Thomas Lee Blackman

United States Navy
10 February 1945 - 04 November 1966
Fort Worth, Texas
Panel 12E Line 018

National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas Lee Blackman

30 May 2005

Tommy was my best friend when we were growing up in the Castleberry School District. We made model planes and cars. Dreamed of having our first real cars and how we would modify them to make them our own. Fender skirts, lakes pipes and baby moon hubcaps were high on our list of the most desirable modifications.

We raced our bicycles up and down the hills of our River Oaks community. One day Tommy was just flying down the hill and as he took the corner at the bottom of the hill on Westwick he yelled "No brakes". Not to be out-done I did the same but ran into the back fender of a pickup scaring both the driver and myself for a minute or two. A few minutes later Tommy and I were laughing at my misadventure. It went into the annals as an unforgettable moment.

We were young. We were innocents. We grew up not knowing of a place named South Vietnam or how it would eventually become one of the major watersheds of our lives. We talked of cars and girls, of what we wanted to do and accomplish as adults. The future looked bright.

I am still in touch with members of his family and know they miss him. His son has grown to be a fine man. I know I miss him greatly and think of him often. When I drive through the old neighborhood, I still see him on his bicycle flying down the hills, yelling "no brakes". Someday I hope to join him on those hills again. Eternally youthful. Lost in bliss.

Jim Stephens

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Warships in general, and aircraft carriers in particular, are inherently dangerous places to be, whether in peacetime or wartime. Stuffed full of flammable and explosive materials, carriers are especially - and unavoidably - prone to fires.

On 04 Nov 1966, while the USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT was on station in the South China Sea, a flash fire occurred in an oil and hydraulic fluid storage compartment four decks below the hangar deck. Eight men died as a result of the fire:

  • FN Thomas L. Blackman, Fort Worth, TX
  • SA Vincent C. Bourdeau, Hudson Falls, NY
  • AA Sebern E. Graham, St Louis, MO
  • SA Donald R. Johnston, Roanoke, VA
  • FA Charles E. Mitcham, Houston, TX
  • FA Barry B. Myhr, Fort Collins, CO
  • FA Allan A. Schwarzkopf, Atwater, MN
  • FN Gary D. Tackett, Belpre, OH

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Jim Stephens
20 Jun 2005

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 06/21/2005