Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Range testing nickel-plated Remington UMC target .45 ACP

Steven Otterbacher of BulkAmmo.com recently sent me a 50-rd box of new nickel-plated Remington UMC target .45 ACP to range test and I'm finally getting time and energy to post it. Here's Steve's .45 bulk ammo page:
http://www.bulkammo.com/handgun/bulk-.45-acp-ammo

I used 5 compact 45s and 4 full-size pistols. From left, Kimber Ultra Carry II, Springfield Micro, Kimber Ultra Elite, Para P12-45 at top right and Sig P220 SAO Compact at bottom right.
Here's the 7-yard benchrest target for the compacts, top left bull Sig P220 SAO Compact, top right Para P12-45, bottom left Kimber Ultra Carry II, center Springfield Micro, bottom right, Kimber Ultra Elite.
 Here's the 7-yard benchrest target for the full-size.45s. Top left, Sig P220 SAO full-size, bottom left Glock 21, center Llama IXC 1911, top right Para 14-45 full-size. Bottom bull was not used.
Due to my shaky hands, I called on my son Robby and his father-in-law Steve to do all the shooting. Here's Robby shooting my Sig P220 SAO Compact with my grandsons and others watching.
And here's Steve shooting one of his compact .45s, could be his Springfield Micro.
All 50 rds. of nickel-plated Remington UMC target .45 ACP fed flawlessly in all 9 compact and full-size pistols from Kimber, Sig Sauer, Springfield, Para Ordnance, Glock and Llama. I grade the ammo A+. http://www.bulkammo.com/handgun/bulk-.45-acp-ammo

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More good news: blood clot in lung gone!

A brief update, typing skills still one finger. The MRI showed the blood clot in my right lung is now gone. Lung capacity is now only 75% blocked, down from 90%.

4th chemo is next Tuesday, final of 6 chemos is May 1. Much improvement so far. Looking forward to the best pool party summer ever!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great news of improvement after 2nd chemo

It's been too long since I posted an update, but we got some great news Friday from my cancer specialist Dr. Grace Lee in Durham that I must tell. After the 2nd chemo 3 weeks ago, she ordered scans of my brain, lungs, liver and bones, hoping to see one of two results: no growth of cancer or a decrease of the widespread disease. Worst case would have been further growth.

Dr. Lee called Friday to report the MRI and CT cans both showed excellent improvement! I have been feeling stronger daily since getting over the two days of mild nausea after the 2nd chemo, with two very good weeks of feeling closer to "normal" since this downhill spiral of health began in early January.

We had a family celebration last night with pizza and ice cream and I had to share the joy with the world online today.

One more good news item, the long-awaited wheel-chair ramp from the VA is being installed in our garage as I write, which will  greatly aid my sweet wife in getting me in and out of the house for trips and to get some much needed sunshine.

I'm rejoicing that God is working and is using many others to pray and minister to me and my sweet wife and loved ones.

My typing skills are still in the hunt and peck level but hopefully that will improve soon too.

May God richly bless you all for your continued prayers for me and loved ones.

John Myers
Life is not fair. But Jesus always is.
"Count it all joy."-James 1:1-5
---------------------
Internet Photojournalist John W. Myers     
Email: writeme@johnwmyers.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/johntheancient
Website: http://www.johnwmyers.com/
God, Guns & Grits Blog: http://www.netfotoj.com/
2020 Pinedale Road 
Rockingham, NC 28379 
Home: 910-419-9806 Mobile: 910-995-3975

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The air rifle used by Lewis and Clark that won the West


Friday, February 4, 2011

NC Silencer Blog says read the latest from one of my favorite blondes, Ann Coulter:
Posted: 03 Feb 2011 09:39 AM PST
Make sure you read this great article by Ann Coulter. It's too good not to share.

The pro-gun people among us (hopefully, that includes you) often make the mistake that other people think and rationalize the same way we do with regard to the relationship between guns and crime. So, we tend to keep our thoughts to ourselves and don't actively promote gun ownership because, well.... the virtues of gun ownership by American citizens are obvious... right? The problem is, despite the massive amount of evidence indicating that more guns (carried by law-abiding citizens) equals less crime, there is still an amazing amount of ignorance out there. People in positions of power and influence, i.e. politicians and purveyors of mass media, often have an irrational fear of inanimate objects like guns, and they tend to shout the loudest when forcing their opinion on us. So, unfortunately, the ignorant masses only hear the loudest voices; the voice of the anti-gun zealot.


So, that is why it is important that we, as informed pro-gun citizens, make our position known. A good way to do that is to share articles like this with everyone you know. Don't assume your friends are as rational as you.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog and visit the NC SILENCER website often. We will help arm you with the tools needed to defeat any anti-gun rhetoric aimed your way. Not to mention, help arm you with real guns and silencers when you're ready to join the ranks of the elite, informed, and armed citizen.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Browning joins ever-growing list of 1911-style .22LR pistol makers

With several makers now offering 1911 full-size pistols in .22LR, Browning has upped the ante with a new line of Commander-size and compact .22LR pistols with all the functional features of the original 1911. I've been holding off so far on adding a 1911 .22LR to my modest collection, but that 3 5/8″-barrel compact just might be the straw that breaks this particular camel's back.
Browning 1911-22When Browning set out to celebrate 100 years of John Browning’s 1911 pistol, she certainly could have done the predictable thing and offered just a commemorative version in .45 ACP. Instead, we got a very nice, scaled-down 1911 A1 in .22LR. That means this is one 1911 you can afford to shoot — lots!

Ideal for target practice and making training affordable, this one will be a classy addition to anyone’s gun collection. Like I said, it’s scaled down to 85% of the full-size 1911, which makes it a joy to hold.
Depending on which version you’re talking about — the A1 sports a 4 1/4″ barrel; the Compact model a 3 5/8″ tube — the weight comes in between 15 or 15 1/2 ounces respectively. The barrel has a target crown and the slide is aluminum with a matte blued finish. I really liked the dark brown grips; they gave the pistol an old-fashioned golden-age charm.
 Stolen from Gun Digest.

Browning Arms Co. is a "she"!? WTF!

BATFE wants to protect U.S. shotgun makers from foreign competition?

Saw on Gun Digest where the BATFers want to ban the import of "military style" shotguns. Bet the American manufacturers of tactical shotguns are all pleading, "Please, please Brer' Wolf, whatever you do, please don't throw me in that mean 'ol briar patch" (and save us from H&K, Beretta and other foreign competitors).

End result of that would be not the same as the Clinton ban of importing assault rifles: creation of an entire new industry of assault rifles made in the good 'ol USA, with thousands or even millions of new jobs created.

But since we already have many U.S. companies alive and prospering in the home-defense and tactical shotgun business, relieving them of the competition of foreign companies really wouldn't create many new jobs here.

And the BATFE import-ban attempt likely won't survive the sure NRA court challenge of any such new law. But use the link in the story below to file your protest anyway. Stop the BATFers! Here's the facts:
A report just released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), “Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns,” has proposed that, “military shotguns, or shotguns with common military features that are unsuitable for traditional shotgun sports” be prohibited from importation.
This ban would apply to all shotguns—not just semi-automatics.  As a press release by the National Rifle Association (NRA) noted, “as in previous ‘working group’ studies on rifles, the study fails to give proper credit to the widespread use of these guns in newer shooting sports, or to their adaptability to hunting.”

