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Recida Denise Raggon's Emails
- Sunday, May 25, 2014 8:28 AM
Thank you so much for your email. I am still in shock that I came across UG's website and even more so that it is in time to attend the dedication next month. My mother, Billie and I will most definitely be there and hopefully my youngest son, Kelly. Unfortunately my brother Larry passed away several years ago.
I have not been in contact with any of the other family members, but I believe I have located Fred Adams daughter Shelley. She is a doctor in SF, I've sent her a message via facebook and hope to here from her to share this exciting news.
I look forward to meeting everyone,
- Friday, May 23, 2014 6:48 PM
Thank you so much for all the emails. What an undertaking, and what wonderful people to have helped bring your ideas to fruition. I've spoken with my Mom and she too is excited to attend the dedication ceremony. She does indeed remember the dinner in 1974! I'm also hoping my youngest son will be able to attend. He is a police Sgt. in Vacaville, which is very close, but has a difficult schedule. I look forward to meeting you in June.
- Friday, May 23, 2014 4:31 PM
My father was Kenneth Yarger, one of the plane crash victims. I would like to attend the memorial bench dedication, with my mother Billie Wall, if it is open to additional family members. Thank you.
Recida D. Raggon
Cindy Harrod's Emails
- Tuesday, May 27, 2014 10:27 PM
I am the daughter of F.D. Harrod and Kathryn Harrod/Hardy and the younger sister of Duncan Harrod. I literally just got off the phone with my brother as he shared with me information regarding the upcoming memorial for the flight victoms from May 4th, 1970. As I have gotten older, I continue to learn more about the crash, the victims, and now you as the sole survivor. Thank you so much for putting together the information on your website and for your dedication, as well as many others, to organizing a memorial and the event on June 18th. I would definitely like to attend along with my Mother and Brother.
I have remained in the Bay Area and currently reside in San Jose. I have a son who is 14 and heading for High School next year. He also has begun to ask me many questions about my Dad and we continue to discover things together.
I look forward to meeting you and the other family members in June. And thank you to you and all involved with this memorial.
- Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:04 AM
"As I have gotten older, I continue to learn more about the plane crash, my father in general, etc. As my 14 year old son gets older, he also asks more questions about my dad and the events from May 4th, 1970. The more I can learn the more I feel closer to my father as I was just 5 when he passed. I still live in the San Jose area and my son is heading for High School next year.
I am so grateful to you, and others, that have taken the time and effort to arrange this memeorial.
Thank You and God Bless,
San Jose, California"
Kathryn D Harrod/Hardy
- Sunday, May 04, 2014 8:30 PM
"On this 44th anniversary of the crash, I would like to make contact with you. I understand from my son, Duncan Harrod, that you are planning a memorial in June. I would like to attend. My husband, Frank Harrod, was the navigator on that flight. I always wondered what happened to the survivor. I am happy you survived and are well. I look forward to hearing from you.
[from Shady Cove, Oregon]"
Duncan Harrod's Emails
- Thursday, February 13, 2014 6:45 PM
I have been following your vision for a memorial at the crash site from 1970. My father was Maj. Frank Harrod and was on the flight with you . As it happens, I will be in the bay area around May 14th and am considering sticking around to possibly attend the memorial, provided of course that I am invited. If possible, would you be willing to share some more details regarding the memorial.
Thank you for your consideration.
- Thursday, February 27, 2014 11:51 PM
So where to start...
I have heard of you but always as the 'survivor' of the crash. I had never knew your name or any other details. It was merely by chance this past thanksgiving that I was over at a friends house and got on the topic of my dad in the Air Force, etc. Of course in this day and age there was a teenager on their phone trying to get details and was really not finding anything. So when there was a break in the action I did a search and was actually very surprised at the amount of information about the crash that was out there. One of the first sites I visited was a forum page where several people had posted some messages, including yourself. From that I perused your web site pretty thoroughly and noticed in your 'where's George' page that there was a memorial planned for May of this year. So since then I have been trying to visit to see if there is any more detail and then found your linked in page which has the most information so far. That is what triggered my email as the timing would have been convenient if the memorial was around the middle of May.
