Thursday, May 26, 2011


            This is a special Memorial Day for me, and for other friends of a fine old Marine aviator named Donald J. “Mac” McCarthy.

            It will be the first one that he becomes one of the fallen American patriots that we remember on this day each year.  He died last January, at the age of 79.
Mac spent a career as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He flew attack jets off aircraft carriers conducting raids over North Viet Nam.  Before and after that he flew jets from land bases and other carriers over a large part of the world.  He represented the U.S. Government in our Embassy in Kuwait, and commanded a Marine Air Base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima, Japan.
That was where my wife and I met Mac and his wife, Jennifer.  I was commanding a naval base a few hundred miles to the south, and we visited Iwakuni and started a friendship that has lasted for 26 years. 
We came to Rockport a few years after I retired from the Navy, and the McCarthys decided to move here a couple of years later. 
Mac quickly found a place for himself on town committees, and later served as a member of the special committee created to look after the building of Rockport’s fine new Police Station. 
Mac joined the American Legion, and loved taking part in the annual Memorial Day parade.  He was the featured speaker one year.
It was on November 10th every year that you really saw Mac’s true colors, and they were the Scarlet and Gold of the Marine Corps.  He loved the Corps, and celebrated the Corps’ birthday vigorously every year.  
Last November, Mac, in failing health, made a very special effort to attend the annual Marine Corps celebration, held at the home of Captain Phil Zeman, USMC (Ret.).
We remember all the times when Mac was in great health, though.  He loved to go skiing.  One time he took the McCarthy dog, a blond Labrador named D’Arcy, on a walk in Dogtown.  Like other Rockporters who have ventured into those wilds, he went far farther than he expected, and wound up over near Addison Gilbert Hospital.
Mac and I loved to discuss politics, whether it was the situation in Iraq or Afghanistan, what the president is up to, and most especially, the latest events in the drama of Rockport’s Board of Selectmen and other town organizations. 
A few times it appeared that there were no or not enough good candidates running for selectman and Mac helped form a committee of interested citizens to find good people to volunteer to run. 

Pete Foss and Mac McCarthy on the campaign trail in Rockport

This picture will always remind me of one of those campaigns, when Mac pulled out all the stops to support a candidate.  Mac was instrumental in forming groups to campaign for several  candidates.

Another fine American has gone.  I miss Mac.

            Semper Fidelis, old friend!

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