Poem: Earthlings

Earthlings

Astronauts William Andres,
Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman
Read the creation story
From Genesis in the Bible
As they orbited the moon.
We saw what the moon
And good earth looked like
From outer space …
And the crew
Of Apollo 8 closed with
“good night, good luck,
a Merry Christmas,
and God bless all of you –
all of you on the good Earth.”
At that moment
We were all Earthlings.

Wednesday, December 25, 1968
Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Another of the oldest poems I have written by me. It is from the notebooks and papers my mother gave me about a year ago. I was in high school at DeSoto High School, DeSoto, Texas.  My family was spellbound watching the events and moved to tears when they read from the Bible. The next Sunday at Calvary Baptist Church my pastor, Rev. Henry Odle made a big deal about the Bible reading from space … we all did.

Writer’s Life : My Writing Report Card

My writing report card for July: I was rejected by: Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. I was accepted by: vox poetica. The poem Urban Pigeons will be in their August 26, 2012 issue. I had a book review in this month’s Front Row Lit magazine. I have four submissions currently pending with other publications. Note – you will never get rejected … or accepted if you don’t write and submit.

Meet the Poets: Maxine Kumin – Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 1973 and Poet Laureate of the United States of America 1981 -1982

Maxine Kumin (born June 6, 1925) is an American poet and author. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1981–1982. She received her BA and MA from Radcliffe College.

She has published numerous books of poetry, including Where I Live: New & Selected Poems 1990-2010 (W. W. Norton, 2010); Still to Mow (2009); Jack (2003); The Long Marriage (2003); Bringing Together (2003); Connecting the Dots (1996); Looking for Luck (1992), which received the Poets’ Prize; Nurture (1989); The Long Approach (1986); Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief (1982); House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate (1975); and Up Country: Poems of New England (1972), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1973.

She is also the author of a memoir, Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery (W. W. Norton, 2000); four novels; a collection of short stories; more than twenty children’s books; and five books of essays, most recently The Roots of Things: Essays (Northwestern University Press, 2009) and Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2000).

She has received the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern Poetry, an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Sarah Joseph Hale Award, the Levinson Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, and the National Council on the Arts.

She has served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, and is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She lives in New Hampshire.

Source: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/94

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxine_Kumin

Poem: The Year 2000 Is Only 30 Years Away

The Year 2000 Is Only 30 Years Away

It’s Thursday and 1970 starts today as the 60s are now in the past
In the Cotton Bowl we will watch Texas play Notre Dame
After we watch the Cotton Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parades
And the reporter just said the year 2000 is only 30 years away

Soon I will graduate high school and start college
I sure hope I never have to go to Viet-Nam
And I can’t help but still be amazed that just last July
Our American astronauts really walked on the moon

I wonder what the future holds in store for me
In the 2000s that are so, so far away
Will I vacation on the moon or maybe on Mars?
Will I marry? What will be my job? Where will I live?

I love to study history, to read and write
A poet and author is all I want to grow-up and be
But a doctor, dentist, or accountant is what I think my parents want me to be
I might apply to Congressman Teague for an appointment to the US Air Force          Academy

January 1, 1970
Jimmie Aaron Kepler

This is one of the oldest poems I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me about a year ago. I was in the eleventh grade at DeSoto High School, DeSoto, Texas. I remember writing this one. I had attended an all night New year’s Eve party at my church, Calvary Baptist Church, getting home around sunrise. My father made me get up to watch the parades and be ready for the Cotton Bowl football game. I remember Texas won and were named national champions. I sat writing this poem and thinking about the future. I remember one of the announcers for the parade said something about the year 2000 being only 30 years away and that the kids in school today would be living in the 2000s. His words got me to writing.

Meet the Poets: Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks – Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1950 and Poet Laureate of the United States of America 1985

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 17, 1917 in Topeka Kansas. She was the older of two children born to Keziah and David Brooks. The same year of her birth she and her family moved to Chicago where she has resided her entire life.

Brooks’ mother discovered her gift for writing at the early age of seven. She promptly encouraged this talent by exposing Gwendolyn to various forms of literature. Her parents, however were very strict and she was not allowed to play with the kids in the neighborhood.

