Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Gone West…Mike Horrocks

September 10th, 2006 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

September 11th marks the fifth anniversary of the day our lives changed. You’ll read piece after piece on what happened and how we were attacked this week. When you back up the microscope, it comes down to the individual families who will never celebrate a birthday or Christmas together ever again. There is grief here that can never properly be put to words so that all can understand.

I just want to write about and dedicate this day to a friend of mine who died five years ago. Mike Horrocks was the First Officer on flight 175 that hit the South Tower at 9:03 that morning. I watched in horror with bowel-shaking earthquakes of emotion as this passenger jet vaporized into the side of the building. In the Airline business, when something like this happens, they lock out the Crew manifest so that the names can’t be released before the next of kin is notified. This time, It didn’t take long before the Marine KC-130 mafia had the names of all the crews involved in the four crashes. There are only about a hundred or so Marine KC-130 pilots out there flying in the system so it didn’t take long to do a tally, and find out if any of our friends were involved.

In this surreal case, unfortunatly it was a pilot I had the privilege of serving with for three years in Cherry Point, North Carolina, while flying with VMGR-252. There are few guys of his caliber; he was one that everyone wishes deep down they could emulate. On the scale of one to ten, he was a 20 in every category!! I mean that in the most sincere expression of deep awe. When you go through life, you meet good people, and then great people, all with faults and certain flaws that don’t allow them to rise above those levels. Then you have the pleasure of knowing men like Mike, who have the ability to be the best at everything and make it look easy, but at the same time humble enough to show you how to improve yourself and not make you look silly while doing it.

Mike, I want you to know that I strive to be the type of man you were. I want to be the father and husband you were, day in and day out. To your family, I say God Bless you. To you, Mike Horrocks, friend to thousands, I say “Semper Fi” and God speed as you fly West.
Semper Fi,