I should really call this, No Work For Another year. Yesterday was the anniversary of my retirement from Texas A&M on February 1, 2017. Looking back on the year, I have to say it was a year of one great event after another. Some highlights from the year of retirement:
- Retirement parties: Jan 31 at A&M, thrown by my colleagues at work, and birthday/retirement on Feb 18, thrown by my wife and sons.
- Left Coast Crime in Honolulu, March 2017
- Six week extended stay in Hawaii following Left Coast Crime. we visited Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Kauai.
- Weight loss: over 50 pounds from June through January of this year. The weight loss was motivated by pictures from our Hawaii trip.
- Completed another novel in the Ava Rome series and completed a short story.
- Caribbean Cruise in October to Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel.
- Signed with Ladderbird Literary Agency.
- Finished 3rd in my age division in the BCS Half-marathon.
And that was only the first year of retirement.
Kailua-Kona, usually referred to a Kona, is a port and city on the west side of the island of Hawai`i. It is known for deep sea fishing and the Ironman Triathlon. The beaches in Kona are not great, in my opinion. They are small and difficult to access because of the rock. the Big Island doesn’t have great beaches anyway because, being the newest island, has not experienced as many eons of erosion as the other islands.
Our favorite adventure in Kona was a night snorkel with manta rays. We signed onto a tour which left the harbor at dusk. They provided us with snorkels, masks and flippers. We set out for about a 45 minute trip to the manta ray feeding ground. On the way, we experienced a gorgeous sunset (of course) and witnessed pods of dolphins. There were about 15 of us on the boat, not counting crew and guides.
Once at the feeding spot, we donned our gear and entered the water where we clung to surfboards outfitted with rails along the sides and lights in the middle. The guides swam us to the viewing site and turned on the light. The light shines into the water and attracts plankton, which are the primary food source of mantas. Then we waited. Not for long, however. In a short time we saw several mantas below. Magnificent creatures with huge wingspans. All of a sudden, one pealed off and swam up at us and did a barrel roll right under our board. We could look into the creature’s gaping mouth. It gave us a show of several rolls before swimming off. Altogether we saw five or six mantas. We had brought waterproof cases for our phones and I would like to say that I got some great pictures. Each appearance happened before I could get the phone aimed. So all I have are memories. But great memories nonetheless. If you go to Kona, I recommend a manta ray expedition.
Anniversary: The 442nd RCT
Yesterday, February, 1, 2018 was the 75th anniversary of the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Japanese American unit that fought so bravely in Italy and France during World War II. They are the most decorated combat unit in the history of the Army. In earlier posts, I tell about some of their battles.
The unit was created by FDR.
Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race and ancestry.
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, February 1, 1943.
Timeline in the formation of the 442nd.
- December 7, 1941. Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor, Hawai`i.
- January 23, 1942. Japanese American soldiers are segregated out of their units.
- February 19, 1942. FDR issues Executive Order 9066, which calls for the establishment of a western defense zone and the removal of Japanese and Japanese Americans from that zone to concentration camps.
- February 25, 1942. The all nisei Varsity Victory Volunteers, made up mostly of University of Hawai`i students, is formed as part of the 34th Combat Engineers.
- May 26, 1942. The Hawai`i Provisional Infantry Battalion is formed of Japanese Americans from the Hawai`i National Gard.
- June 5, 1942. 1,432 members of the Provisional Infantry Battalion depart Honolulu for San Francisco.
- June 12, 1942. The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) is activated on the Oakland docks.
- February 1, 1943. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is activated by President Roosevelt. Members of the Varsity Victory Volunteers join the 442nd after deactivation of their unit at their request.
- May 1943. 442nd RCT begins training in Mississippi.
- September 2, 1943. 100th Infantry Battalion lands in Oran, North Africa. It is assigned to the 34th Infantry Division on September 5th.
- September 22, 1943. 100th Infantry Battalion lands on the beach at Salerno, Italy.
- November 3, 1943. The 100th Infantry Battalion crosses the Volturno River, south of Naples.
- January 24, 1944. The Battle of Cassino and the Gustav Line begins. The 100th Infantry Battalion fights in the first two assaults in the first month of battle.
- March 26, 1944. The 100th Infantry Battalion lands at Anzio
- May 1, 1944. 442nd RCT ships out to Europe where they will meet up with the 100th in Civitavecchia, Italy in July.
- June 2, 1944. The 100th captures Lanuvio in the push to take Rome.
- July 7, 1944. The bitter battle for Hill 140.
- July 9, 1944. 100th Infantry Battalion occupies and controls Leghorn, Italy near Rome.
- August 14, 1944. The 100th Infantry Battalion is formally made an integral part of the 442nd RCT.
- August 31, 1944. 442nd RCT reaches the Arno River in Italy near Florence. the 100th Infantry Battalion crosses the Arno and captures Pisa.
- September 26, 1944. 100th/442nd RCT leaves Naples for France where they are attached to the 36th Division (AKA the Texas Division) of the Seventh Army..
- October 15, 1944. The battle of Bruyeres in the Vosges Mountains.
- October 22, 1944. 100th Infantry Battalion takes Biffontaine, suffering many casualties.
- October 26-31, 1944. 100th/442nd RCT rescues the “Lost Battalion,” which was cut off and surrounded by the enemy.
- March 20, 1945. The 100th/442nd RCT returns to Italy for the attack on the Gothic Line in the Appenine mountains.
- April 5-6, 1945. The 442nd RCT makes a surprise attack on Nazi mountainside positions in Italy, breaking through the Nazi Gothic Line in one day.
- April 6-30, 1945. The 100th/442nd RCT drives the enemy up the Italian coast to Genoa and Turin.
- April 29, 1945. The 522nd Field Artillery battalion help to liberate Jewish prisoners from Dachau satellite camps.
- May 2, 1945. German Army surrenders. The war in Europe is over.