USS Fitzgerald DDG-62 Collision at sea

 

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4612334/USS-Fitzgerald-involved-collision-merchant-vessel.html

An excerpt from the article:
” … An Alabama woman says her grandson contacted her from the USS Fitzgerald to say he’s OK after a nighttime collision off Japan left seven crew members missing and three injured.
Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, tweeted: “Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face. He’s okay. Thank you all for the prayers.”
She says: “It could have been worse so we’re grateful.”

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That comment from a grandmother is the reason why I titled my book “I Didn’t Want To Worry You Mom … (But sometimes it got a little scary and dangerous out there!)”
I was a sailor during the 1960s on a WW-II vintage destroyer – they are often called “tin cans” because of their small size and non-existent armor.
I was witness to a collision off the California coast in the 1960s between a large freighter and a large oiler. We were a three ship formation taking on fuel from the oiler – two destroyers on either side of the oiler steaming at about 12 knots in calm seas, but patchy fog conditions.
My job in UnRep (Underway Replenishment) was to help pull the fuel lines over from the oiler to our ship. When that was done I was free to go below and take a nap, which I did on this occasion. My rack was in the forward part of the ship directly below and behind he foreword most gun mount.
I was abruptly awakened from my nap by the shuddering of the ship and the clanging collision alarm. The shuddering was from us cutting away from the oiler and backing down as fast as we could.
I jumped out of my rack and climbed the forward ladder to the bow of the ship. I gazed off to my right and saw this huge (not as big as todays container ships) cargo ship coming out of the fog and crossing directly across our three ship refueling formation. The other destroyer had likewise cut away from the oiler and with a full left rudder was racing away. This left the oiler and the freighter on a collision course, and I saw it unfold in real-time slow motion. The oiler had no maneuvering space and was too massive to slow its momentum, and the freighter made no observable attempt to maneuver – as I recall, we could see no human activity on the bridge of that freighter as if it may have been on auto-pilot.
They hit. The oiler center punched the freighter right below the bridge and the two ships bounced off one another, again in slow motion.
The collision punched a large hole in the freighter and caused it to list substantially to starboard. Fortunately it did not capsize, and the hole was above the waterline and there seemed little fear of it going over and under.
Back to my book. As I became passionate about such at-sea experiences such as my own and others I read and heard about first hand, I recalled seeing a documentary of a destroyer that was cut in half during WW-II. I eventually found the documentary on the USS Murphy DD-603, and how it was cut in half as it was escorting a large convoy to England in 1943.
The Murphy story became the anchor story of my book, but I soon found out that Murphy’s story was not unique and I discovered other stories of collisions. The USS Frank Evans DD-754, again a destroyer, was cut in half in 1969 by the Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne with the loss of 27 sailors who went down with the forward part of their ship.
I was reminded vividly by both Murphy and Evans, that my bunk that day off the California coast was in the bow of my ship – the bows that took sailors to the bottom on both those destroyers..
The book began to take on a life of its own as I discovered more stories where the sailors (and a few soldiers) involved “Didn’t Want To Worry You Mom … “
I invite you to look at my book and a 20 minute video I put together of some of the things our war fighters, and their loved ones at home, face on a regular basis. The USS Fitzgerald DD-62 is the latest such story, and we mourn the sailors lost in that tragedy – they remain “on watch” in the defense of liberty.

