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Dennis Donovan

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Member since: Wed Oct 15, 2008, 06:29 PM
Number of posts: 10,058

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44 Years Ago Today; Sara Jane Moore attempts to assassinate President Ford


President Ford wincing at the sound of Moore’s gunfire during the assassination attempt in San Francisco

On September 22, 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate Gerald Ford in San Francisco. Moore fired two gunshots at President Ford, which both missed.

Moore was evaluated by the Secret Service earlier in 1975, but agents decided that she posed no danger to the president. She was detained by police on an illegal handgun charge the day before the assassination attempt, but was released. The police confiscated her .44 caliber revolver and 113 rounds of ammunition.

President Gerald Ford was traveling to San Francisco to address a World Affairs Council.

Assassination attempt
At 3:30 p.m., after speaking to the World Affairs Council, Ford emerged from the Post Street entrance of the St. Francis Hotel in Union Square, then walked towards his limousine. Before boarding the vehicle, he stopped and waved to the crowd that had gathered across the street.

Sara Jane Moore, who was in the crowd, fired two shots aimed at Ford with her .38 Special revolver from a distance of 40 feet away. The first shot narrowly missed Ford’s head by five inches, going through the wall above the doorway. Upon hearing the gunfire, a bystander named Oliver Sipple dove towards Moore and grabbed her shooting arm. That action redirected her second shot away from Ford when it fired, which instead struck John Ludwig (a 42-year-old taxi driver standing inside the hotel) in the groin. Ludwig survived his injuries.

This photograph was taken one second after the assassination attempt. From this vantage point, Ford is standing directly behind the man wearing the spotted necktie.

San Francisco Police Capt. Timothy Hettrich subdued Moore by grabbing her and wrestling the gun from her hand. Moore was immediately swarmed and jumped on by other officers. In the meantime, the President’s Secret Service team pushed Ford into the limousine. The vehicle then quickly sped off towards San Francisco International Airport, from where he flew back to Washington, D.C.

Moore pleaded guilty to charges of attempted assassination on December 12, 1975.[6] The following month on January 15, she was sentenced to life imprisonment. On December 31, 2007 at the age of 77, Moore was released on parole.

Oliver Sipple
As for Sipple, he was commended at the scene by Secret Service and the police for his actions; the media portrayed him as a national hero. Three days after the assassination attempt in San Francisco, Sipple received a letter from President Ford praising him for his heroic actions.

All of the media publicity about him was not without controversy however. Upon realizing that Sipple was gay, the media began broadcasting this information. That became the first time that Sipple’s parents and family found out that Sipple was homosexual, as he had been hiding it from them. After learning about his sexual orientation, much of his family, including his parents, disowned and estranged from him. They later reconciled those relationships. Sipple died in 1989.

President Ford
After President Ford was rushed to the SFO tarmac in his limousine, he quickly boarded Air Force One. But before Ford could depart on his return trip to the nation’s capital, the plane had to wait for his wife Betty, the First Lady, who was carrying out her own schedule of events on the Peninsula.

President Ford with his wife Betty aboard the return flight to Washington DC from San Francisco later on the same day as the assassination attempt

In addition to the San Francisco incident, Ford also escaped unharmed from a previous assassination attempt on him in Sacramento, California 17 days earlier on September 5, 1975. In response to those two occurrences in the same month, President Ford wore a bulletproof trench coat in public beginning October 1975.

The bulletproof trenchcoat that Ford began wearing in public in October 1975 due to two assassination attempts targeting him during the previous month

Ford attempted to extend his presidency by running for election in 1976. He lost to Jimmy Carter 297-240 in the electoral vote. He never ran for president again. In 2006, Ford died by natural causes.


The next attempted assassination of a sitting POTUS was Jimmy Carter, by this villain:

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Sep 22, 2019, 10:53 AM (2 replies)

71 years Ago Today; USAF pilot Gail Halvorsen begins "Operation Little Vittles" over Berlin


Halvorsen, who pioneered the idea of dropping candy bars and bubble gum with handmade miniature parachutes, which later became known as "Operation Little Vittles".

Colonel Gail Seymour "Hal" Halvorsen (born October 10, 1920) is a retired officer and command pilot in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the "Berlin Candy Bomber" or "Uncle Wiggly Wings" and gained fame for dropping candy to German children during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949.

