STORY OF SURVIVAL AT SEA

OLD GUY AND A BUCKET OF SHRIMP

(This is a true story. Hope you appreciate it and want to pass it along.  From an article sent by Murdock Burton. -CAPER)

Walking Alone on the Beach with His Thoughts

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun
resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.
Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier.. Clutched in
his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier,
where seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a
golden bronze now.

Everybody’s gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on
the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts…and his bucket of
shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand
white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky
frame standing there on the end of the pier. Before long, dozens of seagulls have

 enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing

 shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say

 with a smile, ‘Thank you. Thank you.’

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn’t leave. He stands there

lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place. When he finally

 turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop

along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away.

And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the
water, Ed might seem like ‘a funny old duck,’ as my dad used to say. Or, ‘a guy
who’s a sandwich shy of a picnic,’ as my kids might say. To onlookers, he’s
just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls
with a bucket full of shrimp.

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty.
They can seem altogether unimportant ….maybe even a lot of nonsense.
Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and
Busters. Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida .
That’s too bad. They’d do well to know him better. His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker.

 He was a famous hero back in World War II. On one of his flying missions across

the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft. Captain Rickenbacker and his crew

floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They

fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran

out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service
and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap Eddie leaned back and pulled his
military cap over his nose. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap
of the waves against the raft. Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap.

It was a seagull! Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his
next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to
grab it and wring its neck.. He tore the feathers off, and he and his
starving crew made a meal – a very slight meal for eight men – of it.
Then they used the intestines for bait.. With it, they caught fish, which
gave them food and more bait……and the cycle continued. With that simple
survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until
they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea…).

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never
forgot the sacrifice of that first lifesaving seagull.. And he never stopped
saying, ‘Thank you.’ That’s why almost every Friday night he would walk
to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of
gratitude.

Eddie Rickenbacker – Ace of Aces WWI

The American Ace of Aces, Eddie Rickenbacker, was a successful race car driver, fighter pilot, airline executive, wartime advisor, and elder statesman. Few aces achieved so much in so many different lifetime roles.

His twenty-six aerial victories came in only two months of combat flying, a spectacular achievement.

Background

His family name was originally spelled “Reichenbacher,” anglicized to its more familiar form when the U.S. entered World War One. His father died when Eddie was twelve, and the youngster quit school to help support his mother. He found a job with the Frayer Miller Aircooled Car Company, one of the thousands of automobile companies that emerged in the early 1900’s. 

 

German Plane shot down by Eddie

Eastern Airlines

Starting in the early 1930’s, he owned or managed various commercial airlines, notably Eastern Airlines, which had its roots as a division of General Motors. He became General Manager of Eastern in 1933, and in 1938, with a group of investors, he bought it and became its president. Starting with an aggressively low bid ($0!) for a government air mail contract, he managed the company profitably for twenty years.

Twenty-two Days in a Raft

During WW2, he carried out special assignments for Henry Stimson, the Secretary of War. In October, 1942, flying in a B-17 over the Pacific, on such a mission to Douglas MacArthur, the plane went down in the Pacific. In a horrifying ordeal, Rickenbacker and seven other men, rode a raft for twenty-two days before they were rescued. One man died; Rickenbacker, the oldest man in the raft, lost 54 pounds.

Eddie as a Race Car Driver

Later Life

He became a spokesman and advocate for conservative causes, convinced that government “socialist” programs were ruining the country. He died in 1973

Autobiography

In 1967, Eddie Rickenbacker, then 77, wrote his autobiography. My Dad, a World War One aviation buff, stood in line at the old Hartford, Connecticut department store, G. Fox, to get “Captain Eddie’s” autograph on a couple books. I still have my copy, inscribed with my name, Rickenbacker’s signature, and the date – with an an extra ‘6’ in the year “19668.”

It’s a good book, well-written, but quite immodest. Of course, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, Rickenbacker “was a man with a lot to be immodest about.” To read Rickenbacker’s book, he had always been right about everything, had seen everything coming, and had generally “known it all.” Among his less persuasive claims was that he first recommended to North American Aviation that they mate the Mustang airframe with the powerful Merlin engine. He also saw World War Two coming, and proposed the “Rickenbacker Plan for World Peace,” in 1925

Eddie the Ace

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One response to this post.

  1. Wow what an interesting story.He was quite the man.
    loved the part about the seagull it explained the reason for the shrimp & Thank you Bless his heart !!

    Reply

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