Thursday, February 26, 2009


My cousin Judy Murphy’s newborn granddaughters, born prematurely, are still in the hospital after 3 weeks. They were born with twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Baby Reese is OK but baby Riley is not yet. We have been praying and sending prayer requests out for many days now.

Riley Murphy

Joanne Murphy with Reese

Rob Murphy with Reese

Last Saturday we celebrated Robert’s 23rd birthday with cake and ice cream, pizza from Pizza Hut, and a Turkey Shoot out back. We also watched the movies Madagascar and Madagascar II – they were a hoot. Takiyah is really coming along on the pregnancy (due in May.)

The gas heater in the living room quit working on Monday so I had to do all the maintenance on it after I got home from work to get it going again. Cat hairs and dust were blocking the air inlets. It was pretty cold the first few days this week going down to 20 at night, so it was important to get it going again. Seems OK now.

We also watched the movie “W” by Oliver Stone Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I thought the actors did a great job and parts of it were entertaining but I suspect Mr. Stone took creative liberties presenting President Bush’s life. I have a lot of respect for Pres. Bush – he was a real Christian man and did what he thought was the right thing to do according to how God directed him - - despite public opinion and all the liberal push back. I wouldn’t dismiss this movie entirely, but it seems to be mostly fiction. Why doesn’t he make a similar movie about Pres. Carter or Pres. Clinton?

I have been feeding the birds a lot in this cold weather – I have 2 feeding stations, a suet cage, and a 4-corncob stand. The bird are eating perhaps 10 lbs. of mixed seed and a 1 or 2 suet blocks per week. I also put out dried corn on the cob for the birds and critters too, but it seems like the squirrels aren’t around this winter like last winter. The grackles love the corn and the downy woodpeckers, starlings, and nut-hatches love the suet. The mixed seed mostly gets eaten by sparrows, chickadees, mourning doves, cardinals, and red wing blackbirds. The grackles also like the sunflowers seeds. My Mom always fed the birds and I carry on that tradition today. I enjoy having them around, even though they “bomb” my cars…

Here are some photos of some of the birds my feeding stations attract.

Tree Sparrow

Red Wing Blackbird

Mourning Dove



Downy Woodpecker


Here are the feeding stations. Corn on cob at the top, then the suet cage, and the 2 feeders filled with mixed seed. The far feeder I bought this year to double capacity, the near one is several years old.

I had an "apicoectomy" a week ago Monday. My endodontist cut and peeled my gum tissue back around my right eyetooth and drilled and cleaned out an old root canal at the tip of the root and repacked it with plastic. It took 10 sutures to get the gum tissue back where it should be. This had been bothering me since Chistmastime and I have been on penicillin and amoxicillin for weeks, with Vicadin to make it bearable. The day after the surgery I woke up ready to go to work but it was too swollen and sore (see my ugly photo) so I took a day off so I would be scaring anybody at work and I ice packed it constantly. I’m healing slow but I’m glad that’s behind me. I ice packed every couple hours all last week - even in my office at work.

Ugly photo - It was not fun but today I look normal...


Monday, February 23, 2009

Laugh Break

It is important to laugh aften. I'm not sure why...

Anybody who knows me is familiar with my propensity to crack people up. When I retire I plan to do stand-up comedy from a wheelchair (my knees will fail by then).

PUNS are the lowest form of entertainment, but I was fortunate to collect a few that are funny:

1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.

2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."

3 . Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.

4. A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

6. "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home.'" "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." "Is it common?" Well, "It's Not Unusual."

7. Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," says Dolly. "It's true, no bull!" exclaims Daisy.

8. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

9. Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.

10. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

11. I went to a seafood disco last week...and pulled mussel.

12 . What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

13. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

14. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron," The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

15. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

16. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced a set of callouses his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail, and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him... .. A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

17. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

The Ten Commandments (not The Ten Suggestions...)

From time to time I am compelled by an inexplicable urge to discuss my Faith. It is (usually) my center now.

I am going to try very hard not to preach, because after all I am not a preacher. I can only write what is real to me based upon my life-experience. After all, I am almost 60, which is quite young to many of my wiser friends.