As a child she lacked the sass and brass of the other girls in her class and became very isolated. As a result, she made few friends while in school. When Brooks was at home in her room she often created a world of her own by reading and writing stories and poetry.

Due to her lack of social skills she became very shy and continued to be shy throughout her adult life. After graduating from high school she went on to Wilson Junior College and graduated in 1936. In 1939 she was married to Henry Blakely and they had two children, Henry junior and Nora Blakely. In 1945 Gwendolyn Brooks’ first book entitled A Street In Bronzeville was published. In 1949 Annie Allen was published and received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950, becoming the first African American to receive this prestigious award in poetry. In 1953 Brooks’ first novel is published Maud Martha. In 1963 she published Selected Poems and secured her first teaching job at Chicago’s Columbia College.

In 1967 at the Fisk University Writers Conference in Nashville, Brooks met the new black revolution. She came from South Dakota State College, which was all white, where she was received with love. Now she had arrived at an all black college where she was now coldly respected. After this trip Brooks says that she is no longer asleep she is now awake. After 1967 she became aware that other blacks feel that way and are not hesitant about saying it. She appeals to her people for understanding and is more conscious of them in her writing. In 1968 she published her next major collection of poetry, In the Mecca. The effect of her awakening is noticeable in her poetry. Brooks is less concerned with poetic form, and uses mostly free verse.

In 1968 she was named poet laureate for the state of Illinois and was also the first African American to receive an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1976. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (commonly known as United States Poet Laureate) in 1985. Since then, Gwendolyn Brooks has gone on to receive over fifty honorary doctorates from numerous colleges and universities.

Brooks died of cancer at the age of 83 on December 3, 2000, at her home on Chicago’s South Side. She is buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois.

Source: http://www.uta.edu/english/tim/poetry/gb/Gwendolyn4.html
For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brooks

Meet the Poets: Phyllis McGinley – 1961 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

“The Velvet Hand

I call that parent rash and wild
Who’d reason with a six-year child,
Believing little twigs are bent
By calm, considered argument.

In bandying words with progeny,
There’s no percentage I can see,
And people who, imprudent, do so,
Will wonder how their troubles grew so.

Now underneath this tranquil roof
Where sounder theories have their proof,
Our life is sweet, our infants happy.
In quietude dwell Mammy and Pappy.

We’ve sworn a stern, parental vow
That argument we won’t allow.
Brooking no juvenile excess here,
We say a simply No or Yes, here,

And then, when childish wails begin
We don’t debate.
We just give in.”

–Phyllis McGinley

Phyllis McGinley (March 21, 1905 – February 22, 1978) was an American author of children’s books and poetry. She studied at the University of Southern California and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma, graduating in 1927, then moved to New York City. She wrote copy for an advertising agency, then taught at a junior high school in New Rochelle, New York for one year, until her career as a writer and poet took off.

Her poetry was in the style of light verse, specializing in humor and satiric tone. She embraced domesticity in the wake of second-wave feminism, wrote light verse in the wake of the rise of modern avant-garde and confessional poetry, and filled the gap between the housewife and feminist intellectual who rejected the domestic life. McGinley actually labeled herself a “housewife poet,” and unlike Anne Sexton who used the term to be ironic and self-deprecating, McGinley used it as an honorable and purposefully crafted identity. She wrote mainly for white, middle-class, educated women and her work was published prolifically in periodicals, including the New Yorker and Ladies’ Home Journal. In her poetry, McGinley humorously depicts a life that revolves around the children and routine of domesticity.

Though her work as largely faded into the annuls of history, McGinley was a hugely popular author in her time and she was the recipient of many literary prizes, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for her “Times Three” piece. In 1964 she was honored with the Laetare Medal by the University of Notre Dame (described as ‘An honor to a man or woman who has “enriched the heritage of humanity”‘). She also holds nearly a dozen honorary degrees – “including one from the stronghold of strictly masculine pride, Dartmouth College” (from the dust jacket of Sixpence in Her Shoe (copy 1964)). Time Magazine featured McGinley on the magazine’s cover on June 18, 1965.
She moved to Larchmont, New York in 1937 with her husband, Charles Hayden, and raised two daughters there, singing the praises of domesticity and small town suburbia for nearly 40 years. McGinley died in New York City in 1978.

