6.18.2017

Diamonds as an investment? Not really and this story proves it!





Have you ever tried to sell a diamond?

Excerpt:

In the fall of 1978, a thirty-two-year-old Californian computer wizard named Stanley Mark Rifkin discovered an ingenious way to become a multimillionaire overnight. While working as a consultant for the Security Pacific National bank in Los Angeles, he had learned the secret computer code that the bank used to transfer funds to other banks telegraphically at the end of each business day. With this information and his mastery of the bank's computer, he realized that he could transfer tens of millions of dollars to any bank account in America. The problem would be withdraw the money from the system. In early October, he devised a plan for siphoning this money out of the bank and converting it into Russian diamonds.

The first step was establishing an alias identity. Under the pseudonym "Mike Hanson," Rifkin opened a bank account at the Irving Trust Company in New York, arranged a phony passport and other. documentation and retained a respected diamond broker, Lou Stein, to acquire for him a multimillion dollar consignment of diamonds from Russia. The Russian diamond organization, Russ Almaz, agreed to sell "Hanson" at its fixed wholesale price 115,000 perfectly cut, round, brilliant stones for $8,145,000. For arranging this low price, the broker took a standard 2 percent commission, or $162,000. For the deal to be consummated, Rifkin only had to wire the money to Zurich.

On October 25, Rifkin coolly entered the bank's transfer room under the pretext of inspecting the computer. He picked up a telephone connected to the computer and dialed in the necessary digits. Instantly, the computer withdrew $10,200,000 from a non-existent account and transferred it to the account of "Mike Hanson" at the Irving Trust Company in New York. Rifkin then had the New York bank transfer $8,300,000 to the Zurich account of Russ Almaz.

A few days later, using his phony passport, Rifkin flew to Switzerland, took delivery of the diamonds, which weighed under five pounds, and smuggled them through customs into the United States. He then began contacting dealers in Los Angeles, but none was willing to buy the diamonds.

Meanwhile, the Security Pacific National Bank discovered that more than ten million dollars was missing. It was one of the largest bank robbery in history. The FBI, investigating the loss, received a tip about Rifkin, and arrested him in Carlsbad, California and found on him the Russian diamonds, as well as the remaining cash.

Initially, bank officials assumed that most of stolen money prudently invested in diamonds would be easily converted back to money. Only a few weeks earlier Newsweek had reported in a cover story, "The Diamond Boom," that diamonds were "the ideal asset" and that quality diamonds were soaring in price. While the diamonds that Rifkin had bought were commercial-grade stones used in jewelry. the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit had such diamonds, which had increased by at least 50 percent that year, were still increasing in price. Independent appraisers estimated that the diamonds, which Rifkin had bought at a low price, were worth at least $13 million at the retail level, and so the I bank foresaw that it might make a profit of some $5 million with the reported appreciation in value of the diamonds. In anticipation of this windfall, they agreed to pay the ten percent custom tax on the diamonds which Rifkin had evaded, as well as part of the cost of the FBI investigation. Before this expected profit could be realized, the bank had to await the outcome of the trial, since the diamonds were important evidence.

Finally, in September 1978, the bank announced that it would sell its hoard of diamonds to the highest bidder. Twelve major dealers were invited to the bank's vault to inspect Russian diamonds. They were instructed to submit sealed bids by the end of the business day on September 18. A minimum price Of $7.5 million was established to encourage high bids, though independent appraisers assured the bank that the diamonds would fetch far more.

On the day of the auction, bank officials anxiously waited to see how much profit they would garner from the diamonds. However, only a single bid had been submitted, and when it was opened, it was for several million dollars less than the minimum. The bank officials were disappointed at this turn of events. Even though the diamonds had been purchased through a reputable broker at wholesale price, no American dealer would pay anywhere near this price nearly a year later.

The bank offered to sell the Russians back their own diamonds at the original 1978 Price. But they refused to buy the diamonds back at any price.

The bankers learned that two Israeli banks were also trying to sell large quantities of diamonds received as collateral from Tel Aviv dealers; and this might make it far more difficult, if not impossible, for the Security Pacific Bank to unload its 115,000 diamonds. So they decided not to wait any longer.