I'm just a guy. I am grateful that God has given me a measure of understanding of Him. I did NOT figure it out by myself - my mind is not capable of that. He helped me every step of the way...through study of The Book and listening to sinners and saints alike.
I am not nor will I ever be better than anyone else - I'm just forgiven...

Based on His Word, I now believe the measure of a man (or woman, of course) is directly related to his or her obedience to God as laid down in His Law millenia ago. Obedience is really very easy, come to think of it. Just do as He says!

There was a time in my life when I did not pay much attention to my relationship with God. I ignored Him for the most part, except on Holidays, Funerals, Weddings, bad times, and after curious unexplained events that could only be described as Miracles.

I understand now that despite my rejections, He still loved me and wanted me to become one of His. He patiently waited for me to choose Him. I finally did on Easter Sunday 1993. My wife and children saw me being born-again, and I shall never forget that day. My wonderful wife Barbara prayed for me and also convinced a whole church full of believers to pray for me as well. This spiritual power cannot be ignored by Jesus, and it had a lot to do with my decision to become a Believer - and I love her more for that! As long as I have her, Heaven can wait!

Most everyone who has been paying a little attention to the Bible has heard of The Ten Commandments.

When I think of the Ten Commandments I think of the story of Moses. Then the images of Charleton Heston as Moses in the 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments" always pop into my mind. If you have never seen this movie you missed a good one.

I review the Ten Commandments from time to time just to remind myself that Yahweh is a very serious God who tolerates some things and does not tolerate others.

He is God and does what he wants - and He loves us and so has given us rules to obey. They are not optional. I cannot disobey because I know that God’s surveillance system is on me 24/7. He knows my thoughts and sees everything I am doing every moment of every day.

Here they are - no matter how many times you have read them, or even if you have never read them, here is an opportunity to read them.

Here is Moses (played by Charleton Heston) with the tablets on which God carved the Ten Commandments.

And God spoke all these words:

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

"You shall have no other gods before me."
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

An “idol” is anything we regard as the center of our lives, as if we “worship” it: education, love of money, career, self-centeredness, greed, recreation, sports, physical fitness, partying, over-working - any activity that keeps you exclusively busy, interfering with your relationship with God. He wants us to focus on Him as the source and center of our lives...this is hard for me but I’m getting a little better every day.

"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."
Don't swear. It's not Jesus' fault that you smashed your thumb with your hammer. His Name is holy and to be revered as sacred. We are talking about the Creator of the universe that surrounds you. Even that air that just left your lungs belongs to Him. Be very careful with your mouth.

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
I like this because it ensures that I always have a day off for rest and worship every week, and there is nothing anybody can say to convince me otherwise. Yahweh knows our frail bodies need a day of rest every week. After all He designed and created them.

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."

God expects parents to be respected, loved, and acknowledged by their children in every way, no matter how old the parents or children become. God has given parents wisdom for many more years than their children. Children are not to ignore thier parents, or dismiss their ways. Sadly, I did, and it was a serious mistake. God is right. I now understand that learning, wisdom, intellect, and experience cannot cancel this, for this Commandment is from God. Our fathers and mothers will always love us unconditionally - unlike authors, experts, teachers, politicians, or friends...

"You shall not murder."

Almost everyone I know can say that they have never murdered anyone. Murder ends the precious life of a person created by God, and that act is the ultimate insult to God.
I suspect that it goes deeper. 
The Creator, as taught by Jesus Christ Himself, is very likely pleased when we engage in the very opposite of murder. This is when we exhibit dignity, respect, and agape love to every person we encounter, because they are God's created beings. 
Agape love, if you are not familiar, is completely selfless; it gives and expects nothing in return. Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the "love chapter," 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as brotherly love, affection, good will, love, and benevolence.
Whether the love given is returned or not, the person continues to love (even without any self-benefit).
If I am selfishly benign in my relationships and neither love or hate, I am lukewarm to God, and thus a stranger to Him...I have murdered myself!

"You shall not commit adultery."

Even thinking about adultery is committing it in God's eyes, according to the Bible. Once unfaithful to a spouse, I understand the adulterer lives a tortured life of regret and self-loathing that can never be relieved...

"You shall not steal."

