The Lucky Few: The Story of USS Kirk (complete film)

The Lucky Few is an hour long documentary about the story of the USS Kirk and its crew in their incredible mission to rescue Vietnamese refugees during Operation Frequent Wind in the final days of the Viet Nam War.

As the War was coming to an end on April 29th to 30th, 1975, Operation Frequent Wind airlifted about 7100 “at risk” Vietnamese (to death from the Communist Viet Cong) and American civilians out of Sai Gon, the capital of South Viet Nam. Some lifts were scheduled. Others were not. The relative American small warship USS Kirk, a destroyer escort, and its crew suddenly found themselves in the midst of a flock of unscheduled airlifts, to which it admirably accommodated even though it was neither meant nor ready to do any such thing.

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Don’t You Love a Good World Drama like with the Chilean Miners?

Like a tens of millions of people around the world, I am watching the final phases leading to the rescue capsule attempt to extract the first of 33 Chilean miners trapped for 68 days now. I really am, blogging during commercials.

There always seems to be “big” breaking news these days, especially on all news network like CNN or CBC Newsworld in Canada. However, every once in a while, something really big comes along, and it is really something to see and feel the world focused on an event like this. I know people watching. I see updates on my Facebook page. I can see people watching walking around in public areas with television screens. Even some sports bars have this drama instead of sports because, in all honesty, it’s far more drama than any sport can provide.

Speaking of television, I wonder what the event will do to the television ratings of shows tonight? And who’s going to be saying I was watching (fill in a Tuesday night show) instead of this at the water cooler at work on Wednesday? What are people going to think of them?

I’m not one to be glued to the television, and definitely not a news junkie, but I can’t remember being this captivated by news since 9/11, and then the start of the Iraq War before that in the 1990s. Very fortunately, this has a much more hopeful and inspirational tone.

But let’s not forget, things could still go wrong. They talk about the potential technical problems. They talk about the potential problems with the physical and mental health of the men as they will take this journey up the shaft back into the world, and the journey back into the social world as everything would have changed in their lives. Not just by the event but family dynamics that made due without them. Roles will have been changed and may forever be changed. Some will use the mine ordeal as excuses to warrant deserving any number of things in their relationships, which will only be tolerated for some time. Certainly, potential career changes will have to be contemplated as going back down into a mine for the next shift won’t be so easy. There will be the media and social circus that some won’t handle well, whether from stress or new opportunities for which they will abandon their old families and/or livelihood given the temptations of fame, and maybe money that comes with it as far as interviews, book and/or movie deals, etc. So much to adapt to and handle that I wonder if 5 or 10 years from now, some of the miners might say the time after the ordeal was more difficult for them to handle than the ordeal itself of being trapped for all that time. Most people can’t handle fame, you know… even the ones who have been living in it for a long time.

Despite all the things anticipated, I can’t help wonder if there might be any potential drama back in the mine when the time comes to get the men out one by one. There’s been a list drawn up, but what if someone decides to buck that at the last moment? It might be out of panic not to have to wait so long, or maybe for some other reasons. There will be rescuers sent down who could be taken hostage, and so on. Humans are a little unpredictable in that sense.

And they will have to repeat this journey 33 miners times so there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.

And what then when something goes wrong? Will they cut off the coverage?

Well, I’ll try not to think about it. Let’s not anyone think about it.

Positive thinking from here on in for everyone’s safety. It might take 2-3 days in total for everyone to get out so after the euphoria of the first rescue, there will still be lots of anticipation and one more spike when the last person comes up.

In the meanwhile, I’ll go and pray. I’m not religious, but I’m not against praying to all the deities out there, either. Let’s just say I believe in praying.

Best wishes to the Chilean miners for a safe return to the surface and to a more regular life. The world is with you.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.7

Video of Baby Surviving After Falling Under Train in Melbourne, Australia

Baby whose pram fell into train tracks of an oncoming train as Mother runs to try and rescue

Baby whose pram fell into train tracks of an oncoming train as Mother runs to try and rescue

If this were in a movie, you’d never believe it and trash the script. But you know, life is far stranger than fiction, and this is just one of many proof of that.

It’s an absolute miracle what happened here. A Mother on a windy train platform in Melbourne, Australia, turns away for a split second and the carriage (pram) with her six month baby rolls off into the tracks, landing smack in the middle of the track. Almost as if timed, a train comes into the station just as she tries to go for her baby, almost clipping the Mother’s head as security footage show above.

Yet, somehow, the baby survived with just just a cut to the forehead. My guess would be it was due to a vertical gap between the track and the train, in the middle of the track, but only there. On January 3 2007, Cameron Hollopeter fell into the subway tracks in Washington DC was covered by Wesley Autrey, a 50 year old construction worker, who had jumped in to save him (NY Times). Lying on top of the victim who fell in, with his back about a foot above the ground, Wesley only had his blue cap smudged with grease, if that gives an indication of the size of the space I’m talking about. If the baby who fell in today had landed much to the left or right of the track where he did land, this would have been a video with a real gruesome ending.

The pram, obviously much bigger in size than the baby, wasn’t nearly as lucky. Its pieces were scattered all over the tracks the length the train took to stop.

Mother and child were both taken to hospital and released soon after being admitted, according to CNN’s video. One question I have about all this, though. They just started an awareness campaign about the dangers of prams on the platform. Who would design such a surface to have either zero grade, or even a grade into the tracks so that anything not constrained could fall into it? It was windy, sure, but windy enough to move that pram with a baby in it so quickly into the tracks? Surely the platform grade could have offered a little more resistance with a gentle grade upward?

Amazing story, real drama… and glad to see it’s one with a good ending.

Now, let’s go and witch hunt Balloon Dad in Colorado for that hoax!

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"Let's Get Balloon Dad!!!"

"Let's get Balloon Dad!!!"