Caption: Grenadier of the 1st Foot (Royal Scots) as they appeared during the Seven Years War.

 

Dragon Ship

Yes, it’s in need of a refit, I’ll give you that. But with a few stout souls, a sail, some steel and chainmail, we could cross to England, or move down the coast to Francia, raid and bring back treasure. Maybe I was born 1,200 years too late? When I read things like this. Definitely glad that I missed that in my naval service.

I do know why my ancestors left Switzerland for America – new birth of freedom, but I don’t know that I could do it. They were stalwart people.

 

79-year-old Gaspar Wallnöfer, a veteran of the Habsburg campaigns in Italy in 1848 and 1866.

In the photo above, he, dons his uniform to serve in WWI. September 1917.

 

Definitely… too white

 

Politically Incorrect

The Runaway, 1958

Could you imagine this display of racial hate gracing the cover of a major magazine today. The officer should be de-funded and sent to a re-education camp, there is no person of color featured, it’s as if they don’t exist. And none of them appear to be trannys.

 

Duty-Honor-Country (this week)

The trend of American warships flying ever-larger flags—sometimes Old Glory and sometimes flags unique to each ship’s lore and culture—continues to expand. Seeing one of these fighting ships with a huge American flag unfurled while underway is a stirring sight for countrymen and allies, and an intimidating one for enemies. Multiple ships sailing together in formation all flying the American flag, which is also the U.S. Navy’s National Ensign, can be even more impactful. Yet there is one ship in the fleet that has taken this practice to another level, the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112). Case in point, its grand entrance into San Diego Bay on February 24th, 2021.

Just before 1:00 PM local time, the DDG-112 proudly paraded its way to the naval base on the southeast end of the bay with an absolutely gargantuan—as in it could not possibly be any bigger—American Flag billowing in the wind off its port side.  During the destroyer’s high-profile transit, it passed very close by an oncoming Independence class Littoral Combat Ship, with its massive flag blotting out a huge part of the passing vessel. In still images and in video it is an awesome and bold display to behold. It must have gotten a lot of smiles for those who saw it in person.

The ship’s namesake is inspiring, to say the least. Navy SEAL Michael Murphy was awarded the Medal Of Honor posthumously for his heroism during the doomed Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, which was made famous by the book and film Lone Survivor. It was the first time anyone from the Navy was awarded the military’s highest honor since the Vietnam War.

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The Navy’s Summary of Action detailing Murphy’s selfless heroism reads, in part:

Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.

Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.

So, sailors serving aboard this ship—which has the appropriate motto “Lead the fight!“—have a lot to look up to. As such, they are clearly extremely proud of their vessel and its fighting team, and they are not afraid to show it. Hence the massive ensigns they fly, which include a flag unique to the USS Michael Murphy that celebrates its frogman namesake.

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Yet it is the American Flag that DDG-112 flies that is as big as it possibly could be. The Pearl Harbor-based ship’s arrival in San Diego wasn’t the first time it has flown the giant flag. For instance, it was hoisted during the 79th anniversary of the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, during a ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial.

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There are strict rules as to when a ship can fly various ensigns, some of which are highly particular to the ship and include everything from extremely long multi-color streamer-like pennants to the Jolly Roger and more. While the Michael Murphy has its own ‘bone frog’ flag to commemorate its namesake, when making a grand entry into port, it seems its giant American Flag is the go-to choice. As for the size of the ship’s uniquely large national flag and the attention it gets, I don’t think that it is lost on the ship’s proud crew:

The USS Michael Murphy flies the giant American Flag when entering port and the giant Bone Frog when leaving port.

30 COMMENTS

  1. One thing I’ve admired about the Navy and Marines is paying attention to traditions. Sad to see that under attack.

    Back in the day the Army (1963-1966) didn’t pay attention to traditions. I didn’t even know the Army had an official song (which belonged to the cannon cockers anyway).

    • If you’d been a cannon cocker rather than an engineer, you’d have had a song, and you wouldn’t have had to worry about all of that bridging equipment.

      • When I went in I wanted to shoot big guns, maybe drive a tank. Ranch kids string barbed wire and stack hay. Engineers string barbed wire and stack sandbags. The Army didn’t need to spend much effort training me.

        • Ok, I get it – and you looked for landmines.

          Who thought that joining the Navy would mean that I went camping and hiking and shooting small arms? As with you I was pre-trained. My father was a salvage diver for part of his life and I was trained in the ocean.

          • I have a landline story in the Gulf War. It’s different when they’re in front of you and the mine detonates and completely dismembers them.

            Nasty bit of work.