Under current federal firearms law concerning imports, the Attorney General has to first approve the importation of any firearm “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.”  The problem with that?  As the NRA explained, “This ‘sporting purposes’ test was imposed by the Gun Control Act in 1968, a time when the right to self-defense with a firearm was not as widely respected by the courts as it is today.”

This section of the Gun Control Act, the NRA argued, needed to be changed.  “Clearly, the main reason to change the law is that the Second Amendment—as the Supreme Court said in District of Columbia v. Heller — protects our right to keep and bear arms for defense, not for sports.  In its 2008 Heller decision, the court observed that ‘the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right’ and ruled that the Second Amendment protects ‘the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,’ particularly within the home, where ‘the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.’”

Click here to read the 34-page study
“NRA members and other concerned gun owners can submit comments on the study until May 1, 2011.  Comments may be submitted by e-mail to shotgunstudy@atf.gov or by fax to (202)648-9601. Faxed comments may not exceed five pages. All comments must include name and mailing address.”
SOURCE:  NRA 1/28/11:

Valerie gets ice for her champagne -- plus a bucket for her big head

Another true classic Day by Day cartoon about Obama aide Valerie Jarret's disrespect for our nation's military troops.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shooting pistols and M1 Carbine from seated position: Lesson 1

Best range buddy and I went to Sandhills Rod & Gun Club on the banks of the Pee Dee River on Friday, Jan. 18 for my first range trip since release from the hospital on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Range is on the upper end of Blewett Falls Lake in an area known as Grassy Island here in Richmond County. No towns nearby, but closest one is Ellerbe, NC.

It was time for my first outing to learn how to shoot from a seated position my new Sig P239 SAS Gen. 2 .357 Sig subcompact, my new NAA Black Widow .22 Magnum single-action 5-shot derringer and my Auto-Ordnance M1 semi-auto carbine.
First up is sight-in of P239 from seated rest, attempting to remove human error from slow-fire shooting, usual average social-encounter distance of 7 yards. I was shaking like a dog passing peach pits, so the targets weren't pretty. More like patterns than groups. But all were on paper of the 8" targets, so good enough.

This is me seated in my new Cadillac wheel chair, letting the P239 rise way too much in recoil, but gotta start somewhere in adjusting to new circumstances. I wasn't using my usual two-hand grip in order to get as much of the front end of the 239 on the improvised rest. Next time I'll have my genuine pistol rest with me.

Next up is NAA Black Widow. Same deal, bad shakes, but all shots on paper.

Finally, after sighting in my Carbine with new adjustable rear sight installed by best shooting buddy, time to try it out with stock folded in rapid fire. All shots into the berm at 25 yards. Good enough. Day done after some 4 hours.

Good Lord it felt good to get out in the sun, mid-50s, another beautiful day on the top side of God's good green earth!

After 4 hours, I felt like Nixon in '68 as he launched his return to politics: "Tanned, rested and ready!"

Many more range trips lie ahead as I learn to refine the new skill of firing handguns and long guns from the seated position.






Tuesday, February 1, 2011

North Carolina Silencer Blog: Useful stuff about guns & silencers

A new blog, North Carolina Silencer Blog, offers "Useful stuff about guns & silencers." It's about a  business in Matthews, NC, run by a new friend I recently made. He doesn't have his name on his blog, so I won't give it either. His blog is already on my blog roll and you can sign up an email from him daily if you like.

Why in the world do you need a silencer? Aren't they.... evil?

We've been really wanting to publish a post extolling all the virtues of silencer ownership and usage... and then we came across this great article on silencers by Jim Dickson in the Feb. 2011 edition of Gun World magazine. Just in time! We figured that since he made such a good argument for silencers, why try to improve on it? Since there is no digital version that we can link to, we've scanned it into an easy-to-read PDF... right from the magazine, and uploaded to www.NCSILENCER.com. It will be like you're reading the real article! Enjoy. (And after you read it and discover that you really, truly NEED a silencer now, just shoot us an email. We'll be happy to help you out.)
 Be like Mikey. "Try it, you'll like it!"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A really safe Congressional meeting with good 'ol Tennessee boys


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Committment of another life to Christ

Julia Griffin Pattan January 23 at 12:20am Report

John,
I don't believe that you and I have ever met in person. I spoke with you a few times on the phone when I called up to the pawn shop to talk with my mom. I actually remember calling up there one time and you answered the phone and I thought that you were a little short with me. :) Well, that left an impression. I think God wanted me to remember you. Since then I have befriended you on Facebook, not sure why I did because after all we have never met in person. But something led me to do that, to be interested in you. I have enjoyed reading your posts. I love reading about how happy you are with your job working with my parents. After all, they tried to get me to take that job before you came along and I almost did. I'm glad I did not because you have done a job that far surpasses anything I would have been capable of doing. You really have put them on the "cyber" map, so to speak. And I am grateful for the work you have done for them. They are very pleased with everything you have done.
I am writing this little note to let you know that I have been following along in your recent posts. I am deeply saddened by what you are going through but I want you to know how much you are touching people's lives. I am going through some changes right now. God is working in my life, helping to set me on the right path. For several years now, we have only attended church sporadically. We have been so caught up in working, raising our three kids, etc that we have not made time for what is really important. But for the past two months, I have been attending church regularly, taking my family (all 5 of us). Tomorrow, my family is going to become members of Freedom Baptist Church. This is a big deal for me, as I have never been a member of a Church before. I've attended churches but never made a commitment to one. I am committed to making God a bigger part of my life instead of all of the other things that clutter it up. I feel like I am finally learning what life is all about. But I realize I have so much to learn. I look forward to attending church so I can learn more and more. And I am learning from you. And reading your story and reading about your spirituality is inspirational to me. It lets me know that I am on the right path. I am learning so much from you and I just wanted you to know that. I think God brought you into our (the Griffins) lives for a reason. I believe that it is his plan for you to have an impact on all of our lives and lead us closer to God. As someone else posted, you are impacting people's lives with your story and your faith. I will be praying for you and your family.
Sincerely,
Julia Pattan

