Wednesday, December 12, 2018

TheList 4880

The List 4880     TGB

To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits.
This day in Naval History
Dec. 12
1862—During the Civil War, a Confederate torpedo (mine) sinks USS Cairo in Yazoo River. Her wreck is recovered in 1965, but is badly damaged during the salvage efforts.
1937—After Japan invades Nanking, China, USS Panay (PR 5) evacuates American citizens when it comes under attack from Japanese aircraft, killing three men and wounding 43 sailors and five civilians.
1941—The Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) is established.
1942—Five torpedo boats attack 11 Japanese destroyers off Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal. Motor torpedo boats PT 37 and PT 40 sink Japanese destroyer Terutsuki. In return, the Japanese destroyers Kawakaze and Suzukaze sink PT 44 off Savo Island.
1972—Capt. Eugene A. Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, walks on the Moon and raises the U.S. flag. Cmdr. Ronald E. Evans is the Command Module Pilot and Harrison H. Schmitt is the Lunar Module pilot. The mission lasts 12 days, 13 hours and 52 minutes.
2001—USS Russell (DDG 59) recovers four crewmembers from an Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber, which crashed at about 11:30 a.m. EST into the Indian Ocean 30 miles north of the British base of Diego Garcia. 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Today's top headlines include reports that President Trump met with Democratic congressional leaders yesterday and their discussion over border wall funding and a year-end government shutdown, and reports that lawmakers in Britain triggered a "no confidence" vote against Prime Minister May as she attempts to secure a deal for Britain to leave the European Union.  The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group sailed out of U.S. 6th Fleet on its way back to Norfolk following the Navy's first demonstration of dynamic force employment reports USNI News. "The National Defense Strategy makes clear that we must be operationally unpredictable to our long-term strategic adversaries, while upholding our commitments to our allies and partners," said Adm. James Foggo. The U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency successfully shot down an intermediate-range ballistic missile target in space from its Aegis Ashore facility in Hawaii reports Defense News. Additionally, NPR reports on USNS Comfort's continued efforts to provide medical assistance to Venezuelan refugees.

Today in History December 12
George Washington, the adjutant of Virginia, delivers an ultimatum to the French forces at Fort Le Boeuf, south of Lake Erie, reiterating Britain's claim to the entire Ohio River valley.
The British soldiers responsible for the "Boston Massacre" are acquitted on murder charges.
The Union loses its first ship to a torpedo, USS Cairo, in the Yazoo River.
Orders are given in Richmond, Virginia, that no more supplies from the Union should be received by Federal prisoners.
Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio transmission in St. John's Newfoundland.
Communists forces seize Canton, China.
The Spanish Civil War begins as rebels take a border town.
The last Allied troops withdraw from the Saar region in Germany.
Under pressure from the Communists in Canton, Chiang Kai-shek resigns as president of the Nanking Government but remains the head of the Nationalist government that holds nominal rule over most of China.
The German Army launches Operation Winter Tempest, the relief of the Sixth Army trapped in Stalingrad.
The exiled Czech government signs a treaty with the Soviet Union for postwar cooperation.
The United Nations calls for immediate Soviet withdrawal from Hungary.
Kenya becomes a republic.
Three Buddhist leaders begin a hunger strike to protest the government in Saigon.
The United States ends the airlift of 6,500 men in Vietnam.
South Korean Army Major General Chun Doo-hwan, acting without authorization from President Choi Kyu-ha, orders the arrest of Army Chief of Staff General Jeong Seung-hwa, alleging that the chief of staff was involved in the assassination of ex-President Park Chung Hee.
Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashes after takeoff at Gander, Newfoundland; among the 256 dead are 236 members of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division.
The Russian Federation becomes independent from the USSR.
Willie Brown beats incumbent mayor Frank Jordon to become the first African-American mayor of San Francisco.
The US Supreme Court announces its decision in Bush v. Gore, effectively ending legal changes to the results of that year's Presidential election.
This Week In American Military History
Fredericksburg to Bastogne
by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Dec. 11, 1941:  Four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, isolated and embattled U.S. Marines – and a few good sailors, soldiers, and civilian contractors – put up a heroic defense of Wake Island in the Pacific, beating back an attempted Japanese landing with heavy losses to the enemy.
