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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Breaking News, Education, Media, Society | 0 comments

BP: The DeepWater Eleven, Now With Their Lord Who Once Quieted the Storm At Sea


… Aaron Dale Burkeen was turning 38, a landmark for a young man… no longer so young, but not middle aged, that sort of ‘tween’ stage of adulthood. His wife Rhonda, his son Timothy a lively six year old, his teenage daughter Aryn, looked forward to it too. Dad had to work the rig, but that was ok. There would be a special celebration. All his friends and family were planning to feast and have fun.

Aaron never saw his 38th birthday. As a crane operator astride the platform, trained to lower crew members to boats in an emergency, he died four days before his 38th birthday, when the DeepWater Transocean Horizon oil rig suddenly exploded without warning.


Donald Clark was 49 years old, married to Sheila. He was affectionately called “Duck” by close-in family. The family was tight, with cousins, nieces, nephews. Donald was a gentle man who the young men of his family say influenced them to the good daily.

The young souls of this Donald’s family lost their exemplar and mentor when he was killed in the DeepWater Transocean Horizon oil rig explosion. His job was assistant driller, and in one more day, he was to leave the rig for a three-week break.


Stephen Ray Curtis, 39, was from Georgetown, Louisianna… just going into that time of life of shepherding, along with his wife, his two teenagers into adulthood. He and his kids had ‘old school’ time together … he’d taught them to hunt, taught how to throw and catch a baseball to win, and gave of himself to his children and to the community through his church.

Stephen was an assistant driller on the DeepWater Transocean Horizon rig the day it exploded with huge repercussive shocks and conflagration of flame and black smoke.


Roy Wyatt Kemp was a mere 27 years old, father of two tiny children. Kaylee is 3 years old, that age of dancing everywhere, hardly ever being able to just walk quietly, such a delight. And his wife Courtney, recently gave birth to Maddison who is now 3-months old … who is at that ‘cling to your neck with sweet little arms’ age. Like many of the roughnecks on oil rigs, men and women, Roy loved to go drown some worms, hunt with his dog, Ellie, and just be renewed in God’s great outdoors. He was a devout member of a Baptist church in Jonesville, Louisiana.

He was killed on the DeepWater Transocean Horizon rig run by BP.


Karl D. Kleppinger, Jr., was on the planet for only 38 years. He’s from the hard-pressed but deeply salt of the earth city of genteel dogs and men of iron, women of steel, Natchez, Mississippi. Karl managed to come home safely after serving honorably with the US Army in Operation Desert Storm. NASCAR was his unofficial middle name. He loved to do the ‘guy’ verion of cooking, with his mean methods of barbequing. He is married and has a young son who looked filled with happiness in his father’s presence. Karl and his wife also love two nieces who they have cared for ever since the girls’ father left the scene.

Karl died on the oil rig, and like most of the others, was MIA for days. Some of his co-workers drove his truck back to Mississippi. When his family heard the truck pulling up, they thought it was Karl, that he had been saved. Sadly, so sadly, it was not to be.


Blair Manuel, was ‘the old man’ on the rig, you know, the Old Man and the Sea type. Jovial, people liked him. Blair had seen a lot in his 56-years. And yet, he was due for a whole new adventure, one of the heart and soul. He was going to be married in NOLA in two months. Blair, a chemical engineer, was going to spend the rest of his life surrounded by dear women…. being dad to his three daughters, Kelli, Jessica and Ashley Jo, and loved by his soon-wife-to-be, the beautiful Melinda. He was a guy-guy nonetheless, holding season tickets to the intrepid Louisiana State University baseball and football games.

He wouldnt make it to his late-in-life ‘here comes the bride’ feast of life. He was killed on the rig run by BP in the once pristine Gulf waters.


Dewey Revette, was a 48-year-old oil driller. He came on when he was barely dry behind the ears, loved the work, was good at it. He had a great wide easy smile, and just passed his 29th year mark dancing he-man ballet on the rigs for Transocean.

Dewey didnt know that day, he’d never see his two daughters and his wife again. It came sudden, that explosion. And for Dewey’s family, they’ll grieve while living in a small town, State Line, Mississippi, where often folks dont forget others’ sorrows the day after the funeral… but instead bring pie and soup and baskets of flowers and others comforts… to just sit in silence on the porch on a summer night, fireflies, crickets, and for as long as it takes afterward for the family to find their ground again. May it be so for Dewey’s kith and kin.


Shane Roshto, was a very young man with an entire lifetime ahead of him. At age 22, he’s already staked his life to substance: he was a husband to Natalie, and father to little person Blain.

This young rig worker was suddenly lifted off the planet when the rig exploded, and he went to his death with precious last prayers, for he’d inscribed inside his hard-hat, the date of his wedding day, and the date of his 3-year-old son’s birth, a prayer of love he carried everywhere with him on the job… and now in heaven.


Adam Weise was the camouflage gear king, happy to tromp off into field and flatlands to hunt and fish. A man’s man hailing from Yorktown, Texas, he was also master of sculpted beard and sideburns in the old style of gentlemen-adventurers in the west. He was ambitious young, had the work ethic, began climbing rigs right after high school graduation.

He had a woman who he was sweet on, and also a mother and a grandmother who looked to him with full hope and confidence. The woods will be lonelier without this 24 year old, and the three most important women in his life now turn to begin coming back, slowly, from such shock. It will take time before life will ever seem semi-normal again. There’s a saying in my Old Country family, that to mourn the aged takes time, but to mourn the young takes double and treble the time.


