A RED SEA OF HATRED: U. S. NAVY STYLE!


By Harold Bell

The 4th of July is celebrated by millions of Americans annually.  On this day many celebrate Independence Day.  We honor those who gave their lives and those who are still giving their lives to make and keep America free to insure that there is equal justice for all.

Frank Knox comes from a long list of military family members that have served proudly, honorably and with impeccable distinction for this great nation of ours.

Many of his family members have served in World War I, II, Korean, Vietnam and the conflict Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Some family members were led to believe that other relatives may have served during the civil war.

Frank’s quest for a military career was inspired by those family members.

He adamantly wanted to serve with honor and distinction for the country that he and his family love so dearly.

Frank boarded the ship USS Saratoga in 1973.  Prior, to boarding his squadron, there had many episodes of racial tension and abundance of hatred aimed directly at black enlisted men. In witnessing and seeing this, it put a tremendous amount of stress on him.

His assistant supervisor was a man called Red (as in Redneck).  Red made it his position known as it related to Frank and his kind from the very beginning, he said, “Me and my Klan boys are going to kill all the Niggers and anybody else that don’t look like us when we get out to sea.  You won’t be coming back”.

Reds’ words reminded Frank of the many thousands of his ancestors who were thrown overboard during “The Dark Passages” from Africa to the United States.  They were thrown overboard just for fun and games.

Overall, he was fearful of Red’s words because there was no one to speak up for him.  He knew if he said anything regarding the issue of racism he would have been disciplined in the harshest manner.

Frank feared he would have been kicked out of the Navy which almost occurred on several occasions.

While on the flight deck, he tried desperately to focus on his job because the flight deck was a very, very perilous place, especially, at night.  He remembered there were no lights on deck just miles of an endless Dark and scary ocean.

On many occasions he got blown into flight equipment because he expended a tremendous amount of energy worrying about his situation and fearing for his demise.

In addition, all the overwhelming stress led to fatigued, sleeping problems and eating irregularities.  He had reduced emotionality from thinking about Red’s fearful threats and throwing him off the ship or Red and his boys killing Frank when he went ashore for liberty.

Sometimes, he felt as though he was walking on thin ice, and the situation only exacerbated his stress when he saw his first plane crash.  It was an A-6  that crashed right into the ocean and killed the pilot.

He had to pull himself together and re-group and do his job professionally and competently even though he lived on the edge and with intense fear.  Frank was hassled daily and this situation was compounded by his lack of sleep and seeing planes crashes intensified the situation.

To make matter worse, he was assigned to the night shift after complaining that he was having problems with Red.  He was then assigned to the day shift, which was not much relief.

Overall, he was never able to relax the entire time he stayed attached to VF-103.   On several occasions, he endured a long-grueling-16-20 hour shift, 7 days a week, and in his case, 30 hours.

In preparation of his shift change, he was told that his plane was never secured properly.  He was made to stay over many times, even though his plane was secured!

Many of his colleagues knew his plane was secured professionally and competently but never spoke up on his behalf. Painstakingly, this was just one of many of the examples to ostracize him and debased his credibility as a man.

For example, each plane is secured with 16 chains, as a tie-down and he carried chains and did the work of 3 and 4 other people.   During his extra working details, he participated in morning operations and witnessed another A-6 crashed right off the flight deck, fortunately, they were able to recover the RIO, but the pilot died.

After the plane crashes, it would take him 3 weeks before he began to slowly get back into the routine of things. With a steadfast desire for success and thanks to mind over manner, Frank maintained positive thoughts such as being with family and close friends.  His faith in God helped him through this ordeal.

However, he was always fearful and looking over his shoulder for Red and his gang.  Working on the flight deck, was a dangerous job.

Despite the danger, he was not going to let anyone jeopardize his strong patriotic values that he held in the highest regards for his country, and values taught by family.

While all this was going on, he maintained his equanimity and esprit de corps in helping co-workers stay focus during night operation even though he was tormented by his own oppression.

One particular night, he was waiting for his plane to return when an A-5 tried to land on the flight deck and crashed.  The pilot missed his mark, the plane ended up into a big inferno ball of fire that killed the pilot andRio instantly.

Shockingly, everyone stood still and couldn’t move at all!  Frank jaw dropped to the floor and his legs were immovable. Frank said, “My entire body was shaking from incredible trepidation.  Eventually, I told myself to snap out of it and secured my plane.  However, others stated that they were not going back on the death zone (flight deck).”

It was no surprise, Frank ended up securing their planes as well.  He carried their chains on his already delicate and fragile back.

