I was writing back and forth with Rob, a wonderful fellow blogger. He mentioned that he liked Alberto Vargas. Me too! He’s one of my favorite pin up artists. I really enjoy his work. This redhead is one of his lesser known pin ups but one that I particularly like.
Back in the good old days, you could put nose art on military planes. Not sure if you can put paintings on planes, ships or tanks anymore but I do know you can’t put sexy ladies up there because…because…because…someone might be offended, I guess.
I’d LOVE to offend someone that way. Some girls dream of being hollywood stars. I dreamed of being nose art! Put me in coach!
But I digress…
I discovered a few years ago that the redheaded Vargas girl had been placed as nose art on a B-24D Liberator sometime in the 40’s. Her pilot later wrote about the plane and some of his experiences in combat.
By Daniel P. Rice- Pilot- 512th Squadron, 376th Bomb Group
The airplane which became named the Strawberry Bitch and later was placed on exhibit at the United States Air Force Museum was assigned to our crew at Herington Air Force Base, Kansas, in late August, 1943. I signed an issue ticket for it there. At that point it was merely one of many B-24Ds off the assembly line at San Diego, distinguished from all the rest of its model only by its serial number — at least until it had received its coat of camouflage pink paint. At that point it became one of a much smaller ‘group.
We took the airplane up to check it out and found everything to our satisfaction except for one thing. As we put it through its various trial maneuvers, I noticed that the air speed indicator registered consistently about seven or eight miles per hour slower than it should. (Climbing speed, cruising speed, stalling speed, landing speed, etc.) I recall commenting to the crew after landing that “It looks like we have a real dog”.
But I was not willing to let it rest that way. I sought out the maintenance officer on the flight line, explained my observations to him and asked him to check the airspeed meter for accuracy. Clearly, he didn’t want to do it. I’m sure he felt that it would be an exercise in futility. But I persisted, and with all good grace, in spite of his reluctance, he agreed to make the test. When I checked back with him later, he told me with some wonderment that his men had replaced the instrument. Their test procedure had shown that it registered seven miles per hour too slow.
As the various necessary procedures preliminary to our departure were being completed,
Someone on the crew was thinking that the airplane should have a name. I had not given that any thought, so when our engineer, Sergeant Haberman, came to me asking if they could name it, I agreed. When he told me the name they had in mind, I was a little taken aback. It would not be completely accurate to say that I “approved” their suggested name but I did accept it, and overnight through the talent of someone, there on the flight line, one pink B-24D number 42-72843 became the Strawberry Bitch. That is, the name was painted on there.
The picture of the red haired Vargas girl was not added until after we had been in the 512th Squadron for a while. I don’t remember for sure just where that was done. It could have been at Enfidaville, Tunisia, but I believe it more likely that the picture was added after we moved up to San Pancrazio, Italy. We left Herington on the morning of August 28, 1943, bound for Dow Field at Bangor, Maine. On that flight, after much close observation, I concluded that our artificial horizon was just slightly out of level, and wrote it up on the proper form. Again, the flight line maintenance people promptly installed a replacement instrument.
The next morning we were off again, bound for Gander, Newfoundland. We carried a large brown sealed envelope with instructions to not open it until after we were airborne. After we had gotten lined out on course, I opened it and found Operations Orders Number 398 directing crew number 34-4, whose pilot I was, to proceed by air in B-24D number 42-72843 to Cairo, Egypt, and report to the Ninth Air Force for further assignment and duty. Two other crews from the Bridges Provisional Group were included in the same order, those of Lieutenant John M. Repp and Lieutenant William Metzger, Jr. I paid close attention to the new artificial horizon on that flight and found it satisfactory.
At about 08:45 PM local time on August 30, we left Gander for the flight across the North Atlantic to Prestwick, Scotland.
Most of that ten hours and twenty minutes was about as dull and boring as it can get. For the most part we were between cloud layers, so we could not have seen the ocean even if there had been something down there to look at or any light to see it.
