Tennessee vs The Maxims vs Indiana State

#1

OneManGang

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#1
Tennessee vs The Maxims vs Indiana State

So, let's face it. The last time Indiana State was on anybody's radar screen was in 1975 when then ISU head basketball coach Bob King signed a tall, geeky white kid from French Lick to a scholarship. Nobody thought much of it at the time as the geeky kid had originally signed with Bob Knight at Indiana but found Bloomington too much of a big city and had returned home before practice even started.

The geeky kid's name was Larry Bird.

* * * * * * * * *

On a hot August day in 2002, in Sevierville, Tennessee, two men shook hands and introduced themselves. The older of the two wore a worn flight suit with his name on the right breast pocket. He still had the sharp, clear eyes of a born flyer. On his head, at a jaunty angle, was his Army Air Force cap with its “50 Mission Crush.”

As they stood in the shadow of a 50-year old C-54 transport, the two made small talk. The younger man found himself transported back 30 years or more. Once again he was a ten-year-old lying on the floor reading of a man called the “Candy Bomber.” The boy’s imagination was captured by the story of an American pilot who, during a dark time in history, had done something so simple and yet so touching that as the boy grew older he never lost his fascination with it.

Germany lay shattered. The Second World War had visited death and destruction throughout the land. In 1933, Adolf Hitler, the manic, tortured, evil leader who was alone responsible for the war in Europe had promised his people, “Give me ten years, and you won’t recognize your towns.” The air forces and armies of the allies had made that promise come true. One by one the great German towns were destroyed, Hamburg, Cologne, Bremen, Munich ... Berlin. By early 1945, most allied bombing missions did little more than toss the rubble about. Germany lay prostrate as the allies closed from the east and the west. In May of that year the Soviets and Americans met at the Elbe River. Hitler committed suicide. The war ended.

The vast evil that was the Third Reich was no more. The victorious armies of America, Britain, France and the Soviet Union had divided Germany like a pizza. Each nation had its own sector of occupation. The British, French and Americans occupied western Germany and the Soviets the east. Berlin, the German capitol, lay deep in the Soviet Sector. The sprawling city was treated as a separate entity, and divided among the allies in a mirror of the overall occupation. All roads, canals and railroads connecting West Berlin with the outside world, though, ran through the Soviet sector.

Relations between the Western Allies and the Soviets began to deteriorate almost immediately. Russia was in the grip of its own totalitarian monster, Josef Stalin. Stalin ordered his military and intelligence forces to continually push the other allies for any sign of weakness that might be exploited. On June 24, 1948, events reached crisis proportions. The Soviets shut off all road, rail and barge traffic from West Germany to Berlin to force the allies to give up their sectors. Stalin wanted all of Berlin.

The Soviets ignored the three air corridors into the city, though. After all, Berlin needed thousands of tons of supplies each day: food, coal, soap, light bulbs, and other sundry necessities of everyday life. Too much tonnage, they believed, for air supply to make any difference. The Russians also had history on their side. During the epic battle for Stalingrad in 1943, the Red Army had cut off a German field army in that city and the Luftwaffe had been unable to supply them. The tattered, starving men of German VI Army had surrendered and marched off into captivity. Stalin’s planners were confident the same formula would work against Berlin.

The Soviet strategy to force the Americans, British, and French from Berlin failed. It failed because the Soviets forgot one important thing, the Americans owned more airplanes than anybody else. In the U.S., the word went out: pilots were needed for the largest air operation since the end of the war. Grizzled reservists, many with sterling combat records, were teamed with fledgling pilots straight out of flight school. All were needed as a vast fleet of transport aircraft assembled in West Germany for what became formally known as the Berlin Airlift but will always be known to flyers as “Operation Vittles.” The first days were frustrating, small tonnages were delivered and large problems in communications and air traffic control cropped up. As the problems were resolved, though, the tonnages delivered soared. The airlift began to resemble a vast railroad in the sky. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, aircraft roared along the air corridors, the lowest tooled along at 5,000 feet, above them were streams of transports at 500 foot intervals, each aircraft 15 minutes behind the plane in front and only three minutes behind the aircraft in the stream just above it. By the autumn of 1948 tonnages delivered began to match bare necessity and grew from there. It was during this period that a legend was born.

