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Volkswagen translates to “People’s Car” in German. During WWII, the German Equivalent of the Jeep, a two-wheel drive vehicle with the same air-cooled, 4-cylinder, horizontally-opposed rear engine as all the early beetles and vans was called the Kubelwagen meaning “bucket car.”

Ferdinand Porsche, inventor of the Porsche cars and many German WWII machines, went to trade school to be trained as a factory foreman. He got the lowest grades in his class.

Ferdinand Porche and Volkswagen, his favorite car

As some of you may know, Ferdinand Porsche designed the Volkswagen Beetle, and he considered it his greatest achievement. He rated the VW higher than his winning race cars because this was a car every family could afford. It was a masterpiece of economical engineering for its time, as is evidenced by the fact that the basic design survived for so many years. Volkswagen still makes a version of it today, although it is quite different under the hood. In fact, the engine is no longer under the same hood. It used to be in the back of the car. Now it is in the front.

People often wonder how Adolf Hitler, with all his horrible ideas and rough manners could become so popular a leader. A great deal of Hitler’s appeal to the masses was that he decided to control the automobile industry. He promised them Volkswagens, cars that every family could afford at a time when there was only one car for every 211 people in Germany. (In America at that time, there was one car for every 5.7 people.)

After World War II, Henry Ford was offered the Volkswagen factory for free by the English government, then in charge of Germany’s industries. They were looking for someone who could operate the plant, thereby creating hundreds of jobs. Ernest Breech, Ford’s chairman of the board looked the plant over and said, “Mr. Ford, I don’t think what we are being offered here is worth a damn!”

Henry Ford and the Volkswagen factory

He was right in a way. At that time the factory had not yet ever produced more than a few hand-crafted prototypes and the workers could only make cars when it wasn’t raining, because large areas of the roof were missing.

One of Henry Ford’s famous quotes came from this Volkswagen offer. When Ferdinand Porsche showed him the plans for Volkswagens, and Ford was asked about his concern of competition, he said, “If anyone can build a car better or cheaper than I can, that serves me right.”

Seventeen years later, Volkswagen was producing a car every eight seconds, and Ford could have owned the company.

In 2014, Volkswagen sold more than 10 million vehicles, more than any other car company.

The Volkswagen company owns luxury carmaker brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche.

Volkswagen has more than 100 factories scattered throughout the world.

The Apollo 15 lunar rover was built on a Volkswagen beetle chassis.

Volkswagen has been exploring the use of sustainable materials in their cars, including natural fibers and recycled materials, to reduce environmental impact.

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US Navy

The U.S. Navy is the largest navy in the world, with over 330,000 active-duty personnel and more than 290 deployable ships.

The U.S. Navy was established on October 13, 1775, making it the oldest navy in the world.

The U.S. Navy’s motto is “Semper Fortis,” which translates to “Always Courageous.”

The Navy’s aircraft carriers are the largest warships in the world, with the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) being the latest and most advanced carrier. It weighs approximately 100,000 tons.

The U.S. Navy operates around 70 submarines, including ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and attack submarines (SSNs).

The Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron is composed of highly skilled aviators who showcase the capabilities of naval aviation at airshows across the United States.

The Navy SEALs are one of the most elite special operations forces in the world, known for their expertise in unconventional warfare, counterterrorism, and special reconnaissance.

The U.S. Navy played a crucial role in World War II, including major battles such as the Battle of Midway, Battle of Leyte Gulf, and the D-Day invasion.

The Navy’s research and development agency, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), has contributed to significant technological advancements, including the development of radar, GPS, and the Global Positioning System.

The U.S. Navy has its own version of the Marine Corps’ Marine One helicopter, which is used to transport the President of the United States.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates and prevents crimes involving the Navy and Marine Corps.

The U.S. Navy has its own hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, which provide medical assistance during humanitarian missions and natural disasters.

The Navy’s Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), commonly known as SEAL Team Six, is one of the most secretive and elite units within the Navy SEALs.

The U.S. Navy’s naval aviators and flight officers are trained at the Naval Aviation Schools Command, located in Pensacola, Florida.

The U.S. Navy has a long-standing tradition of crossing the equator, known as the “Shellback Ceremony,” where sailors who have not crossed before undergo initiation rituals.

The U.S. Navy’s submarine force has a tradition called the “Order of the Ditch,” where submariners who have crossed the International Date Line are initiated into a unique brotherhood.

The Navy’s uniform regulations require sailors to have a specific number of buttons visible on their uniforms, depending on their rank.

The U.S. Navy’s fleet is powered by various types of propulsion, including nuclear power for aircraft carriers and submarines, and gas turbines for destroyers and other surface ships.

The Navy operates a fleet of aircraft, including fighter jets, helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft, and unmanned aerial systems (drones).

The U.S. Navy’s ceremonial band, known as the United States Navy Band, performs at official events, concerts, and ceremonies around the world.

The Navy has its own code of conduct, known as the “Navy’s Core Values,” which include honor, courage, and commitment.

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Reactors program is responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the nuclear propulsion systems used in submarines and aircraft carriers.

The Navy operates its own satellite communications system, known as the Navy’s Fleet Satellite Communications System.

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Women During World War II

Pictured above, Rosie the Riveter, famous ship builder in the Alameda, California shipyard. The Rosie the Riveter campaign encouraged women to take jobs in manufacturing to support the war effort.

Fifteen million Americans joined the armed forces during WWII. One out of every 50 people in the military were women (300,000). Since so many men were participating in the war, many women who stayed home did jobs that had previously been considered men’s work. It was not uncommon to find female welders, garbage collectors, truck drivers, and general laborers during the early 1940s.

Approximately 350,000 American women served in the armed forces during World War II.
Women who served in the military during WWII were initially not given military rank or benefits.

Women were initially barred from combat roles but served in a variety of support roles such as clerks, nurses, and radio operators.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program was established in 1942 to train women to fly military aircraft for non-combat missions. Over 1,000 women served in the WASP program, flying over 60 million miles during the war.

Women also worked in munitions factories, shipyards, and other industries supporting the war effort.

Women were also involved in espionage and code-breaking during WWII.

Over 640,000 British women served in the armed forces and in civilian support roles during WWII.

Women in the Soviet Union made up 800,000 of the 2.5 million soldiers who served in combat roles during the war, so approximately one in three Soviet soldiers were women.

Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko was credited with 309 kills during WWII, making her the most successful female sniper in history.

The Indian National Army formed by Subhas Chandra Bose during WWII had an all-female regiment called the Rani of Jhansi Regiment.

Australian nurses were among the prisoners of war captured by Japanese forces during the war.

Women in France served in various roles, including resistance fighters and members of the French Forces of the Interior.

One of the most famous resistance fighters was Josephine Baker who grew up street performing from a young age in New Orleans. She had a dance style while sometimes singing or playing a trombone that was rather quick and angular. Some say she was the inventor of hip hop. Due to racial discrimination, she moved to France where she became one of the biggest stars in Europe. Josephine liked to perform essentially nude, wearing only a ring of bananas as a skirt, which her audiences loved. Leveraging her social position, she was able to smuggle many German secrets into the hands of French intelligence.

Many women who served in WWII faced discrimination and harassment upon their return to civilian life. It wasn’t until the 1970s that laws were passed to grant them equal rights and recognition for their service.