 

The video is here:
watch-v=sloZqBsalZc
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The book is here:
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Don Johnson – June 2017

Does Science Argue For Or Against God

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Often times in reading arguments for/against Intelligent Design, Darwinism, Evolution, Creation, Irreducible Complexity etc. I get the feeling I’m reading arguments on how many angels are, or are not, dancing on the head of some pin.
Then once in awhile something comes along that’s simple and intuitive that speaks to my heart, mind and soul. The following video is such a time.
Watch the man’s reaction to a part of vision he was unable to experience prior. We see an immediate reaction, an immediate knowing, and immediate appreciation. No lengthy scientific/theological arguments necessary … no books to read or college courses to take … no experts to consult. His eyes see it immediately and then his whole being understands it.
Beautiful … take a look.
https://www.facebook.com/NTDTelevision/videos/1986628964712537/

And this —

Does Science Argue for or against God-

 

Don Johnson – June 2017

The Blessings Of Hearing

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I have been generally blessed over the years (73) with good health. But like all of us, on occasion parts of my body complain and spread frustration or worse in areas where such complaints have no business being. These complaints  often spread outwards and seek to spoil relationships with those around us … family, friends and others.

Hearing loss is one such complaint, and mine has been in a state of decay for quite some time now, and plays a part in the deterioration of my ability to participate in conversation.

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Further to these thoughts, let me now shift to a more academic/scientific vein and share my joy and the marvel of the hearing experience.  

A year or so back I wrote an article I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/ive-grown-accustomed-to-your-face/ Here is an excerpt from that article:

“ … We walk into a crowded and noisy room full of mostly strangers and unfamiliar heads bobbing up and down. Then off to the side and slightly behind we hear and recognize a familiar voice … we turn our head searching for that old friend we know is there, and after a short search … there she is, head slightly turned away from our view, but recognizable none-the-less. We are surprised and pleased to meet our old friend once more after some number of years and begin renewing the friendship.

The recognition of the voce and face is instinctive and very quick; and we take it for granted with no thoughts of anything unusual other than the mere co-incidence of the meeting. … “

The article deals with the pattern recognition capability designed and  embedded in each of us by our Creator (yes, there is one.)

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Then just the other day I ran across another interesting article, again from the Discovery Institute, titled Mammals Compute Sound Timing in the Microsecond Range at https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/mammals-compute-sound-timing-in-the-microsecond-range/.

This article deals with the incredible sophistication and design associated with animals being able to determine, with great precision, the direction of incoming sounds.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

“ … Our brief look into the complexity of auditory localization in mammals provides a good example of not only Behe’s irreducible complexity, but also what Douglas Axe calls functional coherence, “the hierarchical arrangement of parts needed for anything to produce high-level function — each part contributing in a coordinated way to the whole” (Undeniable, p. 144). None of these parts (MSO, myelin, synapses) perform sound localization individually, but collectively, they do.

We could explore the hierarchy further by looking more closely at how molecular machines within the neuron cells participate in the “functional whole” of sound localization. Taking the wide-angle view, we see how all the lower levels in the hierarchy contribute to the bat’s amazing ability to catch food on the wing. Functional coherence is not just beyond the reach of chance (Axe, p. 160), it provides positive evidence for intelligent design. In all our uniform human experience, only minds are capable of engineering complex, hierarchical systems exhibiting functional coherence. The complexity of this one circuit — sound localization — makes that loud and clear. … “

So here we have it, in two scientific articles, studies and descriptions of how we can accurately determine the location of that familiar voice in a crowded room,  and associate that sound with a memory from the past.

But better yet, hear it sung by the great Dean Martin at https://youtu.be/yhaho1aAraM 

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Design in life and nature is a wonderful thing.  My hope is that you will seek this designer, this Creator.

 

Don Johnson – June 2017   

 

A Look At My Life

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So who is this guy who calls himself Publius? Click on the image above and you will get a peek at his life and travels.

http://www.blurb.com/b/7249256-a-yearning-for-publius

A Navy reunion–and more: a personal walk through history.

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My wife Diana and I have just returned from Budapest Hungary where we visited an old Navy shipmate and his wife Aliz.

Adam and I served together on the USS Porterfield DD-682, a destroyer, in 1965-66. Adam was an officer and I was enlisted, so it couldn’t be said that we were friends or old Navy buddies. But we stood shoulder to shoulder at General Quarters – our Battle Stations – in a small space called IC-Plot from where our five 5” guns were controlled. Adam was a memorable character in those days, with an uplifting attitude and demeanor that helped ease any boredom or tension during long, often very hot, watches during combat operations off the coast of Vietnam.  He had an accent and an  unpronounceable last name beginning with ‘van’ or ‘von’ which was changed by all aboard to Mr. von D. For years I thought he was Dutch.

