Friday, June 3, 2016


Yesterday I was consumed with the Blue Angels and the loss of Marine Captain Jeff Kuss. While I knew that the Number 6 aircraft of the Thunderbirds had also crashed shortly after the flyover at the Air Force Academy graduation, I knew that the pilot, Major Alex Turner, had ejected safely and was okay. You can read that story here.

Sad to see such a beautiful aircraft meet such a fate, but her pilot is safe. (Source)

The story that I neglected to mention was the death of five artillerymen, with four others still missing, down at Fort Hood in Texas, in a nasty flash flood. They belonged to the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. That story is here. My old "home town" newspaper, the Stars & Stripes provides a synopsis of the events of that tragic day, the 2nd of June, 2016.

I feel bad not mentioning the Army story earlier, or the Air Force one (especially with my having been a member of that service, though many years ago). In my defense, my son-in-law Big Time, is a Naval Aviator, my daughter The WSO, is a Naval Flight Officer. I have a number of friends and acquaintances who ply the same trade as those Blue Angel pilots. I am a part of the Naval Aviation family. When we lose someone, the word spreads rapidly. Not the name, just that "someone went down."

One thing the community knows is that you don't want to hear about the death of a loved one via social media or on the television. So mum's the word until the Navy releases the name. So you wonder and you worry. Another thing I might add is that one of the Blues flew with Big Time in VFA-136. He and The WSO know him well. So we were all a bit pre-occupied Thursday.

But I do feel terrible not expressing sorrow or grief at the loss of those fine soldiers down in Texas.

I mourn their loss and pray for comfort for their families and friends.

Serving in the military can be, and often is, dangerous. We lose people in training, we lose people in combat. Every death is felt. Every loss is mourned. Rest in Peace, Godspeed to those who we lost. Pray that the missing are found, safe and alive.

Pray for the folks in Texas as well. The weather down there is pretty bad right now.


  1. No matter how big the branch, every loss is personal, and it's family.

  2. Fight water and water will win, every time. Doesn't mean, when you wear the uniform, you don't try. R.I.P. cannon cockers.

  3. Thoughts and prayers for those families...

  4. Thanks for the post, Sarge.
    As you said, the peace-time military can be a dangerous place to work (Not to mention time of war).
    Each year, in Europe, at REFORGER time we'd steel ourselves for the probable losses.
    They came in many, varied, ways . . . an unsecured antenna on an M-60 contacts a railroad high voltage line, a Jeep rolls over on a winding back road . . . a driver tries to ford a swollen stream and his truck is swamped. Nothing dramatic . . . just deadly. Such is life in the ground portion of our military service. Accepting that fact doesn't do much to assuage the ache of unnecessary loss.
    (Just bitchin', I guess.)

    1. Those big exercises like REFORGER always brought higher risks.

    2. Yes, mum's the word--or is supposed to be.
      I was listening to the radio news yesterday about the F/A-18 crash (I live about 50 miles NNW of Smyrna). As is proper, the report stated that the Navy was withholding the aviator's name, pending notification of his family. Not 15 minutes after I heard that, the local station gave out Capt. Kuss' name. I was outraged. I can only hope nobody was so crass as to call the Kuss family with a variation on "Are you the widow Kuss? Bet you a dollar".
      I'm glad the media folks at least sometimes think we deserve information, but they could be more sensitive in its handling.
      --Tennessee Budd

    3. I am hoping that Mrs. Kuss had already been notified. Of course, because of the high profile of the Blues, it would be relatively easy to determine who went down in Smyrna. The local media should be ashamed for releasing that information prior to the family being notified, it that was indeed the case.

    4. I'm sorry to say it appears a local news type winkled the name out of somebody & put it out. After I heard them report it, the USN was still refusing to release the name. Diligence is admirable, but it must be balanced with dignity.
      --Tennessee Budd

    5. It's all about the story, it's never about dignity. Sad to say.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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