Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 7, 2015

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Spies swapped on February 10, 1962

Spies swapped on February 10, 1962

Spies swapped: On February 10, 1962, American spy pilot Francis Gary Powers is released by the Soviets in exchange for Soviet Colonel Rudolf Abel, a senior KGB spy who was caught in the United States five years earlier. The two men were brought to separate sides of the Glienicker Bridge, which connects East and West Berlin across Lake Wannsee. As the spies waited, negotiators talked in the center of the bridge where a white line divided East from West. Finally, Powers and Abel were waved forward and crossed the border into freedom at the same moment--8:52 a.m., Berlin time. Just before their transfer, Frederic Pryor--an American student held by East German authorities since August 1961--was released to American authorities at another border checkpoint.

In 1957, Reino Hayhanen, a lieutenant colonel in the KGB, walked into the American embassy in Paris and announced his intention to defect to the West. Hayhanen had proved a poor spy during his five years in the United States and was being recalled to the USSR, where he feared he would be disciplined. In exchange for asylum, he promised CIA agents he could help expose a major Soviet spy network in the United States and identify its director. The CIA turned Hayhanen over to the FBI to investigate the claims.

During the Cold War, Soviet spies worked together in the United States without revealing their names or addresses to each other, a precaution in the event that one was caught or, like Hayhanen, defected. Thus, Hayhanen initially provided the FBI with little useful information. He did, however, remember being taken to a storage room in Brooklyn by his superior, whom he knew as "Mark." The FBI tracked down the storage room and found it was rented by one Emil R. Goldfus, an artist and photographer who had a studio in Brooklyn Heights.

Emil Goldfus was Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, a brilliant Soviet spy who was fluent in at least five languages and an expert at the technical requirements of espionage. After decorated service as an intelligence operative during World War II, Abel assumed a false identity and entered an East German refugee camp where he successfully applied for the right to immigrate to Canada. In 1948, he slipped across the Canadian border into the United States, where he set about reorganizing the Soviet spy network

After learning of Hayhanen's defection, Abel fled to Florida, where he remained underground until June, when he felt it was safe to return to New York. On June 21, 1957, he was arrested in Manhattan's Latham Hotel. In his studio, FBI investigators found a hollow pencil used for concealing messages, a shaving brush containing microfilm, a code book, and radio transmitting equipment. He was tried in a federal court in Brooklyn and in October was found guilty on three counts of espionage and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. He was sent to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.

Less than three years later, on May 1, 1960, Francis Gary Powers took off from Peshawar, Pakistan, at the controls of an ultra-sophisticated Lockheed U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. Powers, a CIA-employed pilot, was to fly over some 2,000 miles of Soviet territory to Bodo military airfield in Norway, collecting intelligence information en route. Roughly halfway through his journey, he was shot down over Sverdlovsk in the Ural Mountains. Forced to bail out at 15,000 feet, he survived the parachute jump but was promptly arrested by Soviet authorities.

On May 5, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced that the American spy aircraft had been shot down and two days later revealed that Powers was alive and well and had confessed to being on an intelligence mission for the CIA. On May 7, the United States acknowledged that the U-2 had probably flown over Soviet territory but denied that it had authorized the mission.

On May 16, leaders of the United States, the USSR, Britain, and France met in Paris for a long-awaited summit meeting. The four powers were to discuss tensions in the two Germanys and negotiate new disarmament treaties. However, at the first session, the summit collapsed after President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to apologize to Khrushchev for the U-2 incident. Khrushchev also canceled an invitation for Eisenhower to visit the USSR.

In August, Powers pleaded guilty to espionage charges in Moscow and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment--three in prison and seven in a prison colony.

At the end of his 1957 trial, Rudolf Abel escaped the death penalty when his lawyer, James Donovan, convinced the federal judge that Abel might one day be used either as a source of intelligence information or as a hostage to be traded with the Soviets for a captured U.S. agent. In his five years in prison, Abel kept his silence, but the latter prophecy came true in 1962 when he was exchanged for Powers in Berlin. Donovan had played an important role in the negotiations that led to the swap.

Upon returning to the United States, Powers was cleared by the CIA and the Senate of any personal blame for the U-2 incident. In 1970, he published a book, Operation Overflight, about the incident and in 1977 was killed in the crash of a helicopter that he flew as a reporter for a Los Angeles television station.

