Yesterday I received the best email I’ve ever received in my life. In the span of about 60 seconds I experienced the emotions of fear, joy, guilt and grief:
FEAR – Something bad has happened…are they involved in hostile activities?
JOY – Thank God my son is safe!
GUILT – My son is safe! But five other mothers’ sons are not…God help them!
GRIEF – Lost at sea…if they are alive they are probably hurt and afraid. Will any of them be found? Will any of them survive? Lord be with them and hold them in Your hands!
The email that I received was from my son Brooks who is currently deployed as a Naval aviator assigned to the USS Nimitz strike group. Brooks is a pilot and a member of the HSM 75 Helicopter squadron “Wolf Pack”. He pilots the MH-60R Seahawk. (I wrote about the experience of Brooks receiving his Naval Aviator “wings” in this previous post .)
Brooks’ email (Subject: safe and sound) was received on Sunday, September 22, 2013 10:11 AM and said:
I can’t respond with any details but if you read the news I just wanted to calm any worries you might have and let you know that I’m okay. Please keep our sister squadron in your thoughts and prayers.
Love you all,
A quick search on the internet revealed a news article that reported the crash of a MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter while either taking off or landing on a guided-missile destroyer, the USS William P. Lawrence. Five crew-members were on board the aircraft at the time of the crash. These helicopters are flown by the “Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6, sister squadron to Brooks’ squadron (HSM 75 Wolf Pack.)
At the time we viewed this article originally, all five of the crewmen involved in the crash were still unaccounted for. This was very concerning because the crash happened six hours earlier, but we hoped the delay was just in the reporting of the events. Later in the afternoon the article was updated to report that three of the five crewmen had been rescued and were in stable condition and that search and rescue operations were being conducted for the missing two crewmen.
Sadly, this morning at 11:50 am EDT this Navy News article reports “Search and Rescue Efforts for MH-60S Aircrew Suspended.”
As the mother of an active-duty serviceman who is deployed in the Middle East I have had to learn how to live each day without being consumed with worry. It is not easy but my faith in God helps me trust that Brooks is always being held in His hands. Even so, I am realistic enough to know that bad things happen all of the time and no one is exempt from that possibility.
I saw this slogan on the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Facebook page: “One Nation, One Navy, One Family” and it is so true. Two families are being informed that their sons (brothers, husbands, maybe even fathers) were lost at sea. My heart is so heavy with grief for them and I know that it could have so easily been my son involved in such an accident.
Joy > Guilt > Grief….such a dichotomy of emotions.
Lord in Heaven, I pray that you will be with the families and friends of the two crewmen who were lost yesterday in this terrible accident. Please envelop them with Your comfort and peace and give them the strength to bear this realization of their greatest fear. Be also with their fellow crewmembers that experienced this tragedy and those who helped with the search and rescue operations. Give them the comfort of knowledge that they did all that was humanly possible in the situation. Help them stay strong and courageous during their mission. Please bring them all home safely and soon.