Tuesday, June 25, 2013

JUNE 25 = The Korean War Begins

“By nine, Truman was ready for bed. It had been a long day. The time difference between Independence and Washington was two hours, since western Missouri was not on daylight saving time.  At about 9:20, the telephone rang in the hall. Dean Acheson was calling from his country house in Maryland.
‘Mr. President,’ he said, ‘I have very serious news. The North Koreans have invaded South Korea.’ ”

It was in this way that President Harry S. Truman learned of the invasion of South Korea by her communist neighbors to the north late on the evening of this date, June 25 in 1950, as recorded by author David Mc Cullough in his 1992 biography of our nation’s 33rd president, “Truman”.

North Korea Smashes Across the 38th Parallel
(Photos: Clockwise, from top: UN forces reach the 38th parallel; F-86 Sabre fighter aeroplane in Korean combat; Inchon harbor, starting point of the Battle of Inchon; Chinese soldiers welcomed home; 1st. Lt. Baldomero Lopez, USMC, over the top of the Incheon seawall.)

There had been tensions along the 38th parallel ever since Korea had been partitioned into North and South. This division along that point of longitude had been settled upon rather hastily during the final week of World War II as a temporary measure to facilitate the surrender of Japanese troops – those North of the line would surrender to the Soviets, those to the south to the Americans. But the incursion into the South had taken everyone outside of North Korea quite by surprise. Under the excuse of counter-attacking a South Korean provocation raid, the North Korean Army crossed the 38th parallel, behind heavy artillery fire, at dawn of that Sunday in June. The North Koreans said that Republic of Korea Army troops, under command of the "bandit traitor Syngman Rhee" (the president of South Korea), had crossed the border first, and that they would go all the way to Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, arrest and then execute Rhee. Both Korean armies had continually harassed each other with skirmishes and each continually staged raids across the 38th parallel border.

Truman Worries About a Possible Third World War

The president and all of his advisors worried that this was the start of World War III, since they assumed that this was an incursion personally directed by Joseph Stalin, the Russian dictator using the North Koreans as a thinly veiled proxy. But they felt that they had to stand up to this aggression, lest they appease themselves into a far bigger war as the idiot Neville Chamberlain had done for England in 1939. The president considered all of this during his flight back to Washington to meet with his top advisers:

“I remembered how each time the democracies failed to act it encouraged the aggressors to keep going ahead…. If the Communists were permitted to force their way into the Republic of Korea without opposition from the free world, no small nation would have the courage to resist threats by stronger Communist neighbors. If this was allowed to go unchallenged, it would mean a third world war, just as smaller incidents had brought on the second world war.”

The U.N. Security Council Votes for Armed Intervention

Hours after the North Korean incursion, the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council unanimously condemned their invasion of the Republic of South Korea, with UNSC Resolution 82. The Soviet Union, as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council had a veto-wielding power, but had boycotted the Council meetings since January 1950, protesting that the fact that the Republic of China (Taiwan), not the People's Republic of China, held a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. After debating the matter, the Security Council, would on June 27, 1950, publish Resolution 83 which recommended member state military assistance to the Republic of Korea. This would eventually lead to armed forces from well over a dozen United Nations member states other than the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK) being sent to take part in combat operations against the communist forces which were supported militarily by the U.S.S.R.

Truman Meets With his Advisers

But the armed intervention by the U.S. was not initially a forgone conclusion. At a meeting at Blair House (then being used as a residence by Truman while the White House underwent renovation)on the evening of June 25, Truman met with his top military advisers. Amongst those present were Dean Acheson (right), who was Truman’s Secretary of State along with Phillip Johnson, Dean Rusk, as well as the secretaries of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, and the three Chiefs of Staff of those services, including General Omar Bradley (below). Bradley was very ill, but felt that he needed to be present. He recalled that the meeting was dominated by Acheson, but that the President was very firm in his resolve to support the ROK. And everyone present agreed:

“Underlying these discussions was an intense sense of moral outrage, even more than we had felt at the Czechoslovakia coup of 1948. We had experienced coups, subversion, the Berlin blockade and a dozen other steps short of steps short of outright hostilities in the Cold War; but Korea was raw naked aggression, a communist state invading a peaceful nation --- given and guaranteed its free status by the U.N. --- with blazing tanks and artillery. It was an affront not only to us but to the U.N. itself, an arrogant challenge to all that the U.N. stood for.”