Walter S. Fisher, the vice-president of Security Pacific, was charged with the responsibility of selling the 115000 diamonds. He realized that diamonds were not a standardized, or fungible commodity, as were gold, silver and platinum. Different appraisals of the same diamonds varied widely dependent on what the prospective buyer thought he could sell them for. And, though all the bank's diamonds were commercial stones for the mass market, Fisher found that it was extraordinarily difficult to find a buyer. None of the dealers in the United States were willing to buy such a large consignment of diamonds. Fisher found it necessary to deal through De Beers' main broker in London, I. Hennig. Finally and accept the terms dictated by the buyer, if he wanted to sell the diamonds. He then had to deliver the diamonds to an unknown corporation in Liechtenstein, G. S. G. Investments, without receiving any money for them for eighteen months. These were terms that the bank probably would not have accepted in selling any other commodity. With a flourish of understatement, the banker concluded, "Selling diamonds is far more difficult than I had anticipated."

While the Security Pacific National Bank's problem was made worse because it had to dispose of the diamonds quickly, even when diamonds are held over long periods of time, selling them at a profit can prove difficult. For example, in 1970, the British magazine Money Which tested diamonds as a decade-long investment. It bought two gem-quality diamonds, weighing approximately one-half carat apiece, from one of London's most reputable diamond dealers for $1,000. For eight years, it kept these diamonds in its vault, inflation ran As high as 25 percent a year. For the diamonds to have kept pace with this inflationary spiral, they would have had to increase in value at least 300 percent. When the magazine's attempted to sell the diamonds, the highest bid that received was $1500 pounds, which led the publication to conclude "As an eight-year investment the diamonds that we bought have proved to be very poor."
 Comment: Top image is Laurence Olivier from Marathon Man. Middle is Security Pacific and bottom is Stanley Mark Rifkin

6.16.2017

Powder Room Remodel


Start - Basically plain

The marble for the vanity-top

Kathee selected the stone


Tear out




Need new hinges: "double demountable"

New door pulls



New art from art.com



Bathroom painted and Vanity (now painted) reinstalled




Marble counter-top and sink install by 

Finished job with Ron


New mirror and light fixture



Bill of material

Lori H from Studio M was our design consultant





6.15.2017

Finally burying the Sarah Palin - Gabby Giffords "targeting" link



The bogus claim that a map of crosshairs by Sarah Palin’s PAC incited Rep. Gabby Giffords’s shooting

Excerpt:

“Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl. At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs. But in that case no connection to the shooting was ever established.” — New York Times editorial board, June 14

This quote is from a corrected version of a New York Times editorial that had falsely claimed that the gunman in the 2011 Giffords shooting was politically incited by Palin’s political action committee. Many readers asked about the uncorrected version, which initially claimed “the link to political incitement was clear” between the gunman’s actions and the map portraying crosshairs, including one over Giffords’s congressional district in Southern Arizona.
Comment: More from above link under the heading "The Facts"

Gun control is back in the national debate, after the shooting Wednesday at a baseball practice among congressional Republicans. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was critically injured, and four others were wounded. The shooting quickly became political. The gunman, who died after a shootout with police, had volunteered for the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and posted angry and vulgar comments on social media aimed at President Trump.

The Times argued that our politics has become lethal, and argued for stricter gun control measures. The Fact Checker obviously has no opinion on this matter.XXX Here’s what happened in 2011.

Jared Lee Loughner shot Giffords in the head during a Jan. 8, 2011, constituent event, then opened fire on the people lined up to meet her there — injuring 14 and killing six. Contemporaneous news reports noted that Giffords was one of 20 Democrats targeted in a map circulated by Sarah Palin’s political action committee in March 2010. The map portrayed stylized crosshairs to mark each of their districts, in a “Take Back the 20″ campaign to reclaim seats in the 2010 midterm elections.

After the map was published, Giffords said in an interview: “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district, and when people do that, they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action.”

As the corrected version of the Times’s editorial notes, no connection was established between this map and the 2011 shooting.

