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(AFP)   The Solomon Islander who rescued JFK after his PT boat sank in WWII dies at age 93; always wondered whatever became of that nice young kid he pulled out of the drink   (afp.com) divider line 49
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3018 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Aug 2014 at 3:38 PM (6 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-05 12:51:13 PM
RIP.  Sad to see that last bit of history leave living memory.
 
2014-08-05 12:55:56 PM

dittybopper: RIP.  Sad to see that last bit of history leave living memory.


It really is, across the board.  The last of my family who fought in WW2, my great uncle, passed away a few years ago.  According to the VA, the median age for U.S. WW2 veterans is 92.  Currently around 1.4 million but that number is going to plummet in the coming years.  Hopefully historians and journalists are doing a good job of interviewing as many as possible, in this day and age there's no excuse not to.
 
2014-08-05 01:10:52 PM

nekom: dittybopper: RIP.  Sad to see that last bit of history leave living memory.

It really is, across the board.  The last of my family who fought in WW2, my great uncle, passed away a few years ago.  According to the VA, the median age for U.S. WW2 veterans is 92.  Currently around 1.4 million but that number is going to plummet in the coming years.  Hopefully historians and journalists are doing a good job of interviewing as many as possible, in this day and age there's no excuse not to.


We've lost all of WWI, and now we're losing WWII, but of course that is the nature of things.  And unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, something is lost with every single generation.
 
2014-08-05 01:13:37 PM

nekom: dittybopper: RIP.  Sad to see that last bit of history leave living memory.

It really is, across the board.  The last of my family who fought in WW2, my great uncle, passed away a few years ago.  According to the VA, the median age for U.S. WW2 veterans is 92.  Currently around 1.4 million but that number is going to plummet in the coming years.  Hopefully historians and journalists are doing a good job of interviewing as many as possible, in this day and age there's no excuse not to.


Are there any WWI one vets left alive?   It's an eerie feeling to realize that one of the shattering and momentous moments of human history has now vanished from living memory and lives on only in the oral histories  the men who were there chose to pass down.

When I was about 12 my dad signed me up for summer rifle classes at the local range.    My first instructor was Mr. Fitz, a very elderly man who was a WWI vet and had been more or less a sniper during that war (the official designation did not exist yet in the US military).  He never spoke much about the war itself, but it made the things he DID say echo all the louder in my memory, and realize what a horrific war that must have been.

The men who taught me how to shoot the M-1 were all men who had carried one in battle, either at the end of WWII or Korea:  They told more stories, mostly about the weapon, and how it had imperiled or endangered their lives on more than one occasion (they referred to the *ping* a clip ejecting from the rifle made as a "Chinese dinner bell" for example)  It's strange to think that Mr. Ftiz is certainly dead now, as possibly are those other men, and many of their experiences in those wars may now only exist as relayed memories to me.
 
2014-08-05 01:17:22 PM
So JFK survived the last war that we actually should have been in so that he could grow up to get us in the most useless war we're ever been in. You should have taken a siesta that day, Mr. Kumana.
 
2014-08-05 01:23:46 PM
Magorn:
Are there any WWI one vets left alive?

Last surviving WWI veteran died in 2012.  My daughter was alive.
Spanish American War 1993.  I was alive.
U.S. Civil war 1956.  My dad was alive, albeit just a toddler.
Crimean War 1938.  My grandparents were alive.
 
2014-08-05 01:36:02 PM
On a non-sad, but related note, the PT-109 incident shows how very incompetent the Japanese were at signals intelligence.

Not only couldn't they break the Playfair cipher, but they didn't even seem to make too much of an effort to find the coast watchers in general.
 
2014-08-05 01:42:20 PM

dittybopper: On a non-sad, but related note, the PT-109 incident shows how very incompetent the Japanese were at signals intelligence.

Not only couldn't they break the Playfair cipher, but they didn't even seem to make too much of an effort to find the coast watchers in general.



"gentlemen don't read each other's mail"  The US wasn't great at code intercept at the outset of the war either, but we got a hell of a lift from the British efforts at Benchley Park and all the Polish intelligence  service agents who found themselves abroad without a country to go home to after the invasion .

(BTW completely un-related but figured I would ask you because you are most likely to know.   There is a radio station near me that is actually an FM rebroadcast of another stations "HD Radio" signal every so often during the music or the station ID breaks (no commercials weirdly enough) I hear what is very clearly a Morse code signal...I'm not good enough to decode at that speed however...any idea what ti might be?
 
2014-08-05 02:32:53 PM
Never knew JFK had a back brace on the day he was shot. I wonder if that prevented him trying to duck.
 