The latest plane crash did not allow him to sleep for months and the little sleep that he did get- he woke-up with frightening dreams.  Prior to witnessing the plane crashes he barely got 3 hours of sleep.

Additionally, he worried about Red’s ignominious and scurrilous reclamations, which only compounded his situation.  Frank said, “Red had my body working triple over-time.”

When he finally got liberty, most of the time, he stayed on the ship, it was the safest place to be.  If he took liberty it would only provoke an already intolerable malevolent and agonizing situation.   There was no telling where Red and his boys maybe lurking.

He decided to take other co-workers’ watches/off-duty assignments for extra money and saved it for his college education.

However, he decided to set his fear aside , the next time liberty came around he had made up his mind he was ashore.  He took liberty with Aean Wells.  Aean was his dear friend from Alabama and he had been an eye-witness to the trials and tribulations Frank had to endure under Red.

Frank warned Aean that they would avoid Red and his boys at all cost.

Unfortunately, Red saw Frank before he saw him.  He called him every inhumane and nasty name he could think of and than followed that up with a brutal physical attack.

He grabbed Frank by the neck and began squeezing and choking the life out of him.

Frank could see several shipmates standing by but no one came to his aid.

He said, “This kind of pluralistic ignorance is the worse case of uncompassionate and shame towards humanity.”

Frank remembers gagging and experiencing breathing problems.  He grasped for air and began to pass out, but still no one step-up to stop this horrifying act of attempted murder!

Only by the grace of God was he able to extricate himself from the stronghold of Red’s vise-like death grip.

Frank survived this nefarious and vicious act of physical lynching.  He was terrified by what had just happen to him and ran for his life, gagging and coughing all the way.

As luck and God would have it he came upon the Navy Shore Patrol (military police).  He explained to them what had happened, while trying to regain his breath.

They ordered him back to the ship.  A few minutes later, his friend Aean Wells came along later and said, “Frank, I thought they were going to kill you.”

Frank said, “We must remember during those times (70s) if a black man was involved in any form of altercation with a white person in a supervisory capacity, we (African-Americans) received the maximum punishment, even if we were right.”

He tolerated the cruelty and profound humiliation the best way that he could for him to survive.

Frank sustained emotional fatigue, tension, fearfulness, anger and constantly looking over his shoulder for “The Boggie Man” named Red.  There was no cultural sensitivity, racial training or political correctness.

African-Americans and minorities had limited rights and resources. He was reminded on some occasions that the Navy was for white men and not place for monkeys and apes.

Those debasing and derogatory words were harsh reminders that hurt him deeply.  These deplorable actions by his shipmates made him reach down deeply to muster all of his strength to upheld his diligence and dedication to duty.

Frank refused to let this chapter of his life be impacted with profound hatred and negativity.  After all, they were kicking out minorities in record numbers and all he and other blacks wanted was to serve this great nation of ours honorably and with admiration.

There were also riots in the chow hall because of racial tension and hate.  He stayed away from the chow hall just about the entire deployment.

Frank lived on box lunches and sometimes just drank the water which was always tainted with JP-5 fuel.  He believes the poison water at Camp Lejeune and tainted water on the ship caused all his abdominal problems.

Red continued to make his threats up until Frank got out of the navy.  Red’s bigotry was well known but it was always business as usual in his Navy.

Frank continued to get little sleep and when he did get to sleep he would have nightmares about Red choking the life out of him.  Plus, the last horrible inferno plane crash on the flight deck was additional.

After his departure from the navy, Frank still could not sleep and barely ate anything for months.  He started working out and that gave me some relief from his anger, frustrations and being on edge.  Once home he told of the horrendous atrocities to his family members.

There were many that cried with disgust and wondered how a fellow Navay man would treat  another human being of a different color worst than they would treat a wild animal.

Frank’s family advised him to go to the VA and get some immediate help for what he had horribly endured.  The nurse told him to file a claim, if he thought the Navy was at fault for all his problems.

Frank told her he did and she directed him to go and file the proper paperwork.  He filed in 1976.

Upon filing his paperwork, there was no help at the VA it was a “Dead End Street.” He completed the paper work and was interviewed by some of the most unprofessional, uncaring, and unsympathetic individuals that he ever encountered.

Frank said, “I thought the VA had played a cruel joke on me and hired Red and his boys at the hospital.”

The VA staff had had the same hateful and disgusting traits and characteristics of Red and his boys.  There was no compassion whatsoever for black veterans.  After about 20 minutes of intense humiliation, he still was not allowed to tell what had happen to him.

The insensitive hospital personnel were only concerned about whether he heard voices or hallucinations?  He was hurt and felt deeply disrespected from ship to home.

