When I was 23, my best friend in all the world died in a water skiing accident. It was shocking. I was shocked. We were all shocked. He had just graduated from law school. He was a first cousin, and we had grown up together. In the aftermath, I remained close with his parents, my aunt and uncle. Many years later, I asked them if they were better – if they had healed. They had not. They told me that they could never recover from something so horrible, and that they lived with the loss of their son in an acute manner every single day. Aunt Emily told me that “no parent should have to watch their children go before them”.
This story hits very close to home.
The body of a missing 20-year-old surfer who may have fallen off a cliff while camping was found in the waters off Mexico by his father, who had been searching for him from a plane.
Scott Robert Fippinger, a junior at California State University San Marcos, was found Thursday afternoon by his father, Eric Fippinger, a retired Marine colonel and pilot.
Scott Fippinger had gone camping at a cliffside campsite about 10 miles south of Rosarito Beach with three friends when he got up and left his tent around 3:30 a.m. Jan. 14.
His friends said they saw his cellphone light on and assumed he got up to go to the bathroom. When they awoke the next morning, he was not in his sleeping bag.
Ripper is a good friend, a fellow TOPGUN bro, and a world-class officer of Marines. You’ve not met a finer officer. I promise you.
Each year, naval aviators are required to take an open book NATOPS test, among other things. The open book test is not difficult. It is simply long and arduous. Most pilots have a copy of the answer key and use it to ease the pain. I remember when someone offered Ripper a copy of the answer key. He wouldn’t accept it. He offered no judgment in return, but he also made clear that he would not compromise his integrity just to save an hour or two, no matter how meaningless the task. Stout like an oak, I tell you. Character not for sale.
And so I ask that you lift Ripper, Leslie and the rest of the Fippinger family up in prayer. They are strong, but they need to feel the warmth of our community and the love that knows neither condition nor limit. If prayer is not your tradition, please offer positive energy and pleasant thoughts. It’s all appreciated.
Take a look at the above picture. What’s up, handsome?! He doesn’t look like a kid who was simply along for the ride. He looks like a kid who was in charge of the ride. Special. Scott, please grab Lex, Wes, Landon, Basher, Chowdah and all the others and tell them that we miss them dearly. Get the whole lot together and shine your light on us. We are better because of our time with you. You left holes in our hearts, but we will see you again soon. Not too soon. We’ve more work to do here.