Dear Ham:

Thanks for yours of Jan. 26. Yes, we were indeed sitting on deck all gassed up, loaded with bombs and ready for take-off when the kamikaze attacked. As I recall, we did take off but by then just to get us off the deck during the kamikaze emergency, with more attacks threatened. Come to think of it that may have been the original idea. On the other hand in that case we wouldn’t have had bombs, as I seem to remember we had. Perhaps the mission was cancelled or postponed because of the uncertainty of what might have to be done in the next few hours. I’ll try to remember to ask Ives, to whom I also sent a picture.

The other picture may not be of the Hornet, but it looks to be a ship of the same (Essex) class. As a matter of fact I don’t remember that the Hornet’s deck was narrower at the very end than elsewhere or that planes had room to take off when there were other planes ahead of it. We never did need nearly the whole deck to take off (see kamikaze picture). Only occasionally, as I remember, did we get catapulted. So, going back to the other picture, it looks to me that they were in the earlier stages of a projected flight, and that the planes would soon be lined up ready for take-off a little further forward (in the case of the first row) than where the nearest plane is. Obviously I’ve forgotten an awful lot.

No, I never met Shepler and don’t recall seeing him in action or otherwise, but it might be worth my inquiring about other paintings of his, possibly of the Hornet.

It must be because it’s the 50th anniversary year of all the action I got into (starting 2/16/45!) that my children (who seem to have taken little or no interest in my Navy career) will also be getting copies of the pictures, and that goes for Jack and Nance too.

Concord in January had 3 11°F above normal, an average of ten degrees per day! Nevertheless, with winter only half over, who knows what to expect? Remember Pa describing the Blizzard of ’88? You may recall that it was in March. Kimball Elkins, now 92, saw several robins yesterday in Concord and also mentioned that they had been around for a little while. Vicky, by the way, is coming over shortly for ten days or so, without children. I’m reading Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, a biography of J.W.H by a vague cousin of ours, Deborah Pickman Clifford, who is descended from Uncle Sam or J.W.H herself. It’s interesting so far (through their honeymoon in Europe), but may get tedious, as I found her (J.W.H.’s) Reminiscences from the beginning but finished out of “loyalty.”

Enough for now

Love to both


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