Freshly Made First Impressions

Yak6 and I decided awhile back that we wanted to try some pre-made foods, so we did what just about everyone else does these days. That’s right – we did an expanding square search on the InterWebs until our eyes feasted upon the good folks at Freshly Foods ( We were intrigued by their products and service. Great reviews, too!

Shrimp and chicken meals
Korean-Style Shrimp with Rice paired with Homestyle Chicken and Butternut Mac & Cheese

So, about three weeks ago, we decided to try them out. The first thing you do after looking at the menu items, of course, is to plug in your zip code to see if they do in fact, deliver to your area. I’m sure they have a few places they don’t deliver to, but it also makes a difference on whether it’s a one or two day delivery process. Now you can look at the menu and see if they have anything you want. 

Here’s a description of Freshly from Megan in their Customer Service Department:

“We’re a weekly subscription meal service that delivers fresh (not frozen) prepared meals, developed by our team of chefs and nutritionists. They’re fully cooked so all you have to do is heat ‘em up—each meal is ready to eat in only 3 minutes. So no more worrying about what’s for dinner (or lunch!). No shopping, no chopping, no cleanup. But also no artificial ingredients, preservatives or added sugars.

We started Freshly because we believe eating fresh, nutritious dishes every day should be easy for everyone. So we do all the hard work for you—sourcing high-quality ingredients, making sure each meal you eat is nutrient dense and packed with the good stuff, and expertly cooking your food to order so it tastes fresh and delicious.”

How does the order and shipping process work? Again from Megan:

“After you place your first order, you’ll be charged in our system. You can head to your Meal Planner to review your meal choices, delivery address, and delivery day.

Your meals will be prepared fresh for your delivery and packed up in our chilled boxes for shipping (which takes 1 or 2 days depending on your ZIP code). Our packaging is specifically tested to keep your meals cold for two full days of transit, plus twelve hours on your doorstep. As soon as your order is picked up by our delivery partners, you’ll receive a tracking email so you can keep an eye on your meals (and even sign up for notifications directly from the carrier). You can also locate your tracking link under your Meal Planner by selecting the “Track my meals” button in the top right corner.

If you’re not home at the time of your delivery, the carrier will leave your box at your front door for when you return. If you live in an apartment building, your box may be left in the lobby or a communal mail area.

As soon as you pick up your box you can unpack the meals and pop them in your fridge. If you need any help with recycling the packaging, you can check out our instructions here.”

We decided to try their six meal per week plan, choosing these six entrees.

  • Steak Peppercorn with Sautéed Carrots and French Green Beans.
  • BBQ Shredded Beef with Roasted Carrots and Cornbread.
  • Penne Bolognese.
  • Turkey Meatballs and Linguini with Spicy Arrabbiata.
  • Homestyle Chicken with Butternut Mac and Cheese.
  • Korean-Style Shrimp with Stir Fry Rice.

They arrived today, in a big box a little bigger than a book box, heavily insulated with very environmentally materials. Yak6 immediately removed them from the box and put them in the refrigerator for later. Freshly says they are good for five days in the fridge after delivery, but they are freezable. Once dinnertime rolled around, we decided to start with the Homestyle Chicken and Korean-Style Shrimp.

After three minutes for each meal in Old Nukey, we divided them up so we could each try both meals. (See photo above).

We both agreed the serving sizes were good, and they tasted great. We both noted that the Korean-Style Shrimp dish had a little heat to it, not much, but enough to give it some kick.

We are looking forward to trying the remaining menu items in our weekly plan. The way the plan works, we will receive the same order next Wednesday unless we change it. They do allow you the options of up or down sizing your plans, or temporarily suspend them if you will not be home for awhile, or just want to take a break.

So far, so good – we are impressed.

Raining Dauntlesses

Seventy years ago today, a few hundred naval aviators and aircrew turned the tide of the Second Great War of the twentieth century. When the sun set on the Japanese fleet skulking westward at the end of the day, the days of Japanese expansion were over. Never again would the offensive might of Imperial Japan be used for conquest and expansion.

Okay, they had some help from the Marines and the Army.

The Battle of Midway was the first of three major Allied victories in 1942 that put the Axis powers on the defensive for the rest of the war. The Battle of El Alamein in western Egypt stopped the German advance on the Suez Canal, the loss of which would have severely impacted the British ability to continue the fight. Later that winter, the Battle of Stalingrad (ending in February 1943) would the turn the tide on the Eastern Front.

There were a lot of great airplanes in WWII, some of which had great impact on the war efforts of their respective countries; the British Spitfire, the Japanese Zeke (Zero), the German BF-109 (ME-109), the Russian Sturmavik, the American B-17.

But I think the greatest of them all was the Dauntless dive bomber. It sank more Japanese ships then any other aircraft, and on a morning in early June, seventy years ago, it saved the world. And it did it in five minutes.

For six months, the forces of Imperial Japan had been running roughshod over the Pacific and Indian Oceans, stopped only once, at the Battle of Coral Sea in early May.

Although our primary carrier weapon was supposed to be the torpedo bomber, problems with their torpedoes rendered them fairly combat ineffective. Although they did have some success during Coral Sea, due to special maintenance on the newest lot of aerial torpedoes in the inventory, the torpedo bomber squadrons suffered from the same problems their submarine counterparts did, fuse problems that thwarted detonation upon impact with their targets. Then current air wing tactics called for a coordinated attack using the dive bombers to distract the defenses so the torpedo planes could sneak in for the crippling blow.

