Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013

While serving in the U.S. Navy, dad worked on the aircraft carrier the USS Lake Champlain.  His job was fueling jets on the flight deck and running a fuel pump room.  Recently, he recalled an incident where jet fuel, which had spread on deck from the stabilization of the ship in port, caught fire.  Fire on a ship is bad.  Real bad.  Dad was ordered to his pump room to purge the lines with salt water.  Not necessarily wanting to go down to his pump room for obvious reasons, Dad was encouraged to do so by a superior’s motivational directive to “get your ass down there or I’ll court-martial you.”  After about two hours, the fire was extinguished, but sadly some lives (both civilian and military) were lost.  I asked Dad what he did later that evening, interested in how he may have coped with the trauma and stress of such an event.  He couldn’t recall…

This is a photo of Dad as a young swabby.  It is marked on the back “Hollywood Cannes, France.”  He looks like a movie star.  Dad weighed so little at the time he served, fellow sailor Buford Greer would sometimes have to hang on to him so that he wouldn’t get blown off the flight deck.  I'd like to shake Buford Greer's hand and thank him for that.

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