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July 28, 2006

Jolly Rodgers


The puffs of smoke pictured above took on a more somber aspect when I realized what I was looking at. This is an "AA Action view" - "anti-aircraft" action, presumably - from the carrier USS Hornet on 14 May 1945. We are looking at the final moments of a kamikaze death cultist exploding over the USS John Rodgers having been prevented from piloting his aircraft into somewhere uncomfortably close to the vantage point of the photographer. Growing up, I found it difficult to comprehend this sort of scenario. These days it is all too easy to imagine even if the death cultists now wear different coloured armbands* and the battlespace has shifted from the high seas to airports, office towers and the cable news cycle.

Which brings us to the continuing voyages of the John Rogers; more recently dubbed the Cuitláhuac. John Donovan says he is not planning to engage in piracy while he is on active duty as a citizen journalist. But I suspect it is a short step from pajamas to piratical pantaloons. A nice introduction to "destroyers" too, btw.

December 7. Pearl Harbor. WWII. And now the US is going to go on a shipbuilding binge without parallel in modern history And we're going to need modern destroyers to escort and scout and sub-hunt and bombard shores, etc. Lot's of them.

While we went into the war with several classes of Destroyer, the workhorses of the war were the Fletchers. And this story will revolve around the last of the "High Bridge" Fletchers, DD-574, the USS John Rodgers. The Rodgers received more battle stars from her service in World War II than any other surviving destroyer from that war. Which is one of the reasons we want to keep her out of the hands of the breakers.

*I admit switching armbands is a subtle ruse (hat tip to A Former Servant of Her Majesty). It has proved sufficiently cunning for many to confuse the cultists with Minute Men. That said, Flea-readers should understand that while it is true Kali is a Tantric goddess who devours time her sword and severed head paraphernalia represent inner struggle. Only a tiny minority of Kali worshippers are thugees.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 28, 2006 08:54 AM