John W. Myers January 25 at 6:59pm
Dear Julia,
I apologize for the delay in answering your message. I saw it at 5:15 AM Sunday morning and started work immediately after my first cry of the day. Tears come easily and often, but they are always tears of joy.
I worked until breakfast arrived at 7, and reluctantly stopped to eat. After breakfast, I returned to Facebook to resume work, only to find Facebook had crashed, and my hard work was gone. Jesus always saves, but Facebook doesn’t. Since that Sunday morning, replying to your message has been number one on my “to do” list. Events did not allow a reply until now. Due to my slow typing skills, my sweet wife took dictation for this entire letter.
Seldom in life do chances to redeem an error come along. I well remember that day when the shop was full of customers, and nobody else was available to answer the phone, and I was compelled to stop what I was doing in the back of the shop taking photos, and answer the phone. I’m quite sure I answered in a gruff voice with no courtesy attached, saying simply, “ Village Pawn and Gun Shop.” I well remember your reply, “ Is Mom busy? Can I speak to her?” I recognized your voice immediately. This is the daughter who doesn’t work at the gun shop, but, yet is the bookkeeper who figures my paycheck every week! At That point, I reverted into wiseass, important newspaper editor who has been forced to take a call when busy. I replied, “ If Mom wasn’t busy, she would have answered the phone herself.” Since starting work at the gunshop, my phone manners had improved somewhat, but still left much to be desired. Upon my wiseass answer, I heard “ Click!” as you hung up the phone, and I went back to work. I know if I had taken time to walk the wireless phone out front, and tell your sweet mom her daughter wanted to speak to her, she would have immediately interrupted what she was doing and taken the phone to talk to her daughter Julia ,with a smile on her face. But I didn’t.
A few minutes later, Dorothy came back where I was working with a smile on her face, but a funny look. She says gently, “You hurt my daughter’s feelings.” I apologized to her but I have never apologized to you. I wouldn’t have recognized you if I had ever met you face to face. So I was surprised sometime later when I received a friend request from you on FB. I clicked yes before even going to your FB page to find out what you looked like. Since then, the pictures you posted have always gotten a look from me and frequently comments. The ones I love the best are Billy with his pretty little red-headed granddaughter who is so obviously the apple of grandpa’s eye.
I have enjoyed every job I ever had in my long career since graduation from college in 1975, but the job at the gun shop far surpasses them all. It combines all the talents I have learned over my long career-writing, photography, webpage design, advertising, copy writing, and most of all, my lifelong love of all things that go Boom!
But the greatest joy I have ever experienced in my life began on Feb 28, 1977 when I made a lifetime commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. The following Sunday, I began attending my father in law’s church, whom I had previously considered a raving lunatic for his strong faith. I joined his church shortly thereafter. I began teaching Sunday School within that first year. I even stayed on at that church as a member and teacher for 10 years after the preacher’s daughter decided to divorce me.
Since then, through various moves, I have changed churches twice and have continued teaching I firmly believe the second most important commitment anyone can make after the commitment to Christ is to commit to a church. Your commitment to Freedom Baptist is the latest evidence of how God is using the worst possible circumstances to carry out His plan, working all things together for the good for those who love Christ, and to draw people to His Son. You have just joined my prayer list and I look forward to the day when we do meet face to face. I am especially grateful for this opportunity to apologize for my rude behavior. It was unforgiveable, but, again, the love of Christ covers a multitude of sins.
With your kind permission, I would like to re-post your letter and my reply on FB and my blog. I will not do so until you grant your express permission.
Yours in Christ, John Myers


Julia Griffin Pattan January 25 at 10:26pm Report

John,
Thanks for replying. It was nice to hear from you. Since I wrote my first letter, I was able to check out some of the things you have on your website. This evening, I was reading through some of your Bible Questions and Answers. How great it is of you to post those answers. I will read through them all when I have time. I may even have some questions for you myself. Like I said in my previous letter, I want to learn as much as I can.
I want you to know that I have long since forgiven you for that little incident on the phone. I know that if that had never happened, I would not be writing to you now. You know, I almost didn't send that letter. A little voice was telling me that I was crazy, that I didn't know you, that you would think I was crazy, etc. But I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to write it and send it to you. So I just took a chance, risked making a fool out of myself, and sent it. That's a pretty big step for me. I'm not known for taking any kind of chances and I'm very very shy. To send a letter to a grown man whom I've never met is just totally out of my comfort zone. But I honestly feel that I am supposed to learn something from you. For example, I am going to read all of your Bible Questions and Answers and if you can recommend any other readings, I would be grateful.
I want to tell you a little story. And I haven't told it to anyone. For most of 2010, my family did not go to church, only once in a while. Well, in December, I decided that I was going because it is Christmas and I wanted my kids to remember what Christmas is really about. So we go to church one morning and one evening. My kids get invited to participate in the Christmas Cantata. This was a week before the cantata but the choir director was kind enough to allow my kids to participate. Well, the Cantata was the next Saturday and Sunday night. The children had a small part in it at the beginning and the end. So I take my kids to this Cantata on Saturday night. Well, this Cantata was powerful, to say the least. It covered the birth of Jesus but also covered his life, and his death. For the first time, this story, which I have heard many times, moved me to tears. It's like it finally made sense to me. Luckily, for me, I would get to see this twice. We went back on Sunday night. This time I invited my babysitter and my parents. And this program just had a profound effect on me. It's like God has turned on a little light switch in my brain and I can't get him out of my head. Ever since this incident, I have been in church whenever the doors are open. I look forward to going. It is the highlight of the week for me now. I even bought the soundtrack for the Cantata online and it is in my CD player in my car and I listen to it on the way to work, even just today. One song I love is a hymn called "Take my life and let it be" which pretty much sums up what I am feeling. I want to give my life to God. I want him to show me the way to live. And you know what, since that program, I feel a lot happier now. I have been really stressed out in so many areas of my life and I now have a different perspective. The negativity that was dominating all of my thoughts is fading. I feel that God is literally working in my life. It truly is an amazing feeling, a peaceful feeling. It's incredible.
As I am writing this, I am crying. I just had a realization about why God brought you into my life. I don't have anyone who I feel comfortable sharing this with. Thanks so much for listening. Hopefully, this all makes sense to you. I better be going for now. Please take care. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Oh, and you have my permission to publish my letter.
Julia Pattan

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Band - I Shall be Released


They say that once upon a time there were 5 guys that played the most beautiful songs you'd ever hear

The Band - King Harvest 1970 - Long Black Veil 1970

Jemima Surrender - The Band (The Band 7 of 10)

Rag Mama Rag - The Band (The Band 2 of 12)

The Band: Chest Fever


Garth Hudson's caught Chest Fever

The Band - It Makes No Difference

The Band - The Shape I'm In


perhaps the best vocalist of 3 in The Band

The Band - Don't Do It

The Band, Ophelia

The Band - The Weight Live WOODSTOCK 1969

The Band- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Up On Cripple Creek - The Band (The Band 5 of 10)

Whispering Pines - The Band (The Band 6 of 10)

Friday, January 21, 2011

merle haggard i think i'll just stay here and drink

Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around

When I started my first radiation treatment for brain cancer, tech asks, "Want some music?"

Sure, I said. "What kind?" he asks.

Gospel. Slight pause. "Well we had a gospel tape, but the man finished his treatment and took it with him. How about country?

Sure. "Johnny Cash?" Sure, turn it up! And this the song that came up. All night Thursday, I kept waking up hearing that prophetic song playing over and over in my head.

There's a man going around taking names, and He's called mine. And like Isaiah, I answer, Here I am Lord. Send me.