Halvorsen grew up in rural Utah but always had a desire to fly. He earned his private pilot's license in 1941 and then joined the Civil Air Patrol. He joined the United States Army Air Forces in 1942 and was assigned to Germany on July 10, 1948, to be a pilot for the Berlin Airlift. Halvorsen piloted C-47s and C-54s during the Berlin airlift ("Operation Vittles" ). During that time he founded "Operation Little Vittles", an effort to raise morale in Berlin by dropping candy via miniature parachute to the city's residents. Halvorsen began "Little Vittles" with no authorization from his superiors but over the next year became a national hero with support from all over the United States. Halvorsen's operation dropped over 23 tons of candy to the residents of Berlin. He became known as the "Berlin Candy Bomber", "Uncle Wiggly Wings", and "The Chocolate Flier".

Halvorsen has received numerous awards for his role in "Operation Little Vittles", including the Congressional Gold Medal. However, "Little Vittles" was not the end of Halvorsen's military and humanitarian career. Over the next 25 years, Halvorsen advocated for and performed candy drops in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Japan, Guam, and Iraq. Halverson's professional career included various notable positions. He helped to develop reusable manned aircraft at the Directorate of Space and Technology and served as commander of Berlin Tempelhof Airport. He retired in August 1974 after logging over 8,000 flying hours. From 1976 until 1986 Halvorsen served as the Assistant Dean of Student Life at Brigham Young University.

Operation "Little Vittles"

A Douglas C-54 Skymaster dropping candy over Berlin, c. 1948/49

Lieutenant Halvorsen's role in the Berlin Airlift was to fly one of many C-54 cargo planes used to ferry supplies into the starving city. During his flights he would first fly to Berlin, then deeper into Soviet-controlled areas. Halvorsen had an interest in photography and on his days off often went sightseeing in Berlin and shot film on his personal handheld movie camera. One day in July, he was filming plane takeoffs and landings at Tempelhof, the main landing site for the airlift. While there, he saw about thirty children lined up behind one of the barbed-wire fences. He went to meet them and noticed that the children had nothing. Halvorsen remembers: "I met about thirty children at the barbed wire fence that protected Tempelhof's huge area. They were excited and told me that 'when the weather gets so bad that you can't land, don't worry about us. We can get by on a little food, but if we lose our freedom, we may never get it back.'" Touched, Halvorsen reached into his pocket and took out two sticks of gum to give to the children. The kids broke it into little pieces and shared it; the ones who did not get any sniffed the wrappers. Watching the children, so many of whom had absolutely nothing, Halvorsen regretted not having more to give them. Halvorsen recorded that he wanted to do more for the children, and so told them that the following day he would have enough gum for all of them, and he would drop it out of his plane. According to Halvorsen, one child asked "How will we know it is your plane?" to which Halvorsen responded that he would wiggle his wings, something he had done for his parents when he first got his pilot's license in 1941.

That night Halversen, his copilot, and his engineer pooled their candy rations for the next day's drop. The accumulated candy was heavy, so in order to ensure the children were not hurt by the falling candy, Halvorsen made three parachutes out of handkerchiefs and tied them to the rations. In the morning when Halvorsen and his crew made regular supply drops, they also dropped three boxes of candy attached to handkerchiefs. They made these drops once a week for three weeks. Each week, the group of children waiting at the Tempelhof airport fence grew significantly.

When word reached the airlift commander, Lieutenant General William H. Tunner, he ordered it expanded into Operation "Little Vittles", named as a play on the airlift's name of Operation Vittles. Operation Little Vittles began officially on September 22, 1948. Support for this effort to provide the children of Berlin with chocolate and gum grew quickly, first among Halvorsen's friends, then to the whole squadron. As news of Operation Little Vittles reached the United States, children and candymakers from all over the US began contributing candy. By November 1948, Halvorsen could no longer keep up with the amount of candy and handkerchiefs being sent from across America. College student Mary C. Connors of Chicopee, Massachusetts offered to take charge of the now national project and worked with the National Confectioner's Association to prepare the candy and tie the handkerchiefs. With the groundswell of support, Little Vittles pilots, of which Halvorsen was now one of many, were dropping candy every other day. Children all over Berlin had sweets, and more and more artwork was getting sent back with kind letters attached to them. The American candy bombers became known as the Rosinenbomber (Raisin Bombers), while Halvorsen himself became known by many nicknames to the children of Berlin, including his original moniker of "Uncle Wiggly Wings", as well as "The Chocolate Uncle", "The Gum Drop Kid" and "The Chocolate Flier".

Operation "Little Vittles" was in effect from September 22, 1948, to May 13, 1949. Although Lieutenant Halvorsen returned home in January 1949, he passed on leadership of the operation to one of his friends, Captain Lawrence Caskey. Upon his return home, Halvorsen met with several individuals who were key in making Operation "Little Vittles" a success. Halvorsen personally thanked his biggest supporter Dorothy Groeger, a homebound woman who nonetheless enlisted the help of all of her friends and acquaintances to sew handkerchiefs and donate funds. He also met the schoolchildren and "Little Vittles" committee of Chicopee, Massachusetts who were responsible for preparing over 18 tons of candy and gum from across the country and shipping it to Germany. In total, it is estimated that Operation "Little Vittles" was responsible for dropping over 23 tons of candy from over 250,000 parachutes.

