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Flightline Friday: Naval Aviation in the Mekong Delta, 1967-1972 September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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One of the relatively little-known aspects of the massive, never-ending air war over Southeast Asia (1964-1973) was the US Navy’s role in it.  I do not refer, in this instance, to the numerous carriers and carrier air wings that served throughout the war, involving essentially every attack carrier the Navy had in service in that timeframe, and pretty much every air wing, as well.  That’s a separate subject from this post, and, really, one that was so vast it would be impossible to encapsulate in a single blog post.

What I am referring to is something a bit different.  These were two land-based squadrons operated in support of the “Brown Water Navy” that patrolled the Mekong Delta and other rivers of Vietnam, seeking to interdict communist supplies flowing down these vast, largely unpoliced waters.  The two squadrons in question were Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) Three -HA(L)-3 –  and Light Attack Squadron Four – VAL-4.  The former was equipped with Huey gunships (generally UH-1E) and known as the Sea Wolves,  and the latter with OV-10A and -10D Broncos and known as the Black Ponies.

HA(L)-3 served from 1967 through 1972, and VAL-4 from 1969 – 1972.  Both were focused on defending US and South Vietnamese Navy riverine craft from communist attack, providing close air support to allied troops conducting operations in the region, and also flying armed reconnaissance missions attacking targets of opportunity.  VAL-4 flew from Vung Tau (hometown of a friend of mine, once a sleeping fishing village, now a major resort city) and Binh Tuy.  HA(L)-3 was nominally based at Vung Tau and Binh Tuy, as well, but operated numerous detachments from floating logistics bases within the Delta itself, using converted WWII LSTs and other ships for this purpose.

Both squadrons were fairly large in terms of equipment and personnel and hit well above their weight in terms of the impact they had on the war.  Both flew outrageous numbers of sorties, as did so many units in Vietnam (but these even more), and dropped an incredible amount of munitions.  Both have proud and storied legacies well deserving of more remembrance than they have received.  This post may hopefully serve to slightly rectify their relative historical anonymity.

A few videos below on both squadrons.  First up, a truly excellent history of VAL-4, which not only details personnel and day-to-day operations, but also the squadron’s place in the larger war effort and the many transitions it  underwent as its mission set changed due to the American withdrawal and Vietnamization.  There is some really amazing air-to-air footage below of numerous OV-10 strike missions, as well as its just plain silly maneuverability (pulling 7-8G at 180kts makes for an amazingly tight turn):

Short, silent, but excellent footage of two Black Pony OV-10s carrying a load of twelve 5″ Zuni rockets (a few with fuze extenders) each on a mission over South Vietnam.  The Zuni really packed a punch and has always been a favorite of the Marine Corps, which continues to use it to this day:

One major use of both VAL-4 and HA(L)-3 was as a quick-reaction force to provide air support for allied units that ran into trouble.  Thus the intro to the second video below, “Scramble the Seawolves,” the first of which gives you an idea of the quick reaction missions flown, as well as a little overview of the unit, which is the most decorated Naval flying unit of all time.  This first video is pretty danged good, showing a lot of combat footage and with some sound added in so it’s not just silent or with an overbearing 60s soundtrack, though you do start to get that some way in:

You’ll have to forgive the psychedelic soundtrack.  Eh, it was a product of the times:

Gun run.  I can’t believe those door gunners hit very much but who am I to judge?

Some pretty cool stuff.  The aircraft used by both squadrons carried similar armament – the OV-10 had four built-in 7.62 mm M60D machine guns and generally carried 2.75″ and 5″ rockets, while the UH-1 could carry 7.62 mm machine guns and 2.75″ rockets, but occasionally had 12.7 mm (.50 cal) M2 machine guns in the doors.

If you’re a glutton for punishment here’s one more:

The Cat is Definitely Out of the Bag September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, Francis, General Catholic, horror, pr stunts, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church.
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Viz yesterday’s post, I don’t think there is any doubt that Francis’ “private letter” to the bishops of Buenos Aires has had the desired effect.  The “leak” was far from accidental, I’m sure.  How else do you get awesome coverage like this, without a good leak?:


All according to the plan.  This pontificate has operated almost exclusively by Clintonian media techniques like trial balloons, floated comments, intentional leaks, and purposeful disinformation.  Franky isn’t bold enough to directly contradict Doctrine in an directly doctrinal statement himself, so he’s settled on a strategy of deception and attacks around the margins.  The letter of the law may (barely) remain intact, but the spirit is shredded like Hillary’s central nervous system.

Are you guys generally very concerned about whether Francis is an antipope or not, per Barnhardt, or do you think this is simply a matter beyond our (the laity’s) ascertaining, per Skojec?  I like Ann, but I think sometimes she gets too wrapped up in proving herself right.  I do agree with Hilary White and Steve Skojec that Francis’ pontificate may be a necessary emetic (great choice of words) to get many of us former happily conservative Catholics to realize that comfortable conservatism of the Ratzinger-Wojtyla papacies was an ineffective poultice covering up a horrible, festering wound (Vatican II/modernist revolution) that was killing the body of the Church.  Is that enough metaphors for one sentence?