While Truman would order only air and naval support at first, this on the recommendation of Bradley and the other military men to wait and see if the ROK forces could handle the job, it soon became apparent that only the commitment of the two full divisions asked for by General Mac Arthur who was eventually made the commander of the U.N. forces would do the job. The North Koreans nearly took the whole peninsula, pushing US and ROK forces back to the infamous Pusan perimeter. But Mac Arthur’s brilliant landing at Inchon in September pushed the North Koreans back. The war would continue for three long years and encompass the relief of General Mac Arthur by President Truman for insubordination, the armed intervention by Mainland China on the side of the North and the change over to the Eisenhower administration. And it would end with what was viewed as a very dissatisfactory political settlement dividing Korea at roughly the same place as when the War began. But all of this was in the future back on this date in June of 1950, when North Korea invaded the South.

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!!  You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at:  krustybassist@gmail.com  I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not!)!!


"Truman" by David Mc Cullough, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992.

"A General's Life" by Omar N. Bradley and Clay Blair, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1983.


= 79.
= 49.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

JUNE 22 = Joe Louis Defeats Max Schmeling!!

"All I ask is that Schmeling stand up and fight without quitting… people think that I am going into the ring gunshy… why should I go into the ring gunshy when Schmeling is two years older, and I’m two years smarter in boxing?"

This was the sentiment expressed by Joe "the Brown Bomber" Louis going into his Heavyweight Title Bout with Max Schmeling of Germany which took place on this date, June 22 in 1938 in New York City. Louis had good reason to want to beat Schmeling, who was the only fighter who had ever knocked him out before.  But both men found themselves representing more in the ring than just themselves, and neither man was particularly comfortable with their position.  Schmeling found himself representing a Nazi regime with which he had flirted, and Louis represented freedom and democracy in a country which frequently denied those things to African-Americans such as himself.  But the two men are inextricably linked by their historic fights, especially the one of this date which was over in little more than two minutes.

Joe Louis - "the Brown Bomber" from Detroit

 Joe Louis was born as Joseph Louis Barrow in Alabama on May 13, 1914, the seventh of eight children to  Munroe Barrow and Lillie (Reese) Barrow.  Munroe was early in Joe's life committed to a mental institution and in 1920, Lillie married Pat Brooks. In 1926, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan where the men went to work at the Ford Motor Company.  Joe took an interest in boxing which was an easy way to earn money in Depression Era America.  Joe had battled a stammer since his boyhood and thus came off to people as being dull.  But he made his first mark in the 1934 Golden Gloves Tournament, in which he got to the finals. Boxing Historian Herb Goldman has said that Louis had the power of a natural puncher: “…It’s the right coordination and the right build all coming together in a number of ways.”  Jack Blackburn, Joe's trainer saw something special in Joe, but taught him what to expect from being a black fighter.  Let his left do the talking.  John Roxburough & Julian Black, Joe's managers set down a set of rules for Joe to follow: he could not gloat, could not be seen in public with white women. He had to be seen as a mother-loving bible-reading man and not TOO black. The shadow of the flamboyant one-time black champion Jack Johnson hung over Joe Louis, and he set out to be “the good negro”; a mask he willingly donned. Having to overcome a childhood problem with stammering, he kept fairly quiet.  It was only in the ring that he could really let go. By 1935 Joe had won his first 23 pro bouts. New York beckoned.

Max Schmeling from Pomerania 

Maximillian Adolph Otto Siegfried Schmeling was born in the town of Klein Luckow in Pomerania (on the Baltic Sea) on September 28, 1905 which made him about a decade older than Joe Louis.  He had come up as a fighter during the 1920's in Weimar Republic Germany, when the intellectual Jewish society in Berlin's Cabarets took quite an interest in him.Max came to America in 1928,  wanting to conquer America - the boxing capital of the world.  With his wiley, wise-cracking Jewish manager, Joe Jacobs he was able to arrange a title bout with Jack Sharkey. Schmeling won this bout but only when Sharkey punched him below the belt.  This put a taint on Schmeling's Championship title, and he became known as "the Low Blow Champion".  On June 21, 1932, he fought Sharkey once again and lost in a very controversial split decision.  This reverse made him a celebrity in Germany which was then falling into the sway of the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler. Schmeling didn't especially like the Nazis, or Hitler, but he did like being close to those who were in power.  So he got close in with the Nazi leadership in spite of it's persecution of his erstwhile Jewish friends.  Hoping to regain the Heavyweight title, he arranged to fight the previously undefeated Joe Louis.  Schmeling was looked upon in as an old fading fighter when he met Louis for their first fight on June 19, 1936. In what was a huge surprise for everyone including Louis who had become complacent Schmeling won this first encounter after 12 punishing rounds.

