Saturday, May 26, 2018

This Weekend Is Special

Yes, this weekend is special. It's the unofficial start to summer, folks are looking forward to the nicer weather and the chance to spend some time in the great outdoors.






And various and sundry other summertime activities.

Mind you, I don't begrudge folks the need to do those things. I know that if the ones who paid for our freedoms were still around, no doubt they'd be out there enjoying those very same activities. It's our right, our privilege perhaps, to enjoy these simple freedoms.

Some of us will spare a moment, or more, to remember those who paid that price.

This weekend is special, enjoy it, but perhaps for a moment, spare a thought for those who died for this nation. I will.

The Peacemaker
By Joyce Kilmer

Upon his will he binds a radiant chain,
For Freedom’s sake he is no longer free.
It is his task, the slave of Liberty,
With his own blood to wipe away a stain.
That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain.
To banish war, he must a warrior be.
He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see,
And gladly dies, abundant life to gain.

What matters Death, if Freedom be not dead?
No flags are fair, if Freedom’s flag be furled.
Who fights for Freedom, goes with joyful tread
To meet the fire of Hell against him hurled,
And has for captain Him whose thorn-wreathed head
Smiles from the Cross upon a conquered world.

Sgt. Joyce Kilmer
69th Infantry Regiment, United States Army
Killed in Action, July 30, 1918
near Seringes-et-Nesles, France

Friday, May 25, 2018

No, Please, Not Another Video!


Just like back in high school when the football coach had to substitute in any class other than phys ed, rather than something educational, you'd get a film. Or something.

Anyhoo, it's been a long-ish week work-wise and my thinking bits are a bit fried. So you get videos...

Now I'll preface this first one by saying, if you missed the Royal Wedding last weekend, don't worry. I have the inside story for you, right here. With the assistance of the YouTube channel, A Bad Lip Reading, The Chant was behind the scenes at the momentous occasion. Now, our microphones weren't working all that well, but the folks over at A Bad Lip Reading assure me that they've captured the correct dialog...

I'm sure it was exactly like that. As a bonus, again teaming with A Bad Lip Reading, The Chant attended the Zuckerberg hearings before Congress not too long ago. I have been assured that the microphones were working that day. I mean, it sounds legit...

And yes, I do have the sense of humor of a five year old.

On my good days.

I promise, I'll try harder next time.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Uncles, Pliny and John

Assault on Battery Wagner
Now I've written about my great-granduncle Pliny before, he was (I think) my maternal grandmother's uncle, so I think great-granduncle is the more proper term, though I suppose great-great-uncle fits as well.

We always just refer to him as "Uncle Pliny," everyone in the family gets that, Pliny isn't such a common name anymore, even still, there was only one Pliny on my Mom's side of the family tree.

Uncle Pliny served in the 7th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry about which this source says -
Mustered into the service of the United States October 29 to December 15, 1861, at Manchester, by Haldimand S. Putnam, 1 Lt. U.S.A. Organization completed December 15, 1861. The original members who had not re-enlisted were mustered out December 27, 1864, at Concord, by Ai B. Thompson, Capt. U.S.A. (retired). The re-enlisted men and recruits were mustered out July 20, 1865, at Goldsborough, N.C., by William H. Pierpont, Capt. 7 Conn. Inf.
That source noted above has a fairly complete roster of the men who served in the 7th, a few of whom were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the war, a topic for another post someday, perhaps. Another thing worth noting is that 1LT Putnam who mustered the regiment into service, rose to the rank of Colonel and commanded the regiment in the second assault on Battery Wagner outside Charleston, SC.

Colonel Putnam was killed in action during that assault, and my Uncle Pliny was wounded. My uncle later returned to the regiment and served throughout the war. My research also indicates that the 7th was in action at the siege of Petersburg in '64. Another vicious fight.

This entry on the 7th NH has the following listing -
Gammell, Pliny F. Co. A; b. Hillsborough; age 19; res. Hillsborough; enl. Oct. 25, '61; must. in Oct. 29, '61, as Priv.; wd. July 18, '63, Ft. Wagner, S.C.; re-enl. and must. in Feb. 29, '64; app. Corp. Dec. 17, '64; must. out July 20, '65. P.O. ad., Lowell, Mass.
My Mom's side of the family has another soldier named Gammell. My grandmother's brother John, or Uncle John as we boys called him.

