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8:35 AM

A Memorial Day Remembrance

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Welcome to The Lobster Shift, the Chaddsford Planning Associates blog. The "lobster shift," sometimes called the graveyard shift, is the period of work between 11:00 at night and 7:00 in the morning. In other words, the overnight shift. My father worked an overnight shift. I worked one as a reporter. Nurses, fire fighters, police, factory workers, and disc jockeys all know the joys of going to work when the family goes to bed and coming home to eat dinner when everyone else is eating breakfast.

Fact of the matter is your biorhythms never let you adjust to living your life backwards. Just as a lobster shuffles along backwards, overnight workers live their lives backwards. Breakfast at noon, dinner at daybreak; awake when everyone's asleep. Asleep--if you're lucky--when everyone's awake.

The Lobster Shift seeks to do the same thing--to provide news, commentary and analysis on business issues in the electronic payments and marketing segments--but in ways that may be contrary to how others are looking at the same topics. When you check in with this site during the day, you'll find interesting analysis and commentary on issues that may have kept us up at night.

So welcome to The Lobster Shift, to the world of contrarians.

 Now get some sleep.


A Memorial Day Remembrance

The Lobster is taking a detour on this Memorial Day. Today I ask you to stop and help me commemorate the death of my uncle in World War II. Long-time readers of The Lobster will recall this post from its original run in December, 2013.

Over 400,000 Americans were killed during World War II. Each one of them is a story to memorialize. This is my uncle's story which deserves to be repeated this Memorial Day.

Sgt. Edward H. Bucceri was a member of the 351st Bomb Group stationed at RAF Polebrook, England in World War II.  The base was 80 miles north of London. Ed died long before I was born. We know little about the incident that took his life other than it was his eighth combat mission and it occurred three days before Christmas.

What information we have is preserved in The Chronicle of the 351st Bomb Group, by Peter Harris and Ken Harbour, which is the basis of this post.

Sgt. Bucceri's plane, serial number 42-39778 and known as "Lucky Ball," was part of the 511th Squadron on a 34-plane bombing run that took off on December 22, 1943 from its base in Polebrook, England on a daylight mission to bomb a steel mill in Osnabruck, Germany. In command of Lucky Ball was the pilot, Lt. Lewis Maginn of Rochester, New York. 

It was to be the plane's fifth and final mission.

The Final Mission

According to Lt. Maginn's recollection of the event, Lucky Ball was anything but lucky on that mission. It had just been overhauled, with two engines ripped out and replaced by rebuilt ones. Lt. Maginn recalls being uneasy with the fact that the plane was pressed into service without the rebuilt engines having logged some more running time following the overhaul.

In addition to having to make the run with untested engines, two of the regular crew could not go on the mission and were replaced in the ball turret and tail gun positions.
Early into the flight, the pilot realized something was wrong. Bomb Groups assigned to the position behind them were rapidly gaining on Lucky Ball. Lt. Maginn put the hammer down to "near full power" and still found himself falling behind his formation.

And then the oil pressure in the number four engine began to drop.
The pilot killed the four engine and, being close to the target, tried to make the run with three motors. Then the oil pressure on number three began dropping.

With two engines out on one side, and an impossible task to keep up, Lt. Maginn made the decision to break formation and turn back to base. The crew jettisoned its bomb load, ammo and equipment in hopes of lightening the load on the two remaining engine.

The End

The crew then mistook an American plane for an enemy fighter and dived into a cloud bank. But the maneuver cost the crew "precious altitude," according to Lt. Maginn. Then the oil pressure in number two began to drop. 

The crew began to take flak from German fighters, worsening their altitude situation. The pilot was forced to shut down number two, leaving Lucky Ball one engine.

The crew dumped all remaining equipment, guns and ammunition and began a desperate run over the North Sea to the English coast. Sgt. Palmer, the radio man, sent out the SOS. 

But there was no luck for Lucky Ball that night as it struggled westward into a gale headwind.

