Friday, August 14, 2009

Untying the Gordian Knot - An Essay

(c) Copyright 2007, Caroll Williams, all rights reserved
This and other writings can be found at

I am seething with anger over the stupidity and cowardice our world’s leaders demonstrate by their failure to address the most pressing problem threatening our continued existence on planet earth. In this essay I am going to sound off, and I am not going to spare anyone’s feelings.

Granted the problem is complex, but like the Gordian knot it admits to a solution. Let me begin by stating that I am not a “tree-hugger” or an ecofascist. I think of myself as a pragmatist and a responsible thinking citizen of not only my own country, but of the world as a whole. Humans in all generations have a responsibility to future generations not to screw up the planet.

The most vexing problem facing civilization today is the profligate use of the worst possible forms of energy to drive our world economy. The combustion of carbon based fuels is dead wrong and should be halted without delay. Some want to replace carbon-based power plants with nuclear power. No, no, a thousand times no! Nuclear power is not the answer because nuclear waste products threaten the very form and the existence of life for untold generations yet to be born. Nuclear power is more irresponsible than carbon-based power and in the most insidious way. We need to move quickly to a "hydrogen" based economy.

Today’s petroleum companies think in terms of being in the “oil business.” They need a massive shift in their paradigm or world view. They are not in the “oil business” they are in the “energy business.” Until they recognize this, they will continue to contribute to the destruction of our environment, our economy, and our national security.

Some alternate fuels are already in the market place. Ethanol and bio-diesel are but stop gap measures destined to prolong the agony of making the leap to hydrogen. Ethanol production is directly responsible for a huge increase in carbon emissions into the atmosphere through unintended consequences. Increased corn production in the USA displaced soybean production. To satisfy world soy bean demand, Brazilian farmers burned thousands of additional acres of Amazon rain forest to gain acreage for soy bean production. Burning millions of trees in the Amazon released more carbon into the atmosphere in a single year than the entire U.S. fleet of automobiles and light trucks have released in the past century. Trees that had absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for centuries and had served as a carbon "sink" were forced to release all their stored up carbon. The net contribution of Ethanol then is extremely negative.

Hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe. Hydrogen can be used in our present fleet of internal combustion engines and in fuel cells to generate electricity. Both uses can drive surface vehicles and provide stationary power sources for industry. Hydrogen can be separated from water. In the process of separation pure oxygen remains as a by-product. The world’s surface is 75% water and 25% land area. All coastal nations can become energy self sufficient in the recovery of hydrogen from the sea.

All nations are not equally endowed with petroleum sources. The industrial economies of Japan, Europe, and the United States are dependent upon petroleum from the Middle East, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, and Venezuela. In all of those areas there is political instability, terrorism, wars, and threats to our carbon-based energy source.

Why should we cease using petroleum? The continued use of petroleum exacerbates global warming and climate change. We depend upon unreliable energy sources. A negative balance of payments from developed economies flows into the coffers of rogue states and into the pockets of terrorists who wish to destroy our very civilization. Every time we fill our gas tanks we put more and more money into the hands of religious fanatics and terrorists who deny their own people freedom of religion and demand that the world convert to Islam.

No matter how you feel about our military invasion of Iraq good, bad, or indifferent, the facts are these. We won the battle by overturning the regime of Sadaam Hussein, but we will lose the war. Why? Why can’t we win in Iraq? How does one define victory in this kind of war? What does it mean to win? Victory for the U.S. and its coalition allies would mean a secure stable and democratic Iraq safely inside its own borders with no interference from surrounding rogue states. Because we in the west failed to consider that Iraq and much of the Middle East is simply ungovernable we can never achieve this kind of victory. Animosity between Shia and Suuni and other religious factions will NEVER give way to security and stability. It never has, and it never will.

Now that being said, what is my prediction for the outcome of the current debacle in Iraq? It is not good! The coalition will leave Iraq sooner or later. The outcome will be the same no matter how long our forces remain in Iraq.

Chaos will follow our departure. Iraq will be dominated by Shiite militias. Mullahs such as Muqtada Al Sadr will ally themselves with Shiite dominated Iran. Iran will control the petroleum resources of Iraq for decades to come. Nations such as Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Doha, will be severely threatened by the combined power of Iraq and Iran and may well fall prey to conquest. The United States and its western allies do not have the stomach for nor the political will for another “oil war” in the Middle East.