2014-08-05 02:42:30 PM

gopher321: Never knew JFK had a back brace on the day he was shot. I wonder if that prevented him trying to duck.


actually, at least one doctor has said exactly that
 
2014-08-05 03:43:28 PM

nekom: dittybopper: RIP.  Sad to see that last bit of history leave living memory.

It really is, across the board.  The last of my family who fought in WW2, my great uncle, passed away a few years ago.  According to the VA, the median age for U.S. WW2 veterans is 92.  Currently around 1.4 million but that number is going to plummet in the coming years.  Hopefully historians and journalists are doing a good job of interviewing as many as possible, in this day and age there's no excuse not to.


I would say it will be a very good thing when nobody alive has personally experienced a global conflict that killed tens of millions of people. I think we should strive to make that a permanent state of affairs.
 
2014-08-05 03:47:07 PM
Oh, him.
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-08-05 03:47:58 PM
I'm just glad he was there....

Imagine if Jack had been relying on Teddy to pull him out of the water.
 
2014-08-05 03:50:31 PM

Magorn: dittybopper: On a non-sad, but related note, the PT-109 incident shows how very incompetent the Japanese were at signals intelligence.

Not only couldn't they break the Playfair cipher, but they didn't even seem to make too much of an effort to find the coast watchers in general.


"gentlemen don't read each other's mail"  The US wasn't great at code intercept at the outset of the war either, but we got a hell of a lift from the British efforts at Benchley Park and all the Polish intelligence  service agents who found themselves abroad without a country to go home to after the invasion .

(BTW completely un-related but figured I would ask you because you are most likely to know.   There is a radio station near me that is actually an FM rebroadcast of another stations "HD Radio" signal every so often during the music or the station ID breaks (no commercials weirdly enough) I hear what is very clearly a Morse code signal...I'm not good enough to decode at that speed however...any idea what ti might be?


You may know this already, but "number stations" used by intelligence services still operate. Some are voices counting numbers, others Morse Code. There was a link here a couple of months ago. Fascinating, eerie stuff
 
2014-08-05 03:51:43 PM

Magorn: I'm not good enough to decode at that speed however...any idea what ti might be?


Maybe a modern extension of a numbers station (a CIA  / spying thing..)?
But, admittedly a little more likely to be a HAM radio guy talking in morse...
 
2014-08-05 03:52:05 PM

zerkalo: Magorn: dittybopper: On a non-sad, but related note, the PT-109 incident shows how very incompetent the Japanese were at signals intelligence.

Not only couldn't they break the Playfair cipher, but they didn't even seem to make too much of an effort to find the coast watchers in general.


"gentlemen don't read each other's mail"  The US wasn't great at code intercept at the outset of the war either, but we got a hell of a lift from the British efforts at Benchley Park and all the Polish intelligence  service agents who found themselves abroad without a country to go home to after the invasion .

(BTW completely un-related but figured I would ask you because you are most likely to know.   There is a radio station near me that is actually an FM rebroadcast of another stations "HD Radio" signal every so often during the music or the station ID breaks (no commercials weirdly enough) I hear what is very clearly a Morse code signal...I'm not good enough to decode at that speed however...any idea what ti might be?

You may know this already, but "number stations" used by intelligence services still operate. Some are voices counting numbers, others Morse Code. There was a link here a couple of months ago. Fascinating, eerie stuff


Here is one Fark thread on the stations, but there may be others
 
2014-08-05 03:52:46 PM

zerkalo: You may know this already, but "number stations" used by intelligence services still operate. Some are voices counting numbers, others Morse Code. There was a link here a couple of months ago. Fascinating, eerie stuff


Tiny, well-encrypted fists...

Good show.
 
2014-08-05 03:55:03 PM

LazyMedia: nekom: dittybopper:

I would say it will be a very good thing when nobody alive has personally experienced a global conflict that killed tens of millions of people. I think we should strive to make that a permanent state of affairs.


While I don't condone hunting down the remaining WW2 vets in a most dangerous game method, I do think it would be a great movie in which the villain tries to expedite history but the wily vets turn the tables on him.
 
2014-08-05 03:55:25 PM
I always think of all the great men who were not pulled out of the drink. The massive amount of talent, innovation, and foresight that died in that war is, well, horrible. My father survived Iwo and his good friend did not. He always said of him that he was more courageous, more intelligent, more interesting--at 20 years old. What kind of world we might have, eh?
 
2014-08-05 03:57:18 PM
i.ytimg.com '

Wanted for questioning.

/Seriously, though, RIP.
 