Not even a paper clip at work, mis-counted change at the check-out counter, or that false number on a tax return. Don't steal another man's thunder, or his time, or his dignity, or any thought, thing, or emotion. When you cause sadness, you steal joy. But when you cause joy you diminish Satan's power...

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."
Don’t lie. God knows. Lies display complete indignation and disrespect upon the those being lied to. 'White lies' are lies we tell to protect a person's feelings and that's OK, right? Wrong!
Does God care about that person's feelings, or the growth opportunities offered to them by learning the truth? 'White lies' promote weakness and deceit.
Bottom line: Lies at all levels of "society" have caused more sadness, depression, hate, violence, death and destruction in this world than any other activity.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

To covet is to be selfish.
It is wanting something that does not nor ever will belong to you.This is the prime driver among the affluent in our world. A very significant number of the affluent are very distant from or do not even know Jesus. Thus, there is a self-inflicted deficiency in their lives to always try to gain what they want, including wealth, power and influence over others who have what they want for themselves.
They constantly long for the things that other people have, believing that is the solution to the void in their heart. They are sure that this is how their happiness will be fulfilled. Even our founding fathers mentioned the "pursuit of happiness" as a life-goal in a very revered document, but perhaps they were a little off the mark..?
If you find yourself in this dark place, drop to your knees and let God help you out of this mindset. It is self-destructive and an open window for Satan's arrows.

[Exodus 20:1-17]

This is the scene where God parts the Red Sea for Moses...

That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dad's World War II Service

I have always had a lot of respect for my Dad and feel compelled to honor him here. One big reason I respected him was because he was a veteran of World War II.
He was a Marine, enlisting in 1943 at the ripe old age of 27 or 28 I think , and because he had been a NY State Trooper for 7 years prior to his voluntary enlistment, they made him a Master-at-Arms aboard the light cruiser the USS Vicksburg (CL-86). For those of you unfamiliar with Navy lingo, a Master-at-Arms acts as a policeman aboard-ship. He keeps the peace, provides ship-board security, investigates crimes among the crew, locks up trouble-makers in "the brig" (a small jail or cage aboard ship) and just about anything else a policeman would do in civilian life.
Dad's battlestation was to be part of a Oerlikon 20 mm autocannon anti-aircraft team on the Vicksburg. Dad was tall (6'4") and strong so his job was to change out the barrel of the cannon periodically when it got hot. They spent a lot of time shooting at Japanese aircraft - especially Kamikazes, the suicide planes.
The Japanese were so dedicated to their Emporer that they would load a plane with explosives and turn it into a human-guided missile. They had thousands of Kamikaze planes of many makes and models. Some of the pilots were teenage boys who barely knew how to fly, and others were experienced pilots just doing their job. Dad said they were everyone's worse nightmare and they were very difficult to shoot down.
Kamikazes sank many of our ships and killed thousands of our guys.
Here is my Dad's Veteran Record from Charlene Cole, the Sandy Creek Historian.
Thanks for sending this to me, Charlene!
It's hard to read so I have transcribed it here:

Born: 1915, Syracuse, NY

Graduated: Vocational Tech 1933

Parents: Henry and Mary Ann Kappesser

Spouse: Ruth Ashby married February 12, 1948

Dates of Service: (1943-1945)

Military Branch: Marines (served on the light cruiser Vicksburg, in the Pacific, participating in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Rank: Cpl.

Medals / Awards: Qualified for Military Police and Expert Rifleman

Date of Death / Buried: May 14, 2005 (Sandy Pond) and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek NY.

Oral History: Kappesser first came to Sandy Pond in 1932 and has lived there with his family since 1952. After serving in the CCC in Pennsylvania, Kappesser joined the New York State Troopers and served in Troop D until 1961, when he retired as 1st Sergeant of Troop D, Oneida. He was employed by Flickinger’s and Lee Schoeller Paper before joining Blount Lumber Company in Lacona as a salesman in the north country. He served as Town Justice in Sandy Creek for 25 years, from 1967-1992. He was a member of the Police Benevolent Association of former New York State Troopers.

Children: Edward, Stephen, Peter, and Amy.

Here is some information about the ship USS Vicksburg that Dad fought on during World War II.

