This morning, I woke up thinking about a Navy Shipmate named Robert "Red" Mills. He and I went to MK 42 "C" School at Great Lakes in 1970-71. He was a First Class Gunner's Mate who worked ASROC all his career and I was a GMG3 who worked MK 42 gun mounts for two years. He was the Class Leader and he took me under his wing. We watched Monday Night Football with his family in the "Flintstone" Navy Housing at SSC Great Lakes. They had one of those "Dime Store" turtles that survived!! That turtle was HUGE!!
In any case, when we graduated he went to the USS Stoddart (DDG 22) and I went to the USS Stein (DE 1065). Red was killed during Combat Actions against the North Vietnamese in 1972. They had a Misfire, Foul Bore, that they had difficulty clearing and the ammunition cooked off in the gun bore, 22 minutes into the foul bore declaration, killing Red and another three other men. His death overwhelmed me then and still haunts me today. Red died 45 years ago! Yet now, I cannot get Red out of my mind.
As a career Gunner's Mate, I had a number of "Foul Bore" situations that should have ended the same way! Only God knows why they did not.
I found Red's name on the Virtual Vietnam Wall and some comments left on the names of the other three that died because of that incident.
But now, at the end of my life, the circumstances of Red's death are forefront in my mind. Why, I do not know. Maybe I will see Red in Heaven.