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Memorial Day Tribute

Old-ColtsOld-Colts Member Posts: 22,702 ✭✭✭
edited May 2009 in US Military Veteran Forum
I still think of LCDR Jim Anderson; probably the finest officer and pilot I've known! When Crew assignments were posted with the following day's flight schedule I was always glad when he was our pilot; especially if a night trap was expected or bad weather was in the forecast!

I still vividly remember one particular day in the Tonkin Gulf shortly after we arrived in 1972. We launched off the starboard catapult of the Midway that morning and our starboard engine's RPM began fluctuating radically as we started down the deck and that engine shutdown. Even though the plane dropped like a rock when we went off the deck; he was calm, which kept us all calm; as a matter of fact I thought we were going to continue the mission on one engine. Later, after we returned, those on the flight deck that watched us disappear off the ramp told us when they saw the water spray that was caused by the port prop sucking up sea water they thought we had gone in! He got us through that one, including the single engine arrested landing that followed. Nothing like hitting the wire straight on and really fast! In my opinion a lesser pilot might not have saved that plane and our lives that day! The cartoon at the bottom of the Air Plan the next day showed an airborne E2 with only one engine running and appropriately depicted him in the cockpit as a "sunglasses wearing Joe Cool" (Snoopy); and the cartoon was captioned with him saying "ever notice how warm it is up here with only one fan turning"!

Then on August 8, 1972; while most of us were leaving the Gulf headed for R&R in Hong Kong he was piloting one of our E2's to Atsugi, Japan to have a repair performed on the rotodome. About 100 miles off the coast of Japan his E2 began to pitch uncontrollably first nose up then nose down; and when he was finally able to momentarily stabilize the aircraft he unhesitatingly ordered the crew to bailout, including the copilot. Miraculously the crew was able to exit the aircraft successfully, a first for the E2, although one of them drowned (RIP Bobby Cobb). However, by saving their lives he sacrificed his. No sooner had they exited the aircraft than it started the violent maneuvers again and he was not able to regain stability and exit. I remember the sick feeling we had when we gathered and received the news.

God bless you Mr. Anderson, may you Rest in Peace!

LCDR James L. Anderson, VAW-115, Lost at Sea August 8, 1972.

I posted this last year in the General Discussion Forum, but felt this would be an appropriate place this year.

Please feel free to add your own personal Memorial Day Tribute if you so desire!

If you can't feel the music; it's only pink noise!


  • Smoky14Smoky14 Member Posts: 528 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Fair winds and following seas. RIP
  • 1stTankerSki1stTankerSki Member Posts: 16 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    In Respect, I raise a toast for all our Troops before and after me that served, and drink my shot of Scotch in Rememberance, Hero's them all.

    Semper Fi !

  • 11echo11echo Member Posts: 1,001 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Original trained as "11echo" (M60 armor crewmen), after AIT training, I received additional "Redeye" (anti-aircraft missile) training just after AIT school. Most all the rest of my armor AIT class went on to train on the Sheridan M551 "tank" or was assigned to regular armor units. After you had, and passed this additional training, an attachment was added to your MOS title. People taking the Sheridan training received an "R8" attachment, .Redeye was an "R6". .SO as I looked at my paperwork with all the other people being assigned to units in Germany most had the 11E10R8 MOS .mine was the only 11E10R6 on the sheet, you could almost guess what was going to happen! .SO I was "mis-assigned" to Alpha Troop 3rd Squadron. 12th CAV .by an error reading my MOS. I was assigned OJT on a M551 Sheridan (not for long, as it ended up)! But for now I was on the Platoon Sergeant's track (A15). I had NO training on the Sheridan, and as you may remember NOBODY had a full crew during this time (early 70's). So when I got on board the track there was nobody to help me (the Platoon Sergeant seemed to be "busy" else where)! I had trained on M60's but this M551 was no where like a 60, but after looking over this machine I did notice the air cleaner indicator signal was like the ones on a M60 and this one was in the red. This meant that the filter was dirty so I pulled the filter, but had no idea what to do to clean it. I guess I looked pretty puzzled because the driver of the next track (A14) asked what was wrong. I told him and he took the time to show me how to hook up an air line to the breach air system and blow the filter out. We became fast friends, SP/4 Dave "Barney" Bartnez. He showed me alot! I spent the next 6 months learning about the Sheridan and running around with A Troop on field training and exercises.

    About this time I was in the mess hall waiting in the chow line and talking with another buddy, he was talking about being at Fort Bliss with the 13th CAV. I piped up and said "I was at Fort Bliss for Redeye missile training"! The guy next to me in line turned around and asked "YOU had Redeye training?" I told him "YUP, sure did! I got number one in class and got to shoot the missile and everything!" .He didn't say another word.

    Next morning at formation the Platoon Sergeant called me out and said that I was to go over to HQ trp. and "temporarily" help the Redeye section. They were going thru a Division Redeye test, and they were short of people as it turned out . (NOT like Alpha trp. C/O had indicated!) .So I trained with the Redeye section for about 3 weeks and on Dec. 7th 1973 we took the Division test. As it ended up my team got No.1 in Division. HQ trp. & Redeye section never let me go back! So I was transferred to HQ trp. (with a little resistance from "A" trp.) It turned out to be one of the best times of my life! .But it was one of the saddest too!
    June 74, I was going home on leave. Barney still in A Troop., he was out of the Army. I joked "I'd beat him home"! .And he'd joke "Yeah, but you got to come back"! A month later I was walking thru the gate, back from leave. I knew the SP at the gate and he asking if I just got off leave? I don't know what gave it away? My new suit or a 3 week old beard!?? He turns serious, and asked if I knew about Barney? I said Yeah I knew he E.T.S. out. He then says ."But Barney drown 3 weeks later"! I didn't want to believe it! But two days later my old Platoon Sergeant from A Troop stopped me for a donation for flowers for Barney's family!
    Barney is still with me to this day! As are all of 3/12th CAV troopers! I still think of Barney & them often, especially today! Rest in Peace my friend, see you later.
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