December 7th, 2006

Thunderbird 1


Kenneth Taylor died this past November 25th after a long illness, less than two weeks short of the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was during the attack that Taylor and his wingman, George Welch became heroes as the most successful of the handful of American pilots who managed to get into the air during the attack. They'd been partying the night before, and as dawn broke they were still in their tuxedos at the Officer's Club at Wheeler Field, the main Army fighter base a few miles north of Pearl, trying to decide whether to finally hit the sack, or to go up to the north shore for a swim. They chose sleep, but it didn't last long.

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I happened to stumble across an airing of Pearl Harbor last week, the first time I'd watched it I think since it was in theatres, and I still can't believe how awful the flight sequences in it are, with the P-40's and Zeroes whizzing around a few feet off the ground like Star Wars X-Wings. Truly an abomination.