Test pilot George Aird - flying a English Electric Lightning F1 - ejected from his English Electric Lightning F1 aircraft at a fantastically low altitude in Hatfield, Hertfordshire 13th September 1962.
As an older Seaman I was assigned to the OZ division, known as the ‘Land of OZ’. Most Sailors, nearly 6000 men, on the USS Independence had no idea where we were nor what we did. We were a small division, the Ship’s Intel community. Every Division has a ‘Mail Petty Officer’. His job is to go to the Ships Mail Room and retrieve OZ division’s mail when a mail plane lands and the mail is sorted and posted.
In the first few months I learned how important the Mail PO was. A sharp MPO watched the plane landings on the ship’s TV as he worked and when he saw the Mail plane land he ran liked-dy split and was near the first in line to get our mail.
He was so good nature-d he was an easy target for practical jokes. Ski was a Data Systems Repairman. I was reading the Navy Times one day and read about an Admiral high up the chain of command by the name of Malinowski. To me it was such an unusual name I asked Ski if he knew him. “He is my uncle,” was his answer. Nothing else was said.
If I had an uncle who was an Admiral I would be telling folk, but never a peep from Ski. I thought it was interesting. I mentioned it to my boss, who mentioned it to his boss who mentioned it to our division officer. The practical jokes stopped. Ski stood less watches than before. He was even promoted a little early.
Just before I left the ship under orders to GITMO, one evening I had my Chet Atkins Airlines tapes playing. Ski was off duty and listening as I worked. I asked, “Ski, do you ever see your uncle?”
“I don’t have an uncle that is an Admiral.”
I explained why I asked and what had happened in the last year.
“I was pulling your leg jack.”
“All I can say is you had better not tell anyone else that. I have told everyone he is your uncle.”
It did embarrass him, but never again was he the brunt of another ‘Pollock’ joke. I always hoped he had a great life, like most sailors we never met again.
Side note: for you have asked about Betty, She says things are fine she just needed a break to do other things for awhile. But she is well. Might be back aboard soon.
Betty is one sweet lady!
Mildred Davis with their Buick.