Stennis Remembers Four Aviators Lost in Viking Crash
Story Number: NNS040816-10
Release Date: 8/16/2004 11:40:00 AM
By Lieutenant Corey Barker, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs
ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) — Navy S-3B Viking jets flew in the missing man formation over the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) August 15, as a 21-gun salute sounded across the flight deck during a memorial service for four aviators August 10, 2004.
More than a thousand officers and crew assembled on the flight deck to remember their four shipmates, lost when their S-3B Viking crashed in the Western Pacific.
Lieutenant Patrick Sean Myrick, 31, of Santa Monica, California; Lieutenant James Joseph Pupplo, 34, of Selden, New York; Lieutenant Commander Scott Allen Zellem, 35, of Indiana, Pennsylvania; and Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joshua Brent Showalter, 24, of Fontana, California, were assigned to Sea Control Squadron (VS) 35, based at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., when their aircraft impacted Kita Iwo Jima, an uninhabited island located approximately 39 nautical miles north of Iwo Jima.
“The setting is poignant, notable and especially fitting. We are in historic waters accompanied by great ships of the line with names and lineage that represent the soul of our Navy. These waters have special meaning for us because it is here that our forefathers experienced triumph as well as tragedy,” said the commander of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, Rear Admiral Patrick Walsh, during the ceremony.
“Now we return to these hallowed waters to honor the pride of a new generation of four shipmates who started their life’s journeys from four diverse parts of America. They were men of principle who answered the call of a wounded nation to lead a life of consequence and take risks for a cause larger than themselves. A cause and risk today that is equally as large to those who have gone before us,” Walsh said.
“We remember these four men as men of virtue, pride and commitment. We remember them as larger than life, yet as humble as they were brave,” Walsh said. “I remember them as one team who chose to offer themselves for a simple, but noble purpose: to serve.
“I offer my profound gratitude to the families who shared their sons, their husbands, their brothers and their fathers with us,” he said.
The ceremony concluded when two Sailors played “Taps” over the ship’s silent decks.
From a contemporary press reports:
Four Missing Air Crewman Killed, Identified
Story Number: NNS040813-14
Release Date: 8/13/2004 7:56:00 PM
From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs
The four air crewmen killed in the crash of an S-3B Viking aircraft Aug. 10, operating from the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) have been identified.
Lieutenant Patrick Sean Myrick, age 31, of Santa Monica, California
Lieutenant James Joseph Pupplo, age 34, of Selden, New York
Lieutenant Commander Scott Allen Zellem, age 35, of Indiana, Pennsylavania
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joshua Brent Showalter, age 24, of Fontana, California
The aviators were assigned to Sea Control Squadron (VS) 35, based at Naval Air Station North Island, California, when their aircraft impacted Kita Iwo Jima, an uninhabited island located approximately 39 nautical miles north of Iwo Jima.
Recovery operations continue.
A memorial service for the air crew is scheduled for August 15 (Japan date) aboard Stennis, currently deployed to the western Pacific Ocean.
The air crew was conducting a routine training mission as part of the Joint Air-Sea Exercise (JASEX) '04 with the Stennis and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) carrier strike groups in the vicinity of Iwo Jima island chain when communications were lost at approximately 7:42 p.m. (local time), August 10, 2004.
The U.S. Navy is actively conducting a mishap investigation into the cause of the incident.
The Navy on Friday identified the four airmen killed earlier this week when their plane crashed into an uninhabited Japanese island during training.
Lieutenant Patrick Sean Myrick, 31, of Santa Monica; Lieutenant James Joseph Pupplo, 34, of Selden, New York; Lieutenant Commander Scott Allen Zellem, 35, of Indiana, Pennsylvania; and Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joshua Brent Showalter, 24, of Fontana were killed in Tuesday's crash, according to the Navy's Seventh Fleet.
The four were members of the Blue Wolves squadron based at Naval Air Station North Island on Coronado.
Their S-3B Viking failed to return to the aircraft carrier USS Stennis Tuesday. The carrier was taking part in U.S. military exercises in the western Pacific.
The plane's wreckage was found on Kito Iwo Jima, an uninhabited island about 625 miles southeast of mainland Japan, the Navy said.
President Bush landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln last year in a S-3B Viking flown by two other members of the Blue Wolves squadron.
The Viking is a four-seat, $27 million aircraft originally built to hunt and sink Soviet submarines during the Cold War. It also serves as an aerial refueler and can carry Harpoon and Maverick air-to-surface missiles.
The Stennis is also based on North Island. It left San Diego in May and is expected to return this fall.
A memorial service for the four airmen is scheduled for Aug. 15 aboard the USS Stennis.
An investigation into the crash was underway.