And I heard as it were the noise of thunder
One of the four beasts saying come and see and I saw
And behold a white horse

There's a man going around taking names
And he decides who to free and who to blame
Everybody won't be treated all the same
There'll be a golden ladder reaching down
When the Man comes around

The hairs on your arm will stand up
At the terror in each sip and in each sup
Will you partake of that last offered cup?
Or disappear into the potter's ground
When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum
Voices calling, voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It's Alpha and Omega's kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn tree
It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks

Till Armageddon no shalam, no shalom
Then the father hen will call his chickens home
The wise man will bow down before the throne
And at His feet they'll cast their golden crowns
When the Man comes around

Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still
Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still
Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still
Listen to the words long written down
When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum
Voices calling and voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It's Alpha and Omega's kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn tree
It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks

In measured hundred weight and penney pound
When the Man comes around.

Close (Spoken part)
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The first day of the rest of my life

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, Durham VAMC.

The unconditional love of my daughter:
I love you because you're my father,But you're really so much more;You're a guide and a companion;You and I have great rapport.You pay attention to me;You listen to what I say.You pass on words of wisdom,Helping me along the way.Whenever I'm in trouble,You always have a plan.You are the perfect father,And I'm your biggest fan!

  • John W. Myers There is only one perfect father and he gave his perfect son a ransom for this sin-cursed world, of which I am one. But the most perfect daughter a father ever had is my darling Layla who loves me as Dad. She loves me with all her heart, soul, and mind, and would gladly lay down her life for mine. Greater love has no daughter than this. Her love covers over the multitude of my sins.
Amanda Haywood
Lord Jesus, it is not Your will that Your people should suffer. Yet, I remember so well how You took on suffering for us all. Keep Layla now from losing hope as her Daddy faces once again his infirmity. I feel the pain and ask of God, "Let this cup pass from me."

As Layla and John kneel with You in the garden, may they welcome another ...day with a prayer that echoes yours: "Not my wil but Thine be done." Let Layla never forget how to laugh, for laughter is Your gift to her to undo depression and heal the hurt of a sickness she cannot control. Take Layla and John into Your gentle embrace, for I know that whatever this day brings, You have paved their way with Your tears and redeemed them with Your victory. Amen.




For those who came in late, here's a daily review since my last post.

Sunday, January 16, 2011  8am

     Turn TV on for first time to look for preaching, a jillion channels but no preaching. As sent from the Lord, first visitor sticks his head in the door, a young chaplain named Denis from the Congo who loves the Lord. Catholic, but I've learned to look past labels unto the heart, with his first few words of introduction, we hit a Holy Ghost accord, a brother in Christ. He shared his experiences and I told him of my faith journey, particularly my 1979 trip to the Holy Land with my mother and her older brother, Uncle Walton an Army Chaplain. I told him of my baptism in the Jordan River with a black Presbyterian minister from New York who was saved as a result of missionaries in Africa. I bonded with him and a black couple from Hattiesburg, Mississippi and their son, both men were ministers. Of the entire tour group, Peter (the nickname we gave the minister) and I were the only two who wanted to be baptized so he baptized me and I baptized him.

Monday, January 17, 2011  MLK Day

     Awakened after the first good night's sleep since my journey began, my daughter spent the night with me. Got out of bed to recliner for the first time, young Nigerian nurse Ogo, came in with a hug and reports I had been on her mind since 4am, we had connected earlier. She presented me with a Bible question, wanted me to read some verses from the book of James while she took report on her patients and would come back to discuss the verses. She returns sometime later and we had our short Bible study. I explained the verses to the best of my knowledge and she soaked up the knowledge like a little bird. I then called a friend to take care of some gun show business. Guided him through copying some files from my computer onto a flash drive so he could pick up some of the slack from me not working. Then, to my delight there was a Pawn Stars marathon on TV, watched a couple of episodes and then my first visitor came for the day, Joey Martin, a Holy Ghost Baptist, another instant bond with a man who loves the Lord. Good conversation then he prayed with and for me and my daughter and he moved along once my preacher arrived with three other dear friends. Shortly thereafter, my older brother George and his wife arrived as well as my sweet wife. My preacher stayed and prayed with all of us in our prayer circle. I am especially thankful for this illness because it gives me a chance to reconnect with my older brother George, we live only 30 miles apart but seldom ever get time together, alone. George had volunteered to be my driver for outpatient treatments following my discharge and I greatly look forward to our time together as we travel. We lost our younger brother in 1994 and George and I have seen very little of each other since that shared tragedy. After the preacher's prayer, George and I had a quiet talk alone to begin these arrangements. I deeply regret not taking the time to spend with George but I greatly look forward to making up for lost time. My son Robby and my brother outlaw, Jan Richardson, my ex wife's youngest brother showed up just as George left. Glad to see Jan, one of the pleasures of my life is though my first marriage ended in divorce, I never divorced my first wife's family. I have remained close to her father, the preacher and all of the rest of her family. Next news, moving to a private room, just in perfect timing with all the manly help to get the move done. My sister Rebecca arrives late afternoon and once the move was completed, we all visited into the evening hours. Get settled into new room, Robby, Layla, Nicholas, Rebecca and Jan all leave for the night and the sweet wife and I settle in for the night. First night with CPAP from home, another good night's sleep.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

     No breakfast, fasting since midnight pending procedure. Picked me up at 0830 for the bronchoscopy/biopsy. The young med student arrives just before the procedure. He is usually the first doctor in the room since the long talk we had during the nightmares sessions on Saturday due to the steroids. We connected that night, he reported my symptoms to the intern and they agreed to cut down the steroids. Then after the reduction, he returned to the room that night and sat down and said, "now where were we" and we talked some more. Since that night, he has been the first member of the doctor team in my room every day. Leave for the procedure, ready to get it over with. I and my former father in law, the preacher had prayed and agreed together that the pulmonologist would find NOTHING and I asked the pulmonologist if he would tell me after the procedure what he saw. We were all praying for a miracle. After the procedure, he described in fairly clear but clinical terms the mass which everyone is now agreed is in fact a lung cancer. Some much for that prayer. Sometimes God chooses to answer and sometimes He does not, God has His own purposes and His own plan and never explains Himself to anyone. After a lengthy stay in the recovery area, I returned to my room around 11am. Fasting now over, my sweet wife fed me 3 ripe bananas which I greatly enjoyed. I am so glad I didn't let Layla throw them out the night before because of one pesky gnat! They were delicious! Before lunch is delivered, nurses arrive with news that I am wanted immediately in radiology for a consultation. This was the first I'd heard of any radiation consult, placed skinny butt in wheel chair with iron bar across buttocks and wheeled down to basement radiology dept. If I'd only known that wheel chair would be my home for the next 4 hours, I would've placed a pillow or two in it before leaving my room! In radiology, sweet wife is left waiting room while I am ushered into office with radiologist who asked for my complete history, again for the umpth teenth time. I tell it as best I can without the sweet wife's notes which she so painstakingly complied. I later learned that during this lengthy interview, my sweet wife out in the waiting room dissolved into tears. Kind people in the waiting room gathered around her, held her hand, prayed and comforted her while telling her their stories of treatment and recovery, giving her much needed hope and comfort at just the right time. The kind people alerted the nurse and she allowed the sweet wife to come join me in the radiology office. The five day consecutive radiation plan was explained at length and was to begin the next day. Then I was fitted for a mask on the scan table, laid on table for 30min without moving and came very close to having a hissy fit but managed to gut it out. Finally the mask is finished, back to the waiting room to await transport person. Sweet wife assisted me to a real chair, with real cushions until the transport attendant came. Finally the radiology nurse volunteers to take me back to my room, we meet the transporter at the elevator and he finished the transport back to the room. I finally return to my room to my supper that is past cold and thankfully they call for me a new meal tray. Enjoyed my supper, early bedtime. I am exhausted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