Frank blurted out, “Sir, I was almost killed and choked to death.”

The doctor stated that he was not interested in hearing about his personal trials and painful tribulations.

Frank remembers saying ‘Enough is enough’ and got up and left the room.  He remembers vividly laughter as he exited the room.

He had an ace in the hole, the Reverend Goodman would be his spiritual savior.  Frank would tell him about his horrible military life, the racial strife and profound indignation and attempted murder from his supervisor and military members.

He found Reverend Goodman comforting and a strong supporter of his situation.

Months later, he got the “Bad News” he received a letter from the VA denying his claim and minimizing his deeply-rooted traumatic/anxiety situation.   His story of horrific and terrifying acts of attempted murder he endured from another service member had fallen on deaf ears.

The rejection hurt deeply, and for months he wondered how he would get the necessary medical treatment to help him cope with all the problems.  Especially, when he was denied and coldly turned away by the VA.

The traumatic military experienced did not hinder Frank’s feelings to overtake his ambition for success.  Frank refused to allow Red and his Navy cohorts to disrupt his return to a normal life.

Frank, with a little help from his Pastor, friends and relatives began to map out a positive course of action for his return to civilian life.

There were times it was a bitterly and difficult road of uncertainty and there were moments of anger, agitation, overwhelming nightmares, sleeplessness, and frustrations.  There were days and nights he fought fatigue but decided failure was not an option despite the laughter he heard from doctors as he left the VA hospital.

It was God, family and friends who directed his destiny.

In addition, some of Frank’s veteran friends were also seeking immediate help from the VA but they also hit a brick wall while applying for the same claims and benefits.

Unfortunately, many of them chose drastic measures while coping with their profound disappointments.  Many black vets were left homeless and some lost their minds and souls from uncaring doctors they thought would provide for then the necessary intervention that many so desperately cried out for and needed. 

This was a harsh reality of life in the “Real World” no one cared for veterans of color.

“The system failed them and me horribly.”  Especially, when we needed them” said, Frank.

Frank chose a positive course of action, even though the VA did not.

Today, he can still see that plane crash and a big ball of fire crashing into the ocean and, on many occasions, there are nightmares when he would wake up thinking Red’s hands around his neck, choking the life out of him.  He says, I still have my nervous moments but I am coping.”

Painstakingly, he has been dealing with this situation since 1974 and the VA regional office in Ohio, since 1976 have not resolved his and other veterans’ situations and continue to play games with our lives.

Even today 2010 and he still has those same hateful and bitter individuals whose intentions are not to help the veterans.  But instead, they profoundly procrastinate and hope that all veterans just go away and die.  This is the American way when it comes to settling claims, especially, by and for African-American veterans.

Frank’s medical conditions only worsen from working on the ship doing paint chipping that involved removal of asbestos materials from the floors, ceilings and walls.

To make matter worse, he was placed on a recalled medication, Reglan, which caused him all sorts of problems.  Furthermore, he was hospitalized for severe chest pains and he brought it to the VA medical staff’s attention that he had taken Reglan and they dismissed his claims.  The associations of Reglan and his heart problems are all related.

They clearly never gave him a definitive diagnosis.  Instead, they just made one up.

The Veteran Administration is a broken system that needs immediate revamping.  The Veteran Administration does not facilitate a viable and caring process to hire veterans first or provide top-notched immediate resolution of all veterans’ claims.

Frank is in favor of the Veterans Administration’s Regional offices having an outside independent entity that can resolve the veterans’ claims expeditiously and accurately.

There are Veterans’ Regional offices that act like it’s their money and they play games with the veterans prior to dispensing them their money regarding their claims, especially, black veterans.

It has taken Frank 34 years to resolve some of his claims.  He hopes and prays that the people involved in the gulf oil strickened areas do not have to wait as long for their claims like most veterans do.

“Something is awfully wrong with the Veteran’s Administration and Congress.  They need to immediately do something about this horrible situation,” says Frank.

According to a study in 1978, if Frank’s prolonged stress persists, the pituitary gland and adrenal cortex will lose their ability to maintain elevated hormone levels.  The physiological processes will begin to break down, causing fatigue, depression and can affect all other areas in his body and even cause his demise.

He wondered why had his case lingered for over 34 years and why are veterans like him being treated like 4th class citizens?

One reason is hatred, our country is on the verge of increased racial strife with an increased of hate and militia groups participation, only because a bi-racial man occupies the white house.

The stories found in the media about all of this negativity as relates to racial hatred reminds him deeply of all the overwhelming hate that he and others endured on-broad the USS Saratoga.

