Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Sam's History


I came to the Air Force Academy from Pittsburgh PA. Since I had been told by my parents that I said I was going to fly from the time I was 5 years old, the Academy was a perfect fit.


I must say that the arrival day in June was a shock and Basic Cadet Training is a little remembered whirlwind. The start of the academic year added the necessity meeting academic standards to the requirement to meet 4th class standards making that first semester a bit of a struggle. As the semester progressed, I settled into the routine and even made the Freshman Swimming Team. The second semester got easier, and after recognition I realized how much that first year taught me about myself.

During the remaining three years I continued on Varsity Swim Team, worked on maintaining good academic standards and learned about the military leadership characteristics I would need to succeed in the Air Force. I left the Academy with an excellent education, a commitment to maintaining the high standards of honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior learned at the Academy and a basic knowledge of how to succeed in the Air Force.

Air Force

After graduation I went to pilot training, and upon graduation was assigned as a co-pilot in B-52s. After completing the B-52 upgrade training in the winter of 1966, I was assigned to Griffiss AFB NY.

In August of 1967 I was assigned to O-1s as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) in Vietnam. Upon completion of FAC training I was assigned to the 22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS) at Bien Tuy in the IV Corps area of South Vietnam and flew from a forward operating location at Bien Tre supporting the 10th ARVN division.

I was fortunate enough to have been flying operational missions for about 2 months before the TET offensive started the end of January of 1968. From then to the end of my tour in November of '68 the operational tempo was high, and while in country, I accumulated over 700 sorties and 925 hours of combat flying time.

Upon return to the States, I returned to B-52s at March AFB CA where I became a Standardization Evaluation co-pilot and simulator flight examiner. I began in unit upgrade to Air Crew Commander and completed qualification in the fall of '69. In August of '70 I took a B-52 crew to U-Tapao Thailand where we flew 44 Combat Missions in a 3 month Arc Light Tour.

Upon returning to the States, I received an assignment to Graduate School in Chemistry with a follow on assignment to teach in the Chemistry Department at the Air Force Academy. I received a MS in Chemistry in April of '73 from the University of California at Riverside.

I spent 4 very enjoyable years at the Academy teaching Chemistry, flying as a T-41 Instructor Pilot, the C-131 in VIP transport section at Peterson Field CO, and as a volunteer Swimming Coach.

From the Academy, I went back to flying B-52s at Anderson AFB Guam. After 8 months on a crew, I went into Wing Staff as Wing Instructional Systems Manager, and Deputy Chief of the Training Division. After two years on Guam, I returned to the States in the fall of '79 and was assigned to Grand Forks AFB ND. While there, I served as an Emergency Actions Controller in the Command Post and then as wing Chief of Mission Development.

I left Grand Forks in '81 to become one of the original Research Associates at the Air Power Research Institute at Maxwell AFB AL. While there I produced a study on the use of Long Range Combat Aircraft in theater operations, and also worked as a Facility Seminar Leader at the Air War College. Upon completion of this assignment in June of '83, I became Commander of the Defense Nuclear Agency Detachment at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 2 years and then retired June of 85.

Post Air Force

After retirement, I went to work for Lockheed Martin at the Skunk Works in Burbank CA. I was there for six years, as an Operations Research Scientist, and Department Manager. During that time I had the opportunity to work on projects associated with the U-2, SR-71, F-117, F-22 and F-35. In '91 I transferred to the Marietta facility, where I was an engineering program manager and Principle Systems Engineer.
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