Soldiers in the Hürtgen Forest, November 1944
I suppose, technically speaking, he was my granduncle, sometimes called great-uncle. All I know is that he was a pretty cool guy. Born in 1916 he was older than many infantrymen in World War II. Nevertheless, he served in the infantry, 4th Infantry Division to be precise.

Somewhere at Chez Sarge is a suitcase with letters home from him, I also have his Purple Heart medal, which he received for wounds suffered in the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest.

Uncle John's outfit came over the beaches at Normandy later than the rest of the 4th, parts of which landed on D-Day on Utah Beach. He might have been a replacement, I need to dig deeper into those letters. The 4th was heavily involved in the campaign in France.

I do know that Uncle John remembered well the horror of the Hürtgen Forest, wet, cold, and heavy fighting. When I was in Germany, my grandmother asked me if I was near enough to that area to perhaps go take some pictures so her brother could see what it looked like in modern times.

Of course, it was a beautiful summer day when we headed down there, about an hour and change from where we lived. Beautiful country, but knowing the weather in that area in the fall, I can well imagine what it was like in November of '44.

Uncle John's war ended in that dark, wet Hell. A German bullet went through the top of his helmet, just grazing the helmet liner and my uncle's head. He lived, but he was evacuated back to England (I think). By the time he had recovered, the war was over in Europe.

That would definitely get your attention!
War, there ain't no glory in it.

But in my family, we remember those who served.

Uncle John passed back in 1998, just before I retired from the Air Force. It would have been nice to have talked with him one more time. Ah, perhaps when I too reach the clearing at the end of the path, we can have that chat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Family History

As Memorial Day approaches, I think back...

That opening photo shows Company A of the 22nd New York Volunteer Militia, my great-grandfather's regiment in which he served for two years during the Civil War. He was, according to the muster rolls at the New York State Department of Military and Naval affairs, mustered into Company K of this regiment as follows -
MUSTER ROLL of Captain Miles P.S. Cadwell's Company (K), in the 22d REGIMENT of the New York Volunteer Militia (Foot), commanded by Colonel Walter Phelps, Jr., organized under a law of the State of New York, entitled, "An Act to authorize the embodying and equipment of a Volunteer Militia, and to provide for the Public Defense," passed April 16, 1861 and called into the service of the United States by the President, under the act of Congress approved February 28, 1795, from the 6th day of June, 1861, (date of this muster) for the term of two years, unless sooner discharged.
There, at number 28 is my great-grandfather, 18 years old (supposedly, my records indicate he was 20), enlisted as a private, Goodrich, Joseph.

This source has this to say about his regiment -
22nd Infantry Regiment
Civil War
Second Northern New York Regiment; Second Troy Regiment; Second Northern Tier Regiment 
Mustered in: June 6, 1861
Mustered out: June 19, 1863
The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912. 
This regiment, Col. Walter Phelps, Jr., was accepted by the State and numerically designated May 14, 1861; organized at Troy and there mustered in the service of the United States, for two years, June 6, 1861. The three years' men of the regiment, but a few, were in June, 1863, transferred to the 76th and 93d N. Y. Volunteers. The companies were organized: A at Waterford and Cohoes; B and I at Fort Edward; C at Keeseville; D at Cambridge; E and F at Glens Falls. The first Company G was organized May 7 and disbanded June 1, 1861; the second Company G, originally The Whitehall Light Guards, was organized at Whitehall; Company H at Sandy Hill, and Company K at Port Henry. The men were recruited principally in the counties of Albany, Clinton, Essex, Saratoga, Warren and Washington.

The regiment left the State June 28, 1861; passing through Baltimore, Md., it had one man killed by a mob; it served at and near Washington, D. C, from July 1, 1861; in Keyes' Brigade, Division of Potomac, from August 4, 1861; in same brigade, McDowell's Division, Army of the Potomac, from October 15, 1861; in Augur's Brigade, from January, 1862; in 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac, from March 13, 1862; in 1st Brigade, King's Division, Department of Rappahannock, from May, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 3d Corps, Army of Virginia, from June 26, 1862; in same brigade and division, 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac, from September 12, 1862; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Colonel Phelps, June 19, 1863, at Albany.