Frank Knox joined the military because he loved his country, but it is now evident his country does not love him.  It allowed racist like Red to exist and excel in a United States military environment without consequences.

He was totally ostracized and never accepted as Red’s equal, despite the historical Civil Rights march on Washington, DC led by Rev. Martin Luther King in 1964.

The 1960’s assassinations of President Kennedy and his brother Bobby, Rev. King, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers all sacrificed their lives fighting for equal justice for all.

Almost 5 decades later despite a black President occupying the White House justice for all still eludes people of color.  From “The Dark Passages to the USS Saratoga” we are still being thrown overboard by a system that still operates on Justice and Just-Us.

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33 Responses to “A RED SEA OF HATRED: U. S. NAVY STYLE!”

  1. Mickey Sales Says:

    First, I want to say Frank, that I am sorry that all that happened to you. In reading the story, it just brought back so many of the horror stories of the racist schools we went to in Akron, OH; David Hill, Roswell Kent, and for you Garfield High School. And to have talked to you and to hear it from your own voice that you found some peace, knowing that God knows all his children. It is a shame to even have to say that even white men today hate us for our color. And I remember hearing some of the stories you came home and told to your little brothers and being in awe and not understanding the truth you were telling. These truths helped shape a lot of the boys in the neighborhood dreams and aspirations. At least me. It gave me the strength to go forward. But enough of the negative stuff. To read about you in a positive light knowing the story is true, makes a grown man want to cry. Love you Frank

    • I just completed reading, the astounding story, on my desr brother’s account. Yes, its a crying same, that we’re well into the 21st century, and we still have “hidden rascism around. One can opnly wonder, when will it end. My truly answer is, when Jesus comes back to this evil world, and sets up shop. Yes, i know, that ther are great people in all races.but there are still a majority of Reds, floating around.The said part about this, is many of these racists, are in hell, an if you know the story about Lasarus, you no that the rich man wanted to come back, but he couldn’t. These people better wake up, and smell the coffee on this side. Because, when we cross the River of Jordan, it will be too late. My brother, has always been, highly emotional, whic h is ok, but sometimes, we can be too emotional, and this can interfere, with our reasoning to think rationaly. I have told my brother on nummerous occasions, not think about it too abruptly. No this does not take away, all of these horrific encounters, but it does help one to think rational. Hopefully, one of these Govenmental officials:will see, empathize,realize, understand, seek aides, and compensation for all of my brothers negative endeavors, and grant him the financial reliefs, that he so justly deserves. You Godly Boujazaise,please take a real good look at youreslves, and aide the ones, who are hurting on all spects, especially: the mental,emotional, and psychological damages, which have been rendered on countless encounters!!!

  2. Walter Knox Says:

    Frank i would first, like to say i feel your pain, and know how the system can be. I’ve read this story a couple times and, each time i read it i remember the different seneiro’s of racism i’ve endure since i was a kid . I can remember you sharing some of those horrifying storyies and, still to this day racism lurks between the cracks hinded so we don’t see whats on the surface but, rotten to the core, and that makes it even more dangerous. It’s a shame that the white man can’t get passed the ignorance he as of a black mans skin instead of looking at the content of his charcater. Being an ex-marine and enduring the same things from are so called V.A. I feel your pain.Growing up hearing you talk about those things i didn’t understand but as i got older it made me take a look at the real world . God works throught people and, you have givin many of us boys in the old neighborhood a good work ethic whether it be in sports, or just everyday life experiences.Thank you for being the most postive person in my life. One love, God Bless!
    Walter G. Knox

  3. It is so sad that one race have so much hatred for another, but when its benificial, its okay for the moment.

  4. 2010? Everyone but the Black man that built this place…..

  5. Roscoe G. Dandy Says:

    Words, illustrations or examples cannot convey the profoundness of pain sadness and thoughts for the Naval and Veterans Administration misdeeds to my former student, Dr. Franklin Knox.
    Franklin was a Masters Level Graduate Student of mine, and later I participated in his Doctoral Studies program. A caring and sensitive man of unparrelled integrity, one would never know what Franklin endured based on his academic excellence, professionalism and keen ability to assist other, weaker students in the class room setting.
    As a fellow Veteran…..including employment at the Veteran Administration, I can only cry and say….Oh My God………reliving some of the same problems that Franklin endured.
    It is indeed, only by the Grace of God, that Dr. Knox survived, lived to tell about, succeeded……with out a hint of bitterness, and became the Leader he is today.
    Whoever out there is listening……..give Franklin refuge, stable employment, and a platform to be an inspiration to others about to give up.
    Dr. Knox left out the continual misdeeds he faced in trying to become a Commissioned Officer in another branch of the Uniformed Services.
    AND THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY.
    May God Have Mercy On Franklin’s Soul!!!
    It was an honor and priviledge to be one of his Adjunct Professors.
    Dr. Roscoe Dandy