Our navigator couldn’t see the stars to check our position by celestial observations, so we just sat there and kept the compass on his dead reckoning headings. It was almost like spending ten hours straight in a Link Trainer. I did have one small diversion though. After a little while I had the feeling that we were flying in a shallow bank to the left. Our instruments said we were OK, but I couldn’t help remembering that just two days ago I had an artificial horizon, which was not quite accurate. Could I trust this one? Should I?
That question was answered in favor of training over “feeling” and it turned out that instruments were indeed a more reliable indicator of attitude than the “seat of the pants”. We made landfall just where we were supposed to, or at least within reasonable distance, and all was well.
I suppose that we would have been moved on out on the next leg of our trip the next day except for the weather. As the day began, a solid overcast hung low over the field, and nothing was moving. I think it would be accurate to say that the field was closed except for emergencies. We kept an ear tuned and an eye peeled for another pink B-24D, serial number 42-72844, with Bill Metzger and his crew who were traveling with us but who had been held over at Gander. We watched in vain as his expected ETA came and went. The only airplane that came in was a C-54, which rolled to a dead stop on the runway and stayed there. It was rumored that he didn’t have enough fuel left to taxi in, and also that two very high-ranking Air Force generals were aboard. I can neither confirm nor deny the rumor.
It turned out later that Metzger and his crew had been up there somewhere in that soup but were not allowed to land. He was diverted to a small grass field somewhere in the general area, where the airplane was lightened so he could get it back in the air to come on to Prestwick when the weather would permit landing there. Of course the things removed from the airplane had to be brought on to Prestwick by some other means so it could all be reassembled for the continuation of their journey.
The next morning, September 2, we were off to St Mawgen, in Cornwall, which would be the jumping off place for the second long over-water leg on our way to Africa. Here there was another hitch. It was discovered that gasoline been dribbling down over the exhaust pipe of our number one engine, so it was determined that we should be sent to a B-24 repair depot at Watton, northeast of London to get it fixed. There they found a fuel leak in the auxiliary wing tip tank system, and corrected it. Then on September 6, we went back to St Mawgen. Another bug had to be worked out.
That same day we took off for Africa a little while before midnight, and landed at Marrakech about ten hours later. For some reason we were allowed only a very short rest and then were told to move on, even though we had been in the air about 12.5 hours out of the last 24. We chose a fairly short hop (4:40) to Algiers, and rested there a couple of days.
We made one more stop, at Tripoli, before arriving at Cairo on September 11. There we received new orders, to report to Devesoir, which was located on the west bank of the Great Bitter Lake, for the airplane to be made ready for combat and then on (or back) to Berka Two at Benghazi, Libya. There we would join the 376th Bomb Group. We checked in there on September 16, and were further assigned to the 512th Squadron. The Strawberry Bitch was now poised to begin to fulfill its purpose, that of combat operations against the enemy.
My crew did not have the Bitch on any of the airplane’s first three missions. It was assigned to different squadron “old- timers” who had the privilege of breaking in new airplanes, and I was sent out as co-pilot with others who had the dubious honor of breaking in new pilots. Others of the crew were also given temporary “one-mission assignments during this break-in period. We finally were put back together for my fourth mission but with a different airplane.
It was the Bitch’s fourth mission — my fifth — before we were all back together again in “our” airplane. We took off from Benina Plain at Benghazi to bomb Tatoi Airdrome near Athens which was being used by the Germans in their fight with the British over some islands in the eastern Mediterranean. We landed back at Berka Two.
I think we caught them by surprise, for there was no fighter opposition at all and no effective antiaircraft fire. I don’t remember any at all. The next day we were back in the Athens area again for the same purpose, this time at Eleusis Airdrome. The German fighters were ready for us. The “tail end Charlie” element at the extreme right rear corner of the formation took quite a beating as the fighters came at us from the rear. We were in the left wing position of that element and saw both the right wing and the lead ships catch fire and go down. We took a lot of hits ourselves, including 20mm cannon shell bursts in our main wing fuel tanks, but did not catch fire. Our top gunner (engineer) was injured about the left side of his face and head by fragments from the shell burst and holed Plexiglas, but fortunately the wounds were not deep nor life threatening. After a short healing period he was back in the harness and pulling his share of the load again. I don’t suppose I ever did know the full extent of the damage absorbed by the airplane that day. Most of those details have long since dissolved in the mists of time anyway. But I do remember the three or four — possibly more — holes in the top of our wing and fuel tanks through which I could look in and see the gasoline gently sloshing back and forth as the airplane was slightly rocked by our movement on it. If I had a coffee cup, I could have reached in through the holes and dipped out the fuel. In retrospect, it seems to me that as I was watching both of my element mates go down in flames, that was the quintessential time and place for the expression: “There but for the grace of God go I.” I certainly am at a loss for any other explanation of why they went down and we did not.
