Sunday, February 07, 2016

Our Great Uncle Gerry. 91 and still kicking it. A WWII hero, tail gunner on a B-24 Liberator over Nazi Germany.

A flight down memory lane as vintage aircraft visit Naples

By Greg Stanley of the Naples Daily News
Posted: Feb. 04, 2016

Credit: Dorothy Edwards
People walk around and look at the aircrafts during the Wings of Freedom Tour at Naples Airport on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Visitors could tour the inside of the B-17 and B-24, as well as fly in them. (Dorothy Edwards/Staff)
Credit: Dorothy Edwards
World War II veteran Gerry Cabot, 91, of Naples looks at the B-24 Liberator he rode in during the Wings of Freedom Tour at Naples Airport on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Cabot rode in the B-24 Liberator for the first time since he was a tail gunner in 1944-1945. He went on 27 missions as a tail gunner during World War II and says today was his 28th mission. (Dorothy Edwards/Staff)
Credit: Dorothy Edwards
Tom Nilsen of Naples looks under a B-24 during the Wings of Freedom Tour at Naples Airport on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Visitors could tour the inside of the B-17 and B-24, as well as fly in them. (Dorothy Edwards/Staff)
Credit: Dorothy Edwards
Marti Brennan of Naples looks out the window of a B-17 during the Wings of Freedom Tour at Naples Airport on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Visitors could tour the inside of the B-17 and B-24, as well as fly in them. (Dorothy Edwards/Staff)
The smell of the fuel was the same, drifting inside the steel frame of the tail gunner section of the B-24 Liberator — "The Flying Boxcar" — the massive Allied bomber used to help rid the world of Nazi Germany. It flew low over the Everglades in a clear sky Thursday afternoon as Staff Sgt. Gerry Cabot, 91, took a ride in the old bomber for the first time since the end of the Second World War.
The tail gunner climbed into his old cramped post above the end of the plane. He brought with him the same leather helmet he wore in 27 missions over Germany and occupied France.
"I got in there and I thought how I ever did this 27 times,'" Cabot said. "A lot of memories. Some good and some not so good. I wouldn't trade a minute of it. I'm blessed by living through it. This is a wonderful aircraft."
The flight was organized by the Collings Foundation and the Wings of Freedom Tour, which stopped at the Naples airport with three World War II-era planes. On the ground, tours were given of the B-24 along with the sleeker B-17 Flying Fortress and the light and furious P-51 fighter. For a price, 30-minute rides were given to the public.
Cabot, who lives in Naples, called it his 28th mission.
Still agile, with thick white hair and bright eyes, Cabot crawled around the plane showing his visiting daughter and anyone who would ask the bomb bays and catwalks, and the turrets and tanks that he hadn't seen for 71 years. He explained the roles of the 10-man crew.
They always flew in a B-24 and were typically the first crew over the target, Cabot said.
He enlisted at 18 as an aviation cadet and hoped to become a pilot. But the generals, knowing that each time a plane was shot down they would lose two pilots and six gunners, realized they needed more gunners and that's where they assigned him, he said.
His crew flew out of England, bombing railroad stations and factories in Germany. His second mission, as he recalled, was brutal.
"I didn't think I would go back up," Cabot said. "But that's not you're decision. So I did exactly what I was told."
The English adopted the American men like they were their sons, who were all off fighting, Cabot said.
After one mission over Germany, the crew's top gunner said that there something screwy going on with the wing. When they landed, they saw an 88 mm shell had left a watermelon-sized hole. Those shells were supposed to explode upon impact, Cabot said.
"Where it hit, there wasn't enough resistance in the wing to trigger the explosion," he said. "So we all thanked God."
The men were supposed to be relieved after 25 missions. But so close to the end of the war, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle told them to keep going up, so Cabot did.
"I feel some pride knowing I participated in pushing that evil regime off the face of the earth," Cabot said. "All the lives that are better because of it. This has been a wonderful day.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

RDU visit end of January

A rather busy Friday at Priority Health Triangle.