     Awake at 2am, wide eyed and bushy tailed, ready to write on the computer. Worked for a couple of hours, accomplished virtually nothing except frustration with tiny laptop keyboard/mouse. Called daughter at Oh-
dark:30 requesting wireless USB keyboard. my latest unreasonable demand, and she agrees without complaint.
Sister strolls in at 720am chattering about the ball game she stayed up until 3am watching. She brought me as requested, Bo Jangles biscuit and coffee, however abdomen CT scan is scheduled and no one seems to know if I am supposed to be fasting. As usual, the young med student is first to arrive, he goes off to find out if I can eat, meanwhile the nurses come in for morning rounds, I ask them and they say we have no orders for a fast so that was good enough for me so I ate my biscuit and enjoyed my coffee. Daughter and grandson Nicholas arrive at 745am, still no breakfast tray appears. Sister departs shortly after daughter arrives. Daughter requested breakfast tray, it arrived late but I did enjoy my gravy biscuit. Wrote dedication for Bible for grandson, misspelled two words to my great chagrin, more evidence of my cognitive losses. I have been a champion speller since the 3rd grade, at least I recognized the misspellings after I wrote them and corrected them. Knock on the door, lovely, young Oriental cancer doctor comes in and sits down. Says, I have news. We had not been expecting any definitive news on my condition until after the Thursday evening interdisciplinary meeting of the specialists. In the kindest, most compassionate way I could ever imagine, she is the first one who didn't beat around the bush but came out straight and told us what we were facing. Brain cancer, lung cancer, some evidence from the images of bone cancer in my ribs. Stage 4. I don't know what you know about cancer stages, but there is no stage five. As she finished telling me, she reached out and held my hand. My daughter comments after she leaves that she must have the toughest job in the world to tell people such crushing news. After it sinks in a moment, my next question, what's the prognosis? She replies that nobody knows but best guess is one year IF we aggressively treat the cancers with a regimen of radiation and chemotherapy. We talk for a few more minutes, I ask a few more questions and she leaves to let us absorb the news. Present are my daughter, Layla and grandson Nicholas. After the doctor leaves, we have a good cry. Then I decide, if I only have a year left, we are going to enjoy it to the fullest. I don't think I am able to talk to my sweet wife who had left early that morning to go to school but I tell Layla to call her and tell her to drop everything and get here. Reluctantly Layla called her and she complied with my request. Within a few minutes, Ogo, the beautiful Nigerian nurse, whom I had connected with so strongly appeared like an angel like a smile on her face. It was her day off but she came by to check on me. I could barely speak but we told her the news and she smiled anyway and kept a brave face, I am sure it broke her heart also. Next messenger on God's appointed schedule followed Ogo immediately, Joey Martin, the chaplain. We share the news with him, he offers words of comfort and prays with us. Before we had time to even consider what's next, nurses show up for the long delayed abdomen CT with no warning. Back to the same room with the same technician who started the process on Saturday at 4am with the CT chest scan. Kind, compassionate, gentle young lady who repeated the same process and even remembered me. I shared nothing with her, feeling the burden was more than she was suited to bear. She sees enough sick people without adding to her burdens. Besides, she knows, she has seen the scans. Back to room around 1 pm, lunch was waiting, it looked good but my appetite was gone. My daughter, unknowing to me, finds two former sailors in the hallway who work here in house keeping. Tall, skinny kid that I had previously met was a Boatswain's Mate pronounced," bo'sun's mate" . Later promoted to damage controlman. We shared a few sea stories, I love talking about my Navy days. For those of you who don't know, the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story is that a fairy tale begins with "once upon a time"; a sea story begins with "this is no shit"...... Chatting with "Boats" raised my spirits immeasurably, we laughed, we smiled, we had a good time. At that point, my daughter got me out of bed, I took a sponge bath, she washed and cut my hair with bandage scissors and changed my linens. She told me we had exercised my body and we would exercise my mind later. She stood at the foot of my bed and said, "it is what it is and we deal with it. No more crying. If you cry, I cry and then Nicholas cries so no more." We started making plans for this best pool party season EVER! My sweet wife arrives and Layla and Nicholas leave to give us time alone and to get me some Chinese as my appetite has returned. We talk awhile, ex wife's sister appears, once again, I am thankful that I am still a member of the Richardson family and they still care about me, as I still care for them. Shortly thereafter, my oldest childhood friend arrives, Ron Franklin, a supposedly retired psychologist and vineyard owner who retired to the family farm. He was working in the area and took time to come over and see me. These are old and dear friends and I share everything with them. They take the news well and I managed to get it out without crying. No more crying. Sister in law called and after Layla returned with supper and we had our Chinese take out party. Shortly after, again, unbeknownst to me, Layla met two former Marines in the elevator earlier. They both served in Vietnam and were here with their oldest brother who over one year ago was sent home with a three week prognosis and was told to go home and make a will. His illness reunited the three brothers who had drifted apart over the years. Another amazing story of good coming out of bad circumstances. Through this experience, all three brothers are saved and on fire for the Lord. As they were leaving, in walks a VFW veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, who hands my grandson $2 from his bingo winnings and to thank me for my service, instead, I thank him for his service. My son, Robby arrives with his wife Cindy and we play Trivial Pursuit and I roll first and the question is "whose garage was the first Amazon.com catalog shipped from?"  The first thing that popped in my mind was that everybody knows who Jeff Bezos is.....BINGO! The brain still works! In my 63 years, I have developed a fount of useless trivial information and I love that game! A small victory but an encouraging one. The sweet wife and I settle in for another good night's sleep.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

     Awoke bright and early again this morning around 4am deciding I would be an impatient patient today. My plan for the day is to complete another journal entry, catching everyone up to date. Started writing and quickly discovered my 60 word per minute skills have diminished to hunt and peck. Process interrupted by first radiation treatment at 9am, so sweet wife and I head back down to the basement for my radiation treatment. Transport and treatment time consumed about 90 minutes, back to room around 1130am. My pastor and fellow governing board member arrived shortly after with a "little burden bear" from my church, SweetHavenChurch.com of Rockoingham, NC. Daughter begins chore of typing my dictation after my pastor prays. Barbeque chicken for lunch and Chaplain Joey Martin returns for his daily visit.
     Dr Lee reappears to talk further about cancer treatments and actually sets up first chemotherapy appointment for February3. She offers more details than I can absorb but daughter takes copious notes and immediately begins researching the chemicalsl on her phone. Thank God for daughter Layla who knows more about this than all of the rest of the family. She is my right arm and my left arm and my legs and my feet and my strength. Sweet wife and Layla ask questions and Dr Lee patiently answers them all. Upon Dr Lee's departure, older brother George and wife Sue arrive, George and I meet in private so I can bring him up to speed while the women took a walk and brought Sue up to speed. We all reunite and supper arrives and shortly after, the pulmonologist arrives to relay that the interdisciplinary team has confirmed what we already know and says that primary care doctor team will begin implementation of said plan in the morning. He gave his good graces in removing oxygen, the oldest IV in my right arm was finally removed with (I am ashamed to admit), a little squealing from me. Two Marine brothers make return visits, then my son's brother in law, Raymond and three preachers arrive and we form prayer circle. Raymond's wife Michelle has been on fire for the Lord since my first journal entry and has written several inspirational responses on facebook. My story touched her and brought her into the light of joy of the Lord. If no one else is touched by my circumstances, Michelle's joy alone makes it worth it. As the day progressed, I feel stronger and capped it off by rising from my chair unassisted and walking with the support of my brother and grandson into the bathroom and I finally peed like a man in the commode and heard that glorious flush for the first time since Friday, finally free  from oxygen and IVs. It's too late for MLK Day but I am FREE AT LAST, thank God almighty, I'm free at last!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

procedure tuesday am to biopsy lung to make final diagnosis. more after that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My first 3 days in VA Medical Center care

