Friday, April 02, 2010

Definitely 2 April Materiel

I didn't believe it when I found it. My initial source is spoofable, though the cross-links would have taken a little more work and they try hard to prevent such things. Withal:

It appears the last Letter of Marque & Reprisal issued by the Federal government of the U. S. of A. was to the airship Resolute, in 1941; the blimp operated as a submarine-spotter out of Los Angeles in 1941 and '42. And they did have a rifle aboard, so we're talkin' armed privateer. (When you buy tires from Goodyear, you're doing business with the only surviving U. S. company to have operated a privateer vessel. I don't know if the Brits or other parts of the former British Empire have any. Did the French go in for privateering much?)

Airship privateer. The career I dreamt of* and it actually existed. At least for a few months.

Update: Commenter Justthisguy points to The Graf Zeppelin March and reports himself earwormed. What the heck -- earworms for everybody!
* Some of the time. You know, when I wasn't exploring outer space, bein' Pat Savage or pounding brass in the Merchant Marine.


Drang said...


I do recall that in the late 80s some congresscritter suggested that Letters of Marque and Reprisal be issued in support of the War on (some) Drugs. As I recall, the Navy had a cow.

Justthisguy said...

Declaration of Paris, I think it was, from 1850 or so, stopped privateering for most yurrowpeen countries. The U.S. did not sign, nor did CSA, the latter polity not existing at that time. I read Admiral Gallery's book about the capture of U-505, and how everybody was calculating his prize money, only to find out that Congress didn't do that any more. Greedy bastards. Queen Anne was more generous to her sailors.

I think prize money actually reduced effusion of blood and destruction of property. There was an incentive not to totally annihilate the enemy in the prize-money system.

Justthisguy said...

Somehow I can't think of you as Bangladesh DuPree. That's more like Our Tam. You seem to be more of a Heterodyne. So, is the badge on yer cap a trilobite, or a winged rook?

Justthisguy said...

Now this will make you envious: When I was a kid my folks joined the Miami Yacht Club so that I could learn to sail an Optimist Pram. To get to the facility, we had to drive through Watson Island, where was the Goodyear Blimp's winter base. My Dad and I were driving home one day and decided to hire ourselves a ride. It was wonderful.

I have recently found out through Wikipedia that the accepting of public paying passengers was against Goodyear policy, but insisted on by the City of Miami in the terms of the lease for the field. So, I belong to the exclusive club of paying airship passengers.

As an old band nerd, this started an ear worm in me. I am hearing in my head, right now, the Graf Zeppelin Marsch, by Teike.

Up ship!

Justthisguy said...

P.s. There was a pocket on the back of the blimp pilot's seat which had an emergency-procedures card in it, laminated, and about the size of a piece of typing paper. It was about how to fly the airship and work the radio if the pilot suddenly dropped dead, or something.

All of one side and half of the other side was instructions on how to work the radio; the other half-page was instructions on how to fly the airship. Hey, even a cat could do it!

Roberta X said...

Prolly a trilobite.

...And I am jealous of your airship ride. One of my co-workers has gone up and I used to work at a radio station that Spirit of Akron used as a waypoint, pre-GPS, but that's as close as I'm likely to get.

(The station had a straight-leg self-supporting tower, built in the late 1930s. I was never able to get a photo with the blimp and the tower in the same frame but it was certainly time-warp-y).

Anonymous said...

Some folks have all the luck. This gives I the urge to build a clockwork brass depth charge fusing mechanism, just on principle. Prefereably one which plays a nice little melody on the way down, and goes "bing!" right before it goes off. You know, to offer the poor sonar operator one brief, final moment of levity.


Data Viking said...

I seem to remember the East India Company went in for privateers in a big way and it still exists, albeit in an extremely modest way, still pushing luxury goods.

Dr.D said...

The Congressman that has suggested Letters of Marque and Reprisal is Dr. Ron Paul. He is the only member of Congress that actually acts according to the Constitution.

Some years back, I was working on a US Navy project at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, NJ, the place where the Graf Zepplin Hindenburg burned and crashed. The airship hangar is still there and it is one of the largest structures I have ever seen of this sort. It is roughly 12 stories tall, and the doors move on railroad tracks across the ends. It is big enough to fully enclose the Zepplin, so you can imagine how low it has to be.

NotClauswitz said...

My father's Academy-friend's Dad Cmdr. Wiley survived the Akron crash (rescued by the German motorship Phoebus), and then drove the Macon around in the sky (and into the water off Monterey). It was ten-feet longer than the Graf Zeppelin.
I go by the hanger all the time and it still thrills me to see it.

Roberta X said...

DV, I should have figured you to know that! --Okay: Goodyear, East India Co., both on the "interestinger that I thunk" list.

jbrock said...

Hell, the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001 is one of the bigger reasons I like Ron Paul. It didn't go anywhere but it showed class, if not necessarily a firm grasp of political reality.

Aside: Ya know you're reading a fun blog when commenters start busting out Girl Genius references. (Hat tip to Justthisguy.)

Justthisguy said...

Reflecto, you do know that they used to go "click" right before they went off? Enhanced the fear a bit, I betcha.

For the tune I recommend "Nearer, My God, to Thee."

WV: swircher. Low-level employee in starship. Equivalent to "wiper" in a steamship.