U.S.S. Yorktown honors past heroes

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV)An exciting weekend is on tap out at Patriots Point as members of the U.S.S. Yorktown gather for the 64th annual Yorktown association reunion.

On Friday, a special ceremony was held to dedicate a newly renovated H-3 helicopter.{} The aircraft bares the names of five brave men who once fought for this country's freedom.

"I've got about 1,000 hours in that helicopter," said Lt. Arch Schmitt, who for him the H-3 helicopter brings back many memories.

"We flew off the Yorktown doing search and rescue off the coast of Vietnam," said Schmitt. "I got shot down twice, once by a ten-year-old kid."

Schmitt's name joins that of another living hero--James Dorsey.

"He was the wench operator that retrieved the astronauts from Apollo 8-if you remember that's the first one to go to the moon," said organizer, Mike Sudzina.

While they survived their time in the military with some interesting stories to tell--Charles Moran, Thomas Vincent and James Pratt whose names are also on the H-3 helicopter paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"They were on a mission off the Yorktown in 1965 and their aircraft was off the coast of Vietnam," said Sudzina. "They had an electrical problem. They declared an emergency and the aircraft disappeared off radar."

While all three men died, their bravery including that of other servicemen and women will never go unnoticed.