I am loathe to think such evil could be “necessary,” but I also don’t know what else could have shaken up the Church enough to finally look at Vatican II and say – uh, no.

I think the most important aspect to keep in mind is that Our Blessed Lord is, ultimately, in charge.  May He purify His Church soon.

PS – the photo caption for the large photo center right should actually read “Giving thanks for the only folks who still bother with church in Ireland.”


Please Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Hugh Sheridan September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Latin Mass, sadness, shocking.
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I have sat next to Hugh at most every Sunday Mass for the past 4 or 5 years.  He was single and had no family I’, aware of.  We always tried to save him a seat.  I spoke with him just this past Sunday.

He passed away unexpectedly last night.  He had been in fine health as far as I knew.  He was probably well into his 70s but I’m not certain of his exact age.  He was a faithful TLMer of many, many years.

If you would, in your charity, pray for the repose of his soul.  He was a good guy, I liked him quite a bit.

The Requiem Mass will be at 10 am Monday at Mater Dei.

Requiescat in Pace.

Was Saint Athanasius a Model for the Society of Saint Pius X? September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, different religion, episcopate, General Catholic, history, reading, Restoration, Saints, Spiritual Warfare, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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Several of the chief complaints against the Society of Saint Pius X is that they have been involved in the illicit (not papal-approved) consecration of bishops, that they “invade” other dioceses without permission of the ordinary, and refute beliefs held by the great majority of bishops and priests in the Church today, even to the point of being excommunicated for certain acts.  These are frequently trotted out to “prove” the SSPX’s persistence in disobedience/error/schism/etc.

However, Michael Davies – certainly one who was very friendly towards the SSPX, and a frequent apologist for them – claims, citing Blessed John Henry Newman as his principle source, that there is a very strong precedent for exactly the types of behaviors that have earned the SSPX so much ire, from the Church’s Tradition, and that they involve the only crisis/mass heresy that comes close to emulating that in which we are currently embroiled, the Arian heresy.  During this period, Saint Athanasius, among others, based on history reported by Blessed John Henry Newman (citing more ancient sources), routinely consecrated bishops and ordained priests while he was enduring his enforced exile, even doing so outside the normal realm of papal approval and against the wishes of the local bishops.  He did this to preserve orthodox Catholicism when almost the entire Church went over to this most noxious heresy.  He was not alone, either.  Several other bishops, all Saints, also did so, as attested by Saint Basil and others, who apologized for these acts, and for the “illicit” country Masses offered by orthodox priests, because the faithful could not be expected to worship with heretics, and the heresy was so widespread that even the Roman Pontiff briefly fell into it, though under severe duress.

The similarities to the situation in the Church today are certainly marked, are they not?

Davies summarizes his argument below, from pp. 42-3 of his book Saint Athanasius: Defender of the Faith:

What the history of this period proves is that, during a time of general apostasy, Christians who remain true to their traditional faith may have to worship outside the official churches, the churches of priests in communion with their diocesan bishop, in order not to compromise that traditional faith; and that such Christians may have to look for truly Catholic teaching, leadership, and inspiration not to the bishops of their country as a body, not tot he bishops of the world, not even to the Roman Pontiff, but to one heroic confessor whom the other bishops and even the Roman Pontiff may have repudiated and even excommunicated.  And who would they recognize that the solitary confessor was right, and the Roman Pontiff and the body of the episcopate (not teaching infallibly) were wrong?

The answer is that they would recognize in the teaching of this confessor what the faithful of the fourth century recognized in the teaching of Athanasius, the one true faith into which they had been baptized, in which they had been catechized, and which their confirmation gave them the obligation of upholding.  In no sense whatsoever can such fidelity to Tradition be compared with the protestant practice of private judgment.  The fourth century traditionalists upheld Athanasius in his defense of the faith that had been handed down; the protestant uses his private judgment to justify a breach with the traditional faith.

In The Development of Christian Doctrine, Newman refutes the opinion that interference by one bishop in the diocese of another necessarily constitutes schism.  Faithful Catholics have a duty to divide themselves from schismatic or heretical bishops, and where division is a duty it is not a sin.  An orthodox bishop does not sin by interfering in a diocese where the bishop is guilty of separation from the faith by heresy or even de facto schism.  “If interference is a sin,” wrote the Cardinal, “division which is the cause of it is a greater; but where division is a duty, there can be no sin interference.”

[The key evidence……] St. Athanasius did not cause division when he entered the dioceses of Arian bishops.  He was interfering in order to uphold tradition and sustain the faith of true Catholics as a legitimate response to the division caused by the schism of these bishops.  The first loyalty of every bishop must be to the Church as a whole.  During a period of schism and heresy, their duty to defend the integrity of tradition extends beyond any single diocese.  Cardinal Newman illustrates this by pointing out that Saint Athanasius, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, and St. Eusebius of Samosata, all fierce opponents of Arianism, had ordained outside their dioceses, and in the case of St. Eusebius it is certain that he consecrated bishops.  “St. Athanasius,” wrote Card. Newman, “driven from his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Trier to Ethiopia.”  This was an indubitably legitimate response to a state of emergency or necessity within the Church.