As far as me - we live in the Seattle area, my mother has relocated to southern Oregon and my sister is still in San Jose. My oldest is attending Santa Clara university, so that has been taking us down to the Bay Area on occasion.
Thank you for forwarding your emails with the folks involved with the memorial. They were very interesting. Also thank you for forwarding my information to Elaine - I am glad I will have the opportunity to contribute to the plaque.
I am hoping that I will be able to attend the memorial and look forward to meeting you in person.
My home phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx
- Wednesday, December 25, 2013 3:48 PM
"George, I know you, we were both in Western Comm at Hamilton, both Captains. I knew you and your wife. We played on the basketball team together. I stopped by the hospital in San Antonio to see you but of course you do not know that as you were in the worst shape I have ever seen anyone. I cried for miles after leaving, on PCS to Griffith AFB.
George, I am so happy you are alive. God, so happy. Let's talk buddy......Oh, Maj Bob Ward bumped me off that flight. Ralph Knowles was a very close friend. Fate, man, fate.....
Mike Todaro, Marietta, Georgia."
Sherly Bible's Emails
- Monday, October 8, 2012 9:07 PM
"My name is Sheryl Bible. David Cooper was my brother. I just found out your name and that you are alive and doing well. I am so happy for you. God bless you. I haven't talked about this event with anyone for over 40 years and would like some answers to a few questions if you would contact me.
I have often thought of you over the years and am very happy to know you survived.
Love, Sheryl Bible
Spanish Fork, UT."
Teresa Ferrer's Emails
- Wednesday, May 18, 2011 1:49 PM
Just left a voice message on your phone...so sorry I missed you!
We would love to meet you when you come in February to Eugene. We live about 2 and a half hours away in the Portland area and will take the time to come down to break bread and talk anytime. If you have the ability to tack on a day or two to your trip, we would love to welcome you to our home here in Tigard. We have a comfortable guest room with no pets (should you have any alergies)! Portland is a beautiful city and of course your company would be a great gift.
I have two grown sons who live nearby who want to meet you as well. They have been raised with stories of my dad and my oldest son even changed his name to Seth Enrique Ferrer. My brother Rick is well. The next time I speak to him I will definately mention that I am in contact with you.
My sister, Elaine lives in Petaluma...remember that town? North of Hamilton and Novato. We all eventually moved to Petaluma where we all graduated from High School. Elaine has never moved away and sometimes when I come down to visit we will drive through what used to Hamilton Air Force base! So many memories on those streets!
Again, many thanks for being there for all of us! It was a miracle and blessing that you survived to bring comfort, courage and wisdom to so many people. Can't wait to read your books!
- Tuesday, May 17, 2011 4:56 PM
"Dear Captain Burke,
I have heard about your book for a long time now and have been wanting to read it. I am one of the children of TSGT Enrique Ferrer who died in the May 1970 crash. I was 15 years old. My sister, Elaine was 14 and my brother Enrique was 5. That day marked our lives forever. Our father had sole custody of us at the time (which was very unusual for that day and age).
When he died, our mother and stepfather took us along with our new baby half-brothers. We all squeezed into a two bedroom apartment and began our new life together. I will never forget, as the oldest child, what that year was like. And all these years later, I am still struck by the impact of the suddenness and vaqueness of all of it. My father was an incredible person who lived an unbelievable life. He was born in the Philippines and was a young boy when the Americans joined Filipinos to fight against the Japanese.
He immediately joined them and there began his love of all things American. He later moved to the US and joined the military to fight in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. I remember many months and years without my father. When he died he was just short of retiring from the Air Force and was raising three kids on his own. He was our swim coach and the best papa ever. We loved him more than life. I am very grateful that you survived to tell the story of that day and to motivate others to look to the wisdom of life. I can't wait to read your book. Please send me a link to where I can purchase it and any articles or other things that you want to share, I would gladly accept them with love and gratitude!
Angela S. Ward-Wright's Emails
- Monday, April 29, 2010 4:21 PM
"Hi Mr. Burk. My name is Angela and my father was Major Robert G. Ward. He was sitting next to you that day. A day I have never forgotten and I would really like to speak to you. What is the best way to contact you."
