Jump Start Engines – part#3

Builders,

In this part, let’s look at the sub-groups that will be in the assembled short block. One of the organizational tasks I put a huge amount to effort into in 2012-13 is our Group Numbering System, which logically breaks down your engine build into groups, and assigns every single part in the flight motor a number.

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When I wrote the getting started series, I introduced the numberings system with this story: Getting Started in 2013, Part #2, Group numbering system. It is a good, short, introduction, but I later changed the system slightly. In the first system (which was used in the getting started series) You had Group 1000, (the crank group) but you also had part# 1000 which was the crank. Shortly I saw this was a little ambiguous, and decided to make the crank part number 1001, and bump all the part numbers down one digit. Not a big deal, but it makes it easy to understand that when we are speaking of 1000, 1500 or 2000, we are speaking of the whole group, not an individual part. Our regular catalog page:

http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html

Has all the correct part numbers as they are after the revision. Read and understand the getting started articles, but the numbers we use in this series will be the final ones that appear on our catalog page.

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The catalog page has all groups, #1000 through #4300 on it. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that 3400 through 4300 deal with airframe installation components that you don’t need to get an engine running at a college. Also, there are a number of groups like the Front cover group 2300, that are deleted if you are building with a 5th bearing, There are two oil system groups, 2700 and the heavy duty 2800, and you only need one, and there are three 5th bearing groups, 3000 (Weseman), 3100 (Roy’s) and 3200 (mine) and you only need one. The numbering system has to cover a lot of options, but to build your engine you only need to use part of it. This series will guide you through with some examples.

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If you look at it for a minute, you will understand that the “Catalog page” is far more than a list of items for sale. only a small fraction of the part numbers are items we sell. The page has a larger function as a checklist for your engine build. Rather than flashing back to it, consider printing one out and getting a highlighter and checking the items off as you collect and prep them. Even though I have been building the engines for 25 years, I still like to use a checklist to get everything organized.

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I have a few hundred hours in Grace’s Taylorcraft. It is a very simple plane, but if you look in the glove box, it has a laminated, hand written pre-flight check list, and I still take it out and run through it and say the items aloud.  Make fun of that if you want, but I am never going to be the guy who took off with the fuel shut off, the plane radically out of trim, or the primer unlocked.  If you don’t want to be the guy who comes to a college to assemble and run his engine but doesn’t have lifters (#1105) or head gaskets. (#1403), use the checklist.

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OK, below are the Groups we will be dealing with to build the Jump Start closed cases.( Getting Started in 2013, Part #7, ‘Chas. Charlie’ Short Block ) after this we will break it down to the individual parts in each group.

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(1000) Crank group

(1100) Cam Group

(1200) Case Group

(2000) Rear oil case Group

(2400) Starter group

(2500) Hub Group

(3000) Weseman bearing Group

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Reading for background:

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To read about the Crank Group 1000

Getting Started in 2013, part #1, Crankshaft process options.

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To read about the Cam Group 1100:

Getting Started in 2013, Part #3, The Camshaft Group (1100)

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To read about the Case Group 1200:

Getting Started in 2013, Part #4, Case Group (1200)

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To read about the Rear oil case Group 2000:

High Volume Oil Pump

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“If two guys walk into my booth at an airshow and ask about engines, everyone should understand that I am going to be polite to the guy who wants to tell me about the 4 cylinder Corvair he had in high school, I am going to answer all the questions of the guy who has seen my website, but didn’t look enough to even hear about the number system, but I am going to invest as much of my time as possible with anyone who shows up with a printed numbers list, a highlighter, a pencil and a working knowledge of how we describe the engine now. There is only one of me, and there will be many people at an airshow as interested spectators. That’s good, but my mission is to teach builders, not entertain spectators. I am glad to talk to the later and do a little hangar flying if they are standing there, but mission #1 is to communicate with builders, and nothing says you’re a builder like having a written plan in your hand.” -ww

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( Our booth at Oshkosh 2014 is #616 across from Zenith aircraft)

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Thought for the day: The need to Know.

“It wouldn’t be Friday night without a little fun. Our neighbor Roger was having a cookout and a bonfire in his front yard just down the runway. We missed dinner, but arrived in time for the relaxing around the fire with a beer phase.

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Most builders know that the one pound cooling fan on a late model Corvair car is made of magnesium. We brought one down and after warning those present, tossed it in the fire. It ignited after a minute of warming up. For five minutes you could have seen our airport from low earth orbit.

