1/30/2013, we had the chance to do a Mug and Hug for my father, US Navy veteran Ed Rooney. We rallied at Brian’s Harley Davidson at 3:00 pm with depart time of 3:30. All total we had around 30 members riding and 4 cages in the line. RC Chris (Rooney 2n) and his brother Bob (Squared) led the way. It was a safe ride and a balmy 38 degrees on the way over.
Ed and Naomia “Omie” Rooney were relaxing at the house when they heard a couple motorcycles in the neighborhood. They figured that it was their sons returning from a mission they were on. When we pulled up out front, the couple bikes they thought were coming in, turned out to be about 30. Ed told me he thought we “brought some of the guys over after the ride so he could see what we were about”. While we were dismounting, he was taking pictures of everyone. That thought changed after Squared and I told him that “he was the mission”. His face immediately changed from “this is cool”, to an OH MY GOD look of surprise. Needless to say, the emotions got the best of him and a smile bathed in tears of joy and pride exploded on his face! When we all yelled “WELCOME HOME SAILOR” Ed snapped a salute to everyone. The members then lined up and shook his hand & hugged him. Ed was surprised to learn one of our members. ”T”, also served on the Guadalcanal. All the while, Omie was doing her best to take pictures through the tears. Rooney 2n presented his dad with a WWR coin and his Navy ring that Ed hasn’t seen in over 10 years. He probably thought it was lost. Ed received a certificate from A Hero’s Welcome, and his son Bob “Squared” Rooney, presented him the star from a retired American flag. Dutch presented the Honor Beads and explained the significance of each color. Ed took a minute to thank everyone for this honor and for coming out in the cold, knowing for some, it was the 2nd mission that day. He vowed to find a chapter near his home in Pittsburgh to join and continue the mission. We took some awesome group pictures with Ed surrounded by his family and his “new friends” in the watch. When everyone had gone, Bob and I could see that the spirit in his eyes was lifted. You see, Ed is currently battling lung cancer. This M&H was just what he needed to help him fight and ultimately defeat this terrible illness.
Edward C. Rooney served in the Navy from September 1962 – January 1964. He enlisted in 1962 and was assigned to the USS Thetis Bay, CVE 90, CVHA 1 (This was the first Assault Helicopter Carrier in the Navy), & LPH6 (final designation). October 1962, duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Boarded and searched a Russian trawler. March 1963, Picked up Kennedy’s helicopters from the west coast of Costa Rica and ferried them through the Panama Canal to the coast off of Maryland. This was after Kennedy attended the Conference of Presidents of Central America. June to July 1963, ferried Kennedy’s “helos” to Europe for Kennedy’s European tour. His ship was docked in Hamburg, Germany for a month. While there, a historic transatlantic helicopter flight landed on his ship. September 1963, now aboard the USS Guadalcanal, LPH7, deployed to Haiti to provide aid and relief to victims of Hurricane Flora. Honorable discharge January 1964 as an E3, Aviation Bosons Mate 3rd Class.
Submitted respectfully and with love,
Christopher “Rooney 2n” Rooney, RC