Petroleum prices will rise precipitously. The free market will respond to rising oil prices by seeking secure alternate energy sources. We saw the workings of the free market in the 1970’s following the Yom Kippur war and the oil embargo which produced shortages and rapidly rising prices. When OPEC raised the price of crude from $4 a barrel to over $40 a barrel the free market was able to pay for the search and the development of new sources of petroleum. The North Sea between Scotland and Norway, the north slope of Alaska, and Mexico’s Chiapas fields and offshore Gulf deposits were discovered and drilled. These sources did not free us from the grip of petroleum terrorists around the world. They were only a stop gap measure and will be depleted in a few years.

Those opposed to hydrogen argue that since the infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles does not currently exist, it would be impractical to introduce it as an alternative to gasoline. In addition they argue that since the combustion of hydrogen or its conversion in fuel cells produces water vapor as its only by-product this would upset the earth’s water cycle. A counter argument can be made that the current use of carbon-based petroleum fuels with its resulting green house gasses is far more destabilizing to the earth’s water cycle. Why is this important? The earth’s water cycle of evaporation and rainfall controls the climate over the whole earth.

Some have argued in favor of the Kyoto Accords which the United States has consistently refused to ratify and to put into operation. Why have we taken that stance? China and India are specifically named in the Kyoto Accords as exempt from reducing green house gas emissions. China and India are the two largest producers of industrial green house gasses and are presently increasing those gas emissions at an alarming rate. The Kyoto Accords required Western Europe and the United States to reduce their emissions. To do so, we argued would sharply curtail all industrial and transportation in our country.

A recent article in the press has reported that uncontrolled accidental fires that have burned for decades in underground mines in China alone produces more carbon emissions than the entire surface fleet of vehicles in the United States and coal mine fires in India run a close second. These mine fires can be extinguished with modern methods. Not to extinguish these fires while insisting that the U.S. adhere to the Kyoto Accords is the most blatant form of national hypocrisy on the part of India and China.

We are not opposed to cleaning up the environment. We are opposed to being made the scapegoats for carbon emissions, while exempting the biggest polluters.
What kind of a dent in the problem could we make by changing from gasoline to hydrogen? Ninety-three percent of all gasoline consumed in America is used in personal cars, light trucks, SUV’s and vans. If we convert the entire personal surface fleet to hydrogen we could eliminate 93% of all gasoline consumption in the USA.

How do I propose to accomplish this in short order? If the political will were to exist in our government, we could outlaw the production and sale of gasoline-burning surface vehicles as of a date certain. Perhaps give the automakers of the world three years to make the change. What about the current inventory of vehicles? We could grandfather in all existing vehicles for a period of perhaps five or six years. Beyond that time, all gasoline-powered vehicles would have to be either converted to hydrogen or retired from the road. Put them in museums or sell them for scrap. This would give the owner the time to decide the useful life of their current car or light truck.

Will American car makers be able to adapt? General Motors and Ford as well as other brands all have hydrogen powered vehicle development programs under way. Ford recently demonstrated a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle exceeding speeds of over 200 miles per hour on the Bonneville salt flats in Utah. Hopefully we won’t see traffic on our Interstates at those speeds, but the technology is capable of satisfying American’s lust for high performance. The primary reason such vehicles are slow to come to the market is the lack of a hydrogen infrastructure. We need every filling station in the nation equipped to refuel hydrogen cars and trucks.

Adopting a hydrogen economy would help the United States free itself from its unsustainable balance of payments deficit and all that it entails. We currently spend far more than we earn in foreign trade. The imbalance is largely the result of our addiction to foreign oil. Foreign countries including China now hold obscene quantities of American dollars in their central banks. They do not purchase American goods, they are purchasing American infrastructure. The Chinese central bank recently invested over 300 billion dollars with the Blackstone Group a private equity investment firm. The first purchase Blackstone made was to buy the entire Hilton family of hotels and motels. Now when you stay at a Hampton Inn or a Hilton Hotel you are paying for your room to the Chinese communists if that makes any difference to you.

Recently the Chinese attempted to purchase Unocal, an American oil company. Several years ago they purchased the IBM personal computer business from IBM. The Lenovo group now holds the patents and design secrets previously developed by IBM. The Chinese are now shopping for one of the only two hard drive makers in the world, either Western Digital or Seagate. In either case if they buy one of those firms, they will have access to the most sensitive encryption technology developed by American brains and held closely by those companies.