  6. Stephanie Harrell Says:

    Dr. Franklin Knox is a living example of a man of great character. I can not say enough good things about this remarkable human being. Frank’s tenacity to triumph and prevail in the midst of great adversity is respected and remarkable. This story causes me feelings of sadness when I think that the turmoil Frank endured was all based on the color of this man’s skin. What a sad day in America that young servicemen sought only to serve this country and received such cruel treatment but even in the year 2010 racism is still prevalent in our “sophisticated” society.

    This is truly a story of one man’s courage and triumph over adversity.

    God Bless You my dear friend Frank.
    Stephanie Harrell

  7. Hey frank, god bless u bro. I’m so emotionally moved by your journey. God was with you then n he is still with u now n 2010. Ur journey will definitely ne a light for others to respect n know wast their posterity went through y your story is so riveting nn soul wrenching n I thank god he brought u through. I love u so much bro. God bles u n keep love always baby sis.

  8. Justin/Nephew Says:

    Hey Uncle Frank. I am deeply saddened to hear this news. I remember hearing some of the stories when I was younger, but never really took the time to stop and think that this was the real world. God sees you as a kind, giving person, and knows your hardships. Only he can take you from one bad situation and take you to a better one. You are truly an inspiration in my life, as well as the rest of the family. Love you always, and God Bless!

    Justin

  9. Hey bro, god bless u. Just wanted 2 let u know the article was riveting n soul wrenching. Just readin the differents parts I could visualize the happenings n its moments there. Our god was turly with u then n he still abides n ur life today. This is such a light 4 incoming service men to c wat their posterity went through. God bless n keep bro. I love u! Sent by michelle allen/ sister august 30, 2010

  10. First of all I thank and praise God for saving Dr. Knox. His story could have been one of the stories lost at sea if red had the chance to do what he intended to do. I am sure there are many black families whose sons left to serve their country believing it was the right thing to do but met men like red and never returned home. I know their families are still wonder to this day what happened to their sons. I grieve hearing this story that in this day and time people could hate another person because of their color. Yet, these are the skeletons in the closets of American history that will begin to come out and the descent and true Americans will begin to demand justice for all races who served to keep a free America. Dr. Knox’s story and many others should flood the ears of congress so that the generations to come will feel safe when they make the decision to serve their country. Dr. Knox continue to tell your story until the deaf ears began to hear. God brought you this far and He will keep you during the rest of your journey.
    My prayers are with you. PEACE

  11. Hey Uncle Frank, God bless you. I was so touched deeply and hurt at same time what you had endured in the past. You have been such an inspiration to me and many others in my generation also. I miss you and I love you, please continue to fight on and pray and keep our God first. I’m so proud of you. Love Jesse. Sent by Jess/nephew.

  12. Dr Franklin Knox Says:

    From: Dr Franklin Knox

    TO: BlackMeninAmerica and Mr. Harold Bell

    Subj: Letter of Appreciation and Thank You

    I like to take this opportunity with the most sincere and enthusiastic appreciation and thanks to Black Men in America.com for creating a viable and powerful delivery format that allowed me to help readers understand the horrifying experience of racism that I profoundly endured and at the same time defending the country that I loved so dearly.

    It’s with great honor that I commend Mr. Harold Bell for his powerful writing acumen and outstanding alacrity in assembling masterfully all the pieces in helping me to tell my story to this caring and compassionate audience. As a result of telling my story, I have received numerous calls from individuals that stated they are available to assist me in resolving my claims immediately and now, speaking engagements. More importantly, I am humbled by this experience and thank you all so much for your outstanding and professional assistance during this painful and heartfelt reminiscence of my story.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Dr. Franklin Knox

  13. blitzace3000 Says:

    Frank, You’re a man of great character and strength. You definitely displayed enormous “courage under ignorance.” Many will comment about what they would do if placed in that same situation while serving in the Navy but each of us would’ve reacted differently. You chose to respond the way God led you to respond. Pat Riley (former Laker coach and now GM for the Miami heat once told his mighty Lakers that life is filled with moments of pressure. He then took an orange and squeezed it tightly and said “whatever is inside of you will come out when squeezed.” The pressure unleashed the sweetness of the juice. Red’s hands around your neck was wrong but God ensured it worked in your favor and released the sweetness of your character and greatness of your purpose on this earth.

