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Before You Were Started!

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you... - Jer 1:5


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Be Very Careful!

Now therefore, O you kings, act wisely; be instructed and warned, O you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with reverent awe and worshipful fear; rejoice and be in high spirits with trembling [lest you displease Him]. Kiss the Son [pay homage to Him in purity], lest He be angry and you perish in the way, for soon shall His wrath be kindled. O blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are all those who seek refuge and put their trust in Him!

Why do the nations assemble with commotion [uproar and confusion of voices], and why do the people imagine (meditate upon and devise) an empty scheme? The kings of the earth take their places; the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and His Anointed One (the Messiah, the Christ). They say, Let us break Their bands [of restraint] asunder and cast Their cords [of control] from us. He Who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision [and in supreme contempt He mocks them]. He speaks to them in His deep anger and troubles (terrifies and confounds) them in His displeasure and fury, saying, Yet have I anointed (installed and placed) My King [firmly] on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, You are My Son; this day [I declare] I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like potters’ ware.

Where Were You?

We had a few days off, and the phone rang in our little cabin in the woods. A family member was calling. She said, "You need to turn on the news. A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center." I watched the news for much of the next three days. I was trying to absorb a scene I had no mental file folder for. I don't think any of us did. I felt sickened, I felt vulnerable and profoundly sad beyond words.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Where Were You On September 11?"

Radio stations began calling and asking if I would do an interview the next day to talk about what had happened. How could I help thousands of listeners process this unprecedented trauma when I was still trying to sort out my own thoughts and feelings? Then I just bowed my head and prayed: "God, would You please help me see what's happening today through Your eyes? What are You seeing here?"

Suddenly, I wasn't just seeing collapsing towers or a terrorist attack. This was about thousands of people unexpectedly rushing into eternity at one place and one time, ready or not. Nothing can diminish the deep grief and horror of that defining September morning. But looming above those images and memories is a deeply personal question for each of us, "Am I personally ready for eternity whenever it comes, however it comes?"

That's why the Bible tells us in our word for today from the Word of God in Amos 4:12, "prepare to meet your God." See, you and I have an appointment with God that's long been scheduled in His calendar. But it's not in mine. It will come without warning, and only one thing will matter at that moment. Listen to this from the book of 1 John in the Bible, "God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12 ).

All that matters in a person's eternity moment is, "What did I do with Jesus?" Because it was only Jesus who did the dying that I deserve to do for the lifetime of the wrong things I've done against God. If a religion could have taken care of my sin or your sin, there's no way Jesus would have been butchered on a cross like that. But He loves me too much to lose me. He loves you too much to lose you. So He died for you; He died for me.

One of God's greatest blessings to us is the stunning discovery that we actually can be sure - right here and now - that we will go to heaven when we die; never have to sweat that question again. Not because of how good we are, but because of how good God is. In the words of the Bible, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23 ). From the moment you take that gift, it is yours and it is yours forever.

Every day in America alone, it's like there are two September 11ths, at least in terms of lives lost. Six thousand Americans go into eternity each day and 150,000 in our world. One day that will be you. One day that will be me, and we don't know when that is.

To be ready for eternity, to know you're going to heaven when you die, means to know that you have had every sin of your life - the sin that would keep any of us out of heaven - it has been erased from God's Book forever. Only one person can do that; the man who paid the penalty for it, Jesus, when He died on the cross. But He's alive to give you life. He walked out of His grave. He's ready to walk into your life today, if you'll just open up your heart to Him. Put your life in His hands.

Let me encourage you to join me at our website today, where I can explain to you exactly how to be sure you belong to Him. Go to ANewStory.com. There's one final heartbeat, and then God, ready or not. It's life-or-death stuff to make sure we are ready for eternity.

220 Died Everyday!

Very Thankful to all the Brave Men & Women who have Served in our Military!

The Cost of WWII Aircraft - Men

The cost of doing business -- Given the odds shown by the following numbers,
those of us who survived in these planes can now appreciate just how 'lucky' we were! 

Most Americans who were not adults during WWII have no understanding of the magnitude of it.  
This listing of some of the aircraft facts gives a bit of insight to it.  
276,000 aircraft manufactured in the US.  
43,000 planes lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat. 
14,000 lost in the continental U.S.

The US civilian population maintained a dedicated effort for four years, 
many working long hours seven days per week and often also volunteering for other work.  

WWII was the largest human effort in history.

Statistics from Flight Journal magazine.

The staggering cost of war.
B-17 - $204,370
B-24 - $215,516
B-25 - $142,194

B-26 - $192,426
B-29 - $605,360
P-38 - $97,147

P-40 - $44,892
P-47 - $85,578
P-51 - $51,572

C-47 - $88,574
PT-17 - $15,052
AT-6 - $22,952

During WWII, ON AN AVERAGE; 6600 American service men died per MONTH, (about 220 a day)

PLANES A DAY  WORLDWIDE --- 2,433 days.
From Germany's invasion of Poland Sept 1, 1939 to ending with Japan's surrender Sept 2, 1945

How Many is a 1,000  planes?
B-17 production (12,731) wingtip to wingtip would extend 250 miles.
1,000 B-17s carried 2.5 million gallons of high octane fuel.
Lifting 10,000 airmen to deliver 2,000 tons of bombs.

   9.7  billion gallons of gasoline consumed, 1942-1945.
   107.8 million hours flown, 1943-1945. 
   459.7 billion rounds of aircraft ammo fired overseas, 1942-1945.
   7.9 million bombs dropped  overseas, 1943-1945.
   2.3 million combat sorties, 1941-1945 (one sortie = one takeoff).
   299,230 aircraft accepted, 1940-1945.
   808,471 aircraft engines accepted, 1940-1945.
   799,972 propellers accepted, 1940-1945.

