The Human Toll of Warfare

LT(jg) John McCormick and LCDR John Nicholson relaxing in VA-144 Ready Room aboard
USS Constellation (CVA-64), 1964.

 

“I was watching the CBS Evening News tonight when they broadcast a story about veterans. Look closely at the gravestone.  I was his wingman on his final dive.  I didn’t know he was brought home.”- Bob Maier
“I remember reading about John’s remains being recovered. That ball of fire with aluminum confetti coming out the front of it plus half of an A-4 wing spinning out of the bottom of the fireball with burning fuel coming out of the wing root was a sight I’ll never forget. That was 1 DEC 65. He was from Michigan and a Chemical Engineering grad of U of Michigan. I also think he was from Saginaw MI so I wonder if that’s where his remains are buried.
We were carrying a MK-83, 1000 pound low drag bomb on each wing, mechanically fused. We had just started our 45 degree dive and getting the hell shot out of us with the flak so thick we couldn’t see the target bridge. My theory is that the bomb fuse was hit by flak and detonated on his wing and it was on his right wing. We were on his left and if the left bomb had detonated, the frag pattern would have hit both of us but his airplane took the blast, shielding you and I. At least that is my theory which I’ve shared with others. Do you have another theory?”- Ron Boch
“I have always remembered his final dive as full of flak and wondering at first who dropped napalm in front of me – the fireball seemed that intense. From what I’ve determined Mac came from Burt, MI in Saginaw County, and there is a memorial to him in MI, but he’s now in Arlington.  He came home in 1988.  I had a tour running the U of MI NROTC – wish I had known more then. “- Bob Maier

Comments

  1. Author

    Thanks Nick. Nice site.

    One of my sea stories……

    When folks ask what a night trap is like, I always explain that I was about to head home from a Med cruise with 1000+ traps in the log book. Making up the final flight schedule, my schedules officer asked me if I wanted to round up my 299 night traps to an even 300. Knowing it was likely my last chance to get a trap, and with the weather and sea state pretty decent, I passed. I think that sums it up pretty well.

    Best,
    Bob

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