During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 7 officers, 42 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 4 officers, 19 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 1 officer, 27 enlisted men; total, 12 officers, 88 enlisted men; aggregate, 100; of whom 1 enlisted man died in the hands of the enemy.
The following is taken from The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908.Twenty-second Infantry.—Col., Walter Phelps, Jr.; Lieut.-Cols., Gorton F. Thomas, John McKee, Jr., Thomas J. Strong; Majs., Johrr McKee, Jr., George Clendon, Jr., Thomas J. Strong, Lyman Ormsby. The 22nd, known as the 2nd Northern New York regiment, was composed of four companies from Washington county, three from Essex, two from Warren and one from Saratoga county and was mustered into the U. S. service at Camp Rathbone, Troy, on June 6, 1861, for two years. A fortnight later it moved to Albany, where it remained until June 28, when it left for Washington. It encamped on Meridian hill until July 24, when it moved to Arlington heights, where it was assigned to Gen. Keyes' brigade, which in March, 1862, became the 3d brigade, 3d division, 1st corps. Winter quarters were occupied at Upton's hill until March 10, 1862, when the regiment joined in the movement to Centerville, but returned to Upton's hill immediately afterward, and proceeded to Falmouth in April. In June the regiment became a part of the 1st brigade, 1st division, 3d corps, Army of Virginia, and in Sept., 1862, the same brigade and division, was made part of the 1st corps, Army of the Potomac. This brigade was known as the Iron Brigade before the Iron Brigade of the West was formed. At Manassas the loss of the regiment was 180 killed, wounded or missing, out of, 379 engaged, of whom 46 were killed or mortally wounded, or over 12 per cent. of 24 officers present, 19 were killed or wounded, 9 mortally, among them Lieut.-Col. Thomas. The first week of September was spent in camp at Upton's hill and it next advanced to South mountain, where it was closely engaged, then to Antietam, where again the loss was heavy. About the middle of November,; the command arrived at Falmouth and participated in the battle of Fredericksburg, being stationed on the extreme left of the army. It then returned to camp at Falmouth and joined in the "Mud March," after which it went into winter quarters at Belle Plain, On April 28, 1863, camp was broken for the Chancellorsville movement, during which the regiment was held in reserve and met its only loss at Pollock's Mill creek, where 10 men were wounded while acting as rear-guard. The regiment was mustered out at Albany, June 19, 1863, having lost 72 men by death from wounds and 28 by death from other causes.
I noted that the regiment had marched through Baltimore on their way to Washington where it was caught up in the riots which occurred in that city in 1861. There were many southern sympathizers in Maryland. One man of the regiment was killed by the mob. I had read of those riots when I was a young boy, little realizing at the time that my great-grandfather was an eyewitness to that.

The regiment lost heavily at both Second Bull Run and at Antietam. Again, I read of those battles when I was young, now I marvel that my great-grandfather was there to participate in that carnage. I wonder that he survived when so many others fell.

From an old regimental roster -

GOODRICH, JOSEPH . — Age, 18 years (sic). Enlisted , May 25, 1861, at Port Henry, to serve two years; mustered in as private, Co. K , June 6, 1861; mustered out with company, June 19, 1863, at Albany, N. Y.

Family tradition has him staying in or rejoining the Army after leaving this regiment. I haven't found evidence to support that yet, but I'm still looking. Fascinating what you can find on the Internet. Most of what I found about my great-grandfather tracks closely to what I heard growing up.

There's a bit of family tradition surrounding great-grandpa Joseph's family...

My grandfather, Louis Goodrich, United States Army
My father, Robert Goodrich , United States Army
Then of course, there's my kids and I, United States Air Force and United States Navy -

Both of my Dad's brothers served in World War II, Uncle Louis in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theater and Uncle Charlie in the Army, an infantryman in Europe. Uncle Louis' son, my cousin Bobby, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, and my cousin Joe, Uncle Charlie's son, was also in the Air Force. Interestingly enough, cousin Joe's son Kyle is currently in the Air Force.

The tradition continues, I wonder what my great-grandfather would make of what his descendants have done?

There's a military tradition on my Mom's side of the family as well, Civil War and World War II, I'll talk about them in my next post.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Just a couple of kids from a small town in New Hampshire. My mother knew the fellow on the left, Douglass Rush. She was only nine years old when he went off to join the Army with his friend, Dexter Woodman. She told me a story of how she and a friend of hers would walk around with their doll carriages and pass by where Mr. Rush worked. He always had a big smile and would greet the two young girls as if they were all grown up.

My mother remembered that when the local paper printed the notice of Private Rush's mortal remains being interred at the local cemetery, my mom saved the article. That was in 1948. I happened to see that old yellowed clipping when I was back home for Mothers Day, she keeps the old newspaper clipping in the family Bible with all the other obituaries of family members since passed on.