Source and more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_McGinley and http://wellversedmom.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/day-6-of-national-poetry-month-the-velvet-hand-by-phyllis-mcginley/

World War II Airplane Facts

INTERESTING AIRPLANE FACTS FROM WORLD WAR II

NOTE: This is not original research by me, but information available on the world wide web and in multiple print resources.  Some of the references are listed at the end of the article. The formatting and tables with aircraft pictures and make models are my original contribution to this information.

For anyone who likes statistics, pics of A/C, etc from WWII, this is interesting.

So many of us think of the difficult combat life faced by the infantry but seldom realize that those flying combat missions actually had a higher mortality rate. They also lost many more in the states and training. The following is an interesting summation of just part of the air war costs associated with WW II.

If you are a war buff and like statistics, you will be amazed at the magnitude of these…..

Below is an excellent summary of the effort required in WWII. It focuses on the American side of things, but the British, Germans and Japanese expended comparable energy and experienced similar costs. Just one example for the Luftwaffe; about 1/3 of the Bf109s built were lost in non-combat crashes. After Midway, the Japanese experience level declined markedly, with the loss of so many higher-time naval pilots. This piece is worth saving in hard copy.

Most Americans who were not adults during WWII have no understanding of the magnitude of it. This listing of some of the aircraft facts gives a bit of insight to it.

276,000 aircraft manufactured in the US .
43,000 planes lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat.
14,000 lost in the continental U.S.

The US civilian population maintained a dedicated effort for four years, many working long hours seven days per week and often also volunteering for other work.

World War II was the largest human effort in history.

Statistics from Flight Journal magazine.

THE PRICE OF VICTORY (cost of an aircraft in WWII dollars)
B-17 $204,370. P-40 $44,892.
B-24 $215,516. P-47 $85,578.
B-25 $142,194. P-51 $51,572.
B-26 $192,426. C-47 $88,574.
B-29 $605,360. PT-17 $15,052.
P-38 $97,147. AT-6 $22,952.

PLANES A DAY WORLDWIDE
From Germany’s invasion of Poland Sept. 1, 1939 and ending with Japan ‘s surrender Sept. 2, 1945 — 2,433 days
From 1942 onward, America averaged 170 planes lost a day.

How many is a 1,000 planes? B-17 production (12,731) wingtip to wingtip would extend 250 miles. 1,000 B-17s carried 2.5 million gallons of high octane fuel and required 10,000 airmen to fly and fight them.

THE NUMBERS GAME
9.7 billion gallons of gasoline consumed, 1942-1945.
107.8 million hours flown, 1943-1945.
459.7 billion rounds of aircraft ammo fired overseas, 1942-1945.
7.9 million bombs dropped overseas, 1943-1945.
2.3 million combat sorties, 1941-1945 (one sortie = one takeoff).
299,230 aircraft accepted, 1940-1945.
808,471 aircraft engines accepted, 1940-1945.
799,972 propellers accepted, 1940-1945.

WWII MOST-PRODUCED COMBAT AIRCRAFT

Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik

36,183

Yakolev Yak-1,-3,-7, -9

31,000+

Messerschmitt Bf-109

30,480

Focke-Wulf Fw-190

29,001

Supermarine Spitfire/Seafire

20,351

Convair B-24/PB4Y Liberator/Privateer18,482

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

15,686

North American P-51 Mustang

15,875

Junkers Ju-88

15,000

Hawker Hurricane

14,533

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk

13,738

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

12,731

Vought F4U Corsair

12,571

Grumman F6F Hellcat

12,275

Petlyakov Pe-2

11,400

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

10,037

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

10,449

North American B-25 Mitchell

9,984

Lavochkin LaGG-5

9,920

Note: The LaGG-5 was produced

with both water-cooled (top) and

air-cooled (bottom) engines.

Grumman TBM Avenger

9,837

Bell P-39 Airacobra

9,584

Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar

5,919

DeHavilland Mosquito

7,780

Avro Lancaster

7,377


Heinkel He-111

6,508

Handley-Page Halifax

6,176

Messerschmitt Bf-110

6,150

Lavochkin LaGG-7

5,753

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

3,970

Short Stirling2,383

Sources: Rene Francillon, Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific war; Cajus Bekker, The Luftwaffe Diaries; Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes; Wikipedia.