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011

Treatment for ailments I've had since early December started Friday. Rose at 5am to go with the sweet wife to Fayetteville Veterans Administration Medical Center ER. Arrived shortly before 8am and checked in with few ahead of me in ER waiting room. Called for triage at 8:15 by nurse who took detailed report with help of my sweet wife's written detailed chronology of my daily worsening symptoms. From triage, she takes us directly to ER treatment room where I am assigned a bed. Another detailed report was taken by an ER nurse for the ER doctor.

Doctor arrives shortly with more questions then orders a lung xray and a head CT. After tests, returned to ER and wait for a while. Doctor returns to report tests reveal a mass in my right lung and "spots" on my brain. He calls in a neurosurgeon who requested a MRI with more detailed images. After MRI, we continued our wait. Then the neurosurgeon and the ER doctor tell us that images are still inconclusive and neurosurgeon says he will transfer me to Durham VMAC for more specialized tests and treatment. My daughter arrives in the afternoon, she is a nurse practitioner of internal medicine. Both doctors returned to talk to all three of us and say they are split between two diagnoses: #1 a fungal infection of the brain and lungs #2 a lung cancer that has spread to the brain. Cure to #1, antibiotics for several months, cure #2 radiation and chemo. Three family votes for fungal infection......me, my wife and my daughter. Afternoon turns into evening as we await the transfer. Finally, the paperwork is ready and the EMS team arrives around 9pm. Three hour ambulance ride to Durham arrives shortly after midnight. Took codeine cough syrup before departure in hopes of sleep but instead talked to young EMS tech about guns all the way to Durham. He is a concealed carry permit holder who carries a Sig Mosquito 22 pistol. We also talked about Christianity, his faith and mine. he is a Michigan native transplanted to NC with his wife.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

At Durham ER, doctor gives me a full work out that leaves me totally exhausted. While doctor calls in analysis for admission, ER nurse takes care of me in a very kind manner and treats me well. ER doctor arranges for a second CT scan and lung xray while in ER. Admitted to Room B7003 at 4am. But no rest in room, taken directly to CT scan. Back in room at 4:45, but no rest, ER doctor is waiting with diagnosis from scan. Tells me right lung has blood clot in addition to the mass and fluid. Recommends immediate IVs of antibiotics and blood thinners. Said blood thinner has some risks but is best treatment to prevent clot from moving to heart which is fatal. I say, "do it now". Says antibiotics is for possible pneumonia, says spots in brain are most likely brain cancer, no more mention of fungal infection.

My lowest moment yet, it's not a fungus, it's cancer. Doctor leaves and nurses begin IVs, I finally get my first chance to sleep in 24 hrs. As I doze off, I remember some words of wisdom from Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost for His Highest.

"Some say it is never God's will for a Christian to be sick. If that is true, then why was it's God's will to bruise His Own Son? Are we better than Jesus? If we can be broken bread and poured out wine for others, then why not allow God to use us as He plans?"

With that thought in mind I go off to sleep. At 7am, I am awakened by my team of primary care providers, resident doctor, intern doctor, and a medical student from Duke. All evaluate me and explain CT tests and others. Again, no mention about fungal infection. All talk is about cancer treatment but diagnosis cannot be confirmed until Tuesday after a bronchoscopy retrieves biopsy of mass in lung. Neurosurgeon arrives, recommends anti-seizure drugs and steroids. Pulmonologist arrives later to explain bronchoscopy and fluid removal from lung in a separate procedure. All MDs agree to return once all the family has arrived to inform them of the plans. Wife and sister arrive first, then later daughter and son. Doctors return to consult with family. Early afternoon, wife urges me to nap due to only 2 hrs of sleep but I am alert and want to stay up. Nurses come and go all day for vital signs and to draw blood, respiratory therapy begins breathing treatments which help the dry cough apparently due to the fluid in the lungs. Family leaves, first wife and sister before supper then son and daughter after supper. I read a gun magazine article briefly then sleep. I wake up coughing and sweating, imagining I am printing gun profiles, tried to turn on side to stop coughing, tried to lower bed to stop coughing, but nothing helps. I finally push the call button to report my delusions, med student responds first then calls intern, both agree the steroids are causing the delusions and ordered the IV slowed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back to sleep and learned later, I slept through a breathing treatment at midnight. Awakened by cough again, called nurse to pee. Nice pee and nurse changed my pajama bottoms, back to sleep. More dreams/illusions about guns mixed in with two more nurse visits to draw blood. Med student and intern make early visits for exam, then breakfast. The best yet! Waffles, sausage, tasteless oatmeal (but I ate it anyway), coffee and apple juice. Wish I had my pocket knife to open the plastic package on the juice straw but several tries with a plastic knife get the job done. Morning pills arrive and nurse says I can remove dentures and brush my teeth! Slept in dentures since this ordeal began.

Wife calls and says she is on her way, daughter calls with reports of successful purchase of wireless mobile card for laptop that wife is bringing. Wife says her sister Mary is mailing us her wireless mobile card. Suddenly an abundance of riches in wireless mobility! Looking forward to getting connected again since being offline since Thursday. No wireless net in hospital so I begin writing a journal for blog and FB. Called my two preachers, present and former with report for a prayer request in church and prayed with both of them.

Wife arrives with laptop, daughter arrives with wireless card and her son. Son arrives with two more grandsons. Friend arrives with his wife, we visit all afternoon. Finally everyone leaves but my daughter and I start journal entry. keyboard sucks, so daughter did typing. Friends call, sister calls from Japan, all promise their prayers.

Prayer is the best cure in the universe. When the Great Physician steps into the room, all is changed! I am not depressed despite the depressing diagnosis. I expect treatment to go well and all the nurses and doctors are great. I couldn't expect more from a hospital full of the latest equipment and teams of specialists. But I eagerly await the arrival of the Great Physician on the scene. Perhaps, He is here already working through the doctors and nurses and no personal appearance will be required. But if He chooses to make an entrance personally, I will welcome him with open arms, heart and mind. He is already working daily and hourly and I do not choose to offer Him advice on how to work His grace, love and mercy through my circumstances. Your prayers are all coveted, this is not the end, just another step in the eternal journey toward Home.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ruger LC9, Sig P290 join the growing field of slim, subcompact 9mms

As the King James says, old age succoth. You can look it up.