Sharon joined me up in Cary for a relaxing weekend.  We were able to house sit for Cindy and Michael and hike around the lake at Bond Park in Cary.

Did manage to get a short visit in with kids (not as much as anticipated), but any face time with my kids is well worth any effort.  Took the kids to the Alpaca Peruvian Restaurant for their first experience with that South American cuisine.

Mic is Front Row (first on left).  A pic with Triangle Ultimate from 2015.  We watched Mic and Madison support the Immaculata Team in a tournament on Saturday Jan 30th.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Friday, January 01, 2016

Kids will be Kids in the New Year.....


New Year's Resolution... less time in front of the iPhone, computer and plugged into the iPod and MORE EXERCISE in the Outdoors and sunshine.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Holidays with the kids

We spent much time in Charleston.  Lots more to do there for the kids than there is in MI.

We visit the historic district, the Market, the Waterfront Park and more....

at the Brown Dog Deli in d/town Charleston

view of Ft. Sumter from the waterfront park

sun in our eyes

Cook Am. Surrealist exhibit 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sharon (at MUSC) with our Favorite Republican Presidential Candidate Dr. Ben Carson.

Sharon was working at MUSC Children's Hospital when Dr. Ben Carson and his wife (and entourage) came to town and specifically to the MUSC campus to visit patients and staff on his campaign trail for the Republican nominee.  

We both feel he is a very capable person for the White House, smart and with integrity.  He may just be too nice for that office however, as his soft-spoken demeanor is sometimes trumped (no pun intended) by career politicians and slick loudmouthed contenders.  His chances may be slim to win the nomination or even a place as the leader of the "free world".  But we can only dream of a non-lawyer, non-politician, statesman with a brain on his shoulders and integrity to land in the White House and save our Nation.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Uncle Ger's 91st birthday

Looking good for 91.

Many happy future birthdays.

Love JP & Sharon

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 12, 13, 14 & 15 (Europe)

Post-Op and recovering for Friday and Saturday her docs felt an afternoon discharge after pulling her drains and enough IV antibiotics to let her go.  Sharon and I walked back to our hotel at a sloth's pace.  Each day Sharon walked more and faster gaining her strength back.  Our hotel (Athena Spa Hotel) is a 10-min walk and close to the rail line.  We could have been stuck in worse situation, but we are making the most of it.  Sharon's Post Op course involved almost 200Euro of medical prescriptions and supplies and our hotel room looks like a MASH unit.  Plan is for us to leave by train tomorrow from Strasbourg to Frankfurt, Germany and then catch a flight out to the USA on Wednesday.

Redlight District Amsterdam

night time in Mainz, Germany

Equestrian Statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, Cologne, Germany
Koblenz, Germany (city where Sharon's grandmother got married)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 11 (Europe): Out with a bad gallbladder

Distended, Inflamed, Infected, Gangrenous and with an abscess on the back wall.  Well it came out a 6PM that night....good ridden.  Now we can start a recovery.  Dr. Lucca Arru and his team at the university hospital did a good job.  He even called me a 10PM to let me know Sharon did great.

Day 8, 9, 10 (Europe on hold); Bad Gallbladder or just too much Cheese?

Well after what we though may have been a recovery of Sharon's acute abdominal condition, it appears to have taken a turn for the worse.  She was in such excruciating pain that we had to call a local doctor from Strasbourg, FR where we were docked for the day to come on board and make an assessment..... an hour later and we are both being taking to the University Hospital in Strasbourg (teaching hospital) via ambulance.  After a 6-hour ER visit and CT scan it was determined she has cholecystitis (an infected gallbladder) with some abscess and needed IV antibiotics and surgery.  The following day an MRI was performed and that evening she had surgery 5PM our time to about 9:30PM.  The following day she was in much better shape.  No pain and no vomiting.

