Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lost Sailor Epitaph

Seven Times The Ship's Bell Rings
Seven Stars Overhead
Seven Angels Spread Their Wings
Seven Seas My Bed

I wrote that aboard ship back in '63 for a good officer and friend, Lieutenant Commander J.T. Park, USNR, who was last seen in his F-3H Demon heading straight down in afterburner somewhere in the huge dark Pacific Ocean. His manner of leadership was not what he wore on his collar, it was more like being a friend--unlike some fighter pilots, the prima donnas we despised. John went on liberty with us enlisteds in places like Olongapo and Hong Kong. We searched the black ocean for 72 hours but recovered nothing. RIP.

Oh, by the way, there is reason to the use of the number Seven: Biblically, it meant 'many.' However, Seven Bells in this case was 2330 military time (11:30pm) when he disappeared. Seven Stars is the Constellation ORION, which has four major stars including the brightest in our night sky outlining the archer and the steed, three stars in his belt, and three stars in the dagger sheath The Hunter wears. Being a Fighter Pilot, he was indeed a 'Hunter.' Seven Angels is the protecion from the highest order he received, and Seven Seas is what the ancient world knew existed.

I was going to write about Davy Jones but since he was my boss (First Class Parachute Rigger) in Fighter Squadron 193 (The World Famous Ghostriders) aboard the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) I thought it prudent not to. That's the story, and in Navy vernacular, since it's true, it should begin with, 'Now, this ain't no shit.'

Jim Pankey, USN (Ret.)

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