After Loughner’s shooting, some of Palin’s surrogates claimed the map was never intended to portray crosshairs, and instead said they were “surveyor’s symbols.” But that was debunked by Palin herself, when she acknowledged that the symbols were intended to be crosshairs.

It’s unclear whether Loughner even knew of Palin’s map, but it probably would not have changed the outcome. His focus on Giffords began as early as 2007, long before the map was published. He became fixated on her since he met her at a constituent event in 2007, and decided he was unsatisfied by her answer to his question: “If words could not be understood, then what does government mean?”

Three days after the shooting, authorities filed criminal charges against Loughner after finding items in his home that showed he had plotted her assassination. They found in his safe a 2007 letter from Giffords thanking him for attending the constituent event, and an envelope stating “I planned ahead,” and the words “assassination” and “Giffords,” along with his signature.

Loughner had no clear political views. Instead, he was a troubled man who abused alcohol and drugs, and whose mental illness was apparent to his classmates and family even before he was diagnosed as schizophrenic during his court trial.

... We’re glad to see this fixed in the editorial, but it’s not a good sign that the debunked talking point was included as fact in the editorial of a major media outlet. Any future references to this talking point by politicians or political groups will receive Four Pinocchios.



MORE: New York Times corrects editorial that drew huge backlash for blaming Sarah Palin in Gabby Giffords' shooting

Two REITs that lease to the Federal Government





This REIT Is Actually Printing Dividends

The REITs:



Comment: I don't have a position in either ... yet!

6.09.2017

Before Gal Gadot was Wonder Woman ...


The Data Center REITs






6 Great Data Center REITs For 2017

Top REIT Ideas: Shining The Spotlight On Data Centers - 2016 Recap

Comment: Got $ 12,000? Here's a way to invest in a diversified way in 6 REITs. Want even broader? Consider the VNQ ETF. Look at that low expense ratio!




Who's the True Muslim?


6.08.2017

Solus Christus now "[dis]respectful of other religions" and "[not] what this country is supposed to be about"



Watch Bernie Sanders Attack a Christian Nominee and Impose an Unconstitutional Religious Test for Public Office Excerpt:

You think your statement that you put into that publication, they do not know God because they rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned, do you think that’s respectful of other religions? ... I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.
Commentary:

Update: Is it hateful to believe in hell?

6.04.2017

6.02.2017

Hillary's Alt-Facts



Hillary Lacks Remorse of Conscience - Oddly, she seems completely sincere, as if she believes the alternative facts she’s peddling.

Excerpt:

I don’t want to beat up on Hillary Clinton. She thought she’d win and she lost, embarrassingly, to a man she considered deeply unworthy. At the same time she won the popular vote by 2.9 million. It would take anyone time to absorb these things emotionally and psychologically.

But wow. Her public statements since defeat have been malignant little masterpieces of victimhood-claiming, blame-shifting and unhelpful accusation. They deserve censure.

Last weekend she was the commencement speaker at her alma mater, Wellesley, where she insulted the man who beat her. This Wednesday she was at the 2017 Code Conference, hosted by the Recode website, where she was interviewed by friendly journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. She eagerly offered a comprehensive list of the reasons she lost the 2016 presidential election.

She lost because America is a hopelessly reactionary country in which dark forces fight a constant “rearguard action” to “turn back the clock.” She lost because Republicans are both technologically advanced and underhanded. Democrats, for instance, use data and analytics to target and rouse voters—“better messaging.” Republicans, on the other hand, use “content farms” and make “an enormous investment in falsehoods, fake news, call it what you will.” Democrats “did not engage in false content.” She lost because of the Russians: “Who were they coordinating with, or colluding with?”

She lost because of “voter suppression” and “unaccountable money flowing in against me.” She lost because the Democratic National Committee didn’t help her. “I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party. I mean it was bankrupt. . . . Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.”

She lost because FBI Director James Comey told Congress the investigation regarding her email server had been reopened. “So for whatever reason . . . and I can’t look inside the guy’s mind, you know, he dumps that on me on Oct. 28, and I immediately start falling.”

She lost because she was “swimming against a historic tide. It’s very difficult historically to succeed a two-term president of your own party.” She lost because she was “the victim of a very broad assumption that I was going to win.” She lost because the news media ignored her policy positions.

