Harm: Family

On Christmas Eve 1969 the Rabb family was notified that their husband and father Harmon Rabb Sr had been shot down over Vietnam and was MIA. He had flown over 160 missions, most off of the USS Hornet, and made many close friends, which Harm Jr would eventually meet. Harm Jr became obsessed with finding his father such that when his mother Patricia remarried the successful executive Frank Burnett they found it difficult to “bond.” Harm ran away from home at 16 and went to Laos, with Lieutenant Colonel Francis Stryker, to find his father. He was unsuccessful however, except that he became close with a Vietnamese girl who was later killed. He spent some time with his paternal grandmother, Sarah Rabb in Belleville Pennsylvania, learning about his father and grandfather and rebuilding their double winged Stearman which he still proudly fly’s.

A graduate of Annapolis he qualified for flight training at which he excelled and distinguished himself; until, what was diagnosed as “night blindness” caused him to crash his F-14 Tomcat into the carrier deck killing his RIO. He was able to get into law school and became part of JAG where he has “networked” with many of his fathers old friends and comrades. Despite his physical limitations, Harm’s military career was exemplary. He was promoted from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander during some “defensive action” in the “first year” that we met him. Five years later, his promotion to Commander was nearly derailed by false accusations of “contemptuous words” but was awarded when he was exhonorated. Five years after that he was wished “fair winds and following seas” when he was selected as head JAG officer in Europe, a Captains billet so he was immediately frocked.

His career was blessed when a follow-up eye examination showed that he had really been “misdiagnosed,” and surgery was able to correct his visual problems leading to: his going back onto active flight status, flying for the CIA, being a crop duster and stealing a MIG to continue his quest to locate his father. He found a Russian prisoner of war log book with his fathers name in it only to have it stolen; but, made contacts which did eventually lead to other documents and photos, and meeting the Russian interrogator of his father. He flew into the Russian countryside with his JAG partner, Sarah MacKenzie, and met his fathers’ common law Russian wife who told of his fathers death at the hands of the drunk soldiers he was trying to save her from. Amazingly she didn’t mention their son (Harm’s brother) to him but Harm “stumbled across” him later when he was on an assignment to save the Russian president!

The resolution of what he felt was his duty to his father and the quantity of intense experiences, both military and
personal, gave him a deep understanding of people which led to his becoming guardian of Mattie, a “home alone” child who was running a crop dusting company, "Grace Aviation." The constancy and depth of his relationship with Mac was at once both turbulent and deepening. The substantially lethal experiences he had with both Mattie and Mac (along with the deadline inflicted by a fortuitous promotion) led Harm to the necessary soul-searching and to the long awaited realization of how much having Mac in his life meant to him; and then – finally – the proposal. One time when Chegwidden wouldn’t give up trying to rescue Harm he was asked “How did you know he was alive?” Mac answered “we didn’t, but we’ve just had experience with him, he’s tenacious.” Chegwidden added “have you ever tried to get gum off the bottom of your shoe?” Harm has over 200 episodes worth of memories… most of them set your hair on end… and many of them are here in Harm’s scrapbook.

Finding His Family

  • Harm’s mom and dad

  • In dad’s plane

  • With dad on the Hornet

  • Jenny Lake knew his father

  • Ejecting over Vietnam
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  • With Stryker in Vietnam

  • Finding the “book”
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  • Hugh Blackadder (D. Bellisario) man with the money

  • Harm’s dad at train station going to “Beloyka.”

  • Dad & common law wife in Russia

  • “I never could be a father to you, but you’re the only son I’ve ever had. I’ll help.”

  • “I feel guilty for not doing what your father asked me to do.”

  • Mac, you’ve come farther than anyone else

  • Mac and Harm had to share a room in Moscow

  • You can get anything for money in Russia

  • Major Mark Sokol stole Harm’s book

  • “Borrowing” a MIG for ride to Beloyka

  • Flying into a trap

  • Parlovski sent his dad’s pictures

  • Better than being hit by a missle

  • Gypsies Vasya and Ruszka

  • Savin’ Harm from Gypsies

  • Parlovsky tells where Rabb was sent

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    Pitchta found escaped Rabb in her barn and became his common law wife. She called him ‘tete’ because he never revealed who he was or where he was from.
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  • “Goodbye dad, I love you”
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  • Only the birds know where the Tiaga ends – and Tete

  • Brothers in Russia

  • Writing on the wall

  • Goodbye, back to Russia

  • “I would not lie to my brother”

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