Tribute to SGT Francis Perkins and the crew of the Daisy Mae…
My friend, Jim Hawkins pays his respects to SGT Francis Perkins and the crew of the Daisy Mae on Veterans Day, 2016. Jim is a Vietnam Veteran and Korea Defense Veteran. Taking a trip to Bushnell National Cemetery in Florida, Jim hoisted a glass of Mogen David Wine.
This tribute means so much to me because during the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae, when Fran Perkins lay blind and wounded aboard the Daisy Mae, and the ship’s odds of returning safely were nil, Navigator Benjamin I Weiss, ordered nineteen year old Fran Perkins to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner 10 years into the future.
Ten years later, on Thanksgiving Day, Fran Perkins carried out the command of his superior officer, Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss. Fran and Ben made it back from the War, alive. Ben brought a bottle of Mogen David wine and had a silent toast to the ship and crew of the Daisy Mae. Every year since, Mogen David Wine and Thanksgiving go hand in hand in the remaining Perkins family.
Jim Hawkins, in October 2016, sent me an email asking if it would be okay to salute my Dad and his shipmates.
What an honor for my Dad and an honor for me. Jim placed my book The Last Flight of the Daisy Mae, and a bottle of Ben Weiss’s favorite wine, Mogen David, beside Fran’s marker at Bushnell Florida National Cemetery.
It took me three years to research and write the book about Fran, Ben and his buddies. Many times I would close my eyes at my keyboard and I could almost see the now deceased 11 heroes of the Daisy Mae as much younger versions of themselves, talking, laughing, and trading “Joe Lewis,” jabs in jest.
Right now I see these young men, standing by a younger version of Daisy Mae, saluting Jim Hawkins and his family. Navigator Ben Weiss is pouring Mogen David wine for the brave, young crew in a return salute to my friend, Jim Hawkins.
Thank you, Buddy…