A Patriot honors his Oath

Posted on April 20, 2012


I met an interesting gentleman about 3 weeks ago.  He is a colleague in an online community known as Freedom Connector.    I strongly suggest that those of you who want to be encouraged that you are not alone in believing that America is on the wrong track, but that by strength in numbers, we can turn the ship around – should join and participate in Freedom Connector.

I am a member there and most of my budding readership is accountable to folks who see my updates on posts I’ve written there.  It has been a nice shot in the arm for me and the people are great.  We have some Tea Party folks, some Libertarian minded folks, some registered G.O.P. voters and in general, ‘independent minded conservatives’.   I have a little of each of those DNA markers  myself, as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been reading my posts for awhile.

Back to my new friend.  How many times have you used a copy machine in your life?  How many times have you used the expression, “Hey, if you have a minute, could you Xerox a couple copies of this for me?”  Well, how about if I tell you that my new acquaintance was there ‘at the inception’?  Better yet, you can thank him for his role in providing you with an everyday time saver that we all at this point take pretty much for granted.

Meet my new friend, James H. Eblen, M/Sgt U.S.A.F. Retired.  James and I got together at a local coffee shop and I had the distinct pleasure of not only making his acquaintance, but was able, through the fascinating narrative of Mr. Eblen, to take a time capsule back to 1951, at an allied SAC airbase in England where James, working as an assistant to newly decorated 4 Star General of the United States Air Force, Curtis E. LeMay, was assigned by the General as Team Leader to develop a new technology – mass reproduction of flight maps for bombing groups.

Jim was shown an existing prototype unit that had been assembled in a fairly haphazard manner – and thus as a working unit, had a serious deficit in terms of capability.   It was clunky, unreliable, difficult to use and could only knock out a copy of one image at a time.  In fairness to whoever put it together initially, the lack of practical functionality could be most likely chalked up to the nature of changing assignments within the AirForce.   The unit did have one asset, maybe two.  It’s rudimentary design suggested a starting point for re-engineering.  It also had a catchy name – ‘Kopy Kat’.

General LeMay was a real hands on leader and he was all about finding better mouse traps.   His decision to put James in charge of the ‘Kopy Kat’ project had a solid purpose behind it.  At the end of World War II, the allies had uncovered a treasure trove of Luftwaffe Air Reconnaissance photos  in Germany.  This was a tremendous intelligence find and also obviated the need for S.A.C. to replicate same for the purpose of conversion into maps.   The  captured photographs  were copied with the Kopy Kat into negatives, from which they made prints that were turned into maps.

Needless to say, the Allies did have their own maps, but the German military had invested a great deal of effort into mapping out areas of Europe that in the early stages of the Cold War, became of key interest – the Soviet Union (Russia and the states that became its satellites within the ‘Iron Curtain’).  Reproducing these photos  in a manual process, one at a time was just not getting the job done.

Jim’s first plan of action was to assemble a team.  He brought in a talented electrical technician, a specialist in carpentry and cabinet construction and other talent.  Eblen’s own area of specialization from previous training and assignments  was  cameras, film and optics.   Keep in mind, we’re talking about 1951.  There existed no such thing as a ‘automatic copier’ or photocopy machine in either the military, civilian, government or commercial realms – more on this later.  There existed no such thing as myself  either at that time, but that was not a problem in need of solution – at least not for a few more years!

Without going into detail on the development and the technology, the process involved a compressed timeline of construction, testing and refinement which culminated in the first automatic copying system in the world.  The project timeline specified completion of a working copier in 3 months!  The new ‘Kopy Kat’ went into service 3 weeks before project deadline!  The results speak for themselves.

Prior to the project, a maximum of 20 copies per day were able to be produced.  After the re-engineering and breakout of the new copier, 248 copies an hour were able to be generated!  It was about 8 years later that Xerox, no doubt using insight that they had gained from the success of Kopy Kat II, introduced automatic photocopy reproduction to the civilian world.  As broadcasting legend Paul Harvey famously said, “Now, you know the rest of the story”.

