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Letter: Father's heroics worthy of mention

I read your story "V for valor: LI-based rescue unit awarded Bronze Stars" [News, Dec. 7] with great pride and interest. I was disappointed, however, that the reporter missed an opportunity to tell a part of the story.

One of the recent Bronze Star with Valor recipients, Sgt. James Dougherty Jr., is the son of Chief Master Sgt. James "Doc" Dougherty Sr., who also served as a pararescuer at the 106th Rescue Wing.

Having one pararescuer in the family is rare because of the physical and mental strength required to complete intense Air Force training. A father-son combination is very rare, and these two served together until Doc's retirement a few years ago.

Doc was also featured in a very high-profile rescue ["Drama on the High Seas," News, Dec. 12, 1994]. He jumped from a 106th helicopter into the shark-infested waters of the North Atlantic to save one of 31 crew members of the sinking commercial cargo ship the Salvador Allende. Only two crew members survived.

I was in the rescue center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the mission management team, and we were elated at the news of the second man's rescue. That brutal mission required an extraordinary 15 hours in a helicopter.

Like father, like son. Thank God for their courage, sacrifice and willingness to risk all so that others may live.

Michael F. Canders, Nesconset

Editor's note: The writer is a retired Air Force colonel and past commander of the 106th Rescue Wing.

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