By Jeff Gorell
Thirty-two words changed the course of human history.
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the air and naval forces of the Empire of Japan.”
With this simple preamble, uttered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on December 8 before a joint session of Congress, began the challenge to a generation of wide-eyed Americans to do nothing less than save the world. It was a task of unimaginable proportion, perhaps the greatest responsibility ever foist upon a generation through the annals of mankind. And it was a task that suddenly fell squarely upon the shoulders of young men and woman who knew little more than the struggles of the Great Depression, the Midwest Dustbowl and the simple, predictable life of pre-war America.
Almost comically, in the days following Roosevelt’s speech, Grace Tully, his personal secretary, received dozens of letters from grammarians from throughout the nation correcting the President in his choice of words. It’s a date “that” will live in infamy, not “which” will live in infamy, they wrote with prideful conviction.
Some people simply didn’t get it. But thankfully, most did.
The American generation of World War II – later appropriately dubbed “The Greatest Generation” – was violently wrenched from youth to fight the forces of fascism and imperialism step by bloody step across five of the globe’s continents and across two of her largest oceans. They did so with classic American moxie.
If there were ever a ship to represent, almost personify, this American determination, it was the aging battlewagon, the USS West Virginia (BB 48). As the morning light warmed her teak decks in the early hours of December 7, she sat peacefully moored along battleship row paralleling Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. But on this Sunday Sabbath, the sun did not arrive alone.
The 1941 air assault, launched from 6 Japanese carriers a few hundred miles north of Oahu, killed more than 2,400 men and women of the armed services and 68 civilians. Without warning or declaration of war, three hundred and fifty three Imperial planes attacked six Hawaii military bases destroying most air resistance and immobilizing the US Pacific Fleet. Three battleships were completely lost while 5 more were sunk or badly damaged. Aboard the battleship USS Arizona, which today still lies on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, more than 1200 men were lost in one blast alone — nearly half the day’s total casualties.
The USS West Virginia didn’t fare much better. Through the attack, she sustained seven direct torpedo hits and two direct bomb hits. More than one hundred sailors and officers lost their lives trying, in vain, to keep her afloat.
From the flames and wreckage of the West Virginia, American heroes and legends were born. The Commanding Officer, Captain Mervyn Bennion, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership and bravery. Third Class Mess Cook Dorie Miller, the black sailor who manned anti-aircraft guns, was also later awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism under fire.
By noon on December 7, the West Virginia had settled to the bottom of the harbor, a hulk of twisted, flaming steel and iron. She was originally thought to be unsalvageable. But some naval leaders had bigger plans for the ship.
In 1942, huge cofferdams were built, weighted, and lowered by derricks to form a cocoon around the sunken vessel. Water and debris were then pumped out of the ship, while oil skimmers retrieved nearly 40,000 gallons of fuel. On May 17, 1942, the West Virginia was refloated and before long was transported back to Puget Sound for complete overhaul. And by September 14, 1944, the West Virginia set out for Hawaiian waters again to join the Pacific Fleet where she fought in campaigns at Leyte Gulf and the invasion of the Philippine Islands.
No more inspirational a photo was taken during World War II, then the August 31, 1945 signing of the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Visible on the horizon and over the shoulders of General Douglas MacArthur is the resurrected USS West Virginia. Like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes, the ship stands as the only Pearl Harbor veteran afloat in Tokyo Bay that morning. In seeming peaceful silence, she silhouettes the signing ceremony – the symbolic end to a costly war only she saw begin.
Her story, like so many of the stories of the men and woman of the World War II generation, is one that inspires. Few creations of man’s hand can so eloquently represent man’s own struggle. Indeed, the West Virginia represented all that was good in the Greatest Generation – her patience, her rise from decimation, her unbending resolve and her victory over world aggressors. She reflected the lives of those who built her, manned her, called her home, and fought to protect her. And in doing so, she has taken their identities and become an amalgamation of the Greatest Generation, making her, to many, an American hero.
(Jeff Gorell of Thousand Oaks is a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy Reserve and a third generation naval war veteran. In 2000, he served as on-set advisor to the director of the Disney movie Pearl Harbor, filmed in Hawaii, and he studied history at University of California at Davis and naval history and the Naval War College)
A local solar power company, Power-One, announced this week that it is expanding operations in Arizona, not California, making the Camarillo tech company another anecdote for why California is a job-killer state. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/oct/05/solar-firm-plans-to-expand/. Prognosticators said after AB32 passed green and clean energy companies – like solar energy technology corporations – would flock to California. Here’s what Power-One CEO Richard Thompson had to say about that … “Arizona is where the solar corridor is in this country, and it is really attracting industry,”
California will be the last, not the first state to emerge from the recession if we don’t roll back regulations, lower taxes and prevent frivolous litigation. Start by voting for Proposition 23 and suspend AB 32. It’s time to level the playing field with other states like Arizona, show that California can compete, and start creating jobs here, not in Phoenix. Power-one is making a prudent business decision. This news is not the company’s fault, it’s Sacramento’s fault.
“Phoenix wants to be known as the Silicon Valley of solar,” he said. “The state made it very attractive for us to be there.” – Power One CEO Richard Thompson.
Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/oct/05/solar-firm-plans-to-expand/#ixzz11cnA18LC
Television and Movie Actor John Ratzenberger will be making a fundraising appearance on April 30 in Camarillo for Republican State Assembly candidate Jeff Gorell, a businessman and naval officer.
Ratzenberger made a campaign appearance earlier this year for U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown, helping the Republican persevere in his underdog race to succeed the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Ratzenberger, a Republican, is openly considering a run for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut in 2012.