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The camera doesn’t do the event justice. It illuminated the entire southern end of the airport; you could have read a newspaper 500’ away. At most airports this would have brought firefighters, hazmat people and the news media. At our airport it brought more people with beer.

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As a little kid, I played with matches, built tree houses, took apart the toaster, made go-carts and was known on a first name basis at the emergency room. My test methods have gotten a lot better than childhood forays into chemistry, but my incessant need to know remains the same. I accept that the majority of people in life have a consumer mentality that tells them that simple possession is the route to happiness.  For the rest of us who know that our path to happiness is learning and creating, we have the  Corvair movement.” -ww-

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Jump Start Engines – part #2

Builders:

Here is part #2 of the Jump Start Engine series. This one will cover some background before we move onto details.

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18 months ago I wrote a 20 part series on “Getting Started.” The entire series can be found by clicking on this reference page: Getting Started Reference page.

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In that series, from part#5 to part #9 we looked at 5 different closed case options. The had alphabetized names, AA through EE. The Jump start engines I am proposing, with Gen II Weseman bearings, 8409 cranks and failsafe gears on OT-10 cams are most like the engine described as the third, or “Chas. Charlie” option. You can read about it at this link to part #7: Getting Started in 2013, Part #7, ‘Chas. Charlie’ Short Block.

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If a builder wasn’t to assemble his engine as a 3,000 cc Corvair, the case has to be machined to accept the larger cylinders. Specifically the six holes for the cylinder spigot bottoms have to be enlarged slightly. This need to be done with great precision.  There is an older description of it at this link: 3,000cc Case Modifications.

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If you are thinking about which displacement you would like for your plane, you can read the “Getting Started” links about pistons and displacement. They are here;

Getting Started in 2013, Part #12, Piston Choices

Getting Started in 2013, Part #13, Basic piston/rod/cylinder combo.

Getting Started in 2013, Part #14, 2,850 cc piston/rod/cyl. Kits

Getting Started in 2013, Part #16, 3,000 cc Piston/cylinder kits

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That should be enough reading for one night.  On to part #3 tomorrow. -ww.

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Above, a rear view of a 3,000 cc Corvair engine.

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Jump Start Engine project – Part #1

Builders;

Here is a new series on engine building. It will be a detailed look at getting started that will serve many builders. The focal point of this are 10 “Jump Start” engines that we will have in the works for the next months, but the info will apply to anyone building a Corvair.

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What is a “Jump Start” Engine? Basically it is a complete core engine, that has some of the difficult parts done for the builder, but still needs work from the builder and replacement and conversion parts to be completed.

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Picture a builder who wants to build an engine, but is having a bit of a time finding a good core. He wants to do some prep work, reading and learning at home, but his goal is to bring his project to a single college and finish and run the engine in 3 days. He is a candidate for a jump start motor.

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Here is the idea:

1) The engine starts as a complete core motor at my shop. From it I send the 8409 crank to Dan Weseman for processing and the installation of a Gen II 5th bearing. The case is cleaned, checked and assembled with a new set of main bearings, an OT-10 cam, and a new gear. We assemble the Weseman 5th bearing onto the case here. We also install a set of Hybrid Studs (2502), Safety Shaft (2503), a  starter ring gear (2408), and a Short gold hub on the engine (2501B), and a High volume rear oil case. (2000HV)

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This would effectively cover most of the parts in Groups 1000, 1100, 1200, 2000, 2500 and 3,000. (see http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html)

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2) I take the heads while they are here, machine the carb pads off and weld on a set of the aluminum intake tubes.  This is done after the heads get a rough cleaning and have all the old parts like valves and springs removed.

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3) the remaining engine parts are rough cleaned and inspected, inventoried and bagged. We also have a comprehensive list using our numbering system of all the other parts the builder will need to finish the engine

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4) We can crate and ship this to the builder. He can then get familiar with all the parts, and at his own pace complete the engine. We can send him the heads, or we can forward them to Falcon Machine for rebuild. After getting everything organized and prepped, the builder can bring the completed case, plus all the prepped parts to a college, and with steady work he can go home with a completed running engine.

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Above is a close up of a 2nd Gen Dan bearing journal on a re worked GM crank. This is a 2700/2850 ready case we put together we sold at CC#24.