Wake will fall by Christmas. But the heroics exhibited by the American defenders – basically two companies of Marines holding off the Japanese Navy for two weeks – will be compared to the heroic nearly-two-week defense of the Alamo in 1836.
Dec. 15, 1862:  Union Army Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside ends his disastrous series of frontal attacks against Gen. Robert E. Lee's well-entrenched Confederate forces along Marye's Heights during the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is during the battle that Lee – emotionally moved by the valor of the Federal Army, which, despite terrible losses, attacks his impregnable position time-and-again – says, "It is well that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it."
Dec. 16, 1944:  A massive German Army force — composed of SS Panzer (SS armored units), Volksgrenadier (infantry), Panzergrenadier (armored infantry), and Fallschirmj√§ger (paratroopers) — burst through the snow-covered Ardennes Forest and smash headlong into the weakest stretch of the Allied frontlines in Belgium.
The attack — which will become known as the Battle of the Bulge (because of the temporary bulging salient the German thrust will create in the Allied lines) — is a last ditch gamble on the part of the Germans, a surprise counteroffensive aimed at cutting American and British forces in half; crossing the Meuse River; encircling, isolating, and destroying Allied armies west of the Meuse; and perhaps reaching the North Sea.
It is not to be.
Despite the initial shock along a 60-to-70-mile front – and a 50-mile-deep penetration – German forces will quickly find themselves running up against giants of men like Gen. Anthony McAuliffe's diehard paratroopers of the crack 101st Airborne Division, who – though surrounded, outnumbered, outgunned, freezing, and nearly starving to death – refuse to surrender the strategically vital highway hub at Bastogne.
The battle, which will last until Jan. 28, 1945, will prove to be the largest land battle in western Europe during World War II, and it will be a decisive American victory. But it will not be without heavy losses: 19,000 American soldiers will be killed out of 81,000 total U.S. casualties in five weeks
Thanks to √Čarly Bird..    Click to see entire article
Still going Katy !
Thanks to the Navy, Scientists Discovered the Infamous ?Humongous Fungus? | Navy Times | 07 Dec 2018
Shawn Snow
COLUMBIA, Mo. ? It was discovered nearly three decades ago. At the time, it was thought to be heavier than a blue whale, bigger than 23 football fields and more than 1,500 years old. The news of its discovery appeared in almost all the major media outlets and even made David Letterman?s Top 10 list.
In July 2018, in a preprint paper posted on <>  bioRxiv, scientists studying it announced that the so-called <>  ?humongous fungus,? an individual of <>  Armillaria gallica that lives in a forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is actually four times bigger and around one and a half times older than previously thought.
It's not just that it's so big and old. It's also about what "H.F.", as retired University of Missouri professor Johann Bruhn refers to it, can teach us. Bruhn has studied the Armillaria species for around 40 years as a research associate professor at Michigan Technological University first, and then at MU.
In the autumn, if it's not too dry, mushrooms pop up near a tree or grow from the stem. A person looking at one may think that there is nothing more to it. But that's not the case. A mushroom is just a piece of the puzzle ? the "tip of the iceberg," so to speak, of a fungus.
The main "body" of most fungi ? the part we don't usually see ? is called the mycelium. One example is a fibrous or cottony growth that appears on fruit as it rots. Mycelium is composed of microscopic filaments called hyphae that look like tiny threads woven together, and in forests it mostly stays underground or within decaying wood.
So it lives unseen, until the time when it has enough nutrients and the weather is right for development of fruiting structures: mushrooms. As the mycelium exhausts nutrients from one food source, it grows outward seeking new ones. It usually expands as a ring that is known as a fairy circle. That's how separate mushrooms a couple of feet away may actually belong to the same fungus.
Fungi belonging to genus Armillaria act primarily as decomposers of roots of trees that are already under stress, as well as their stumps and fallen stems. Infected roots are no longer able to absorb water or nutrients, and so the tree gradually dies. By killing and decomposing stressed trees, the fungus makes room and nutrients available to healthier trees, thus serving as a sort of "gatekeeper".
