Six Boys, One Helicopter Jock, One Dead ManFriday, November 09, 2007
I wrote about the above photograph here and in the last few days I have been able to locate all but one of the young men.
The breakthrough ocurred when I remembered Remigio Martinez's (last on the right) maternal name Mueller. With his complete name I found him as Vice President, Exploration of Southern Copper Corporation. He replied to my email:
I received your communication. How are you? As you can see I am continuing the family tradition working for what used to be ASARCO. I now live in Hermosillo, Sonora in Northwestern Mexico. If you ever come this way let me know so we con meet. I have especially fond memories of your mother. Is she still with you? Both my parents passed away about 4 years ago. I still keep in touch with some of the guy and gals we went to school with,. Do you? Anyway let me know how you are doing. I do get to Vancouver every once in a while, I´ll look you up next time I go there.
That's me on the left. Next is Steve Frazier (I am not sure if that is Frazier or Frasier). He lived in a large ranch near Sabinas, Coahuila with his genteel mother and lovely sister Cornelia. After we "graduated" from the 8th grade Steve's mother took me as far as San Antonio to the Greyhound Bus Station several times after a Christmas holiday from my boarding school at St Ed's in Austin. In the car I would be with the remote and extremely lovely Cornelia who we would dropp off in Uvalde, Texas. Steve taught me to shoot with German elephant rifle and took me for rides in his US Army Surplus Jeep in the Coahuila scrub. When I talked to Sammy Simpson yesterday (next guy and below) he told me, "Steve is my cousin. The last I heard he married a girl in Muzquiz, Coahuila and went to Mexico City where he disappeared."
I found out from Remigio Martinez Mueller (last on the right) that Sammy was living in San Antonio and was not in good shape. So I Googled Sam Simpson, San Antonio and called him up. Sammy was a bit cautious at first but I then immediately recognized his voice with its Texan drawl. He told me, "My wife is in hospital and I am here in the living room with my dog watching the news. I had a boring life." I asked him that seeing he was Texan, was he by any chance a right wing Republican? His answer was short, "I am nothing." I reminded him that it was from him that learned of things I had no idea. One day, October 9, 1956, he arrived at school and gave us a blow by blow description of Don Larsen's perfect game against the Dodgers in the World Series the day before. I had no idea what baseball was much less a perfect game. On another day he arrived singing Blue Swade Shoes. I had never heard this song or did I know who Elvis Presley was. Sammy did not remember this nor did he remember that he drove a 1957 Ford which to my disappointment was the short one and not the long Fairlane 500. Sammy has no email but thanked me for calling me. While Remigio Martinez Mueller had told me that Enrique Serna, second from right had died last year I did not know how to locate Dicky Forns, third from right. It was Sammy who corrected me , "Dicky Juvé Forns." With that I located Dicky and here he is.
HAI Announces Recipient of the 2005 Outstanding CFI Award
Alexandria, Va., December 8, 2005 – Richard “Ric” Juve Forns, Senior Flight Instructor, Bell Helicopter, Fort Worth, Texas, is the recipient of HAI’s 2005 Outstanding Certified Flight Instructor Award, which will be presented at the 2005 “Salute to Excellence” awards banquet. This award recognizes superlative contributions by a helicopter flight instructor in upholding high standards of excellence. Forns has been a flight instructor for 35 years, with 10,000 hours of flight instruction, and over 3,000 students. He has amassed more than 22,000 accident- and violation-free flight hours. His flying career began in the U.S. Army at Fort Wolters, Texas, and continued with advanced training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and service with the 114th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. Forns has instructed at the Bell Helicopter Training Facility for the past 15 years. He speaks fluent Spanish, and has hundreds of flight instruction hours with Spanish-speaking pilots. Forns has worked as a flight instructor in Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Taiwan, Philippines, Iran, Greece, Spain, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Netherlands, and Belgium.
He is an FAA Aviation Safety Counselor, and has conducted safety seminars on various human factors and flying topics for many audiences.
In addition to the Outstanding CFI award, Forns has earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
For seven years, Forns conducted recurrent training with members of the Tucson Police Air Support Unit, in Tucson, Arizona. Forn’s teaching style works well with both beginners and experienced pilots. He is able to stimulate the students’ thinking, allowing his students to assimilate information, and apply it to their flying skills. He is a successful instructor because he can communicate with his students and make the lessons relevant to them.
Somehow, soon I will locate Steve and when that happens I will be able to close a little box and tie it up with a neat ribbon. I will be closing another period of my life. When I sent my friend Howard Houston (he piloted a KC-135 re-fueling fighters in Vietnam) Rich's war record he commented:
I have known several of these helicopter jocks who served in Vietnam. Without exception, they were "good guys" who had a somewhat loose definition of what was too dangerous to do on a regular basis.
You don't get a DFC or a Bronze Star for being careful.
As an instructor pilot for Bell, he gets to deliver their equipment and train the receipients all across the world. A most interesting job, I would think.