"An Honorable Place in American Air Power"

Started by NIN, December 12, 2020, 04:31:26 pm

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NIN

December 12, 2020, 04:31:26 pm Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 04:39:11 pm by NIN
Air University Press has published the PDF of Dr. Frank Blazich's** latest book "An Honorable Place in American Air Power": Civil Air Patrol Coastal Patrol Operations, 1942-1943.

A physical print version is forthcoming from AUP, likely in January. When available, the print version will be free to Total Force members.

(** also Colonel Frank Blazich, CAP, former National Historian)

Having been a proofreader for Dr. Blazich, I can tell you that this book is exceptionally well researched.

Edit: The AUP link to the PDF of the book is apparently a slightly older version, the "more complete" version can be found at this link.
Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
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CAPJOE

Quote from: NIN on December 12, 2020, 04:31:26 pmAir University Press has published the PDF of Dr. Frank Blazich's** latest book "An Honorable Place in American Air Power": Civil Air Patrol Coastal Patrol Operations, 1942-1943.

A physical print version is forthcoming from AUP, likely in January. When available, the print version will be free to Total Force members.

(** also Colonel Frank Blazich, CAP, former National Historian)

Having been a proofreader for Dr. Blazich, I can tell you that this book is exceptionally well researched.

Edit: The AUP link to the PDF of the book is apparently a slightly older version, the "more complete" version can be found at this link.

How will a person get a hardcopy of this book?

SarDragon

AUP = Air University Press. They have a web site. Check it in February for availability.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

RiverAux

I'm a little sensitive to the appearance that CAP history started and ended with WWII but I am happy to see a well-researched fully referenced history of this small, but important part of our story.

etodd

Quote from: RiverAux on December 16, 2020, 09:08:38 pmI'm a little sensitive to the appearance that CAP history started and ended with WWII but I am happy to see a well-researched fully referenced history of this small, but important part of our story.

But in many, if not most, ways, it truly was a wholly different organization back then. Very little comparison to a typical Composite Squadron's activities of today. The stuff of history books.
"Don't try to explain it, just bow your head
Breathe in, breathe out, move on ..."

SarDragon

Quote from: RiverAux on December 16, 2020, 09:08:38 pmI'm a little sensitive to the appearance that CAP history started and ended with WWII but I am happy to see a well-researched fully referenced history of this small, but important part of our story.

This was never implied as a complete history of CAP. The title clearly states - Civil Air Patrol Coastal Patrol Operations, 1942-1943. CAP continued operations, on a different scale, even beyond the end of the coastal patrols.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

RiverAux

I didn't say that the title implied a fuller history.  My point is that in general CAP disproportionately highlights our WWII history in comparison to everything that has taken place since then.  A book like this is certainly needed, but CAP needs to start thinking a little beyond WWII when its history our discussed.  That being said, I think things are generally getting somewhat more balanced. 


NIN

Quote from: RiverAux on December 17, 2020, 09:48:24 pmI didn't say that the title implied a fuller history.  My point is that in general CAP disproportionately highlights our WWII history in comparison to everything that has taken place since then.  A book like this is certainly needed, but CAP needs to start thinking a little beyond WWII when its history our discussed.  That being said, I think things are generally getting somewhat more balanced. 

Not being a historian, or an author, I'm not inclined to throw stones at someone who is a historian or author over the subject of their scholarly work. Especially if said scholarly work was undertaken as a part of their day job (in this case, the Smithsonian Institution) and not CAP.

I wonder how many people complained loudly to Stephen Ambrose that he left out all the OTHER regiments, battalions and companies of the 101st Airborne when he wrote Band of Brothers? Or that there were other bridges taken, in wars both before and after World War II, besides Pegasus Bridge. Certainly, there were other Air Forces that participated in WWII, but why oh why did Ambrose only choose to write about the Mighty 8th Air Force, and further narrow the subject to just the B-24?

If you're so sensitive about it, seems like you have your work cut out for you: "A Comprehensive History of Civil Air Patrol: 1945-2020," perhaps?  Tell you what: I'll volunteer to help proofread and edit, just like I did for Dr. Blazich.
Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
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shuman14

QuoteIf you're so sensitive about it, seems like you have your work cut out for you: "A Comprehensive History of Civil Air Patrol: 1945-2020," perhaps?  Tell you what: I'll volunteer to help proofread and edit, just like I did for Dr. Blazich.

Mic drop.

COL Ninness, exits, stage left.  ;D
Joseph J. Clune
Lieutenant Colonel, Military Police

USMCR: 1990 - 1992                           USAR: 1993 - 1998, 2000 - 2003, 2005 - Present     CAP: National Patron 2013 - 2014, SMWOG 2020 - Present
INARNG: 1992 - 1993, 1998 - 2000      Active Army: 2003 - 2005                                       USCGAux: 2004 - Present

NIN

Quote from: shuman14 on December 18, 2020, 12:59:22 amMic drop.

COL Ninness, exits, stage left.  ;D

Honest, I wasn't trying to be "that guy."

But the Good Idea Fairy™ comes in many different forms and functions.