And then there was sexism. “It sort of bleeds into misogyny. And let’s just be honest, you know, people who have . . . a set of expectations about who should be president and what a president looks like, you know, they’re going to be much more skeptical and critical of somebody who doesn’t look like and talk like and sound like everybody else who’s been president. Any you know, President Obama broke that racial barrier, but you know, he’s a very attractive, good-looking man.”

Oh my goodness, how she thinks.

Comment: Please just go away!

6.01.2017

Elites and Climate Change - when One Plane just won't do!






Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton to attend service for Betty Ford

Hillary Clinton - Huma Abedin email exhange

Excerpt:

Huma: Looks like plane won’t be an issue. We got message that family is very inclusive and if you wanted to speak at the service, they would welcome it. Also, looks like michelle obama also going.

Hillary: I’d be honored to speak. Is it ok that we and Mrs. O take two separate planes?

Huma: I think its ok. But let me see what kind of plane she’s taking.

Hillary: I would rather have our own of course.

Comment: They haven't fully bought in on the carbon footprint thing! Top image source

See also: Why the Paris climate accord is meaningless


5.31.2017

Governor Dayton's Brinkmanship






Gov. Dayton and the Legislature: what happened, why and what comes next?

Excerpt:

Gov. Mark Dayton signed all the major spending bills state spending bills on Tuesday, which means Minnesota's two year state general fund budget of $46 billion is in place. Except he refused to fund the Legislature. It's a decision that sets up a summer's worth of political and legal disputes between the DFL governor and Republicans who control the Legislature.
 ...
Republican legislators ... are already calling the whole maneuver an unconstitutional breach of separation of powers. A House Republican I talked to is confident a judge will quickly order money for ongoing operations because the Legislature is an essential function of government. If that's the case, then that money, plus reserves, will allow the House to ride it out for a long time. They could also dump DFL staff as nonessential.
Comment: The main players above: Kurt Daudt, Mark Dayton, Paul Gazelka

Mark Dayton vetoed the Legislature’s funding. Was it constitutional?:
Doug Wardlow predicted the court case would be open-and-shut.

“To veto the funding for the Legislature entirely like that, basically is voiding another co-equal branch of government and violating the separation of powers,” Wardlow said. “I don’t think (Dayton) has a leg to stand on, because he has completely undermined the ability of the Legislature to function.”

Dayton said he’s in the right — if on uncertain legal ground.

“The courts will ultimately have to resolve (the dispute),” said Dayton, who came up with the idea for vetoing the Legislature’s funding himself. “There isn’t case law directly applicable to this.”

His preferred outcome doesn’t involve the courts at all, but rather Republicans re-opening negotiations and agreeing to concessions. Then Dayton could call a special legislative session to re-pass the Legislature’s funding along with any concessions Republicans agreed to.
Update:
Constitutional fight escalates between Gov. Mark Dayton, Legislature
The conflict is of a piece with the grim direction of national and state politics at a time when traditions of compromise and comity have given way to demonstrations of raw power.XXX That’s the diagnosis of constitutional scholars who say the new dynamic between the political parties — witnessed in Washington for years and more recently in St. Paul — dictates that every dispute has the potential to become a constitutional death struggle.

“They have taken their literal power to its ultimate lengths. And that’s constitutional crisis,” said Mary Jane Morrison, a Mitchell Hamline Law School professor who wrote a book on the Minnesota constitution.

Minnesota politicos were still reeling Wednesday from Dayton’s maneuver, which he said was his own idea.

He signed 10 budget bills Tuesday totaling $46 billion that will fund the executive branch for the next two years. He also signed a $650 million tax cut and a borrowing package of nearly $1 billion for public works.

But then he used his line-item veto authority to strike out $130 million in operating funds for the Legislature, which could leave 201 state lawmakers and several hundred legislative employees without pay as soon as reserves run dry in a few months.

“This is unconstitutional,” House GOP spokeswoman Susan Closmore wrote in a Wednesday memo. “The branches of government are coequal. If one branch takes action that infringes too greatly — such as eliminating all funding for four years — on another branch of government, it violates the constitutional separation of powers.”