USS Vicksburg (CL-86), a Cleveland-class light cruiser, was the third ship of the United States Navy named after the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

USS Vicksburg Details of Foward Section August 1944

Vicksburg was first laid down as Cheyenne on 26 October 1942 at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, but, exactly one month later, was renamed Vicksburg. The light cruiser was launched on 14 December 1943; sponsored by Miss Muriel Hamilton, the daughter of Mayor J. C. Hamilton, of Vicksburg, Mississippi; and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 12 June 1944, with Captain William C. Vose in command. Vicksburg received two battle stars for her World War II service.

Starboard Side View off Norfolk Jul 16 1944 .jpg

Service History

World War II

The ship was fitted out for sea at Norfolk, Virginia into July, and conducted the preliminary phases of her shakedown in Chesapeake Bay prior to sailing for the British West Indies on 7 August. The light cruiser, then operating out of Trinidad, completed her shakedown training in the Gulf of Paria from 12-30 August, conducted shore bombardment exercises off Culebra, Puerto Rico, on 1 September, and on the following day, sailed for Hampton Roads in company with Broome and Simpson.

USS Vicksburg in Dazzle Camouflage

Returning to Hampton Roads soon thereafter, Vicksburg then conducted radar spotting practice at YAG-13 and at a battle raft on 9 September, and fired a drone practice off Cape May on 10 September. She underwent a post-shakedown overhaul at the Boston Navy Yard from 11-24 September, ran standardization trials off Rockland, Maine, and then took part in naval radiation laboratory tests in the vicinity of Deer Island in Boston Harbor. After availability at Boston, Vicksburg operated in Narragansett Bay, Block Island Sound, and Long Island Sound, serving as a pre-commissioning training vessel for crews of large combatant warships from 5-15 December.
Vicksburg returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard on 17 December, and remained there until she ran her post-repair trials in the Chesapeake Bay on the last two days of 1944. The warship departed Hampton Roads on 1 January 1945, and rendezvoused with Rodman and Emmons at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay to form Task Group (TG) 21.12. Vicksburg and her escorts arrived at Cristobal, Canal Zone, four days later, transited the Panama Canal that afternoon, and moored at NOB Balboa, Panama, where TG 21.12 was dissolved.
Vicksburg got underway for the Hawaiian Islands on 6 January 1945, and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 17 January. The light cruiser then conducted exercises off Oahu, including aircraft tracking, firing at drones, fighter direction, radar calibration, and long and short range battle practices, through the end of January.
Vicksburg departed Pearl Harbor at 0800 on 5 February, and arrived at Saipan, in the Marianas, on 13 February. There, she was fueled from Enoree and prepared for the ship's upcoming operation, and her baptism of fire, the bombardment of Iwo Jima.

Alongside USS Harrison, DD-573, May 16, 1945

[edit] Iwo Jima
The following day, Vicksburg left Saipan and joined other units of TG 52.19 at sea. On 15 February, the light cruiser became part of Task Unit (TU) 54.9.2, movement group "Baker", consisting of herself, Nevada and Idaho, Chester and Pensacola, and several destroyers. That force soon split into two fire support units. Vicksburg joined Chester and Pensacola, and took station at 0651 to commence bombarding the shore. At 0709, Vicksburg catapult-launched the first of her plane sorties and commenced fire. Directed by the ship's spotter in a OS2U Kingfisher, the light cruiser's 6 inch guns opened up from a range of 12,000 yards, shelling enemy installations on the northern end of the island of Iwo Jima.
Squalls cut down the visibility for the spotting aircraft, but occasionally, the aircrew managed to glimpse the target area. At 0808, Vicksburg completed the first phase of her bombardment mission and recovered her plane to refuel it. At 0947, the light cruiser commenced the second phase of her assigned mission. Still hampered by bad weather over the target, the spotters doggedly remained airborne and directed gunfire as well as they could through the spotty cloud cover. By afternoon, however, visibility had increased markedly, allowing the ship to assess her gunfire as landing "on target," in the third phase.

Vicksburg had launched her Kingfisher at 1249, piloted by Lieutenant J. B. Nabors, Jr. At 1414, listeners on the radio circuit heard Nabors report that his aircraft was being fired upon by Japanese anti-aircraft guns. Shortly thereafter, a A6M Zero attacked the slower, more vulnerable Kingfisher. The ensuing air battle did not last long, however, and ended happily for the American side, when another Kingfisher, from Pensacola, bagged the Zero, enabling Vicksburg's plane to resume her air spotting activities unhindered by enemy interference in the air.
One-half hour later, Vicksburg completed Phase III of her gunfire assignment and recovered the Kingfisher. Shortly before 1600, the light cruiser again launched one of her brood of float planes, and, at 1618, commenced Phase IV from a range of 10,000 yards. After completing the firing at 1727 and subsequently recovering her aircraft, Vicksburg and her consorts were joined by the other fire support ships in retiring for the night at 14 knots.

Vicksburg remained off Iwo Jima, providing gunfire support for the landings, into March and headed for Ulithi on 5 March to replenish and provision before putting to sea again on 14 March in TG 58.1, part of the 5th Fleet's fast carrier striking arm, which was then undertaking air strikes to neutralize Japanese air power as the Allies prepared to invade Okinawa.

Vicksburg's first brush with the Japanese while engaged in that screening duty came on 18 March, 100 miles east of the Japanese home island of Kyūshū. A Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" made a torpedo attack on the cruiser, dropping her "fish" while the ship was in the middle of a tight emergency turn. The torpedo churned by the bow, some 35 yards ahead of the ship, and proceeded parallel to the cruiser's port side. Within 20 minutes, another enemy plane closed, dropped flares, and departed, hurried along on its way by antiaircraft fire from the ships of TG 58.1.

I remember Dad telling us the story about this torpedo missing his ship.

Soon thereafter, Vicksburg, already at general quarters, opened fire with her 40 mm Bofors battery. The plane came in through the formation, and Vicksburg's Bofors guns began blasting the plane after it had already been set ablaze by fire from other ships. Moments later, it splashed.
At 0600, a Yokosuka P1Y "Frances" closed the formation and approached one of the carriers in the group from astern. It soon executed a wingover and dived on the carrier through a curtain of flak. The enemy never reached his destination, however, for the heavy wall of gunfire, probably from the carrier herself, knocked the "Frances" into the water.

Photo #: 80-G-490021- A Japanese "Kamikaze" aircraft crashing near USS Vicksburg (CL-86) after it was shot down attempting to hit the ship off Okinawa, 14 May 1945. Several aircraft carriers are in the background. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Slightly less than two hours later, a Yokosuka D4Y "Judy" bored in for a surprise attack and passed over Vicksburg. The light cruiser's battery blasted away at the intruder and scored three definite hits before 5 inch gunfire (probably from either Harrison or Miami blasted the enemy from the sky.

Meanwhile, the carriers' planes battered Japanese targets ashore on the Japanese home islands. The cruisers and destroyers in the screen had no rest, for the Japanese came back again on the next day. At 0715, a Japanese plane dived toward Wasp and scored one bomb hit. Vicksburg soon opened fire on the enemy plane. As it turned, either to make another attack or to escape the American fighters from the combat air patrol, the Japanese plane was rocked by a proximity burst from one of Vicksburg's shells. The blast knocked off a wing and set the plane afire. It then spun into the sea, a confirmed "kill."

While she was supporting strikes against Japanese targets to weaken the enemy's ability to defend against the impending invasion of the Ryukyus, Vicksburg destroyed eight Japanese planes. In addition, one of the ship's Kingfishers rescued a Marine aviator from the waters off the Japanese home islands.

A load of powder being transfered to the USS Vicksburg from USS Shasta (AE-6). I have often wondered if one of those guys is my Dad...

[edit] Okinawa
Later detached from service with TG 58.1, Vicksburg shifted to a position off Okinawa for shore bombardment and close support duties. Highlighting the operation for the light cruiser was firing nearly 2,300 rounds of 6 inch and 5 inch projectiles in a six-hour time span, supporting an Army advance up the southern part of the island. Some of her targets were only a few hundred yards ahead of the advancing troops, a situation that required accurate shooting. Vicksburg's guns blasted Japanese gun positions, caves, and strong-points during the ship's long hours of firing and loading ammunition on the veritable "front lines."