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Potential Questions:

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“Is this a Kit Engine?” No. It is called a Jump Start engine to differentiate it. Kit implies that every single part in the box. This has all the core parts, but still needs many items like pistons, the rods to be rebuilt, gaskets, rod bearings etc. Part of the goal here is to keep the thing affordable. If it was a kit with everything in the box, it would be a lot of money all at once. This will cost some money, but getting started with this is going to be less than 50% of the cost of building a motor.

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“Can I just get you to make me a kit motor, you know, with every single part in the box, carefully cleaned, and prepped and painted?” Sorry we don’t offer that. Here is why: If I did all that, and it had an assembled case, It would actually take me about the same man hours to assemble the engine as it would to carefully pack the individual parts in boxes to ship. The time in building an engine is the prep work, not the assembly. If I sold a kit engine it would have to be nearly the same price as a completed engine from us. Contrary to what some people think at first glance, engines like our $10,750 running 2,850 cc engine are mostly parts cost and only some labor.

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Why do many VW engines come as kits? How are they different? With Corvairs, we are investing sweat equity in the engines in order to rebuild a very high quality American engine with new parts that are also made in America. The great preponderance  of VW engines are made of all new parts….that come from the Peoples’ Republic of Red China.  Yes, they once came from Germany and Brazil, but that was long ago. Today, most VW parts, cranks, cases. heads, all come right from mainland China. My goal is to teach people how to build and operate a high quality American engine, not to compete with $2/hr. workers in a police state without civil rights.

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“What if I wanted a 3,000 cc engine?” In this series I am going to give sample builds of  2,700, 2,850 and 3,000 cc Jump Start engines, and I will give an exact break down of the costs for each.

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“Hey, I already have a core motor.” My first though is just follow along in the series and process your own stuff in parallel with the series. If you wanted to get in on the engine because you liked the closed case idea, or wanted to move up to a 3,000 cc engine (which requires the case to be bored out before any assembly work starts) we could always take your core as a trade in, but most likely we would just help you find another builder who wanted to buy your core from you.

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How much is this going to cost? I don’t have the exact number, because we have a few variables here like if the case needs to be bored for 3,000 cc cylinders, if a builder wants all new studs etc.  In this series we will look at a number of different variations and put exact numbers to each one

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“How quick could I get one?” The crank process takes time., as Dan sends the crank to several different shops for magna-fluxing, heat treating and grinding.  There is some calendar time involved here. Right now we are 100 days or so away from the next college. If we take 10 days to write up the series, and a builder wants in, there should be plenty of time to get the work ready for the college.

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You are a busy guy, isn’t this a big influx of work? No, not really. I already have the engines here. I picked up the 10 cores at the Corvair Ranch in PA on our trip last month. They are already disassembled and partially clean. The crank and 5th bearing part of this will be done by Dan’s experts, I am going to send the cases out for cleaning and boring, I have Vern to assist with welding the head pipes, and the small parts bagging is not a lot of work. What is left is the case assembly, building the rear oil case, and putting the gen II 5th bearing on.  That is work, but not an enormous amount. Again, if I was building “Kit” motors, and doing all the work on every part, this would take until the end of the year.

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What is the budget time line on this? Part of the idea here is to get to the exact numbers though this series. Once we know this, if a builder wants to get in, my idea was they directly pay for the crank processing and Gen II bearing to Dan and Rachel Weseman, which is $2,200. This would function as ‘the deposit’, the rest would not need to be paid until we were going to ship it of bring it to a college. If the builder wanted to get the heads for it sooner so he could get them in the works, we could arrange that they would leave before the case was done.

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That is all the preliminary questions I could think of. If you have more, tune in for part #2 tomorrow, or feel free to ask them in the comments section, I will address them in the next part. -ww.

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Thought for the day: Demand for the Truth.

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“As Scarce as the truth is, supply has always been in excess of demand.”

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– Josh Billings.

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I came across this gem a few years ago. I might have been a lot more successful, and certainly more popular, had I read and understood this bit of wisdom much earlier in life. For all the years I have worked with Corvairs, I have told people “I am not going to tell you what you want the hear, I am just here to teach what you need to know.” On paper that has a lot of fans, in reality it has a selective audience.

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For those seeking to have old wives takes, incorrect assumptions and mechanical prejudices affirmed, I am the wrong guy. If you are interested in learning the things I have discovered about building and flying planes, good, I can help. If your plans of building and flying demand facts and proven information, I have a pretty good supply.

