Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Indiana and Colorado

My favorite student that was never my student has commented on my blog!!! And From INDIANA! I am SO excited! I hope you are having a great summer and the water is not getting to you. I wonder what people do in Indiana…watch the crows eat the corn? Yell at the crows? I guess I don’t really know! Kylee, you have to tell me! And, for Kylee’s sake (at least partly) I post the following:

So, things are going OK here. I went to Costco today. I met a gentleman wearing a “USS Colorado” hat. For those of you, like Kylee, who might not know what USS Colorado means, it stands for United States Ship, Colorado…and at the time, Battleships were named for states. Some modern ICBM carrying submarines (Boomers) are now named for states, too. I asked him if he actually served aboard her (anyone can buy a hat), and he indicated that he had. I was ecstatic! Not often that you run into WWII vets anymore. He was very happy to talk about his ship, though…and, honestly, why wear a hat like that if you don’t want to talk about it to history geeks like me? He served aboard Colorado from 1943 to 1946. His name is Roland Meshke. He served in the 5 inch battery. More specifically, since he reminded me she was not like other battleships, he was on the 5/25s. (for those of you not “in the know,” that is: the barrel diameter is 5 inches, the barrel length is 25 times five inches…something akin to 10 feet.) That was the anti-aircraft gun. He said he worked as a loader at first, and he “was a small man.” The 5/25 rounds were one piece, whereas the 5/38s and 5/51s were separate…that is the powder charge and the projectile were separate, whilst the 5/25 was a single piece. Like a bullet. He said he soon moved to being the fuse setter. That is he set the fuses to burst the charge at a particular altitude. He said he was in the 5 inch battery in 1944 when the US fleet moved in on the Philippines.

Colorado was different from most ships in that she did not have the 5/38s that the rest of the battleships had. She did not go through the refits that other ships did, either. She was special. She was one of the original 16 inch BBs (her main armament was made up of 16 inch diameter guns! The projectile was 16 inches in diameter and about 4 feet long…making for a projectile weight of about 2000 pounds). The West Virginia class (of which Colorado was a member) was built during and shortly after WWI. The next BBs to be built was the North Carolina class, which included the USS Washington, in the late 1930s. So, for almost 20 years, the Colorado(and her two sister ships) was the ultimate in US Battleship power! It was a chance meeting in Costco, but it was neat for one such as my self. Colorado was unfortunately scrapped, at least she was not sunk.

So, I am getting my Masters…someday. I have to get my Master’s in History. I have a certain amount of time to get it. In fact, I could wait until next spring to get it, but my wife seems to think I may need the extra time. She is right, of course. I will get paid more when I get a job…a real job…if I already have a Master’s. I am happy being a sub, but, I don’t get paid enough. Well, not enough for Cora. It WOULD be nice to get more money. I just LOVE being a sub.

Before, I thought I would hate subbing. I remembered when I was a kid. I remember Mr. Harrison, with the glass eye. (Ok, I don’t know if he REALLY had a glass eye, but that was the rumor) He was o.k., but not spectacular. Then there was…hmmm, how’s that? I can’t even remember his name, but he called us all “Humans.” I suppose it was his way of being a joker. It IS something I will never forget. I suppose THAT is something. Of course, the kids still remember me…I wonder if they will remember me in 20 years.

The point of this post is that I REALLY have to work on my understanding of the Cold War. Thus far, and right now I am warning you that if you don’t want to explore the causes and complicated workings of the Cold War don’t read this, I understand that the differences between the two systems were almost polar opposites, and even that may be too much of a statement. I also understand that the differences were shown much earlier than is acknowledged by most Cold War experts. When White Army troops fought Red Army troops, it was sure to not be popular in communist circles. Is it odd that they held these feelings several years later? Well, I should post and go to bed, I need to go to work tomorrow…at 6am.

Good luck Kylee, I hope you are having an awesome summer! Is there anything cool in Indiana? Yeah, not much here in Washington, either.


Isabella's Mommy & Daddy said...

KyLee is AWESOME...
Oh yea.. that is my daughter..
Have a Great Day...

Grandma said...

You amaze me. How could anybody remember all that stuff about those ships and war.
How great that you got to meet that nice man and have a great conservation about your favorite subject.