Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sad News

I was a bit saddened to read this headline today:
Former ABC News reporter McWethy dies in ski accident

I never met John McWethy, but my father did. Back in late 1981, a Soviet Whiskey-class submarine ran aground in Sweden. I'll spare you the details of the incident, since they're available here thanks to the wonder of the intartubes.

While covering the story, ABC News' Nightline producers wanted to do a piece on how the U.S. Navy hunted Russian subs. They called the Pentagon, who promptly dispatched a P-3 to Andrews AFB to pick up McWethy and a camera crew to show them how we did (do) it.

My dad was the pilot of that P-3. The show aired late that night, and we all stayed up late to watch. As an 11 year-old boy, seeing my dad actually fly was one of the coolest things I ever. Sure, I'd been to the base and the hangar where he worked, but never got to see him actually do his job until that point. It's hard to have a "take your kid to work day" when your office is at 200 feet over the North Atlantic.

We couldn't record it, since VCRs were running about $1000 a pop back then (about $2500 in today's dollars). A bit more than a luxury when you consider there were only 4 channels' worth or programming to record.

It wasn't until I was looking for a retirement present for my father in 1991 that I thought to order a tape from ABC's archives. Dad is in now the process of converting some old video tapes to digital format, so maybe one day soon I'll post a clip from the show. Funny to think that when that was filmed in 1981, my father was the same age I am now.


Lilli said...

What a wonderful memory. Thanks for sharing.
Speaking of video clips, where is the kid?????

annmrdh said...

I thought that name sounded familiar. Now I'm sad. Seems so long ago. Hope M&D still have the tape.