The staff and doctors here have been wonderful,  very compassionate and most speak English pretty well.  Only downside is that in France, everything takes so much longer; nobody is in a big hurry to do anything.  I am staying a 5-min walk away from the hospital at the Athena Hotel (lucky for me to get a room and so close, as this is "Europe week" when members of the EU Parliament (based in this town) meet once a month for a week.)  So the saga continues,  IV antibiotics, hospitalization until Sharon recovers and we can travel back to the USA.  Well there are worse places to be stranded.  I have taken the time, while Sharon recovers and catches up on her sleep and rest, to explore and immerse myself into the French language and culture.

 More later.......

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 7 (Europe) - Gutenburg & Castle

Sharon still a bit under the weather yet more active and moving around a bit.  We were in Mainz, Heidelberg and Mannheim.  Most of the day was spent with a morning tour of Mainz to the Gutenburg museum to see one of the first movable type set printing systems and one of the oldest printed Bibles.  Heidelberg was a 40 min bus ride from the boat.  They served an authentic GERMAN meal this day.  La Strada a trio of musicians 2 on violin and one on guitar entertained us.

In Heidelberg we visited the very famous ruins of one of the largest castle complexes in Germany, perched up atop a mountain overlooking the town.

Sharon caught up on some reading, watched a few movies and walked the top deck.

more pics to follow

Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 6 (Europe) another day without Sharon

Our next stop on the Rhine is the town of Koblenz.  This is the town where Sharon's grandmother was married and lived close before immigrating with her new husband to the USA.  Koblenz was to be the highlight of Sharon's trip to her ancestral homeland.  However, she was too ill with belly pain to get off the ship, so she viewed the town ship-side.  This had to be one of the cleanest, best manicured towns yet visited on the River.  Picturesque and with a lot of history upon history.  The photos of this town are amazing and where the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Moselle is this very important city of commerce and military.

From Koblenz we traveled by water to Rudesheim for a trip to a museum for music boxes and music cabinets.  Quite interesting and noisy too.  Hung with Dan and Kathy most of the day, as Sharon was making a recovery on board.

more pictures to follow.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 5 (Europe) a visit to the local ER

So all was going so well until Sharon's stomach erupted into a violent pain.  Happened about 2 weeks ago and she had to visit our local ER in Murrells Inlet.  This time the crew on our ship had to call an ambulance to take her to the nearest ER in Cologne Germany.  After the friendly staff started and IV, did some preliminary studies and administered some medications things subsided a bit.  1.5 Km back to the ship we walked so as not to miss our boat.

Ultra Sound once we get back to the USA.  Likely a bad gallbladder.

Cologne by the way is home to one of the most beautiful Gothic Cathedrals.  Also the smell good stuff Europeans use to cover up the fact that they bathe only once a week... well that originated here too.

Day 4 (Europe)... on the Rhine

A night and 1/2-day cruising on the Rhine River.  Exiting Amsterdam via the Amsterdam Canal-Rhine canal thru several locks brings us by morning to the Rhine River bordered on each side by France & Germany.  We cruised past several cities on each side and also Dusseldorf on our way to Cologne.  Mostly industrial areas on both sides, but also lush green with pastured sheep and cows.

4PM arrival in Cologne

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Europe Day 3 (more Amsterdam... onto our ship)

Another day in Amsterdam, damp and overcast all day, with a mild sprinkle of rain all day essentially.  A walk about town, taking in some more scenery and scoping out some gifts for folks back home.  #1 choice... cheese.  There are some 60 museums in Amsterdam making it one of the cities in Europe with the most museums.  Also there are more canals here then I believe in Venice.  There is even a museum for cheese, the canals and prostitutes (and even one for hemp).  So we bought a bunch of cheese rounds for our staff.

Onto the ArtistryII the Avalon ship and our home for the next 8 days.  Met up with Kathy and Dan (who almost missed the boat ... again).  Dinner first night was excellent.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Europe Day 2 (Amsterdam)

A full 2nd day in Amsterdam.  Taking in the Anne Frank House museum which tells such as sad story of what humans do to each other.  We also visited several churches and the museum complex (Van Goug, I AMsterdam, etc.)  and without too much thought we visited the RedLight District.  Among churches on each corner there were windows illuminated with red florescent lights housing ladies of the evening.  We will stop there.