The Re-Match Between Democracy and Fascism....

The Nazi government  which had been expecting Schmeling to lose to Louis big-time, suddenly lionized him as proof of Aryan superiority over the inferior black man.  Schmeling himself didn't really see it that way, but he enjoyed all of the hoopla that the Nazis went to on his behalf, and even went to the American Olympic Committee to reassure them that all would be well for Black and Jewish athletes to compete in the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin.  This was a major public relations coup for the Nazi regime.  But Louis's managers went to bat for him and saw to it that he got the first crack at the then heavyweight champion Louis Braddock.  Louis fought Braddock and knocked him out in eight rounds in Chicago on June 22, 1937. This made Louis the Heavyweight Champion, but he refused to fully accept the title until he had his rematch with Schmeling.  By the time of that rematch Germany had annexed Austria and was seen on the world stage as an aggressor and likely enemy to the U.S. in war. So Schmeling was viewed by many Americans as being a full-fledged Nazi.  Louis, on the other hand was being put forward as a champion of democracy and freedom both of which he knew very well were denied to most of his own people as basic civil rights because of the color of their skin. Nevertheless the two titans longed to knock each other off, and set about doing just that on June 22, 1938.

"Max Schmeling is Beaten in One Round!!!"

NBC radio announcer Clem McCarthy delivered the blow-by- blow account of the fight, which lasted just two minutes and four seconds. But it was a historic milestone — one that an estimated 70 million people in a nation of 130 million listened to on their radios:

“And there we are… and Louis is in the center of  the ring Louis lets hit  with two straight lefts to the chin, both of them light… on the far side of the ring now Max with his back to the rope and Louis hooks a left to Maxes head quickly and shoots over a hard right to Maxes head.. Louis a left to Maxes jaw!! A right to his head!! Max shoots a hard right to Louis.. Louis with the old one-two!!” 

--Herb Goldman describes what happened next: Louis drove Schmeling back, he reigned punches.  Max tried to defend he tried to counter, he tried to get out of the way".  At just over a minute into the first round Louis struck Schmeling with a ferocious blow to his side. Sports Writer Lester Rodney described an almost animal sound that Schmeling let out at that moment: "And Schmeling emitted a “scream” ...we had never heard a fighter scream in a high-pitched voice in agony..." Louis continued to reign down  punches on Schmeling. from every angle.. The referee, Arthuur Donovan got  in and made Joe step back for a moment.. But then he came in again and knocked Max down with one punch.  Schmeling got up, and Joe knocked him wobbly with another series of punches.   In a futile gesture, Schmeling's corner through in the towell, but Donovan threw it back “where it hung on the ropes as limp as the German himself “ as one writer put it.Clem McCarthy again: "The count is five, five, six, seven, eight… the men are in the ring! The fight is over on a technical knock-out,  Max Schmeling is beaten in one round!!”

Epilogue - Max and Joe Bury the Hatchet

The streets of Harlem went wild in cele- bration. 100,000 people flowed out into the streets wherein the Police Commissioner blocked off a section of thirty city blocks, and let them celebrate. “There never was a Harlem like the Harlem of last night. Take a dozen Christmases, a score of New Years Eves, a bushel of July Fourths, and  maybe, yes  maybe you get a faint glimpse of the idea!” - the New York Daily News. Joe Louis went on to successfully defend his title more than any other Heavyweight has managed since, over twenty times.  He served honorably in World War II. although he was in a segregated unit that was not allowed into combat. Max Schmeling was given the bum's rush when he returned to Germany following the fight. He was totally ignored by the Nazi government. During the vicious nationwide anti-Jewish pogrom known as "Kristallnacht" on Nov. 8-9, 1938 he allowed two Jewish boys who were friends of his family hide out in his hotel room, saving them from violence and possibly death.  He served in the paratroops during the war, and afterward made a large amount of money as the first German bottler for "Coca-Cola"!!  In 1961, he appeared on Ralph Edwards TV program "This Is Your Life - Joe Louis" and he and Louis greeted each other warmly, clearly burying their old hatchet.  They remained in touch with each other after that, meeting about a dozen more times.  Schmeling gave Louis money when his cash situation dried up on him, and when Louis died in 1981, Schmeling sent money to cover the funereal costs. Schmeling died in 2005. 