Wood decayed by these species is white, and often spongy and wet. The mycelium of Armillaria is bioluminescent, especially in actively decaying wood. The bright white glow can be seen from a considerable distance and is commonly known as a fox fire. From one victim to the next, the fungus spreads by long black cords called rhizomorphs that develop from mycelium. These bootlace-like strands can travel great distances in search of a tree to infect and may form an extensive network. Shielded underground and in decaying wood, rhizomorphs are protected from high temperatures and drought
Thanks to Carl
Interesting story!!
Hollywood's Queen of 1980s Nightlife (Finally) Tells All
Long before smartphones, actress and belly dancer Helena Kallianiotes presided over a members-only club where Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston partied with Prince and Madonna, Sean Penn let loose and photos were never, ever allowed. Says Melanie Griffith: "That was the thing: to dance, hang out at Helena's and do drugs."
Thanks to Robert
Not verified, but sad if true.
World War 11 (Eleven)
Theodore " Dutch " J. Van Kirk was the navigator on the "Enola
" when it dropped the bomb at Hiroshima, Japan, and is the last surviving member of the crew. This really happened.
Dutch was asked to speak at a grammar school recently. The young teacher introduced him by saying the speaker was a veteran of World War Eleven
(as in WWII). Dutch stood up and walked out of the school without saying a word. End of story.
The Christmas Ship

The following item is from the New York Times of December 23, 1930 and was re-published in Proceedings magazine in 1931.
Washington, December 22 (AP)—Hundreds of happy children shouting from the decks of Uncle Sam's warships will greet their seagoing Santa Claus as he climbs aboard with his bag on Christ­mas morning.
About 63,000 officers and men will spend Christ­mas this year aboard naval vessels. Far from home and their own children, the personnel of battleships and aircraft carriers have softened the homesick feeling by giving Christmas parties to the needy children of the port of anchor.
Naval officials today said the custom, inaugu­rated by Captain Hugh Rodman of the battleship New York in 1916, would be continued this year. It was estimated that more than 2,000 needy chil­dren would be entertained on Christmas day by the Navy afloat.
Nothing could give me greater pleasure and satisfaction than to feel that I am justly entitled to the credit of having established and perpetuated this custom, for such, I am sorry to say, is not the case; it belongs solely to the enlisted force of the New York, at Christmas time, 1915.
The men from the USS Mississippi contributed to a fund to entertain and buy presents for 200 orphan children. A Christmas tree, hundreds of presents, and a great dinner was shared.
In 1917, when we entered the war, I was ordered to command our battleship force serving with the grand fleet; the New York was my flagship. After hostilities ceased, and I had returned to America, in discussing con­ditions and the very friendly and cordial re­lations which existed between the American and British naval forces, amongst other statements was the following:
My flagship, the New York, was known in the Navy as the "Christmas Ship," since it had origi­nated the custom of going into the highways and byways at Christmas time, collecting the waifs and strays who otherwise would have had no Christ­mas, and bringing them on board, after the ship had been elaborately decorated and prepared for their reception. We entertained them with a dinner, chil­dren's games, and a Christmas tree where toys were distributed and where each boy received a scout outfit, and the girls a set of cheap furs. Here let it be said, though this was done under my com­mand, the conception and execution of the idea was entirely in the hands of the enlisted personnel, who deserve the entire credit.
Not knowing that we would be ordered abroad, we had laid in our supplies on the supposition that we would be in an American port, but Christmas found us at Edinburgh, Scotland.
After discussing the situation, the men decided that a child was a child, whether American or Scotch. They asked 125 children to come on board, preferably those who had been orphaned during the war—the poorer and more dependent, the better. They were assembled and brought down to the ship, some seven or eight miles, in motor busses. Once aboard they were entertained, given a good dinner, and the usual toys and presents, and in addi­tion each youngster was given two bright silver shillings—probably the greatest amount of cash any of them had ever possessed at any one time.
