George Fetherman V1 Div. 1958-1960

Smoking Can Be Good For Your Health !

..... One night during flight ops, in my capacity as a hot suit man in the crash crew, I was sitting on the lead fender of one of our plane tractors. The tractor was parked just aft of the island. Of course the rest of the on duty crash crew was also in the immediate area.

..... It was our practice, to take turns having a smoke. In those days, you could actually be a smoker without having a big red "S" painted on your forehead. Since you couldn't smoke on deck during flight ops, we would use the area just inside the last hatch on the island. (my cleaning space at the time)

..... One our crew had just come back, so I decided to have a cigarette. Jumped down off the fender and headed for the island. Just as I was pulling the hatch closed behind me, all hell broke loose on the flight deck. An aircraft, I believe an A-3D, had caught a cable. Problem was the cable broke. When it did, it wrapped around the tailhook of the plane. By this time the pilot had applied full power. The tailhook pulled off the plane and the cable whipped and the tailhook flew up the deck.

..... As the cable whipped, it killed one of our chiefs, "ABC Lyons", I think there was someone else killed at that time also, but can't remember for sure. It also pinned an APU occupied by two guys from V-6 Div. under an A-3D parked between 3 and 4 elevators. They were very seriously hurt and months later just before leaving the ship I heard they were still in the hospital.

..... When I got back on deck, I noticed a big gash of lead missing from the fender of the tractor. This was where the tailhook hit. It's also where my legs had been just a few seconds before. This is why I say "Smoking Can Be Good For Your Health".

Post Script:

..... I quit smoking about ten years ago. Not because I was worried about my health, but because my wife had decided to quit and I felt that I shouldn't make it more difficult for her.

..... I did regret my decision to quit almost immediately. Within a month or so I put on 30 lbs. and my energy level was decreasing. By the time a year passed, I was up to 60 lbs. over what I was before quitting. So now instead of weighing 190 lbs. and being a smoker, I now weigh 250 lbs. and will probably die from a heart attack. So choose your poison!

..... I'd be interested in a study of how many ex-smokers get fat and die of heart attacks.

Addendum provided by Al Moon:

..... I was an AN and remember the incident about the A-3D that caught a cable. I was on the forward flight deck at the time.

..... My recollection of the story was that in addition to ABC Lyons being killed, there was a 2nd. class AB who was injured. The cable took off both of his legs.

..... My brother Teddy was also a hot suit man and was on board the big I at the time of the above incident.

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Special Thanks to John Koonce V-2 Div. 1961-1963 for collecting and formatting this page for our Reunion Site.

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