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!!  You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at:  krustybassist@gmail.com  I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not!)!!


Directed by Barak Goodman, PBS, 2005.




= 1956.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

JUNE 19 = Civil War Naval Slugfest....

“Sunday, the 19th, came; a fine day, atmosphere somewhat hazy, little sea, light westerly wind. At 10:20 the officer of the deck reported a steamer approaching from Cherbourg-a frequent occurrence, and consequently it created no surprise. The bell was tolling for service when some one shouted, "She's coming, and heading straight for us!" Soon, by the aid of a glass, the officer of the deck made out the enemy and shouted, "The Alabama!" and calling down the ward-room hatch repeated the cry, "The Alabama!" The drum beat to general quarters; Captain Winslow put aside the prayer-book, seized the trumpet, ordered the ship about, and headed seaward. The ship was cleared for action, with the battery pivoted to starboard.”

This was the scene on board the U.S.S, “Kearsarge” on the morning of this date, June 19 in 1864 as reported by John M. Browne, the Surgeon on the “Kearsarge”. It was the opening scene of what would be one of the last of its kind: a one on one duel between wooden sailing warships. It is true that both the “Kearsarge” and the C.S.S. “Alabama” of the Confederate Navy were steam powered warships, but they both were nevertheless wooden ships. And their duel on this date during the Civil War hearkened back to a time when iron men in wooden ships battled it out one against the other. A mode of combat which included a challenge to a duel, and bravura theatrics of a kind which had already passed into obsolescence with the duel between the “Monitor” and the “Merrimack” (“Virginia”) just over two years before.

The C.S.S. "Alabama" Arrives in Cherbourg... so does the U.S.S. "Kearsarge"

After almost two years of very successfully cruising and raiding at the expense of the United States' commercial shipping, “Alabama” cruised into European waters in early June 1864. The confederate raider was in fact an armed sloop with 8 guns. She had managed to ravage Union shipping to the tune of 68 merchantmen. The British-built raider had also sunk a Union warship, the blockader “Hatteras” off Galveston on January 11 of 1863. So she was to the Union Navy a sought-after scourge of the seas. But by June of 1864, she was run-down and badly in need of repairs. She put into Cherbourg, France, on June 11. News of her presence soon became known to Union spies, and reached the USS “Kearsarge” which immediately steamed from Holland to Cherbourg, arriving on the 14th. Seeing that he was blockaded, with his ship’s repairs delayed and with the likelihood that his ship would not be able to return to her raiding career without a fight, "Alabama's" Captain Raphael Semmes challenged "Kearsarge's" Captain John Winslow (pictured, below) to a ship-to-ship duel via the following declaration sent to the Confederate commercial agent Mr. Bonfils and duly passed to Captain Winslow:

SIR: I hear that you were informed by the U. S. Consul that the Kearsarge was to come to this port solely for the prisoners landed by me, and that she was to depart in twenty-four hours. I desire you to say to the U. S. Consul that my intention is to fight the Kearsarge as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. I hope these will not detain me more than until tomorrow evening, or after the morrow morning at furthest. I beg she will not depart before I am ready to go out.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
_R. SEMMES, Captain

According to Mr. Browne, the rumors were Captain Semmes was looking to prove himself and his ship: “It was reported that Captain Semmes had been advised not to give battle; that he replied he would prove to the world that his ship was not a privateer, intended only for attack upon merchant vessels, but a true man-of-war….”

The Two Ships Have it Out.....

Whatever his reasons, Semmes brought his ship out on that Sunday morning just after Captain Winslow had finished conducting Sunday morning church services. “Alabama” was accompanied to the edge of International Waters by the French ironclad warship “Couronne”, and the English pleasure yacht “Deerhound”. Winslow, who was a former shipmate of Semmes was a hard bitten realist, and not a romantic. He cleared “Kearsarge” for action and quickly prepared to fulfill his determination to catch the famous raider.

