07 June 2014

Prepping for Heartbreak: A Purple Fox rests here

This morning my mom and I went to the race expo and got my bib, conferred with a representative from Team Red, White & Blue, selected a post-race rally point and drove the race route, keying in on climbs and descents and where not to make a surge (umm...yeah, not on THAT hill). I even had time to study for most of the afternoon, so bonus!


 Yesterday was a day taking in the Marblehead/Swampscott area, about 25 minutes north of Boston, where my mom lives. There are memorials dating back to WWI along Monument Avenue, which culminates with a view of the bay extending out the ocean and an American flag waving in red, white and blue relief. If you are unfamiliar with Morphine 12, the CH-46E flight from the Purple Foxes of HMM-364 shot down in Iraq in 2007, the hometown and final resting place of the pilot-in-command, Capt Jennifer Harris, is Swampscott, MA. She was not only a phenomenal pilot, but an outstanding officer and Marine. She is honored on one of the memorials, along with another Swampscott native who gave his life in service to this nation. Also killed on the flight were 1stLt Jared Landaker, Cpl Thomas E. Saba, Sgt James Tijerina, Sgt Travis Pfister, HM1 Gilbert Minjares, Jr. and HM3 Manuel Antonio Ruiz. I had a really hard time taking this picture, my mom had to come and help me out.

The centerpiece of the OIF/OEF memorial 
The whole memorial 
Vietnam Memorial 
Desert Shield/Desert Storm Memorial
World War II Memorial
In Marblehead, we visited the historical museum at Abbott Hall and were greeted by some lovely ladies who showed us the "Birthplace of the Navy" exhibit and the tribute to marine aviation, where 1stLt. Alfred Cunningham's image shone larger than life. I always thought that there must have been many naval aviators before him, turns out, in addition to being the first USMC aviator, he was also naval aviator no. 5, so he was right there at the beginning. (When you graduate flight school, they tell you what number you are; I am no. 28,000 - the guy ahead of me was pissed!) The designer and builder of the first hydroplanes, William Starling Burgess, is from Marblehead and built his factory here and Cunningham first flew here in 1912. If you are a history buff, you'll know that the honorific of "birthplace of the Navy" is disputed by a few other cities, but since George Washington commissioned the first five warships here, the first being the Hannah, built right here in the bay, and since it was crewed entirely by Marblehead residents, I'm going with the town's claim.

Overlooking the bay
That's just frickin' cool....

 Tomorrow is race no. 2 and it promises to be sunny and breezy and warm - so off to bed go I....


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    1. Thank you for creating the monuments. I was grateful to be able to visit them and pay homage to all she did and all they gave.