I'm glad to see some of us "BATS" are still above ground!! I moved back to Fla. in 1975 to Jax,, then in 78, moved to DB,...and in 82, I moved to Winter Springs,.(only 12 miles from the Base). I've been to a couple of the 'RVAH Reunions' at the old Fleet Reserve Club, on hwy. 46. They're always the middle of June,.so put it on your calendar.
When we were off VN coast, in 65 & 66,..I was nearly blown off the flt-dk when a shot-up F4 landed and as he was turning around to clear the landng zone, he shoved the throttle down too far and the after-burners kicked-in and the blast pk'd me up and blew me from the front of the Vigi, bouncing me on the non-skid, hitting the left wheel with my back, then continued on to the edge. The blast had now lifted me up and I was almost blown over, covered in my blood,..I was looking down at the water, thinking Oh Shit,. I'm fkng going over!! All of a sudden, a guy dove across the blast, grabbing me by my shoulders and slammed me down on the deck, saving my ass. I had a concussion & was cross-eyed, but wasn't lunch for the sharks, etc. He helped me up, once the F4 had finally turned his engines down..and a bunch of other techs ran over and was helping hold me up, The guy who saved me, was in clean dungarees, 'no name, or rating on shirt, and not working up there. He came from the starbrd. side of the Island, to catch me from being killed. The several techs that had surrounded me, helping me stand-up,. saw him,..then he walked back where he came from, without me getting his name, etc. I asked a couple guys to run around there and bring him back so I could get his name & thank him for saving my butt. They went all the way around the island and came from the port-side, saying HE was no where to be found?? I went over to the flite-deck hatch & asked the Flt/Dk officer if he knew who it was that had saved me from going-over?? He said No,..but said that I was the 6th guy so far, who had been saved from getting killed on this cruise, by 'clean- cut' guys who were never seen again!! The Lt. then said,.."Mister,.I had just met My own 'GUARDIAN ANGEL', like the others had!!!" We stood there in shock & awe. I said if anybody ever saw him again, to please bring him to me, so I could thank him. Weeks went by,..and he was never seen again. That still sort of haunts me to this day...in a good way, of course. One thing for sure,."I do believe in 'Guardian Angels' since that day 5 miles off the VN coast, in the So. China Sea.
My work-jeans I had on was ripped-up from the non-skid deck,. so our Parachute-rigger.. Glen Turner, or Turnage (?), took them to his shop and sewed them up for me.
If this incident rings a bell to you, or anyone on-board back then,...please let me know.
Hi Richard: Thanks for the reply, sorry about mispelling your name but the grey matter is shrinking up with age, HA. Yes those grey hairs stand out with our age. Hope you all are having fun in the sun there in Florida. I lived there for 36 years before I left in a divorce & having retired from Armstrong World Ind. in 2000. Moved up here in the mid west to be around my family in my later years, haven't lost anything down there. Take care Richard & keep in touch.
Hi Richard: I ran across your picture I you look just like you did when I was in the squadron, only grey beard is different. I was the Classified Material Control Yeoman while in Heavy 13. Worked for LTCMDR Griffin, think LTCMDR Queen was the Personnel Officer. You were talking about Rickers, think he took my place when I was discharged in July of 66. Remember Samuels, R. Jones, TC Peters, good to see you Richard, will get a picture put in shortly. Take care.