Sunday, May 23, 2010

Titan II Missile Site

After traveling across the windy dry desert of west Texas, I found myself in Tucson, AZ. I plan to see several things while there for a week. At the top of my list of things to do was the Titan II missile Museum located about 30 miles south of Tucson. They are part of the Airo-Space Museum next door to the Bone Yard.

One of the first things we did on tour was take a look into the silo.

Then we went 30 feet underground to the Control Room. All the instrumentation panels were of 1960s vintage

Our tour guide spent 20 years stationed here at this site. He had two of our group sit at the controls. He gave them the special keys to use to simulate a launch. The lady at the console that had the buttons to push for launch could not read what the buttons were for because she did not bring her glasses. But the guide told her to just push any of the buttons.

Well, when the tour guide told them to turn the keys together and for her to push the simulated launch button, she got confused and pushed the wrong button.

Sirens went off and Red Lights started flashing and the place started shaking.

In about 10 seconds . . . . . .


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fredricksburg, TX

After a month in San Antonio, I am heading for Tucson, AZ. I will be spending a week there enjoying the many attractions in that area. But first I am stopping in Fredricksburg to take in the National Museum of the Pacific War. What a wonderful museum!

They set you our on a self-guided tour through a maze of rooms that show you what happened in the various stages of the Pacific War. They start with "The Seeds of War" that covers the events before Pearl Harbor. Then as you progress through the museum, you are exposed to the chronological events of our march to Japan. One such event was the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942 with a group of B-25s that took off from an aircraft carrier in a storm. While you are in one of the rooms and are viewing film of the event. Suddenly a wall opens up and there before you is an actual B-25.

They have have several aircraft (what's left of them) displayed with lighting effects that are very theatrical. There were dozens (mostly men) of my age going through the museum and there was not a word spoken. You would have thought you were in a church somewhere. You could tell they were reliving those war years.

They had an actual Japanese sea plane in one of the rooms.

At another facility of the Museum, they take you into a simulated hanger deck of an aircraft carrier where they have displayed and actual Avenger torpedo plane.

I can certainly recommend this museum to anyone who lived though the time of WW II. Even if you didn't, you will be very impressed with their presentation. They even let you stand on a wharf next to a very real PT Boat that is getting ready to go out on a night mission. On and on it goes.

If you are ever in the Texas Hill Country, be sure and stop in Fredricksburg and take in the marvelous museum.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Battle of Flowers Band Fest

The most important event that I wanted to attend out of all 110 events that happen during Fiesta week is the Battle of Flowers Band Fest. This was held in the Alamo Stadium under cloudy skies that threatened to rain, but held off.

There were 32 bands from the area's high schools and Jr. high schools that participated in the competition. Of course to me the Number One band was the band that played for half an hour before the competition started. That was my old band that I played in for two years while in the Army. The 323rd Army Band or what is also called the Medical School Command Band still plays on. My seat for the event was high up in the press box area so I had a birds eye view of the action.

You will notice the camera man. They were all over the place. The event was broadcast on local TV that evening.

Here are a few pictures of one of the high shcool bands warming up.

Each band had 2 minuites to march in and perform their thing in front of the judges. After the compatition, all the bands assembled on the field to play several numbers in unison. WHAT A SOUND! Can you emagine several thousand bandpersons playing at the same time? Take a look.