George Heichel’s Emails
- Tuesday, March 04, 2003 10:07 PM
"Dear Mr. Burk,
You may remember me from a previous email. (I didn’t remember George or receipt of the email he references). My name is George Heichel. My father’s name was Chief Master Harvey Heichel. He was a passenger on that plane, May 4, 1970. I understand, Sir, that this might be a touchy subject, but I would like to ask you for your help in locating any type of documentation or news articles on the crash. I was only 12 at the time, and keeping any newspaper clippings or any other articles didn’t even enter my mind. All I have to remember is my father is a folded flag. Please, Sir, if you could point me in the right direction, I’ll take it from there. THANK YOU very much for your time.
- Wednesday, March 05, 2003 8:29 PM
"Hello Mr. Burk,
Anything you can send, I would greatly appreciate. All these years I tried not to talk about it with my mother, because it devastated her. She not only lost her love, but here is this Japanese lady, broken English, looking at raising me and taking care of everything my father did, all on her own. She had to become “American” in record time. So I didn’t bring it up. Her health is failing now, so I’m not sure what to do.
About a week ago, I was on the internet, and for some reason, I started to wonder about Hamilton AFB, so I got on a search and typed it in, and you and the book came up. Mr. Burk, I had no idea there was a survivor! I can’t think of the right words to properly describe how I felt, I got all choked up and couldn’t talk or read the screen! My wife asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t tell her. She couldn’t read the screen because she is blind. I ordered your book, right away.
Sir, I can’t thank you enough for just corresponding with me. To have someone to talk to about this, after this time is priceless.
- Thursday, March 13, 2003 10:55 PM
"Hello Mr. Burk,
I received the newspaper articles today. Thank you very, very much.
Looking at them, I recall vividly, the night before, my mother pleading with my father not to go and being pulled out of school the next day, and driving home with Sgt. Fuller. He told me that “your dad has had a little accident,” and when I asked him if he was alright, he said, “oh yeah, he’ll be alright.” I can remember asking myself,” If he’s alright, then why am I in this car with Sgt. Fuller?” I remember my stomach knotting up as I asked him several more times during the course of the drive from Hill Jr. High in Novato to HAFB, if he was aright. Sgt. Fuller finally broke down in tears as we pulled up to the front of our house. He and my father were very close. I remember seeing my mother reduced to a sobering little girl as we walked into the house. My mother's a true soldier. I’m about 3/’4 through the book and I have to say that—You Are A True Soldier.
Well Sir, I’ll keep in touch and I hope you do the same. Thanks very, very much and stay safe.
- Saturday, March 29, 2003 7:22 PM
I just got back from my mothers and after talking with you last night. I had to tell her about you. I brought the book with me to show her your picture. “Wha”! He’s so handsome, just like dad!” were her exact words. She started to cry so I apologized, and she said the tears were tears of joy, not sorrow. Apperently, she thought you hadn’t made it through a couple of days after the crash! She is so happy to know that you are alive. As she was thumbing through, the page with the pic of Mr. Davieau came up and she said, “this man was so good to me.” I asked her how? She said that she went up to the ranch on May 4, for 2 or 3 years and put flowers on the crash site, and Mr. Davieau was so kind to her. The reason she stopped this because she didn’t want to be a nuisance, thinking he was very busy with taking care of the ranch. I almost $&!^ pants! I read and explained different parts of the book to her and we spent the rest of the afternoon talking about “stuff.”
I told her, you sent your regards to her and she said to Thank you.
It was a very emotional day for the both of us. Jus’ thought I’d share that with you.
Thanks again Sir,
Note: I met George for the first and only time in April 2003 while in Sacramento for a speaking engagement. It was quite emotional for us both. We remained in touch periodically over the next few years.
I hadn’t heard from George in sometime. Emails returned as undeliverable and phone numbers changed. January 2010, I contacted sources in Sacramento Ca, and asked for their assistance to try and locate George Heichel.