Much is made of the "Greatest Generation," a term coined by Tom Brokaw in his book of that name. What most people don't really understand is that those men and women weren't much different from folks these days. Well, I suppose they were more like the folks in what the elite like to call "fly over country," but I like to call the real America. Said folks exist all over the country by the way, not just in the middle.

The two men enlisted in 1940, long before the United States was involved in the conflagration sweeping through Europe and Asia. War was on the horizon, but small town New England was so far untouched. All that changed for the United States and for the two young men from Henniker when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

By then the two buddies were stationed with the U.S. Army Air Forces in the Philippine Islands, though only PFC Woodman's station was mentioned, Nichols Field, outside Manila, I think it's safe to assume that PVT Rush was at the same field. They grew up together and they enlisted together, it stands to reason that they were stationed together.

From the write-up here, I have this for PFC Woodman -
PFC Dexter C Woodman

Born 24 Jun 1920 in Massachusetts, killed in action 13 Dec 1941 (aged 21) in the Philippines.

Dexter served as a Private First Class, 27th Material Squadron, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He resided in Merrimack County, New Hampshire prior to the war. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on September 30, 1940, prior to the war, in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being Single, without dependents and also as a High School Grad.

Dexter was "Killed In Action" at Nichols Army Air Force field in the Philippines during the war. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Pvt. Dexter C. Woodman, 11014680, 27th Material Squadron, Far East Air Force. Killed in Action on 13 December 1941 during a Japanese air raid on Nichols Field, Luzon, Philippine Islands. Born on 24 June 1920, he entered the service on 30 September 1940 from Henniker, New Hampshire with two other friends.

Pvt. Woodman was one of the first casualties of World War II for the United States, being killed less then a week after Pearl Harbor during the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands. He shipped out to the Philippines aboard the USAT "U.S. Grant" around February 1941 as he spent a week on sick call during the journey as did many soldiers sailing across the world's ocean. He was killed during a Japanese air raid on Nichols Field on 13 December 1941. The chaotic time surrounding the first weeks of the war, especially in the Philippines, led to several issues arising about Pvt. Woodman's death such as establishing his correct name and date of death, which did not happen until 1946.

His body was returned home and buried on 21 October 1948. He was buried along with his high school friend Douglass Rush, who joined the Army Air Corps at the same time as Pvt. Woodman, served with him in the Philippines, died as a prisoner of war of the Japanese, and returned home at the same time to be buried.

The town of Henniker honored Pvt. Woodman in 7 November 1942 by naming a small park in front of town hall Woodman Park.
From the write-up here, I have this for PVT Rush -
Pvt Douglass B Rush

Born 22 Aug 1920 in Henniker, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, USA. Died 15 Jun 1942 (aged 21) in the Philippines.

Douglas served as a Private, Group Regiment Command, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.He resided in Merrimack County, New Hampshire prior to the war. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on September 30, 1940, prior to the war, in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being Single, without dependents.

Douglas "Died While A POW" of the Japanese Army at Camp 1, Cabanatuan, Nueva Province, Luzon, Philippines during the war. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
What that brief write-up doesn't mention is that PVT Rush survived the Bataan Death March, only to die later in the POW camp.

Just a couple of regular guys from small town America, who gave the last full measure of devotion for their country.

Buddies. Still remembered by an old great-grandmother from the same hometown, seventy-eight years later. A kind word and a ready smile, remembered for all those years by my mom.

Regular guys, perhaps forgotten by all save a few. Fellow airmen who entered into the service in the same town in New Hampshire as myself. I think of them as long lost brothers-in-arms. Lost no more, remembered now and always in these spaces.

Rest in peace PFC Woodman and PVT Rush. I honor your memories.

I pray that you who read these words do so as well.


Monday, May 21, 2018


The five or six of you who've read previous posts of mine (thereby earning my undying gratitude), may remember this tome from quite a while ago.  Specifically, 38 months ago.  Which in people years is like a million years or so.  But it tells the tale of how I got interested in physics.

I got another taste of physics on my way home from the Big D this morning.  Yes Dallas.  I have a quarterly currency requirement to visit large cities to refresh my memory of why I don't live in one.  This quarter it just happened to be in Dallas.  I attended some training with two of my newer colleagues to start bringing them up to speed in managing and developing databases.

I know, I know.  Wow, juvat! You lead such an exciting life.  Databases?  Who knew?

