Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 21

May 21st is my husbands birthday...birthday's are the days where you celebrate your birth with your friends and family; have some good food; cake; gifts; have a good time...It is still his special day but it's also on a weekend, now, that has a bigger meaning...we celebrate the lives lost of dear friends and his amazing day.  It's a strong day for us...

Now let's go backwards 2 days to May 19th...and now 3 years ago on May 19th.  I woke up the morning of May 20th with Emma who was 8 months old to an e-mail that said:

"Hey Im ok I will email you laters or try and call you! I love you a lot!
But I am ok so don't worrie! If you havent watch the news then watch it
but I am ok! I love you a lot!"

This was 6 am...I never watch the news when the boys are gone, even on work ups, which is where they were on this day...the news over exaggerates everything and I have even stopped watching it now because, let's face it, there is no news anymore unless you lost your cat or a dog has beaten the surf record; not news.

So, being kind of a newbie and only really knowing 3 other wives, I panicked a little because I didn't have anyone's phone numbers.  Then I went to google where I didn't find anything.  Emma and I went downstairs and what did I do...turned on the news.  A helicopter had crashed and killed 5 Navy Sailors by the Coronado Islands.  I e-mailed Mike back and asked "I don't understand...I love you too.  Should I call someone? I only have Heather and Ashlee's numbers".  Of course I understood what happened, i just didn't want to believe it.  His reply (paraphrased) was:

i'll try to call soon. something happened. my bbf is gone and my noodle dance buddy {yes from tropic thunder}. don't call ashlee.  that should tell you who else. i don't know if you met the other 2"

and then the tears...came flowing...May 19th, 2009, the HS-6 Screaming Indians Squadron lost 5 members; 2 amazing pilots and 3 fantastic crewmen.  My husband's best friend, Sean Michael Ward, was 20 and he was going to be 21 on June 15, 2009.  Aaron Lee Clingman was an amazing father to 2 daughters (one he will meet later in the after-life) and a husband to an even more amazing woman.   Samuel Grant Kerslake was a beast who I only met once and his wife is a rock with 2 boys who have "Grant" written all over them.  The pilots I did not have the pleasure of knowing but everything I have heard about them has been amazing.  They both left family behind; everyone leaves family behind whether it's blood related or not.

3 years ago today, May 19, 2009 an H-60 Seahawk helicopter went down off the coast of Coronado while conducting training operations with USS Nimitz (CVN 68).  The helicopter was from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 6 (HS6), located in San Diego.  It was a tragic day that marked the loss of some of the finest the Navy had to offer:
Lt. Cmdr. Eric J. Purvis, Lt. Allison M. Oubre, Naval Air Crewman 1st Class (AW/NAC) Samuel "Grant" Kerslake, Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class (AW/NAC) Aaron L. Clingman and Naval Air Crewman 3rd Class (AW/NAC) Sean M. Ward.

This was witnessed by 2 other pilots and 3 other crewmen, who are all friends and family, as 2 helo's fly together.  I can't imagine the feeling or the picture.  My husband was supposed to be on the flight out to do the Search and Rescue; he was dressed and ready along with everyone else but it was called off.  Now it makes sense because it would have been emotional...very emotional.  The Coast Guard was called and a massive rescue was put under way to gather the remains.  I'm not going to go into detail because I can't...honestly you don't want me to.  My husband is out with his buddy on his boat today dropping off beer for Aaron (as he's still MIA aka being sneaky and sitting on a beach in Mexico having a drink) and having a talk with the crew as they do every year. 

The funny thing is, well not funny, I was going to call Ashlee on the 18th to see if she wanted to get together so the kids could play (emma and ayden are only 3 months apart).  But i didn' i don't hesitate.

A lot of emotions, a lot of friends made, a lot of friends and family lost...their heart-wrenching memorial was held on the deck of the USS Midway (which is a museum now in San Diego) as well as having one on the USS Nimitz. That was the first, and possibly last, time I have ever been on the Midway.  My husband had a speech for Sean since they were BBF's (best buds forever) and I have never cried so much in my life and then 2 of our friends spoke for Aaron and Grant and to hear them speak to their children tore me apart.  TAPs was played, they did a fly by in a missing-man formation, the guns were shot and the flags were handed out.

This is a very bittersweet day for me.  A couple of my best friends, now, are the wives of 2 of the crewmen, Taitum shares a middle name with Sean & Aaron (MiLee), and she also shares Sean's birthday (you can't plan fate like that...there was no c-section and she was 2 weeks early).

I am not an emotional person but after this mishap, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve while not taking BS from anyone.  I can no longer watch any military movie without tearing up or walking out; i just can't do it, the guardian, pearl harbor, black hawk down, taking chance...all great movies but i just can't do it.

I'm going to leave you with some photos...the HS6 family is strong and always will be.

I love you guys...You will never be forgotten....ever

 The Crew


Sean and Aaron

If you look at #57's right shoulder you will see him wearing the memorial patch during the 2011 Army-Navy game...awesome

a handful of the guys got this dream catcher tattoo for the fallen Indians...there's a lot of artwork that was done and is amazing

This HS-6 family is bonded forever and ever, as I believe we would have been under different circumstances...

One Team, One Scream

We love you guys!!!


  1. Wow Lisa, what a tragic story. I never knew any of this. I will be saying a prayer for everyone who knew and loved the ones that passed. I can not even imagine. I am so thankful for all of the men and women who serve our country!!! XOXO!!

  2. Lisa-it took me a few days to finally read this post-I'm a little emotional myself -and needed to work up the courage! Needless to say, you brought me to tears with your lovely tribute.
    I am so grateful for our military and their families for their service and sacrifice.

    1. thanks :-) took me almost a week to finish it and re-write it and then publish it :-/


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