Dustie Masterson, my grandniece, Raelynn Masterson’s mom, says of her daughter that she is “sometimes an enigma wrapped in a mystery.” Now, that is saying something, since enigma means a mystery. So, Raelynn, is a mystery in a mystery. I find that a very interesting thought, and really, one that is true of Raelynn. She is often quiet, keeping to herself, and listening to her own thoughts. Raelynn, can often be a deep thinker, searching a matter out in her own mind before she makes up her mind on it. Dustie tells me that she is “the sweetest and easiest to get along with until…she has made up her mind.” Raelynn never strikes me as a stubborn girl, but then she doesn’t strike me as a pushover either. She simply has a quiet strength and determination about what she likes and where she is going.

It’s strange that her mom says Raelynn is a lot like her in that way…not that she is like Dustie, which I would agree with, but rather that Dustie, like Raelynn, doesn’t seem to have a huge stubborn streak in her either. They both seem to be easy going and soft hearted, not at all stubborn, but I suppose that is a side of them that they keep to themselves mush of the time, and it would be their close family that would see that side of them, and not their aunt.

Raelynn is very comfortable “in her own skin” so to speak. She doesn’t worry about being “cool” but rather just does what she likes, whether others see it as “cool” or not.  Her stubborn streak mostly presents itself, when she has made up her mind <strong>not</strong> to do something.  Nothing is going to change her mind, and no amount of pressuring will change the situation…especially if she doesn’t think it’s moral. That is a trait her mother truly admires about her.

Once, when she was in 5th grade, as she was leaving school, she fell and chipped her front tooth. Dustie took her to the dentist, who said she could fix it as soon as the swelling and pain went down. Raelynn decided that she didn’t want to do that. It wasn’t a fear of the shot or the procedure, but rather that she felt like it was a “badge of honor” of sorts. She didn’t want it fixed. She liked the look of it. There was no pain or shots involved with getting it fixed, she just chose to wait a good 5 years or so before just deciding to do it.

Raelynn, and her younger siblings Matt and Taylor too, really should never have been born. She and her siblings are miracle children. Her dad, Rob Masterson, didn’t think he was going to want other children after his oldest daughter Christina was born, and the marriage to her mom failed, so he had surgery to prevent any future children. In addition, Dustie, although they didn’t know it at the time, had some health issues that should have prevented her from having children. Nevertheless, God had other plans, and they were blessed with three children together. Dustie says she can’t believe that it has been 20 years already. Raelynn is no longer a teenager. Time goes by so fast, especially when you are living out the greatest blessings God has to give. Raelynn isn’t certain what she wants to do in life, but once she has it in mind, Dustie has no doubt that she will accomplish it. I agree. Determination and perseverance will always win in the end. Today is Raelynn’s 20th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have a great day!! We love you so much!!

U-boot_by_Ferrer-DalmauSubmarines have been around a long time, but during the world wars, Germany built a submarine that was superior to any other submarine of the time. Called the U-Boat, the name was short for Unterseeboot, or under sea boat. Winston Churchill said, “the only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.” Churchill identified the threat that the U-Boats posed. The Atlantic Lifeline was vital to Britain’s survival. If Germany had been able to prevent merchant ships from carrying food, raw materials, troops and their equipment from North America to Britain, the outcome of World War II could have been very different. Britain might have been starved into submission, and her armies would not have been equipped with American built tanks and vehicles. The U-Boats were a serious threat. The Battle of the Atlantic was a must win situation. If Germany won that battle, Britain would likely have lost the war.

From 1918 on, Germany was not supposed to have submarines or submarine crews. However, no checks were in place to stop any research into submarines in Germany and it became clear that during the 1930’s, Germany had been investing time and men into submarine research. Their research and subsequent development of the U-Boat made it a submarine that was very difficult to locate and that made it extremely dangerous. They developed the Enigma machine, which was a series of electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines developed and U995_2004_1used in the early to early-mid twentieth century for commercial and military usage. Enigma was invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I. The codes it could provide were difficult to decipher. German military messages enciphered on the Enigma machine were first broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau, in December 1932. This success was a result of efforts by three Polish cryptologists, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rózycki and Henryk Zygalski, working for Polish military intelligence. Rejewski reverse-engineered the device, using theoretical mathematics and material supplied by French military intelligence. Then, the three mathematicians designed mechanical devices for breaking Enigma ciphers, including the cryptologic bomb. In 1938, the Germans made the machine more complex, and increased complexity was repeatedly added to the Enigma machines, making decryption more difficult and requiring further equipment and personnel. It was more than the Poles could readily produce.

Finally there was a breakthrough. The astonishing achievements of the codebreakers of Bletchley Park saved countless lives. At their peak, there were 12,000 codebreakers at Bletchley Park, 8,000 of them women. The codebreakers helped bring victory in North Africa by giving British commander General Montgomery details of 800px-Four-rotor-enigmaErwin Rommel’s battle plans and providing the routes of the Nazi supply convoys. This allowed the Royal Navy the opportunity to sink them. Prior to the codebreakers, the U-Boats were only sunk after damage or near damage was done to other ships. Such was the case with the first sinking of a U-Boat. German submarine U-39 was a Type IXA U-boat of the Kriegsmarine that operated from 1938 to the first few days of World War II. On 14 September 1939, just 27 days after she began her first patrol, U-39 attempted to sink the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal by firing two torpedoes at her. The torpedoes malfunctioned and exploded just short of the carrier. In retaliation, U-39 was immediately hunted down by three British destroyers. She was disabled with depth charges, and subsequently sunk. All crew members survived and were captured.

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