This statement is quoted in full and ver­batim to reiterate and emphasize the fact, that I would be a hypocrite, and sailing un­der false colors, if I claimed or let others be­lieve that I am entitled to the credit which belongs solely to the enlisted personnel of the New York serving on her at Christmas time, 1915.
My recollection is that the committee of the crew, headed by the chief master-at- arms, first made the suggestion, that it at once appealed to me, and officers and men alike wanted to subscribe and cooperate in making it a success. But it soon became ap­parent that since the men had originated the idea, and it promised to be a success, that they should receive the entire credit; and while the officers were more than willing to subscribe, none of us did, but freely gave our aid and assistance in promoting the en­terprise.
The "Christmas Ship" idea spread at once to other ships in the Navy, and I sincerely hope it has become the custom with all ships, and will be continued as one of the Navy's most cherished traditions. It is interesting and advisable to record such events while fresh in one's memory, and it is with this spirit I have done so.
Heads-up for WW1 documentary event
They Shall Not Grow Old...
Directed by Peter Jackson
Daniels sided with Christmas during wartime
By John Hood
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
RALEIGH — Josephus Daniels, one of the most prominent North Carolinians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, played a key role in a story that often circulates around Christmastime. He's not exactly its hero, but in the end Daniels makes the right call — and thus helps to save the celebration of Christmas during wartime.
After the election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson as president in 1912, Daniels left his post as publisher of the Raleigh News & Observer to become U.S. Secretary of the Navy. When American entered World War I in 1917, Daniels assumed responsibilities beyond naval administration. One of them was service on the Council of National Defense, a federal panel which, among other things, supervised private industry's contribution to the war effort.
The term "contribution" is a bit of a euphemism. While business leaders were highly patriotic and did many things of their own volition to help America win the war, the Council also compelled industry compliance with government directives on what could be produced and sold in the United States. Arms, ammunition, and other war materiel were to be the priority.
As American troops began arriving in Europe in 1918 and entering combat for the first time, the Council listened to a parade of business executives and trade associations complain about wartime restrictions. Sometimes the Council modified or suspended its regulations. But not often.
During the summer, Council staff drafted a rule to limit the production of gifts for the 1918 Christmas season. Not surprisingly, manufacturers and retailers were outraged. In August, a group of business leaders organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other associations went before Josephus Daniels and the other members of the Council to dissuade them from imposing such a heavy burden.
One of the presenters, A.C. Gilbert, stole the show. This shouldn't have been at all surprising. Gilbert, an Olympic gold medalist and entrepreneur who had invented the Erector Set a few years earlier, had revolutionized his industry in part by skillful marketing of construction toys directly to children.
The first president of the new Toy Manufacturers Association, Gilbert was convinced that toys were more than just trivial playthings. Playing with toys stimulated the imagination, built social relationships, and trained young people in practical skills, he thought.
Gilbert had converted some of his factory capacity to wartime production. He was glad to do so. But he resented the notion that government bureaucrats in Washington could tell him what to do with the private business he founded and managed. He resolved to fight the proposed ban on Christmas gift-giving. And he brought some secret weapons.
During his presentation to the Council, Gilbert argued that his toys were both fun and educational. He suggested that American soldiers were good shots in part because they had played with air rifles as kids. Deprive children of Christmas toys, he said, "and the country will lose a generation of doctors, engineers, and scientists."
An overstatement? Perhaps. But then Gilbert brought out his secret weapons: Erector models. One of them, a toy submarine, seems to have enchanted a certain secretary of the Navy. Daniels "turned it over, noting the torpedo holes, raising the periscope, imagining a German U-boat in his sights," wrote Gilbert's biographer, Bruce Watson. Sitting on the carpet, Daniels looked up at Gilbert sheepishly and admitted that "there's no use trying to deny the toys get every one of us."
The gambit worked. The Council of National Defense decided not to impose a significant burden on Christmas gifts. Gilbert and his colleagues had prevailed. A few weeks later, the Boston Post ran a story about the event that labeled A.C. Gilbert "the man who saved Christmas for the children." Characteristically, Gilbert turned the story into a pitch. "I didn't do it," he insisted, urging the Post to tell America's children "it was their own toys that won the day!"
