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Do not forget the sacrifices Americans made for freedom

Last week was the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

It is hard for me to imagine what it was like to live through a war where the very existence of our country is at stake.

My understanding of that time comes from my parents. My father was a Marine who fought in the Pacific. He was wounded by a grenade and lived the rest of his life with pieces of shrapnel in his body.

Dad never talked about combat except with other vets. All we heard about was his R&R trip to New Zealand.

Mom was very talkative about the war years. She was one of many women working in industry doing what was “man’s work.” Women kept the factories running and produced planes, tanks, ships and everything needed for the war effort and the home front.

We learned from Mom about the sacrifices people willingly made. They recycled and reused whatever they could.

People did without so our soldiers would have what they needed. People bought war bonds. They wrote letters to our troops overseas. Everyone knew someone in the service.

They held their breath when a military car came to the neighborhood bringing bad news of someone killed in action. Mom was a saver of many things instead of throwing them away probably because of the Great Depression and World War II.

Her comment was, “We might need this sometime.” Mom also told us about the joy and celebrations they had when the war ended and “our boys came home.”

We owe our Greatest Generation a lot, especially our freedom. I wish my parents were both still alive. I thanked them for what they did for me as parents. I never fully appreciated the sacrifices they made during World War II and thanked them.

Besides our Greatest Generation, two reasons we prevailed in World War II was our ability to manufacture and our energy. Companies that made refrigerators made war supplies. Companies like GM and Ford made tanks and trucks for the war effort.

The USA out produced every nation in the world and even supplied our allies.

A military runs on energy. It takes fuel to run planes, ships and tanks. An army can only move as fast as their fuel supply. My uncle was in Patton’s army in Europe. He told me about marching past out of fuel German tanks on their way to Berlin. Fortunately, the USA was the world’s leading oil producer at the time. This region produced oil but Texas and Oklahoma produced most of the nation’s oil. Refineries were on the east coast and oil from Texas and Oklahoma had to be shipped by boat from the Gulf Coast and up the east coast. When German submarines began sinking our oil tankers we had to find another way to get oil to the east coast. The long-haul pipelines from the Gulf Coast to the northeast were constructed in record time to keep the oil flowing.

My mother’s values and habits to reuse and keep a lot of stuff “just in case” were molded by the Great Depression and World War II. My habits and thought processes were molded by our country’s lack of energy for most of my life.

When I started driving the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s occurred. Gasoline went over $1 per gallon for the first time. More important we couldn’t get it. You could only buy gasoline on certain days depending on the last number on your license plate. We sat in gasoline lines. When I was in college in the 1970s we were told there was only a 7-year supply of natural gas. I told my father to replace our gas stove at home with electric. Fortunately, he didn’t listen. When my mother passed in 2013 she was still using that same natural gas range.

I went to work in the natural gas and oil industry because of our lack of energy, to make a difference. I was involved in a project in the 1980s where we hydraulically fractured coal and produced the gas ahead of mining. There has not been a death in Virginia from a coal mine explosion since this project started. Millions of cubic feet of methane have been kept out of the atmosphere from venting and instead became a valuable source of clean energy. Despite projects like this we still had the Energy Crisis of the 1990s and early 2000s. The USA was in process of building 16 LNG terminals around the country to import natural gas from our “friends” at OPEC and Russia. Cove Point, MD was one of those terminals. Because of the Shale Revolution it is now an export terminal shipping our natural gas to places like Japan and India helping them with clean energy.

Our young people have never experienced an “energy crisis”. They have always had abundance except in California where intentionally shutting down natural gas and nuclear power plants has led to brownouts. Maybe they don’t understand solar panels can’t work after dark. We have been talking about wind and solar since the 1980s and they are still only 10% of our energy mix. Compare that to the technical advances of products like cell phones and computers. We should have been working on other clean alternative energy sources that will work 24/7.

Young politicians that have never experienced an energy crisis or older politicians that have chosen to forget are dangerous. The Green New Deal depends on wind and solar for 95% of our energy. We can’t fuel tanks or fighter jets on wind and solar. Modern weapons systems rely on petrochemicals from oil and natural gas wells that are “fracked.” The story of World War II and the Arab Oil Embargo should be required reading before a politician can even run for office. Lest they forget. To all members of our Greatest Generation who lived during World War II, THANK YOU!

Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. He is the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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