“Alabama” opened fire at a range of approximately one mile at 11:10 a.m. The two ships were fairly well matched, “Alabama” with eight guns to seven for the “Kearsarge”. But the Union ship had heavier guns and her men were much better marksmen than the Confederate gunners. The two combatants steamed in half-mile circles for about an hour. Mr. Browne reported the slow and methodical destruction of the “Alabama” by the Union gunners aboard the “Kearsarge”:

“The action was now fairly begun. The Alabama changed from solid shot to shell. A shot from an early broadside of the Kearsarge carried away the spanker-gaff of the enemy, and caused his ensign to come down by the run…. The Alabama returned to solid shot, and soon after fired both shot and shell to the end. The firing of the Alabama was rapid and wild, getting better near the close; that of the Kearsarge was deliberate, accurate, and almost from the beginning productive of dismay, destruction, and death. The Kearsarge gunners had been cautioned against firing without direct aim, and had been advised to point the heavy guns below rather than above the water-line, and to clear the deck of the enemy with the lighter ones. Though subjected to an incessant storm of shot and shell, they kept their stations and obeyed instructions. “

The "Kearsarge" Triumphs!

The union gunners zeroed in on their prey, ripping her decks, riddling her hull and uprooting her guns. “Alabama” of course returned fire, but most of her shots missed their target. When an eleven inch Union shell exploded in “Alabama’s” engine room, Semmes (below) attempted to
turn for the French shore to save his ship. But then Captain Winslow brought “Kearsarge” between “Alabama” and the French coast to cut off her retreat, and seal her fate. After combat lasting about an hour, the “Alabama” sunk with a loss of 21 of her men to only one man lost aboard the “Kearsarge". Rather than accepting defeat in the old time honored tradition of surrendering his sword to his opposing captain, Semmes hurled his sword into the sea and escaped aboard the “Deerhound” which remained on the scene to observe. Semmes would go to England and return to service in the Confederate Navy and after briefly being imprisoned after the war would die in 1877. Winslow would advance to the rank of Rear Admiral before retiring in 1872 and dying shortly after. His coffin was draped in the "Kearsarge's" battle flag. While en route from Haiti to Nicaragua in February of 1888, the U.S.S. “Kearsarge” was wrecked on Roncador Reef. An effort to salvage her proved fruitless, and "Kearsarge" was stricken from the Navy List later in the year.

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!!  You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at:  krustybassist@gmail.com  I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not!)!!


Picture History of the U.S. Navy: From Old Navy to New, 1776-1897by Theodore Roscoe and Fred Freeman, Bonanza Books, New York, 1956.


+ 76.
+ 74.

Monday, June 17, 2013

SPECIAL = Hoffa's Body Found?

Every so often such a headline such as this pops into the news. Somebody tells something that was not previously known, and suddenly the interest is revived.  Well since the FBI has found something in these new claims sufficient to warrant a new search of an area near Detroit, I felt it was worth telling you, my "Today in History" readers about it.  The story below is an Associated Press report, taken from an ABC news site from Chicago.  The original web address is:   http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?id=9142164 ... But for the fascinating background to this still unsolved case, go to my posting for July 30:   http://historysstory.blogspot.com/2012/07/july-31-jimmy-hoffa-vanishes.html , which is the day in 1975 on which Mr. Hoffa (pictured below) mysteriously vanished........


June 17, 2013 (OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich.) -- Federal agents revived the hunt for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa on Monday, bringing excavation equipment to a field in suburban Detroit where a reputed Mafia captain says the Teamsters boss' body was buried.

Robert Foley, special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit division, said the agency and its partners had a search warrant allowing them to dig at the property in Oakland Township, about 25 miles north of Detroit.

Officials are "here to execute a search warrant, based on information that we have involving the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa," Foley said.

He said the warrant was sealed and details about what was sought would not be released.Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, who joined Foley at a news conference, said it was his "fondest hope" to bring closure for Hoffa's family and the community.

Hoffa, Teamsters president from 1957-71, was an acquaintance of mobsters and an adversary of federal officials. The day in 1975 when he disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant, he was supposed to be meeting with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.