We went our separate ways following our Naval service, and I didn’t give him – or for that matter my Navy experience — much thought thereafter. Then at a Porterfield reunion a few years ago I was able to get my hands on the cruise book from that time in the Western Pacific. I was drawn to the ships roster and that strange name von Dioszeghy. I did an internet search for that name and discovered the Facebook page of Aliz von Dioszeghy and sent off a message asking if this lady knew of that crazy Dutchman from the Porterfield. She did, and was married to him. I soon found out that Adam had written a wonderful 440 page story of his life beginning as a 7 year old in the midst of the WW-II Red Army siege of Budapest.  By the time I finished his book I felt I knew this man and his incredible life story.

Then in May 2017 the opportunity to visit Adam and Aliz presented itself at the end of a Baltic cruise.

What follows is a personalized historical account of a tour conducted by Adam through the significant places and events of his life in Budapest. 

January 1945 This first set of pictures show some of the places where Adam and his mother endured the WW-II battles all around and above them. The allied bombers were bombing the city from above, the Germans controlled a square just down the boulevard to the left of their apartment, and the Red Army  controlled the square down to the right. Bombs, bullets and artillery shells flowed in abundance.

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Adam and his mother lived on the third floor of this building.

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And behind this basement window was the bomb shelter where the building residents endured the bombings. 

This is also the window where Adam’s young German soldier friend Hans positioned himself with two machine guns in a futile attempt to hold off the advancing Red Army.

Hans, 19 years old, befriended 7 year old Adam and gave him his last chocolate just before his unit pulled out and left him to delay the Red Army onslaught.  A hand grenade thrown in the basement window ended the life of young Hans.

Adam and his wife Aliz live close by this window, and on their way to church Adam respectfully salutes that window – “Hans didn’t start that war” says Adam. And Aliz invariably tears up. 

The bombing cut off the water supply to the apartment building, so the residents had to traverse the main boulevard to a nearby apartment building that still had water. This was a very dangerous operation requiring Adam’s mother to cross a very active combat zone. 

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The Red Army to the left.

The German Army to the right and the street in front of Adam’s home.

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This is the apartment building from where Adam’s mother carried water in buckets. One day just as she entered the door to get water, a bomb hit above her and collapsed the front of the building causing rubble to bury her up to her neck. Miraculously she was not injured and neighbors removed the debris allowing her escape. 

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This is the doorway to the building where Adam’s mother was buried by the building debris. Adam remembers seeing her in the doorway on her return to the bomb shelter as a ghostly image covered in white plaster dust.

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Walking the streets of Budapest in 2017, 73 years after the fact, makes it difficult to place all of this in the context of the time. The pictures below show a small part of the carnage of the siege of Budapest.

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The bridges of Budapest are beautiful, but not so much during the war.

Post War Budapest to October 1956 – I don’t have any pictures of life for Adam and his mother under the Communist rule following the war, but life after the war under Communism is brutal for Adam and his mother, and especially tough because of his mother’s previous station in life as an aristocrat. Here is how he describes the treatment of his mother in those Communist years:

“ … she … was stripped of all human dignity common to even the lowest of beings. The authorities treated her worse than if she was a leper or a person afflicted with the foulest of communicable diseases, or possibly a criminal. There were only certain places – and not very desirable ones – where she was allowed to live. … Day in and day out, in every conceivable circumstance, it was made known to her that her very existence was bothersome to the “state,” and the sooner she could depart this vale of tears for better climes the better. … “

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October 1956 – Now we move forward to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In the following picture sequence we follow Adam as he walks us through to those places of personal remembrances, and the tragedies experienced by those freedom fighters.

