STEPHEN A. GARCIA, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Stephen Garcia '77

Date of birth: February 9, 1955

Date of death: August 8, 1989

Age: 34

Lucky Bag

1977 Garcia LB.jpg

Loss

From the Associated Press on August 9, 1989 via Aviation Safety Network:

The two crewmen aboard a Navy A-6 Intruder aircraft were killed Tuesday when the attack jet crashed while practicing for an air show here. The pilot was identified Tuesday night as Lt. Cmdr. Stephen A. Garcia, 34, of Los Cruces, N.M., and the bombardier-navigator was Marine Capt. Richard H. Andrews, 31, of Fayetteville, N.C., said base spokeswoman Mariana Graham.

Both officers were assigned to Attack Squadron 128, known as the Golden Intruders. The squadron is based at Whidbey Island. The cause of the crash is under investigation, Ms. Graham said.

Since 1980, 12 of the Whidbey-based A-6s have crashed, resulting in 14 fatalities, she said. The aircraft was completing a turn over the field Tuesday when it lost altitude and hit the ground, Ms. Graham said. The airfield, about 45 miles northwest of Seattle, was closed for approximately two hours after the accident.

Obituary

From the October 1989 issue of Shipmate:

LCdr. Stephen A . Garcia USN, died on 8 August 1989 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Oak Harbor, Washington, when the A-6E Intruder aircraft he was piloting crashed during a practice air show. A memorial service was held on 11 August at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Chapel, followed by the customary "Missing Man Formation" fly-byof A-6E aircraft. Funeral services were held in Las Graces, New Mexico, with interment at Fort Bhss National Cemetery, Fort Bliss, Texas, on 16 August.

Steve was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and attended Las Graces High School. He was appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of New Mexico and graduated with the Class of 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Upon graduation, he spent six months at NRD Albuquerque, New Mexico, on recruiting duty before commencing flight training at Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. On 19 October 1979 he was designated a Naval Aviator and was sent to North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, California for type training in the H-3.

From May 1980 to October 1982, he served with HC-1 Det 2 on board MIDWAY (CV-41) in Atsugi, Japan as NatOps officer. Safety officer, and Quality Assurance officer. While attached to HC-1 he made three Indian Ocean deployments and his squadron was credited with rescuing 19 people from being lost at sea. Of those at-sea rescues, he was pilot-in-command for two of them, one of which involved rescuing an A-7E pilot who ejected from his aircraft during night carrier operations. In October 1982 he reported to VT-23 in Kingsville, Texas, for jet pilot training, and on 18 October 1983 he earned his jet wings after completing advanced training at VT-22.

In January 1984 he began type training in the A-6E Intruder with the "Golden Intruders" of Attack Squadron 128 at Whidbey Island, Washington. From September 1984 to November 1987 he served with the "Milestones" of Attack Squadron 196 on board CONSTELLATION (CV-64) as Tactics officer. Line Division officer, and Aircraft Division officer. While attached to VA-196 he made a "Pineapple" cruise, two WestPac Indian Ocean cruises, and a NorPac cruise, accumulating over 350 arrested landings. In December 1987, he returned to VA-128 for a tour as an instructor pilot in the A-6E and also served as Personnel officer. Plans and Programs officer, and Crew Training officer.

Since childhood Steve had been an avid outdoorsman and was known to take leave to coincide with hunting season and take every opportunity he could to spend a few hours at the local fishing hole with family and friends. He excelled in sports, earning All-District Honorable Mention at quarterback during his senior year at Las Cruces High School.

He often referred to himself as a "scholastic slave" during his four years at Annapolis. His Classmates, especially those from the 16th company, will remember him as "Perdo" or "Hose," a Classmate and friend that always managed to find the bright and humorous side of almost any situation, and the one whose "care-packages" included joke books as well as cookies to satisfy his appetite for humor. Steve was a model husband, father and officer and will be missed by those who knew him, while at the same time happy to have had the opportimity to have known him.

LCdr. Garcia's awards include the Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation (one star), Meritorious Unit Commendation (one star). Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Ribbon, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (four stars). He is survived by his wife Bonita Christine Brown "Bonnie" Garcia, his daughter Jami Marie, and his son, Stephen Kelly, all of Oak Harbor, Washington; his parents Mr. and Mrs. Ben M. Garcia of Las Cruces, New Mexico; his brothers Arthur Benjamin Garcia of Santa Fe, New Mexico and Fredrick Ronald Garcia of Las Cruces, New Mexico; and his sister Joanne Garcia Skillman of Fayetteville, North Carolina.


Class of 1977

Stephen is one of 16 members of the Class of 1977 in Memorial Hall.