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I was on active duty with the Navy as the Operations Officer for a detachment of Tactical Air Control Squadron 12 based out of White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.
We had flown from MCAS Futenma in Okinawa to Nagasaki where we drove to Sasebo for a schedule planning meeting with the air department of the USS Essex. I was staying on the ship and sharing a stateroom with Capt. Jay Aubin, USMC, who was the schedules officer for HMM 265 the Marine Air Group we deployed with. Capt. Aubin came to the room and said, “Sir, you gotta come down to the Wardroom and see this.”
There was quite a crowd there at the time and we watched in silence as the second plane hit.
Sometime after I had retired from active duty and operations had started in Iraq, the Journal had an enclosure of service members who had been killed in the operation.
I just happened to be scanning through it when now Major Aubin’s face jumped out at me. He, along with three other US Marines and eight British Marines were among the first casualties when the Ch-46 he was flying crashed in Iraq due to mechanical problems two days after the operation started. Major Aubin will be forever in my memory as a true professional, a great guy to work with and a friend.
LCDR W. Shumaker USN (Ret), Los Alamos
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