The revolution started as a student solidarity movement in support of student protests in Poland. It began as a peaceful and unarmed demonstration against a tyrannical Communist government. The group drew up a list of 16 requests – not demands as Adam points out – that were brought to the radio station along this very narrow street where 5000 students had marched.

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The government response to the 16 requests was “not only no – but hell no.” Officials in the radio station were armed, and soon a shot rang out from above and a young student was killed in the street below.

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This plaque on the sidewalk opposite the radio station commemorates this first casualty of the revolution, marking the name and date of this young man’s death.

And these plaques on the wall of the radio station commemorate the event – and that is Adam’s hand reaching up to that commemoration.  

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The protests moved to the Parliament building, a magnificent building, and one in which Adam’s grandfather, a Baron,  had in years past sat as a member of the Hungarian Parliament.

Adam recounts that at some point in what was now a revolution, a truck drove up to where the students had gathered and started handing out weapons. Adam recalls when about twenty students gathered in a room, each having a Russian machine gun. They are sitting in a circle facing one another as someone is instructing them on how to use these weapons. Suddenly a shot rings out, and a young student just to the right of Adam falls dead, a casualty of an accidental shot from one of those machine guns. 

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Back to the Parliament, the scene is one where there is a huge crowd gathered in the square between the front of the Parliament building and the building shown above.

There were armed government soldiers stationed on the roof of that building and they started shooting indiscriminately into the crowd.  There were also tanks stationed in front of the parliament, and at one point a tank commander is fed up with the killing from the rooftop, and he shoots a couple of tank rounds to the shooters above. 

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Years later, after the collapse of the Communist regime, the deaths of those brave freedom fighters is commemorated by the placement of these bronze balls on the walls of the building from which those murders took place – one for each death.

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Somewhere along the way Adam is wounded and he is headed back to the Technical University, pictured above, where he was a student.

A friend and fellow student intercepts Adam on the bridge pictured above and warns him to turn back. A wounded and bandaged student is certain to be arrested and most likely to be executed. So Adam turns back and thus begins the next chapter in the life of Adam von Dioszeghy and his mother – a flight to freedom in Austria and ultimately to the United States.

It is important to note that as this revolution unfolded, nearly every segment of Hungarian society joined with the students in the attempt to throw off the tyranny.  This included even the Hungarian military, which had to be removed from the city and replaced by Soviet troops from the interior of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the Soviets brutally crushed the revolution resulting in many arrests, deaths and tens of thousands of refugees, some 40,000 who came to the United States. 

Again, walking the streets of Budapest in 2017, 60 years after the fact, makes it difficult to place all of this in the context of the time. The pictures below show a small part of the carnage of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The images are brutal.

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Sitting at the breakfast table in our hotel overlooking the streets of Budapest in 2017, it is hard to picture anything different than the people below going to and fro – peaceful and minding their own business going shopping, going to work or school. That is what Budapest and the world should look like.

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The life of a refugee in America.

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Coming to the United States as a refugee; to a foreign land and a foreign culture, not knowing the language was the next huge hurdle facing this young man.

But Adam’s life in America shows the grit and fortitude of this young man who had lost everything in his Hungarian homeland. His family heritage in Hungary was one of aristocracy, land and wealth. Yet here he was, having to begin a new life from scratch.

In 1957, Adam and his mother arrived to an exceptional nation. A nation that afforded him two key elements that make that nation exceptional – liberty and opportunity. Adam took great advantage of that fabric of liberty and opportunity and earned a degree at Stanford University, one of the great universities of America. Then when his new nation called him to military service in time of need at the beginning of the Vietnam War, he gratefully stepped up and became a US Naval officer serving three tours to the war zone of Vietnam.

Following his Navy service, Adam returned to Stanford earning a law degree and practicing law in the San Francisco area for many years before retiring and returning to his homeland of Hungary.   