Josephus Daniels made many decisions during his public life — some praiseworthy, some profoundly misguided. Leaving Christmas alone was among his better ones.
(John Hood is chairman of the John Locke Foundation and appears on the talk show "NC SPIN." You can follow him @JohnHoodNC.)
From the List archives….Fun stuff
Thanks to Hawk. Ken Block has some other great videos to watch also.
Pikes Peak acsent like you've never seen......
o UN-BE-LIEEEvable!!!!  Talk about "No Fear"; incredible Skills, and ability to maintain control = I've never seen anything like that where so much imminent DANGER is/was involved!
For those of you who have always wondered what it would be like to drive the Pikes Peak highway, this would be a really memorable drive !
Thanks to Mugs
12/4/1991 Death of an Airline - Pan Am's Last Flight
I was sorry to see Pan Am go. It was a Clipper that brought me home from Vietnam in 1966 - a very welcome flight!


Memories of a Last Flight
On 4 December 1991, Pan American World Airways ceased all operations. The night before, Captain John Marshall flew the last flight from New York Kennedy Airport to Sao Paulo, Brazil, flight 211, a Boeing 747, departing at 8:30 p.m. Arriving in Sao Paulo the next day, he was awakened from his post-flight sleep by a phone call advising him that the airline had ceased to exist and that all aircraft needed to be out of South America that afternoon. In "Death of a Grand Lady", he writes about his experiences. The story first appeared in the February 2001 issue of Airways Magazine. Below is his story in its entirety: "It was a miserable early December night.  The ride to the airport seemed to take forever; riding in the last row of the airport bus I sat and brooded as the rain pounded against the windows and the wind howled.  I was in uniform, overnight bag on the seat beside me, attracting glances from the few other passengers as we boarded, but then I always did when in uniform.  Was it my imagination or was this night different? "I was scheduled to take the airline's last flight of the night from Kennedy to Sao Paulo, Brazil, an eleven hour undertaking that would arrive in time for the unbelievable Sao Paulo rush hour.  We would snatch what sleep we could during the day, and then operate the return flight that evening, landing back in New York just as the sun was coming up.  Two all-nighters back to back, but only away a day and a half.  Tough, but productive. "I disembarked from the bus at our "new" terminal, dingy and uninviting.  Our venerable and traditional Worldport, once the most modern and innovative structure of its kind in the country, had been usurped by our successor on the North Atlantic, Delta Airlines.  We had been displaced into the aging facility next door that had been hastily vacated by Delta.  Rumor and conjecture had been running rampant throughout the airline for weeks.  Delta had appeared during the summer, a White Knight making all the right noises, trading for our fabled Atlantic routes along with airplanes and crews, in return for a promise [Delta promises have long been an oxymoron] to support the New Pan Am, an emaciated airline returning to its Latin American roots.  Now as Pan Am was poised to exit from the ignominious bankruptcy that had plagued and embarrassed us, we would survive and fly on, albeit in a bit of a different form. "I stopped at the desk in the tiny make-shift Operations Office and met the rest of the crew.  Due to the length of the flight there would be five of us, three pilots and two engineers.  The two first officers and I went over the paperwork while the plumbers went to the aircraft.  Then I climbed the stairs to the flight attendant's briefing room, and walked into a buzz saw.  I heard the latest, and nastiest, rumor for the first time.  I walked in and twelve voices all clamored at once,  'Is it true, captain?  Is Delta really pulling out of the deal?  What would happen then?'  It was a cacophony of shrill anxiety, with questions that I could not answer. "This was new to me, but if even a bit of it were true it wasn't good.  Voices swirled around me as I tried to make sense of what I was hearing. A tiny sick feeling niggled in the pit of my stomach as I quickly finished the briefing and hurried out to the aircraft "A late-night ennui seemed to have settled over the terminal, and the unending drizzle outside did nothing to dispel the gloomy atmosphere.  I strolled quickly through the boarding area, alone with my thoughts.  The milling throng of waiting, restless passengers may as well not have existed. "Once aboard, I settled into the long-familiar Prue-departure routine, losing myself in the comfortable ritual.  For awhile it seemed like just another flight.  Passenger boarding and cargo loading was seamless, and without a glitch.  It was almost as though we were being hurried away.  