Besal and three other pilots were simulating bombing runs on a training mission when his Vought A-7 Corsair clipped the plane next to him. Besal ejected at a speed close to 350 mph.
The wreckage of Besal's plane was found last month by a team of divers from TISIRI (Think It Sink It Reef It), a Jacksonsville-based marine conservation company that specializes, among other things, in building artificial reefs. A data plate picked up off the ocean floor was traced back to Besal, who now teaches aviation maintenance technology in Charleston, South Carolin
Besal, who went on to become commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS America, spent 30 years in the Navy. He used his flying miscalculation to develop a greater appreciation for errors made by others. He taught the next generation of cadets that mistakes are a part of life and what matters is what one does with second-chance opportunities
Back on land, Besal was still beaming, "I'll treasure whatever Joe (Kistel) lets me have just as a keepsake of the event. It will certainly cause me to pause and remember that day and again to remember the incredible squadron mates I had and the people that entrusted me with that airplane. I may have broken that trust with the mishap, but they saw fit to trust me again, that's what I'll remember when I look at those (pieces).
Naval aviator returns to underwater site of 1974 crash -