Photos and Videos by @ldouglaskeeney
Stories from the silent survivors now on the 70th anniversary of their ordeals.
- 545 days ago via site
Area 51 finally mentioned in classified U-2 and SR-71 docs giving it detail and a real place in history.The CIA declassified this history a few weeks ago and here are some pages. Enjpy.
- 742 days ago via site
On the 20th day alone at sea. A preview from the forthcoming book Lost in the Pacific:
“At 1100, I spotted three Navy Catalina flying boats approaching me. Two passed within half a mile, but failed to see me. The third passed directly overhead and saw the sea marker dye I had spread on the water. He dropped a smoke bomb to mark my position, called the other planes back, and all three circled the raft. The waves and swells were ten feet high. It would have been a rough sea for any craft, let alone a flying boat.
Two of the planes lowered their retractable wing floats and made an attempt to land. Both pilots decided, upon closer observation of the waves, not to risk "setting down" on such a choppy sea. About that time I drifted into a rail squall and the rescue planes lost sight of me completely. The third pilot, Lt. Hamblin, was a little more venturesome than the other. Although he could not see me, he decided that, if one of them did not land on the water in that vicinity, they would probably never find me again. He dropped his depth charges and about 900 gallons of gasoline (I'll bet that breaks your heart) to lighten the plane and made a power-stall landing on the water. His starboard wing float hit a swell as he was landing and started to spin the plane to that side. Hamblin proved to be the master of the situation. Quick as a cat, he hit the throttle on the starboard engine, and kicked the rudder and stick to port.
The lumbering Catalina straightened out and dropped into the sea. A wave broke over her and smashed the port gun blister and filled the after compartment with water. The plane remained afloat, however, and the crew bailed out the water as Hamblin taxied into the rail squall where I had disappeared. After taxiing about two miles, they found me, gorging myself on the last of the rations that had been dropped to me on August first.
Despite the Catalina's precarious position on a heavy sea in enemy waters, I for one was in the lap of luxury. I stretched out on a dry bunk, pulled a warm blanket over me, drank some fresh water, and smoked a cigarette while I waited for O. Braun, one of the crewmen, to fix me something to eat. Practically the entire crew was seasick, and Braun was no exception. Nevertheless, he fixed me two tumblers of grapefruit juice, a couple of cups of coffee, two big steaks, and a large dish of peas.
The sea was so rough that Hamblin decided not to risk a take-off at that time. He asked me if the water ever got any smoother out there, but I couldn't offer him much encouragement. Although the waves were running at least ten feet high, it was the smoothest sea that I had observed since July fourteenth.
We stayed on the water all that afternoon and all that night. The plane weathercocked into the wind, and the swells constantly hit the wing floats from the side. The Catalina creaked and groaned like an old haunted house. The waves engulfed the bow of the plane and broke against the hull. It was a tribute to our aircraft engineers that such a light structure as the hull of an airplane managed to withstand the merciless pounding of a heavy, angry sea.
I was indescribably grateful for companionship; and the courageous crewmen kept up a continual conversation with me, despite their seasickness.
At dawn of August fourth, the navigator reported that we were 100 miles due south of the enemy air base at Kahili on Bougainville. The waves were still ten feet high, but Hamblin decided to attempt a take-off nevertheless. He reasoned that, if we stayed on the water, the plane would break up in the heavy sea. And the possibility of Jap strafing was always a threat. He felt that he has a 50-50 chance of getting the plane airborne. If the take-off failed, we would all be in the water that much sooner.
The take-off was successful! The cumbersome plane bounced off the tops of one swell and spanked onto another, knocking some rivets out of the hull. It bounced into the air about ten knots slower than it should have been to be airborne, but again Hamblin's skill saved our lives. No one but an expert pilot could have held that plane in the air without spinning. Hamblin was an expert, and we remained airborne.
Copyright 2013 L. Douglas Keeney
From the forthcoming book Lost in the Pacific.
- 766 days ago via site
We avoid politics here but we heard the President ranting on carbon emmissions and carbon footprints and global warming and we thought -- wait a minute. Whose the one dragging a giant 747 around on every trip and what sort of carbon footprint does that leave? I mean, at the height of World War II -- when there were real dangerous Germany fighter pilots up there - FDR was happy to fly without so much as a fighter escort -- all the way to Tehran. Here he is in the back of an Army C-54 between Algeirs and Cairo. I'd say a man could get by with a 737 or A330, huh? The Brits, French, Germans and most everyone else does. Except us. And a few Middle Eastern 747s.