2014-08-05 03:59:12 PM
And they put up a pick of JFK and not the other dude.
 
2014-08-05 04:00:28 PM

Decillion: LazyMedia: nekom: dittybopper:

I would say it will be a very good thing when nobody alive has personally experienced a global conflict that killed tens of millions of people. I think we should strive to make that a permanent state of affairs.

While I don't condone hunting down the remaining WW2 vets in a most dangerous game method, I do think it would be a great movie in which the villain tries to expedite history but the wily vets turn the tables on him.


Battleship was pretty great, yeah.
 
2014-08-05 04:01:09 PM
always wondered whatever became of that nice young kid he pulled out of the drink

This guy?

mimg.ugo.com
 
2014-08-05 04:02:51 PM

bikerbob59: And they put up a pick of JFK and not the other dude.


I'll take "why are journalists assholes?" for $1000, Alex.
 
2014-08-05 04:10:47 PM
Since the author of TFA is a schmuck, here are some pics of Mr. Kumana:

www.jfklibrary.org
(From the JFK LIbrary)

photography.nationalgeographic.com
(From NatGeo, of course)
www.maritimequest.com
(From Maritime Quest)
 
2014-08-05 04:12:16 PM
If by "wondered whatever became" you mean "created a small idol worship religion devoted to JFK" then yes you're correct.
 
2014-08-05 04:16:32 PM

LazyMedia: nekom: dittybopper: RIP.  Sad to see that last bit of history leave living memory.

It really is, across the board.  The last of my family who fought in WW2, my great uncle, passed away a few years ago.  According to the VA, the median age for U.S. WW2 veterans is 92.  Currently around 1.4 million but that number is going to plummet in the coming years.  Hopefully historians and journalists are doing a good job of interviewing as many as possible, in this day and age there's no excuse not to.

I would say it will be a very good thing when nobody alive has personally experienced a global conflict that killed tens of millions of people. I think we should strive to make that a permanent state of affairs.


Unfortunately, the most likely way for that to come to pass is a global thermonuclear war...
 
2014-08-05 04:18:38 PM

Magorn: "gentlemen don't read each other's mail"  The US wasn't great at code intercept at the outset of the war either, but we got a hell of a lift from the British efforts at Benchley Park and all the Polish intelligence  service agents who found themselves abroad without a country to go home to after the invasion .


Actually, yes we were.  In fact, we had decrypted and read the message from the Japanese breaking off negotiations on December 7th, 1941 before the Japanese embassy in Washington DC was able decrypt and read it.  Not that it helped us much, other than giving us a vague warning that the Japanese might do something.

Not only that, but we had intercept sites in place in the Philippines (Station CAST at Cavite) and Hawaii (Station HYPO), not to mention Guam and Bainbridge Island, WA.  We were working hard (but not smart) on the various Japanese naval systems prior to Pearl Harbor, but headway was minimal not because of lack of British help, but more along the lines of not attacking the problem in a smart manner:  We were banging our heads against high priority systems for which there was little traffic at the time, instead of concentrating on lower priority systems that could bear quicker fruit.  We changed that focus immediately after Pearl Harbor.

We did get some help from the British in the Pacific, but truthfully it was the United States that did most of the heavy lifting in that theater.  The Japanese systems were mostly an afterthought for the British, which is understandable given their proximity to Germany, though they did make some good contributions.

When Henry Stimson uttered those words, closing the Black Chamber in 1929, we still retained, and even grew, a significant codebreaking and intercept capability:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signals_Intelligence_Service (founded 1930)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OP-20-G (founded 1922)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_roof_gang (founded 1928)

In fact, the work that Yardley's organization had done was basically folded into SIS, which continued the work of breaking diplomatic traffic when it could.

Oh, and a little bit of trivia:  Because the British couldn't produce a reliable high speed 4 rotor bombe, by mid-to-late 1943 the task of breaking the U-boat Enigma messages largely passed to the United States.
 
2014-08-05 04:20:23 PM
There's actually a pretty good documentary on Netflix for instant viewing where National Geographic goes back to the island and shows the people involved:  National Geographic: The Search for Kennedy's PT 109.  The most touching part was this amazing monument that the guy made to JFK after he was killed, and RFK, Jr. (I think) goes back to meet the guy, etc.  The Bob Ballard stuff about finding the boat was not as good as meeting the man who saved JFK.
 
2014-08-05 04:23:32 PM

Englebert Slaptyback: Since the author of TFA is a schmuck, here are some pics of Mr. Kumana:

[www.jfklibrary.org image 599x800]
(From the JFK LIbrary)

[photography.nationalgeographic.com image 800x600]
(From NatGeo, of course)
[www.maritimequest.com image 743x531]
(From Maritime Quest)


Thank you.  That was going to be my complaint with the article - I mean, we all know what JFK looks like.
 