Personal life

Gail Halvorsen ca. 1983

Colonel Halvorsen's work with Operation "Little Vittles" not only won him international acclaim, but "drew him two proposals" according to one U.S. newspaper. He turned both of them down, hoping that the girl he left home in Garland, Utah would still have feelings for him. Halvorsen had met Alta Jolley in 1942 at Utah State Agricultural College. After Halvorsen left for Germany, the couple carried on their courtship via mail. Gail Halvorsen and Alta Jolley were married in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 16, 1949. The Halvorsens had five children, all of whom were raised in various parts of the United States and Germany as Halvorsen fulfilled his military assignments. After Colonel Halvorsen's retirement in 1974, the couple moved to Provo, Utah. From 1976 until 1986 Halvorsen served as the Assistant Dean of Student Life at Brigham Young University. Alta and Halvorsen were both active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). They served as missionaries for the LDS Church from 1986 to 1987 in London, England, and again from 1995 to 1997 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Alta died on January 25, 1999, at which time the couple had 24 grandchildren. Five years later, Halvorsen married again, this time to his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Pace. The couple currently resides in Spanish Fork, Utah on their farm, and spend winters in Arizona.


Colonel Halvorsen is still with us and is a personal hero of mine. He will be 99 next month.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Sep 22, 2019, 10:19 AM (4 replies)

Did you know that MS Stockholm, the ship that collided with SS Andrea Doria 1956, is still sailing?

She's now known as MV Astoria, and has been heavily refitted, but she still plies the ocean:

MV Astoria was constructed as an ocean liner and subsequently rebuilt as a cruise ship. She was ordered in 1944, and launched 9 September 1946, as Stockholm by Götaverken in Gothenburg for the Swedish America Line (SAL). She made her Maiden voyage in 1948, under the command of captain John Nordlander. During her seven decades of service she has passed through several owners and sailed under the names Völkerfreundschaft, Volker, Fridtjof Nansen, Italia I, Italia Prima, Valtur Prima, Caribe, Athena, and Azores before beginning service as Astoria in March 2016.

As Stockholm, she was best known for an accidental collision with Andrea Doria in 1956, resulting in the sinking of the latter ship and 46 fatalities.

About the collision with SS Andrea Doria:


SS Andrea Doria

Final voyage
A collision course

The 51st westbound crossing of the Andrea Doria to New York began as a typical run on the North Atlantic. Her most recent eastbound crossing from New York had concluded on 14 July, and after a three-day turnaround the ship was prepared to make another trek across the Atlantic, which was scheduled to begin from Genoa on Tuesday, 17 July. On this run she was booked to roughly 90% of her total passenger capacity with 1,134 passengers travelling aboard her; 190 in First Class, 267 in Cabin Class and 677 in Tourist Class, which in addition to her crew of 572 would add up to a total of 1,706 persons aboard.

On the morning of 17 July, boarding at the pier at Genoa began at 8 AM, as the Doria took on her first batch of passengers. In all, 277 passengers embarked at Genoa; 49 First Class, 72 Cabin Class and 156 Tourist Class. Among those boarding in First Class were Hungarian ballet dancers Istvan Rabovsky and Nora Kovach, who had defected from the Soviet bloc to the United States just three years earlier. The Doria departed Genoa at 11 AM on the first leg of her journey.

Her first port of call was at Cannes, on the French Riviera, where she arrived about mid afternoon that same day. Only a handful of passengers boarded here, 48 in all; 30 First Class, 15 Cabin Class and only 3 Tourist Class. Among them was one of the Doria's most famous passengers, Hollywood actress Ruth Roman, who was travelling with her three-year-old son Richard. From Cannes the Doria then proceeded on the next part of her crossing, which led her 400 nautical miles (700 km) to the southeast to Naples, where she arrived later the following morning to take on the bulk of her passengers. A total of 744 came aboard at Naples; another 85 in First Class, 161 in Cabin Class and 498 in Tourist Class, most of the latter were Italian immigrants from impoverished regions of southern Italy on their way to new lives in America. She departed Naples just after 6 PM that evening[14], making her final port of call two days later while dropping anchor off Gibraltar. After collecting her final 65 passengers (26 First Class, 19 Cabin Class, 20 Tourist Class), she proceeded onto the open Atlantic for New York.