Why is this important? Encryption technology is used to prevent hackers from accessing massive amounts of sensitive business and government data. In the hands of the Chinese communists, how secure will our CIA and FBI computers remain if they choose to share encryption programming secrets with countries and terrorists who hate the USA?

You may recall the Dubai World Ports deal purchasing American port facilities from the British P&O Company. There was a political storm over that transaction.
All of the above cited examples would NEVER have taken place if the USA did not run a trade deficit enriching the rest of the world at our expense.

Will we be driving hydrogen powered vehicles? YES! Sooner or later we will. The sooner the better for Western Civilization!

If you have some thoughts on this subject, please submit a comment.


A Chip On His His Shoulder - A Short Story

© 2007, Carroll Williams, all rights reserved

Roger Sullivan studied his daughter’s facial expressions. Kayla listened intently as her date; Brad Shelby recounted his exploits in his new position. Brad was the newly hired on-site property manager for a large apartment complex near the university. He seemed to relish his authority in dealing with problem tenants. He seemed particularly proud of evicting a rowdy tenant that same afternoon.

Kayla’s mother Catherine cleared away the dishes and served an after-dinner round of coffee. Conversation continued late into the evening. Brad seemed to be an affable young man. Kayla met Brad when she helped a friend move into one of the apartments he manages. They had been out a few times but hadn’t progressed into a serious relationship. Tonight Kayla brought Brad home to meet her family.

Catherine and Roger talked about Brad as they prepared for bed. Catherine agreed with her husband that he should discuss some important issues with Kayla. After breakfast the next morning Roger Sullivan asked his daughter to join him in his office. Kayla settled into an easy chair along side her father’s desk.

“Dad, what’s this all about?”

“Honey there are some things you may not know about Brad, but of which you really need to be aware.”

“What on earth are you talking about?”

“Kayla, it seems that Brad has a number of problems. He changed jobs seven times in the last two years. He has worked as a parking lot attendant, as a waiter, a used car salesman, a cab driver, and an airline baggage handler among other things. He only completed tenth grade, and did so with a grade average of D minus. His academic record is hardly impressive.

He has serious problems managing his personal finances. He has missed two payments on the car he is driving now, and he lost his last car when Eagle Credit reposed it. He has five maxed-out credit card accounts and is delinquent on all of them. He has no savings or investments. These things could be corrected with some economic discipline, but that doesn’t seem to be Brad’s style.

“Dad, what else do you know about Brad?”

“Kayla, Brad drinks to excess with friends on week-ends at several local bars. His alcohol consumption is beyond reasonable limits. He averages eleven ounces of alcohol consumed each time he goes out drinking. He frequently visits Tunica and Las Vegas. He lost five thousand three hundred and twenty four dollars in the casinos. However his money problems may be the least of his defects.

Brad hires the services of prostitutes. His pimp in Vegas is a guy locals call ‘the hustler.’ His pimp in Tunica is a guy who does business under the trade name of “buzzard.” “Brad contracted a serious STD in Las Vegas and is currently being treated at the University Medical Center attempting to bring it into remission. Dr. James Smith is his primary care physician at University Med Center. Even if his physical health were good, his DNA sequence reveals some major defects which predict serious future health problems for him and for any potential offspring.”

Roger continued. “Honey, this lad has been arrested but not convicted in another state on several serious charges. He isn’t in jail yet because of lack of evidence. The prosecutor may reopen any of these matters, and is actively seeking evidence for just that purpose.”
Kayla looked intently at her father. “Dad, just out of curiosity, how on earth do you know so much about a guy that I just met two weeks ago?”

“Honey, when you were three years old we complied with the 2014 UN Human Records Treaty. We took you to your pediatrician and had your micro chip placed in your shoulder. You hardly felt a sting. It was inserted using a needle and a small amount of local anesthetic.”

“Your entire life history, academic record, financial records, employment records, passport information, medical history, DNA sequence to name a few are all recorded on that micro chip. Your information is updated every time you do anything. Everyone you deal with updates your information electronically any time you make a visit to a professional office, take a course in school or university, travel anywhere, and engage in purchases or other financial transactions. You wouldn’t be able to withdraw funds from your ATM or make any purchase unless the merchant or bank could access your microchip.”

