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In Memory of United States Airman Billy May killed in 1991. Violently
 murdered on the night of his return from operations
Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 
(a victim of domestic violence)


(This is the only picture I have of him/us back in 1990, he's in the white shirt and a
much younger me in the background.  He is missed.  I can't find a single mention of
him on the Internet, so I wanted to be sure he was not forgotten.)

Almost 25 years later, I can't find a single trace of this story, yet I'm affected by it almost every day.  I believe these to be all factual points in this story but I've had a hard time finding any mention of these events anywhere on the web.   

I remember the day my rescue team got back from our 10'ish month deployment for Desert Shield /Storm in the spring/summer of 1991.  It had been a long trip.  It had begun in August of 1990 with a troubled flight out of Pope AFB on a C5 Cargomaster that had to make a few emergency stops in Spain, and after dropping us off at a still undisclosed location, crashed and burned taking off out of Ramstein AFB in Germany a few days later (or we were told that was the C5 we’d been on, I’d never looked at the tail number and don’t really want to think about it because most of the crew was killed. 

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19900829-0

 I was the crew chief of a technical rescue team, a small team of only 3 people, including myself … but my first leadership role and we got to do some really cool stuff.  My third seat rescue man was named Billy May – a 19 year old cocky kid that was born in Haiti, grew up in the gangs of Chicago and joined the Air Force as soon as he could to get away from trouble.  A sharp kid – he challenged both my patience and my early leadership skills but he was a brother.  

 On the day we returned from a very long flight (stopping for a refuel in Bangor, Maine at 3:30am in the very early morning only to be surprised by the sound of a band and a long line of area residents (that we didn't know) that had turned out to welcome us home..  We landed Pope Air Force Base runway 23 around 3pm on a C141.  We had a big celebration on the tarmac, and everyone went their separate ways to celebrate making it home (and I proud that my little team of guys and our entire unit were all home safe).   I remember getting the call at around 4am from my Tech Sergeant (I'm leaving others names out of this unless I hear from them with permission) ...that had just tried to identify Billy’s body at the Fayetteville  North Carolina City morgue (and he couldn’t) even though we’d just lived together in very close quarters for almost a year.  I went numb for a few years after that call.

 Turns out Billy’s girlfriend had found a new boyfriend while we were deployed.  When Billy (a brown belt and one tough scrapper) entered his trailer he was shot in the head from behind, fought back and apparently broke several bones in the process  he was then strangled with a bag (and his uniform belt) and most of the rest of his bones were broken. He was left in his car on one of the many tank trails that are all over Ft Bragg, soaked in gasoline and the car was lit on fire (but they screwed that up somehow and both girlfriend and new boyfriend were quickly caught).  

 Billy was a brave guy that served his country but came home to senseless violence, he never even got out of his desert uniform. Not a day goes by that I wish that I could have known what would happen or somehow stopped him from heading home that day..    

  A few weeks later my first wife left me, about 9 months later my enlistment ended; the military was being downsized and I needed a fresh start.  I left the area for new opportunities, lost my first home to foreclosure in the process and being without job/home, I headed to Atlanta to reboot my life.  I eventually found my way to Singer Island...Billy never got that opportunity.  It’s been almost 25 years since that day, our country has fought in more wars and our people are still in harm’s way in several countries fighting bravely, with too many dying proudly…. 

At home we have poverty increasing, 1 in 30 kids in America are homeless, gangs are taking hold, unrest is starting to unfold and the violence that happens all too often in Riviera Beach, is happening in too many cities across this country of ours ...and yet, we've still got one of the best, most wonderful countries in the world. We have incredible freedoms that few others get to enjoy and amazing opportunities for each and every one of us that strive and work hard for our individual dreams. 

 I believe it’s time that we as American’s step up and focus on doing things better or differently in (and for) our local communities before it’s too late for this country of ours.  We've ALL got to work together as neighbors and citizens to look out for each other and for the future of our children ...and ultimately for the future of this country.  Maybe if we spend less time focused on ourselves and  picking apart differences with others ....and begin to work together from common areas, needs, challenges, we can get help this country move forward in positive way.

 


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