I remember too the good sized jagged hole in the left vertical stabilizer at or just above its attachment point to the horizontal tail surface where other explosive shells had found us. And at least one non-explosive one found us too. Curiously, it had entered the trailing edge of our left wing exactly in the center of the seam created by the riveting of two sheets of aluminum skin together. It had traveled forward through the wing and out through the de-icing boot on the leading edge. Then, there was a pronounced dimple in the center of one of our propeller blades, which it had hit after exiting the wing.
As we had approached the base, we could not establish contact with the tower, and once on the ground it was easy to understand why. All of our antennas had been shot away. That in itself was no big deal, but I think it serves to indicate the amount of bullets and shell fragments which had been, flying about the airplane.
So the Strawberry Bitch’s fifth mission was sort of a rough one for it. That was more damage than our squadron ground crews were prepared to handle, so the airplane was transferred to a maintenance squadron for repair. It did not return to duty until November when my crew had it on the 10th and 11th for its 6th and 7th missions. We had it again for its 11th mission on November 29th, and Its 14th on December 15th.
The December 15th mission was my last flight in the Strawberry Bitch. Our target was the Avisio viaduct just south of Bolzano in northern Italy, but the airplane couldn’t quite make it. Just about the time we crossed the northern coast of the Adriatic Sea, our number four engine started trailing a streamer of dense black smoke, so we feathered the propeller, dropped out of formation, and brought our bomb load back home. My recollection is that we had blown a cylinder.
Thus did my own personal association with the Strawberry Bitch come to an end after about 150 hours as its pilot. About 40 of these were combat hours, about 40 were in non-combat flights in the Mediterranean area, about 63 were in transit from Herrington to Benghazi, and about seven were in check-out flights at Herington.
The association ended, that is, until I found it again at the Air Force Museum in the spring of 1975. With the gracious permission of museum personnel I have enjoyed the privilege of revisiting its cockpit on four different occasions with different members of my family. I am deeply appreciative.
I am afraid that this brief “overview” has long since lost the quality of brevity. Perhaps I can ration-alize this by claiming to have added some bit of information about the airplane that is not contained in the Museum’s files on it.
Hip thrusts. It’s a funny name for a very effective exercise. Hip thrusts are great for toning up the glutes (and they also work your quads a little as a welcome side benefit). Men and women alike, want nice, tight buns and this is one of my favorite ways to get them.
There are many variations of the exercise and I’ve added photos below in order of difficulty. You can start off with the simple floor version and when you’re comfortable, move to the next level.
As always, start off very gently, without using weight, just to get the hang of it. If it poses a challenge for your muscles, good. If it actually hurts, stop doing it and find a different way to train.
Each day, if I try hard enough, I can think of a good reason not to exercise. I’m remarkably good at thinking of legitimate ways to avoid hitting the gym. Whether it’s that I haven’t slept well the night before or that I have a twinge in my neck (or any other part of my anatomy), my I-pod ran out of battery life or I’m simply too busy.
I learned a long time ago to push ahead anyway. It’s remarkable how creative my brain can be when coming up with excuses not to do what I know I should. It’s easy to give in, but if you want results, you simply can’t. You have to recognize your own wonderful ability to sabotage goals and then you have to counteract that impulse by forging ahead whether or not you want to.
I’ve never once regretted doing a workout but I have regretted skipping one. So keep pushing forward and remember…
This is one of my off topic posts. I’ll always give you a warning when I go off the beaten path, since it’s a pet peeve of mine when other writers do it to me. If you just like the gym stuff, skip this and I’ll be back on track next time…
*This video is in German but you can read the transcript of what’s being said directly below it.