“Your microchip allows your mother and I to track your every movement through the satellite phone network even if you forget your cell phone and leave it somewhere. Your microchip picks up GPS information and always knows exactly where you are. It also picks up information from your car’s on-board computer. That’s how we knew your car had broken down on the freeway last October and we could come and get you. An alarm went off in our bedroom and we were able to instantly view your situation on screen on our bedroom plasma TV. That’s also where your mother and I viewed Brad’s data before we fell asleep last night.”

You remember how that fellow without a microchip was arrested at the airport when he tried to board a domestic flight? And another time when we were returning from Cancun and those two guys were arrested trying to sneak through customs and immigration with data-corrupted microchips?”

“When you started to school your mother and I installed a transponder in this house which reads the entire data file from everyone’s shoulder embedded micro chip as soon as they enter our home. All of the information gathered is right here on my flash drive and is accessible to me at my home computer or anywhere I travel via my encrypted internet account and my blackberry.”

Roger looked at his daughter. “We love you and just want to protect you.”
Kayla leaned forward and hugged Roger.

“Thanks dad. I know you and mom always take good care of me and always will. I gotta go. I’ll see you tonight after work.”

Believe me; I will not be seeing Brad again.”

“I’m so glad he has a chip on his shoulder.”


The Kiss - A Short Story

©Copyright 2000, Carroll Williams - all rights reserved
A lawyer spends some time on a tropical island

Steve made the flight from Miami to Caracas, Venezuela aboard an American Air Lines Boeing 757 jet with all the latest bells and whistles. In Caracas he boarded a six-decade old Douglas DC-3. The ancient twenty-one passenger airliner lumbered into the air at barely seventy knots and cruised at just over a hundred. The old bucket of rivets connected a number of small island airports strung out for over a thousand miles along South America’s northern coast. It only flew in good weather and only then when spare parts were available.

After four island landings and three hours flying low over crystal-clear coral-studded waters the pilot throttled back for an approach to Espiritu Santo. The ancient aircraft swung low over a row of palm-studded hills and dropped precipitously onto a white sandy runway. Flocks of brightly-plumed birds scattered noisily in every direction. A dozen iguanas scurried from the airstrip to the cover of the nearby jungle.

Steve left the aircraft along with seven other weary travelers, each seeking total and complete solitude at this remote beach resort. Espiritu Santo was an island just two miles wide and five miles long, but best of all, it was light years away from the pressures of his law practice. The population consisted of about two-hundred folk of various races and ethnic backgrounds. This part of the Caribbean had always been a refuge for escapees, runaways, outcasts, and people of questionable virtue.

Steve’s primitive cabin sat about fifty yards from the beach and about a hundred yards from any other cabin. Here he could enjoy the sounds of the jungle and the hiss of surf driven onto the wide white sands by the southeast tradewinds. An ancient iron four-poster double bed sat next to an unglazed window. Every stud and rafter in the structure was exposed. Above his bed he could clearly see moonlight streaming through thin spots in the palm-thatched roof. Mid January was a month and a half past the end of hurricane season so he could expect clear nights with no rain. This cabin would leak like a sieve in a tropical downpour.

On his fourth day, Steve could stand the isolation no longer. He dug his cell phone out of his bag and called home. Lidia had been totally understanding about this trip. She knew Steve needed to decompress. She had teased him about beautiful island native females and warned him to be careful.

“Hi, Lidia, you can’t believe how really primitive this place is. There is no electricity, no running water, but there is a small bar and club down by the beach. It rocks into the wee hours every night. The locals all hang out there.”

“Steve, what about the locals? Are there bikini-clad beauties all over the place?”
“No Honey, and I can assure you that even if there were I would hardly notice.” He chuckled.

“That’s my man. Just remember that for the next week or two.”

They talked on for a while. Finally Lidia said, “Steve, do what you want to reduce stress and come back to me a new man. O.K?”

“Sure honey, this place will make a huge difference in me, I can assure you. Gotta go, the cell phone battery is getting weak. I’ll call you again before I leave here. Love you. Bye.”

“Bye big guy, love you too.”

Steve punched the phone switch to off, rolled over and went to sleep.