“Through his foundation, Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs, and his work on the show Made in America, John has dedicated much time to inspiring young people to work with their hands and to celebrate everyday heroes who design, manufacture and fix the things that afford us the quality of life we enjoy in America,” said Jeff Gorell. “My efforts in California education policy will, in part, be to similarly inspire middle and high school students to learn the art and benefit of vocational work by reincorporating career technical education courses in public schools. It’s an honor to have John’s support!”
Best known for his role as Cliff Clavin on TV sitcom Cheers, Ratzenberger has been named the 6th most successful actor of all time, particularly for his work as a voice actor in Pixar animated films, as well as his parts in Superman and The Empire Strikes Back. His box office totals measure more than $3 billion. He is also author of the book “We’ve Got it Made in America: A Common Man’s Salute to an Uncommon Country,” and competed on Dancing with the Stars.
The Gorell for Assembly fundraiser will be on Friday, April 30 at 6pm in Camarillo. For more information about this event, please call (805) 910-7121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about Jeff Gorell and his campaign for State Assembly can be found on his website at www.jeffgorell.org
Jeff Gorell, a Republican who is running to succeed Audra Strickland in the California State Assembly 37th District, posted fundraising figures for 2009. His finance reports showed that he had raised more than $234,000 in 2009 and had $186,000 in the bank as of Dec 31.
Secretary of State finance filings can be found here: http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1305314
California State Assembly Republican Leader Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) emailed his Republican colleagues a bristling response to Governor’s Schwarzenegger’s signing of more than 200 bills, many of which were opposed by the GOP caucus. The bills were a “shocking reversal of position on the issues about which we care most deeply: taxes, second amendment rights, family values, over-regulation, etc” See Flash Report for the full story here:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Ventura County Republican Central Committee voted unanimously last night to officially endorse Jeff Gorell’s bid for the 37th State Assembly District in 2010. The Party joins Senator Strickland, Senator Runner, Assemblywoman Strickland, Assemblyman Smyth, Supervisor Foy, and many other elected local Republicans with the endorsement.
“Jeff Gorell’s strong stance on the issues of importance to the citizens of Ventura County has demonstrated that he is the best candidate to represent the diverse interests of the 37th District”, says Chairman Mike Osborn. “Candidates like Jeff are going to be instrumental in leading the Republican Party at the local level, and preparing our Party for victory in 2010 and beyond.”
Jeff Gorell is a long time supporter of small business and a tireless advocate for greater fiscal responsibility. As a former deputy district attorney, small business owner and war veteran Jeff Gorell understands and is committed to bringing conservative solutions to the issues facing Ventura County residents.
About the VCRCC
The Ventura County Republican Central Committee is comprised of members from across the County, elected every two years. The Committee meets the 4th Wednesday of each month at its office in Thousand Oaks. More information on the Party can be found at www.venturagop.org.
The Pacific Coast Business Times outlined the races for California State Assembly along the Central Coast, including 33rd, 35th and 37th Assembly District Races which are all open seats in 2010 due to term limits.
New candidates include Mike Stoker, Republican in the 35th AD. (Not the Mike Stoker actor from 1970s “Emergency”). For more on Mike’s announcement, here’s a profile from the Santa Barbara Independent: http://www.independent.com/news/2009/may/30/stoker-enters-state-assembly-race/
Here’s an interesting piece in Sac Bee’s Capitol Alert by Jim Sanders on State Senator Abel Maldonado who has, year after year, taken a voluntary pay cut for his state employment, more so than any other state legislator.
The 15,000-member California Association of Highway Patrolmen announced today its strong endorsement of Jeff Gorell as the next Assembly Member representing California’s 37th District, pledging grassroots and financial assistance.
“Our State’s highway patrolmen enthusiastically endorse Jeff Gorell’s candidacy in the 37th State Assembly District in 2010,” said Shawn Stevens, Legislative Chair for CAHP. “He is a leader with tremendous public safety credentials. He is a veteran crime fighter, having worked side-by-side with our officers for more than six years as Ventura County Deputy District Attorney. We look forward to working with Jeff as a State Legislator toward keeping the highways of California safe for drivers, while ensuring that our officers have the proper training and equipment to achieve this life-saving goal.”
“While a D.A., I worked on hundreds of serious crimes – from carjacking to drug trafficking — with the professional men and women of the CHP and am very proud and honored to call them allies in my campaign for State Assembly,” said Gorell. “Ventura County is one of the safest communities in this nation. I intend to work with my public safety friends to keep it that way.”
Other public safety endorsements for Jeff Gorell include Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks; Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten; Ventura County Fire Chief Bob Roper; former Santa Paula Police Chief, Councilman Bob Gonzales; former Ventura County District Attorney Mike Bradbury; and former Simi Valley Chief of Police, Mayor Paul Miller.
Jeff Gorell has also been endorsed by former Governor Pete Wilson; State Assemblywoman Audra Strickland; State Senator Tony Strickland; Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy and more than 40 other state and local elected leaders. For a complete list, please visit the website linked here.
About Jeff Gorell for Assembly 2010:
Jeff Gorell has a strong background in public service and public policy, including his work as an advisor to Governor Pete Wilson from 1993 to 1996, and as a statewide business advocate with the powerful California Manufacturers and Technology Association from 1996 to 1999. He also served Ventura County as deputy district attorney for more than 6 years from 1999 to 2006, working as a trial prosecutor in the major narcotics and violent felony units. Today, Gorell is a small business owner, practicing attorney, and an adjunct professor of public policy at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. Gorell, a war veteran, also serves in the United States Navy Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. He was recently promoted to the rank of Lt. Commander and continues to serve today in the Reserves as a naval intelligence officer.
Jeff Gorell lives in Camarillo with his wife Laura and daughter Ashley.
To learn more about Jeff Gorell’s campaign, including his full list of endorsements, background, experience and vision for the future, please visit www.jeffgorell.org.