From Roger Herman
I was just in contact with Norm Whitbeck within the past couple of hours. Unfortunately, he had bad news. Ric Coady passed away last night in Pensacola at a hospice facility. Ric had been suffering from a melanoma related cancer for some time. I have just now gotten off the phone with his wife, Sandra, and expressed our condolences as best I could for all of us who knew him. Sandra can be contacted at the following E-Mail addresses... email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Memorial services will be held on Monday, February 6th @ 10 a.m. at the NAS Pensacola Aviation Chapel (on Mainside) and will be followed by burial at Barrancas Cemetery. For those who live in the local area, I am sure that Sandra would welcome any assistance that you might be able to offer. If someone there would like to take the lead and get an appropriate wreath for the services, I know that the rest of us would appreciate it, and will gladly chip in for the expenses.
The last time I personally talked with Ric a little over a month ago, it was apparent that he had gotten much weaker recently. For those who knew Ric or ever had the pleasure to fly with him, you know that we have lost a great friend, an outstanding Marine and superb aviator. He was probably the best '34 driver the Corps has ever seen. He was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses and was a true hero in every sense of the word. There is nothing he wouldn't do to help anyone in distress. He was one of a kind.
On a personal note, after "Wimpy" Wimmler and I crashed into a treeline on an emergency night medevac south of DaNang, we were extremely glad that Ric was our wingman that night. Upon evacuating the wreckage and gathering up our crew, we found ourselves up to our chins in elephant grass with tracers flying in all directions. There was no way to tell the good guys from the VC. As we set up a defensive position, Ric flew in without hesitation through all the incoming fire and picked us and the medevacs up. Over max gross, he was able to get the '34 airborne and pull off one of his beautiful right rudder kick takeoffs. He got just enough extra turns out of the main rotors to get us all out safely. I have no doubt that he saved our lives that night. I am confident that a number of you on this mailing list can recall similar events involving Ric and may very well owe your lives to him as well. I know that we will all miss him greatly. As a 22 year old second lieutenant, I always looked up to him (as did all of the other Lt's in the squadron) as the type of officer and aviator we all aspired to be. Ric was a fairly senior Captain at the time and was on his second tour in the spring of '67 with HMM-361. Men like Ric Coady do not come our way very often. We are all better for having known him. Semper Fi, Ric. We'll meet again.
Note: I normally wouldn't display so many addresses in the "To" and "Cc" boxes for all to see, but I wanted you to be able to see who is receiving this message. I have included everyone that I have on my list of addressees who knew him, or knew of him, plus some others who I know would be interested in hearing about him. This way, you can see whose address I might not have, and you can forward the following info to them so that we can get the word out to as many of Ric's former squadron mates and friends as possible. Thanks.