take off (Spruance)
  • 07:55 16 dive bombers of the US Navy (from Midway I.) attack
  • 08:10 17 B-17s (from Midway Islands) attack
  • 08:20 11 bombers of the US Navy (from Midway I.) attack
  • 09:06 12 torpedo bombers, 17 dive bombers, 6 Wildcats take off (Yorktown)
  • 09:18 Nagumo to Northeast
  • 09:25 15 torpedo bombers (Hornet) attack
  • 09:30 14 torpedo bombers (Enterprise) attack
  • 10:00 12 torpedo bombers (Yorktown) attack
  • 10:25 30 dive bombers (Enterprise) attack Akagi and Kaga
  • 10:25 17 dive bombers (Yorktown) attack Soryu
  • 11:00 18 Vals and 6 Zekes take off from Hiryu
  • 11:30 10 planes (Yorktown) take off to search for remaining Japanese ships
  • 12:05 First attack on Yorktown
  • 13:30 Hiryu detected by a Yorktown plane; 24 dive bombers take off against Hiryu (Spruance)
  • 13:31 10 Kates and 6 Zekes take off from Hiryu
  • 13:40 Yorktown again in service, making 18 knots
  • 14:30 Second attack on Yorktown
  • 15:00 Yorktown abandoned
  • 16:10 Soryu sunk
  • 17:00 Dive bombers attack on Hiryu
  • 19:25 Kaga sunk

As darkness fell, Rear Admiral Fletcher, obliged to abandon the derelict Yorktown and feeling he could not adequately command from a cruiser, ceded operational command to Spruance. To aid his aviators, who had launched at extreme range, he had continued to close with Nagumo during the day and persisted as night fell.

Finally, fearing a possible night encounter with Japanese surface forces, and believing Yamamoto still intended to invade, based in part on a misleading contact report from the submarine Tambor, Spruance changed course and withdrew to the east, turning back west towards the enemy at midnight. For his part, Yamamoto initially decided to continue the engagement and sent his remaining surface forces searching eastward for the American carriers. Simultaneously, he detached a cruiser raiding force to bombard the island.

The Japanese surface forces failed to make contact with the Americans because Spruance had decided to briefly withdraw eastward, and Yamamoto ordered a general withdrawal to the west.

This ended the second day of the Battle of Midway.

Books… Moar books!!!

Grrr… Still fighting some scheduler issues… Sorry folks!

Tom Rogneby, AKA DaddyBear has the completed Minivandians opus up!!!

You can hit the cover to get your copy!!!

The blurb-

Elsked, son of DaddyBear the Minivandian and Ruarin, the Lady of Eyre, ventures out into the night to learn the saga of his mother and father.

An ancient storyteller exchanges tales of Elsked’s life for the story of how DaddyBear and Ruarin became the lord and lady of their manor.

Coming Home brings together the stories of Quest to the North, Lost Children, and Lady of Eyre, along with four new short tales of the Minivandian and his family.

Join Elsked as he creeps into the storyteller’s lair and comes to know the next Tales of the Minivandians!

 

Alma T.C. Boykin also two books on sale through the 5th. These are books six and seven in the Colplatschki Chronicles.

Book Six is Circuits and Crises

The blurb-

Danger wears yellow; duty means death.

Emperor Andrew labors to regain the lost secrets of his Lander ancestors, spending weeks peering at yellowing pages and half-shattered machines. Far to the south, a tide of yellow, color of Selkow the Mighty, builds against the Dividing Range’s eastern slope, ready to overwhelm everything in its path. In between stand the fortress of Sigurney and the patricians of Scheel, merchants more terrified of their new neighbor to the north than of the rising tide below.

When the passes open, three men stand between obsession and destruction.

And book seven is Blackbird.

The blurb-

How far can duty and anger drive a man?

One man the Turkowi fear above all others. Like the Blackbird of legend, he fights all the creatures of Selkow the Beautiful, braver than any unbeliever had right to be. “Shh, be quiet, or Matyasa will hear you,” Turkowi mothers warn their children.

It was not always so. Once he was Matthew Malatesta, second son of a mercenary, younger brother of the heir to Marteen, grandson of Duke Edmund Ironhand of Sarmas. Matthew aspired to nothing beyond beating the Turkowi and buying a few books. Then the Oligarchs of Morloke drove him into exile.

Thus began the saga of Duke Matthew Charles Malatesta: the tale of the Blackbird.

And last, but definitely NOT least, Sarah Hoyt has a new Darkship book out, Darkship Revenge

The blurb-

The popular Darkship series returns!

After winning the civil war in Eden, Athena returns to her calling, collecting powerpods with her husband Kit. Now weeks away from Earth, she goes into labor. To make matters worse, a strange ship attacks Athena and Kit’s Cathouse and kidnaps Athena’s husband. That ship is called Je Reviens. It’s a named steeped in history—and not the good kind of history.