LIEUTENANT PATRICK SEAN MYRICK
November 1, 1972-August 10, 2004
Lieutenant Patrick Sean Myrick, 31, of San Diego died Tuesday. He was born in Seattle and was a Navy pilot. He was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Survivors include his wife, Allison Myrick; daughter, Julia Myrick; mother, Margaret Myrick; brother, Bryan Myrick; and grandmother, Julia Norman Krick.
Services: 10 a.m. Friday, North Island Naval Air Station.
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
Donations: FBO Julia Tatum Myrick, 10330 Wateridge Circle, Unit 292, San Diego, California 92121.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Navy airman died on duty in the Pacific
By Brandon Sprague
Courtesy of the Seattle Times
Lieutenant Patrick Sean Myrick was one of four Navy airmen whose S-3B Viking aircraft crashed into an uninhabited Japanese island near Iwo Jima during military exercises in the Pacific Ocean last week. There were no survivors, the Navy reported.
Lieutenant Myrick, who grew up in Kenmore, Washington, and attended Inglemoor High School, was a member of the Blue Wolves squadron based at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California.
A memorial service was held for the crew aboard the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier.
“They were men of principle who answered the call of a wounded nation to lead a life of consequence and take risks for a cause larger than themselves,” said Rear Admiral Patrick Walsh, commander of the Stennis during the ceremony.
The other men who died were Lieutenant James Joseph Pupplo, 34, of Selden, New York; Lieutenant Commander Scott Allen Zellem, 35, of Indiana, Pennsylvania; and Petty Officer Second Class Joshua Brent Showalter, 24, of Fontana, California.
Lieutenant Myrick, 31, studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Washington. He joined the Navy in 1999 and was assigned to fly S-3B Viking aircraft in 2002.
The S-3B Viking, a twin engine jet plane originally designed to sink Soviet submarines, also is used by the Navy as surveillance aircraft. Lieutenant Myrick's squadron was deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
The crew was flying a routine training mission as part of the Joint Air-Sea Exercise with the Stennis and USS Kitty Hawk carrier in the vicinity of Iwo Jima island chain when communications were lost at approximately 7:42 p.m. Tuesday, August 10, 2004, the Navy said.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing. Lieutenant Myrick will be buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, August 18, 2004
The Navy recovered the remains of all four Navy aviators killed when their S-3B Viking crashed on Kita Io Jima last week, Navy officials said Monday, and was expected to halt recovery operations soon, leaving most of the aircraft wreckage on the small volcanic island.
The announcement came after crew and officers of the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier, many donning their whites, had gathered on deck for a memorial service, as S-3B Vikings flew overhead in a missing man formation and the four aviators were given a 21-gun salute.
Their Viking was flying a practice mission from the Stennis when radio contact with the crew was lost at 7:42 p.m. August 10, 2004 — between sunset and moonrise, said Cmdr. Scott Gureck, a 7th Fleet spokesman.
The San Diego-based crew members were identified as Lieutenant Patrick Sean Myrick, 31; Lieutenant James Joseph Pupplo, 34; Lieutenant Commander Scott Allen Zellem, 35; and Aviation Electronics Technician Second Class Joshua Brent Showalter, 24. Rear Admiral Patrick Walsh, the Stennis commander, called the four “men of virtue, pride and commitment,” as the ceremony ended with the playing of taps.
Gureck said, “I expect recovery operations will conclude shortly. Recovery teams believe they have recovered as much of the human remains as they can find and they’ll likely be able to find.”
With the S-3B Viking’s pieces strewn on a sheer mountain face 1,400 feet above sea level, retrieving the wreckage would be an extremely dangerous task, Gureck said.
“That’s something that’s going to have to be determined in the future, in concert with the Japanese government,” he said. “At some point, we have to determine whether it makes sense to recover the wreckage because I think certainly we don’t want to cause any more loss of human life.
“The recovery operation was focused on the recovery of human remains and hazardous materials and that recovery is complete,” Gureck said.
Air Force rescue personnel had to rappel from a helicopter to reach the wreckage about 100 feet below a ridgeline, Gureck said.
“It was extremely dangerous. It’s practically a sheer cliff face that they were trying to conduct recovery operations on,” he said.
An active volcano, the uninhabited Kita Io Jima juts 2,600 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Part of Japan’s Volcano Islands, it sits about 45 miles north of Iwo Jima.
Gureck said the Navy still is investigating the cause of the crash. He wouldn’t speculate on how long the probe might take.
MYRICK, PATRICK SEAN
LT US NAVY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 11/01/1972
- DATE OF DEATH: 08/10/2004
- BURIED AT: SECTION 34 SITE 3681
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard