There were no “losers” that morning.
The morning of July 29, 1967, was sunny and warm with a fresh breeze streaming across the deck. It was a morning like any other aboard the U.S. carrier. Flight Operations were getting underway as the ship began to slowly turn into the wind in preparation to launch aircraft.
The days mission would carry pilots and crew into the skies over Vietnam in support of the war effort. Many of us stood in the catwalk, watching the pilots jockeying their aircraft for position at the catapults. In a moment, the sunny day turned into a hell of sorts with black smoke and the odor of burning jet fuel filling the air. The Flight Deck Chief and his crew were vaporized the instant the first bomb exploded and that explosion was followed by others as planes caught fire and were destroyed.
In only a few hours, 134 servicemen lost their lives. Of those who died that day, 50 were asleep in their bunks when the bombs exploded and the fires consumed them. Another 161 where injured, many severely. These are the servicemen the current president calls “losers” and “suckers”. But, they weren’t. They were there in service to their country. The real losers are the guys that had their fathers pay a doctor to invent a bone spur excuse. The real suckers are those who tend to believe everything their loser in chief tells them. The only people on that ship that day were American servicemen doing their sworn duty, many, like Lt. Cmdr. John McCain and that Flight Deck Chief, heroically!