Maxwell Gordon Jones was excited. He had one young son, so proud, and his little family was a dream come true. He watched his wife Michelle with great pride. She was 8 months pregnant with their second child. The weight of responsibility rested on his shoulders and he was up to the challenge.

Max didn’t live to see his wife give birth to their second son. He would not be there to rejoice and strut around thinking, wow. Max was killed on the BP project, and his infant son was born 3 weeks after he passed.


Jason C. Anderson is 35 years old, from Midfield, Texas, and the father of two children. He was drill supervisor on the rig. It is said he tried valiantly to close down the well after workers called their bosses saying ‘the well was coming in and they were “getting mud back.”

Jason’s last moments were spent trying to turn away disaster, no doubt. But by reports, at least two explosions suddenly created an huge fiery inferno. It is reported that rig crew members were projectiled through walls, that huge debris was airborne, “and the living quarters blew apart.”

Those who were first witnesses say people were screaming from injuries while crawling across the bloodied deck.” But Jason to the last, had literally kept to his station and went down with the ship. May he ever rest in peace.

May all the men lost, rest in peace. May all their friends and families be comforted.

Most of the funerals of the eleven men who were killed in the drill rig explosion were held without their bodies present, as their bodies were not recovered from the ocean. Many of the caskets and memorial boxes for burial were filled, as in the old ways since ancient times, with the artifacts and memorabilia that most signified the person’s essence of earth, mementos of the best of their lives, maybe a few fishing lures, maybe a hunting hat, a ball for sandlot baseball in heaven, and other meaningful items… as well as pictures of loved ones, and childish handwriting and the more even handwriting of the elders on little notes tucked in, blessing the souls of their loved ones into their final rest in the deep. There’s an old story in the New Testament that the Apostles cried out from their ship in the midst of storm, for their Master to save them. And He rose up and stilled the storm. And for the DeepWater Eleven most of whom were devout religious men, the same, they have been brought through the storm and are safe with the One.

Transocean digital condolence: You can see here TransOcean’s tiny youtube type video that memorializes the loss of the eleven men.

Breaking News: There is reportage which if true, is just white-eyed enraging, twofold… that some of the men who died and their families have been named in law suits already brought by various ‘interested parties.’ If this is true and the funeral praying still hanging in the air, truly this is such extreme pain for the survivor familes.

Secondly, it is reported on CNN that BP and Transocean have not come close to the survivor families face-to-face to give condolences and talk with the bereaved in depth. Family and witnesses to the funerals and at the BP memorial say BP execs were there, but absolutely hit the doors in their rush to get out of the place with nary a moment given to those who are grieving.

Is this shades of 9-11 wherein multinational companies didnt contact the widows, mothers, fathers, children of those who died in the trade towers because they feared being sued? Is this a replay wherein lawyers wanted to file their papers suing everyone and their mother while bodies were still being dug out of the Twin Towers rubble by dogs and valient souls? As far as I know, giving condolences, and using restraint in lawsuits against the grieving, doesn’t have to do with the law; it has to do with ethics which is often far higher than the law. Giving respite for survivor families to grieve and recover some balance, and giving meaningful condolences in person and for as long as it takes, ought not be oppositions, but gestures of humanity toward the ‘least amongst us.’

Lack of media coverage for the Eleven: Just in case anyone asks, the egregious oversight is not that major media failed to report in depth and identify and memorilaize the men killed on the rig until many many days had passed. The egregious oversight is across all media, that people who are killed, murdered, die anywhere in the world are listed merely by name, age, gender, and here, and in Iraq, Afghanistan, in the Gulf, in Burundi, anywhere there are able media witnesses… =that’s considered adequate notice … including in war, when media only mentions ‘a troop died today,’ or ‘several troops died today,’ ‘several civilians died today,’ or ‘eleven men died on an oil rig.’ Then. Silence. Long long silence. They arent ‘troops, workers, men, women, civilians’; they are the beloveds of a group of souls who together lived real lives worthy of way more than one line each in passing.

Noticing deaths in a timely manner: I’ve been at doc’s trying to get my anemia undercontrol with I.V. iron infusions. I’ve been away for many weeks. Today, is my first day back at TMV. Putting together these too-small biographies of the eleven lost, and finding their pictures took several hours tonight. There is NO place I could find on-line that listed any form of real life insight into all the men’s lives, and no place where all their pictures, large-size, could be found gathered in one place. Large sized pix and bios in at least some depth may be someplace buried past page 10 in Google search, but I did not find them. (Except for now, right HERE, in this article at TMV) The date of the explosion that killed eleven and injured others, was April 20th. Today is May 28th. The coverage has been absurdly and insultingly spare.

Toxic: Dispersants may be toxic, certainly the oil spill is toxic, but so it appears are BP’s pitiful and p-poor ‘public affairs” officers for their abject lack of consistent and timely updating of all government officals and the public and those who rely on the waters for earning a living… about starting and then stopping efforts to cap the huge gusher under the ocean floor, seemingly downplaying extent of the black blood hemorrhage, and other matters pre and post explosion.

Stay tuned for the kin of those federal legal jackals who sharpened their teeth on the lying sacks of merde in the ponzi schemes of the financial investigations ongoing, to be unleashed around BP’s muddled information giving. At the least, it may be that BP is begging to be exposed as the PR hacks of the century, last century and this century. We have to ask, given the HUGE destruction of ocean waters and ocean life and human life and livelihood, is BP the next Phillip Morris? If not, then just people will unknot the noose. But, if so, guess what? We’ve seen it all before. And this time, we’re ready. Ubi concordia, ibi victoria – Where is the unity, there is the victory.

Believe it.