On Wednesday, 25 July, just before noon, MS Stockholm, a passenger liner of the Swedish American Line, departed New York Harbor on her 103rd eastbound crossing across the Atlantic to her home port of Gothenburg, Sweden. At 12,165 tons and 160 metres (525 ft) in length, roughly half the size of Andrea Doria, Stockholm was the smallest passenger liner on the North Atlantic run during the 1950s. Completed in 1948, Stockholm was of a much more practical design compared to Andrea Doria. Originally built to accommodate only 395 passengers in two classes, Stockholm was designed more for comfort than the luxury and opulence found aboard Andrea Doria. The main reason for this was that the Swedish-American Line was aware that the age of Trans-Atlantic passenger travel was coming to an end with the rapid growth of air travel. However, what they did not envision was the massive surge in tourism which arose during the 1950s. This resulted in the Swedish-American Line's decision to withdraw Stockholm from service in 1953 for an overhaul which included an addition to her superstructure to provide space for accommodations for an additional 153 passengers, increasing her maximum passenger capacity to 548. This proved to be a successful move, as by 1956 Stockholm had gained a worthy reputation on the North Atlantic. On this voyage, she left New York almost booked to capacity with 534 passengers and a crew of 208, a total of 742 people aboard. She was commanded by Captain Harry Gunnar Nordenson, though Third Officer Johan-Ernst Carstens-Johannsen was on duty on the bridge at the time of the accident. Stockholm was following its usual course east to Nantucket Lightship, making about 18 knots (33 km/h) with clear skies. Carstens estimated visibility at 6 nautical miles (11 km).

As Stockholm and Andrea Doria were approaching each other head-on, in the heavily used shipping corridor, the westbound Andrea Doria had been traveling in heavy fog for hours. The captain had reduced speed slightly from 23.0 to 21.8 knots (42.6 to 40.4 km/h), activated the ship's fog-warning whistle, and had closed the watertight doors, all customary precautions while sailing in such conditions. However, the eastbound Stockholm had yet to enter what was apparently the edge of a fog bank and was seemingly unaware of it and the movement of the other ship hidden in it. The waters of the North Atlantic south of Nantucket Island are frequently the site of intermittent fog as the cold Labrador Current encounters the Gulf Stream.

As the two ships approached each other, at a combined speed of 40 knots (74 km/h), in failing light, each was aware of the presence of another ship; but guided only by radar they apparently misinterpreted each other's course. No radio communication was made between the two ships, at first.

The original inquiry established that in the critical minutes before the collision, Andrea Doria gradually steered to its left, attempting a starboard-to-starboard passing, while Stockholm turned about 20° to its right, an action intended to widen the passing distance of a port-to-port passing. In fact, they were actually steering towards each other – narrowing, rather than widening, the passing distance. As a result of the extremely thick fog that enveloped Andrea Doria as the ships approached each other, the ships were quite close by the time visual contact was established. By then, the crews realized that they were on a collision course, but despite last-minute maneuvers, they could not avoid the collision.

In the last moments before impact, Stockholm turned hard to starboard (right) and was in the process of reversing her propellers, attempting to stop. Andrea Doria, remaining at her cruising speed of almost 22 knots (41 km/h) engaged in a hard turn to port (left), her captain hoping to outrun the collision. Around 11:10 pm, the two ships collided, Stockholm striking the side of Andrea Doria.

Impact and penetration

SS Andrea Doria the morning after the collision with the MS Stockholm in fog off Nantucket Island: The hole in her starboard side from the collision with Stockholm is visible near the waterline about one-third aft of the bow.

When Andrea Doria and Stockholm collided at almost a 90° angle, Stockholm's sharply raked ice breaking prow pierced Andrea Doria's starboard side about one-third of her length from the bow. It penetrated the hull to a depth of nearly 40 feet (12 m), and the keel. Below the waterline, five fuel tanks on Andrea Doria's starboard side were torn open, and they filled with thousands of tons of seawater. Meanwhile, air was trapped in the five empty tanks on the port side, causing them to float more readily, contributing to a severe list. The ship's large fuel tanks were mostly empty at the time of the collision, since the ship was nearing the end of her voyage, but all the empty fuel tanks did was further increase the list.