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JoshBillings.jpg

 Josh Billings 1818-1885.

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Henry Wheeler Shaw went by the stage and pen name “Josh Billings.” He was an American humorist and lecturer, a contemporary of Mark Twain. In his day he was immensely popular, but is largely forgotten today, perhaps because his humor was based on telling people witty observations they didn’t want to hear.

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Thought for the day: Basic human skills

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

– Lazarus Long, as written by Robert A. Heinlein.

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To this we might add: Build and airplane, Overhaul an engine for it, and fly it with good judgment and skill.”

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In the quote above, Heinlein is speaking of possessing and exercising real skills. Nothing the man did nor thought was part of the “check the box off” mentality that many people have today.

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Now, most “experiences” are bought on an hourly basis, complete with a photo op suitable for instant uploading to the requisite Face Book page. Conversely, Heinlein’s personal code was about the individual having actual skill, experiences and wisdom. Not to impress others, but for the simple human satisfaction of being a developed human with a richer life. When planning your build, make all other considerations secondary to learning and exercising skills, and then you will know the real rewards of homebuilding, the ones that go far beyond those who were seeking the easiest path to “check the box.”

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Heinlein came from an unusual background to be one of the greatest Science Fiction writers of all time. Above is his 1924 US Naval Academy graduation photo. Few people know that he wrote the phrase  “An armed society is a polite society.” Throughout his life, Heinlein’s thoughts, perspectives and philosophy constantly evolved.  He did not try to be offensive, but he placed little or no value in conforming to any societies expectations.

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Memorial Day Reading

Builders,

On this Memorial day,  most Americans will limit their consideration to looking at a few bumper sticker length slogans photo shopped onto pictures of tombstones, and perhaps a cursory glance at a well-meaning, but highly suspect, moving WWII story with a simple uplifting moral that could have been a John Wayne movie. For those that feel the day would be better spent with more depth, a few suggestions;

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“The Two Thousand Yard Stare” Thomas Lea, 1944, subject is Marine on Peleliu

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Last month I read E.B. Sledge’s memoir “With the old Breed”

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_the_Old_Breed)

An unflinching account of how a human being goes from a normal American life in Mobile Alabama and is transformed into a Marine who fights on Peleliu and Okinawa. Americans suffered 10,000 casualties on Peleliu; The Japanese had nearly 11,000 men on the island. Only 1/5th of one percent of them lived.  For all the savagery, it is a name unknown to 98% of Americans.  The fighting gave birth to the painting above. After rendering it, the artist Tom Lea wrote these comments:

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“Last evening he came down from the hills. Told to get some sleep, he found a shell hole and slumped into it. He’s awake now. First light has given his gray face eerie color. He left the States thirty-one months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. There is no food or water in the hills except what you carry. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded but he is still standing. So he will return to attack this morning. How much can a human being endure?”

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Right now I am reading a little know work, by a well-known author, James Jones. He is best known for two other books, “From here to eternity”  and “The thin red line.”  Jones was in the Army before WWII started, and was present at the attack on Pearl Harbor. Le later fought at Guadalcanal. The book I am reading is “WWII” which is a look at the art from WWII, including the painting above. Very rarely is the commentary on art valid, or from a man who knew the subject matter so well. Jones is raw, and at time obscene, but he is widely thought of as brutally honest. Consider how different the films made from his books are from the simple and uplifting stories spoon fed to us by John Wayne. You can learn a lot from Jones: He points out that the Thousand yard stare is not to be confused with Shell shock: A man with the stare still has the agility of a cat, and still is an effective fighter, which means he is not pulled out of the line.

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Vietnam infantry man Tim O’Brien wrote this in his book “The things they carried”:

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“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. ”

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A month ago I found an old copy of the companion printed work for the film  Victory at Sea, and mailed it to my father. It is largely a photographic work, with very little type. What is there is sparse and harsh commentary. My mother said my father spent many quiet hours looking at it.

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 In the middle of the book are two photos of the aftermath of D-Day, the first showing the faceless bodies of Germans sprawled in the sand, the second, a similar image of allied dead.  On initial glance, it is hard to distinguish. At the bottom, a small caption on the German photo stated “Some died to enslave the world” and on the allied photo is said “Others died to free it.”