Sadly, a few days later, I received an email that said George had passed away 25 March 2009. He would’ve been 49 years-old. His wife, Dolly was blind and she (they) had a developmentally disabled son. I wonder what happened to him, Dolly and their son.
Daryl Robinson’s Emails
- Friday, January 01, 2010 11:45 PM
"It is with much trepidation and hesitancy that I am contacting you, but I was searching online for information regarding the plane crash of that day and your web site came up.
My father, Major Robert L. Robinson, Jr., was the pilot of the plane that left from Hamilton AFB that morning. He was the commanding officer at Almaden AFS near San Jose at the time of his death. If it wouldn’t be too much distress for you, I would appreciate any information you could share with me about that tragic event.
I am so happy to hear that you not only survived your horrific injuries, but that you are also thriving and inspiring others to overcome their difficulties. My mother, who passed away in 2006, lost track of what happened to you, so I didn’t have your name or other information.
I sincerely would like to talk to you about your experiences if you wouldn’t mind.
My contact information is below.
Daryl G. Robinson"
- Sunday, January 03, 2010 1:41 AM
"Dear Captain Burk,
I really appreciate you calling me this afternoon. I was thrilled to talk to you and look forward to continuing our relationship into the future. On a very personal note, I am very excited that I now know you. Knowing you may help me in my own personal healing process, even after nearly 40 years.
By the way, here is a link to the only article I can find online about the plane crash after so long:
http://www3.gendisasters.com/california/4818/hamilton-af-base%2C-ca-transport-plane-crashes%2C-may-1970. Not only does the article have your name spelled incorrectly, it also has the wrong name of Almaden Air Force Station.
I have original newspaper articles from the time, but they’re packed away in Mom’s stuff in the garage. I will share with you what I have when we meet in person. I am so thrilled that you will be coming to Colorado to be our conference Keynote Speaker. Thank you so much for being willing to share your story with us.
- Saturday, January 09, 2010 11:06 PM
"I got your first two books today in the mail. I am reading “The Bridge” right now. In reading your description of the crash, I have learned new information that I had never known before.
Mom never told me what became of you. Maybe she didn't know or she didn’t want to tell me. My speculation is that she just never followed up and lost touch with you and your recovery. I think she tried to put that event behind her the best way she knew how and didn’t look back. Mom told me so many times that she was still deeply in love with Dad and missed him terribly. In fact, she had told me that just a few days before she died. She was looking forward to seeing Dad again.
It was good to know that the cause of the accident was not due to pilot error, as we were originally told right after the accident. I knew that they had later determined structural failure had caused the accident, but didn’t know the details until just now by reading your book. Obviously, in listening to your recorded interview 10 days after the accident, the Air Force knew all they needed to know at that time, and that was the second interview you’d given them. I am so thankful to you for being able to recall all of the information you did at that time when you were so severely injured. It is amazing. As you described the conditions that Col. Shelton had to deal with in trying to control the plane, it is remarkable that it didn’t crash nose first.
Until reading your book today, I did not know that Dad was late arriving at Hamilton AFB that morning. I didn’t know that another pilot had already started to taxi toward takeoff. Of course, no one will ever know what might have happened if the plane hadn’t been stopped and Dad got on board. But as I’ve told you before, Dad loved to fly and would have been very upset and disappointed if he would have missed the opportunity. His flying time was seriously restricted because he did live off base and was the Commanding Officer at Almaden AFS. He was really looking forward to retiring in August, 1970 so he could fly on a regular basis. He had lined up a job with Aspen Airways in Denver as pilot after retirement from the Air Force.
I am thankful for LTC Ed Morrow and his family that he didn’t end up being the pilot that day.
Knowing you now and learning so much from you has truly helped me in dealing with the void that was created nearly 40 years ago. I am so appreciative of your help in doing that. You are another wonderful blessing from God and my world has been enriched by having you in it.
Thank you very much.
- Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:40 PM
- Monday, December 13, 2010 3:33 AM
- Monday, December 13, 2010 6:40 PM
Charlotte Chapman (Prince)
- Monday, December 13, 2010 11:31 AM
- Monday, December 13, 2010 2:01 PM
- Thursday, December 16, 2010 1:29 PM
- Thursday, December 16, 2010 2:42 PM
"I sincerely appreciate you sharing so much of yourself with me. I know that typing is very difficult for you. I will wait to ask you more questions that require in-depth answers until we are together in April/May.