For the next several days he snorkeled in the crystal clear waters; walked along miles of white sandy shore line, and explored palm hammocks in the low hills beyond the sparse settlement. He marveled at the variety of birds and small animals on Espiritu Santo. He watched iguanas catching their prey, and once saw a Cayman, a salt-water crocodile, catch a large white water bird. Nature could be so beautiful and yet so cruel. Well, Steve thought, every creature has to eat and feed its young. Even lawyers can be predators at times.
* * * * *
She was an island native born on Espiritu Santo. She had never been far from the place of her birth. Her lithe body was curved in all the right places. Some would say she was beautiful, others might disagree. When she moved into Steve’s cabin no one took notice. She seemed to prefer a hammock beside Steve’s bed and directly under the open window where the Tradewinds blew.

On his last night, Steve went to the club where he spent the evening drinking and dancing with the locals until around two in the morning. This was truly a remarkable vacation. Lidia simply had no idea just how remarkable.

While Steve was partying, his roommate abandoned her hammock and crawled into his bed. This would be an unusual night for her as it would be for Steve. It was his last night on the island and it seemed she wanted to share it with him. Steve finally wandered in and collapsed onto the bed. He fell asleep almost before his head hit the pillow.

She wore absolutely nothing; no clothing, no jewelry. Her naked body glistened in the moonlight. She reached out and took hold of Steve. He rolled toward her. She kissed his neck passionately just below his right ear. Steve didn’t stir. In his alcohol stupor he felt nothing. If she were seeking excitement, she didn’t find it here.

The island beauty crawled out of Steve’s bed and departed through the open window. She would go elsewhere. The waning moon revealed her sole adornment. Her naked body bore the bright red hour glass tattoo of her race.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

First Kill - A Short Story

(c) 1997 Carroll Williams - all rights reserved
Five young World War II pilots experience
their first day
of combat flying in New Guinea.

Five Packard-built Rolls Royce Merlin engines turning four-bladed props drowned out all other sounds on the jungle airfield. A smoky little Wyllis jeep ground to a halt beside a row of five P-51 Mustang fighters. Empty ammunition containers littered the area behind each airplane. Greg McNulty and four other young pilots faced their first combat mission this morning. New Guinea was a long way from Clayton, New Mexico, where Greg grew up riding cow ponies on his father's ranch. The five pilots piled out of the jeep and walked quickly to their aircraft. Each man cinched up his parachute harness. With cockpit checklists completed, the five pilots began a serpentine trip to the end of a steel-matted runway.

First Lieutenant Dan Lewis was the flight leader this morning. Dan at twenty-six was an older guy. He was married. He had a wife and child in Baltimore, Maryland. None of the other pilots on today's mission were married and their average age was a scant twenty-two years. Dan was always counseling the younger guys to take better care of themselves. Drinking and partying was a problem among the single pilots. Clear heads were needed for combat flying.

Curt Hansen was a quiet Swede from Minnesota. He seldom spoke but when he did he had something worth saying. Jorge "Corky" Gonzales was from Laredo, Texas. He was a lively one at any party and had been the translator in San Antonio when the guys romanced the local Latino girls while training at Kelly Field in the AT-6 advanced trainer. Nathan "Hot Shot" Carter was an Arkansas farm boy who had learned to fly while dusting cotton fields from a World War I Curtiss Jenny airplane. He got his nickname from the brand of aerial insecticide he sprayed on boll weevils.

With flaps set for takeoff, Greg eased his throttle forward. The sound and fury of the big Rolls Royce Merlin engine was almost a spiritual experience to the pilot privileged to fly behind one. The fighters joined up at 16,000 feet and turned north. They flew over the Owen Stanley Range with its green peaks jutting into bright cumulus clouds. Most afternoons, these benign-looking white clouds became dark menacing thunderheads. Greg looked down on several cascading streams flowing out of the mountains. These silver ribbons of water running down toward the Coral Sea were the product of tropical rains and provided a source of life to the natives of this beautiful land.

They would fly fighter cover for a squadron of B-25 Mitchell bombers. The Mitchells would be making a low-level raid against Japanese shipping. The five fighters began a gradual descent north of the mountain range. Dan led the group down toward the north coast and the palm-fringed beach facing the Solomon Sea.

A flash of silver caught Greg's eye. It might have been sunlight playing on the surface of the sea or it might have been an airplane in the distance. For a few seconds it disappeared. There it was again. Several bright reflections were moving eastward along the shore.