We pushed back exactly on schedule, more the result of the late hour than anything else, and for once the lousy weather did not hold us up.  Only fifteen minutes from push-back to takeoff.  They should all be this efficient! "At top of climb we settled into the task of tuning the big Boeing to the knife-edge efficiency of cruise flight, a delicate exercise designed to extract the maximum benefit from each pound of fuel.  Hurrying south into the night, the familiar checkpoints passed quickly, and soon we picked up the call sign of  Clipper 441, the nightly service from Miami to Rio.  Captained by an old friend, we chatted into the shank of the morning about the chain of ominous developments that threatened to overwhelm the airline. "We crossed the Amazon at Santa rem, with the eastern sky beginning to gray on the horizon.  Down across the endless green rain forest, we touched down at the sprawling Sao Paulo Airport almost exactly on schedule.  It was a beautiful early summer morning, and I was very much looking forward to a breakfast beer and a long nap.  Little did I know that for Pan American World Airways, this was a day that would live in infamy. "The telephone rang, rudely, just past noon.  I came swimming up out of a deep sleep, confused and disoriented, groping for the insistent instrument.  The Pan Am Manager for South America was on the line, and his first words erased all traces of sleep from my brain.  In essence, it was over.  The airline had ceased to exist, just like that.  Decades of colorful history, of pioneering routes and opening oceans and continents to air commerce, all of it gone, in a stroke.  'All of the airplanes must be out of South America by this afternoon, Captain,'  he said.  'Your aircraft is turning around in Montevideo immediately, and will be back in Sao Paulo by three.  You must contact your crew and any others who may be at the hotel.  I suggest you contact the local station manager to make the arrangements.  The airplane must be away by dark.'  He rang off, and left me pacing the room with my jumbled thoughts. "The next couple of hours passed in a blur.  By some miracle I managed to contact everyone in the crew and pass on the sad news.  I talked to the Sao Paulo station manager, the cheery Brazilian who had met me at my airplane just a few hours earlier.  'We must have some sort of catering,'  I said to him. 'I'm sure no one has eaten anything since early this morning, and it's going to be a long night.'  I tried to think of all the little details, to cover all the bases. "Our crowded crew bus left the hotel at three.  It was a somber trip.  Tears flowed as questions and endless speculation filled the air.  The bus hurried through the mysteriously light traffic and sped toward the outskirts of the sprawling city.  It was as though our departure was being hastened by some dark and sinister force.  At the airport the transformation was nothing less than appalling.  The orderly infrastructure that we had left just hours before was now chaos.  All of the signs bearing the airline's name had mysteriously disappeared, counters were deserted, computers unplugged and stacked haphazardly wherever there was space.  The few passengers we met stared at us as though we had some terrible contagious disease. I left the cabin crew in a forlorn little knot in front of the now anonymous ticket counter and went backstage looking for the operations office.  By mistake I opened a door into a room full of employees — it was a meeting of some kind, and not a happy one.  I could make a good guess at the subject.  The only sounds were muffled sobs; I hastily closed the door and moved on.  The operations office was manned by a harried clerk manning the one lone working computer.  He glared at us as he tossed the paperwork on the counter, as though all of this was our fault.  He explained that we were to ferry the airplane to New York; the crew that had brought it in from Uruguay would remain on board.  He was hurrying us along just like everyone else, anxious to be rid of this dreadful contagion. "Finally there was nothing more to do.  The station manager appeared and covered the details of the departure.  The airplane was parked in a deserted corner of the massive airport, and he had managed to have it catered, thank God.  My stomach was reminding me that I hadn't eaten since breakfast on the inbound flight, eons ago.  Our unhappy little brood gathered around and we headed for the bus that would carry us to the last departure, the last airplane we would ever call Clipper.  There was a hurried consultation between the station manager and an assistant, and then a quick question:  'Captain, we have a favor to ask.  The mother of one of our agents here has been visiting her from New York. Now she will have no way to return without paying full fare.  Do you think you could take her?' "I almost laughed aloud.  What could they do, fire me?  'Of course, senor. That should be no problem.'  