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Angel on our Shoulder - Roy H. Wilson
There are moments in your life when you meet a certain person and immediately form a kind of kinship with them. You dont exactly know why or how this instant bond is formed but it almost overwhelms you, that feeling that you and this particular person are like childhood friends. Brothers of a kind.
Roy Wilson touched my heart this week and I fear my words will not do the feelings justice. Meeting the former Alabama Air National Guard and CIA pilot with the kindest eyes youve ever seen is one of the moments, among so many this past week, that I will forever cherish.
Roy's a big man, physically and figuratively, yet he speaks with a tender southern accent that engulfs you, moreso because you know his measured words, given the onset of Alzeimers, come from the heart and arent meant to impress or convince. As he speaks to you, you know he's struggling to control his body, fighting against the symptons of his malady.
Roy flew C-54's and C-46's during the invasion and was in the one C-46 that landed at Giron to drop off troops and ammunition. He speaks of his participation in the asault with great pride and as much disappointment. He lost many friends, new found and old ones including a family member, his cousin Wade Grey, during the invasion.
We took video testimonies of many of the pilots, both the Cubans and their American counterparts, during the event this past week and while these men recounted their histories and their participation in the Bay of Pigs and the subsequent disapointment at it's failure, it was Roy's testimony that brought it all home for me, personally.
He spoke softly, recalling his part in the invasion and the loss of his comrades and you could tell that this man has always wished he'd done more. You could tell that now, 46 years after that fateful time, he wishes he'd been allowed to drop more supplies, more ammunition, more troops and that somehow, his roll in the invasion had been one to help make the operation a success. His one regret is that his government let those men on the ground and in the air, his brothers in arms, down.
After his video interview, where both he and I were literally in tears, Roy came up to me and thanked me, as if during out short interview Roy had finally released all the emotion he'd had built up inside all these years. He put his hand on my shoulder, tears streaming down his cheeks, looked me in the eyes and apologized for the outcome of the operation. He could barely get the words out.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm sorry we failed you."
Roy H. Wilson, 117th Air Reconnaissance Wing, Alabama Air National Guard
Janet Ray Weininger
PO Box 56-2801
Miami, FL 33256
October 20, 2007
courtesy of Chachi Comellas