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A Former Marine Pilot Who Still Has His Eye On The Sky

Joe Caruso, senior loan officer at the CresCom branch in Summerville, is a former Marine pilot who still has his eye on the sky.

“It all started when I read the Post and Courier one Sunday morning,” he says, “about the creation of a new exhibit at Patriots Point to feature a new aircraft addition: a CH-46 Sea Knight, which I’d flown in the Vietnam War.”

The dedicated and decorated veteran researched more about the display and exactly when the CH-46 would be arriving to find that Patriots Point director Mac Burdette was his main contact.

“He immediately emailed me back, and mentioned how they were forming a steering committee to plan out the exhibit,” says Caruso. “He asked if I would lend my knowledge and experience to this endeavor. And I, of course, jumped at the opportunity!”

The committee met on the USS Yorktown several weeks later, throwing questions about the aircraft at Caruso for more than an hour, which he volleyed without a problem – like he’d flown the CH-46 just yesterday.

“It was great to relive my time in the Marine Corps,” he says. “I amazed myself how much of the technical aspects of the machine I had retained over these 40 odd years.”

Thanks to Caruso’s insight, the CH-46 should be arriving in late April. The committee at Patriots Point hopes to have it assembled and repainted in Caruso’s Squadron markings, HMM-164 (Helicopter Marine Medium), and on display later in the year.

“There’s still much planning ahead of us!” says Caruso.

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