Let us not forget those who have fallen, for they have given more than we can ever imagine.
Bailey Tucker, HM3. A graduate of Parkway North High School in St. Louis County. He was an infant when this war started, and he died training for a mission over which he had no control. I never had the pleasure of asking him, “where did you go to high school” solely because he was brand new to the the command, but I have no doubts we would have been friends. My heart aches for his parents and friends.
HM2 Sarah Burns. She was not only my barracks roommate wife, but she was an exemplary sailor who cross-rated to corpsman to save lives. She easily could have served her time as a helo maintainer without taking the risk of stepping onto a helo, but she served a higher purpose. “So others may live.” She leaves behind a husband, a former rescue swimmer himself.
AWS2 James “Jimmy” Buriak. He was the best rescue swimmer at our command and was on his way to becoming one of the best rescue swimmers in the navy. Full Stop. While on Liberty in Guam a few weeks before the COVID outbreak, he was enjoying his free time on the beach when he saw two distressed swimmers in the surf. Without hesitation, he went into the surf and pulled those swimmers to safety. After the fact, the shipboard magazine heavily featured him, but he accepted none of the praise; he was simply doing his job as a rescue swimmer. “So others may live.” He leaves behind a beautiful wife and their beautiful son, a 1-year-old son.
LT. Paul Fridley. They say Naval Aviation is the best of the best, which was never more evident than LT. Fridley. I will never forget sitting left seat next to this man solely for the dry sense of humor he brought every day. On MH-60s, we have this thing called an engine water wash/burnout. The idea is to flush the engines of any salt spray that accumulated during the 12 hours of flying over the ocean and then “burnout” the excess water after 5 minutes. Well, many days, I had the pleasure of sitting beside LT. Fridley on those engine water wash/ burnouts, and it was from him I learned the term of a “gentleman’s five.” He leaves behind his wife and a child yet to be.
LT. Brad Foster. BLOB, Big Loud Obnoxious Brad, or as the maintainers liked to call him, “wreck it Ralph” solely for physical resemblances alone… He was just coming into his own as an amazing pilot. If there was ever a pilot you could guarantee to have a smile on his face, it was him. He may not have been a smoker, but rank meant nothing to him when it came to shooting the shit in the smoke pit, and because of that, he was one of us. He leaves behind a wife and a 1-year-old daughter.
Please, help the families of our fallen by contributing to this link.
Eternal rest grant them, O Lord. Let the perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.
This is a guest post by my son, AE2 Patrick Hennessy. The sailors lost in San Diego were members of his Squadron.