Abel returned to Moscow, where he was forced into retirement by the KGB, who feared that during his five years of captivity U.S. authorities had convinced him to become a double agent. He was given a modest pension and in 1968 published KGB-approved memoirs. He died in 1971.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Office of the Historian / CIA / Radio Free Europe / Gary Powers.org

Wikipedia  COLD WAR - Photo: U2, Lockheed TR-1 in flight.

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - full-spectrum superiority

(DOD) Full-spectrum superiority:

The cumulative effect of dominance in the air, land, maritime, and space domains and information environment (which includes cyberspace) that permits the conduct of joint operations without effective opposition or prohibitive interference. Wikipedia / Joint Publication 3-0)

Ship Operations - Man Overboard / File:US Navy 100414-N-1082Z-003 Deck department Sailors prepare to lower a landing craft personnel large during a small boat recovery and man overboard drill aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).jpg

The Old Salt’s Corner

Ship Operations - Man Overboard

Routes of travel are the same as for G.Q. when “All hands muster” is called away. You must muster by sight with your respective shop, work center, or division to insure an accurate muster for crew accountability. You will normally be assigned to the Operations Department. If you are on a carrier, you should be assigned to the CVIC/OZ division for mustering purposes (the OZ division is responsible for day-to-day operations of the CVIC—ship’s departments and divisions will be discussed in Module 6). Report for “All hands muster” as expeditiously as possible to avoid having your name called out over the 1MC (the ship’s public address system).

The prospect of Man Overboard is very serious. The “All hands muster” call assists in identifying who might be missing. Some XOs have even been known to “kidnap” one or more of the ship’s personnel and then call an “All hands” in order to test the process. Needless to say, should a “kidnapped” person be reported as mustered (either by well-meaning work center colleagues or by mistake) serious repercussions will ensue.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you don't have a leg to stand on.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

~ Thomas A. Edison

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”

~ Terry Pratchett

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

What color is the dress? Debate divides social media, goes viral

What color is the dress? Debate divides social media, goes viral

NEW YORK, New York: There are debates on the Internet... and then there was “The Dress”.

If you were online on Thursday night, you know what happened: social media services were overrun with comments about the colors of a woman's dress. Some people saw black and blue; others saw white and gold.

Strangely, or maybe not, the hotly contested social media debate came just hours after web sites and cable news channels were captivated by escaped llamas running loose in Arizona. ABC News KSAT Chicago / Wahington Post video

How Did Flipping a Coin become a decision-maker? (Norman Rockwell Coin Toss - October 21, 1950)

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Did Flipping a Coin become a decision-maker?

Coin flipping: The Lydians minted the first coins in 10 B.C. but it wasn’t until nine hundred years later that the coin toss became a decision-maker. Julius Caesar’s head appeared on one side of every Roman coin of his time, and such was the reverence for the emperor that in his absence often serious litigation was decided by the flip of a coin. If Caesar’s head landed upright, it meant that through the guidance of the gods, he agreed in absentia with the decision in question.

Use in clarifying feelings: A technique attributed to Sigmund Freud to help in making difficult decisions is to toss a coin not actually to determine the decision, but to clarify the decision-maker's feelings.

In fiction: DC Comics supervillain Two-Face, has a double-headed coin with one side defaced.

Coin landing on its edge in fiction: A coin toss has a theoretical third outcome, in which the coin comes to rest upright on its edge, rather than falling to either heads or tails.

Research:  WikipediaBritannicaCoin Books.orgMental Floss

Image: Norman Rockwell Coin Toss - October 21, 1950 / Norman Rockwell Prints on Decision Making

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A watched pot never boils”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

“A watched pot never boils”

A watched pot never boils:

Proverb. Amongst many other callings, Franklin was a noted diplomat and during his time as American minister to Paris he was directed by the King of France to write a report on Franz Mesmer's controversial theory of 'animal magnetism'. In the report, published in 1785, Franklin included this text:

Finally another Breakfast is ordered. One Servant runs for fresh Water, another for Coals. The Bellows are plied with a will. I was very Hungry; it was so late; “a watched pot is slow to boil” as Poor Richard says. Phrases.org UK / Reddit

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy America's Navy - A Global Force For Good

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Field Survey: To discard a worn-out item (“in the field”, often off the end of the pier) instead of submitting for formal “survey” to determine redistribution or disposal. Sometimes items handed down to a needier local unit.

