Dr. Barent (Barry) McCool was the guest speaker at a recent Rotary Club meeting in Sweetwater. Dr. McCool served two tours in Vietnam and was a sniper. He is currently an Associate Professor at Texas Tech University.
Dr. McCool's program was on the topic of managing crisis in life, from small to large. Dr. McCool lost his son, William McCool, during the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. The crew were 16 minutes from home when the shuttle broke apart during the intense heat of re-entry.
The seven crew members who died aboard the mission were Rick Husband, Commander; William C. McCool, Pilot; Michael P. Anderson, Payload Commander; David M. Brown, Mission Specialist 1; Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist 2; Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist 4; and Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist 1.
"These are seven heroes American's can't forget," said Dr. McCool.
In Lubbock's War Memorial Park there is a statue of William McCool. William grew up in Lubbock and graduated from Coronado High School.
"Sharing this story is therapeutic for me," said Dr. McCool. "My wife doesn't like sharing it though."
Dr. McCool also showed a short video dedicated to the memory of the STS Mission 107 crew.