Japanese "Kamikaze" aircraft burning after it was hit by gunfire while attempting to crash into USS Vicksburg (CL-86) off Okinawa, 14 May 1945. Photographed from Vicksburg's forward superstructure, with the ship's foremast yardarm in the foreground. Note weather reporting instrument on the yardarm, and the antenna for an SK-1 air search radar partially visible at right. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

After leaving the Ryukyus late in the Okinawa campaign, Vicksburg supported a minesweeping operation in the China Sea until 24 June, when she sailed for the Philippine Islands.
Vicksburg remained in Philippine waters through the Japanese capitulation on 15 August 1945. Five days later, on 20 August, the light cruiser departed San Pedro Bay, Leyte, as part of TU 30.3.7, in company with Moale, Rowe, and Lowry. While the ships proceeded toward a point off the Japanese home islands, where they would rendezvous with a fast carrier striking force, Lowry sighted and exploded a drifting mine.

Vicksburg joined TG 38.2 on 24 August, part of Vice Admiral John McCain's task force, and was replenished and provisioned at sea. TG 38.2 covered the approaches to Tokyo Bay prior to, and during, the formal Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945. Three days later, Vicksburg entered Tokyo Bay.

[edit] Post-War
There, Rear Admiral I. J. Wiltse, Commander, Cruiser Division 10, shifted his flag to Vicksburg, and on 20 September, the light cruiser departed Tokyo Bay as part of a 3rd Fleet task group under the command of Rear Admiral John F. Shafroth and proceeded to Okinawa, where she anchored at Buckner Bay, on 23 September. There, 2,200 passengers came on board for transportation back to the United States.

Five days after arrival in Pearl Harbor on 4 October, Vicksburg led the sortie of the 3rd Fleet for the United States.

On 15 October, the Fleet passed in review in San Francisco Bay, California. Vicksburg remained in that port until 26 October, when she got underway to shift to Monterey Bay, California, to take part in Navy Day observances there on 27 October. The ship reached Long Beach, California on 31 October, but shifted to Portland, Oregon, on 6 November to participate in Armistice Day services before returning to Long Beach on 16 November. Monterrey Bay California on Navy Day, October 27, 1945

Placed in the Terminal Island Naval Shipyard in San Francisco Bay on 17 January 1946 for availability, Vicksburg emerged from the overhaul and modernization as perhaps the most modern ship of her class. On 20 May 1946, Vicksburg became the flagship for Vice Admiral Frederick C. Sherman, Commander, 3rd Fleet, who shifted his flag from Iowa on that date. Two days later, the ship moved to San Diego, where she moored at the Naval Air Station (NAS). She remained there into September, when she became the temporary flagship of Vice Admiral A. E. Montgomery.
Vicksburg was ultimately decommissioned on 30 June 1947 at San Francisco, California. She remained "mothballed" until struck from the Navy list on 1 October 1962. Sold to the National Metal and Steel Corporation, Terminal Island, California, on 25 August 1964, she was then scrapped.

The Navy Bio

From: Charlene Cole
Sandy Creek/Lacona Historian
1992 Harwood Drive P. O. Box 52
Sandy Creek, New York 13145-0052
315-387-5456 x 7

“Sandy Creek Veterans” Questionnaire: service dates from 1960 to ?

Name: Stephen Eric Kappesser

Date of Birth/Place of Birth: Born: 1954, Sandy Pond, N.Y

Graduated HS/Where: SCCS Class of ‘72,
Auburn Community College ‘74 - A.A.S. Electronics /Electrical Technology

US Navy Electronics Technician School
US Air Force Precision Measurement Electronics Metrology Certification
US Air Force Advanced Microwave Measurement Metrology Certification
Certified Calibration Technician - American Society for Quality (ASQ)
Certified Quality Manager Training (Quality Council of Indiana)
Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence – ASQ
Johns Hopkins University

Parents: Edward and Ruth (Ashby) Kappesser

Spouse: Barbara Lynn (Ellington) Kappesser, Pekin IL.

Marriage date and location: June 26, 1982, US Naval Facility Chapel, Argentia Newfoundland, Canada.

