When Syd speaks, we should listen

Dear editor,

Regarding the Dec. 6 letter “Super Hornets a waste of money,” written by a distinguished former RCAF fighter pilot, LCol (retd) Syd Burrows.

I have known Syd for a long time, and can assure readers that he is no “fighter jock,” expressing outdated opinions. He is a serious individual with many accomplishments to his credit, during and after his service life. Many in the Canadian Armed Forces know Syd’s story but I thought it might be helpful for your civilian readers to become aware of Syd’s background.

His first encounter with near-tragedy happened when flying his Sabrejet over Germany during the Cold War era. A bird strike shattered his canopy and a shard of Plexiglas pierced his left eye, destroying it and causing a lot of blood to flow. Other pilots might have ejected at this point, but not Syd Burrows. He stuck his head out into the slipstream to clear his good eye and he piloted his damaged aircraft back to base, landing it safely. For this he received a commendation from AFHQ – and a message telling him he couldn’t fly any more.

For any pilot this would be devastating news, but he found he could still sit in the co-pilot’s seat, teaching others how to fly. His boss, LCol Bob Hallowell (The Red Knight) one day pointed to a nearby T-33 trainer aircraft and instructed Syd to fly it solo. Syd did this successfully, flying with his one good eye, and eventually he got his wings back, flying light transport aircraft.

In retirement, Syd founded SPAADS, the Sabre fighter pilots association, but his more lasting achievement, after a 10-year campaign, was the creation of the Seventh Book of Remembrance, listing all in the military who lost their lives between major wars, either through accident or enemy action. This book will never be closed. It is held in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

When Syd Burrows speaks his mind on subjects like a fighter replacement, his is the voice of experience and first-hand knowledge, and the government should pay attention.

Norm Blondel

Courtenay

 

Just Posted

Boomer Jerritt next North Island College Artist Talk speaker

Acclaimed Comox Valley photographer, artist and world traveller Boomer Jerritt is coming… Continue reading

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

School district launches catchment consultation process in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Schools is commencing an important boundary catchment consultation process beginning… Continue reading

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

UPDATED: Town of Comox, RCMP complete investigations into allegations of staff misconduct

Mayor was unaware of any investigation opened by previous CAO

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Comox Valley Nature hosting one-day conference to discuss Courtenay’s Urban Forest Plan

Comox Valley Nature (CVN) is opening its annual Fall Vancouver Island Regional… Continue reading

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

Most Read