A memorial service was
held aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Sept. 27 in memory
of two naval officers from Sea Control Squadron (VS) 32 who died
Sept. 21 in an S-3B Viking jet crash.
Navy Pilot Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E. Blake, 33, a native of Spencer,
Neb. and Naval Flight Officer Lt. Cmdr. Scott T. Bracher, 33, of
Malverne, N.Y., died while making an approach to land at NAS
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Both men were 11-year Navy veterans and had been members of the
“Maulers” for approximately six months.
The more than 600 attendees at the service heard speaker after
speaker recall the outstanding service these two young aviators had
given to the nation and of the friendships shared over the
“This morning, we gather to celebrate Scott and
Tom’s life, legacy and their commitment and dedication to our
great nation through selfless, honorable service,” said VS-32
Commanding Officer Cmdr. William Henderson during his remarks.
“They, as many before them, paid the ultimate sacrifice in
defense of ideas which our country was founded upon.”
“This is a devastating loss for all of us,” stated
Lt. Andrew Wylie of Training Squadron (VT) 86 at NAS Pensacola,
Fla., as he recalled his friendship with Bracher.
“Scott was a son, a brother and a friend. It is hard to
say all that needs to be said. How can a man’s life be
summarized in a few minutes' speech? He was was energetic and
“Tom and Scott’s service embodied the immortal words
of our late President Ronald Reagan, ‘We will always
remember, we will always be proud, we will always be prepared, so
we may always be free,’” Henderson said. [ANN Thanks
Miriam S. Gallet, NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs]