The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Call Sign: ‘Nash One’

Posted on | November 21, 2011 | 7 Comments

You never know where a good story’s going to lead. Sunday morning, I found myself thinking about that Catholic schoolgirl who cussed out Jeff Goldstein in Denver. Where do these kids get their ideas? How can we get through to them? And why do these Occupy protesters get on my very last nerve?

What bugged me — and you could see this in my long Saturday post — was the evidence that these kids evidently are taught nothing about the heroes of America’s long fight against Communism. All they seem to know about that era is (a) “McCarthyism” was bad and (b) hippie peaceniks protesting the Vietnam War were good. With that kind of education, is it any wonder they think Occupy Wall Street is cool?

While I was brooding over that, a childhood memory flashed in my mind and I started Googling about a pilot whose name I knew, but whose history I’d never researched. At first there didn’t seem to be much information available, although I was able to learn his Air Force call-sign. Then I found a blog where one of his relatives had posted a 1988 news article about him, and went to work. It took several hours to produce my American Spectator column today:

Kids who visit the park in Douglasville, Georgia, just call it “Hunter Park,” although its proper name is Hunter Memorial Park, and most of the children running around the soccer fields and picnic areas never stop to study the monument that pays tribute to the park’s namesake. He was voted “Most Talented” his senior year at Douglas County High School, where he won acclaim for his artistic abilities, starred in the school play and was editor of the student yearbook, but his name is not well known today, when he would have been 70 years old.
Robert Gerald “Jerry” Hunter left his native Douglas County to attend the Citadel, where he graduated with honors. He joined the Air Force, became a fighter pilot, and was deployed to Vietnam. On May 25, 1966, Hunter was on his 34th combat mission when his F-105 jet was shot down near the Laotian border. He bailed out — his comrades saw the parachute — and it was initially believed that he had survived. The 25-year-old pilot was listed as missing in action, and the Air Force promoted him from first lieutenant to captain while rescuers searched for him. Hunter’s family, including his young bride Laura, prayerfully waited for word that he had been recovered safely. Seven weeks later, however, the sad news came that his remains had been found in Laos, where he had apparently died of injuries. First Baptist Church in Douglasville overflowed with mourners at his funeral and local businesses closed early that afternoon in honor of Captain Hunter, Douglas County’s first casualty in the Vietnam War. Hunter Memorial Park was dedicated a year later, when I was in second grade, and I remember as a boy reading his name on the monument at the park. . . .

Please read the whole thing, because you never know where a good story’s going to lead.



7 Responses to “Call Sign: ‘Nash One’”

  1. Anonymous
    November 21st, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    Maybe, a LOTR expert can chime in here.  But, there was a reference in one of the movies where people stopped learning about history.

    That is what’s going on here.  

  2. Jd_long
    November 21st, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    The best, BEST analysis of the “#Occupy” idiocy movement you’ll read anywhere. Bring your tissues.

  3. JHT
    November 21st, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    A couple of years back, I went to get a haircut. I sat next
    to a very old gent. The barber called me to his chair, and I pointed to the old
    man and said, “He was here first.”

    “He is just sitting there. You’re next, he comes once or twice a week and
    sits there for a while. He lives next door in the old folks’ home. He is a war
    hero, you know.”

    On hearing that, the old man came to life. “I was a pilot. I shot down
    five Japanese Zeros.” With trembling hand he took out from his shirt
    pocked a clipped newspaper article. The paper was yellow with age. Its headline
    read: “Hometown Hero back from the Pacific.” It had the picture of a
    youth that he no longer resembled, in any way. I read it, returned it to him,
    and patted his shoulder. “Glad to have met you, you are the first Ace I

    “Have I showed you my medals?”


    “Well, I’ll go next door and get them. Don’t leave.” He slowly walked away
    as if stepping on thin ice.

    “He won’t be back. He’ll forget about you and his medals before he gets
    there. He has been coming here for three months. He always leaves to get his
    medals, but I haven’t seen the medals, yet.”

    “Soon he’ll forget he was a war hero,” I said.

    “Either that, or he’ll die soon. He is in his eighties, and not healthy at

    Fame is splendid, like fireworks, but just as brief, and then the hero fights
    anonymity’s gray cloud until he dies.

    I never saw the war hero again. He stopped coming to the barbershop. The barber
    didn’t know why. The barber himself died from a stroke three years ago. He was
    only fifty five.

    It’s far easier to
    become a war hero than a spiritual one.  People write
    stories and build memorials. All that you need to be a hero is a
    newspaper clip which says that you are one. Whose opinion do you need to
    consider yourself  spiritually enlightened before your whimpering end catches up with you?

  4. Pete
    November 21st, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    Thank you for providing perspective. We’ve got a lot of educatin’ to do.

  5. Anonymous
    November 21st, 2011 @ 10:47 am

    Bring your tissues.

    Thanks. That last paragraph … well, sometimes you have to learn to write with tears in your eyes.

  6. Datechguy's Blog » Blog Archive » For those who think the occupods are being oppressed, here is the real thing… » Datechguy's Blog
    November 21st, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    […] Meanwhile Stacy McCain wonders what has happened to education That expression of Occupier sentiment, from a blonde […]

  7. Bricks In The Wall « The Camp Of The Saints
    November 21st, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

    […] do take the time to click here and read the whole essay. And please check out this post by Stacy that he’s published over at The Other McCain wherein he explains what motivated him to write […]