AE1 John Gorman, U.S. Navy (1969-1976)



The following Reflection represents AE1 John Gorman’s legacy of their military service from 1969 to 1976. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

What was your favorite piece of military equipment – firearm, apparel, vehicle, aircraft, boat, etc. – and why? What was your least favorite?:

It’s difficult to pick a single favorite piece of equipment. The SH3 SeaKing and the USS America are two of my favorites. I enjoyed flying in that helicopter. I was an AE and Aircrew SAR. Stationed in Quonset Point, RI and having been on the Intrepid before it became a museum, it was impressive to see the differences on the USS America. During flight ops, one of the ships’ officers exclaimed “That is one big mother”. That moniker soon became the unofficial name in several squadrons henceforth. On one occasion, our bird landed on the angle deck. Rotors were still turning, and I was troubleshooting with a shipmate. I reached the island to retrieve an item when there was an accidental catapult launch that tore away the right pylon and landing gear and the bird simply keeled over sideways like it was a cow tipping event. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. My shipmate made a smart decision to stay put by the open cargo door as the bird angled over on top of him! Years later, every time I watch the Pixar movie “Cars” and see tractor tipping with Mater and Lightning McQueen, I just laugh and think about that time. Perhaps because the America met an early fate and didn’t become a museum, the memories are that much more significant.

Agnes and the Great Flood in June of ’72 was also memorable. There were many rescues, but two in particular. One person wouldn’t leave without his rather large dog. Calming and coaxing both, I managed to get each in the net. Obstructions made for extremely tight and difficult maneuvering. The second involved a large building surrounded by debris and a growing fire. After several basket trips for people, I ascended in the collar. No sooner was I in when the roof partially collapsed. The ensuing flames and smoke made it extremely difficult to hover, and I found myself playing Tarzan for a short while: hanging over a building several stories high one moment, then over the edge the next. Throughout all this, it was not just marveling at the capabilities and performance of the aircraft, but the people involved. Truly, credit must go to the skills and confidence of the Pilot, Co-Pilot and hoist operator, all of whom I remember to this day. Yes, we talk about our favorites, but the people are who we remember most.

I’ve always been impressed with many aircraft over the years. Given its time and length of service, and because it was an aircraft I was attached to for many years, the SH3 stands out for me.

My least favorite? I honestly can’t think of anything. I’m sure they exist, but I found the time I spent in the service a great learning experience and very rewarding. Like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. It doesn’t always work, but as every sailor knows, you cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails.

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Tags: Quonset Point, SH3 SeaKing,, TWS Military Service Page, USS America


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