    Garfield Vassell

  14. Leonard White, MD Says:

    “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”. This is not to glorify nor excuse Reds actions. However, being a personal friend of Dr. Knox I know of his strength and intestinal fortitude which cannot be rivaled.

    The story portrayed by Mr. Bell is a very accurate account of the atrocities which take place not only in the Navy, but within all of the uniformed services. I am saddened to be made aware of Frank’s situation but encouraged in that someone who reads this story can gain insight and hopefully assuaged by Franks ability to rise amongst the most difficult of circumstances and stand today as one of the strongest “Black Men” I have ever known.

  15. Valentine Thompson Says:

    I am honored to read this remarkable story about Dr. Knox. This is an amazing man who had to endured incredible hate by the same man who wored the uniform as Dr. Knox. He had to go through a lot while assigned to that ship on a daily basis. Trust me, he could have easily given up and filled his life with profound bitter feelings.

    But instead, he has reached out to all races in a very loving, devoted and compassionate manner. The act that Red committed was attempted murder, this kind of hatred is at an all-time high in this country as we speak. Dr. Knox, I salute and commend you for going through an incredible and horrifying experience, many may not have tolerated the overwhelming hatred that you endured. You are one strong and amazing Black Man!!!

    Valentine

  16. Robin Hartford Says:

    Dr. Franklin Knox:
    I am aware of some of what you experienced aboard the USS SARATOGA CV-60 as I was aboard from March 3, 1973 until June 5, 1976.

    However, I was a white guy Photographers Mate working in CVIC-Photo (OZ Division) so was immune to racist abuse. But I can back up what you observed for any Veterans Administration documentation you may require.

    As it is, for detail on the A-6 crash, I took and still have, a photograph of the pilot’s rescue.. The details are:

    On October 9, 1974, a KA-6D Intruder (tanker, BUNO 151825) was launched off the starboard catapult and EVERYBODY did not notice that the wing flaps were up instead of down. The official report stated, “incorrect flight configuration.
    Consequently, the plane lost airspeed after the launch and hit the water. Only the pilot, Lt. D.L. Boyle, ejected successfully and was rescued.
    Lost to the sea was Lt. Russell G. Lawrence, USN, a bombardier/navigator from VA-75, the “Sunday Punchers.” As I recall, he was from Vermont.

    The details on the A-5 crash are:

    The reconnaissance plane RA-5C Vigilante of RVAH-11, the “Checkertails,” Bureau number 156623 was lost February 2, 1975, off the African coast along with RVAH-11’s Commanding Officer Commander Thomas W. Hogan, the pilot, and the photo officer, Lt. Cdr. Wayne “Tiny” T. Mulholland.
    They hit the round down while trying to land on the carrier at night in a heavy ground swell – a dreaded ramp strike. The plane instantly broke up, exploded across the flight deck and went into the sea in a massive fireball.
    I had loaded the film magazines for this flight earlier in the evening.

    I was also in contact with all the asbestos that was in the air during the shipyard period due to pipe lagging replacement, etc., etc. So far, no ill effects from that for me.

    As it is, I was lucky with the VA. My getting out of the service revealed hearing loss. Consequently, I am a service connected, disabled Vietnam-Era Navy veteran. I am considered 10 percent disabled and received some great hearing aids.

    Contact me if you think I can help you.

    once:
    PH-3 Robin W. Hartford, USN
    CVIC-Photo, OZ Division, Operations Department
    USS SARATOGA CV-60

    robinhartford@comcast.net

  17. Wanda Jackson Says:

    Frank,
    You are a Wonderful Nephew whom I Admire and Love Very Much!!!!
    You are also a Strong,Remarkable African -American whose Religious Beliefs are Simply Amazing!!!! I’m Very Sorry About Your Experience!!!!
    However,with Your Great Love and Faith In God,You Will Always Be Successful!!!!
    May God Continue To Bless You Richly!!!!

    Love Ya,
    Auntie Wanda

  18. Erica C McClerking Says:

    I am a veteran.I struggle with PTSD myself.I actually was at the car wash and an older guy that cleans the lot started talking to me telling me stories of how they would throw men over board.I did not believe him because i did not think another man could be so cruel but now i see man is capable of anything.The movie Deadly Voyage;it is the ready why i wanted to do some research about this.I’m sad,I’m hurt and i just cannot wait until judgement day.I hope there is a God,i want the men,the ones cruel enough to do another human like this to feel what the people they abused felt.God bless our evil souls.I’m sorry you had to experience this.In Heaven my brother you will be rewarded.

