McInerney, James Timothy

James Timothy McInerney ’78

James Timothy (“Jim” or “Mother Mac”) McInerney, died on Thursday, October 21, 1982, in a car accident.

Born on August 26, 1956, in Hammond, LA, to Angus Raymond and Margaret Mary (nee Meaney) Tucker, Jim grew up in an Air Force family, frequently moving around the country. Jim’s family settled in Hampton, VA, long enough for him to graduate from Hampton High School, the oldest public school in the United States, in 1974. While in high school, Jim was President of his class. He also participated in Navy JROTC, the drill team, the National Honor Society, and other extra-curricular activities. Additionally, he served as a Congressional page in Washington, D.C., during high school.

Jim entered the Naval Academy with the Class of ’78 as part of 15th Company, serving as a platoon leader during First Class year. As a midshipman, he majored in Oceanography. In intramurals, he excelled in battalion football, company fieldball, and company softball. He also served on the Plebe drill team.

Jim was known throughout the company for his boundless enthusiasm, fun-loving personality, and insatiable thirst for competition of any kind. He could find the silver lining in almost any cloud. It was virtually impossible not to like Mother Mac.

Upon graduation, Jim followed his dream of being a Naval Aviator to Pensacola, FL, and earned his coveted Wings of Gold and the call sign “Moose.” He subsequently served as an A 7 pilot in VA-66 on USS Eisenhower (CVN 69), including a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in 1982.

In addition to a keen mind and an epic moustache, Mother Mac had great timing. As a member of Air Wing 7, he skillfully landed his A 7 one day on the Ike despite fluctuating hydraulic pressure that ended with a complete loss of hydraulics as he trapped in the wires. Post-flight inspection revealed severed hydraulic lines, with hydraulic oil sprayed all over his aircraft and the after flight deck.

As an officer, Jim frequently participated in training flights that conveniently included stops near family, friends, fresh lobsters, and Broadway musicals. He also enjoyed visiting foreign countries, including a visit with the Pope, driving around Europe in his MG, skiing the Alps, and “keeping up foreign relations” while slumming in a dive bar somewhere in Turkey. Mother Mac fit a whole lot of living into a life cut tragically short.

To no one’s surprise, Jim loved flying. Coming from a large family, he also loved children. His unfulfilled plans involved becoming a commercial airline pilot and settling down to raise a family in the Seattle area.

At the time of his death, Jim was survived by his parents; his adoptive parents, Russell Francis and Elizabeth Jean (nee Thorpe) McInerney; his brothers Gerald, Patrick, Mario, and Jack; and his sisters Linda, Josie, and Brenda.

Mother Mac now rests peacefully at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 67, Grave 2967.

—Grover C. Norwood––

Because I fly
I laugh more than other men
I look up and see more than they,
I know how the clouds feel,
What it’s like to have the blue in my lap,
to look down on birds,
To feel freedom in a thing called the stick…

Who but I can slice between God’s billowed legs,
and feel the laugh and crash with His step
Who else has seen the unclimbed peaks?
The rainbow’s secret?
The real reason birds sing?
Because I Fly,
I envy no man on earth.