Who know that my friendship with someone would ultimately lead to my PTSD. Over the course of the first seven years of my time in the Navy my career pretty much paralleled someone who became a close friend. While stationed at our last duty station together, he was lost at sea in a plane crash with two other people. The whole situation still affects me because I feel that I killed them, and that I destroyed a very expensive airplane. I was one of the last people to inspect the plane before it left. It crashed within hours of me working on it and inspecting it. I’ve read the accident investigation and I know I had nothing to do with it.
I know what caused the crash. Despite knowing that, I can’t change how I feel. No matter how hard I try, and how many people tell me otherwise, I cannot convince myself it wasn’t my fault. This is something I constantly think about it. I have daydreams about it and I have nightmares about it. There are times I even have visions of being in the plane with them as it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. For something I wasn’t physically there for it’s a very vivid memory, and the whole thing is something I’ll carry with me forever. That’s just somethings PTSD does for you. It keeps you from forgetting whether you want to or not.
9 years ago today, the world lost three of the greatest and finest Naval Aviators. After launching off CVN-75 late in the evening on August 15, 2007, Greyhawk 620 ascended for five seconds, then descended and crashed into the ocean. Three flight helmets were recovered in the water; the men were never found.
You gentleman are not forgotten and never will be.
Rest in Peace Lt. Cameron Hall, Lt. Ryan Betton and Lt. Jerry Smith and Greyhawk 620.