They could have gone out front and sold tickets on the sidewalk, for all I cared. "In less than half an hour we were airborne.  We were a miserable band of about fifty crew members plus one somber Brazilian lady who spoke little English.  As we took the runway I keyed the mike.  'Sao Paulo Tower, this is Clipper One Zero Two Two.  Request permission to make a low pass over the airport on departure.' "'Negative, Clipper.  Permission denied due to traffic.' Short, terse, and to the point.  There was to be no sentimental farewell here.  To them it was just another departure.  I thought briefly about doing it anyway, then said to hell with it. "We took off into the lowering sun and set the nose of the big Clipper northward toward the northern hemisphere winter.  I thought briefly about what we would do if we had any sort of problem and had to divert.  What would happen then?  What would we do for support, for maintenance if we needed it?  Would there be money for hotels for my over sized crew if we had to overnight?  All questions with no answers.  I thought about the airplane that was carrying us home on our last ever journey.  She was a 747-122, one of several we flew that had once belonged to United Airlines.  What would happen to her now?  Would she be bound for an ignominious grave in some southwestern desert? "We had two full crews aboard, and the pilots offered to share in the duties, an offer that normally I would have gratefully accepted.  Tonight, however, I was reluctant to give up my seat to anyone; this was a flight that none of us wanted to end.  In ordinary times this takeoff and landing would have been the first officer's, but not tonight.  He had accepted the inevitable with grace and a smile.  Finally I relinquished my seat and wandered back into the darkened cabin.  Little knots of people gathered in the galleys, pools of light amidst the great cabins now dark and empty, almost sinister in the silence.  I sat in one of the luxurious first class seats, seats that by all rights should have been filled with happy, chattering passengers who would pay my salary.  Tonight there was no one.  I tried to doze and could not, and finally gave up and went back to the flight deck.  As I opened the door I had a sudden feeling that this was all a cruel hoax, that everything was just as it was.  The airplane roared into the night, the three crew-members watching the performance with studied indifference, it was like a thousand other nights, quiet and comforting. "I got back into the left seat, savoring the sounds and the night; the benign drone of the engines, the majesty of the December sky.  I wondered when I would ever experience them again.  For lack of anything better to do,  I decided to see if I could raise the company..  I dialed up Houston Radio and asked for a phone patch.  To my surprise, Pan Am dispatch answered almost immediately.  We chatted for a moment about routine things; I dragged out the brief conversation..  We were both reluctant to sign off, each of us recognizing the finality of the contact.  'You're the last one, Clipper,' he said.  Suddenly tears welled in my eyes, for the first time the reality of this unspeakable scenario hit home. "Then finally it was time to go, to close this unhappy chapter.  We started down into the early morning glitter of New York City; it was cold and windy, the air crisp and sparkly.  At two a.m. we were the only traffic, and we cut the corners onto the runway 31 Left ILS.  None of the controllers knew what to say, and we didn't either.  We taxied to a far corner of the sprawling ramp in front of the International Arrivals Building where we were greeted by one lone maintenance type whose sole contribution to the proceedings was to install the gear pins and wheel a maintenance ladder up to the left forward door.  He wore a Delta Airlines uniform; I had never seen him before.  He was gone almost as soon as he arrived.  The descent from the airplane was almost worse than the flight itself, the flight attendants teetering down the rickety ladder with tote bags and flight kits, following slowly one by one.  There was a Volkswagen van of undetermined vintage poised to take us into the customs hall, where the one lone inspector sympathetically waved us through. "And so it was over.  What the future would hold for all of us none could foresee, only that this chapter was closed.  We had had a grand run, dancing with one of the grand ladies of the industry.  Growing gracefully beautiful in her middle age when we met, she had moved with stately grace even as she grew older.  We waltzed happily together into her sunset years, and it was only later that she showed the lines and ravages of age and neglect.  None of us will ever forget her." Captain John Marshall served as a pilot for Pan Am from July 1964 until 4 December 1991.       J J Maynard

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