True Heroes stand up for freedom!
**In the last letter to his wife, Lieutenant Roark wrote “I don't want my sons to fight a war I should have fought. I wish more Americans felt that way. I will not live in a totalitarian society and I don't want you to, either. I believe in God and will resist any force that attempts to remove God from society, no matter what the name. This is what we all must do if we believe in what the founding fathers stood for.” **
Date: 5/6/2020 1:59:10 AM ( 7 mon ) ... viewed 187 times
Heroes of the United States Naval AcademyLiked
"Let Us Never Forget" Aviator, Killed in Action, USNA 1960 Lieutenant William Marshall Roark, USN
Successfully ejecting from this damage A-4C Skyhawik, Lieutenant Roark was killed as he parachuted into the coastal waters of North Vietnam.
William Marshall Roark was born on October 23, 1938, in Sioux City, Iowa to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Roark. He attended Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska. At Central, he was cadet colonel and commanding officer of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. It was also at Central that he met his future bride, Miss Karen Krause. In 1956, he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Nebraska. Midshipman Roark was a member of the 8th Company and graduated 159 of 796 Midshipmen on June 8, 1960.
In the 1960 Lucky Bag, Midshipman Roark’s roommate wrote:
One of our really good “jet jockeys” of the future may truly be Bill Roark, who hails from the Cornhusker State. In the midst of much criticism, he still contends that Pensacola was just the greatest. Throughout his four years at the Academy Bill was very active in company sports, including steeplechase, softball, volleyball, and knock-about sailing. He managed to do a little bit of extracurricular weight-lifting just for keeping in shape. Not a bucket as far as academics were concerned. Bill managed to complete a very fine academic record for the four years. If his perseverance continues Bill will get his Navy wings of gold and have an excellent career in that branch of the Navy.
From July 1960 to September 1960, Ensign Roark was assigned a temporary duty to the Engineering Department at the United States Naval Academy.
In September 1960, Ensign Roark was assigned under instruction at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
From October 1961 until April 1962, LTJG Roark had further flight training at the Naval Air Advanced Training, Corpus Christi, Texas.
On April 9, 1962, LTJG Roark was designated a Naval Aviator.
In April 1962, LTJG Roark was assigned to Attack Squadron 125 (VA-125) “Rough Raiders” based in Lemoore, California.
In December 1962, Lieutenant Roark was assigned to Attack Squadron 153 (VA-153) in Lemoore, California.
Lieutenant Roark deployed twice with VA-153 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43). On the second deployment in 1965, the flight crews of the Coral Sea saw the first heavy and sustained action of the war in Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder.
On April 7, 1965, Lieutenant Roark was leading a two-plane section armed reconnaissance mission in the area of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. He was piloting a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk (BuNo. 148317) with the call sign “Power House.” His flight detected anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) site and engaged the target. Following the first attack, as the site had not been destroyed, Lieutenant Roark attacked again. On the second attack, his aircraft was struck by the anti-aircraft fire. His A-4C Skyhawk was too severely damaged to continue, and Lieutenant Roark ejected over hostile coastal water and was repeatedly fired upon while descending in his chute. Search and Rescue assets could see him floating face down but could not retrieve his body due to intense ground fire.
In the last letter to his wife, Lieutenant Roark wrote “I don't want my sons to fight a war I should have fought. I wish more Americans felt that way. I will not live in a totalitarian society and I don't want you to, either. I believe in God and will resist any force that attempts to remove God from society, no matter what the name. This is what we all must do if we believe in what the founding fathers stood for.”
Distinguished Flying Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant William Marshall Roark (NSN: 0-641458), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as pilot in Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE (VA-153) aboard U.S.S. CORAL SEA (CVA-43), during operations in the Vietnam on 7 April 1965. Completing several successful attacks against military targets along a coastal highway in North Vietnam, his flight was taken under concentrated fire by numerous anti-aircraft and automatic gun positions. Lieutenant Roark attacked the gun emplacements despite the fire directed at him. When his aircraft was struck by hostile fire, he flew the disabled jet toward the water and successfully ejected. He was fired upon continuously during his parachute descent and after reaching the water. The intense barrage of anti-aircraft, automatic weapons and mortar fire directed onto the water by the enemy prevented helicopter rescue of Lieutenant Roark, who was fatally wounded. His cool courage in the face of intense enemy opposition was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Remains were repatriated on March 18, 1977, and confirmed to be those of Lieutenant Roark on March 31, 1977.
Lieutenant Roark is buried in Evergreen Memorial Park, Omaha Nebraska.
Lieutenant Roark’s personal decorations include the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross Medals, and Vietnam Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
The fast frigate USS Roark (FF-1053) was named in his honor. Lieutenant Roark was the first American killed in the Vietnam War to have a ship named for them.
Lieutenant Roark is remembered on the Vietnam National Memorial, Panel E1, Line 102.
Lieutenant Roark is remembered in Memorial Hall of the United States Naval Academy where his name is engraved under the “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP” flag honor those alumni killed in action.
** Amen a Ture Hero!
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