Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

David's History

By Doug Jenkins, '64

196404115_SkinnerSamuel_sm.jpg Colonel David B. Samuel, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, was a member of the 16th Cadet Squadron. By acclamation, Sam was also an honorary member of the CS20 Trolls, of which I was a member. I think his quirky sense of humor and unmatched hunger for adventure in any form made him a shoo-in. While at the Academy, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the DODO Magazine. The photo to the right is of Bob Skinner and Crazy Sam, taken early 1964.

What is the DODO, you ask? You see, there was this bird, the DODO, and it was radically different from all the other birds, and it soon died out. Then another little different bird came along and brought the DODO back to life. He almost died out himself for his efforts. Fortunately for us, Sam remained among the living. In so doing, Sam became the narcotic of the Cadet Wing through the DODO.

Following graduation from the Academy, Sam reported to Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, OK, where we were fellow student pilots. From 1965 to 1968, he was an instructor pilot in the 357th Pilot Training Squadron and an academic instructor with the 3576 Student Squadron at Vance. In 1968, David married Karen at Perrin AFB, TX. Lois and I had the privilege of attending the festivities.

In 1969 he checked out in fighters with the 4511 Tactical Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, AZ. He served in combat in 1969 and 1970 as an F-100 pilot in the 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron/416th Commando Sabre (Misty) unit at Tuy Hoa AB, South Vietnam. As politics half a world away eroded the military's combat successes in SEA, Misty was disbanded in 1970 – so as it turned out “Crazy Sam” was Misty #157, the last pilot to join that unit. The first in the unit was Colonel Bud Day, who became one of Vietnam's genuine heroes!

From 1971 to 1976 he served in the Office of Information at Headquarters USAFA – curiously, the first graduate to ever be assigned to this division responsible for Academy information – where he also maintained flight currency in the T-33 and T-37 aircraft. Sam and I shared many a cockpit and many a laugh at that time, as I was an instructor in the math department and flying T-33s and T-37s. Sam returned to fighters in 1976 as an F-105 Wild Weasel pilot/assistant operations officer in the 561st TFS at George AFB, CA. In 1978, when I was sent TDY to George, David and Karen helped us find a home in Apple Valley. In 1980, he became Operations Chief of Staff with the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing, also at George.

Following a great career in fighters, Sam turned his attention to teaching and mentoring members of Tomorrow's Air Force within the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps. From 1981 through 1984, he served as Professor, Commander & Professor of Aerospace Studies at Cal State University in Sacramento, CA. From 1984 to 1985, he was Chief of the Selections Division, HQ AFROTC, Maxwell AFB, AL. From 1985 to 1988, Sam served as Commander & PAS at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. In the 1988 to 1990 timeframe, he was the Area Commandant for the Ohio Valley AFROTC at WPAFB, OH. In 1990 and 1991, he was Commander & PAS of AFROTC Detachment 105 at the University of Colorado in Boulder. There he mentored and influenced many lives, including that of my son Dan, who was attending CU at the time.

Sam, our class “criminal” (361 punishments assessed), is the only officer to have ever commanded more than one senior AFROTC unit. That AFROTC decade saw him personally commission more new lieutenants than anyone in documented history.

Sam and I have worked through many good times and tough times together. Sam sat with me in March 1997, when our son Dan passed away. Ironically, I had the privilege of sitting with Sam when his son, Mark passed away in September of that same year.

In 1998, following a brilliant career of service to his nation, Sam became a Realtor for the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Company, in Boulder, where he helped numerous of clients with compassion, dedication and integrity.

His main commitment as a Realtor, however, was to try to assure new agents would be able to lend the same degree of knowledge and effort to their duties as he did. To achieve this, he established heightened practical educational goals and programs, complemented strongly by an active Mentor program. David holds a Master of Arts degree from Denver University, as well as diplomas from the Air War College and Air Command and Staff College. He is also the recipient of the Legion of Merit, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Airman's Medal, 2 Meritorious Service Medals and 10 Air Medals.

David and his wife Karen, have a son, Jeff, who excelled in his own Air Force career, thanks in large part to his dad's encouragement and his mother's steady love. Jeff recently retired – the poor kid had logged barely over 3000 hours in the F-15, and more than 100 combat missions.

samgrandson.jpg See recent photo, right, of David and a beloved grandson.

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