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Today's Features

  • A few days after my replacement as Commander of the Marine Detachment of USS Wasp on 25 June 1942, the ship departed for the South Pacific, with my replacement, Marine Captain John Kennedy.

    Having been promoted to the rank of major, I spent the first two weeks of August 1942 organizing and establishing the Onslow Beach guard of some 150 men.

  • By Ronald R. Van Stockum Jr.

    Timing is everything! And what it is not, location is.

    And here is the place, a 3,000-mile, nearly impenetrable chain of mountains blockading China from the rest of Eurasia – more than 1.4 billion people, and all looking to get out. Or at least to expand a little, like they did in 471 A.D.

    The Tian Chan Mountains

  • After my detachment from Wasp on June 25, 1942, having been promoted to major, I reported to a Marine infantry unit at a Marine Corps base near Jacksonville, N.C. that was later named Camp Lejeune. Here I took command of the Heavy Weapons Company of the newly formed 1st Battalion of the 21st Marines (an infantry regiment).

    My company, the largest of the battalion, had the strength of nine officers and 281 enlisted men. It consisted of three .30 caliber machine gun platoons, an 81mm mortar platoon and an anti-tank section of .50 caliber machine guns.

  • Pottery shards

    Pottery shards and flint flakes. You look for them, don’t you? I do. They are like movie tickets for the latest film, the one that’s already been shown. A film that seems to halt the flow of time long enough to look at the product of its passage. What has gone before us is a long, captivating film. And there are theaters everywhere.

    The Persian Gulf

  • In my last column, I described the launch of British Spitfires from the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) in the Mediterranean for the relief of besieged Malta, 580 miles distant.

    From my battle station, I had observed Jerry Smith, Canadian Spitfire pilot serving with the British Royal Air Force, make a miraculous landing back on Wasp after discovering that his auxiliary fuel tank, needed to reach his destination, was not functioning properly.

  • On May 8, 1942, I was a Marine captain in command of the Marine Detachment on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV 7).

    We were in the Mediterranean for the second time, carrying 47 British Spitfires on each occasion. They had been hoisted aboard at Greenock, on the River Clyde in Scotland. I had recorded my first impressions of the Spitfire in my Marine Journal.

  • For many years, Jeffrey Bracken thought he was just clumsy. He’d walk into door frames and excuse it as not paying attention, or he’d brush off his driving mishaps as just being a bad driver.

    “My wife kept saying ‘Jeff, there’s something wrong,’ but I just kept putting it off,” said Bracken, a history teacher at Shelby County High School.

  • For many years, Jeffrey Bracken thought he was just clumsy. He’d walk into door frames and excuse it as not paying attention, or he’d brush off his driving mishaps as just being a bad driver.

    “My wife kept saying ‘Jeff, there’s something wrong,’ but I just kept putting it off,” said Bracken, a history teacher at Shelby County High School.

  • Bothané

    When Susanne and I had visited Brittany in France in 1958, Jean-Michel Dunoyer de Segonzac picked us up at Quimperlé and drove us to their beautiful chateau Bothané, five miles distant. This had been the home of the great-grandfather of his wife Guillemette, Theodore Ducos, who had been Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies [Minister of the Navy and of the Colonies]. Guillemette had also informed me that it had been the headquarters of a German admiral after France had been overrun in World War II.

  • By Ronald Van Stockum, Jr.

    Don’t step there!

    Yikes! Look down where you stand. Walk with care. Trilobites are everywhere!

    Well, at least here in Kentucky.

    Pick up a rock in your stream. Chances are that it contains trilobites – or maybe just parts of them. That’s the problem. We want it all now.

    A big, beautiful, completely whole trilobite in three parts – the head (cephalon), thorax and tail (pygidium).