Sunday, May 30, 2010
Back in 1962 I was assigned as a Field Engineer to a Navy fighter squadron aboard the then brand new USS Enterprise. In that role I spent several months at sea in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. When we got back we almot immediately went to sea again to participate in the Cuban blockade.
Carrier life is unique and you find yourself becoming part of a family. Navy flyers are a great group and I can remember a number of pilots and Radar Intercept Officers. People like Ensign Brian Homer who got all kinds of odd jobs - like being movie officer. (One time he forget to connect the film to the take-up reel and ended up with a hundred or more feet of film coiled around his feet before he caught the error of his ways. Bruce McCandless who later became an astronaught. Gerry O'Roarke (commanding officer) who wrote at least one good book on F-4 Phantom aircraft history. And there was Tom Sitek, pictured above. Tom was from North Tonawanda, New York and he played all kinds of music on the accordian. He always had a smile for people around him and was one of God's good guys/
Tom was shot down over Viet-Nam - probably never knew the missile was coming. He spent many years as Missing in Action (MIA) but finally around the year 2001 they found his remains in the wreckage of his plane. His name is on the Viet-Nam wall and I got the chance to make a rubbing of his name on the Moving Wall (pictured above)which was in Oscoda in 2005. I sent the rubbing and a bunch of pictures to his daughter who worked so hard to get information about Tom.
Then there is a grave in Holland - one of Joyce's brothers who was killed during World War Two. A few years ago we visited William's grave and if you have never been in one of our National Cemeteries make a point to spend some time there. Even
of you haven't lost ssomeone close, keep in mind that these people died for you and me - and for the freedom of our country and in the service of our nation. Memorial Day is for memories of ultimate sacrifice. We should care.