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A fitting conclusion to this story is this picture of Adam standing beside the statue of President Ronal Reagan in Budapest’s Freedom Square. Communism had failed and fallen, and the people of Hungary rightly commemorate their liberty with this tribute to this great American leader. 

Leaders like American President Ronald Reagan, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II took note of the evils of Communism, and were finally in a position to defeat it and bring liberty to those many like Adam von Dioszeghy who yearned so strongly for and fought for it.

Adam is engaged in another battle for survival, this time against a cancer that has invaded his body. These kinds of personal battles eventually visit all of us, but I must say, this friend of mine shows a love of life – a joy of living – not often seen. A joy in spite of the tragedies he has lived through. But no … I believe his joy comes not in spite of, but rather because of his experiences. I am honored to be his friend and shipmate.        

Poland likewise recognizes Reagan with similar tributes.

“ … Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. … “

Ronald Reagan

References and further reading:

BRIDGING TWO WORLDS: Memories and Reflections – at https://www.amazon.com/BRIDGING-TWO-WORLDS-Memories-Reflections/dp/1622878663/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

My review of Adam’s book at — https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/bridging-two-worlds-a-book-review/

The Bridge at Andau: The Compelling True Story of a Brave, Embattled People — at https://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Andau-Compelling-Embattled-People/dp/0812986741/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496567578&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bridge+at+andau

Immigration & Assimilation – A Hungarian Model – at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/immigration-assimilation-a-hungarian-model-2/

Statue in Budapest’s Liberty Square credits Reagan for freedom  — at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/29/statue-in-budapests-liberty-square-credits-reagan-/

Ronald Reagan statue unveiled in Warsaw  — at  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/8904456/Ronald-Reagan-statue-unveiled-in-Warsaw.html

Reagan, John Paul II honored with statue in Gdansk Poland – at: http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Reagan-John-Paul-II-honored-with-statue-3707733.php

Presumption of Innocence vs. Assertion of Ownership

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I find a strong parallel between the issues of past US slavery advocacy and modern day abortion advocacy.

The parallel I see is that slaves were considered to be legal property of the slave owner rather than unique human individuals – the assertion of ownership. The property  –the slave — was treated kindly or viciously at the whim of the owner of that piece of property. 

Likewise, in todays world, we see this assertion of ownership invoked by proponents of abortion, particularly the mothers of those unborn humans. The language is along the lines of “keep your religion off my body” as if the unborn were the mother’s property rather than a developing and unique human child. 

At the same time, the American legal system provides protection of  an accused criminal by the legal principle of “presumption of innocence” whereby the accused must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of peers. 

The accused is treated not as property, but rather as a unique human being with protected Constitutional rights.

Not so the unborn child. The unborn are asserted by law – by a perversion of the Constitution in Row vs. Wade – to be the property of the mother and can be either kept or disposed of solely at the discretion of the owner of the property.

Further, in criminal cases there is a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment – the Eighth Amendment. The unborn, being property, is denied this protection and we are now in a world where modern science and medicine shows a well developed nervous system in the unborn that can feel pain and suffering in the first three months of development. 

My plea to expectant mothers tempted to avail themselves  of their “Constitutionally protected right of abortion” is to carefully weigh their choice between presumption of innocence vs. the assertion of ownership – only the mother can make such a choice.

My plea here is not to impose my morals or religion onto the woman’s body, but rather to advocate for basic Constitutional rights  for those unique unborn human beings who are considered property and have no voice nor rights.

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The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads (emphasis mine):

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution (in part) reads (emphasis mine)::

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

 

Don Johnson – April 2017

Happy Anniversary My Honey

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That’s us, on the right … me and my child bride Diana

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And us way back then – 53 years.  I still love you my honey!

I was the youngest of three brothers, but the first to marry.

1964 it was – April 10 and it seems like … well it seems like it was only … 1964.

My two older brothers also married that year, but Diana and I were the first. And all these years later, there are the three of us, still married to our child brides.