2014-08-05 04:25:59 PM
From TFA  :Kumana and Gasa were invited to Kennedy's 1961 inauguration but were unable to make the trip to Washington.

What really happened is that Kumana and Gasa were invited to Pres. Kennedy's inauguration but British officials in then colonial Honiara decided that the two were too unsophisticated and British officials went instead
 
2014-08-05 04:28:47 PM
Whatever happened to the guys who sliced it in half? Nobody ever talks about them, do they?
 
2014-08-05 04:33:17 PM
I learned something new today, count me in about people who didn't know about the back brace
 
2014-08-05 04:37:07 PM

Englebert Slaptyback: Since the author of TFA is a schmuck, here are some pics of Mr. Kumana:


(From the JFK LIbrary)


(From NatGeo, of course)

(From Maritime Quest)


What in the hell did he (or someone) carve JFKs likeness out of? Looks like a head of lettuce.
 
2014-08-05 04:41:43 PM

A10Mechanic: Whatever happened to the guys who sliced it in half? Nobody ever talks about them, do they?


The Amagiri was sunk off Borneo in '44. Hit a mine. Most of the crew survived.
 
2014-08-05 04:47:22 PM
Nat Geo did a doc called The Search for Kennedy's PT 109. It's on Netflix. You meet the guy who saved him, and see one of the Kennedy's travel out there to meet him and present him with something - I think it was that bust posted in this thread. Worth checking out.
 
2014-08-05 04:48:49 PM

shower_in_my_socks: Nat Geo did a doc called The Search for Kennedy's PT 109. It's on Netflix. You meet the guy who saved him, and see one of the Kennedy's travel out there to meet him and present him with something - I think it was that bust posted in this thread. Worth checking out.


I see Strange Mojo had this covered.
 
2014-08-05 05:30:05 PM

Omnivorous: From TFA  :Kumana and Gasa were invited to Kennedy's 1961 inauguration but were unable to make the trip to Washington.

What really happened is that Kumana and Gasa were invited to Pres. Kennedy's inauguration but British officials in then colonial Honiara decided that the two were too unsophisticated and British officials went instead


seriously or trolling?
 
2014-08-05 05:40:55 PM
Kept reading that the headline Island Salamander
www.ohioamphibians.com
/RIP
 
2014-08-05 06:34:04 PM
My grandfather was a PT boater (MTBRON 15, PT 204) - hit by a torpedo that did not detonate

 19th May '44: "Mark 13 Torpedo in the Stern of 204 Act" was played, with the 204 successfully returning to Bastia to the tune of  "I want a Fish just like the Fish that pickled the dear old Four."  This act was produced and directed by one of the new boats off West Coast of Italy.  The torpedo did not travel the distance required to arm the detonator.  The Torpedoman had stuffed the arming device with soft material to prevent detonation by boat jarring. (from  http://www.petertare.org/ron15/ron15-10.htm )
 
2014-08-05 07:17:51 PM
dittybopper We've lost all of WWI, and now we're losing WWII, but of course that is the nature of things.

Curse You, Aussie Machine Gunners!
mysendoff.com

A10Mechanic: Whatever happened to the guys who sliced it in half? Nobody ever talks about them, do they?

JFK blew off talking to Rob't J Donovan for the PT-109 book 'til he found out he'd tracked down & interviewed the Japanese guys who sank him, then he figured it was serious...
 
2014-08-05 07:23:15 PM

Magorn: dittybopper: On a non-sad, but related note, the PT-109 incident shows how very incompetent the Japanese were at signals intelligence.

Not only couldn't they break the Playfair cipher, but they didn't even seem to make too much of an effort to find the coast watchers in general.


"gentlemen don't read each other's mail"  The US wasn't great at code intercept at the outset of the war either, but we got a hell of a lift from the British efforts at Benchley Park and all the Polish intelligence  service agents who found themselves abroad without a country to go home to after the invasion .

(BTW completely un-related but figured I would ask you because you are most likely to know.   There is a radio station near me that is actually an FM rebroadcast of another stations "HD Radio" signal every so often during the music or the station ID breaks (no commercials weirdly enough) I hear what is very clearly a Morse code signal...I'm not good enough to decode at that speed however...any idea what ti might be?


It could very well be a station ID. A lot of non-ham radio repeaters (police, fire, etc.) still identify by Morse. Maybe the HD signal does something similar so they know what station it is, if they aren't transmitting a station ID every once in a while. To the best of my knowledge, every fixed transmitter must ID periodically, so it may well be just that.