You have already shed so much light into the dark recesses of the past, there is little or nothing that remains to be seen, except perhaps some small details. However, a conversation over dinner and an adult beverage may bring up some more things of interest. Therefore, I will wait until later.
I was told by Mom that you were thrown from the wreckage because you had unfastened your seat belt. That must have been what the Air Force told her, since she wouldn’t have known anything else to the contrary. I can only imagine your shock on learning of the condition that John Davieau found you in.
I personally am very glad that you are “here”. I wish I would have found you long ago, but God must have a reason for this particular timing. I don’t question anything. You are correct, “Timing is everything”. I do want to learn whatever you want to tell me. You are truly the only link I have to that time and event.
After the accident, I relied heavily on my Mom for support and conversation about the crash and Dad’s death. Mom, my brother Doug, and I had many long and difficult discussions about our great sense of loss and grieving that we all shared.
The afternoon of the crash, I had an orthodontist appointment after school. I was supposed to meet Mom after class and we were to go to the appointment and then we’d drive up the mountain and go home. When class was dismissed, Mom wasn’t there but in her place was the wife of the Assistant Commander. She was waiting to pick me up and told me I was supposed to go to the appointment with her instead. She said that something had come up and Mom asked her to take me. I didn’t think anything of that, just got into the car and went on as anticipated.
While I was in the chair waiting for the orthodontist to torture me some more, I heard something on the radio that was piped into the office about a plane crash but the volume was too low to pick up any of the details. I only heard “air plane crash” and that was basically it. Again, I didn’t think too much about it at the time.
After the appointment, we quietly rode back up the mountain. As we drove onto the base, I noticed that the flag was at half-staff. That did seem strange to me, but we had recently experienced the death of a family member of one of the airmen stationed there a few days earlier. I just thought the flag was flying at half-staff for the kid who had recently died.
When I got to the house, I saw that there were a couple of blue Air Force issue vehicles parked in the driveway and in front along the curb. That did raise some concern but it was fairly typical to have official visitors at the house since Dad was the Commander. I remembered that there were several men who commonly visited my parents at the house, so I didn’t think anything bad was about to happen.
As I walked in the house and into the living room, I saw that Mom was crying. The men (who I didn’t recognize) were sitting around the room quietly. Mom saw me, got up, and gave me a big hug. She asked me to sit down and told me she had some very bad news. She said that Dad had been in an accident with the flight that morning. I asked if he was okay. She said, “No, he was killed in the crash.”
I couldn’t believe it; I instantly yelled “NO!” and ran out of the room into my bedroom where I immediately started convulsing in tears. After a while, I was able to calm down and came out to ask some more questions. It was then that I was told that there had been one survivor but that he was very badly injured. They said that everyone else had been killed.
I imagine that a very similar scene occurred at 14 other homes that day, yours included.
So many people have been linked together through that horrific incident that day, but for some reason, it took me nearly 40 years before I found you. In hindsight, I wish I would have been able to meet the members of the family who were left behind after the crash. In today’s world, I wonder if there would have been some kind of group therapy sessions advised to help each of us with our grief and pain. It would have helped to talk to those who were sharing a similar tragedy. I know how much it has helped me to talk to you.
Thank you for letting me share this story with you.
"Hi Mr Burk
My dad Robert 'Bob' Prince was on that plane with you the day of the crash. it surprising to here from other family members that they have had similar experiences to my sister and i. my mom is still alive although frail. We have often tried unsuccesfully to get detials of that day and i have finally found some solace through your site. I was only 9 years old that day and have been given many incorrect details over that time. I am very glad to hear your are still alive and well.
Thanks. Ed (now living in Hamilton New Zealand - coincidence) "
Thanks for your quick reply. We moved from Hamilton AFB soon after the crash and went to live in Sacramento where my aunt Margaret (mums sister) lived. After that we returned home to England for a few years but I moved back to Sacramento in 1976 and went to high school and college before retruning to England once again in 1979.
