A tragedy remembered

GUILFORD – In the course of human events, one story sticks out above all others, Although not directly connected to Christmas it can be correlated to the Spirit of Christmas.

The story began May, 2008 at the Memorial Day celebration, “Remembering Our Veterans” sponsored by the Guilford Fire Department and the Guilford Historical Society and the Guilford Methodist Church Ladies. The day left a lasting impression on many. The soldier honored for the day was Lt. Floyd Gunnard Nelson.

“On April 9th, 1959, the Navy Patrol Squadron 50 with a crew of ten, 3 officers and 7 enlisted men, in a US Naval seaplane piloted by Floyd crashed into the side of Mount Seju on Chejudi Island. The island lay midway between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Many newspapers reported on the Navy’s seemingly unending search for the crash site. Finally on April 11th, the site was discovered and arrangements were made for Floyd’s body to return home. It was an agonizing month for his wife, father and sister Millie until Floyd’s body arrived at the Erie Railroad Station in Binghamton from San Francisco on Mother’s Day May 8th. The funeral was held in Guilford with burial in Sunset Hill Cemetery. Those who remember are still saddened and have not forgotten the farm boy from Guilford, the son of a carpenter, who started out as an enlisted Naval man, and proudly became a Lieutenant. Floyd accomplished all these things by the age of 29. Herein today, lies a village, the village, that was saddened and numbed by the death of this great young man.”

This story began as a result of an article that appeared in many local papers and placed on WBNG YouNews TV. Above is a selected part of that article. A man from Texas, by the name of Arturo Torres began an internet search on Floyd and came up with the piece on the Binghamton TV station site on the web. His mission was to find any living relatives of the crew that was killed on April 9th, 1959. Once he located the piece he contacted the station and they were able to give him the name of the author, Wilma Felton-Gray, and the phone number. Through us he reached Millie, Floyd’s sister. With his permission, the following is an excerpt of Arturo Torres’s letter:

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