 Act I

The early morning hours of June 4, 1942 saw the Japanese carrier task force approaching Midway Island (the westernmost island in the Hawaiian chain) from the northwest. Their first attack, at 06:30, although fairly effective, failed to cripple the island’s defenses. During this attack the Marine air defense fighters lost 16 fighters, leaving only two flyable. They shot down 4 bombers and 3 fighters.

Act II

Now it was the defenders turn. A number of Army Air Corps B-17s attacked first from 20,000 feet. The Japanese, recognizing the futility of level bombing attacks from that altitude did not even bother sending fighters after them.

During the next few hours the following Midway-based aircraft attacked the Japanese carrier strike force:

Model Went In Came Out
B-26 Marauder (Army torpedo bomber)



SB2U Vindicator  (Marine dive bomber)



SBD Dauntless (Marine dive bomber)



TBF Avenger (Navy torpedo bomber)



Please note that the Marine Dauntless pilots were untrained in the high-angle dive bombing attack profiles and used a glide-bombing technique that was less accurate and more dangerous.

Leaving aside the B-17s, 37 bombers attacked the Japanese fleet that morning, 20 of which were shot down, and no hits were made on the Japanese.


At 09:20 the first wave of carrier-based TBD Devastator torpedo bombers from VT-8 on the USS HORNET commenced their attack runs on the Japanese carriers. Without fighter escort, they were easy meat for the experienced Japanese fighter pilots. To drop their torpedoes they had to fly a suicidal flight profile, under 120 knots, about 100 feet off the water, and in a straight line so they could align the gyros in the torpedoes. All fifteen of them were shot down without a hit.

Shortly thereafter, fourteen TBDs from VT-6 aboard the USS ENTERPRISE followed them in. Ten were shot down. Still no hits.

At 10:00, twelve TBDs from VT-3 aboard the USS YORKTOWN attacked. Ten were shot down with no hits.

To recap: 35 of 41 carrier-based torpedo bombers were shot down. All told, 55 of 78 bombers were downed by the Japanese defenders (again, not counting the B-17s which the Japanese didn’t even worry about), or just over 70% of the American attackers.

Act IV

The American carrier-based attacks to this point had been brave, but uncoordinated and unsuccessful and suicidal in effect, if not in intent. But they served a purpose.

LCDR Wade McCluskey, the ENTERPRISE Air Group Commander, had guessed correctly a few minutes earlier, and arrived overhead the Japanese carriers at an altitude of 17,000 feet, undetected and unopposed, just as VT-3 was making their attack runs.

At 10:22, he started raining Dauntlesses.

What was it like that morning? Picture the best, the steepest rollercoaster ride you have ever been on. You know the one, the one that when you crest the top and tip over, it looks like your going past the vertical? And it lasts for only about 5 seconds (although it can seem like hours for some of you)? Yeah – that ride.

Now imagine that you’re in a Dauntless, hurdling earthbound at about 250 miles per hour, and you look out over the wings and you see these big pieces of metal, all full of holes, sticking up from the trailing edges of the wings, and you realize that your dive brakes are keeping your airspeed steady and allowing you to track your target more effectively.

And you fall, and fall, and fall, for about two and a half minutes, as a Japanese carrier gets bigger and bigger in your windscreen. At 2000 feet, you pickle your bomb and yank back on the stick, putting about five G’s on the airplane as the blood rushes out of your head and down towards your feet, and you grunt and groan to prevent this  – since anti-G suits have yet to be invented.

By 10:27, three Japanese carriers, the AKAGI, KAGA and SORYU are aflame and you have just helped save the world.

Act V

The rest of the day sees the sinking of the remaining Japanese carrier, Hiryu, as well as the crippling, once again, of the USS YORKTOWN, by Japanese torpedo and dive bomber planes.

 Five minutes.


You always remember your first time.

It doesn’t really matter what it is. Could be your first solo flight in an airplane.

I remember the surprise and thrill I got on December 17, 1975 when Virginia Hanic, my flight instructor at Skypark, just west of Wadsworth, Ohio, told me to drop her off at Flight Ops; she had cheated death enough for one day, but I hadn’t. She wanted me to go up and throw myself at the ground a few more times before I put the Cessna to bed for the day.

I taxied over to the departure end of runway 05 (heading to the northeast), stopped at the hold-short and did my checklists, while listening on UNICOM for any other planes in the traffic pattern. No voices heard, I looked to the southwest to see if there were any planes on final. None were present, so I taxied out onto the runway, all 2,200 feet of it, set takeoff power, released the brakes and let the Ponies from Lycoming send me skyward. A little bit of rudder to compensate for the crosswind and I was airborne a few hundred feet down the tarmac, grinning, I am quite certain, like the Proverbial Cat. I had dreamed of this moment for 17 years.

I was too busy to really enjoy the moment though, as I turned downwind and commenced the landing checklist. First item on said list was:

1. Please Lord, don’t let me screw this up.

I’m not kidding – that really was the first item on my landing checklist. Written in the scrawl of arthritic doctor filling out a prescription, mind you, but none the less there. I don’t really recall the rest of the flight, but I do know I made several landings before taxiing over to the flight line and facing my biggest challenge of the afternoon.

The hardest part of flying lessons to me was tying down the airplane afterwards. Good thing there weren’t camera phones back then or I would have gone viral on YouTube. Knots and me are like Indiana Jones and snakes. I can tie two knots: the square knot and the slip knot. The second one is always accidental and occurs when attempting the first one. Now you know why I never made it past “Tenderfoot” in the Boy Scouts.

And tonight I soloed again. See checkist, above.

At least no knots were involved.