The sweet wife and I both caught a nasty virus a week or two before Christmas and we're still not over it. In my case it affected my balance and I'm hobbling around with a cane like a much older version of my ancient self.

As a veteran with no private health insurance, I'm experiencing the joys of government-run health care courtesy of the VA. As one of the VA doctors observed during a visit last week, "The system is broken." When Obamacare gets into high gear, you'll find out what I'm experiencing, government health care for the masses.

Anyway, I took a minor fall at the gun shop yesterday so I'm off work until Monday and finally have time and motivation for a new blog post. So I thought I'd comment about the emergence of two new slim subcompact 9mm pistols.

Until now the field has been small for single-stack slim concealable 9mms, you can plunk down $600 for a Walther PPS or a Kahr PM9, both fine pistols but a bit pricey, or under $300 for a Kel Tec PF-9. All three have about 3" barrels, polymer frames and double-action-only triggers.
I've had a PF-9 for some time which I recently upgraded with a Crimson Trace Lasergrip. It's a very shootable little pistol with a long easy trigger pull. If I take my time, I can shoot a fairly tight group at 10 yards.

My profile photo on Facebook is a head-shot group, which I whimsically turned sideways after someone commented it's a fairly good smiley face. Ironic now since I took a topple sideways in the gun shop yesterday. I was holding a $1050 S&W pistol in a wood box at the time and held onto it rather than dropping it to catch myself. Seemed like the thing to do at the time, as Clint told the judge.

Ruger blatantly copied the Kel Tec P3AT .380 pistol when they introduced the LCP two years ago. So they've done it again this week with the introduction of the LC9, coming to a gun store near you in February or March. Let's compare the two.

The PF-9 is a semi-automatic, locked breech pistol, chambered for the 9mm Luger cartridge. It has been developed from our highly successful P-11 and P-3AT pistols with maximum concealability in mind. The PF-9 has a single stack magazine holding 7 rounds. It is the lightest and flattest 9 mm ever made. Firing mechanism is Double-Action Only with an automatic hammer block safety. The PF-9 will be available in blued, parkerized, and hard chrome finishes. Grips will be in black, grey, and olive drab.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Calibers: 9mm Luger                      9 x 19 mm
Weight unloaded: 12.7 oz.                           360g
Loaded magazine: 5.5 oz.                             156g
Length: 5.85"                               149mm
Height: 4.3"                                 109mm
Width: 0.88"                                22mm
Barrel Length: 3.1"                                 79mm
Capacity: 7 + 1
Trigger Pull: 5 lbs                                22.2N
And now Ruger's specs for the LC9:
Catalog Number: LC9 | Model Number: 3200 | Caliber: 9mm Luger
Slide Material: Through-Hardened Alloy Steel Slide Finish: Blued
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel Barrel Finish: Blued
Barrel Length: 3.12" Length: 6.00"
Width: 0.90" Height: 4.50"
Weight: 17.10 oz. Sights: Adjustable 3-Dot
Capacity: 7+1 Grip Frame: Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon
Twist: 1:10" RH Grooves: 6
MA Approved & Certified: No CA Approved: No
    Suggested Retail: $443.00
See any similarities? Even a blind man can't miss that.

And now for the second new entrant in the slim, subcompact 9mm field, the Sig Sauer P290 9mm.
THE P290 SUB-COMPACT 9MM, is our newest and most innovative and versatile polymer pistol. Designed to be the ultimate in conceal carry. This unique 9mm pistol is the perfect small defense handgun that meets the demands of today’s law enforcement professionals as a backup duty gun, and responsible citizens as a conceal carry gun. The removable grip plates allow for customization with aluminum, wood, and polymer and can be engraved with your initials for a true customized pistol (coming soon).
  Caliber 9mm
  Action Type DAO
  Trigger Pull DAO N/A
  Overall Length 5.5 in
  Overall Height 3.9 in
  Overall Width 0.9 (1.1 in with slide catch lever)
  Barrel Length 2.9 in
  Sight Radius 4.3 in
  Weight w/Mag 20.5 oz
  Mag Capacity 6 - 8 Rounds
  Sights SIGLITE® or Contrast Sights
  Frame Material Black Polymer w/removable plates
  Frame Finish Black polymer
  Slide Finish Nitron® or natural stainless
  Accessory Rail Built-in for optional laser
  Options Customizable grip plates, mini laser
No MSRP is available yet for the P290, but I suspect it will be more in the Walther PPS/Kahr PM9 $600 range than in the Kel Tec/LC9 $300/$400 range.

The only knock on Kel Tec pistols is they are not built for heavy use. A round count of 400-500 is probably as high as you want to go before buying a new one. Presumably the Ruger and Sig entrants are more stoutly built and will last longer, so I may at some point get either or both of them. But until then, I will continue to carry my PF-9 with confidence.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Steyr M-A1 and compact S-A1 get some well-deserved kudos

 My favorite Austrian striker-fired polymer pistol that hardly anybody ever heard of is the cover article of Combat Handguns March 2011 issue.
In August 2010, Steyr announced the new M-A1 and compact S-A1 pistols. The new models feature several significant design upgrades from the original pistols. The A1 series continues to be a polymer framed, double-action-only, striker-fired pistol that is designed for military, law enforcement, and the civilian market and is available in 9mm or .40. I recently had an opportunity to try out a full-size M40-A1 and compact S40-A1 for myself. The new models have retained the distinctive profile of the original design. The angle of the grip to the frame is 111 degrees. When combined with the high grip backstrap,the design places the center axis of the bore lower than with other designs. The design also gives the M a very natural point of aim and reduced recoil and muzzle rise.
 IMHO, the triangle/trapezoid are the best combat sights ever devised by man.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Story of a WWII Medal of Honor: 1911 .45 pistol vs. Panzer tank

The latest issue of American Rifleman chronicles the use of John Moses Browning's 1911 .45 in the hands of winners of the Medal of Honor, including one from World War II that I have written about.
In December Cpl. Henry F. Warner of the Big Red One used a bazooka and his Colt to stop a German armored thrust. Warner’s citation says he won a pistol duel with the commander of a panzer threatening to overrun his position. The tank withdrew but the gallant North Carolinian was killed the next day.
It was not a bazooka Henry Warner used until it jammed, but a British 57mm anti-tank gun, vs. Panzer tanks.

But since it's my story, I'll just quote myself on the details of this heroic soldier who won the MOH.

1911 pistol vs. Panzer tank: 1911 wins

By John Myers, Internet Photojournalist

The Medal of Honor
1911 .45 ACP
The Medal of Honor is our nation's highest military award and a surprising number of those who earned it since its introduction just prior to World War I did so with the help of a 1911 .45 ACP Government Pistol or a 1911-A1 model.

Perhaps the most famous of these was Sgt. Alvin York in WWI.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 32 machine guns, killing 28 German soldiers and capturing 132 others during the U.S.-led Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France.
He was made even more famous by Hollywood in the 1941 movie, "Sergeant York," which York allowed to be made on one condition, that Gary Cooper play the lead role.