————End Quote———–

OK, at the end there, using some obviously “Lefebrvrist” language.  But the book does demonstrate both that “illicit” Masses were held to escape Arian bishops and their errors, and that priests were ordained and bishops consecrated outside the normal line of authority in the Church.

On both sides of this issue of whether the SSPX acts/has acted rightly or wrongly, there are numerous supports.  Whether the stack of evidence on one side or the other is slightly taller or shorter I really don’t know.  From my experience, one’s tendency to accept evidence for or against the SSPX tends to align almost precisely with whatever pre-existing notions one has held on the subject.  I have long occupied the muddled middle, neither fully embracing the SSPX nor holding any hostility towards it, while being thankful that it exists so that I, among many, can enjoy the benefits its existence has brought (like the return of the TLM in numerous dioceses, the existence of the FSSP and other groups, etc).  I have to say, though, that this latest book has swayed me somewhat in a pro-SSPX direction.

I can also say that my own independent research has shown that there certainly was a reaction against Arian dominance in the 4th century and that several Saints report that a certain number of souls did stop going to their local parish and started worshiping out in the country, often in abysmal weather, under the tutelage of faithful priests in unofficial or impromptu Masses.  That much at least did occur, and was at least somewhat widespread.  I tend to believe that priests were ordained in an “unofficial” or “independent” manner, and probably a few bishops, too.

It is interesting to note that every time he had an opportunity (that is, the heretical emperors allowed him to do so), he would return to his diocese and to a “regular” position in the Church, while fervently maintaining his orthodox beliefs.  When the persecution would start up again and he would be exiled, he would go back to doing what he was doing, keeping the Faith and spreading it to as many as possible.

Perhaps, in this last bit, there is some encouragement for those who fear the impact of a reconciliation between the SSPX and the Roman authorities.


Soylent Green is People – Low Countries Murdering Mentally Ill for Organ Harvesting September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, catachesis, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, It's all about the $$$, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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This actually dates from a few  years ago, but the practice has only grown and spread since then. At least two countries routinely kill people and  then harvest their organs, supposedly according to advance directives but who really knows in many cases?  This is shades of the really bad movie The Island (2005), and the much better movie Soylent Green.  In both cases, societal elites start harvesting other humans to prolong and enhance their own lives.  Given how rapidly this nation has descended into a moral dumpster fire, how long before this becomes openly accepted practice here (because it’s already occurring on a mass scale but rather secretly and under the table):

The idea of coupling euthanasia with organ harvesting and medical experimentation was promoted years ago by the late Jack Kevorkian, but it is now becoming mainstream. Last year, the Oxford bioethicist Julian Savulescu coauthored a paper in Bioethics arguing that some could be euthanized, “at least partly to ensure that their organs could be donated.” Belgian doctors, in particular, are openly discussing the nexus between euthanasia and organ harvesting. A June 10 press release from Pabst Science Publishers cited four lung transplants in Leuven from donors who died by euthanasia……..

……..Coupling organ donation with euthanasia turns a new and dangerous corner by giving the larger society an explicit stake in the deaths of people with seriously disabling or terminal conditions. Moreover, since such patients are often the most expensive for whom to care, and given the acute medical resource shortages we face, one need not be a prophet to see the potential such advocacy has for creating a perfect utilitarian storm.

Some might ask, if these patients want euthanasia, why not get some good out of their deaths? After all, they are going to die anyway.

But coupling organ harvesting with mercy killing creates a strong emotional inducement to suicide, particularly for people who are culturally devalued and depressed and, indeed, who might worry that they are a burden on loved ones and society. People in such an anguished mental state could easily come to believe (or be persuaded) that asking for euthanasia and organ donation would give a meaning to their deaths that their lives could never have……. [And there is evidence this is already happening, where rates of euthanasia coupled with organ harvesting have skyrocketed in nations where such is legal.  There are a lot of people around who would have no compunction killing to extend their own life.  Coupled with a societal movement towards using human beings as replacement parts for other human beings, and this can, and almost certainly will, lead to horrific abuses and people being killed simply because someone else wants/needs their organs.]

……….People with serious disabilities should be alarmed. The message that is being broadcast with increasing brazenness out of Belgium is that their deaths are worth more than their lives.

Ummm, culture of death?  What else would one expect from a culture that slaughters millions of babies a year, and thinks nothing of it?  If their parts were bigger/more suitable, why not put all those murdered babies to productive use?

None of this is surprising.  It’s just what happens when a people, nation, society, whatever, decide to forget about God and elevate themselves to the role.  It’s the oldest temptation of them all, the original temptation.  But hell has always followed in its wake.  The Nazis thought some people simply didn’t have the right to live, and could be experimented on and harvested for whatever they saw fit.

But we’re so much different and better than them.