Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

John's History

After graduation and pilot training at Moody AFB I was assigned to F-4 RTU at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson where I met my future wife Judy. Our class was reassigned to finish our F-4 upgrade at a newly formed RTU at MacDill AFB, Fl. We married in Tucson and began our long journey through USAF life.

After MacDill and survival training I was assigned to the 497th fighter squadron at Ubon RTAFB and flew my 100 missions, almost all at night. During the first approximate 50 missions we had lost half of the squadron aircraft and, as I remember, all of the aircrews. Scary! Fortunately no more were lost for the remainder of my first tour; better tactics, better night attack awareness.

Next assignment, Ramstein. We loved this tour, the wine country, we befriended many fine German nationals, and even learned to communicate in German. Life there was a mixture of normal Ops, some weekend European and Scandinavian cross countries, bombing/gunnery training in Libya, and long days of nuke alert at Ramstein. Our “three year tour” was cut short at mid point by the US-European 1968 Mutual Balanced Reduction in Force. Son Brett was born five weeks prior to deployment. The 417th TFS deployed, all 24 aircraft, to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho where we joined two RF-4 squadron RTUs. We thoroughly enjoyed Idaho life, the flying, the wild life (our freezer was always stocked with trout, pheasant, venison, duck, and chucker). After another eighteen months the 417th was reassigned to Holloman AFB NM also a most enjoyable assignment. During our time at Holloman there were annual short time Crested Cap deployments back to Ramstein and Red Flag exercises.

Then off to AFIT for Master's at Oklahoma State and second tour to 7th AF, USSAG, NKP, Ops Planning. Did take the opportunity to fly a few combat missions with the guys at Udorn, and OV-10s out of NKP. On return we went to middle school, Joint Command and Staff in Virginia, then to the Air Combat Fighter program at Wright Patterson arriving right at the time of the first unintentional YF-16 flight. The remainder of that assignment we participated in source selection between the YF-16 and YF-17 (later the F/A-18) and all of the interesting testing of those aircraft. I can make candid comments on that competition if anyone is interested. Upon completion of that assignment we narrowly avoided a requirement to go to a joint Command that might have been required courtesy of the Joint middle school. We went back to Holloman, F-4s and few months later we upgraded to F-15s, a great airplane, fantastic Air To Air mission.

With orders in hand to go to Albuquerque and the Test and Evaluation center we were offered the opportunity to stay in the F-15 “for a while” with the 3246th Test Wing detachment at Holloman. Simple choice!

Served as Director, AMRAAM Joint Test Force where we conducted Dem Val tests of the Hughes Aircraft Co. and Raytheon missiles. Fired the first AMRAAMs from the F-15, two “kills”, and had oversight of F-16 AMRAAM testing. Participated in Source Selection which went to the Hughes variant; again I can provide candid comments on that competition if anyone is interested. Then, big decision time! Go ahead with my prior delayed assignment to the Test community in ABQ or accept our personnel folks' decision that we needed to go to the Pentagon. Thought about that for a long time and eventually decided in favor of family, Sons' education, and our own desires. We retired in November, 1982 (with two years of prior service).

We had a job offer with Hughes Aircraft in Canoga Park, CA. Guess what, AMRAAM Systems Engineering, Full Scale Development! Good times, great company, outstanding people. Lived in Simi Valley, a nice laid back small city well away from the bustle of Los Angeles. Served in AMRAAM development, later in very interesting Special Projects. Judy became involved in politics, served on City Council, ran for and was elected as County Supervisor, Ventura County. Meanwhile Raytheon bought Hughes Aircraft and my job, then as International New Business, was moved to Tucson, back again where we started our lives together.

Now, many years later, having had several careers, we are happily fully retired, most happily still married, great Sons and their families … and … still flying and loving it!

Cheers to all ‘64 BTBs, here and gone!

John and Judy
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