Since then, multiple leads to his remains have turned out to be red herrings.

In September, police took soil from a suburban backyard after a tip Hoffa had been buried there. It was just one of many fruitless searches. Previous tips led police to a horse farm northwest of Detroit in 2006, a Detroit home in 2004 and a backyard pool two hours north of the city in 2003.

In February, reputed Mafia captain Tony Zerilli told Detroit TV station WDIV that he knew where Hoffa was buried and that the FBI had enough information for a search warrant to dig at the site. He said he answered every question from agents and prosecutors, and had been promoting a book, "Hoffa Found."

Foley did not mention Zerilli's claims in his brief comments Monday, but Zerilli's lawyer, David Chasnick, said his client was "thrilled" that investigators were acting on the information.

"Hoffa's body is somewhere in that field, no doubt about it," Chasnick said. He said his client wasn't making any public comments.

Chesnick said Zerilli told him there used to be a barn in the field, and that Hoffa's body was buried beneath a concrete slab inside the barn.

Zerilli was convicted of organized crime and was in prison when Hoffa disappeared. But he told New York TV station WNBC in January that he was informed about Hoffa's whereabouts after his release.

Andrew Arena, who was head of the FBI in Detroit until he retired in 2012, said Zerilli "he would have been in a position to have been told" where Hoffa was buried.

"I still don't know if this was a guess on his part. I don't know if he was actually brought here by the Detroit (mob) family," Arena said. "It's his position as the reputed underboss. That's the significance."

Keith Corbett, a former federal prosecutor in Detroit who was active in Mafia prosecutions touching on the Hoffa case, said it was appropriate for the FBI to act on Zerilli's assertions.

"You have a witness who is in a position to know, who says he has specific information," Corbett said. "The bureau has left no stone unturned."

Corbett also defended authorities for repeatedly spending time on what turned out to be dead ends.

"Anytime you look for somebody and don't find the body it is embarrassing," Corbett said. "The thing the public isn't aware of, but police know, is there are a lot of dead ends in an investigation"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SPECIAL = Copper Age Iceman Was Murdered!!

The following article is an excerpt of an article by  Meg Gannon, News Editor of LiveScience.com, which was published yesterday on Yahoo.com and other internet sources. The web address for the full article, which is copyrighted and which cannot therefore be legally reproduced here is at the bottom of the excerpt, and can easily be accessed by simply clicking on the highlighted address.

"Ötzi the Iceman, Europe's oldest mummy, likely suffered a head injury before he died roughly 5,300 years ago, according to a new protein analysis of his brain tissue. 
Ever since a pair of hikers stumbled upon his astonishingly well-preserved frozen body in the Alps in 1991, Ötzi has become one of the most-studied ancient human specimens. His face, last meal, clothing and genome have been reconstructed — all contributing to a picture of Ötzi as a 45-year-old, hide-wearing, tattooed agriculturalist who was a native of Central Europe and suffered from heart disease, joint pain, tooth decay and probably Lyme disease before he died.

None of those conditions, however, directly led to his demise. A wound reveals Ötzi was hit in the shoulder with a deadly artery-piercing arrow, and an undigested meal in the Iceman's stomach suggests he was ambushed, researchers say..."
The complete article can be found at:
Further details about "the Iceman" can be found at the following PBS web site:
An introduction to the episode of "Nova" which can be viewed on most computers right there on the PBS website...

Program Description

He’s been dead for more than 5,000 years and poked, prodded, and probed by scientists for the last 20. Yet Ötzi the Iceman, the famous mummified corpse pulled from a glacier in the Italian Alps, continues to keep many secrets. Now, through an autopsy like none other, scientists will attempt to unravel mysteries about this ancient mummy, revealing not only the details of Ötzi’s death but also an entire way of life. How did people live during Ötzi’s time, the Copper Age? What did they eat? What diseases did they cope with? Join NOVA as we defrost the ultimate time capsule—the 5,000-year-old man.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

SPECIAL = Amelia Earhart's Plane Found?