Hello, you can read the newspapers but this video is about the real situation in Germany. I would like to tell everyone about this on Youtube and Facebook. I am almost 16. I would like everyone to know what is going on, what I am authentically feeling at this moment.
And I am so scared everywhere. For example, if my family and I go out together, or if I see a movie with my friends. Usually, I stay at home, but sometimes I stay out until 6 pm in winter, and it is so scary. It is just very hard to live day-to-day life as a woman.
I just want to say that I am not a racist. But one day, a terrible thing happened at the supermarket. I ran all the way home. I was so frightened for my life. There’s no other way to describe it.
My aunt and her friend have said you have to grow up. Why should we, children, have to grow up in such fear? It’s not just me, my friends too. You can see on Facebook, a 17-year-old attacked, a 15-year-old attacked, two 12-year olds attacked, so many. It is really so sad that this is happening … because of YOU PEOPLE. :(
I cannot understand why they do this. But more importantly, I cannot understand why Germany is doing nothing! Why is Germany standing by, watching, and then doing nothing? Please explain, why. Men of Germany, these people are killing your children, they are killing your women. We need your protection. We are so scared, we don’t want to be frightened to go to the grocery store alone after sunset. The politicians live alone in their villas, drink their cocktails, and do nothing. They do nothing! I do not know what world they live in, but please, people, please help us! Please, do something! I cannot understand why this is happening. One day, my friend and I were walking down the street, and a group of Arabs were protesting and demonstrating. They shouted, “Allah! Allah! Allah is the one God! Kill those infidels! Allah! Allah!” What should I do? Should I wear a burka? Why should I have to convert to Islam?
It’s fine if you believe in Allah, but why do you want to make everyone else believe in Allah too? I just think it would be better if there were no religion. Stop trying to make everyone else believe in your God when they do not want to.
Please, people of Germany. Do something!
When I try to tell the authorities about what has happened, they hold their hand up towards me and they say it is a problem and then ignore it. and they laugh. It is unfair. They laugh at us. They say we are dumb. They think this not only of me but of the entire state of Germany. They don’t care about our fear. Please help us. This is an emergency! There are more and more of them.
One time in summer, the Muslims said we were sluts for walking outside in a t-shirt.
Yes, we were wearing t-shirts. It’s summer!
Another day, I was wearing this. My friend and I purchased it while shopping. If we feel like wearing it, we will wear it! And you Muslims have no right to physically assault or rape us for it! God willing, never in my life. You have no right to attack us because we are wearing t-shirts. You also have no right to rape.
The life of Germany has changed because these people cannot integrate. We give them so much help. We support them financially and they do not have to work. But they only want more babies and more welfare and more money. Men of Germany, please, patrol the streets and protect us. Do this for your women and your children. If you do that, I believe that we will have a chance.
This sort of action would be wonderful. We would be so grateful and thankful. So many thanks, if steadily, more men would come to protect us. We are so scared.
I am so upset about what Merkel has done.
Thank you, Angela Merkel, for killing Germany! I have no more respect for you, Merkel. I do not think you know what you have done. You do not see how our lives have changed. Open your eyes! Is this normal? Should I, a 16-year old who is almost 17, be so scared to walk outside my house? No, it is not normal. You have killed Germany!
This is the truth. We are no longer allowed to walk outside. We are no longer allowed to wear our clothes. We are no longer allowed to live the German life. This is the sad truth.
I think it’s about time to end this video. I believe I have given a full account from a normal person. I hope others can see this and understand.
I only want to end with one message: Men, please, help your women. Help your children. I am so scared. My friends have the same fear. We are shocked that this has happened. I hope this video can convince you, and that these terrible events can stop.
Here you have a terrified, 16 year old German girl begging German men for protection from the North African and Middle Eastern men that Angela Merkel recently encouraged to come make a home in EU countries. These fresh, new residents, many of whom have settled in Germany are primarily poorly educated, unattached, young men who were strong and persistent enough to make the long journey from their various countries of origin (Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq etc.) into this young woman’s homeland.