Military Branch: US Navy

Rank: Petty Officer 1st Class Electronics Technician (E6), NEC 1588 Test Equipment Calibrator

Years of Service: 6

Service Information

Duty Stations:
Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois 1980,
USN Radar & Communications Electronics School, Great Lakes, Illinois 1980-1982,
Precision Measurement Electronics School, Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colorado 1982.
US Naval Facility, Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada 1982-1984,
Naval Submarine Support Facility, US Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut 1984-1986.

· First in Class - Radar & Communications Electronics School, Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois 1982.
· Sailor of the Quarter, Operations Dept., US Naval Facility, Sound Underwater Surveillance System, Ocean Systems Atlantic, Naval Facility Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada 1983.
· Good Conduct Medal, Naval Submarine Support Facility, Submarine Base New London, Groton, Connecticut 1985.
· Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen Cold War Certificate of Recognition, (post-service) 1998.

Stephanie Nicole Kappesser (B. 1982)
Robert Edward Kappesser (B. 1986)
Sherry Louise Kappesser (B. 1988)
Joseph Adam Kappesser (B.1990)

Please include oral history/story/comments of your service years

A native of Sandy Pond, and a K-12 student at SCCS from 1959 through 1972, Steve was the son of WWII Veteran, retired State Trooper, and Sandy Creek Town Justice Edward Kappesser and his wife Ruth.
He graduated 7th in his class at SCCS in 1972 and attended Auburn Community College until 1974, earning a degree in Electronics.

Kappesser decided to serve his country at the age of 25, enlisting in the Navy’s newly deployed 6-year Advanced Electronics Program in 1980. He graduated from basic training at the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois, with the rank of E4, and was duly transferred to the Navy’s Radar & Communications Electronics School at the adjoining Naval Training Center. There, he graduated first in his class and was transferred to Precision Measurement Electronics School at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver - then on to Naval Facility Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, assigned as Work Center Supervisor of the base's Electronics Calibration Laboratory.

Kappesser was part of a technical crew that maintained one of the Navy’s (then classified) Sound Underwater Surveillance Systems (SOSUS), tasked with detecting and tracking Soviet nuclear submarines in the North Atlantic during the Cold War. While stationed there, he met and courted Barbara Ellington, who was then a Navy Storekeeper 3rd Class, and they married in June of ‘82.

He was assigned to Naval Submarine Support Facility at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut from ‘84 to ‘86, part of a technical crew that maintained various classes of nuclear fast attack submarines, including the new Los Angeles (688) Class.

He ended his Navy service in '86 to gain lucrative employment working for various defense contractors on various projects including the Army’s Patriot Missile program,

the Navy’s Standard Missile program,

and a Special Operations Command MATT program...

Kappesser currently works as a Quality Engineer III for M/A-Com Signal Intelligence Products, Hunt Valley, Maryland, providing Uncle Sam and her Allies with advanced signal intelligence equipment for various applications:

Microwave signal intelligence search and set-on receivers and peripheral products are used by Uncle Sam and her Allies in Ground applications:"

Air applications:

Unmanned air applications:

MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle

Sea applications:

Navy's SEAL (Sea Air Land Commandos) Insertion, Observation and Neutralization (SEALION) II craft.

Undersea applications:

Navy Seawolf submarine.

Friday, February 13, 2009

SPLINTER! A Mellow-Drama in Real Life

One Thanksgiving Day a few years ago I was brushing off our old porcelain enamel turkey pot and I got a splinter of porcelain (black glass) stuck in the end of the middle finger on my right hand. So I grabbed my trusty tweezers and yanked it out. To my dismay, the tip of the splinter seemed to have broken off deep inside. I tried and tried to dig it out with a straight pin and tweezers but I just couldn’t get to it. It hurt like crazy and there was a lot of blood so I couldn’t even see it. I needed to seek professional help.
“This…will be interesting.” I thought.

Dr. Milto, my doctor for the past 20 years, would have ordinarily dug it out in a couple minutes during a simple office visit, but he doesn’t perform any type of minor surgery in his office anymore - he said his insurance is too “cost prohibitive”.

So, a week later I was talking to a surgeon about removing a little thing on the back of my neck I asked him to dig out the splinter. It still stung a little but it wasn’t infected or swollen. He said “I’ll never find it - you have no idea how difficult it is to find splinters in fingers. It’ll work its way out - just give it about a month.”