    • Dr. F. Knox Says:

      Ms. Erica C. McClerking,

      Thank you so much for your kind, caring and devoted words for truly understanding my horrible situation. During that time, it was one of the most difficult times of my life. What’s so sad, Red relentlessly voiced his death threats in front of superiors and they did nothing, except put a smirked on their faces and business as usual. Consequently, this kind of unchallenged demanor from supeiors gave Red the re-light to continued to rant his bitter and deeply rooted racial words of hate and murder towards me.

      We have and had, Card carrying Klansman serving in the United States Navy. Men of color were viewed as nugatory and not as human-being, but only animals. After many discussions, my family, minister and other veterans found out about my horrible situation, and they encouraged me to go to the VA in 1975.

      I went but they were NO HELP!! They were looking for veterans as guinea pigs!!!!! I told them about what had happened to me and they wanted me to say that I suffered from hallucination and delusions, so they could try these new drugs on VETERANS, SAD!!!!!!! Courageously, I told them no! That I did not suffers from their requests but I needed help from the attempted murder, plane explosions, daily mental exhaustion, PTSD and others.

      They also told me that if I did not say what they wanted me to say my claim would be denied, which it was in 1975, DENIED. Finally, my claim was approved in 2010, thirty-five (35)years later and I’m still waiting on my full compensation!!!!

      During that time, so many veterans were turned away and this created an onslaught of homelessness and all sorts of other problems for VETERANS! Back then, the VA was not friendly to veterans!! Today, it’s much better but there’s still much, much work to be done, like correcting my SITUATION!!

      The VA has yet to compensate me for this egregious error!!!! But I’m sure that they will correct this because this is what appeals are for. In closing, you take care of yourself and my prayers are with you. I thank you so much and you continued to strive for the STARS AND BEYOND FOR THIS IS MY BELIEF!

      God Bless You!

      Dr. F. Knox

    • Dr. F. Knox Says:

      My dearest Erica,

      I thank you so much for your warm, thoughtful and encouraging words. Indeed, some people in the navy were filled with hate ,because many of those same ships had Klan members and other hate groups. Sadly, the navy allowed many of these hate-filled men served in many rewarding positions. So what does that say about the navy! You continue to progress and move forward, but always keep God first. Again, I thank you so much for your words.

      Dr. Knox

  19. Tamica D. White/Daughter Says:

    You left for the Navy the same year that I was born. Upon your return home, I remembering watching your strong hands assemble my swing-set in the backyard and though I was just a toddler I was amazed at your strength. It would be years later before I knew that strength went far beyond that of physicality. You were my first hero and it was your hands-my father’s hands- that made an indelible impression upon me. It would your hands and strength of character by which every man I would meet would be judged.

    I am fiercely proud of your accomplishments, Dad, and grateful it is your DNA of tenacity and courage coursing through my veins. I, too, am grateful that I share your natural inclination to step up and move ahead. You could have been a wounded warrior but through God’s grace that propelled you forward you are a victorious warrior.

    The Book of Isaiah reminds us that God will turn all our “mountains into roads.” That is precisely what our Father in heaven has done for you. You could have remained stagnant in a place of despair and hurt but instead you chose to rise up and reach for those seemingly unreachable stars. The Reds of this world may not always meet justice within the walls of a courtroom but justice comes. It does indeed.

    Many have offered passionate and heartfelt words of support but please let us know if there are specific ways that we can turn those words into action and collectively support those who have served this country under horrific conditions.

    -Tamica

    • Dr. F. Knox Says:

      My beautiful daughter,

      Thank you, baby! Your words of love are powerful and touched deeply within that special and delicate place in my heart. Ur right! R grandfather babe’s mother was born a slave and granddaddy Willie was half Navajo Indian. His father was full-blood Navajo. Ur right, I could have wallowed in drugs and a whole host of other problems but God played a magnificent and pivotal role in securing my future, even when the VA turned its back on me and other veterans. Many of them became homeless and lost in a storm and I prayed for them all. Baby, I’m so proud of you and love you all, especially my Talia!!!!!

      God bless you always,

      Dad

  20. I relish, result in I found just what I used to be taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! Godd Bless yoou man. Have a nice day.

    Bye

    • Sir,
      I thank you for your comment but did not fully understand the message that you were attempting to convey, please leave your name because I respond to all individuals that leaves comments. May God bless you!

      Thank you!

      Dr. Knox

  21. thank you cuz you bring strenght to other to be stronger.

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  23. You actually make it appear so easy along with your
    presentation but I in finding this matter to be really something which I believe I’d by no
    means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and extremely broad
    for me. I’m looking forward for your next submit, I’ll attempt to get the grasp of it!