Other Interesting Facts:

Inside the  continental United States. In less than four years (December 1941- August 1945), the US Army Air Forces lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and assorted personnel plus 13,873 airplanes --- They were the result of 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months. According to the AAF Statistical Digest.

Think about those numbers. They average 1,170 aircraft accidents per month---- nearly 40 a day.  (Less than one accident in four resulted in totaled aircraft, however.)  Those colossal losses cost the Axis powers nothing; not as much as one 7.7 mm bullet.  It gets  worse..... Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign climes.  But an eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat causes overseas.

60 B-17s were shot down among 376 losses, in August 1943. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England.  In 1942-43 it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe. Pacific theatre losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed.  The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortress, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas.

6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII,on average, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theatres and another 18,000 wounded.  Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number "liberated" by the Soviets but never returned.  More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands.   Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867.  US manpower made up the deficit.  The AAF's peak strength was reached in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.

The losses were huge---but so were production totals.  From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft. That number was enough not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but for allies as diverse as Britain, Australia, China and Russia.  In fact, from 1943 onward, America produced more planes than Britain and Russia combined.  And more than Germany and Japan together 1941-45.

Our enemies took massive losses however.  Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained uncontrolled hemorrhaging, reaching 25 percent of aircrews and 40 planes a month.  And in late 1944 into 1945, nearly half the pilots in Japanese squadrons had flown fewer than 200 hours.  The disparity of two years before had been completely reversed.

--  Experience Level:  --

Uncle Sam sent many of his sons to war with absolute minimums of training.  Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than one hour in their assigned  aircraft.  The 357th Fighter Group (often known as The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s.  The group never saw a Mustang until shortly before its first combat mission.  A high-time P-51 pilot had 30 hours in type.  Many had fewer than five hours.  Some had one hour.
With arrival of new aircraft, many combat units transitioned in combat.  The attitude was, "They all have a stick and a  throttle.  Go fly `em." When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s  to P-51s in February 1944, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition. The Group commander, Col. Donald Blakeslee, said, "You can learn to fly `51s on the way to the target.  

 (Note:  Gone West HNL QB Brewster Morgan 
(Morgan's Corner up in Nuuanu off of Old Pali Road), 
a Honolulu boy and a member of the 4th Fighter Group, 
told me that they actually did stand down one day to 
transition from the P47 to the P51.

They were mad that the old groups still had the P47 [Brewster was with the Eagle Squadron in the Spitfire......later in the P47 when the US got into it in '42] and the newer groups coming over from the US all had P-51s.  Blakeslee finally convinced AF to let them convert by standing down just one day.  An interesting side note...Brewster was shot down over France in '44 and became a POW...his roommate?...Douglas Bader...top English ace with two wooden legs...Bader lost one of his legs when he bailed out and was captured.......the Germans asked the Brits to send him another leg......which they did). 

 A future P-47 ace said, "I was sent to England to die."  He was not alone. Some fighter pilots tucked their wheels in the well on their first combat mission with one previous flight in the aircraft.  Meanwhile, many bomber crews were still learning their trade:  of Jimmy Doolittle's 15 pilots on the April 1942 Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941.  All but one of the 16 copilots were less than a year out of flight school.

Some early U.S.A.A.F. pilots trained initially with the R.A.F. & the R.C.A.F.!

In WWII flying safety took a back seat to combat.  The AAF's worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours.  Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139.  All were Allison powered.

Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive.  The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, respectively- a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force's major mishap rate was less than 2. The  B-29 was even worse at 40; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to stand down for mere safety reasons. The AAF set a reasonably high standard for B-29 pilots, but the desired figures were seldom attained.

The original cadre of the 58th Bomb Wing was to have 400 hours of multi-engine time, but there were not enough  experienced pilots to meet the criterion.  Only ten percent had overseas experience.  Conversely, when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force initiated a two-month "safety pause" rather than declare a "stand down",  let alone grounding.

The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Though the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, no more than half the mechanics had previous experience with the Duplex Cyclone. But they made it work.


    Perhaps the greatest unsung success story of AAF training was Navigators.  The Army graduated some 50,000 during the War.  And many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving "Uncle Sugar" for a war zone.  Yet the huge majority found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel --- a stirring tribute to  the AAF's educational establishments.

Cadet To Colonel:

    It was possible for a flying cadet at the time of Pearl Harbor to finish the war with eagles on his shoulders. That was the record of John D. Landers, a 21-year-old Texan, who was commissioned a second lieutenant on December 12, 1941.  He joined his combat squadron with 209 hours total flight time, including 2 ½ in P-40s.  He finished the war as a full colonel, commanding an 8th Air Force Group --- at age  24. As the training pipeline filled up, however those low figures became exceptions.  By early 1944, the average AAF fighter pilot entering combat had logged at least 450 hours, usually including 250 hours in training.  At the same time, many captains and first lieutenants claimed over 600 hours.


    At its height in mid-1944, the Army Air Forces had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types.  Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000  civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft. The 2009 figures represent about 12 percent of the manpower and 7 percent of the airplanes of the WWII peak.


    Whether there will ever be another war is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones over Afghanistan and Iraq.  But within living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless.


Rene Francillon,  Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific war; 
Cajus Bekker, The Luftwaffe Diaries; 
Ray Wagner, American Combat Planes; 

Contributed by Elizabeth Piper (Reuters). Author Unknown

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