Nov 11, 2007

Happy Veterans Day

In case you missed it, this is the 25th anniversary of the march in Washington DC to dedicate the Viet Nam memorial, better known as just "The Wall". When the wall was dedicated there was a lot of vets who came to try and heal the wounds of the past, some to remember lost buddies, some to try and bring closure to what happened over there. Here is the video from the march back in 1982 when the wall was dedicated:




When I entered the Navy It was 2 years after the war had ended, and I met a lot of guys who served during the war. One stands out to me, and I always remember him during memorial day and veterans day. He was the only friend I lost during my 4 years in the Navy. He was Lt Commander MacDonald, call sign Frosty. he flew S3 Vikings and I had the pleasure to control him on several occasion during anti-sub operations.

Frosty was the CAG, or Commander of the Air Group and he was also from Colorado. He grew up in Vail, so when we met up off ship we got along well, even though he was an officer and I was an enlisted guy. Frosty flew in Nam on several missions, having been shot down twice and eventually rescued. He told a story of hiding in a large bush waiting for a rescue helo while Viet Cong were probing the bushes all around him looking for him. He said a bayonet passed just in front of his head and then right behind him as he laid there hunkered down praying for rescue.

They moved on eventually and his helo found him and pulled him out. His second time shot down he made it our over the gulf of Tonkin and ejected into the water. He was picked up shortly without any problems.

After surviving all that, he was killed on a simple exercise in the Indian Ocean. The sea state had deteriorated into a nasty mix of wind and huge waves and the Kitty Hawk was recovering all it's aircraft. Despite being low on fuel, he orbited while the rest of his squadron were recovered before him. That was typical of him, leading by example. On final approach the back end of the carrier was heaving up and down due the enormous waves and he was matching it by going up and down with it. The carrier pitched up and stayed up on the wave as he dropped.

He couldn't correct fast enough and flew right into the back end of the Kitty Hawk.

So here's to you Frosty, I hope you are someplace better now.

10 comments:

  1. There aren't a whole lot of good military stories - either that, or the bad ones are just strong enough to drown them out.

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  2. I can't help but think he was doing what he loved when it happened. I hope to do the same.

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  3. Anonymous7:44 PM

    He is.

    Nice post.

    It's hard to believe that it was only two years after the war ended that you entered.

    Wow.

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  4. I'm thinking of you today, too!

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  5. Wow, what a die-hard. Here's to Frosty!

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  6. Happy Veteran's Day Sky Dad.

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  7. Hey everyone, thanks for your nice words, and thanks to those of you that are vets also!

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  8. God Bless Them, one and all, amen.

    Doc

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  9. I'm glad he's got someone to remember him. I don't know if most people realize how dangerous even peacetime duty is.

    The Kitty Hawk was one of the carriers my brother served on when he was in the Marines-- he maintained CH-46's, CH-53's and Cobras. He was also on the Iwo Jima and the Guadacanal. He survived his service physically, but is a wreck emotionally, primarily from October, 1983, when he spent several days digging his dead and dying friends and comrades out of the barracks that had been bombed.

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