Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dustin Willis

Body identified as missing sailor
Boston police confirmed last night that the body pulled yesterday from Boston Harbor was that of missing sailor Dustin Willis, a 26-year-old petty officer who had last been seen near Quincy Market during the snowstorm Friday night.

The conditions that night were terrible by the water. I had to cover my face leaving Jen's house, I couldn't see anything. Fortunately, I knew where I was going with my eyes closed.

This is a young man who had a spotless record," he added, adding that last week Willis was honored with a Navy achievement medal for superior performance.

What a sad, sad story. A tragic accident. This is a satellite photo of the area.
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People are coming here by way of "googling" Dustin's name. They are sad and upset, some leave comments, some don't. I didn't know Dustin, I just posted because the story caught my eye, it was local, it involved the Navy, etc. But I want to say one more thing. A man, or a woman, is nothing more than what they leave behind. It is obvious that Dustin has left behind a loving family, good friends and shipmates who liked and admired him. I am sorry he did not get the fun night on the town he deserved after being underway for some time. But he left his mark on the world and he will be missed. That's not all bad.

13 comments:

SK said...

Awwww. That really is tragic. I had not heard this on the news, as I've been avoiding it lately. I feel terrible for that young man and his family.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone who is familiar with the area have any comments as to the likely hood of someone getting disoriented to point of wandering from the side walk on the the warf and then into the water due to the weather. I realize he was not familiar with the area but he was a sailor and therefore familiar with docks ect.

BostonMaggie said...

I am very familiar with this area and it is under constant construction with Jersey barriers, construction equipment, etc. It is not your ordinary setup for a dock. Yes, Dustin would have been familiar with a dock area, but this was different. Also, the conditions that night were very extreme. As I stated, I was walking blind to my car. I can't imagine negotiating that area under those circumstances, the wind, the snow, the construction, an unfamiliar area. Plus, we don't know what kind of cold weather experience he has, he's from North Carolina. I know there are people thinking right now...."Hey, it was a little snow and it melted the next day!" Yes, that's true, but when it was happening, right on the water it was really bad.

Anonymous said...

I apperciate the feed back. Those of us who knew him are really just trying to understand what the situation was really like in this area at the time. And as you stated being from North Carolina most of us (friends and family)really cannot relate the discriptions of the conditions at the time to a real life experience.

BostonMaggie said...

I didn't realize you knew him. I am so sorry for your loss. I can not imagine how difficult this is for you.

DDG75 crew member said...

I'm a sailor on the Donald Cook who was there. I can tell you that when we pulled into Boston that night, visibility was zero. The snow was being blown horizontally and probably could've been considered blizzard-like to most. I'm originally from Northern Pennsylvania and I've been in those conditions before. I
myself didn't feel like going out into it that night since I've experienced that kind of snow-stinging, in-your-face before and waited until the next day to venture out. I have no doubt that what the police have stated is true. Being unfamiliar with the area, and also being in those extreme conditions I believe it was nothing more than a horrible accident. I cannot imagine how his family and friends at home must feel, being that it is still such a difficult thing for us, his shipmates, to comprehend. We were just coming off of an extremely long and tedious underway period, looking for some down-time and relaxation prior to our return home. Being on a warship, you never expect to lose a shipmate, a friend, in a manner such as this. My deepest sympathy to his son, his family and friends. He will be sorely missed on board USS Donald Cook.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

they had his funeral today the entire local school that i am in was sad and we all honured him as the consesion went by

BostonMaggie said...

Honey I am sorry for your sadness, but it was a good life and it should be celebrated.

Wilfredo Martinez said...

I was a very close of Dusty. We worked together in the ship. I don't like thinking of what happened. I remember we were having a snowball fight w/ a couple of friends in the ship's flight deck before he left out to town. He's missed greatly, I feel sorry for his son who will grow up w/o having his father there next to him.

Shawna said...

I am Dustys girlfriend, we considered ourselves soulmates. This is the first night Ive looked at or read anything news wise concerning him. The loss is a hole in my heart but it makes me glad that everyone cared so much for him

BostonMaggie said...

Shawna - It takes a time to do what you need to do. Everyone is different. Do things at your own pace and only when it feels right.

If reading this helped you in any way, I am very happy.

If you wanted to read the writing of someone who knows just how you feel, there is another blog. It's called "Cool, Calm and Collected". Mel lost her boyfriend in Iraq in February and started blogging to help express herself.

http://www.melissarae870.blogspot.com/

dusty willis said...

my name is also Dustin Willis.