View Full Version : Fifty Years

11-22-2013, 08:52 AM
It's hard to believe it has been 50 years since Kennedy was shot. I was a lieutenant in the army at the time, the training officer and assistant S3 of the artillery specialist (surveying, fire direction, flash and sound ranging) training battalion at Fort Sill. I was also the project officer/editor for the Subject Training Schedules in those specialities with a deadline of 22 Nov 1963. We finished the project on schedule in the morning after an all-nighter. My boss was pleased and told me and our clerk-typist to take off and get some sleep. He would give the draft manuals to the battalion commander and do likewise. I went home, set my clock -radio for the early afternoon and went to bed.

When I awakened, the radio was broadcasting the followup reporting. I lay there, listening for a few minutes, obviously in the middle of a conversation with a subject unknown to me. The project was very absorbing so I was only vaguely aware that Kennedy would be in Texas. It finally dawned on me that something had happened, but I still wasn't sure what so I called my office and got the whole story, at least as much as had been known at the time.

I wasn't a big fan of Kennedy, though I thought he was a likeable person who had served in naval combat when he could easily have evaded that duty. I remember thinking at the time that now we would never know just what kind of a president he was growing to be - and that was a shame. In retrospect, Kennedy's economic views were a lot closer to Reagan's than those of our current president, or Lyndon Johnson's, for that matter. I also think, if he had lived, we probably would not have gotten entangled in Vietnam to the extent that we did.

Johnny, we hardly knew you, and that's too bad.

11-22-2013, 02:03 PM
A study of history has yielded a number of observations.
1. JFK had to fight to get to the pacific to be a PT skipper.
2. The PT-109 was sunk because the crew failed to spot an approaching destroyer.
This makes one wonder about the skill of the skipper/captain.
3. His actions while saving his crew were heroic, but would not have been necessary had he set a proper watch (2).
When asked how he became a hero..... "they cut my boat in half".
4. JFK brought with him to the white house a youth that many saw as refreshing from centuries of old fogeys being president.
You have to go back to Teddy Roosevelt to find the youngest president, a year younger than JFK. All others were older than JFK.
5. JFK brought an arrogance about the existing government to WDC.
The whiz kids were more like piss kids. Limited if any experience in their areas.
6. JFK brought the country to the brink of nuclear war with USSR on at least one occasion possibly 2.
7. JFK at least had good taste in women, Marilyn Monroe was very easy on the eyes.
Not that Jacqueline wasn't.
8. JFK did present an excellent challenge to the USA to put a man on the moon. But at what cost? (Rhetorical question).
9. Allegedly some Kennedy money came from bootlegging during prohibition. So corruption/law breaking was part of the family legacy.

Just my 2 cents worth.

11-22-2013, 03:10 PM
As I understand it, the destruction of PT109 happened at night, in combat, with a significant number of warships in action. You make it sound like he was cruising in LI Sound on a sunny day.

You would prefer to have Soviet offensive missiles in Cuba?

Yes, the lunar project cost a lot - and gave us signifficant advanced technology in the process which, considering that you use a computer, I assume you use and enjoy. I have seen estimates that the wealth (and taxes) created as a result of that technology vastly surpassed the cost of the lunar project.

Yes, Kennedy's old man was, among other things, a liquor distributor and likely was involved in bootlegging (from Canada as I recall). So what? Most of the country was involved in bootlegging, either as a distributor or as a consumer, due to the ill-concieved notion of prohibition.

11-22-2013, 08:15 PM
I don't know where you got the sunshine from. Let alone where you got LI Sound from. Let us stay on topic please.
The PT-109 was idling on one engine trying to avoid a wake.
The crew spotted the destroyer 10 seconds out at best.
At the speed the destroyer was traveling at it might have heard and spotted further out had a better watch been posted.

Did I say that I wanted soviet missles in cuba? To be honest I didn't even mention soviet missles. Did I?
No I didn't again lets stay on topic.

Revenue raised during the evolution of computers has nothing to do in substance with the space program.
Yes they used computers but computers were well evolved before and during the space program.
Many early computers systems involved artillery, cryptography (Colossus) and radar tracking systems (Sage) just to name a few.
Could the cost of going to the moon have been better utilized finding a cure for cancer, heart disease or alzheimers?
That was my point on the at what cost comment.

Even though I was born in MA, I have never been a fan of JFK let alone any of the Kennedy clan.

11-22-2013, 09:41 PM
"JFK brought the country to the brink of nuclear war with USSR on at least one occasion ... I didn't even mention soviet missles. Did I?"

I assumed the "brink" referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis, but perhaps there was another "brink" of which I am unaware.

The space program didn't only influence the computer but also miniaturization and material developments among other areas many of which have direct impact on the treatments and improvements in medical care for the problems cited.

Kennedy and most of his cabinet were maturing into their jobs. My point was that we will never know what might have been. His life and his presidency were cut too short to make any firm observations. He had his flaws, as do we all, but focusing on his flaws is unproductive. I voted for Nixon, another man with flaws but also some significant accomplishments.

11-22-2013, 10:31 PM
You forgot about the bay of pigs.

MY POINT was that kennedy while he did some things that attracted attention that was good.
Did some things that were questionable/debateable.
You are engaged in nit picking.
You expressed your opinion.
I expressed mine.
I did not attack your opinion. I stated mine.
Lets leave this at this.