With the English coastline in plain view, the crew came to the realization they would never reach it. They prepared to ditch their craft into the chop of the North Sea. 

Cruising low above the waves, the pilot cut the last engine and tried to glide to a straight landing. The bomber hit the water at 85 miles per hour, breaking in half.

Lt. Maginn describes the intense cold of the North Sea in late December as "instantly numbing." The crash landing had jammed the cables on the life rafts, forcing the crew to "take to the water," their flotation devices their only hope for survival. 

Huddled together in the freezing water they watched Lucky Ball sink below the waves. The first big wave to break over them scattered them about the sea, each man to his own.

Sgt. Palmer assured Maginn that the rescue squadrons had a fix on their position. But it would be 45 more agonizing minutes before the first boat appeared. 

During that 45 minutes as the men drifted apart, Lt. Maginn later said, "the wind and bitter cold water took its toll rapidly." Five of the ten-man crew were rescued. 

Perishing that night were the navigator, Lt. James McMorrow of Akron, Ohio, Sgts. Albert Meyer of Roswell, New Mexico, Docile Nadeau of Fort Keat Mills, Maine, and Clarence Rowlinson of Des Moines, Iowa. Sgt. Meyer was the only one whose body was recovered.

Sgts. Nadeau and Rowlinson were the replacement ball turret and tail gunners fatefully assigned to the flight that night.

The fifth crew member killed was my uncle, Sgt. Edward H. Bucceri of Jersey City, New Jersey.

No memorial marks the spot where these men went to their final rest. There was no military funeral at a national cemetery, no 21-gun salute, no honor guard. No one made a movie about the Lucky Ball's last run, and no Grammy-winning folk singer penned a mournful song . The crew that perished that night were just five of the more than 400,000 Americans killed in action in that war. Today I remember one of them.

Rest in Peace,  Ed. Merry Christmas. And thank you.

Les Fleurs de la Mémoire

A post-script: Les Fleurs de la Mémoire (The Flowers of Remembrance) Society is a French service organization. Its members “adopt” the graves of fallen American service members who are buried in the American Cemetery in Normandy. 

The father of our French nephew has adopted two such graves. Each spring the Les Fleurs de la Mémoire members decorate the American graves with fresh flowers and loving care, offering thoughtful prayers for those Americans who gave the last full measure of devotion, as Lincoln said, to a cause of liberty shared by both peoples.

The media do a good job of ginning up political conflicts between France and the U.S.  Sometimes they go so far as to suggest that the French are ungrateful for the sacrifices made by Americans in France during the World Wars. But I can tell you that nothing can be further from the truth. Les Fleurs de la Mémoire shows the strong bond between the people of the two countries. 

As a relative of someone killed in the European theater and someone who preserves that bond, I say merci.

2:50 PM

EBT the Next Generation Solutions Showcase

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EBT the Next Generation Solutions Showcase

On Tuesday, November 7, I will be hosting and moderating an Electronic Benefits Transfer Solutions Showcase at the annual EBT the Next Generation conference to be held at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

Confirmed participants that will be demonstrating and showcasing their wares include Verifone which will be showing 2 new families of terminals, Nova Dia Group, a software development company that creates innovative solutions for the distribution of nutrition benefits, and LexisNexis, a provider of information and risk management services to government and other verticals.

As many as 3 more organizations may showcase their products. The emphasis will be on solutions and outcomes not on technology or bits-and-bytes. 

For more information on the agenda, speakers and how to register visit www.atmia.com/conferences.

Attend to learn more about how standard electronic-payment technology is being used to deliver publicly funded benefits more efficiently, safely and securely. And check back here frequently for the latest updates prior to the conference.

Now in its 20th year, EBT the Next Generation will again feature 4 workshops, 10 breakout sessions, 3 plenary sessions and over 700 minutes of networking time spread over three days. That's almost 12 hours of networking or 1 and a half business days of building relationships and business.

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