Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Darkest before the dawn
I spent christmas day with josh. We got halfway through the fisher king
and he fell asleep. That was 9 hours ago. I hope this is the first good sleep he's got in a long while. I slept 8 hours myself, the most I've had in a row in weeks. The fire was nearly out when I woke up. More updates here
Tales of the RH/CH-53D helicopter
Paul Fiorillo writes:
I've never heard of or used the RH designation for the CH-53. It appears the Navy had some of those models used for airborne mine countermeasures. Marines only used CH-53Ds to my knowledge. Your uncle certainly did save a lot of lives. That plane could take a beating and keep flying. In fact, the life of the Flight line Chief of my squadron who was in Force Recon during Vietnam, was saved because at CH-53D came in to rescue what was left of his team. Master Sergeant Bosch was his name. One hardass mean bastard who demanded respect just by being in the room. He loved those 53s.
I do have another story about the CH-53D. It was when my Squadron was getting back from a deployment circa 1988, we were unloading our CH-46s at (Marine Corps Air Station) MCAS Tustin and while we were working away, there was a CH-53D hovering over a landing pad at about 200 feet above the deck. I could see the crew chief standing behind the crew door on the side of the aircraft with his white flight helmet on and his back sun visor down. The pilots were testing the flight controls of the plane before they took the bird around the test pattern. The 53 tilted forward a bit, then tilted back, then left, then right and finally it came to a stop still hovering above the deck at about 200 feet. The thrust of the huge blades blowing the dark exhaust to the ground. After a few minutes more of hovering there, I could hear the big bird start to strain. The massive blades began taking huge cuts out of the air making a deep WWwwwaaaaaaa as the huge bird took off into the sky straight up like it blasted off. Dark exhaust poured out of the engines as the plane gained altitude. I could see the helmet of the crew chief getting smaller and smaller as the helicopter kept launching higher and higher when finally at about 1500 feet above the ground, the big bird began to nose over to make its way around the test pattern. I was truly awestruck and amazed at the sheer power of that CH-53D. No other helicopter I had ever seen before that ever displayed such a immense amount of power.
To this day, I tell friends about that aircraft and it has impressed me to this day.
I don't blame you for being proud of your Uncle. There's probably a lot of Marines out there who are alive today because of the superb engineering that went into that aircraft. If your uncle was alive, each one of those Marines would thank him too.
I've also heard, from listening to conversations, that the CH-53s are surprisingly nimble even though they are so big, mostly because of the raw power at the pilot's disposal, but all that power is reserved for heavy lift, hence a CH-53's squadron designation HMH, which stands for Helicopter, Marine, Heavy.
Take care Mike.
At the same time I was posting this, a CH-53 crashed in Kabul
, killing all aboard, and two children. Seeing the best thing he could build get beat by Murphy
ate my Uncle Bill's soul. He'd never see the his glorious bird powering through the air on TV. Never.
He'd only see a CH-53D when there was blood, and smoke, and wreckage. Usually on every channel on the news.
William Taht died of cancer 17 tears ago.
A knock at 9:08 AM
The property inspector for my house insurance wanted to measure the house. I gave her a copy of Uncle Bills Helicopter
. I've been living here since august 27. In all that time, I've had 5 planned visitors, and four knocks from strangers.
I'm sure, somewhere in the piles of physical mail that lie
unopened, that this visit was scheduled for this morning.
Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Feynman once told a great story about probability, which I'll post here when I can find it. I've been paging through his biography for an hour now, trying to find it.
I'm a good statistician. After thinking really hard about how search engines actually worked, (I've written two myself, and was a SQL database programmer for many years. Not only that, as a kid, I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons. I rolled a lot of different many-sided dice.) and after analyzing the data I obtained from google, I came up with a mathmatical formula that would make a story rise to the top there. There's a few unknown values that I can quantify better since I started collecting specific data this week, but for a name as scarce as Josh Taht
, the lower bound for l (links) was 3, and the upper bound was 9. At 3 known links, his story bubbled to the top.
Some others are now engaged in a little cultural jamming
with me. Using these techniques, in only two days, Joshua Taht
's story and Uncle Bills Helicopter
moved to the top page of the google search results
Becca writes in
Becca felt a little uncomfortable with her words in such a public place, so I'll summarize: "I am blown away by your effort to help josh. I can't put into words how important he is to me. I would like to help in any way I can."
TIA, Becca. We have some difficult things to do for Josh in the coming weeks.
I've also faxed Billy Joel's record company
, with a request to be allowed to post "You're only human", on the web page http://www.taht.net/joshua
. If anyone else would like to donate some music to this page, email me
. I don't know if the fax got through, internet email to fax gateways are not very dependable.
I woke up with as 14,000 pound pillow
over my chest, coughing. Off in the distance, I heard a tap tap tap tap tap
There was no way I was going to get up, not that day, maybe not ever. I thought I was in the house I grew up in, in Ocean City, NJ, on the second floor, in the my bedroom. Going around the room I remember there was an air conditioner in a window, a fish tank on top of a dresser along the next wall. Then the door. Then my desk, with a CBM-64 on it, and CBM- 1702 monitor - all 320x200 lines of color glory. A box of 5 1/4 disks, then wall, then one of those tall cabinet things, with a speaker on top. Under the window, an old all-in-one stereo with a record changer in it glowed, an ELO record ("Time") on the spindle. My cat, Blackie
, lay in a ball on the bed. I counted the knotholes in the ceiling.
The tap tap tap tap tap tap
turned into knocking, then pounding, and I heard a voice crying out...
And I got up. And checked out all the windows, and both doors.
There was no-one there.
The Other Kid writes in
My name's Brett Tubin...Django told me about what you were doing to find Josh and I have been following your search the past week. Django has really been my only tie to Josh for the past few years, and sadly most of the news he would find was not really the happy kind. Josh is the reason why i am the way i am today. Plain and simple.
I met Josh when i first moved to CT around when the Radiation Kings were forming. I was a lot younger than all of them, but they, especially Josh never seemed to mind. I guess he took a liking to me, cause he always pulled me in at shows...and got me started on guitar with my first bands. He had become kind of a mentor i looked up to (even gave me the nickname a lot of people still call me ;o) ), even though he did have some bad habits. But it was enough to keep me away from them.
He was always such a brilliant kid...sadly he didn't always feel that way. But i had never met anyone who could write and play the way he did...and when he told me that he was going to be going back to school i could not have been prouder. The little i spoke to him while @ purchase he sounded so good, and he was telling me all the stuff that he was doing...getting into classical guitar and the such...but soon after i rarely saw or heard from him. In the past year i've been trying to find everything that he's done since the last time i had seen him and found a copy of the blood group CD he did, though the picture reaffirmed the reason why we have been afraid for him. The reason i am writing is because if you regain contact with him, i would really appreciate it if you tell him to contact me, even though he is out of the area now, i really want to be able to talk to him again...
and tell him the stuff i am doing now is thanks to him. And just to know if he is doing alright..i know its been a very rough trek for him, but he can
do it. I have a friend who works @ a special drug program who is finding me some info that may be helpful for him...so if he comes through i will pass
the info on to you.
When it seemed like many people only thought of him as a memory, it's so nice to see people actually caring and doing something to try and help him.