May 30, 2013 - Taken from 'The History Channel" website.
Have Researchers Found Amelia Earhart’s Plane?
By Barbara Maranzani

             Underwater video clip of debris site. (Credit: TIGHAR)

This week marked a new chapter in the decades-long search for the plane piloted by aviator Amelia Earhart on what would become her final mission in June 1937. Researchers with the Earhart Project, a division of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), have released sonar images that they believe show the remains of Earhart’s twin-engine Lockheed Electra lying 600 feet below sea level off the coast of an uninhabited island in the South Pacific—just 350 miles from Earhart’s original destination on her fateful journey.

Amelia Earhart’s daring round-the-world-flight was cut short when her Lockheed Electra disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on June 2, 1937. { Fact Fix: This is wrong.  Amelia Earhart & Mr. Noonan disappeared on JULY 2, 1937.**} Though rescue workers began scouring the area for signs of life, neither Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan or their plane were found. In an official report, the U.S. government concluded that the two seasoned flyers, unable to locate their destination of Howland Island, ran out of fuel, crashed into the water and sank. Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939, but the question of why and where her plane went down remains one of history’s biggest mysteries. In the seven decades since the Earhart disappearance, a number of hypotheses that differ from the official government line have emerged.

Some theorists, for instance, believe Earhart was actually a secret agent working for the U.S. government. They suggest that the plane crashed after its pilots intentionally deviated from their course to spy on Japanese-occupied islands in the Pacific, or that Earhart and Noonan landed on one of them and were taken prisoner. Yet another theory holds that Earhart returned safely to the United States, changed her name and lived a long life in obscurity. Less fanciful and far more likely is the widely held belief that due to pilot or mechanical errors Earhart (below) and Noonan were forced to touch down on a remote South Pacific island called Nikumaroro, which at the time of their disappearance was uninhabited and known as Gardner Island.

It’s Nikumaroro and its surrounding waters that have been of most interest to the TIGHAR team. Researchers have been combing Nikumaroro since 1989, assembling a collection of artifacts that includes improvised tools, shoe remnants and aircraft wreckage that is consistent with Earhart’s Electra. During a 2010 expedition, the team uncovered some compelling clues. While foraging in a spot where they had previously identified traces of a campfire, they came across three pieces of a pocketknife, shells that had been cut open, fragments of a glass cosmetic jar, bits of makeup and—perhaps most intriguing of all—bone fragments that may be from a human.

They returned to the site, located in the Pacific Republic of Kiribati, in July 2012, armed with two underwater research vehicles capable of collecting hours of data, including side-scan sonar and high-definition video. When the mission was cut short due to technical issues and inclement weather, the TIGHAR team spent several months scouring the materials they had collected. Almost immediately, imaging specialists identified a debris field, approximately 600 feet below the surface, which contained several man-made objects. And, most importantly, the location, shape and size of the debris field matches up with a photograph that many believe holds the key to the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance, the Bevington photo. This grainy, underwater photograph of what appears to be a large man-made object jutting out off the coast of Nikumaroro was captured by British naval officer Eric Bevington in October 1937, just months after Earhart vanished. The team at TIGHAR had long suspected that the debris captured in the Bevington photo was actually the landing gear from Earhart’s plane. TIGHAR’s next step will be the recovery of the items in the debris field, though the non-profit group has not yet begun to raise the more than $3 million needed for the mission.

In addition to possibly locating part of Earhart’s plane (above), TIGHAR also thinks it may have found even more proof for its theory that Earhart and Noonan crashed their plane and became castaways on the uninhabited island before their eventual deaths. Working in conjunction with a chemist, they have been testing the cosmetic jar fragments they recovered in the 2010 expedition. Based on the high mercury levels found on the fragments, TIGHAR believes it has identified the substance once held in the jar as a brand of ointment used to bleach skin and remove spots—something the freckle-faced Earhart was known to have used. Even more intriguing to researchers is the fact that the fragments seem to have been intentionally shaped for use as cutting tools, possibly by Earhart and Noonan in their attempt to survive on a deserted island.



** = Well I've checked it with several sources, including Ms. Earhart's "Official" website (http://www.ameliaearhart.com/), and found that the fine and excellent History Channel website has a slight mistake there.  It was in fact JULY 2, 1937 on which Ms. Earhart and Fred Noonan were lost over the Pacific Ocean.  So instead of posting about her today as I almost did, I will wait until either July 2, or Ms. Earhart's birthday, July 24 to post about this remarkable and very important woman.