    • Ms. Tatiana,

      How are you! I thank you for your comment! I’m very sorry if it’s complicated in some areas for you! That was never our genuined intentions, but I think Mr. Harold Bell did a wonderful job in capturing the main objective to captivate audience comments.

      We wanted audience to feel some of the hatred I endured from a card-carrying klansman serving with me and defending the flag for my country and yet treated beyond horribly afterward! That’s why the book will be out soon!

      That gives you a more detailed-oriented and powerful, yet painful and hurtful delineation of what profound hatred can do only because of a person’s different race.

      Today, I’m in a much different place but still with many challenges from what occurred.

      However, please note, it wasn’t always like that! I would never want anyone to endure overwhelming bombardments of devaluing and debasing and torturous reclamations that was viciously executed with the “coup de grace” with attempted murder!

      It was Beyond a frightening devastation, where no words can encapsulate the horrid emotions of what I experienced!

      TRUST ME! God almighty had his powerful abd gentle hands on me, I’m humbly thankful and blessed, which is why I’m here today! You stay in touch and may God bless you always!

      Dr. Knox

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  25. Sparky Andderson Says:

    Frank, I vividly remember you from VF-103 and had no idea they treated you so horribly! You were always a gentleman and I considered you a friend, I came to VF-103 in Nov of 74 and I believe you were discharged late summer early fall of 75? I cannot remember who “Red” was and I may not have gotten a chance to deal with him as I was either coop cleaning or mess cooking after I came to the squadron, I do believe I met you on board when I met many of the line crew. I sincerely hope you get the help you really need from the VA and with what has gone down with them since this article was posted has gotten you that help. I am trying to get VA coverage but keep being denied as I fail the “Means Test” whatever the heck happened to their promise to us when we served during the Vietnam Era and especially for veterans like yourself. May God be with you, I’ve often thought of you as you were such a nice and sincere person, that’s the Frank Knox I remember.

    • Mr. Sparky Anderson,

      Sir, I thank you so much DEEPLY, for your kind and benevolent words that has touched me immensely.

      Yes, Red worked in the VF-103 line division; a bitter man that was full of deeply-rooted, racial hatred! No matter how much I reached out to him, he continued to call me horrible names and solidified his hatred even more!

      Do you remember Mr. Gary Allen, Red showed him his card of a full pledged Klan member, sad!

      I pledged to be devoted always to the flag, for my country that I love so MUCH!

      Do you remember Mr. Wayne Wells; he was an AE And Squirrel; Rodney they witnessed where I almost had the life choked out of me on the streets of Palma De Mallorca, Spain, during our anchoring for Christmas.

      Years later, Squirrel and I were able to talked and he mentioned that he was there, during the attempted murder from Red and was astounded with horror, but did not intervened on my behalf.

      For years, he indicated to me, personally, that situation bothered him deeply for years. However, I told him that I forgive him and it was not his fault!

      Red told me not to come ashore, with all the other countless threats or I was a dead………. expletive!!’nnnn

      I, and Wayne went ashore and Red, caught me from my blind side and karate chopped me across my throat that startled me and he knee me in the groin area that temporarily paralyzed me and then began relentlessly choking me around my throat without cessation and without provocation!

      Everyone stood by in horror and did nothing except watched! Somehow, by the grace of God almighty, I found the strength to get him off on my verge totally passing out.

      Once free from the grasped of death, I ran like a scare animal with snot running down my nose and inordinate saliva coming from my mouth, several discolored marks around my throat and bruised testicles.

      For the love of God, I have forgiven all of them with no malice of any kind. Another important note, Wayne and I ran into the Shore Patrol and they told us to get back to the ship, where I went to sick-call.

      One of the reasons, it was kept quiet, Sparky, this is what I asked Wayne to do, even though he told some!

      To further elaborate, if others found out about what happened to me, I did not want rioting on the ship; instead Sparky, I’d rather sacrifice myself, rather then see hundreds of other youthful exuberant men full of careers, marriages, life!

      And, I never wanted any of those men decimated or destroyed for life with life imprisonment, death, mutiny or worse. Indeed, it was painful, beyond any words could ever be expressed!!!!

      Sparky, it’s so refreshing to hear from you and a beautiful spirit that you were and are today! That’s what I remember so vividly of YOU!

      I love you, brother! And yes, they are finally giving me some help, it only tooked 40 years but I’m thankful!
      Please keep in touched and if there’s anything that I can ever do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me!

      May God bless you always!

      Frank

  26. Stacy,

    I thank you for your wonderful comments, as you know, it has always been my relentless and devoted spirit in serving God.

    With dedicated faith, he’s always the gift of light!

    Thank you!

    Franklin

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