Awww Shaddup, ya mongrels!  It keeps Mrs J in shoes.

In any case, which is Little Rhody for "Get on with it, juvat!", we were on our way home and making relatively good time in spite of a driving rain storm when we come over a hill approaching an intersection which also happened to be a turn point in our route.  Dimly through the rain, we see a lot of brake lights and a couple of flashing blue lights.

Now, this was intersection was between two county roads as we were attempting to shave a few minutes of time off  a change from US 67 to US281.  But there was a lot of stopped cars.  Coming to a stop, we can see that, all told, there are probably 50 stopped cars. Given the fact that we are in the middle of nowhere, we realize this is a serious incident.  I survey the map and backtracking will result in about a 40 mile detour.  

So we, being patient, (yeah right, patience? juvat? RRRRIIIIGHHHTTT!). Ok, I wasn't driving, so the driver was patient.  

In ANY case, several cars were less patient and turned around, allowing us to get closer to the problem.

When we got close enough, we realized that a truck driver, with an oversize and very heavy load, apparently believed that not only was he excused from the laws of Man regarding speeding, but that he could violate the laws of Physics with equal impunity.

As a refresher, and stolen from the aforementioned post (Beans, you thought you were going to escape the physics lecture dincha? Not so fast, buckwheat!)

Newton’s First Law. “An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
Celebrex commercial notwithstanding, this law pretty much is the one immutable law of flying.  In Fighter Pilotese, it says, “You ain’t gonna fly until you light the engines.  You’re going to go in a straight line until you change the pressure level around a portion of your aircraft.  And you’ll only stay flying as long as your engines stay running and you avoid hitting anything.”
Newton’s Second Law.
Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).
Mongo say “Small fighter, Big Engine.  Trees go by fast.”
Newton’s Third Law.
For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.
Newton must have been married.

So, from our brief refresher, our intrepid trucker (a slightly shorter word with the "tr" replaced by a consonant much earlier in the alphabet would be more appropriate, although run afoul of Sarge's family blog rules) was speeding, on a wet, indeed flooded, roadway and needed to change direction to a new highway.  He then proceeded to attempt to do this by turning the steering wheel quickly.
This caused the trailer to "continue to move in the same direction with the same speed", thereby jackknifing his vehicle.  
Not sure what it is, but it was very large.

Smack dab in the middle of the intersection.  Nobody could move.

There was a couple of county deputies there, probably my age, as well as a couple of Highway Patrol guys.  Their combined age looked to us to be about 30.  Finally, after about 45 minutes, the car in front of us actually a van starts moving.  

He then exits the road and goes down in, what Texans call a "bar ditch" and comes up the other side and drives off.

My colleague, the driver, who happens to be female, looks at me and just as I think she's going to ask for advice, a grin breaks out.

"We're going Muddin!!!!!"

Well, the School District transportation department may not be happy that the car wasn't returned in pristine condition.  However, the three of us had a great time.

We were only an hour or so later than advertised.  Mrs J had some time critical chores for me to accomplish on RTB, which I did.

So, Sarge, I apologize if I caused any anguish with the late posting.

I did intend to tell a different story, which I stumbled upon.  But didn't have the time to do the research it deserved, so the good news is....

I've got a subject for next Monday's post.  And that's a good thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gray Day in the 401

Saturday was gloomy, overcast, and drizzly. Temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s, but for all that I liked it just fine.

Far too often here in Little Rhody, what with our proximity to the mighty Atlantic, the rain is a driving thing, blown hard by the wind, the only thing an umbrella is good for is perhaps to keep one's glasses dry. Before the umbrella turns inside out or, worse yet, is wrested from one's hand by a strong gust.

Then it's off to the races.

But Saturday's rain was gentle. On and off, one could actually go out for a bit and not feel like you're out on deck in a raging sea. (Well, we get the water but, unlike a ship at sea, and perhaps California, the deck here at Chez Sarge doesn't pitch much at all.) Rather pleasant it was.

Everything here is greening up nicely, last month those trees were all still rather bare. There's still a few which haven't really filled out yet, but they're getting there. Soon it will be as if winter had never been. Until next time.

With all that's going on in the world, I cherish this sanctuary which The Missus Herself has created. Almost as much as I cherish her.

The world is insane, I keep it at arm's length.

Good music helps to keep me on an even keel as well.

Love this one.

Peace be with you my friends.

There is hope.