            I leave land mines to you, WSF

          • A book, Combat Beneath The Sea, if you can find it, is a worthy read. It details the frogmen (UDT) of various countries (U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, Japan) engaged in dangerous underwater demolitions just prior to and during WWII. I have the book around here somewhere. I’ve loaned and not gotten back too many books but in your case (or any you may vouch for) I may make an exception.

          • Quoth the bard, Sir Arlo of Guthrie, “and the sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said “You’re our boy”.”

            Although in your case, I suppose it was a Chief…..

  2. Hmmm… Flying a Garrison flag from a halyard. I appreciate the gesture, but…

    As to the lady? Not too white. A little thin, though. Nice shoes.

    Somehow, in the last 10 years, Switzerland has gone all SJW and started working on banning the gun and arms culture. Your forefather escaped when he could.

    And regarding the whole ‘Be less white’ movement, screw that. I love non-toxic chemical dyes, modern fabrics, air conditioning, fresh food, properly stored food, modern medicine, tv, computers, LED lights, internal combustion engines in all their forms, cars, lawnmowers, chainsaws, airplanes, ships, motorboats, Cane Corso and Rottweiler and German Shepherd and Newfoundland dogs, guns, Diet Dr. Pepper, and other things. All invented or perfected by Whyte Peepoo. So, screw it.

  3. So much here to unpack, so all I’ll say is “excellent” and thanks for bringing interesting fodder to us flyover peasants.

  4. The lady looks nicely tanned, to me. probably all-over, too.

    It says that Rockwell was “colorized” by someone. Did they also remove the policeman’s pistol? Holster looks empty to me…..

    Burke’s are nice ships, from what I’ve seen. Never been on one in the ocean, but I enjoyed the tours I had, and it felt like a fast, agile fighting ship. Just got that feeling from the ships and crews I met.

    • The handgun is there. I don’t know what model Norman Rockwell used, but it appears to be a Model 10 Smith.

      My sea time on the 51 Class, but the first of the class, the Arleigh Burke is still in commission, still active, nearly 35 years later. The hull (same as the CG’s) is a good one, fast, responsive, the power plants are reliable gas turbines, the box-launched missiles are a world better than the old rail systems which broke down. It’s a balanced, multi-mission platform that does everything well. The later Flight 3 ships have impressive anti-ballistic missile capability.

        • OK, I guess I can see some of the trigger guard. Thought maybe it was a flap holster, but couldn’t quite make out the details.

          Regarding the Arleigh Burkes, my best radio buddy worked at Tood Shipyards supervising the powerplants of the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates. It was a sad day when Todd lost a bid to build Arleigh Burkes.

  5. The Scandanavians took clinker (lapstrake) to a higher level. Inspiring designs and craftsmanship.
    Skip, when do we sail?

    That Pea hen is posed reminiscent of Marilyn’s famous photo over a sidewalk heating grate and exquisitely gowned like Sophia Loren.

    Don’t ask me why, whenever I see that bucolic scene of the Alps, I think of the civilian shot in the back by a German soldier during WWII. The soldier thought the man was running away to avoid questioning. It turned out the man was running to fetch the head of the household.
    It could be that your ancestors also left in order to be rid of the thumb of the Habsburgs. They were real assholes with far too great power. Of course they had great and noble accomplishments of certain members (Charles being one) yet as a dynasty, they shouldn’t be favorably remembered.

    While watching the Zumwalt struggle (maiden voyage) through the Panama Canal, it was noticed her ensign was not visible. Upon closer examination it was revealed the jack was unnecessary as the ensign was painted on the aft of the house and very barely noticeable. Stealth paint? So much for tradition.

    I have read and do keep Marcus Luttrell’s book. I highly recommend it for any library. Immense courage under fire is an understatement.

    • My family in Switzerland was well off given the time and circumstances. The extended family is still there in and around Bern, having never left. I’ve traced that geneaology back to the 1400’s through the meticulous records that the Swiss kept. They lived in the same towns, for centuries, and it made them easy to track. The system that they lived under was rigid. Not a caste system exactly, but the Freedom of America called to them. My grandmother, immigrated through Ellis Island, arriving in NY at the same time as the survivors of the Titanic did. She and my grandfather raised me and we spoke German at home as well as English.

      The old Swiss were nothing if not disciplined and ordered people.

  6. I would be remiss to not mention how beloved the illustrations of Norman Rockwell. Like Currier & Ives, or the Hudson River Valley artist movement, they stir the soul.

      • Seems that sentiment is everywhere these days. Once the good folks get fed up – and since it’s Sunday – we might start going Old Testament on them. Things is they’ll cry like the children they are inside and say we’re being “mean” and “unfair”.

  7. I’m with Beans , Europeans and their descendants invented modern civilization. White folks got game. Only an idiot would argue that. But there are lots of idiots.

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