26 July 1956: After colliding with Andrea Doria, Stockholm with severely damaged prow, heads to New York.

Andrea Doria was designed with her hull divided into 11 watertight compartments, separated by steel bulkheads which ran across the width of her hull, rising from the bottom of the ship's hull up to A Deck. The only openings in the bulkheads were on the bottom deck, where watertight doors were installed for use by the engine crew and could be easily closed in an emergency. Her design specified that if any two adjacent compartments out of any of her 11 watertight compartments were breached, she could remain afloat. In addition, following the rules and guidelines set by the International Conference for Safety of Life at Sea of 1948, Andrea Doria was also designed to take a list, even under the worst imaginable circumstances, no more than 15°. However, the combination of the five flooded tanks on one side and the five empty tanks on the other left Andrea Doria with a list which within a few minutes of the collision exceeded 20°. While the collision itself penetrated only one of Andrea Doria's watertight compartments, the severe list would gradually pull the tops of the bulkheads along the starboard side below the level of the water, allowing seawater to flow down corridors, down stairwells, and any other way it could find into the next compartment in line. In addition, the collision had also torn into an access tunnel which ran from the generator room, which was located in the compartment directly aft of where the collision had happened, to a small room at the forward end of the tank compartment which contained the controls for the pumps for the tanks. It was here that there was a fatal flaw in Andrea Doria's design, as at the point where the tunnel went through the bulkhead separating the two compartments, no watertight door was present. This allowed the generator room to flood rapidly, contributing to not only an increase in flooding, but also to a loss of electricity to the stricken liner.

Initial radio distress calls were sent out by each ship, and in that manner, they learned each other's identities. Soon afterwards, the messages were received by numerous radio and Coast Guard stations along the New England coast, and the world soon became aware that two large ocean liners had collided.

This was the SOS sent by Andrea Doria:

"SOS DE ICEH [this is Andrea Doria] SOS HERE AT 0320 GMT LAT. 40.30 N 69.53 W NEED IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE"

Assessing damage and imminent danger
Immediately after the collision, Andrea Doria began to take on water and started to list severely to starboard. Within minutes, the list was at least 18°. After the ships separated, Captain Calamai quickly brought the engine controls to "all stop". One of the watertight doors to the engine room may have been missing, though this issue was later determined to be moot. Much more importantly, however, crucial stability was lost by the earlier failure, during routine operations, to ballast the mostly empty fuel tanks as the builders had specified. (Filling the tanks with seawater as the fuel was emptied would have resulted in more costly procedures to refuel when port was reached.) Owing to the immediate rush of seawater flooding the starboard tanks, and because the port tanks had emptied during the crossing, the list was greater than would otherwise have been the case. As it increased over the next few minutes to 20° or more, Calamai realized no hope was left for his ship unless the list could be corrected.

In the engine room, engineers attempted to pump water out of the flooding starboard tanks to no avail. Only a small amount of fuel remained, and the intakes to pump seawater into the port tanks were now high out of the water, making any attempt to level the ship futile.

Aboard Stockholm, roughly 30 feet (10 m) of her bow had been crushed and torn away. Initially, the ship was dangerously down by the bow, but emptying the freshwater tanks soon raised the bow to within 4 inches (10 cm) of normal. A quick survey determined that the major damage did not extend aft beyond the bulkhead between the first and second watertight compartments. Thus, despite being down at the bow, and having its first watertight compartment flooded, the ship was soon determined to be stable and in no imminent danger of sinking.

Rescue operations
On Andrea Doria, the decision to abandon ship was made within 30 minutes of impact. A sufficient number of lifeboats for all of the passengers and crew were positioned on each side of the Boat Deck. Procedures called for lowering the lifeboats to be fastened alongside the glass-enclosed Promenade Deck (one deck below), where evacuees could step out of windows directly into the boats, which would then be lowered down to the sea. However, it was soon determined that half of the lifeboats, those on the port side, were unlaunchable due to the severe list, which left them high in the air. To make matters worse, the list also complicated normal lifeboat procedures on the starboard side. Instead of loading lifeboats at the side of the Promenade Deck and then lowering them into the water, it would be necessary to lower the boats empty, and somehow get evacuees down the exterior of the ship to water level to board. This was eventually accomplished through ropes and Jacob's ladders. In fear of causing a panic and stampeding of the starboard lifeboats, Captain Calamai decided against giving the order to abandon ship until help arrived. In the meantime, Second Officer Badano made announcements over the loudspeaker system instructing passengers to put on their lifebelts and go to their designated muster stations.

A distress message was relayed to other ships by radio, making it clear that additional lifeboats were urgently needed. The first ship to respond to Andrea Doria's distress call was the 120-metre (390 ft) freighter Cape Ann of the United Fruit Company, which was returning to the United States after a trip to Bremerhaven, Germany. Upon receiving the message from the stricken Andrea Doria, Captain Joseph Boyd immediately set course for the site of the collision. With a crew of 44 aboard and only two 40-person lifeboats, the assistance Cape Ann could offer was limited, but within minutes, she was joined by other ships heeding the distress call. The US Navy transport USNS Private William H. Thomas, en route to New York from Livorno, Italy, with 214 troops and dependents also responded to the signal and made immediate progress towards the site. Her captain, John Shea, was placed in charge of the rescue operation by the US Navy and readily ordered his crew to prepare their eight usable lifeboats. Also joining the rescue were the US Navy destroyer escort USS Edward H. Allen and the US Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Legare (WSC-144).