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An important distinction between the US and Allies and the Germans and Japanese that is often left out of popular culture it that the Germans and the Japanese had a full generation to develop an absolute blind and unquestioning  allegiance to militarism, as obedient and fatalistic as any cult.

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This is very different from the admiration and respect we have for our military, yet you will find endless novels and films, particularly about the conduct of German officers (frequently aviators) trying to paint them as no different from our Fathers. 50% of my DNA lived in Germany 150 years ago, I have met, in person, Gunter Rall and I know large number of Germans, and it is a misguided fallacy to  suggest that their WWII officer corps was identical in morals to ours. About a week ago, a man born in Germany after WWII told me that “All nations are the same, the US was no better nor different from the Germans were”.  I politely told him that I disagreed, because my Father was an enlisted man in WWII, and neither he nor anyone he knew, put human beings in gas chambers.  I told him I didn’t believe that 9 million humans were exterminated without the assistance of any willing German fathers. The US does not generate, follow and protect life forms like Franz Stangl, but his country did, and he is not entitled to unilaterally elevate the men who did to the same moral level as those that liberated Bergen-Belsen.

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It is reading, not Hollywood films and bumper sticker quotes that protect us from revisionist propaganda. I am ashamed to say that one of the single most impressive jobs of cleansing history was done by our own government. Anyone who wishes to read a little, can examine the case of Wernher von Braun. In popular culture, he is the hapless German scientist who just tries to survive WWII, and then is relieved to come to the US where he can work for peaceful space flight. It is a pleasant myth.

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Von Braun could have left Europe just like all the Germans, Austrians, Italian  and Hungarians who worked on the Manhattan project did. Instead he stayed, became a Major in the SS, Worked directly for Himmler, and developed the ballistic V-2s that took thousands of lives, both in their attacks and in their construction by slave labor. Yet, for several decades he was portrayed by elements within the US government as a pleasant man of science. If you actually read in-depth, he is reveled as a willing Nazi, glad to do anything that advanced his research. In his own words:

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“Thus, my refusal to join the party would have meant that I would have to abandon the work of my life. Therefore, I decided to join. My membership in the party did not involve any political activity.”

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Today we kill people who are just thinking of developing weapons of mass destruction. Von Braun is the granddaddy of them all,  and yet we not only put him on the covers of magazines, we taught our kids he was a great and admirable human being. The fact that many Americans accorded him the same respect as another European who was an actual scientist gravely concerned with his role in balancing peace with contributing to weapons, Albert Einstein, is a good demonstration of what happens when people don’t read enough and just believe simple tales they are told.

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Von Braun was not the only occasion were our government decided to relieve responsibility for crimes in WWII, supposedly to benefit the post war world. Consider this excerpt from the biography of Hirohito:

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 “MacArthur’s highest subordinates were working to attribute ultimate responsibility for Pearl Harbor to Hideki Tōjō by allowing “the major criminal suspects to coordinate their stories so that the Emperor would be spared from indictment.” According to John W. Dower, “This successful campaign to absolve the Emperor of war responsibility knew no bounds. Hirohito was not merely presented as being innocent of any formal acts that might make him culpable to indictment as a war criminal, he was turned into an almost saintly figure who did not even bear moral responsibility for the war.”According to Bix, “MacArthur’s truly extraordinary measures to save Hirohito from trial as a war criminal had a lasting and profoundly distorting impact on Japanese understanding of the lost war.”

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In you care to read about it, The Emperor of Japan was a tough sell as a saint. He had personally ordered the use of poison gas against civilians in China 375 times. Sadam Hussein was hung for less. I believe that it was disrespectful to the 405,000 Americans killed in WWII to be less than honest regarding the actual roles played by men like Hirohito and Braun.

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If you have never seen it before, take a moment to read Major Michael Davis O’Donnell’s poem, he wrote in Dak To, Vietnam, in January 1970:

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If you are able,

save them a place inside of you

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and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.

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Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always.

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Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own.

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And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane,

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take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.

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Major Michael Davis O’Donnell was an aviator, killed in action 3/24/1970. His name on Panel 12W, Row 40 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, ‘The Wall,’ stood for 19 years before his remains were recovered, 31 years after he was killed. He was laid to rest on the other bank of the Potomac,  in Arlington in 2001. As long as people are willing to take the time to read what he wrote and consider it, his life will still have meaning.

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