I have no doubt in my mind that YES we need history post-1945 to be collected and told (and darn it, soon... these folks ain't getting any younger).  The issue is a dearth of records and research.

CAP was pretty big during the war, but Coastal Patrol wasn't really _that_ big. It was a slice of the WWII effort. And, strangely, a relatively well documented slice of it, between CAP, Army & Navy records found in the National Archvies.

You will not similarly find the activities of the Podunk Cadet Squadron circa 1954 (or 1964, or 1974) lodged in the National Archives, or those of any of its 1,200-1,500 brother and sister squadrons around the country.

Any good book editor of history or non-fiction will tell you "Don't bite off more than you can chew."

And, when nobody is "paying the freight" on the creation of a book (ie. you didn't get a $100,000 advance to continue your work from Random House or The Naval Institute Press, which I think doesn't give advances), you're not going to have a ton of resources to go out and travel all over to examine the records of the "Astoria, Oregon Historical Society" in search of information about the unit that was there from 1947 to 1957, then disappeared for 6 or 8 years, and then showed back up from 1965 to 1985 (for a time under the name "The Col John L. Hood Jr. Memorial Cadet Squadron") when it disappeared for good. Heck no, that's a HUGE chunk to bite off.

So if you're smart, you pick a narrow subset of a particular history to write about, hopefully one with some extant source materials, and you try to write the best book possible.

I have a friend doing that right now. He's picked a subject of a particular unit and program in a wing that ran from about 1977 to about 1983.  There's plenty of still living people (that he knows) to interview, its got a nice start and end date, there aren't a ton of records outside of personal holdings of the members and former members involved, and much of it will be anecdotal in any event because its a primary source writing.

I've actually kind of kicked that around, too, on a subject that's near and dear to my heart on a national scope. I've even started a bunch of the research.  But then I kind of picked up a new job in CAP and, well, "ain't nobody got time for that" right now.

I think what you'll find is that there's likely to be more well-researched history publications on narrow subjects  that are either "recent past" or "still ongoing," because there's people still alive to interview, photos haven't disappeared to time, etc. I can easily see someone writing a book about the history of Blue Beret, for example.  Or IACE.  Or Hawk Mountain.

But you're not going to write a broad-based book about all of CAP from 1945 till 2020 (as much as I just suggested it earlier) because the breadth of the subject, the lack of source materials and the sheer mountain of research alone would probably kill you.

Whats that old joke about the "World's worst college test question?"  "24. Describe the universe. Give three examples."  Talk about a huge subject... :)
Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
Nothing posted on CAPTalk should be considered policy unless otherwise stated
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2020 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Eclipse

I think the point being made was that WWII history, including the now largely-debunked tale of sunken submarines, 
was a prominent part of (if not the first or second line) CAP press release footers for decades, leaving many to ask
why they were not highlighting more recent activities.

This has only changed in the last 5 or so years, and only after the sub assertions came under
more direct scrutiny.



TheSkyHornet

Okay, I think we beat the guy up about it enough.

In fairness, he does make the point that CAP tends to dwell a lot on its WWII foundation. But that's the whole sexy "combatant force" thing that a lot of people joined CAP to be able to talk about. It's everywhere. We've beat the dead horse enough times on this forum alone about whether or not we sank submarines, and the only reason we talk about it is because the story floats around the CAP community all the time; it's used to tell stories and amp people up.

That said, in fairness, CAP has done remarkable work over the decades, and it often goes untold. But I think some of this comes from the fact that, following the coastal patrol era and the end of CAP's war efforts, the organization, while maybe having a few facelifts over the years, has had a fairly consistent mission in how it performs its primary SAR function(s). So I think a lot of people in the organization today don't need to be told about SAR stories because we see it, maybe not all the time, but now and then. To many, there's not a lot new to tell that we don't already know. Maybe we don't have the exact details and accounts, but the gist is there.

WWII stands out for many people as a very significant part of modern U.S. history. Just yesterday, I had a cadet telling me that his dad sends him daily updates about the Battle of the Bulge timeline (e.g., "The Germans are currently 20 miles past the allied line of defense")..."That's dad's favorite subject. He's such a nerd." So it makes sense that we see WWII as an area of emphasis when it comes to CAP histories. I think if CAP was running counter-intelligence operations in Cambodia in 1972, we'd be talking about that as well.

My hat's off to Col Blazich on his book. I'll be honest and say that I've read it in fragments, but I did save it in my bookmarks and intend to continue reading it in its entirety. I think it's extremely informative for someone like me who doesn't generally dig into all of CAP's history.

I also give kudos to the storytellers of the more present and maybe more prevalent era; although, I think we see a lot of "BIMD" gouge as opposed to recorded and referenced history lessons. I'd love to read up on CAP's involvement in counterdrug and border patrol operations. It's just a personal interest of mine. So whoever comes out with the Blazich-like book on that, I'd love to be the first to crack it open.

History has its relevance throughout. Appreciate what was presented. Respect the untold stories.

