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The plane plunged into the Tjisdane, cutting the cable that was lowering a truck and dropping it on our well deck. The collision with the cable apparently diverted the plane into an area that was not the intended target. As it struck the deck there was an explosion and fire that was quickly brought under control with minimum casualties. We watched as the pilots body was lifted out of the cockpit, frozen into a sitting position.
In my memory, I will always see the young pilot wearing, what I call the “Smiling Jack” head gear, and what was obviously a ceremonial scarf, looking into my eyes as he passed. Did he only avert his gaze to escape seeing the impact that was to take his life or was there something about me that drew his attention, perhaps because I was also very young? That is Improbable but as I said, I will always wonder.
Warren, please don’t ever take that page off your site.
Shipmate and friend.. Earl Johnson USS LSM134"