Tried my luck at the Bitter Balls (bitterballen) which is a specialty appetizer in Holland.  Essentially they are soggy meat balls of some sort that have been deep crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Served a platter of 6, ate one.  That was enough for a lifetime.  Herring eaten raw covered in minced raw onion is another treat that is tossed back, but May is the season for that... thank God.

More pictures to follow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day 1 on Europe Trip October 14th 2015

Day ONE was AIR DAY.

we flew from RDU to Newark/NY and then to Amsterdam.  SO the entire day was in the air it seemed.  Flew United and it was not too bad.  More space and nice folks around.  No screaming kids or morbidly obese folks squashing us for 8 hrs.

Arrived in Amsterdam at 8 AM and survived a non-sanctioned Taxi ride from the Airport to our Crowne Plaza hotel down in city central.  The day was spent catching up on rest and sleep with naps and exploring the area around the hotel on foot.  Lots of restaurants and shops and "Soft Drug" shops... sampling psychedelic mushrooms and weed.  We are not likely to do any of that stuff even if it is legal here.  Cheese on the other hand is big here and many shops sample you to death.  So if this continues we may need some help with BMs.

pics to follow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Down the Rhine.

Aboard the Artistry II  we are in Cat E  Cabin 104.  The ship was built in 2013, a length of 361 m, crew of 37 and 62 rooms.

Avelon's Artistry II on the Rhine River  for more information.  Sharon and I will be starting out in Amsterdam and ending up in Basel with a short trip to Zurich.

When we can we will post pics to this blog for friends and family.

We will see ya'll back State Side on the 26th.

Monday, October 05, 2015

23rd Annual Conference on Civil War Medicine. Frederick, MD. Dr. Saleeby to lecture on Dr. Porcher.

Twenty-Third Annual Conference on Civil War Medicine

October 9, 2015 @ 9:00 am – October 11, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
Frederick, MD 

8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
Registration/Information Desk Open
Vendors Open

9:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m.
Welcome Remarks

9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.               
Malaria, Scourge of the Civil War and Today
Peter J. Weina, PhD, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Colonel, Medical Corps, USA

10:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Dr. Francis P. Porcher: Herbalist for the CSA. Herbs used then and Now
Yusuf M. Saleeby, MD

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Lunch   (At the Hotel)

12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
Development of Medical Purveyors in the United States Army
Mavis Slawson, RN

1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m.
The History of Medical Packs
AFMOA Medical Logistics Division

2:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
15 min. break 

3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Panel on Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office

4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
30 min. break

4:30 p.m.
Happy Hour at Hotel

8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
Transport to Lutheran Church, the walk to the Medical Museum
9:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m.
“We labor under many disadvantages”: The Army of Northern Virginia’s Medical Corps in the Maryland Campaign
Kevin R. Pawlak

10:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
Medicinal Alcohol in the Civil War
Guy R. Hasegawa, Pharm.D.

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Lunch on your own

1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
1st Section of Tour

3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
2nd Section of Tour

4:30 p.m.
Gather at the Medical Museum

5:00 p.m.
Dinner at Brewer’s Alley

8:00 a.m.
Vendors Open
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
A Pile of Limbs
Robert Slawson, MD, FACR

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Canadian Surgeons and Nurses in the Civil War
Roderick M. Holloway, B.A.(Hons.) B.Ed., M.Ed., LLB

11:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Break  No Food

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Frederick Law Olmsted and the USSC: “Let us off jacket and go about it.”
Charles E. Driscoll, MD

12:20 p.m.
Farewell, Vendors Close, Turn in Evaluation Sheets

Thomas Frezza
Director of Training, Outreach Specialist
National Museum of Civil War Medicine
301-695-1864 Ext. 1011

church used as hospital in CW in Frederick.

Frederick MD farm

Clara Barton's original scroll w/ names of missing USA soldiers

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Medical Diploma of the MUSC school of Med  c. 1860s