Eclipse

December 18, 2020, 04:11:05 pm #12 Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 04:32:50 pm by Eclipse
Quote from: TheSkyHornet on December 18, 2020, 03:57:57 pmThat said, in fairness, CAP has done remarkable work over the decades, and it often goes untold. But I think some of this comes from the fact that, following the coastal patrol era and the end of CAP's war efforts, the organization, while maybe having a few facelifts over the years, has had a fairly consistent mission in how it performs its primary SAR function(s). So I think a lot of people in the organization today don't need to be told about SAR stories because we see it, maybe not all the time, but now and then. To many, there's not a lot new to tell that we don't already know. Maybe we don't have the exact details and accounts, but the gist is there.

Day to day CAP is no more, or less, "interesting", or worthy of "histories" then any other benevolent, charitable community organizaiton like the BSA, which is why no one is generally interested in taking the time.
I can't tell you the number of times I have been contacted by Historians at all levels to contribute
to oral or written histories (including NHQ), only for the project to peter out due to basically there
being nothing to discuss, or the principle of the project disengaging.

To a respective member, even mundane SARExs are "remarkable", because they are different then
their day-to-day, but when you actually take the time to "finally tell that great story", you realize
that "...well, I got coffee, and then Simpson spilled it all over...that was hilarious...and cadet O'Bago
was late, as usual, and kept screwing up the comm logs, and then Marquez finally found the beacon, but
it wasn't the right one, and we tried to hit HF but couldn't get permission for the antenna from the airport...
and then we went to dinner at that great Mexican place..."

Good times.

The current Covid Operations Community Service activities notwithstanding, there have only been a handful of large-scale operations in the 79ish years of existence worthy of note, and many of those had baggage related to either deployment, execution, or both that make them less laudable once the nitty gritty details come out (like say if the French didn't know the Allies were even in Normandy for the first couple of weeks because no one on the Allied side had de Gaulle's new email address.)

While it's very disappointing when a local CC can't even find the names of his predecessors (due largely to
higher HQ and NHQ's inadequate management system and recording keeping), the idea that the average
squadron in Flyover, MD, needs a "history" is mistaken.

Nationally, sure.  Locally. Nah.



etodd

Quote from: Eclipse on December 18, 2020, 04:11:05 pmTo a respective member, even mundane SARExs are "remarkable", because they are different then
their day-to-day, but when you actually take the time to "finally tell that great story", you realize
that "...well, I got coffee, and then Simpson spilled it all over...that was hilarious...and cadet O'Bago
was late, as usual, and kept screwing up the comm logs, and then Marquez finally found the beacon, but
it wasn't the right one, and we tried to hit HF but couldn't get permission for the antenna from the airport...
and then we went to dinner at that great Mexican place..."


^^^^ Funny as heck and spot on accurate. :)

Quote from: Eclipse on December 18, 2020, 04:11:05 pm....... the idea that the average
squadron in Flyover, MD, needs a "history" is mistaken.


Yep. I developed a new website for my squadron a few years ago and was thinking a history page to show what all the squadron had been doing lately would be a great marketing tool. While we are very active, your description above holds a lot of truth. Its hard to write about our activities and make them seem exciting and glamorous.
"Don't try to explain it, just bow your head
Breathe in, breathe out, move on ..."

PHall

Quote from: etodd on December 19, 2020, 12:18:39 amYep. I developed a new website for my squadron a few years ago and was thinking a history page to show what all the squadron had been doing lately would be a great marketing tool. While we are very active, your description above holds a lot of truth. Its hard to write about our activities and make them seem exciting and glamorous.


Yep, just like 99.999% of Air Force squadrons. Day to day ops is not that exciting.

RiverAux

Quote from: NIN on December 17, 2020, 11:14:17 pmNot being a historian, or an author, I'm not inclined to throw stones at someone who is a historian or author over the subject of their scholarly work.

I didn't throw one single stone at the author and said several times that I'm glad he wrote the book. 

In fact, I was complaining about CAP's use of its WWII history. 

No wonder I rarely stop by this place any more. 

RiverAux

I didn't say one negative thing about the author and twice said I'm glad the book came out.  No wonder I hardly ever come here any more.

SarDragon

Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

SarDragon

This has been opened at the request of the OP. Discussion will be limited to impressions of the book, after you have read it! Extraneous commentary will be ruthlessly excised.
Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
50 Year Member
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret

NEBoom

I found it an interesting read for sure.  As with most things I read about this time period, I'm struck by how different things were.  For example, when the decision was made to arm CAP Coastal Patrol aircraft, the Army assigned four enlisted personnel to each patrol base (an NCO, one Corporal, and two Privates) to handle mounting the racks on the aircraft and load the weapons.  On somebody's privately owned aircraft!  Also of note was how personnel authorization for each base had to be increased to allow for security of the bombs at each base!  I cannot imaging the modern AF letting civilians have such weapons, let alone be responsible for their security as well.  Yeah, a different world. 

On a lighter note, one of the first uniforms proposed for CAP was a blue blazer with grey slacks.  Now this version was to have a grey shirt with a black tie, but it's still funny (to me at least) to find the blazer/slacks combo is perhaps the oldest CAP uniform.

Lt Col Dan Kirwan, CAP
Nebraska Wing