Josh's father writes in
Yeesh. All that research I did to write that speech and I had the wrong helicopter. My Uncle Bill was actually Chief of Design for the RH-53 Sea Stallion
Well, the story works... and I'll go and revise it to be right at some point when that's important. I always thought it was a Jolly Green Giant myself, and I've had the Jolly Green Giant rescue fantasy since I was 8 (29 years!), so, it's all figuratively true, at least for me.
But my apologies to the guys at Sikorski. I wanted to honor their efforts by writing this speech, and I hope they don't mind if it's at least temporarily wrong.
7 days left til christmas. Still no Josh
. Maybe the email address I have is no good. Maybe he doesn't have a computer. The power just came back on at my house a few minutes ago.
Please keep passing the url along. There's 6 degrees of separation between him and me.
I had no idea you had such concern for my son. I'm sorry its taken me a few days to reply. I was hoping to have some news for you from Josh's aunt.
There were a few things not completely correct. These were my fault, not yours. Joshua did know his grandfather, although he was just five when Dad died. I checked my history, it turns out Dad was chief-of-design for the RH-53D which was a more powerful version of the CH-53A. The CH-53E, or Super Stallion, was a three-engine upgrade. It was the CH-53C that flew those missions in Vietnam, it was nicknamed "Jolly Green Giant". To say simply that Dad designed either helicopter is misleading, and might be misinterpreted by his hard-working colleagues at Sikorsky. Also, to say simply that Dad killed some friends during a test is bit harsh. There was a horrible and deadly accident during a test, and Dad was very shaken by the loss of friends and colleagues. It's true though that he may never have recovered from it. I can't be sure whether it was a test of the RH-53D or a UH-60A Blackhawk that failed (as far as I know, Dad worked on all the above). If I'd known where you were going with your questions I would have checked my facts for you. Still I'm grateful for the pride you have in my father and his accomplishments, and you were right to use such a great example.
You might have given more emphasis that it took a "team" of engineers to build a helicopter; to get a spacecraft to Mars (even if not successfully); to fix y2K; to get that traffic light to perform its wonders. Yes, we've all been down that crater, and it takes great effort to get up every morning, but damn if it doesn't help to have someone down there with you, if only to remind you of the marvels that have and can be accomplished, and to kick you out of bed.
I never got to appreciate my Dad for his accomplishments. I remember sitting and working with him a couple of nights when I was a young teen; he was trying to work out some method for getting 'copters into hostile ground for night rescue missions. He was looking for a way for friendlies to see and recognize their rescue ship, without hostiles doing the same. We were playing with some glow-in-the-dark paint that I'd just bought at the hobby shop for one of my models. I never learned what solution was implemented, but I do know there were successful missions.
I hope your effort to find Josh doesn't go to waste. I am a bit surprised by the interest you've taken, but you were his favorite Taht.
If he was to reach out for any of us, I'm sure it would be you.
Thanks Bill, I'll keep trying.
7 days to go. Please read Uncle Bill's Helicopter
and pass the url along.