Constitutional scholars agreed that the spirit of the separation of powers does not allow one branch of government to effectively kill another by defunding it.

“This is an abuse of a power that contravenes the very system of a separation of powers,” said H. Jefferson Powell, a Duke University constitutional scholar. A veteran of the Clinton and Obama Justice Departments, Powell, while not specifically familiar with the circumstances in Minnesota, emphasized his expertise is in federal separation of powers cases.

“Maybe you have the raw power to do this, but plainly this is a misuse of power,” he said.
Update: Minn. Legislature moves to sue Gov. Dayton over funding cut
Minnesota legislators agreed Friday to hire a law firm to sue Gov. Mark Dayton after he zeroed out the operating budget of the House and Senate. Calling Dayton’s move an unconstitutional encroachment on the legislative branch of government, a Republican led panel of House members and senators agreed on a party-line vote to enter into negotiations with the high profile law firm of Kelley, Wolter & Scott, which has offered to cut their $650 per hour fee in half to do the work. Barring a last-minute resolution, a lawsuit seems likely. “We feel like we had no choice,” said Senate Majority Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, who said the Senate would run out of funds around August 1. The Legislature employs more than 500 people, both partisan and nonpartisan.

Update:



The Association of Government Accountability, represented by conservative legal activist Erick Kaardal, sues Dayton administration over Legislature defunding
A group of conservative activists is suing the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton over his decision to defund the Legislature as of July 1.

The Association of Government Accountability, represented by conservative legal activist Erick Kaardal, is arguing in Ramsey County District Court that a 2016 constitutional amendment that sets legislative pay requires that state government pay lawmakers.

Dayton signed 10 bills last week that set the state’s next two-year, $46 billion budget, but he used his line item veto authority to strike out spending for the operating budgets of both the House and Senate. He wants the Republican-controlled Legislature to renegotiate deals over immigrant driver’s licenses; education policy; and, tax cuts.

Kaardal argues that the constitutional amendment on legislative salaries requires the Dayton administration to pay lawmakers. Voters authorized an outside group called the Legislative Salary Council to set lawmaker pay in the last election by approving a constitutional amendment that ended the practice of lawmakers voting on their own salaries. Details of suit

“It’s an extraordinary breach of trust of the public. It’s an extraordinary breach of the constitution,” Kaardal said at a Monday news conference on the steps of the Capitol.

Both the House and Senate will run out of money in a few months and not have enough money to pay lawmakers and staff; the Legislature is in the process of obtaining outside counsel to sue Dayton over what it calls an unconstitutional abuse of power.

5.29.2017

Kathee's Uncle Jack Hersant died in a Kamikaze attack on the USS Aaron Ward (1945)













USS Aaron Ward (DM-34)

Excerpt:

On 30 April, the destroyer minelayer returned to sea to take up position on radar picket station number 10. That night, she helped repulse several air attacks; but, for the most part, weather kept enemy airpower away until the afternoon of 3 May. When the weather began to clear, the probability of air attacks rose. At about dusk, Aaron Ward's radar picked up bogies at 27 miles (43 km) distance; and her crew went to general quarters. Two of the planes in the formation broke away and began runs on Aaron Ward. The warship opened fire on the first from about 7,000 yards (6,000 m) and began scoring hits when he had closed range to 4,000 yards (4,000 m). At that point, he dipped over into his suicide dive but crashed about 100 yards (100 m) off the destroyer minelayer's starboard quarter. The second of the pair began his approach immediately thereafter. Aaron Ward opened fire on him at about 8,000 yards (7,000 m) and, once again, began scoring hits to good effect — so much so that her antiaircraft battery destroyed him while he was still 1,200 yards (1,100 m) away.

