Friday, March 16, 2018

Audentes Fortuna Juvat

After hitting the sack last night, my text alert went off, I was too tired to look at it, I figured it would wait until the morrow.

Awakening shortly before 0600, I checked my phone...
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 
VFA 213 jet crashed...both pilot and wso died. 22:25
It was from my youngest, The WSO, former Rhino backseater in both VFA-32 and VFA-2, tours at both NAS Oceana and NAS Lemoore. She and her husband know a lot of folks in Naval Aviation.

It's not the sort of thing you want to wake up to. One's first thought is always, "Is it someone I know. God I hope not."

The guilt follows immediately. Someone knew those two aircrew. Somewhere, two families are receiving the life crushing news. Things will never be the same again.

I've lost friends in aircraft mishaps. Everyone in aviation knows someone who lifted into the sky one day, and never returned. But it always hurts to hear that dreaded news...

A jet is down.

I may not have known them personally, but I know men and women just like them. Heck, I raised one, who married one.

The word travels fast, most know to stay quiet until the families have been notified. But the community knows when a brother, or sister, is lost.

It's hard.

My heart goes out to the men and women of VFA-213, the Fighting Black Lions. Especially to the families of those two fine young men lost in Key West.

Fortune does indeed favor the bold.

But sometimes there is a price.

A terrible price...

Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson, Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King. US Navy Photos

Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Brother, ‘Hail and Farewell’.

Gaius Valerius Catullus

Rest In Peace brothers. We have the watch...


  1. I hate those messages most of all. Worse still is the 2am telephone call and you know its horrible news.

  2. Thoughts and prayers for those families......

  3. All untimely deaths hit hard for those personally connected. I think due to our connections to military aviation we are hit particularly harder when one of 'our own' dies. Just this morning my heart sunk a little more with the report of the Army helo going down in Iraq. As I just posted to Pinch, I think we Lexicans feel these losses even deeper.

  4. Much the same in civil (general) aviation.

  5. Rest in Peace, Gentlemen, you earned it.

  6. I think that those of us who have a connection to military aviation all realize, and accept, that t is a life with inherent dangers. We accept that fact, and live with it each, and every, day. But we feel the brotherhood of all who fly and grieve the loss of each whether we know the as individuals or not. I recall a conversation I had some years ago with Pete Conrad, we were talking about a recent Arlington funeral and Pete said that the only times he had ever worn his bridge coat in uniform was at funerals, and he remembered each and every one of them. I suspect that we all feel the same way.

  7. My heart goes out to the families. The others above have expressed my thoughts much better than I can.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  8. I was thinking yesterday when I first heard the news how terrible it is to receive that news that your loved one has died, but it must be even worse to receive that news when they are not deployed and "at war". They just went into the office that morning, and then don't come home. Instead there is a knock on the door. If they are deployed, it must be a fear to live with, but when they just go off to "the office" think they are safe cause they are "home". My heart breaks for the aviators, and their families.

  9. Military aviation is not for the faint of heart. It's unforgiving and cruel, and even if you make zero mistakes, some failed part or ingested bolt or bird can be just as cruel. That squadron seems to have had more than it's fair share of tragedy. I will say a prayer for their families.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)