I finished my training and got married and had two daughters (Claire now 23 and Kerri now 26). Once my girls grew up and had lives of their own I decided to move to New Zealand and live and work there for a while. I moved here in 2007 with my second wife Lizzie and we live on a few acres and raise animals and grow our own food as much as possible. I like the climate and the quiet way of life over here. England and the USA are too busy and expensive for me. We both work for the Regional Council based in Hamilton on the north island. Hamilton is the 4th largest city in NZ but is still quite small. We live in the country not far from the coast about 30 minutes out of town.
I often think how different life had of been if the plane had not crashed that day. We were an ordinary AF family enjoying life in our new home at Hamilton AFB. We had moved there from Keesler AFB in Biloxi Miss. after Hurricane Camille wiped out that part of the world in august 1969. We chose California because we had family there. I remember going down to the hangars with Bob and to his office workshop at Hamilton often and enjoying school on the base and making friends. Our regular trips to San Francisco and Marin County etc. It was a good time. What did you do in the air force?
After the crash our worlds all changed drastically as you will be aware.
I bet yours changed completely too. I'm glad you came out of it eventually and have made a life based on your experiences and that those experiences can be used to benefit others. I look forward to reading your book on the effects it had on your life. It was cathartic to at last see Bobs name listed on an official document and to get some idea of the details of the crash. Weve spent many years discussing the few scant bits of info we had been handed down, most of which were wrong to some degree.
We heard I the plane was a DC3 and that the windscreen shattered and decapitated the pilot causing the plane to stall, however it seems the plane came in on a more even flat trajectory. We heard that a survivor had been thrown clear of the wreckage almost unscathed but had burned his hands trying to rescue others. We also heard that this man was a major Jarvis or similar. We had almost got used to life post crash when the news of a settlement came through about 5 years after the crash.
This was welcome but could never replace or repair the void left in our lives by the crash. It truly did mark us for good and maybe in some small way make us stronger people for it. It was just difficult not being able to relate to other people who had not experienced that.
Anyhow that's enough rambling from me for the minute, I am very glad your alive and well and its been most liberating to speak to you and now make contact with other victims children as I am sure they will be able to relate to us in this respect. I hope to keep in touch with you and them and if you ever do make it to new zealand I would be very happy to meet you.
Regards for now.
"Mr Burk......I am the daughter of Robert Prince one of the guy's on the plane you were travelling with before it crashed....I was 3 years old at the time but it has always had a profound impact on my life and left me with many questions....I have spent many years wanting to understand why and only now feel lucky enough to be told of your experience and survival that day.....Kindest regards to you Charlotte..xxx "
"Thank you so much for replying to my email. I ..It feels really comforting to have the opportunity to be in touch with somebody who has shared the experience of that chapter in my life....I now live with my husband Kevin and my two lovely daughter's Emily 20yrs and Jasmin 19yrs in Cornwall England...... I entered mental health nursing at age 18yrs and still enjoy working with the people i come across within my working and personal life....I feel humbled many times when i am invited to listen to peoples journeys of recovery from varied personal experiences.. I feel very comforted to be able to finally begin to have some closure in regards to my memories of that time in my life ...Thank you again for being in contact......My warmest wishes to you and your family for Christmas and the New year......Charlotte Chapman....xxxx "
"thank you so much for sending me a beautifully presented Christmas and New year greeting message.....I feel very lucky to be in contact with you.....I am not very computer savvy but return the same sentiments to yourself and your family..... I hope you have a happy and peaceful festive season....My warmest regards to you George Burk....With Love, Charlotte......xxxxx "
"I would feel privileged to perhaps speak to you in person one day.....Although can i ask what you would prefer to be called when i am in contact with you......For myself Charlotte or Charlie.......Sorry if i ramble on a little but i am still so overwhelmed and excited to be in contact with you..... a whole new chapter in my life is unfolding yet it stem's from my own personal world so many years ago that so few people perhaps can understand....Thank you again for your courage, warmth, and generosity of spirit....xxxxx "