Most arrive on European shores from countries where their own women are seen as little more than chattel, functioning as child bearers but having no standing in their communities to make decisions or guide their own lives. Many are used to living in Sharia-compliant areas, where those outside their communities are considered kafir trash; the women, little more than whores to be used as they see fit.
In their view, unaccompanied women and women not properly covered (in this girls instance wearing a t-shirt or other standard western dress) are asking to be robbed, aggressively groped and/or raped. In their minds they richly deserve it. First and foremost because of their kafir status and further for “flaunting” themselves.
Welcome to the new normal…the inevitable clash of culture between vast numbers of these Islamic men and western sensibilities. The recent sexual misconduct by up to 1,000 muslim men in Cologne is just the beginning. You would think that the horrors in Rotherham, England and the well documented, astronomical number of rapes in Sweden committed by “migrant” men would have been a tip-off to Ms. Merkel that trying to incorporate a million of these men in a single year into German culture might present problems.
Europe is in a world of hurt. In Norway they’ve become so desperate to try and stop sexual aggression by these men that they’re holding classes to teach them that rape is not acceptable. Good luck. Their ideology fully supports their contention that it is and if you care to look, you can see rape and sexual slavery used as a weapon (and reward) in Islamic inspired aggression against those outside their circle for the past 1,400 years. If it seems too laborious to investigate the distant past, you need look no further than the detailed, official rules regarding the treatment of captive women that ISIS issued a couple of months ago. The guidelines use Islamic law to clarify exactly how it’s permissible to use the women they’ve enslaved. Keep in mind that many of the “women” are actually children…some younger than 6 years old.
Now you have young women in Germany afraid to go out, and instead of dealing swiftly and firmly with the lawlessness of recently arrived, foreign men, you have politicians like Henriette Reker, the Mayor of Cologne, telling German women to change their own behavior in order to avoid cultural misunderstandings. Similarly, a group of German parents were recently warned not to allow their girls to wear skirts to school since they had placed a Syrian migrant center nearby. Apparently the thinking by those in authority is that all will be well as long as the Germans bow to Sharia rules.
Anyone familiar with a tiny amount of history knew what was going to happen when a massive influx of young, muslim males, from poverty stricken backgrounds marched into Germany. It was obvious that their mindset and actions would result in increased incidents and calls from frightened women for their men to protect them. Many men won’t because they’ve been feminized and intimidated to the point of uselessness. I suspect those will represent the majority. They’ll wring their hands and despair while their sisters, mothers and daughters are attacked. However, some will answer the call. A few men will still feel the instinct to protect their own and to punish and repel those who wish them harm. These are the men who will reach their limits and take matters into their own hands knowing the government and police have abandoned their job to protect them.
And then what will happen?
I predict the German men who fight back will be vilified. Stretched to the end of patience, they will act. When meting out street justice, there are, inevitably, innocent people who suffer. Infuriated people who feel backed into a corner tend to lack calculated, tactical, surgical responses. There will be incidents of muslims being hurt who have had nothing to do with aggression toward women or other undesirable behaviors. Therefore, the predictable reactions of those German men will give the politicians the very stick to beat them with. They will be held up as violent extremists, terrorists, xenophobes, racists and they will, of course, be called Nazis. They will be hunted by their own government. Merkel’s forces will try to crush them using the press and the courts. There will be ongoing unrest. Those who band together against the migrant hordes will be fighting on two fronts. They’ll be defending themselves (and their women) from the influx of predatory men who’ve massed in Europe from all over the world, to take advantage of weak immigration practices and generous welfare benefits and they will also be forced to face a hostile, native government that has already demonstrated they will take the side of the new arrivals over their citizens.
What turns itself over in my mind is not the question of the migrant men’s behavior when they get to Europe. It’s the bizarre welcome extended to them by Merkel and other European politicians and their refusal to move quickly to remedy the situation. They had to know internal unrest would be the result. Therefore, I can only conclude that they want turmoil for purposes of their own.
