Letters to the Editor
Details about Army air crash in Madras
Regarding the "Looking Back" item in the April 3 issue about March 1944 fatal crash of an Army Air Force fighter plane based at Madras Army Airfield: It's said that newspaper articles are "the first drafts of history." This "Looking Back" piece is a case in point, and I can provide what may be the "final draft" of this sad wartime story.
As a small boy, I actually witnessed the crash (between Columbia and Boise Drives along Ivy on Agency Plains), and after many years of wondering who the pilot was, and why he crashed his P-39Q "Airacobra" that early spring day, I finally found the answers, most of them.
The pilot was 2nd Lt. Robert Cranston, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, not quite 20 years old; he was training with the 546th Fighter Squadron, and the fatal flight that afternoon was only his fourth in the Airacobra, a second-line fighter being used as an advanced trainer in 1944 despite being a fast, tricky, and unforgiving plane.
At the time of his death, Cranston had only about 225 total hours of flight experience. Cause of his losing control and crashing was never officially established, but the USAAF "Accident Report" noted that apparently the right wing came off at the fuselage (possibly because of a violent maneuver), causing an explosion that blew Cranston out of his cockpit, probably killing him instantly.
A week after his death, the rest of his squadron were transferred to Portland, where they trained in P-38 "Lightnings" and then were sent to Europe for combat duty.
The full original article noted that "it was said that" the pilot had arranged for his fiancee to come up from California for them to be married in Madras before the 546th moved on to Portland, and that she arrived just after her intended's death. I was able to pin down this part of the story (she learned of Cranston's death the day before she was to come up by bus to Madras) when her son from a subsequent marriage contacted me after his mother's death.
A summary of the events leading up to Cranston's death and an account of his tragic romance with the girl from California appeared in The Agate (3, Spring 2015), and the full story is the last chapter of my book, "Words Marked by a Place" (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2018), pages 167-189.
Don't keep unvaccinated kids out of school
Ask your lawmakers to vote no on House Bill 3063.
The current measles outbreak was not spread in a school setting. So why are Oregon lawmakers currently pushing a law that would permanently ban unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children from day care and schools?
Healthy unvaccinated children do not harbor illness or viruses; they cannot spread what they do not have. I thought that education was important to Oregon's elected officials.
In Oregon, there is already law that unvaccinated children must be excluded from school during an actual outbreak of a contagious disease such as the measles.
Why would anyone want to make the quarantine permanent? What is the point of denying perfectly healthy kids an education or after-school activities? This is segregation. I thought we were done with segregation in schools.
Please ask your representative to vote no on House Bill 3063.
Ask vineyard owners about global warming
I enjoy getting the Pioneer's pulse-of-Madras every week, especially the letters, which are most enlightening to the minds of your readers. A few stick in mind like a burr in the fur, like the dudes who want to bring back sicking dog packs on wild cats, or the last couple of letters from climate deniers. It's good to know these master thinkers are still willing to rear their proud heads.
One denier started out by saying that we shouldn't call people names and then he calls Al Gore a scientist! Ha! Not even Al calls himself a scientist.
While these bright thinkers consistently argue that because the weather may be cold outside, there's no planetary warming, or that the climate has been changing for millions of years, well, yeah, right. And the world was made in seven days. And the fossil record is fake news. And don't go much past Australia or you'll fall off.
Please note that the multi-billion dollar world wine industry is gobbling up millions of acres in northern climate zones because they see their current vineyards cooking now and in the new climate ahead. They aren't spending those billions because they are tree huggers.
We are cooking our planet and all the gauges on the dash say so. The deniers want to spew their truck fumes in your face because it's cheap, not because they care about their grandkids lungs ... or future.
There is nothing conservative, or moral, about "drill baby drill." It is just selfish greed. "Give me the most I can possibly get for the least I can possibly do." - Todd Snider
And maybe we could get some laser-guided missile packs for the dogs, so they can blow those nasty wildcats to smithereens without leaving the parking lot.
Global warming is a two-sided debate
The ongoing discussion of climate change has been an interesting read, which has inspired me to toss in my two bits worth on the "Fouling of our Nest" currently taking place.
As someone who has spent a lifetime involved with science and with a deep interest in both natural history and human history, I think that we are tending to overlook one of the more significant aspects associated with the whole debate.
I am neither a true believer or a denier on the warming/climate subject and tend to be a bit skeptical by nature. I believe that Mr. Rahi makes a valid point with his mention of the Medieval Warm Period, as the West Coast of North and Central America suffered prolonged drought and warm temperatures from roughly the ninth into the 17th centuries at the same time. So, it was at least a hemispheric event. One of the many effects of this was the collapse of the Mayan Civilization, according to recent archaeological studies.
Point of it being that the weather/climate has cycles in years, such as the El Nino/La Nina cycle, decades as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, centuries as with the Medieval Warm Period followed by the Little Ice Age, and probably more topping off with Ice Ages.
This creates a lot of variables for determining something we are only looking back at change over some decades, along with some considerable uncertainty about where all this CO2 is actually going.
Current thought is that about 60 percent is adsorbed by the oceans, which is leading to acidification that is quite accurately measurable. There are already some pretty disturbing signs that this starting to affect the ocean ecosystem.
While the climate folks are warning us of the possible effects a century down the road, the ocean folks are worried about the collapse of the ocean ecosystem in as little as the next 50 years. Couple this with the extensive overfishing and clogging it up with plastic, we might have a looming global catastrophe on our hands a lot sooner than we expected with a lot bigger implications.
I believe there is a bigger picture to what we are doing to Old Mother Earth, and we haven't put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet.
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