Greg moved his stick from side to side to rock his wings and catch the attention of the flight leader. With hand motions he pointed toward the reflections. Dan acknowledged and eased his aircraft downward into a shallow dive. He motioned the others to follow. The radio crackled suddenly into life. Japanese fighters were attacking a B-25 formation. Greg's throat tightened. He had shot at targets towed behind other airplanes; he had engaged in mock combat; he had done well in gunnery practice; but this was real. There were well-trained enemy pilots out there. These were men with the spirit of the Samurai warrior who would consider it an honor to destroy his Mustang fighter. These guys would kill him in a heartbeat.

Push the stick forward, lower the nose to gain air speed. With guns armed and adrenaline pumping, the five Mustang pilots dove into the fight. One B-25 trailed smoke from its left engine. It dropped behind the formation. Seven Japanese Zero fighters concentrated on the stricken bomber. The five Mustangs roared through the fight, firing at enemy aircraft. Three Japanese fighters exploded and plunged into the sea. The Mitchell pilot exclaimed, "Man, that was beautiful! Now lets see you guys do it again."

Dan reassured him. "We'll get 'em all for you." Greg was sure that he hadn't hit his target on the first pass. The plane he aimed for eluded his fire. Turning hard left, the five P-51's circled back to join the fray. Four enemy fighters remained. All were circling the crippled B-25. As the Mustangs approached again, one Japanese fighter hit the sea in a shower of debris. The bomber had downed one of its tormentors.

The remaining three Japanese aircraft broke off the attack and headed for New Guinea's north shore. The Mustangs gave chase. Greg suddenly found himself in hot pursuit of one fleeing Japanese Mitsubishi type A6M2 Zero fighter. No one else was on this one. He had it all to himself. The Japanese pilot was good. He was elusive. He flew headlong into a steep ravine and upward into rising countryside, dodging left and right between towering tree-lined ridges. Suddenly the Zero fighter emerged over a plateau. There was no cover here. Greg had a few fleeting seconds to aim and fire.

Fifty-caliber rounds poured from his wing guns in a burst of anger. Tracers showed clearly he was hitting his quarry. Pieces of aluminum flew away from the enemy plane just missing his Mustang. Smoke poured from the stricken enemy airplane. The Zero fighter nosed steeply upward, struggling for altitude. It had no chance to survive. The enemy pilot rolled his aircraft into a steep left bank, opened his canopy and jumped.

Greg throttled back and lowered the flaps to slow his Mustang. He watched in awe as the enemy pilot plummeted toward the jungle below. His parachute blossomed fully open an instant before he plunged into the trees. Greg wondered if the pilot had survived. Well at least he had unhorsed the rider. "Great shooting," he thought, "first mission, first kill!"

Turning back toward the coast, Greg saw no other aircraft in his vicinity. He could hear Dan talking to the B-25 pilot. Dan and Corky would escort the stricken B-25 back to its base at Port Moresby. Dan instructed the other three Mustang pilots to head for home.

Greg flew alone through the afternoon thunderheads. He was on instruments far longer than he ever wanted to be. Thank goodness his aircraft was well built. It took quite a beating on the flight home.

Greg swung his aircraft around the jungle airstrip and set up his final approach. Rubber tires squealed on steel matting sending a pungent cloud of white smoke into humid tropical air. Greg could see that his other two squadron mates had already made it back. With his crew chief, he checked his aircraft for battle damage, secured his flight gear, and set off on foot toward squadron headquarters.

Curt, and Hot Shot were already finished with their combat reports when Greg entered the tent. All seven Japanese aircraft had been destroyed. The B-25 tail gunner bagged one; Dan, Corky, and Curt each got one; Hot Shot got two; and Greg's kill brought the total to seven. Greg and each of his squadron mates had downed at least one airplane. Hot Shot's name took on a new meaning with two enemy aircraft to his credit.

Drenching rain storms closed the airstrip overnight. Corky and Dan were weathered in at Port Moresby with the B-25 squadrons. When the weather cleared, a lone P-51 returned to the fighter strip. Corky met with the other pilots and explained that he and Dan had escorted the crippled B-25 home safely.

They took off and flew eastward along the coast. Dan's Mustang blew an engine coolant line about twenty minutes into the flight. His engine overheated and seized up. He was too low to bail out. He ditched his Mustang in the Coral Sea. Corky circled the area until it was obvious that Dan did not make it out of the airplane. The sea made the first kill among the new pilots.