I doubt it's something like a numbers station: those are pretty much shortwave only. The reason for that is that it's a good way to send instructions to an agent in a foreign country in a way that doesn't expose the agent. All he or she needs is a shortwave radio, a pencil, and some paper. There is no way to find out who is receiving a particular signal, unlike a transmitter that can be DF'ed.

But you wouldn't need to do that in your own country, and if it is set up for streaming over the intarwebs, the SIGINT organization of whatever country the agent is in could find them that way.

So yeah, probably just a station ID in Morse, especially if it's only a few seconds long.
 
2014-08-05 07:28:19 PM

SuperNinjaToad: Omnivorous: From TFA  :Kumana and Gasa were invited to Kennedy's 1961 inauguration but were unable to make the trip to Washington.

What really happened is that Kumana and Gasa were invited to Pres. Kennedy's inauguration but British officials in then colonial Honiara decided that the two were too unsophisticated and British officials went instead

seriously or trolling?


According to the two guys, they were prevented from leaving the country by British officials. For what particular reason, I don't know, but it could have just been some self-important government drone figuring he knew what was best.
 
2014-08-05 07:40:19 PM

Mugato: So JFK survived the last war that we actually should have been in so that he could grow up to get us in the most useless war we're ever been in. You should have taken a siesta that day, Mr. Kumana.


Johnson pushed us into that war. Had JFK lived, he would've stopped us from getting deeper into Vietnam.

Days prior to his assassination, he signed an executive order to drawdown troops in Vietnam because he realized the Generals were a bunch of warhawks hellbent on going toe-to-toe with Russia.

Johnson, who never served, rescinded that order immediately after taking office. Vietnam will always be Johnson's war to those who bothered to study history.
 
2014-08-05 08:25:02 PM
 
2014-08-05 08:40:07 PM
Obviously this guy knew too much, and had to be silenced. We're through the looking glass here, people.
 
2014-08-05 10:36:57 PM

somedude210: Mugato: So JFK survived the last war that we actually should have been in so that he could grow up to get us in the most useless war we're ever been in. You should have taken a siesta that day, Mr. Kumana.

Johnson pushed us into that war. Had JFK lived, he would've stopped us from getting deeper into Vietnam.

Days prior to his assassination, he signed an executive order to drawdown troops in Vietnam because he realized the Generals were a bunch of warhawks hellbent on going toe-to-toe with Russia.

Johnson, who never served, rescinded that order immediately after taking office. Vietnam will always be Johnson's war to those who bothered to study history.


Here is Kennedy's list of executive orders:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_federal_executive _o rders_10914%E2%80%9311127

I didn't see anything in there mentioning Vietnam or Indochina.

The only ones I can see relating to the military "in the days prior" to his assassination are EO 11120, which deals with hazardous duty and sea pay for the military, and possibly EO 11123, which merely amends a prior EO about  "various allowances to certain government personnel on foreign duty"

Now, it may well be he may have felt that way, but it's not in his executive orders.  And the first ones Johnson signed were about memorializing Kennedy and setting up the Warren Commission:
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/executive_orders.php?year=1963&Submit =D ISPLAY

Nothing jumps out at me about the first few of Johnson's EOs in 1964, either:
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/executive_orders.php?year=1964&Submit =D ISPLAY

So what was it you were saying about bothering to study history?
 
2014-08-06 07:37:09 AM

Magorn: gopher321: Never knew JFK had a back brace on the day he was shot. I wonder if that prevented him trying to duck.

actually, at least one doctor has said exactly that


I live in Ottawa and there was an article in my local news paper awhile back about how Kennedy had back problems when he was younger, but he had surgery in the 1950's to fix it. Then on a state visit to Ottawa he planted a tree at the Governor General's residence and basically threw out his back digging. This is what led to him having to wear the back brace.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/andrew-king-jfk-and-how-a-t re e-planting-at-rideau-hall-rippled-through-history
 
2014-08-06 11:35:54 AM
FlyingJ:

JFK blew off talking to Rob't J Donovan for the PT-109 book 'til he found out he'd tracked down & interviewed the Japanese guys who sank him, then he figured it was serious...

My dad was a journalist in the DC area and a contemporary of Donovan. Dad's opinion was basically that Donovan was one of the most idiotic blowhards he'd ever met. If Donovan had actually done even half the things he claimed he did, he'd have been elected president instead of the guys he wrote about. Donovan was a living example of "it's not what you know, it's who you blow".
 
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