Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Thomas P. Mahan, Jr

Born in 1942 in Atlanta, GA to an Army Infantry Major and a Georgia Peach, Tom grew up in Jerome, ID. He graduated in 1964 from the USAF Academy, CO and became a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Over the next two years he completed pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in west Texas and initial combat crew training at Luke AFB, AZ.

Over his 24-year Active Duty career he served ten years in the European and Pacific/Southeast Asia regions and accumulated over 4500 hours flying the T-37, T-38, T-39, F-100D, F-104C/D/G/TF, F-4E, F-15C/D, A-7D and the F-117A. His assignments included two Viet Nam combat tours – flying the F-104C and F-4E, three other operational fighter assignments, three stints as a fighter instructor pilot, and a tour as the first American pilot on Exchange Duty flying the F-104G with the German Air Force. He completed one staff tour in Germany at the headquarters of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), and served three years in the Pentagon on the Air Staff working force structure and budget issues. From 1982 – 1984 he commanded a squadron of air superiority F-15Cs at Bitburg Air Base, Germany. As Assistant and then Deputy Commander for Operations from 1984 to 1986, Colonel Mahan supported the development of combat capabilities in the F-117 stealth fighter. In 1989 this Nighthawk unit won the Collier Trophy, and in 1991 it neutralized the Iraqi air defense system in the initial hours of that conflict. He completed his military career as a Colonel in June 1988 as the Vice Commander of the 35th Tactical Training Wing at George Air Force Base in California.

His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and 13 Air Medals.

From 1988 through 2000 Tom was an engineering manager in the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, a Burbank and then Palmdale, CA unit of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. He managed an analysis developmental program and coordinated multi-spectral technology development initiatives to improve the survivability of existing and future aircraft. His assignments included: working with the Warfighters to develop aircraft survivability systems requirements, completing and applying mission and functional analyses, and using quantitative analysis techniques in the design of the F-22, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and several other projects. He was instrumental in evaluating advanced, non-defense projects for the Skunk Works and led the company's effort to establish non-traditional lines-of-business as the defense environment changed in the ‘90s.

From 2000 to 2010 Tom represented the advanced survivability technology interests of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines and United Technologies Corporation. He worked with weapon system contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing and with other contractors in the aerospace industry of Southern California, Texas and Georgia. His focus was on ensuring P&W contributed to the maximum to aircraft survivability and system-level improvements.

He retired in December of 2010 and now supports two non-profit organizations.

In addition to his professional military education, Tom earned a Bachelors Degree in Engineering Science from the USAF Academy and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Utah.

He has been married to Shirley Moore since 1965. They enjoy two grown children and three grandkids.

Tom Mahan's Working Life Timeline

· United States Air Force Academy – (Cadet in 15th Cadet Squadron) – 6/60 – 6/64

· UPT at Reese AFB, TX – (T-37A & T-38A Undergraduate Pilot Training) – 7/64 – 9/11/65

· Luke AFB, AZ – (F-100D/F Combat Crew Training) – 10/65 – 5/66

. George AFB, CA – (AFR 51-104 Transition to the F-104C) – 5/66 – 11/66

     Ace Rawlins and I were the first non-Old Heads to check out in the F-104C

     When a Flight Test Center chase F-104A collided with a XB-70 near Barstow, I,
     in a F-104D on my third checkout sortie with Major Dutch Englehardt, flew rescap.
     We were first on the crash scene - 8/66

     Udorn RTAFB, Thailand – F-104C nine-month Combat Tour flying air-to-air and air-to-ground for 112 combat missions total - 100 over North Viet Nam – 11/66 – 8/67

     At the end of my tour Ace Rawlins and I joined 16 other pilots and ferried 18
     F-104Cs from Udorn RTAFB to Clark AB, Philippines, to Anderson Field in Guam, to
     Hickam AFB, HI / Barber's Point, HI, to England AFB, LA, to Homestead AFB, FL and
     on to Ramey AB, Puerto Rico to deliver the machines to the PRANG.

     Anacostia Annex, VA for Defense Language Institute – (German technical competence) – 1/69 – 5/69

     Luke AFB, AZ – Instructor Pilot – F-104G/TF-104G for the German Air Force – 8/67 – Memmingen AB, GE
     First pilot in the newly established USAF-GAF Exchange Tour - Combat Certified
     with Jagdbombergeschwader 34 "Allgäu" JaboG 34/2Staffel flying the F-104G
     and TF-104s – 5/69 – 6/71

     Wiesbaden AB, GE – (USAFE Staff Tour working European War Plans, flying the T-39 Saberliner
     - started a U. of Utah MBA) – 7/71 – 12/72

     George AFB, CA – (AFR 51-4 F-4E Transition) – 1/73 – 4/73

     Korat RTAFB, Thailand – (Second SEASIA tour – F-4E) – 4/73 – 4/74

     Bailed-out of F-4E SN 70204 – on fire – 1/9/74

     Homestead AFB, FL (F-4E Replacement Training Unit Instructor – continued MBA work) – 5/74 – 6/76

     Salt Lake City, UT – (University of Utah completed the MBA on campus) – 6/76 – 12/76

     Norfolk, VA – (Student - Armed Forces Staff College) – 1/77 – 6/77

     Pentagon – (Action Officer on the Air Staff working Bases & Units, Ops Analysis and managing the A-10 Force Structure) – 6/77 – 7/80

     Bitburg AB, GE – (Local Check-out and a F-15C operational tour) – 7/80 – 6/84

     22 TFS Operations Officer – 7/80 – 6/82

     525 TFS Commander – 6/82 – 6/84

     Nellis AFB, NV – (4450th Tactical Group Assistant Deputy Commander (ADO) for Operation and then the DO
      flying the A-7E (the cover story for the F-117A) – 6/84 – 6/86

     George AFB, CA – (35 Tactical Training Wing Vice Commander) – 6/86 – 6/88

     Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Company – (Advanced Programs & Infrared Survivability Program Manager) – 6/88 – 11/00

     Pratt & Whitney Military Engines – (Advanced Programs Representative in the Western US with LM Aero, Boeing and Northrop Grumman) – 11/00 – 12/31/10

     Retired in Santa Clarita, CA – 1/11

     Working regularly with two non-profits



2nd Lt. Mahan + Zipper - George AFB


Major Mahan + F-4E Homestead '75


Col. Mahan - '85, Deputy CC for Ops, 4450 Tactical Group, Nellis, A-7A - F-117A, Bandit 187


Shirley and I enjoying our timeshare at the Marriott Newport Coast Villas

[ Home ] [ Table Of Contents ]