Why, I cannot fathom. Is it because it’s easier to rule a diluted and troubled citizenry? Does it take the people’s attention off destructive economic policies of western countries and therefore free the politicians from being held accountable? Are the oil rich muslim-majority nations buying the political class in western nations in order to facilitate hijrah (migration for the cause of Allah…jihad by immigration)? Have our politicians fallen for the idea that these young men can be used to provide cheap labor as a bulwark against failing economies? Are they infected by a pathological altruism? Is there an “order out of chaos” scenario being put into motion? Perhaps it’s a combination of things.
I do know that massive legal and illegal immigration into western cultures has increased dramatically and simultaneously. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. The shiny, new Obama-Ryan budget allows at least 300,000 more muslim migrants into the country shortly (each with multiple family members to follow). Remember, the FBI and our security agents have already said they cannot vet all of these people. There’s no way to separate people peacefully seeking a better life, who are eager to adopt our views of proper conduct including behavior toward women from those who will stubbornly stick to their own cultural norms or even from those who are absolutely hell-bent on our destruction.
European women (grown ups and children alike) are in increased danger from current immigration policies and so too will be the daughters of America if we continue allowing our politicians to have their way flooding our nations with young men who do not share our values and do not wish to assimilate when they arrive.
We need to stop the madness of importing people who do not understand or appreciate our way of life. There are ways to help refugee populations closer to their own countries but for unfathomable reasons, our politicians insist we do so on this nation’s soil. We don’t yet have the severity of problems that Germany and the rest of Europe is experiencing BUT we most certainly will if we keep on the same path. Now is the time to demand elected officials serve the interests of Americans and stop bringing sure trouble to our shores. I don’t want to facilitate conditions that will have a young, American girl feeling compelled to make a video literally begging someone to stand up for her.
Europe is an object lesson in what not to do. It’s far easier to keep troubles like this at arms length than it is to foment chaos and destruction in your own culture by willfully bringing people who embrace an incompatible ideology into your country and just hoping it all works out one day.
This is just a little reminder to those of you who made fitness related resolutions for the new year. Don’t quit. Even if you’ve had a slip up or two already, don’t despair. We all slip up. Don’t let that be the excuse you use to do the easy thing and stop trying.
Discipline requires practice. It gets easier to stick to your guns over time. Little glitches are learning experiences and should be understood as such. Pat yourself on the back for all the days you did meet expectations, pull up your socks and keep going!
…but I sure enjoyed those chips while I was eating them!
“Gold is good in it’s place but living, brave, patriotic men are better than gold.”
*A throwback photo from years ago! I don’t think I ever published this one. It’s what I call a SOHR picture (sense of humor required). Yep, been having fun with military tribute themes for a long time…
Can you see me now?!?
The world’s best exercise, is the exercise you’ll do!
Yesterday I was watching football and during one of the commercials I decided to do some crunches. I was in the middle of my second set of 100 when my older son said he had a much better exercise for abs and he was going to show me how to do it. He got down on the floor and demonstrated for me. I’d never seen the exercise before and gave it a try. It felt awful. It pulled my neck and twisted my back in a way that I found uncomfortable. I finished training abs my way and got back on the couch.
I started thinking about the number of times I’ve been involved in conversations like that. We have a group of friends who don’t regularly engage in any kind of exercise. They know I’m interested in fitness so occasionally bring up the topic. They are remarkably opinionated regarding “great exercises” or “fantastic programs” for people who don’t actually do much of anything fitness related. I usually end up only listening with half an ear since I prefer to take advice offered by those who are practicing what they preach.
What I know is that ANY exercise you do is superior to any exercise you don’t do.
I’m not interested in training my abs in the way my son suggested. It’s not comfortable so I don’t care how effective it might be, I’m not going to do it. I do like discovering new ways to challenge myself but I make sure that the things I pick are things I’ll actually do. It doesn’t matter if you’ve discovered the perfect program if you don’t put it into practice.
Choose exercises you’ll stick with. That’s where you’ll find results and lasting success.
When trying to get or keep in shape, it’s of the upmost importance to stick to a healthy eating plan. There’s nothing I love witnessing more than fitness enthusiasts busying themselves in the kitchen, making nutritious, delicious meals. Watching them cook kinda makes your mouth water, dontcha think?
Yep! Seeing them at work sure inspires me to want to eat healthy!