President Joel Pelzner opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Some 109 members were in attendance. Jerry Transue, reported that club membership is on hold at 440 and reminded members that the best way to attract potential new members is to invite them to future meetings. One new member, Mark Ryan, was introduced. Reports were given on current club activities, including golf, bicycling, and tennis, and the safe driving course.
Upcoming Dates:: the Annual Summer BBQ Aug. 17 at Waveny Mansion, the Yankee-Toronto afternoon game on Aug. 29, and the visit to the Rhinebeck Airdrome Sept . 16. There will be no meeting on Aug. 17, and the speaker at the regular scheduled meeting on Aug 24 will be Jim Cole, past director for emergency preparedness, who will talk on "volunteerism."
To test members' knowledge, President Pelzner conducted a learning center, encouraging members to ponder such questions as name the only vegetables that are perennials (asparagus and rhubarb; how did the pear get in the bottle (it grew there); and how many quotation maks are there in English and name them (14); Grade: excellent .
Humorist:: Mike Law. A wife urged her inactive retired husband to get out of the house and find something to do-join a club, for example. He agrees and comes back to say he has joined a parachute club. There is no such thing, his wife's answers. it must be a prostitute's club. His response: that's too bad; I will have to change my pledge of five jumps a week.
Spealer: Arthur Gottlieb, formerly a curator of naval history at the Intrepid Sea- Air-Space Museum in New york and currently a geriatric counselor in Norwalk providing pro bono counseling to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He spoke on the Battle of Midway, the crucial event of the war in Pacific in 1942 in which American naval aircraft destroyed much of the Japanese heavy fleet and changed the course of the war. He said that Admiral Yamamoto's aim in attacking Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 was to destroy American sea power in the Pacific and he nearly succeeded. His hope was that the Americans would sue for peace once they realized that the Pacific defenses were gone. He made a crucial mistake in not following up on that attack because the facilities at Pearl Harbor were still functioning . Naval repair facilities were still intact as were America's aircraft carrier and submarine fleets. He also underestimated America's will to fight."Unconditional victory" was Roosevelt's response.
Another event that helped turn the tide of war was the American raid led by Jimmy Doolittle on the Japanese mainland by B-25 bombers flying from the flight deck of the USS Hornet. The raid had a profound effect on the Japanese, according to Mr. Gottlieb, humiliating Admiral Yamamoto personally. The Japanese thus began to divert their attention to land warfare in the South Pacific, with the hope that they could link up with the Germans to the west. The center of warfare shifted to the Solomon Islands, a staging area for the Battle of Midway in which US naval air power destroyed Japan's remaining four aircraft carriers by deploying its dive bombers which were able to score direct hits on the Japanese fleet. By this time the Americans had broken a Japanese military code and could thus anticipate ship movements. The American carriers were just waiting for the Japanese ships to show up.
Responding to a question why the Japanese did not follow up their attack on Pearl Harbor, Mr. Gottlieb said the their senior admirals, trained in more traditional battleship warfare, did not understand how much more effectivbe air power can be.
Bob Tolles, Assistant Secretary