The father of a Town of Lockport sailor killed in a weekend accident while off duty in the Persian Gulf today expressed no bitterness about his son's death.
"I don't feel bitter at all," Ronald H. Weaver Jr. said about the death of his son, Brian P. Weaver, 22, a Navy petty officer second class. "The accident could have happened here, too. It's my belief that when your time comes, it's not in your control."
His son died Sunday when a tour van carrying him and six other sailors for a visit to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, overturned, according to the U.S. Navy. Another sailor also was killed.
The Navy said the sailors, all from the USS Midway, were on liberty on an authorized tour set up with a private tour agency.
Brian, a former swimming high school champion and Eagle Scout, hadn't been home in 2 1/2 years, his father said. He was assigned to the Midway, which sailed for the Persian Gulf on Nov. 1.
While Brian hadn't discussed the U.S. role in Operation Desert Shield with his family, his father expressed no reservations about the U.S. policy, even after his son's death.
"I'm not bitter, because we can't let somebody go ahead and run the whole world," he said. "I feel for the people in Kuwait."
Weaver also took time to think of others who have lost loved ones in the Persian Gulf.
"It's a great tragedy," he said. "We send our condolences to the other families who have lost their sons."
Brian enlisted in the Navy before graduating in 1987 from Royalton-Hartland Central School. He went on active duty July 1, 1987. After basic training, he became an aviation electrician's mate and was assigned to the Midway, which had its home port in Japan.
He wanted to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and after he didn't qualify for entrance to the U.S. Air Force, he eagerly enlisted in the Navy, his father said.
The elder Weaver, who has been a Scout leader for over 30 years, was instrumental in his son's becoming a Boy Scout and later an Eagle Scout.
About four years ago, father and son went to a New Mexico Scouting reservation where they climbed a mountain together, while the father still was recuperating from a broken ankle. At times, Weaver was crawling, but his son kept him going.
"He was my inspiration," Weaver said today. "He said, 'Don't worry about it, Dad. I know you can make it.' "
Brian, of Slayton Settlement Road, set swimming records in the 200-yard medley and the butterfly stroke in high school.
He also was a pole-vaulter and relay runner.
Besides his father, he is survived by his mother, Shirley; five brothers, Michael of Burt, Gerald, Andrew, Eric and David, and two sisters, Brenda Rathke of Korea, and Beth, and his grandparents, Cecilia and Ronald Weaver Sr.