Hot on Kit’s trail, Athena discovers that you shouldn’t name a ship Je Reviens unless you intend it to return. The genetically modified Mules are back, and they have a plan to prevent themselves from being exiled ever again. And if the Mules win, the best thing humanity can hope for is slavery.

The worst is death.

While a bio-engineered plague wreaks havoc on the forces of liberty, Athena must risk herself, her husband, and her child for the survival of humanity.

The Mules may be about to find out what revenge truly is: one angry mother.

As I said, you can select the cover to get each of them. I’ve read them all, and highly recommend every one of them!!!

And as always, please post honest reviews! Us poor starving writers depend on reviews to get a wider audience. 🙂

Win some, lose some…

Sorry about the delayed post, still working out back office issues with the move…

Texas came out pretty good on the gun regulation front so far this year, and the Bloomie minions took hits, I don’t think ‘any’ of their bills actually got out of committee.

LTC licensing went from $140 to $40, effective 1 Sept, renewals also dropped to $40.

Those are wins…

However, VCDL lost their case against Couric and her producer in Virginia. The judge threw it out.

Full article, HERE.

There is a good article on CCW reciprocity, HERE. The author does a good job of delving into the finer points of the law, and the possible consequences.

This is a good article on the ‘power’ of the director position at the FBI, going back to Hoover… And a bit chilling too… I can vaguely remember Hoover’s dying and the ‘concern’ about his files. The local Fibbies knew about them, as did most local LEOs.

After J. Edgar Hoover’s death 45 years ago, personal secretary Helen Gandy spent more than two months in the FBI director’s house on a leafy Northwest Washington street rifling through his personal files — the most powerful archive of blackmail material on presidents, politicians and pundits compiled in American history.

Gandy had served Hoover for the almost five decades that he ran the bureau, and she either trashed or stashed the most damning details in places that remain unknown to this day.

Full article at the Washington Times, HERE.

Rimworld- Into the Green update…

Update to the update…

Since the blog and/or server it was on was hit with a DDOS attack yesterday, as shown by the log below (20 is a ‘high’ load), and was offline all day, I’m not putting a new post up, per se.

I’ll leave yesterday’s post up, since I wanted to thank readers. And thanks to Barron for the work to get the blog back up!!!

I wanted to take a minute and thank all those who’ve taken a chance on my first foray into military science fiction, Rimworld- Into the Green.

While not burning up the charts, it’s still doing what I consider to be respectably well, for the little ‘advertizing’ that has been done (read blogged here and by other bloggers)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,331 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

  • #253 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Hard Science Fiction
  • #372 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
  • #375 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Exploration

Reviews are now starting to come in, and are pretty positive, albeit with the inferred threat… LOL I’d appreciate it if you’d leave an honest review if you’ve read it. 50 is the magic number at which point Amazon starts giving it a little better visibility.

I obtained this book through the Kindle Unlimited program.
It’s a thousand years in the future, and some things haven’t changed. The Poor Bloody Infantryman is still the basic unit of diplomacy, and is still trying to take care of stupid officers while getting kicked around by certain factions in higher command. And the Flying Tiger Scrounging Club is still running back-channel operations to make sure things get done.
There are SO MANY good plotlines to develop! This is going to be a great series. If it’s NOT a series, it better be due to the SMOD.
Ethan Fargo is about to launch on his third military career, much to his dismay. For reasons unknown, but related to some higher up covering his behind, he was booted out of the Terran Marine Corps as an officer, and is serving as a senior NCO in the Galactic forces. Exciting things happen, and he gets set on the beach with a secret mission.
Monsters try to eat him.
The bad guys, who are also monsters, show up and they also try to eat him, but it isn’t personal.
The governor is a nasty person with nasty staff members. They try to eat him.
His sister is a maneater, but she just fusses.
There are a couple of cuties who have caught his eye, but he is indecisive.
Did I mention he can read minds?
Yeah, you need this book. Just buy it, okay?

Yes, there IS an intent to make this a series also! Working on the plot lines for follow-on books now.

Here we go again…

Different verse, same as the first…

First it was reciprocal carry, which got stripped out of HR 218, with the promise of “next year”… OBTW, that was 2004…

Now, it’s the Hearing Protection Act.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun rights groups are fighting to change the public perception of “silencers” — or “sound suppressors” — that reduce the noise of gunfire.

It’s all about the ‘visual’ if you will. But as always, the banners don’t want ANYTHING that reeks of ‘gun’. Even though there are already over 900,000 suppressors currently in private hands today…

“It’s all semantics,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. 
 
“Focusing on the name distracts people from the real conversation,” Watts said. “They did the same thing with the debate over whether to use the term ‘assault rifles’ or ‘semiautomatic rifles,’ and then the whole conversation shifted to ‘What are we going to call these things?’” 
 
“They want to get into semantics about the language, so we don’t talk about how dangerous they are.”
Full article, HERE.
Are they trying to punish us? Do they want us to lose our hearing, just because we shoot?
Sigh…