Dr. Suzanna Vass flew during Desert Storm

War Tales

Suzanna Vass served four years active duty in the Air Force, first as a medic and then 22 years as an Air National Guard with the 171st Air Refueling Wing.Now a Venice resident, she works on the emergency room staff at Venice Hospital and on the side she has a small business called “ER-2-YOU.”

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1954 – The year underwater warfare changed forever



1954 – The year underwater warfare changed forever.

I’ve always found it interesting that I was born in the same year the Nautilus was brought on line. I have a close family member (now deceased) who worked for Westinghouse and was part of the team that worked on her propulsion. Living in Western Pennsylvania, I constantly run into people who had a Dad or Uncle that also contributed to her development at the Bettis Atomic Facility near McKeesport.

This is the 65th year since she first sailed. The technology would forever change the way we looked at submarine warfare. But in January, even those who knew about her development were still not sure what the future of submarines would look like. I found this article from the January ALL HANDS magazine pretty interesting.

There is a link to a video at the end of the story. Its 13 and…

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Smitty Was HERE!!

Pacific Paratrooper

Miyajima Hotel

Being that Smitty so enjoyed taking in the sights of 1945 Japan and it is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, this post will continue with the brochures he brought home with him. Above is the Inland Sea and Miyajima Island that is approximately 45 minutes from Hiroshima; the entire island is considered a park being that two parks are actually on the island, The Omoto and the Momijidani, both famous for their cherry blossoms in spring and colored leaves in autumn.

The Great Torii

The Great Torii (52′ tall [16 metres]) is the red religious structure within the bay is from the 16th century. The earlier one had been destroyed by a typhoon. The Itsukushima Shrine has stone lanterns that remain lighted throughout the night. Senjokaku is the hall of a thousand mats and beside the shrine is a hall filled with countless rice ladles offered by worshipers…

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July 15, 1864 The Great Shohola Train Wreck

Today in History

The wood burning steam locomotive #171 left Jersey City, New Jersey on July 15, 1864, pulling 17 passenger and freight cars. On board were 833 Confederate Prisoners of War and 128 Union guards, heading from Point Lookout prison in Maryland, to the Union prison camp in Elmira, New York. “Hellmira”.

shohola4 “Jupiter 1864 train engine, typical of the type of engine used during the Civil War Era”. Tip of the hat to http://www.civilwaralbum.com/misc11/shohola1.htm, for this image

Engine #171 was an “extra” that day, running behind a scheduled train numbered West #23. West #23 displayed warning flags giving the second train right of way, but #171 was running late. First delayed while guards located missing prisoners, then there was that interminable wait for the drawbridge. By the time #171 reached Port Jervis, Pennsylvania, the train was four hours behind schedule.

Telegraph operator Douglas “Duff” Kent was on duty at the Lackawaxen Junction…

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Firefight at Dili


In early November 1942, the 22nd Bomb Group was ordered to fly a couple of missions to Dili, located on Timor Island. Australian ground troops had reported that the Japanese were using a Catholic cathedral as a supply dump, and that building was the primary target on the November 3rd mission. Shortly before noon, eight B-26s approached the island’s south shore. Aboard Lt. Harry O. Patteson’s B-26, co-pilot John Marcus noticed a very smoky fire on the shore. As the crews flew toward Dili, they noticed other smoky fires along the way, a basic signal to let the Japanese know that trouble was approaching.

By the time they arrived over Dili, any hopes of surprising the Japanese were dashed and Oscars from 59 Sentai were already taking off to engage the B-26s starting their bombing runs from 7500 to 8500 feet. The crews managed to score some direct hits on…

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What a difference 7 months makes


This throwback picture from 77 years ago today shows Pearl Harbor on a war footing just over a half-year after its Day That Will Live In Infamy.

It is of the fabled fleet carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), taken 12 July 1942 off Ford Island. She would leave Pearl just three days after this image was taken to join TF 61 to support the amphibious landings in the Solomon Islands.

NH 83990

Note Grumman F4F Wildcat on barge aft alongside, also extensive anti-torpedo nets and well-camouflaged buildings on Ford Island. The slick shown in the water is likely from the battleships sunk on Dec. 7, 1941, which were being salvaged at the time.

For reference, planes from Enterprise had just a month before at the Battle of Midway attacked and disabled the Japanese carriers, Kaga and Akagi, leaving them ablaze, then followed up by doing the same to the…

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