- 952 days ago via site
It's a good idea to leave out the toys when you park a carrier in a foreign port. Just sayin'. A little old, but timeless. Thanks. D
- 952 days ago via site
Well, success! Per yesterdays suggestion from a FB friend, SEAL Team 6 was tasked, they received some good intel, spun up and roped into compound where they extracted Santa and set him on his way. We were given exclusive access to the op and share this special pic to a much relieved world. Santa was delieverd to the North Pole; we can now turn it over to Norad for further updates. Hats off to our FB friends who helped, an the 160th SpecOps Aviation Regiment for some hairy flying. Thanks.... and a smile. D
- 978 days ago via site
We have new intel on the clandestine movements of one Mr. Santa Claus. Caught here by telephoto lens brazenly using a US Navy Los Angeles class submarine to get into the most inacccessible harbors and coves of Connecticut. He claims to have Cristmas presents in his bulging sack. We're not sure. He then disappeared again. We have now requested assistance from NORAD to help us track his whereabouts. Thanks. D
- 979 days ago via site
Click in for a view of the Truman that's about as cool as it gets. A bit above the burble but right down the centerline with an X-47 doing its drone taxi-thing like a snapshot of the future. Thanks. D
- 989 days ago via site
New composite of Earth at night from space. Mankind raduates his sacred presence to the universe. Seen at 512 miles. Real pics, photo composited NASA
- 996 days ago via site
New York City at night days before Sandy. Look how exposed Rockaway Beach seems to be. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge is that blue line beam of light over to Staten Island in the center. JFK and La Guardia shine brightly, the dark areas of course being the runways.
- 1026 days ago via site
Wrote Virgil, so too shall we scale the stars. An October sky is one of the more pleasing parts of Fall -- for me its like tiny poke from our magnificant creator who, I think, is sorta saying, 'take a look.' I mean, its a hard world, I know that, but we have our moments here and I quess I need to stop and let those moments take over. Thanks.
- 1050 days ago via site
From WiredCosmos on the book Lights of Mankind: Earth at Night From Space. "Keeney’s picks for the “Seven Wonders of the Nighttime World” show truly awe-inducing panoramic images of population centers around the globe in all their glitterin
g glory. His playful selection on “The Unintentional Artwork of Man” offers a counterpoint to the zodiac creatures of the ancient astronomers." View of Cairo and the Nile, seen from over Israel, Lebanon, Syria.
- 1056 days ago via site
"Aloft, floating free beneath the moist gleaming membrane of bright blue sky..." Such a perfect place for a playful F-35 .
- 1113 days ago via site
Line up ten of your buddies, show them this picture and I ask you -- which one of them hasn't grabbed a shave in a mess kit, or, in todays terms, with whatever we could find whereever we were. I remember scraping my face in a lousy motel two miles from a client's offices the morning of a hugh meeting after a delayed, all-night flight with lost baggage. Well, these guys are the OGs. Here's to 'em.
- 1122 days ago via site
I love nightfall. Particularly in the summer. The pace changes, things sorta slow down --there's a special serenity. Sounds travel further. This picture kinda captures it. I just love the play of light from the hanger bays on the Nimitz. Pop this up and smell the saltwater. I bet you will! Mmmmm.
- 1130 days ago via site
I know. I'm one of those corny guys that just loves getting up in the morning and getting out there and seeing what happens. So good morning twitter: hi-five, salute, slap me some love -- whatever -- but good morning my brilliant friends! Thanks. D
- 1133 days ago via site
It was impossible not to take my upcoming book personally. This stone marks the loss of a B-17 or B-24 and the men who died on the mission. There are hundreds of these stones in a cemetery near my house. One stone, one air crew. My new book is about these young men and how they helped to get the boys ashore on D-Day. But what a price. The Pointblank Directive.
- 1135 days ago via site
D-Day minus 2. June 4, 1944. The deceptions continue. Today, 231 B-17s bomb the Pas de Calais area in the morning, 285 more hit the same area after lunch and another 400 bombers spread across the coastal areas just inland to hit German airfields, rail yards, radar sites and coastal batteries – everywhere but in the Normandy region. More than 700 P-51s, P-38s and P-47s swarm inland like locust dive bombing and strafing anything that moves. The Germans wonder – is this D-Day? Nope, not yet. See The War Against The Luftwaffe and The Pointblank Directive. Thanks. D
- 1180 days ago via site
D-3. The mission tempo leading up to D-Day is now designed to confuse the Germans into believing that every day is D-Day. These tired P-51 pilots are now flying back-to-back missions. Those of you who know our good friend Bud Anderson will notice a familiar face in this photo taken 68 years ago. See The War Against the Luftwaffe and The Pointblank Directive. Thanks. D
- 1181 days ago via site