A young American pilot, Capt. Gail Halvorsen, noticed ragged German children playing under the approach path to Templehof Airport, the main airfield in Berlin. They would look up hopefully to the planes roaring overhead and occasionally a pilot would wave and they would wave back. Halvorsen took it one step further. Back at his home field he began to think of those kids and resolved to do something for them: but what? If he dropped something from the plane, given its speed and altitude, even something as innocuous as a candy bar could become a lethal missile. As Halvorsen puzzled, he had an inspiration. He took one of his handkerchiefs, tied the four corners of it to a candy bar and voila! Now he could parachute the goodies to the children on the ground. After the first few drops, the kids knew Halvorsen’s transport on sight and eagerly awaited the floating bags of treasure.

The idea spread quickly, soon all the Americans were doing it. As Christmas approached the men of Operation Vittles mounted “Operation Santa Claus” and thousands of little parachutes fluttered all over Berlin bringing toys and more candy to those too young to understand the sordid conflicts of so-called adults. Every doll, every candy bar, every treat was paid for by the men themselves.

By spring, the Soviets knew they had lost. In one 24-hour period in April, 1949, over 13,000 tons of supplies had been delivered. On May 12, the blockade was lifted. Operation Vittles was over. There had been crashes and accidents. Thirty-one Americans lost their lives in this effort to keep strangers free. There is a memorial to them and all the flyers of the Berlin Airlift at Templehof in Berlin, now the capital of a free and democratic republic.

Two men stood chatting on a hot August day in Sevierville. Colonel Halverson said, “It’s been good to meet you.” The younger man could only reply, “Sir, it’s been an honor to meet you.”

* * * * * * *

So what did we Vol fans learn from Saturday's tilt?

Not much.

So how did the team do compared to the Maxims?

1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.

Saturday proved that the Sycamores are in no way, shape, form, or fashion ready to play in big-time Division 1 (or whatever they call it this week) college football.

But, we knew that.

2. Play for and make the breaks. When one comes your way … SCORE!

The Vols habitually run “vanilla” offensive and defensive schemes the first couple of games in any season keeping Florida in the dark as to exactly what they can do. Unfortunately, over the last couple of decades, that approach has only haphazardly worked.

But, we knew that.

3. If at first the game – or the breaks – go against you, don’t let up … PUT ON MORE STEAM!


Saturday also proved that Tennessee still has a long way to go to be ready for the likes of Florida, Georgia, LSU or Alabama.

But, we knew that.

4. Protect our kickers, our quarterback, our lead and our ballgame.


Quentin Dormady is certainly a work in progress. John Kelly is a reliable running back and now a couple of youngsters have stepped up and Big Things are expected of them.

But, we knew that.

5. Ball! Oskie! Cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle … THIS IS THE WINNING EDGE.

The Vols' defense is still quite suspect and the jury is out as to whether it is a question of scheme, talent or (more likely) a combination of the two.

But, we knew that.

6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.

Tennessee has a pair of dandy kickers and several return specialists more than capable of scoring at any time.

But, we knew that.

7. Carry the fight to Indiana State and keep it there for sixty minutes.


Saturday proved that Tennessee fans would fill Neyland Stadium on opening day if they played the Little Sisters of the Poor.

But, we knew that.

Now come the Florida Gators. Granted, the Giant Water Lizards (h/t Leonard Postoasties) are but a shadow of their former selves. But, so is Tennessee. Unspoken amongst the Vol Faithful is the feeling that any one of Philip Fulmer's teams from 1992 to about 2003 or so would blow this current iteration of the Vols out of the stadium

The time for the Boys of Fall is over. The preliminaries have passed. Now is the time for the Real Men, the Real Volunteers, to step up …

… and beat the Hell out of the Giant Water Lizards!

Brick by Brick, Baby!