At that point, a third and more determined intruder appeared and dove in on Aaron Ward's stern. Though repeatedly struck by antiaircraft fire, the plane pressed home the attack with grim determination. Just before crashing into Aaron Ward's superstructure, he released a bomb which smashed through her hull below the waterline and exploded in the after engine room. The bomb explosion flooded the after engine and fire rooms, ruptured fuel tanks, set the leaking oil ablaze, and severed steering control connections to the bridge. The rudder jammed at hard left, and Aaron Ward turned in a tight circle while slowing to about 20 knots (37 km/h). Topside, the plane itself spread fire and destruction through the area around the after deckhouse and deprived mount 53 of all power and communication. Worse yet, many sailors were killed or injured in the crash.

For about 20 minutes, no attacking plane succeeded in penetrating her air defenses. Damage control parties worked feverishly to put out fires, to repair what damage they could, to jettison ammunition in danger of exploding, and to attend to the wounded. Though steering control was moved aft to the rudder itself, the ship was unable to maneuver properly throughout the remainder of the engagement. Then, at about 1840, the ships on her station came under a particularly ferocious air attack. While Little was hit by the five successive crashes that sank her, LSM(R)-195 took the crash that sent her to the bottom; and LCS(L)-25 lost her mast to a kamikaze. Aaron Ward also suffered her share of added woe. Just before 1900, one plane from the group of attackers selected her as a target and began his approach from about 8,000 yards (7,000 m). Fortunately, the destroyer minelayer began scoring hits early and managed to shoot down the attacker when he was still 2,000 yards (2,000 m) away. Another enemy then attempted to crash into her, but they, too, succumbed to her antiaircraft fire. Her troubles, however, were not over. Soon after the two successes just mentioned, two more Japanese planes came in on her port bow. Though chased by American fighters, one of these succeeded in breaking away and starting a run on Aaron Ward. The aircraft came in at a steep dive apparently aiming at the bridge. Heavy fire from the destroyer minelayer, however, forced the plane to veer toward the after portion of the ship. Passing over the signal bridge, the plane carried away halyards and antennae assemblies, smashed into the stack, and then crashed close aboard to starboard.

Quickly on the heels of that attack, still another intruder swooped in toward Aaron Ward. Coming in just forward of her port beam, the plane met a hail of anti-aircraft fire but continued on and released a bomb just before crashing into her main deck. The bomb exploded a few feet close aboard her port side, and its fragments showered the ship and blew a large hole through the shell plating near her forward fireroom. As a result, the ship lost all power and gradually lost headway. At that point, a previously unobserved enemy crashed into the ship's deckhouse bulkhead causing numerous fires and injuring and killing many more crewmen.

Aaron Ward endured two more devastating crashes before the action ended. At about 1921, a plane glided in steeply on her port quarter. The loss of power prevented any of her 5-inch mounts from bearing on him, and he crashed into her port side superstructure. Burning gasoline engulfed the deck in flames, 40-millimeter ammunition began exploding, and still more heavy casualties resulted. The warship went dead in the water, her after superstructure deck demolished, and she was still on fire. While damage control crews fought the fires and flooding, Aaron Ward began to settle in the water and took on a decided list to port.

She still had one ordeal, however, to suffer. Just after 1920, a final bomb-laden tormentor made a high-speed, low-level approach and crashed into the base of her number 2 stack. The explosion blew the plane, the stack, searchlight, and two gun mounts into the air, and they all came to rest strewn across the deck aft of stack number 1. Through the night, her crew fought to save the ship. At 2106, Shannon arrived and took Aaron Ward in tow. Early on the morning of 4 May, she arrived at Kerama Retto where she began temporary repairs. She remained there until 11 June when she got underway for the United States. Steaming via Ulithi, Guam, Eniwetok, Pearl Harbor, and the Panama Canal, Aaron Ward arrived in New York in mid-August. On 28 September 1945, because her damage was so severe and the Navy had a surplus of destroyers at the time, she was decommissioned, and her name was struck from the Navy list. In July 1946, she was sold for scrapping. Her anchor is on display in Elgin, Illinois.
Comment: I relied on this list of US ships attacked by Kamikazes. Gravesite and memorial info

Note: The attack was during the battle for Okinawa . See Kerama Retto below




NOTE: After attack photo source with following narrative:

Six kamikaze planes hit the destroyer minelayer USS Aaron Ward (DM-34) in the early evening of May 3, 1945. Although the attacks killed 42 men, the ship managed to stay afloat but never returned to action. Arnold Lott, a former Navy Lieutenant Commander who sailed in the 1920s on the first destroyer named Aaron Ward, performed extensive research for this history. This included numerous interviews with surviving crewmembers and bereaved family members, examining official Navy logs and action reports, and reading hundreds of letters from the crew. Brave Ship Brave Men, a tribute to the courageous men who served on Aaron Ward, depicts regular life aboard the ship before the kamikaze attacks and provides personal glimpses into the crew's emotions as they faced incoming planes and recovered after the strikes.