81 km (44 nmi) east of the collision site, the French Line's SS Île de France was eastbound from New York en route to her home port of Le Havre, France, with 940 passengers and a crew of 826 aboard. At 44,500 tons and 225 metres (739 ft) in length, the 30-year-old luxury liner was among the largest passenger liners on the North Atlantic run. On that voyage, having left New York the same day as Stockholm, she was under the command of Captain Raoul de Beaudean, a well-respected veteran of the seas who had served the French Line for 35 years. Upon hearing of the collision and the distress call, de Beaudean was at first skeptical of the thought of a modern ship like Andrea Doria actually foundering, and knew that if he did steer back to the collision site only to find that Île de France was not needed, it would mean having to return to New York to refuel and delaying her passengers, which could have been a financial disaster for the French Line. At the same time, he knew that if his services were needed, the French Line would not question his actions in that case. Captain de Beaudean made an attempt to contact Andrea Doria to learn more about the situation, which was unsuccessful, but after making contact with Stockholm, Cape Ann, and Thomas, he quickly realized the severity of the situation and that the lives of over 1,600 people were at risk. He quickly turned Île de France around and set a direct course for the stricken Andrea Doria.

On board Andrea Doria, the launching of the eight usable lifeboats on the starboard side was yet another calamity of the night, as many of the boats left Andrea Doria only partially loaded with about 200 panicked crewmen and very few passengers.

While other ships nearby were en route, Captain Nordenson of Stockholm, having determined that his ship was not in any imminent danger of sinking, and after being assured of the safety of his mostly sleeping passengers, sent some of his lifeboats to supplement the starboard boats from Andrea Doria. In the first hours, many survivors transported by lifeboats from both ships were taken aboard Stockholm. Unlike the Titanic tragedy 44 years earlier, several other nonpassenger ships that heard Andrea Doria's SOS signal steamed as fast as they could, some eventually making it to the scene. Radio communications included relays from the other ships as Andrea Doria's radios had limited range. The United States Coast Guard from New York City also coordinated on land.

Arriving at the scene less than three hours after the collision, as he neared, Captain de Beaudean became concerned about navigating his huge ship safely between the two damaged liners, other responding vessels, lifeboats, and possibly even people in the water. Then, just as Île de France arrived, the fog lifted, and he was able to position his ship in such a way that the starboard side of Andrea Doria was somewhat sheltered. He ordered all exterior lights of Île de France to be turned on. The sight of the illuminated Île de France was a great emotional relief to many participants, crew and passengers alike.

Île de France managed to rescue the bulk of the remaining passengers by shuttling its 10 lifeboats back and forth to Andrea Doria, and receiving lifeboat loads from those of the other ships already at the scene (as well as the starboard boats from Andrea Doria). Some passengers on Île de France gave up their cabins to be used by the wet and tired survivors. Many other acts of kindness were reported by grateful survivors.

In all, 1,663 passengers and crew had been rescued from Andrea Doria. The badly damaged Stockholm, through the use of both her own lifeboats and those from the stricken Andrea Doria, took on a total of 545 survivors, of whom 234 were crew members from Andrea Doria; 129 survivors had been rescued by Cape Ann, 159 by Pvt. William H. Thomas, 77 by Edward H. Allen, including Captain Calamai and his officers, and one very fortunate American sailor who slept through the entire collision and evacuation had been lucky enough to be rescued from the abandoned, sinking liner by the tanker Robert E. Hopkins. Île de France undoubtedly played the largest role in the rescue, having taken on a total of 753 survivors.

Shortly after daybreak, the four-year-old Italian girl and four seriously injured Stockholm crewmen were airlifted from that ship at the scene by helicopters sent by the Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force. A number of passengers and some crew were hospitalized upon arrival in New York.

Andrea Doria capsizes and sinks

Andrea Doria awaiting her impending fate the morning after the collision in the Atlantic Ocean, 26 July 1956

Once the evacuation was complete, Captain Calamai of Andrea Doria shifted his attention to the possibility of towing the ship to shallow water. However, it was clear to those watching helplessly at the scene that the stricken ocean liner was doomed.

