VAW-115 Honors Fallen Pilot

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VAW-115 Honors Fallen Pilot

Post by wildbill » Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:05 pm

This was from the VAW-115 Web SSite at Atsugi AB, Japan,


By Journalist Seaman Maxwell Olson, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs

ABOARD USS KITTY HAWK (NNS) -- The "Liberty Bells" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 dedicated a memorial to a fallen Navy pilot, Lt. Thomas "Dumpy" Adams, in the Officer's Club at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, July 16.

The memorial, designed by fellow pilot Lt. Jeremy Rich, is a propeller blade bearing the inscription, "Never in the field of human conflicts was so much owed by so many to so few."

Adams was flying an SH-3 Sea King during a fatal collision with another helicopter in the Persian Gulf March 22, 2003.

He was embarked in HMS Ark Royal during an exchange tour with the British Royal Navy. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Adams had been a member of VAW-115 since April 1999.

"I think it's important to make a memorial, a reminder, because we need it. Dumpy was just a great human being. We made the memorial smaller, because that's what he would've wanted," said Lt. Ryan Betton, a pilot and a NATOPS [Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization] officer assigned to VAW-115.

"When the guys who knew Dumpy leave the squadron, all that's left will be this memorial. The only time that someone truly dies is when that person is gone from people's minds. With this memorial, Dumpy will continue to live on in the minds of those who see it," said Betton.

"The prop blade is not just a tangible object," said Betton. "It's a testament to what we do in the aviation world. It's about caring."

The pilots of VAW-115 continue to honor their country and their friend, and are currently embarked on USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) in the western Pacific Ocean, participating in Summer Pulse 2004, the fleet's response demonstration.

The Kitty Hawk Strike Group is the largest carrier strike group in the Navy and is composed of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), and Destroyer Squadron 15.

Destroyer Squadron 15 is comprised of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG 49), guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), the destroyer USS Cushing (DD 985), and the fast frigates USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and USS Gary (FFG 51).

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