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Heroic pilots: Navy flyers are the heroes
I received my Feb. 9 Whidbey News-Times here in Yuma, Arizona.
As as a retired Chief Petty Officer from the United States Navy, I take great offense to the letter written by Mr. Reuben Hey. The sarcasm of his letter did not go unnoticed.
Until he has walked in the shoes of these MEN he should put aside his sarcasm. These men were not drafted, they volunteered. They had many years of education before they chose the Navy as a career field. They were then taught how to be an officer and a gentleman. (Take note, Mr. Hey) They were then trained to be flyers.
Every time they strap themselves in a cockpit they put their lives on the line. One does not smart-mouth people who have just landed on a pitching carrier deck in the middle of the night, after spending hours in the air over enemy territory.
After returning to the ship they spend much time writing up repair orders for their planes. Then they must debrief with the details of their flight. They also have collateral duties, such as Division Officers, Safety Officers and many more hats they must wear when not actually flying.
When you have seen your Squadrons Commander take off with three other aircraft heading for Vietnam and only one aircraft returns as I have; when you know they are prisoners of war or possibly dead, then you may not use the word HEROES so loosely.
These pilots have earned the respect and admiration of all those men who wear those blue crackerjack suits. Those men in the blue suits work 12 hours a day 7 days a week while on cruise. Yes Mr. Hey, those tired men in the blue suits are the heroes of the pilots whose planes they repair safely for the next flight. They are also the heroes of the wives, kids and mothers who meet them at the hanger when they fly in with much PR and fanfair.
I hope I have not offended you Mr. Hey, but possibly have enlightened you a wee bit.
Ray Myers, AEC USN Ret. Oak Harbor