Wednesday, May 16, 2012
In memory of 37 sailors
It's been 25 years.
May 17th will be the 25th anniversary of the USS Stark tragedy.
I was 21 years old. Enjoying an evening out in Manama, Bahrain. I came back to my ship and it was gone. The USS Conyngham had left to go support the Stark. We were instructed to board the USS LaSalle not really knowing what was happening.
Two Exocet missiles had been fired by an Iraqi air force jet. One exploded. 37 men died. 21 were wounded.
Arriving early the next morning I was shocked to see the Stark listing with a huge amount of smoke coming out of her. Once we got back to the Conyngham many of us immediately headed to the Stark. People were exhausted. Body bags were filled. Fires still needed to be fought. The smell shocked me. Everyone just jumped in. The fires continued for almost 24 hours from the moment of impact.
My one friend on the Stark survived. Three of his co-workers did not.
I never know when a memory is going to hit me from that day. My thoughts and memories of that day run deep and all over the place, as they do for anyone who was there.
I've always remembered. My shipmates rocked it that day. I saw bravery and courage and selflessness.
This blog post is in memory of the 37 people who were killed aboard the USS Stark on May 17, 1987.