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Old 11-24-2007, 09:20 PM
Borodog Borodog is offline
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Default A Story

Over Thanksgiving, my dad was telling us about some of his exploits on the USS Enterprise, including during the Cuban Missile Crisis. My dad was an avionics master chief for VF-33. He said that they lost two pilots, Lieutenants Sullivan and Sutro, both from catapult accidents, in 1962.

Lieutenant Sullivan was killed when the catapult was accidentally shut down during his launch, which put him off the deck underpowered and at a bad attitude. He ejected and landed in the water, where my dad said he was drug under by his chute. Lieutenant Sutro was killed when the catapult was accidentally fired at full power, tearing the bottom out of his F8 and sending him into the ocean. He never made it out of the cockpit. Neither pilot was ever found.

My dad didn't know Sutro very well, but Lt. Sullivan was very well respected, and my dad liked him a lot. He told me that the only time he ever took a drink at sea was after Lt. Sullivan died, and then, he got drunk.

When I got home, I couldn't remember the name of the other pilot (Lt. Sutro), which bothered me. I went on to the internet to do some googling, and indeed found his name. I found it on a web page titled "Final Flight", that memorializes the pilots of VF-33 lost in flight. Both incidents are described there exactly as my dad recalls them.

But there was more. There was a letter from Lt. Sullivan's nephew. Here it is:

[ QUOTE ]
My uncle Edward Frances Sullivan, aka "Sully", was flying Crusaders with VF-33 in 1962. He was a 25 year-old lieutenant when he was killed on July 1, 1962. He was from Cambridge, Mass. He was assigned to VF-33 aboard the USS Enterprise and flew the F8U-2NE (F8E). His qualifications were initially performed aboard the USS Intrepid. A low-speed cat launch (due to a catapult failure) forced him to eject at low altitude and at an unfavorable aircraft attitude. The aircraft was lost. He was seen in the water swimming as the Enterprise eased by, but he was never recovered. Not until 1994, that is, when his remains were found - not far from the accident site - in bottom-dragging nets by local fisherman. I appreciate any assistance you could offer in getting his name out; I would be thrilled to contact an old squadron-mate or two. I never knew Uncle Edward, but I grew up admiring his photographs! in newspaper clippings and the bits & pieces my mother would tell me about him. He was something of a myth to me until he re-appeared in 1994. He was found, in terms of the Gulf of Maine, a stone's throw from where he went down. It had been 32 years. His remains consisted of his orange MkV exposure suit, his red life-vest, his olive-drab g-suit and socks. He had scrawled "SULLIVAN" in marker along the front of the g-suit. I have autopsy photos; the condition of the lettering, fabrics and colors is like new. His vertebrae, pelvic bone, leg bones and foot bones were all retained within the suit. Of course, it took some time for investigators to figure out who all this belonged to, but they put it together well. Even more amazing, Uncle Edward's helmet, white with yellow lightning bolts, yellow stars, "VF-33," and "SULLY" adorning it, was recovered about one year earlier in the same area by another fisherman. The origin of the helmet was not then determined, but it was held in high esteem by the finder. Gladly, he reunited it with Edward's remains and Edward's family was honored to finally bury him at Arlington National Cemetery, complete with caisson and honor guard. It was quite an event. A memorial stone had always existed for Uncle Edward there, and it is under that stone that he now rests.

[/ QUOTE ]

I called my dad and told him the rest of the story, of how Sully had been found over 30 years later and finally laid to rest at Arlington, where my dad's parents, my grandparents, are also buried. He was choked up, even after 45 years, and thanked me for letting him know.

I'm not sure why I wanted to share this story, but I did.
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2007, 10:11 PM
Dominic Dominic is offline
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Default Re: A Story

that's really cool...thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:44 PM
Blarg Blarg is offline
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Default Re: A Story

That is a really cool story. I'm kinda choked up myself. Thanks for telling us about it.
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Old 11-25-2007, 03:24 AM
R*R R*R is offline
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Default Re: A Story

Great story. Soldiers never forget their own.
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Old 11-25-2007, 04:22 AM
youtalkfunny youtalkfunny is offline
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Default Re: A Story

Hell, I'm choked up, and I never even heard of Sully.

[ QUOTE ]
I'm not sure why I wanted to share this story, but I did.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not sure why I find this story so awesome, but I do.
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2007, 10:40 AM
Fishwhenican Fishwhenican is offline
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Default Re: A Story

Good Story. Thank You for Sharing it!
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