After all the survivors had been transferred onto various rescue ships bound for New York, Andrea Doria's remaining crew began to disembark – forced to abandon the ship. By 9:00 am, even Captain Calamai was in a rescue boat. The sinking began at 9:45 am and by 10:00 that morning Andrea Doria was on its side at a right angle to the sea. The starboard side dipped into the ocean and the three swimming pools were seen refilling with water. As the bow slid under, the stern rose slightly, and the port propeller and shaft became visible. As the port side slipped below the waves, some of the unused lifeboats snapped free of their davits and floated upside-down in a row. It was recorded that Andrea Doria finally sank bow first 11 hours after the collision, at 10:09 am on 26 July 1956. The ship had drifted 1.58 nautical miles (2.93 km) from the point of the collision in those 11 hours. Aerial photography of the stricken ocean liner capsizing and sinking won a Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for Harry A. Trask of the Boston Traveler newspaper.

Another interesting thing about the incident, the "miracle girl" of the collision, Linda Morgan, became the First Lady of San Antonio:


Linda Morgan (born 1942), now known as Linda Hardberger, became known as the "miracle girl" following the collision of two large passenger ships in the North Atlantic Ocean on the foggy night of July 25, 1956.

The 14-year-old girl, born in Mexico City, Mexico, was sharing a two-bed cabin with her younger half-sister on the S.S. Andrea Doria en route from Gibraltar when the ship was struck broadside by the prow of the MS Stockholm near Nantucket. During the collision, she was somehow lifted out of her bed and onto the Stockholm's crushed bow, landing safely behind a bulwark as the two ships scraped past each other before separating as the fatally-stricken Andrea Doria disappeared back into the fog.

Morgan shortly after her rescue from the wreckage.

In the ensuing confusion, a Stockholm crewman heard her calling for her mother in Spanish, an unusual language on the Swedish ship. A crewman who spoke Spanish was able to translate. The teen apparently was first to grasp what must have happened, saying to 36-year-old Bernabe Polanco Garcia: "I was on the Andrea Doria. Where am I now?"

Eight-year-old Joan Cianfarra, the sister sleeping on the adjoining bed in Linda's cabin was killed. Her step-father, Camille Cianfarra, a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times, stationed in Spain, was also killed in the adjacent cabin he shared with the girls' mother. They were two of 46 passengers and crew who died in the impact areas on the two ships. After all the surviving passengers and crew were evacuated by several rescue ships (most notably the S.S. Ile de France), the Andrea Doria capsized and sank the next morning. With ships of several nations transporting survivors, communication of news to the waiting families was difficult. Linda Morgan and her younger sister were both listed among missing passengers in the early reports.

Linda's father, ABC Radio Network news commentator Edward P. Morgan, was based in New York City. On his daily broadcast, he reported a memorable account of the collision of the ocean liners, not telling his thousands of listeners that his daughter had been aboard the Andrea Doria and was believed to have been killed.

Linda, who suffered a broken arm, was quickly dubbed the "miracle girl" by the news media as the story of her survival and the circumstances spread. She returned to New York City aboard the crippled Stockholm, where she was reunited with her mother Jane Cianfarra, who had been severely injured in the cabin where her husband had died, and her father. Edward Morgan then made another memorable broadcast less able to conceal his emotions, describing the difference between reporting the news about strangers and his own loved ones, and describing also the extremes of despair, joy, and gratitude that he had experienced.

Linda Morgan was admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, where her broken arm was placed in traction. When Polanco, her Spanish-speaking crewman benefactor, was on a weekend leave from the Stockholm, he went to the hospital to pay a visit. Sister Loretta Bernard, administrator of the hospital, gave Polanco a Miraculous Medal Of Our Lady. Then Linda's father, who had also worked in Mexico, greeted him with a hearty embrace. "Hombre, hombre" said Mr. Morgan, "Man, man how can I ever thank you?"

The young teenager suffered from survivor's guilt, as her stepfather and younger half-sister had been killed, and her mother grievously injured, while she had been spared. Linda moved to San Antonio, Texas in 1970. Her husband since 1968, Phil Hardberger, became Mayor of San Antonio in June 2005.

To me, this is amazing stuff.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 06:25 PM (14 replies)

Glenn Kirschner tweet: Congress - use your lawful powers!

Glenn Kirschner ✔ @glennkirschner2

In 1821, SCOTUS said: Congress’ power to “hold someone in contempt is essential to ensure that Congress is not exposed to every indignity and interruption that rudeness, caprice or even conspiracy may mediate against it.” Congress - use your lawful powers!