This is an example of the effect and benefits of the ‘trickle down effect’ of military technology.  If the Federal Government wants to get into the business of sponsoring alternative energy development, they need to classify it as a ‘National Security Initiative’.  Until then, no more of this un-Constitutional ‘crony capitalist’ distribution of taxpayer money to private firms in exchange for campaign bucks.  You’ll see the relevance of this later in this article.

James Eblen went on to other notable accomplishments during his career in the U.S.A.F.  One of many fascinating circumstances arose when Jim was tasked as Chief of Center Scheduling at Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Western Mohave Desert.  Since this profile of Mr. Eblen is a tease for a book he has written, I’m not going to give you the spoiler.

What I will tell you is that it is a lead in to my comments about the relevance of the book’s topic.  It has to do with people swearing to an Oath of Honor and making a daily commitment to that Oath of Honor and being faithful to those allegiances not only in word and thought but in deed.  The story of the unauthorized XB-70 test flight and the deadly consequences thereof, is an apt corollary to the commonplace violations of the Oath of Office by our publicly elected officials and the degradation of the Rule of Law.

In the book Jim has written regarding the U.S. Constitution, there is a common thread that runs through it, and that is how the Constitution is set up in such a way that the three branches of Government cannot trivially regard it’s mandates as suggestions, but rather as a very restrictive and constraining set of marching orders that are not to be violated upon pain of impeachment and removal from office.

As I was reading the book, I scratched down a personal observation which is that Washington political culture is contemptuous of the Constitution.  They pay lip service to it as a venerated relic of history, but comes the time that someone recommends that they live up to it’s ideals and abide by it’s directives, their faux ‘reverence’ for it ends.

My personal reading activities involves reading for three purposes basically – research, idea generation and entertainment.  Mr. Eblen’s book took me by surprise in that my experience with it was that its chief value to me was to spur a great deal of thought on some practical areas of the Constitution’s critical importance.  The book, entitled ‘In Defense of the Constitution – An Analysis’, provides insight on the consequences of the ignorance and deliberate violation of that document’s prerequisites and fundamental limiting provisions for the lawful operation of the Federal government.

The writer’s intent for this book is not as an ‘academic treatise’ on the Constitution, nor a research tome.  It’s purpose and effect, as I see it is to spur thought and help you establish a framework in which you can develop talking points in discussions with your deluded, brainwashed and uninformed friends and relatives, as to why such things as Obamacare and the Housing Crisis have come into being and how we can get back on the straight path.

Jim is 82 years old, (sharp as the point of a spear), and an exemplary member of the ‘Greatest Generation’.  He is also a member of Oathkeepers, an organization that will be fundamentally important in the event of any serious Constitutional Crisis that we may encounter in the future.  The next President, the next Congress, the next Governor of your state is not the answer or the solution of our problems going forward.

The answer is you accepting your responsibility to take the baton of freedom and liberty from great Americans like James and pass them safely along in this relay race to preserve the rule of the law, not the rule of men.   One of the stirring reminders that Jim drives home in this book, is that the Constitution, aside from being the most incredible singular point of change in man’s history, is God given.   I truly believe that.

I strongly recommend the book.  You will find it a quick, but compelling read and you will be pleasantly surprised as I was, how the book has an insistent momentum to it.  It will also be the kind of book that you will want to pass on to others for their enlightenment.  Folks, I think that despite all the ‘hidden in plain view’ exposure we as Conservatives have with the Constitution – and we seem to talk about and refer to it quite frequently – we are still quite Constitutionally illiterate.  And liberals and ‘progressives’?  Please don’t even get me started.

Here’s where to find the book and I hope to have the opportunity to assist the author in organizing some local events to promote awareness of it in the near future.  Stay tuned.

James H. Eblen, thank you for your service to our country.