But as usual, Hollywood got the details wrong, particularly in regards to the weapons York used.
The movie shows York/Cooper using a captured German Luger pistol in addition to his rifle to kill and capture a host of Germans.

Wrong! He used a Government Model 1911 .45 ACP pistol.

Also, the movie shows York with a Springfield 1903 rifle but he actually used a M1917 Enfield rifle. Wrong again! Similar rifles, both are 30'06 bolt-actions, but different models.

Everybody's heard of the famous Sergeant York, who actually was a corporal when he earned his medal of honor.

But I ran across another familiar name while reading a July 2000 American Handgunner article by Barrett Tiliman, The 1911 And The Medal Of Honor.

As I was reading through the pantheon of heroes, I found a familiar one most Americans never heard of, another corporal who took on the Germans with a 1911, this time in World War II.
Tillman writes that in the 75 years from 1918 to 1993, at least 55 Medals of Honor were presented to men carrying the .45 ACP.

This includes 20 known in World War II, a dozen in Korea, seven in Vietnam and, finally, two in Somalia.
The exact total, however, is unknown, as most citations only refer to "pistol" or "revolver" and some famous events do not mention sidearms at all.

As Tillman listed the WWII MOH winners who used 1911s, that familiar name surfaced:

Medal of Honor winner Cpl. Henry F. Warner
"Not only infantrymen used the service pistol in Medal of Honor actions. Two tankers were decorated for their exploits in France that October, and in December Cpl. H.F. Warner of the Big Red One used a bazooka and his Colt to stop a German armored thrust.

"Warner's citation says he won a pistol duel with the commander of a Panzer threatening to overrun his position; the tank withdrew."

Back in the early '90s, while I was working as a weekly newspaper editor, I interviewed the brother of Medal of Honor winner Cpl. Henry F. Warner of Troy, NC, who told me about how this hero died.


57 mm M1 anti-tank gun of the 44th Infantry Division in France, 1944.
Tillman got one detail wrong, Warner didn't use a bazooka along with his 1911 Colt against the German tanks. He used a 57mm anti-tank gun, a design we "borrowed" from the British, a notoriously underpowered artillery piece which was also prone to jam.

This weapon also offered scant protection for the gunner, who stood out in the open to fire it, the only "protection" being a single sheet of metal to duck down behind when taking fire.

His brother showed me Henry Warner's detailed Medal of Honor citation, which noted that his accurate fire with the 57mm gun was able to knock out the heavily armored German tanks only by hitting their one vulnerable spot as he maneuvered the small artillery piece like a squirrel rifle.

In the end, his refusal to retreat as he kept trying to clear his jammed 57mm while a German Mark IV Panzer tank attacked is what cost him his life.

1911 vs. Panzer tank: 1911 wins

Tillman accurately describes the famous 1911 episode on Dec. 20, 1944, when Warner knocked out two German tanks with his 57mm before his anti-tank gun jammed. The commander of a third tank saw Warner's gun was jammed and elected to finish him off personally with his pistol. Bad mistake.

Warner outshot the German in a pistol duel, killing the officer with his 1911 and forcing the tank to withdraw.
Here's a short version of Warner's Medal of Honor citation which covers his heroic fight during two days' actions in the Battle of the Bulge.

WARNER, HENRY F.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Antitank Company, 2d Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Dom Butgenbach, Belgium, 20-21 December 1944. Entered service at: Troy, N.C. Born: 23 August 1923, Troy, N.C. G.O. No.: 48, 23 June 1945. Citation: Serving as 57-mm. antitank gunner with the 2d Battalion, he was a major factor in stopping enemy tanks during heavy attacks against the battalion position near Dom Butgenbach, Belgium, on 20-21 December 1944. 
In the first attack, launched in the early morning of the 20th, enemy tanks succeeded in penetrating parts of the line. Cpl. Warner, disregarding the concentrated cannon and machinegun fire from 2 tanks bearing down on him, and ignoring the imminent danger of being overrun by the infantry moving under tank cover, destroyed the first tank and scored a direct and deadly hit upon the second. A third tank approached to within 5 yards of his position while he was attempting to clear a jammed breech lock. Jumping from his gun pit, he engaged in a pistol duel with the tank commander standing in the turret, killing him and forcing the tank to withdraw.
Following a day and night during which our forces were subjected to constant shelling, mortar barrages, and numerous unsuccessful infantry attacks, the enemy struck in great force on the early morning of the 21st. Seeing a Mark IV tank looming out of the mist and heading toward his position, Cpl. Warner scored a direct hit. Disregarding his injuries, he endeavored to finish the loading and again fire at the tank whose motor was now aflame, when a second machinegun burst killed him. Cpl. Warner's gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty contributed materially to the successful defense against the enemy attacks.

Warner's brother showed me Henry's grave in Troy and told me about his childhood, growing up poor, just another country boy who could hit anything he could see with a squirrel rifle, putting meat on the table for his family, much like Alvin York.

There's a lot of confusion among the current generation as to just who or what is a hero. My generation, the baby boomers, didn't have that problem, we had the WWII vets for heroes, like Henry F. Warner. One of my boyhood heroes was Major Dick Bong, the "Ace of Aces" who shot down 40 Japanese planes during WWII in the Pacific.

It's a telling sign of our times that the men and women fighting and dying for their country in Iraq and Afghanistan are not considered heroes by many today. Even the cop on the street, protecting our lives daily, gets little or no respect, hardly seen as heroes.

Another of my boyhood heroes was my "Uncle Howard" Jordan, who really wasn't a relative at all, just a childhood friend of my father's who treated the five kids of our family like his own. He and his wife Lena had no kids, but they often had all five of us kids stay overnight at their home.

And I remember "Uncle Howard" showing up at my school in the first grade and telling the principal he was "Johnny's uncle" and had come to pick me up early. And then we'd go fishing. I remember sitting on a wooden bridge over Drowning Creek, not catching any fish, just having a good time with Uncle Howard. I didn't even know he was a WWII vet, he was just Uncle Howard to me and he was one of my heroes.

Last time I saw him was when I was about 10 and we visited Uncle Howard in the VA hospital. He was in a wheelchair and looked so frail and tired. That's when I learned he was a WWII vet. Not long after, he died.
My dad told me that Uncle Howard had to bail out of a damaged airplane over the desert in North Africa in WWII and landed in a huge cactus patch. He wasn't rescued until several days later, still trapped in the cactus. One of those cactus spines finally worked its way into his heart many years later and killed him, my daddy told me. He also told me that every now and then after the war, Uncle Howard would go "barking mad" and howl at the moon. But he never hurt anybody. Uncle Howard never won the Medal of Honor, but he was a hero to me.

One of my favorite preachers, Ravi Zacharias, tells the story of a 3rd grade teacher who asked her class of 8- and 9-year-olds to list three people who were their heroes. One listed Michael Jackson, Madonna and Boy George (which Zacharias notes "covers all three sexes.")

But a disturbingly high number listed themselves as their own hero. Such is the result of the current educational trend to boost "self-esteem" as the most important classroom goal. Perhaps that's why there's such a strange set of heroes for the current generation.