Not Even the Bloody Queen Gets KO KO!
Sterling silver, copper, brass, nickel, and wood
3.25 x 3.75 x 0.5 inches
Photographed by artist
The title of this piece is one of our family’s favorite stories. During a Joint Operation Exercise, British Sailors visited a US carrier, at breakfast, the Brits were shocked that hot chocolate was served. In a British accent, Pap repeats the sailor’s response, “Not even the bloody queen gets KO KO!” Even to this day, he’ll say these words and we all laugh.
The stories my Pap told me about his years of service in the US Navy inspired “Not Even the Bloody Queen Gets KO KO.” The piece celebrates my Pap, John Henry Thumma Jr.’s, service to our country (1956–1979). It records his career, beginning with Airship Squadron 3 at Lakehurst, NJ, then as flight engineer during Operation Whole Gale in 1960. His Sub Hunter crew set active Navy blimp flight records including 80 hours on station on a 95.5 hour flight. He was part of Attack Squadron 35 aboard the USS America, Vietnam Era, and original crew, plank owner, of the USS Nimitz, commissioned on his birthday, 3 May 1975. He retired twice first as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate Senior Chief. And then as an Instructor and Division Chief at NAS Oceana, VA after serving 21 years in Civil Service, Department of Defense (1981–2002) training and assisting Navy, Marine Corps and other service personnel in Training and Education.
Each element of the design represents his stories. The copper back is a panel of a rustic side of a Navy ship. On the panel is a porthole door that secures him within the safety of a ship, protecting our sailors and our nation. Open the detailed ship’s porthole door and you see my Pap’s photo captured in wood with his enlistment date. His story begins on the top left of the brooch. A small replica of the ZPG-2 “Seafarer” blimp is held aloft by the stick pin. A chain connects the blimp to the ship tying his career together. Sea life creatures, barnacles, are on the panel of the ship representing the passing of time and the many places he went. The bar at the bottom is the silhouette of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, his last ship. His final rank insignia, Aviation Machinist’s Mate Senior Chief, is on the right side of the brooch. A chain holds the anchor steady at homeport ending his 23 years of Naval service. “Not Even the Bloody Queen Gets Ko Ko”represents a collection of his adventures.