O-gang: A term made up by A-Gang for the Officers.

PFM: “Pure F**king Magic”, term applied to when things work, but you don't know how, but they work.

Secure: In general, to prepare something for stormy travel - to secure a window is to shut it. However, it's often used as a stronger form of “cut it out”, as in “talking is secured” or “I'm going to secure your mouth if you don't shut the hell up” or “your fruity ways are secured, Fireman Radomski”.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines Marines - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Date of Enlistment: For enlisted personnel this is the third level used to determine precedence among individuals of the same rank. The senior of two persons of the same rank is determined by the earliest date of rank while among two or more where rank and date of rank are identical, the one with the earliest date of enlistment is senior.

Date of Promotion: The day on which a promotion warrant or order is signed.

Date of Rank: The day on which a promotion is effective. Usually the date of rank is prior to the date of promotion (sometimes by days, sometimes by weeks, sometimes by years depending on the requirements of the promoting authority). Date of rank is used to establish precedence for promotion to the next higher rank and to establish seniority among individuals of the same rank.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSC-21 - Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21: “Blackjacks”
NAS North Island, California

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

Tool of the devil, harmless family game—or fascinating glimpse into the non-conscious mind?

In February, 1891, the first few advertisements started appearing in papers: “Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board”, boomed a Pittsburgh toy and novelty shop, describing a magical device that answered questions “about the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy” and promised “ever-failing amusement and recreation for all the classes”, a link “between the known and unknown, the material and immaterial”. Another advertisement in a New York newspaper declared it “interesting and mysterious” and testified, ”as sProven at Patent Office before it was allowed. Price, $1.50”.

The Ouija board, in fact, came straight out of the American 19th century obsession with spiritualism, the belief that the dead are able to communicate with the living. Spiritualism, which had been around for years in Europe, hit America hard in 1848 with the sudden prominence of the Fox sisters of upstate New York; the Foxes claimed to receive messages from spirits who rapped on the walls in answer to questions, recreating this feat of channeling in parlors across the state.

“Communicating with the dead was common, it wasn’t seen as bizarre or weird”, explains Murch. “It’s hard to imagine that now, we look at that and think, ‘Why are you opening the gates of hell?’”

Ouija boards are not, scientists say, powered by spirits or even demons. Disappointing but also potentially useful—because they’re powered by us, even when we protest that we’re not doing it, we swear. Ouija boards work on a principle known to those studying the mind for more than 160 years: the ideometer effect. Smithsonian / Library of Congress




● Horses cannot vomit.

● Tennessee is bordered by eight states This is more than any other state: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia.

● The most abundant metal in the Earth's crust is aluminum.

Military Trivia

● What type of aircraft was used to drop bombs in the first German air raids on London in 1915?

A: A Zeppelin.

● In 1996, which country's army became the last in the world to disband its carrier pigeon service?

A: Switzerland's.

● What were the code names for the five beachheads invaded by the Allies on D-Day, June 6, 1944?

A: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

Who invented the toothbrush and when was it?

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their AnswerLibrary of Congress

Answer to Last Week's Test

What actress was the first to receive a $1 million contract in the film industry?

Answer: Elizabeth Taylor. In 1963 for her role as the Egyptian queen in Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor audaciously asked for, and received, the first $1 million contract in the film industry. The role was first offered to starlet Joan Collins, who turned it down. Film production became much more elaborate and costly than originally budgeted once Taylor came on board.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had told their new wives what their household duties were to be.

The first man had married a woman from Tennessee. He bragged that he had told his wife she was going to do all the dishes and house cleaning. He said it took a couple days, but on the third day he came home to a clean house and the dishes were done.

The second man had married a woman from Florida. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. On the first day he didn't see any results, but the next day it was better. By the third day, his house was clean, the dishes were done and he had a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from Long Island. He boasted that he told her that her duties were to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day most of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye just enough to fix himself a bite to eat, load the dishwasher, find a cleaning lady, and telephone a landscaper.