I am still pretty torn up over the loss of Captain Jeff Kuss of the Blue Angels last Thursday. The WSO and I chatted about that on Saturday, she too is pretty rattled by the loss. Of course, she's a lot closer to the situation than I. See that lead-in photo? That's The WSO, granddaughter Little Bit, granddaughter L'il Sweetie being held by her Dad, who is, of course, my son-in-law Big Time, standing with the Blue Angels. That photo wasn't taken all that long ago.
That's Captain Kuss, second from the left. The WSO said he was a really great guy, everything I've seen and read about this tragic accident leads me to believe her impression of the man was spot on. He leaves behind a wife and two young kids. Should you feel the urge, there is a Go Fund Me page set up for Jeff's family. A worthwhile cause for sure. It's here, should you be so inclined to chip in.
My good friend The Skipper has a very nice post up as well, you should read it. He was in the fighter pilot game his whole career, he knows the cost, he knows the pain felt by those who are left behind. Last Thursday was indeed "a horrible, no-good, rotten day."
In that photo, from left to right (excluding The WSO and her tribe) are -
I swear as I get older I tend to get more maudlin about these things. When I was younger, and it happened to guys I knew, it wasn't as hard. I guess I understood it to be the way things were. Sometimes you lose people, it sucks but you have to shake it off and drive on.
But now these folks we lose are my kids' age. It just doesn't feel right. Heck, one of the kids who went to high school with The Nuke in the Netherlands just got back from Afghanistan and I think he's headed back that way soon. So the guys I served with also have kids serving. Talk about "the family business." Thing is, I've got a big, extended family. Those "kids" out there now? I feel like they're my kids. It gets personal sometimes. Far too often these days.
I've added Jeff to the header, seems to me like he belongs up there. The Blues have always been my favorites, even though I wore Air Force blue for 24 years. I've loved the Blues since I was a little boy and loved them from the first time I saw them. When they were flying these -
|F-11F Tigers of the Blue Angels (Source)|
They flew those from 1957 - 1968 and I think I saw them around 1960, if I was to venture a guess. You know what they say, you never forget your first. It gets tougher as I get older.
First Lex, then Nate, then Taj, and now Jeff Kuss.
Yeah, it's personal.
See you on the other side Captain. Semper Fi.