So I gave it about a month and the splinter did not squiggle out of my finger. It stung once in a while but it was no medical emergency. I saw the surgeon again the 2 weeks after he took the thing out of my neck and I told him the splinter was still in my finger and I asked if he could please dig it out now.

The surgeon said, “You need to see a hand-guy. You need the help of a surgeon who specializes in hands. I’ll send you to a guy who has worked on my hands a couple of times, how about that?”

“OK, wow, thanks!” He handed me the name and number of the “hand-guy”. A doctor’s doctor!

So like a week later I found myself talking to the well-qualified orthopedic surgeon at this huge sports-medicine complex on the outskirts of Baltimore about my splinter. The facility was huge and very impressive and he was very serious. I told him my surgeon referred me to him and he acknowledged that he knew him.

“Oh yeah – Doctor so-and-so. He’s a good guy…I need x-rays of your finger.”

So he escorted me over to the x-ray department and a fiesty x-ray technician lady took a few big x-rays of my finger. “Make a bird! Perfect! You’ve done that before haven’t you? (Giggle, giggle, giggle!) OK hold it just like that!” Bzzzzzzz went the machine.

“Yes, I see it, there it is.” The surgeon proudly showed me the big film of my skeletal middle finger and there it was - the splinter, just shining away deeply embedded within. “OK we’ll set you up for surgery. Do want to be in a twilight state of consciousness or fully anesthetized asleep for this?”
I said it’s just a splinter and asked for a shot to numb the finger. “Are you sure?” he pressed me. I nodded yes. “Well, OK - now go see the surgical coordinator”.

So the big date was set up at the surgical center upstairs.

A week later I arrived at the surgical center and after filling out the form on the clipboard I was led inside to the prep-room. A young nurse was there and she said, “I know it’s just a splinter, but you have to take off all your clothes except your skivvies and put on this gown, footies, and surgical hat.”

So I rolled my eyes as she expected me to and followed her instructions (skivvies?). Then she put an IV fitting into my left hand for a shot of medicine I was to receive during the surgery. Then she made me write “yes” in permanent ink on the hand where my splinter was and then she took the marker and drew an arrow pointing towards the “target area” on my middle finger where the splinter was.

The surgeon came out and I showed him exactly where the splinter went in and at what angle. He whipped out another magic marker and drew a circle around the “target area” on the end of my finger.
“A nurse will bring you in shortly”.
“Thanks, doc.”

Eventually a nurse came out and asked me more of the same questions just to make sure they knew exactly what was to occur and she then lead me into this huge, fully outfitted operating room. Now I’m not trained in the medical sciences but I think there was enough equipment there to facilitate a brain transplant.

Besides the surgeon, there were 3 other green-clad professionals there - nurses I suppose, forming the ‘surgical team’. I had to lie down on the operating table and a nurse strapped me down so I wouldn’t fall off. While an assistant held my hand and finger still, the surgeon gave me two shots to numb the finger. While the medicine was numbing me, another nurse sterilized my hand and arm up to my elbow with soap and water and that orange-red liquid that’s not iodine. After about 5 minutes, the surgeon sat back down, clamped the finger, made a tiny 1/2” incision, and yanked out the offending splinter.

“Do you want to see it?”
“Yes!” I said, and he showed it to me - it was indeed just a splinter.

One nurse said “Is anyone here with you today?”
I said no.
“Where are you going after this?”
I told them I would be going back to work.
They all nodded approval and thought I was very brave indeed.

I nodded and smiled and thought - come on you guys, it’s just a splinter…

The doc carefully stitched it up and his assistant dressed it in an cartoon-like over-sized bandage and then they helped me off the table (“Do you feel dizzy?”) and into a wheel chair. Another nurse wheel-chaired me over to the recovery room. I spent 20 pleasant minutes there drinking water and totally "recovering" I guess, and then the recovery room nurse gave me a prescription and sternly read my discharge instructions aloud. She brought out my clothes so I could get dressed. Then she called another nurse who walked me down to the front door and said “Good luck!” smiling.
Such a pleasant experience - only in America.

In the following weeks I learned that the doctor and sports-medicine complex submitted charges to my healthcare insurance company for $2917.00 for removing that splinter from my middle finger.

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