ROY E. SEAMAN, LT, USN
Roy Seaman '57
Date of birth: February 9, 1935
Date of death: October 28, 1964
From the 1957 Lucky Bag:
From an email from Mary Grace Seaman Elliott on November 16, 2017:
I was/am Roy's widow. I remarried and my 2nd husband (former US Army...I know...Beat Army!!) and I raised Roy's and my 3 children [Dan, who died of cancer at 36; Robert; and Lauri] …
About Roy, himself, he was truly a dedicated officer and pilot. He LOVED the Navy! He grew up in Greeley, Colorado and then in junior high moved to Worland, WY (was much happier in Greeley). Roy was an only child. His father was a WWI veteran and died when Roy was in high school. His mother was a widow until after Roy left for the Naval Academy; she remarried later. After Roy's graduation he went to Pensacola (I along with him since we were married in the chapel at Annapolis on graduation day) for flight training. From there to Kingsville, TX (where Dan was born) for multi-engine instruction. He wanted to be in jets, but got sent to multi-engine. From there he went to a squadron, VS-23 (flying S2F's off the USS Yorktown) which was then stationed at a now defunct base, Los Alamitos and the carrier at Long Beach. The squadron was moved to North Island NAS after his first year (loved San Diego!).
He had two tours in the 7th fleet in the Far East and when shore duty time came he had applied at the Test Pilot School at NATC Patuxent River, Md. He was the envy of many pilots for having received this billet which allowed only 80 pilots a class. He absolutely loved this assignment and all the people he met there. After he graduated from Test Pilot school he was assigned to a test division. He went to Service Test and was flying the F8U which the US was selling to the French.
But on that fateful day he had a friend who was home sick, who asked him to take his test flight in an A-4C. He went down several minutes after take off in a swamp near Golden Hill, MD. Tried to eject because they found the canopy some distance away. Roy was the Safety Officer of the division and they had looked into other fatalities in the A-4C and it was discovered that when the canopy blew it damaged the seat so that the rockets wouldn't fire. Roy's was the 15th fatality in a relative short period of time. After that they lowered the seat thereby solving the problem for the most part.
When his accident occurred everyone was out looking for him. Twenty-hours later a friend who was a helo pilot found him... saw the rings in the swamp and set down as close as he could get. Not much left of the plane or of Roy. Dan was 6, Bob was 4, Lauri was 17 months and I was 28. It was surreal and the grief was overwhelming!
Before Roy died a friend of his died and was buried in Arlington and Roy was an honorary pall bearer. This was about 6 weeks earlier. Roy sat me down and gave me a list of things I should do if something should happen to him. He told me he also wanted to be buried in Arlington. And he most emphatically said I had to move.... that I had to take our children out of southern MD (then very rural, not much in the way of amenities or good schools, but a huge Naval Air Station). He said I absolutely had to move and take them somewhere else to raise them. If he hadn't said that I probably would have stayed right there; other widows did. It would have been the easiest thing. But, just before the time ran out for the Navy to pay for my move, I sold our house, and moved across the country. If Roy had lived he most probably would have gone back to sea duty in the 7th fleet, flying then around and in Viet Nam as many of his friends did. But his ultimate goal was to go the moon. His CO at the test center at Patuxent River told me he thought Roy would have made it into NASA.