More than 50 years ago, Texas Tower No. 4, a radar platform about 80 miles off the coast of New Jersey that was designed to detect an air attack by the Soviet Union, was destroyed during a storm.
Today the sacrifices made by the 28 men who died in the storm, who were based at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, were recognized.
US Senator John F. Kerry delivered a letter from President Obama this morning to Don Abbott, the president of the Texas Tower Association, a group of men who have served on the towers, their families, and those interested in the towers. Abbott received the letter in a ceremony today at a Malden community center.
The letter formally pays "tribute to the service and sacrifice of the victims." Family members also received a formal letter of recognition from the Air Force last July.
The tower collapsed during a storm on Jan. 15, 1961. The crew included 14 civilians and 14 service members. One of the civilians was Abbott's father, David, a welder.
In 2000, Don Slutzky, who had previously worked on the tower but was not on it that fateful day, reached out to Kerry, seeking recognition for the men.
Since then, Kerry has been fighting for formal recognition of the victims. The late Senator Edward M. Kennedy also helped in the effort, a spokeswoman for Kerry's office said.
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