Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Gary LeRoy Anderson

gary.png Gary was born November 28, 1941, in Vallejo, California, nine days before Pearl Harbor. At the end of World War II, his family returned to the Grand Junction, Colorado, area where he spent his childhood. He graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1959 and the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964, followed by 30 years in the Air Force as a pilot, (assistant) professor, and civil engineer.

For the first 20 years, he flew the Lockheed C-130 tactical airlifter while based in Texas, Taiwan, North Carolina, Arkansas, and the Philippines. There were also two- and three-month NATO-support rotations to France, England, and Germany. The mission included responding to natural disasters (e.g., the 1966 record Italian flood) and the man-made variety (e.g., Khe Sanh, Viet Nam--from whence his Distinguished Flying Cross). And, while in the Philippines in the early β€˜80's, he ran two remains-recovery missions to Hanoi and established the regular airlift support of the US embassy in Beijing.

It was while based in North Carolina that Gary met Marion Scholl. In her words, β€œIt was a typical Air Force story--boy from Colorado meets girl from New York in North Carolina and they get married in England,” in 1968. Several years later, they had a respite from flying commitments while he attended graduate school and then taught history and soaring at the Air Force Academy.

When his flying days were over and from that world he passed, he switched to civil engineering and served at bases and headquarters in the U.S., Korea, and Germany. Marion considered this his penance: for having beaten up the runways for 20 years, he now had to go back and fix them. His last job was to set up the U.S. Military Liaison Team in newly independent Slovakia in 1993. This afforded the unique opportunity to compare notes with senior officers of the former Warsaw Pact concerning their side of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Viet Nam, and other east-west confrontations. (One colonel related that, as a junior officer advising the North Vietnamese in the 1960's, he prayed for US air strikes: while everyone else ran for the bomb shelters, he and his local girlfriend (prohibited) ran to his dorm room.)

Gary and Marion retired to Battlement Mesa, CO, in 1994 from where they traveled, hiked, camped, kayaked, and whitewater rafted. He also dug and cleaned dinosaur bones for six years with the Museum of Western Colorado and still wields hammer and saw for Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County.

After trips to Rockies Spring Training in Tucson showed the advantages of biking on level land, he and Marion moved to Fruita in 2004. They continued their active outdoor life while supporting their community and Messiah Lutheran Church.
[ Home ] [ Table Of Contents ]