Memorial Day isn’t just a day of barbecues and a day off of work. For many people, who know someone who has lost their life while serving in the U.S. military, it’s a day of rememberance. It’s a day to put aside any differences we may have, and to come together as a country to honor those brave men and women we have lost. Please join me in taking a moment today to remember and honor those who are no longer with us.
Today I will take some time to remember my uncle, Robert ‘Bob’ Haworth, who unfortunately, I didn’t get to know too well. He passed this last year. He served during the Vietnam War in the US Army, 1st Air Cav. Yes, he didn’t pass while serving, but from what I know he left a part of himself overseas and struggled with alcoholism for several years. He was mostly estranged from the family, from his return until his passing.
Senior Chief Larry Anderson (Lt. Anderson when he passed) was my shop chief in my fleet squadron VS-21. He was there the day I graduated from the training squadron and guided me through my first deployment on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). Senior Chief Anderson was a brilliant AW/SENSO (Aviation Warfare Systems Operator) and a mentor to so many of us. He had a positive influence on so many, and he had a way of bring out the best in you.
Lt. Mark Sharp, who I didn’t know well, was a pilot I flew with frequently and he always brought me home safe. Not all officers treated their enlisted aircrew well, but that was not Lt. Sharp. He was always respectful. Lt. Sharp died in a training accident in July 1994. Last year I found out he was from here in Portland, Oregon, and this last week I found his place of rest at Willamette National Cemetary. Earlier this week I came across a post from his cousin and learned he liked to brew his own beer. He would have fit in well with modern Portland, it seems.
AW2 David Stenstrom died in June 1988 when a VS-21 S-3 aircraft rolled uncontrollably immediately after launch from the USS Enterprise. All crew members ejected, sadly only one of them survived. I didn’t know David personally; I had not yet joined the squadron and was still in the training. I attended his memorial service at NAS North Island, which was an early wake-up call about how dangerous flying in the military could be. When I got to the squadron, it was obvious how well he was liked by all his shipmates.
This Memorial Day I will honor all of the men, as well as those men and women I don’t know. Thank you for your service, and we haven’t forgotten you.