The first five of eight chapters cover the ship's first five watches on May 3, 1945, from midnight up to 6 p.m., as the crew waits in anticipation of Japanese plane attacks. The author introduces the ship's history through a series of flashbacks. Aaron Ward, which had been originally built as a destroyer (DD-773), was converted to a destroyer minelayer before her commissioning in October 1944. These first few chapters also describe the many different jobs of the some 350 men aboard this ship. The crew passes the first 18 hours of May 3 with little excitement but much tension about enemy planes that could appear over the horizon at any moment.

Chapters 6 and 7 describe the attack by about 25 kamikaze planes on the five ships at Radar Picket Station 10: Aaron Ward, destroyer Little, and three smaller support ships. Aaron Ward gets attacked by 11 planes within one hour, but the ship's gunners managed to down five of the incoming planes. However, six others crashed into Aaron Ward, and the engine, propeller, and a wing of one downed plane also hit the ship. Four kamikaze hits sunk the destroyer Little with the loss of 30 men, and a kamikaze plane also crashed into and quickly sunk the LSMR-195 (Landing Ship, Medium (Rocket)) as the rockets loaded on board exploded. Aaron Ward, dead in the water, received help from her sister ship, the destroyer minelayer Shannon (DM-25), which came from Okinawa and towed Aaron Ward through the night to Kerama Retto, a group of small islands off the southwestern coast of Okinawa.

The last chapter tells about Aaron Ward 's cleanup and temporary repairs at Kerama Retto in order to try to return to the States for more extensive repairs. After the surviving crew cleaned the decks of body parts and metal scraps, kamikaze attacks continued while the ship remained moored at Kerama Retto hidden under smoke screens. Aaron Ward left Okinawa on June 11, 1945, and returned to San Diego under her own power on July 8. The final chapter includes several moving stories of how families of dead seamen reacted to the news.
Also see Presidential Unit Citation to U.S.S. Aaron Ward
"For extraordinary heroism in action as a Picket Ship on Radar Picket Station during coordinated attack by approximately twenty-five Japanese aircraft near Okinawa on May 3, 1945. Shooting down two Kamikazes which approached in determined suicide dives, the U.S.S. AARON WARD was struck by a bomb from a third suicide plane as she fought to destroy this attacker before it crashed into her superstructure and sprayed the entire area with flaming gasoline. Instantly flooded in her after engineroom and fireroom, she battled against flames and exploding ammunition on deck and, maneuvering in a tight circle because of damage to her steering gear, countered another coordinated suicide attack and destroyed three Kamikazes in rapid succession. Still smoking heavily and maneuvering radically, she lost all power when her forward fireroom flooded under a seventh suicide plane which dropped a bomb close aboard and dived in flames into the main deck. Unable to recover from this blow before an eighth bomber crashed into her superstructure bulkhead only a few seconds later, she attempted to shoot down a ninth Kamikaze diving toward her at high speed and, despite the destruction of nearly all her gun mounts aft when this plane struck her, took under fire the tenth bomb-laden plane, which penetrated the dense smoke to crash on board with a devastating explosion. With fires raging uncontrolled, ammunition exploding and all engine spaces except the forward engineroom flooded as she settled in the water and listed to port, she began a nightlong battle to remain afloat and, with the assistance of a towing vessel, finally reached port the following morning. By her superb fighting spirit and the courage and determination of her entire company, the AARON WARD upheld the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

5.27.2017

Remembering the Manchester Victims





Comment: Source: 1

Note: New Tag: Islamic Terrorism

One of the greatest evils of our day!