Today was an honor to meet a true officer and gentleman. You all know him as Captain Nate, the pilot of Chopper 13, but many others know him as Lieutenant Commander Nathan Bosch of the US Navy.
Nathan spent more than two decades in the Navy, where at one time he was the “Air Chief” on a helicopter carrier. In fact, when he was promoted to lieutenant commander, it was his daughter who “pinned” him in front of the whole ship.
As “Air Chief”, Nathan was in charge of the airport and everything that flew on an aircraft carrier, in this case the USS Somerset. Somerset is named after the county in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 went on 9/11. It was one of three “freedom ships” made with materials from the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, or a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Interestingly, all US Navy ships carry an identification number, but Somerset’s official unofficial number is 93. On the superstructure are displayed the brave words spoken by passenger Todd Beamer to those who fought back to their hijackers: “Let’s roll.”
It is surrounded by 40 stars, one for each passenger and crew member. In the ship’s chapel, the “93” is surrounded by 40 stars and a small one for the child of a pregnant passenger. Nathan told us that on September 11, the crew gathers on deck with 40 red roses. One by one, to the sound of a bell, each rose is given to the sea. Finally, a white rose representing the purity of the unborn child is thrown into the ocean. (Crying again? I’m writing this.)
Nate told us that if a family member of a 9/11 victim requests a tour of the ship, they receive all the naval honors accorded to an admiral or senator. And, as an “air chief”, he thought it was only fitting that his name should not be painted on the back of his chair, which is the tradition. Instead, the chair bears the name of the pilot at the controls of Flight 93.
These are things you might not know if you’ve only seen Chopper 13 on TV. But as I’ve said so many times before, my goal is to introduce you to people you might not otherwise meet as well as places you might not otherwise have been able to go.
Besides his distinguished military career, Nate is the father of two children and a grandfather.
I hope you feel like you know the man behind Chopper 13 a little better with today’s segment. From all of us here at WJZ, I want to thank Nathan Bosch for his service to our nation.
Until next time,