Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Ed's History


One could make a case that I came from a family of warriors in that I had 3 Great Uncles in WW I, 4 Uncles in WW II and a cousin serving in the Korean Conflict. Additionally, my Father was in the Army National Guard for most of his “younger” days. In any event, by the time I was in the 5th grade I seriously wanted to be an Air Force Pilot.

At first I thought of joining the Air Force Aviation Cadet program, but as I got a little older I realized that a time would come when I couldn't fly and I discerned that going to college was a “must.” But what college? Well, my prayers were answered when the Air Force Academy was founded in 1954 and opened in 1955 – the year I entered high school.

I graduated from High School in 1959 and while I passed all of the Academy's requirements, I couldn't get a Congressional appointment. However, I was offered the Military Academy Prep School program and I accepted that.

In 1959 the Air Force Academy didn't have its own prep school so I and the other 99 Prep Schoolers went to the Naval Academy Prep School at Bainbridge Naval Training Center (NAPS) at Bainbridge, MD. We were required to join the Air Force Reserve for 6 years and complete Air Force Enlisted Basic Training at Lackland AFB, TX. After completion of Basic Training we proceeded on to NAPS.

With extremely good fortune I completed NAPS and won one of the 10 appointments the Air Force Reserve was allowed to make to USAFA.

I believe the next 4 years, 1960 – 1964 were pivotal in all our lives because it was during this time that we truly grew up both with our Classmates and in our inner selves.”

My time at USAFA seemed like an eternity at that moment, but in retrospect the years flew by and at long, long last I was on my way to starting my childhood dream of becoming an Air Force Pilot.

For Pilot Training I was stationed at Vance AFB, OK where I trained on the T-37 and T-38 and married my childhood Sweetheart, Sharen.

I had dreamed all along of being a Fighter Pilot, but, alas, it was not to be. I missed getting a fighter by one slot and instead drew a Tactical Air Command C-130. As it turned out later in life this was a blessing in disguise. After Survival School at Stead AFB, NV and Sea Survival School at Langley AFB, VA I went to Sewart AFB, TN where I checked out on the C-130 E model. At last! I was a real, Air Force Pilot!

My first PCS assignment was to Dyess AFB, Abilene, TX. This was a beautiful base near a very friendly town and we made some good friends there. The C-130 mission was quite interesting; we became proficient in airdrop and assault landing techniques as well as Medical AIREVAC procedures and TDY's to train with the Army and Marines. The C-130's also went on 90 day rotations to Evereaux, France and Mildenhall, United Kingdom. We also flew all over the European Continent and much of North Africa. All-in-all, it was very interesting and built up a large inventory of experience for all aircrew members.

By now, the Vietnam Conflict was raging and C-130's carried a large part of the load. In 1967 I was given an unaccompanied tour to Southeast Asia. While technically based at Ching Chin Kang AB, Taiwan (CCK) we did the majority of our flying in Vietnam – either at Cam Rahn Bay or Tuy Hoa. It was at Cam Ranh Bay that I completed my check rida and was promoted to Aircraft Commander with my own crew.

Upon my return from Southeast Asia, my life took another unexpected turn. I separated from the active Air Force and sought a flying job with TWA. I was hired late in 1969 and furloughed in early 1970. The economy was sinking and airlines everywhere were grounding airplanes and laying off pilots. I took a job at Prudential Insurance Company of America where I worked in the Group Annuities section and, later, as a Personnel Representative.

While at Prudential, the Air Force initiated the Associate Reserve Program and pilots were needed to man 3 Squadrons at McGuire AFB, NJ. I applied and was accepted to fly the C-141. At first, I was a “part time” Reservist, but as the Squadrons were fleshed out it was possible to make a living flying full-time for the Reserve. I opted for this status and quit my job at Prudential.

The mission of the Military Airlift Command (MAC) was very similar to that of the C-130 only farther and faster. We MAC crews still maintained airdrop qualification, but most of our flying was completing air land missions.

I did have one, very interesting mission in the C-141. It was the Autumn of 1973 and the Yom Kippur War in Israel broke out. The U.S. was supporting our ally, Israel. The first night we flew from McGuire AFB. NJ to Little Rock AFB, AK and picked up 70,000 lbs. of 155mm artillery shells for the Israeli Army. We flew them to Lajes AB, Azores and staged the Aircraft. In the days following, we flew 2 round trips from Lajes to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. Then, on the 3rd day we were unexpectedly ordered to Rhine-Main AB, Germany. There we picked up the first load of equipment for the U. N. contingent that was going to Egypt and we took the equipment to Cairo which was behind the “other side's “ lines. Technically we were behind enemy lines – which gives one a very eerie feeling. There were a few “dicey”moments with Cairo Air Traffic Control, but we muddled through and completed the mission.

So. I'm a very lucky man. I lived my dream and flew for the Air Force, the Scheduled airlines, the non-scheduled airlines and even 2 years on a Corporate Jet. I checked out as Captain on L-382 (civilian version of the C-130), Lear Jet 24, Hawker-Sidley 125, Fokker F-28, Boeing 737,Boeing 757 and Boeing 767. I checked out as First Officer on the DC-8, and the Boeing 727. I checked out as Flight Engineer on the Boeing 707, Boeing 727 and the Boeing 747.

I retired from the Air Force Jan. 1, 1986 and from the Air Lines Jun. 1, 2001.


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