Veterans Day – Paul Bird

For Veterans Day, I would like to write about one of my many McCormack relatives that served in some capacity in the US military. The relative that I would like to tell you about is Navy Commander Paul L. Bird. Paul was my second cousin once removed. His grandfather, Henry McCormack and my great-grandfather, William E. McCormack were brothers.

Commander Paul Lloyd Bird

Commander Paul L. Bird

Paul entered the Navy in 1957 and retired from active duty in 1981 after 24 years with the rank of Commander. One of his early duty stations was the U.S.S. Forrestal, CV-59. Sometime later, he transferred to Navy Air. I think that Navy Air refers to the Naval Air Systems Command. 

One of his duties in the Navy was as a flight officer coordinating activities on the P-3 Orion aircraft. The P-3s were used for ASW (anit-submarine warfare)…hunting enemy submarines.[1]

He later taught this skill to Navy reservists and served as Officer in Charge of the Reserve Anti-submarine Warfare School at Willow Grove, PA. it was at this duty station that he met and married his second wife, Virginia “Ginny” Stevenson Komas. They were married in October 1974.

Paul was later transferred to NAF (Naval Air Facility) at Selfridge ANG Base near Detroit, MI where he served as executive officer.

Paul’s next and last transfer was to Toledo, Ohio where he was Commanding Officer for the reserve training facility there. He retired from the Navy at the end of his tour in Toledo.

Some of Paul’s earlier duty stations included Norfolk, VA and Jacksonville, FL.

Though not a veteran of active wars (although he did serve during the Vietnam War), he was a ‘cold war’ veteran searching for Russian subs during that time.

An interesting note relating to Paul’s service was a story that his wife relayed to me in a FB message [2];

An interesting memory of mine was a trip we took to Europe. It was the last trip we took together before he died. During a cruise ship stop in St. Petersburg , Russia he encountered Russian soldiers and sailors. Much different than finding their submarines….how times have changed!

Unfortunately, Paul died in late 2006 of pancreatic cancer which prevented me from ever meeting him. He is buried in Elam Cemetery in Melrose, Florida.[3]

I would like to thank Paul’s widow, Virginia “Ginny” Stevenson Komas for all the information and the picture concerning her late husband.

Thank you, cousin Paul for your dedicated 24 years of service!

Footnotes;

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_P-3_Orion

2. FB message from Ginny Bird 22 Oct 2014

3. https://thefamilyofmichaelmccormack.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/tombstone-tuesday-paul-bird/

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