The flight gave me opportunities for reading, so I finished Using the Force by Will Brooker, a book about the Star Wars fan culture, set right around the release of EpII in 2002. Some parts of it are good and balanced on the subject, but his coverage of fan fiction and films was too excessive for me. And any book that heavily cites message boards as sources is going to be a little weak in the research department.
Currently am in between a SW EU novel, and Darwin's famous book.
"That's what Sheev said."
For the WW2 guys...
Sometime last year I posted about a book about a B-17 bomber called the Swamp Ghost. The plane had been found in Papa New Guinea.
An update from Comcast.net / ap:
World War II bomber 'Swamp Ghost' returns to US
LONG BEACH, Calif. — A B-17 bomber that lay in a New Guinea swamp for decades after being forced down during a World War II combat mission has been returned to the United States after years of salvage efforts.
The forward fuselage of the so-called "Swamp Ghost" was displayed Friday at the Port of Long Beach in an emotional, patriotic ceremony attended by kin of some of the now-deceased aircrew.
"I know this a happy day for Dick," said Linda Oliver, the 89-year-old widow of bombardier Richard Oliver, the last living crewman who died in August. She regretted he did not see the warbird's return.
"He longed for this to happen, but this wasn't to be," said Oliver, of Tiburon, Calif.
The frail widow watched a flag presentation by an Air Force honor guard and a flyover by vintage World War II fighters before her three children helped her climb steps to peer inside the fuselage sitting atop a truck trailer in the parking lot of the harborside restaurant The Reef.
The four-engine B-17E Flying Fortress was built by Boeing in November 1941, flew from California to Hawaii days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and then island-hopped to Australia.
It went down on Feb. 23, 1942, on its only combat mission after being damaged by enemy fire during a raid on Japanese forces at Rabaul in New Britain and losing fuel.
Army Air Corps Capt. Fred Eaton piloted the aircraft to a belly landing in what turned out to be a swamp and the nine crewmen survived a six-week ordeal escaping the swamp and making their way to safety.
"Often in my life the courage and the perseverance that Dad and his fellow crew members demonstrated gave me courage to face some of the challenges we've all met in life," said the bombardier's son, Mike Oliver of Richmond, Va., who was born while his father was missing in action.
An Australian air force crew came upon the B-17 in 1972. Sustaining little damage in the landing and virtually undisturbed for years, the intact craft became coveted by salvagers of historic warplanes.
John Tallichet, president and CEO of Specialty Restaurants Corp., recounted how his father, company founder and World War II B-17 pilot David Tallichet, started efforts to recover the plane in the 1980s but didn't live to see its return. "One of his purposes in life was to bring this plane to the United States," he said.
The B-17's remote location and difficulties in gaining governmental permission to remove it from New Guinea would leave it in its watery resting place for many more years, gaining the nickname "Swamp Ghost" along the way. Westerners trekking to the site removed many items as souvenirs during that time.
The effort to bring home the plane was carried on by Pennsylvania businessman Fred Hagen, a friend of David Tallichet who has located a series of aircraft lost during World War II, leading to repatriation of missing airmen's remains.
In 2006 Hagen organized a salvage operation in which the B-17 was cut into sections that were flown by helicopter to a port. However, a dispute over authority to remove the plane held it up in New Guinea, and then its status as a warplane delayed its shipment through New Zealand, Hagen said.
The B-17 finally arrived in Long Beach last month.
Hagen said the cost of recovering the bomber was approximately $1.5 million.
It may be restored to flying condition and housed in a museum, or perhaps reassembled at less expense for display in a setting recreating the jungle swamp where it landed 68 years ago, Hagen said.
In a poignant scene, Linda Oliver, stood in front of the plane with a photo of her late husband in uniform, assisted by daughters Kathy Oliver Cataldo of Richmond, Va., and Karen Braughton of Sebastopol, Calif.
BAD needs: HK-50 torso, right arm and head
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Very cool Dr. E, this story sounds familiar. I think I saw a special on the Swamp Fox on Discovery or the Hitler Channel a few years ago.
Thanks for the update, Doc!
These restorations are so critical to maintaining our history! The New England Air Museum is currently restoring an A-26 Invader which flew with the 416th Bomb Group, 671st Bomb Squadron, of the 9th Air Force in WWII. My uncle (who was killed) was a member of that unit:
¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!
I'm off to a slow start for summer reading (only 3 books, about 800 pages). Read an odd '60s-era sci-fi book Space Viking by H.Beam Piper. Mixed a lot of mythologies and history in an Earth's future setting, mainly as Scandinavian regional details, with these SVs raiding and sometimes being reasonable. Very abrupt and predictable ending, far too simplistic. It wasn't bad, but neither was it good. It might have been an influence on George Lucas, as the main character was Prince Lucas Trask of Tarith. Maybe; but then again, if it was, that might explain some things.
"That's what Sheev said."
The Wrath of God by Jack Higgins. Three men with varied backgrounds find themselves working together in post-revolutionary 1920s Mexico. This is the second Higgins novel I've read lately where it's written in the first person.
Reading Han Solo at Stars' End right now.
Working on The Mothman Prophecies. It's quite good, and going much more quickly than I'd expected. John Keel is like Graham Hancock in that he's such a good writer that you are willing to overlook that he's a crackpot (though, in fairness, Keel seems a lot more level-headed than Hancock or a lot of other pseudo-scientists, and is mostly reporting incidents without much commentary).
I understand the movie sucks eggs, but I still might want to check it out once I'm done.
Tommy, close your eyes.