MAXOMG

Suggested Reading:

Andre Cherny, The Candy Bombers

Gail S. Halvorsen, The Berlin Candy Bomber

Roger A. Miller, To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, 1948-49

© 2017 Keeping Your Stories Alive

Col. Gail Halvorsen at a commemoration of the Berlin Airlift, 2008 (US Air Force)
 

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#4
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#4
I love these stories from the "Greatest Generation" I have read Andre Cherny, The Candy Bombers, it is an excellent read.
I have one for you:
Fighter Pilot: the story of Robin Olds. Double ace in WWII. Squadron commander by 22, in the football hall of fame. One of the stories he tells in the book is when his squadron is flying cover for the D-Day invasion waiting for the Luftwaffe to come (they never do). He talks about how frustrating it is to watch the marines on the beach get mowed down from the machine guns on the ridge and he and his squadron are not allowed to attack but just have to circle and watch.
 
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#8

AllVolinGA

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#8
Today, being what it is, 16 years post 9-11, makes this read especially noteworthy. I am always amazed at the tales of bravery, courage, and determination from our greatest generation. Men and women like Col. Halvorsen who saw a need and found a solution that impacted countless lives. Humbling.
What's something like a little blockade with the threat of war in the face of American determination and exceptionalism? Nothing.
Couple that with the actions of those brave men and women who selflessly gave their all in an effort to save as many people from the Twin Towers. Again very humbling. America is a great place especially when we don't look at the blockade but rather search for a solution. Football is a great diversion from the everydayness of life, especially when you are a Tennessee Volunteer.
But we knew that!
Thanks, O.M.G., very humbling indeed.
 
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#9

IndianaVol

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#9
WOW - always like dropping in for my Monday dose of realism and grounding. We have a long way to go as team 121 still and I look forward to that journey.
 
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#11

The Dog

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#11
OMG, u need to have a weekly article in the KNS. Well, u may reach more people here considering the slow death of newspapers around the country. I still get one daily, but I'm sure I'm in the minority. Anyway, once again, good stuff
 
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#14

Tin Man

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#14
Years later, on June 26, 1963, US President John F. Kennedy said, "Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum.* Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'"

*I am a Roman citizen

At that time, the Berlin wall had been erected. Once again, the Soviets and East Germany were threatening to isolate and subdue the free German enclaves in Berlin.
 
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#16

utchs81

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#16
Years later, on June 26, 1963, US President John F. Kennedy said, "Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum.* Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'"

*I am a Roman citizen

At that time, the Berlin wall had been erected. Once again, the Soviets and East Germany were threatening to isolate and subdue the free German enclaves in Berlin.
Do you realize that the Germans to whom he was speaking interpreted that as "I am a doughnut". Apparently quite a bit of quiet laughter ensued after his speech. :)

And another Great read OMG. Keep em coming.
 
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#17

Tin Man

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#17
Do you realize that the Germans to whom he was speaking interpreted that as "I am a doughnut". Apparently quite a bit of quiet laughter ensued after his speech. :)
That is discredited urban legend, both that he was misinterpreted as saying "I am a doughnut" and that he was met with laughter. If your personal politics confine you to the urban legend, then, confine yourself to the Political Forum. :hi:
 
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#20

2EZ

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#20
OMG, what a gift you have in the form of communication.
And what a gift you are to Tennessee.

Team 121 put stock in the Maxims, work as a team, as we all know never give up when your behind in the score.

Thanks to all of you for your work.
 
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#21

Boca Vol

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#21
Pat,

My dad (as well as I) love reading these...especially after reading It Was A Two-Egg Mission.

For those that didn't know OMG has the aforementioned book you can purchase on Amazon. It is an excellent read.

Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated nor would someone as talented as OMG be caught dead with someone like me....It's just a great book.
 
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#22

OneManGang

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#22
Pat,

My dad (as well as I) love reading these...especially after reading It Was A Two-Egg Mission.

For those that didn't know OMG has the aforementioned book you can purchase on Amazon. It is an excellent read.

Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated nor would someone as talented as OMG be caught dead with someone like me....It's just a great book.
Thank you, good sir!
 
#23

SmokinBob

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#23
Pat,

My dad (as well as I) love reading these...especially after reading It Was A Two-Egg Mission.

For those that didn't know OMG has the aforementioned book you can purchase on Amazon. It is an excellent read.

Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated nor would someone as talented as OMG be caught dead with someone like me....It's just a great book.
Indeed it is. :hi:
 
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