Rebecca 🆘 @simplyrebecca8

Replying to @glennkirschner2 and 3 others
Glenn Congress needs you giving them some guidance. Why wouldn’t they use “Inherent Contempt”? I don’t get it! Just finished listening to you and Charlie Savage. You inspired me to go back out on the streets. Heading to Sarasota now! This morning in St Pete! #WeThePeopleMarch

3:08 PM - Sep 21, 2019

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 04:38 PM (6 replies)

55 Years Ago Today; The XB-70 Valkyrie makes its maiden flight


NASA XB-70 Ship One in 1968

The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie was the prototype version of the planned B-70 nuclear-armed, deep-penetration strategic bomber for the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command. Designed in the late 1950s by North American Aviation (NAA), the six-engined Valkyrie was capable of cruising for thousands of miles at Mach 3+ while flying at 70,000 feet (21,000 m).

At these speeds, it was expected that the B-70 would be almost immune to interceptor aircraft, the only effective weapon against bomber aircraft at the time. The bomber would spend only a few minutes over a particular radar station, flying out of its range before the controllers could position their fighters in a suitable location for an interception. High speed also made the aircraft difficult to see on radar displays and its high-altitude capacity could not be matched by any contemporary Soviet fighter.

The introduction of the first Soviet surface-to-air missiles in the late 1950s put the near-invulnerability of the B-70 in doubt. In response, the United States Air Force (USAF) began flying its missions at low level, where the missile radar's line of sight was limited by terrain. In this low-level penetration role, the B-70 offered little additional performance over the B-52 it was meant to replace, while being far more expensive with shorter range. Other alternate missions were proposed, but these were of limited scope. With the advent of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during the late 1950s, manned bombers were increasingly seen as obsolete.

The USAF eventually gave up fighting for its production and the B-70 program was canceled in 1961. Development was then turned over to a research program to study the effects of long-duration high-speed flight. As such, two prototype aircraft, designated XB-70A, were built; these aircraft were used for supersonic test-flights during 1964–69. In 1966, one prototype crashed after colliding with a smaller aircraft while flying in close formation; the remaining Valkyrie bomber is in the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.


This aircraft, as well as the A-12 / SR-71, were (and, arguably, ARE) the apex of aviation technology.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 11:15 AM (1 replies)

Any plans for the Sestercentennial in 7 years?

In 2026, it will be the USA's 250th birthday. I was around for the Bicentennial, which, trust me kiddos that might not have been around for it, was a GREAT party.

*IF* we're still a country in 2026, what kinda things would you like to see in celebration of this event? My FIRST wish is that a Democratic POTUS officiates over it in their second term. My second wish is for CBS to have Sestercentennial Minutes. Also, I really dug The Tall Ships.

My secret wish is that there's a parade in which Donald Trump is in a cage and the parade goers get to chuck rotten vegetables at him.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 10:46 AM (8 replies)

Today is the International Day of Peace 🕊


The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1981, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people. In 2013 the day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters (in New York City). The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as "a reminder of the human cost of war"; the inscription on its side reads, "Long live absolute world peace".

In recent years, a searchable map of events has been published at un.org.

Peace and love to all my DU brothers and sisters.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 10:25 AM (1 replies)

Paraphrasing my favorite Ukrainian: "Start Wearing Orange"

Trump is most deranged!

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Sep 20, 2019, 04:54 PM (1 replies)

**Carol Leonnig tweet: Trump asked Ukraine pres *8 times* to work w/ Guiliani about Biden**


Carol Leonnig


President asked Ukraine president -- eight times -- to work with his personal lawyer to investigate Biden's son https://twitter.com/vmsalama/status/1175131425449947137

Vivian Salama


Pres­i­dent Trump in a July phone call re­peat­edly pres­sured the pres­i­dent of Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate De­mo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Joe Biden’s son, urg­ing Volodymyr Ze­len­sky about 8x to work with Rudy Giu­liani, his per­sonal lawyer https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-defends-conversation-with-ukraine-leader-11568993176

3:43 PM - Sep 20, 2019

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Sep 20, 2019, 03:50 PM (45 replies)

Adam Schiff: Whistleblower protections are sacrosanct in our democracy, Mr. President.


Adam Schiff ✔ @RepAdamSchiff

Whistleblower protections are sacrosanct in our democracy, Mr. President.

Your attack against a whistleblower increases the chance that corruption goes unreported, and heightens risk of an illegal reprisal.

We will do everything we can to protect this, and every, whistleblower.

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

The Radical Left Democrats and their Fake News Media partners, headed up again by Little Adam Schiff, and batting Zero for 21 against me, are at it again! They think I may have had a “dicey” conversation with a certain foreign leader based on a “highly partisan” whistleblowers..

10:57 AM - Sep 20, 2019

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Sep 20, 2019, 11:06 AM (3 replies)
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