Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Laimons ' (Scotty's) History

Starting at the beginning. I was born in Priekule, Latvia in December 1941. Earlier in June 1941, my cousins' families had been deported by Stalin to Siberia. My Dad and pregnant Mom hid in the woods until the heat of the deportations eased and the Germans occupied Latvia until 1944. In 1944 when the Soviets were again advancing into Latvia our family fled to Germany. We had already experienced the Soviet terror and wanted to escape and hopefully return to a free Latvia. That was not to be. We spent 5 years in Germany, fortunately in the American Zone, in a Displaced Persons camp in Eslingen. As the war was ending in 1945, I as a small child, sat at the side of the road to watch a column of German tanks, trucks, and troops go by the German farm in which we lived. Undetected, out of the clear, morning skies came these fighters, don't know if Brit or U.S., strafing the column of German military might. I felt clumps of dirt flying up on me as bullets impacted around me. My mother came running and grabbed me under her arm like a sack of potatoes and ran into a barn to hide. I was terrified, but I think I decided then that I would rather be in the fighters and not on the ground.

In 1949 we emigrated from Germany to Plains, Georgia via arrival in New Orleans. We worked on a peanut farm, but left Georgia for Illinois in 1950. Growing up on a farm in Princeton I appreciated the hard work of milking cows, raising hogs, and working the fields. I had two important mentors through high school, my math teacher who encouraged me to fly with her in a Cessna 170. My agriculture teacher and academic advisor introduced me to USAFA! Thus, in the summer of 1960 I set out by train from Princeton to Colorado Springs via Chicago. I recall waving to my Dad as the train slowly left the Princeton station to start a new chapter of my life. Arriving by bus at the base of ‘the ramp', I had no idea what awaited! Shock!

Memories of the Academy; all with 7th SQ. One of my early roomies wanted to give me an appropriate nickname; everyone was tired of calling me ‘Lemons' or ‘Limmy' thus, I was named after one of the Scotty dogs of ‘Black and White' scotch. I remember the heavy academic grind; in constant admiration of Harry Pearce's heavy schedule and late nights of study. The ski club trips were fun, but in retrospect I'm sure we terrorized the slopes wherever we skied. Got beat up in gym boxing, not many demerits, but did manage some tours. Flew some cross countries with John Shriner and finally got my Private pilot's rating. Suddenly graduation! Where did 4 years go? And now 50?

Flew fighters most of my AF career, F-4, 5, 16, and T-38. Two SE Asia F-4 tours and an accompanied F-5 tour to Tehran, Iran. Retired from AF in 1984 and was hired by United Airlines in 1989. Flew B-727, DC-10, B-747-400, and A-320. After United flew for NetJets, finished with flying Cessna 560 XLS.

Married to Diane, living in Evergreen, CO. Three children. Daughter, Kaeri, is in Southern CA and owns a limo company; daughter, Erin, in CO working on a masters in counselling; son, Andris, our late addition in life, is at Colorado State playing hockey.


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