According to the AAF Statistical Digest, in less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes —inside the continental United States. They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.

Think about those numbers. They average 1,170 aircraft accidents per month—- nearly 40 a day. (However, less than one accident in four resulted in totaled aircraft.)

It gets worse…..
Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign climes. But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.

In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England. In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe.

Pacific theatre losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed. The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas.

On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theatres and another 18,000 wounded. Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number “liberated” by the Soviets but never returned. More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands. Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.

US manpower made up the deficit. The AAF’s peak strength was reached in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year’s figure.
The losses were huge—but so were production totals. From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That number was enough not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain, Australia, China and Russia. In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined. And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.

However, our enemies took massive losses. Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40 planes a month. And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours. The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.

Experience Level:
Uncle Sam sent many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training. Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned aircraft.

The 357th Fighter Group (often known as The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s. The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.

A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type. Many had fewer than five hours. Some had one hour.

With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat. The attitude was, “They all have a stick and a throttle. Go fly `em.” When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in February 1944, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition. The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, “You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target.

A future P-47 ace said, “I was sent to England to die.” He was not alone. Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft. Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade: of Jimmy Doolittle’s 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941. All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school.

In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat. The AAF’s worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours. Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139. All were Allison powered.

Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive. The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively– a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force’s major mishap rate was less than 2.

The B-29 was even worse at 40; the world’s most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons. The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.

The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but there were not enough experienced pilots to meet the criterion. Only ten percent had overseas experience. Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month “safety pause” rather than declare a “stand down”, let alone grounding.

The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone. But they made it work.

Navigators
:
Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators. The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War. And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving “Uncle Sugar” for a war zone. Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel — a stirring tribute to the AAF’s educational establishments.

Cadet To Colonel:
It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders. That was the record of John D. Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941. He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 20 in P-40s. He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group — at age 24.

As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions.

By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training. At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.

FACT:
At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types.

Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft.

The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.

IN SUMMATION
:

Whether there will ever be another war like that experienced in 1940-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq.

But within living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless!

RESOURCES/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War by Rene Francillon. Naval Institute Press (March 1987). The book is out of print. Amazon has it available from $250.00 for a new copy.  ISBN-10: 087021313X and ISBN-13: 978-0870213137. http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Aircraft-Pacific-Rene-Francillon/dp/087021313X

The Luftwaffe War Diaries: The German Air Force in World War II by Cajus Bekker. Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint Edition edition (August 22, 1994) ISBN-10: 0306806045 ISBN-13: 978-0306806049. http://www.amazon.com/The-Luftwaffe-War-Diaries-Reprint/dp/0306806045

American Combat Planes by Ray Wagner. Publisher: Jack Bacon & company; 1 edition (August 2004). ISBN-10: 0930083172 and ISBN-13: 978-0930083175. http://www.amazon.com/American-Combat-Planes-20th-Century/dp/0930083172

List of aircraft of World War II (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_of_World_War_II

Air Warfare of World War II (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_warfare_of_World_War_II

Flight Journal Magazine http://www.flightjournal.com/

World War II Database http://ww2db.com/country/united%20states

http://ships.bouwman.com/WWII-Planes/Cost.html

http://www.spiritsofstl.com/interesting_things!/Amazing%20WWII%20Aircraft%20Facts.pdf

http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/hangar-flying/9231-wwii-aviation-cost-war-surprising-domestic-losses.html

http://www.warbirdsandairshows.com/Aircraft%20manufacturing/aircraftcostswwii.htm

http://www.thehulltruth.com/dockside-chat/362133-amazing-wwii-aircraft-facts.html

http://cstrohmeyer.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/price-of-ww2-aircraft/

http://deltavan1.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/world-war-ii-facts/

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread740788/pg2

http://phoenixv.hubpages.com/hub/World-War-2-Fighter-Aircraft

http://www.jouster.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-19767.html

http://www.thesandgram.com/2012/04/17/wwii-buffs-and-winged-ones/

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/5985415/Re_WWII_AIRCRAFT_The_numbers

https://plus.google.com/118107936044480367592/posts/LwpsSQyKhVi