USAF ROTORHEAD Members
I joined the Air Force in Wisconsin, (I’m a cheese head Packer Fan), in Nov. 1960. I started my career in fixed wing aircraft with the 9th OMS as a crew chief at Mt. Home, ID. on KC-97 tankers, after going to tech school at Sheppard AFB TX.
I spent time in Cold Lake Canada on alert with SAC, was there during the Cuban Crisis, also spent time in Guam on alert with the tankers. From Mt. Home I had a tour with the 405th OMS at Clark AFB Philippines working on C-47, and was crew chief on C-54 aircraft. I had my first taste of Viet Nam from there, I flew with the C-54 aircraft on pay runs to Da Nang, Saigon, Bien Hoa, and into Bangkok. From the Philippines I went to the 381st MW at McConnell AFB, KS. and crewed U-6A support aircraft supporting the missile sites.
When they changed over from the U-6A to helicopters I went to school on Hueys and started my helicopter career with the UH-1F supporting the missile’s. In 1966 I got an assignment to Nha Trang, RVN with the 20th SOS on CH-3E’s. I went back to school on H-3’s than proceeded to VN, and was sent to Udorn were I was assigned to 63-9676 (The Black Bitch, or The Black Maria) as she was known for the time I was in Viet Nam.
I started my flying career as an FM and flew over 300 hrs., and picked up 3 Sikorsky Winged S’s. While I was there I got to touch up 63-9676 with a fresh coat of Flat Black paint donated by a W-4 out of NKP.
I also got to see the Red River, the big runway at Dien Bien Phu where the French were beaten, help carry people and supplies to the mountain top where they were building the radar site, along with supporting the Jolly Green’s (Many Times), when their helicopters were broke, along with the 20th’s mission, I picked up the same RF-101 pilot 3 times, than he went home.
From Udorn the same W-4 that gave me the paint got me assigned to the 1001st Helicopter Sqdn. at Bolling, where I worked on one of the only Bell UH-13J Presidential support helicopters, flew as an FM on H-21’s, and UH-1F’s supporting the Pentagon. Later the unit moved to Andrews and became the 1st Helicopter Sqdn.
We picked up the mission out of Dover on the H-3’s so again I flew the UH-1F, UH-1N, and the CH-3E helicopters, along with being crew chief on a UH-1N as my prime AFSC.
During my time at the 1st Helo. I had the opportunity to fly with Vice Presidents, Omar Bradley the only living 5 star, BG Jimmy Stewart, Navy Commander Arthur Godfrey along with many other high ranking people.
In 1974 I got an assignment to Det. 13 Osan Korea on HH-3E’s, wouldn’t let me fly but was QC for the Det. From there I went back to Andrews flew as an FM and maintained UH-1N’s until 1979 when I became the Maintenance Superintendent, and continued to fly all FCF’s on H-3’s and UH-1N’s until 1980 when I was pulled to HQ MAC/LGM at Scott.
During my time at MAC I worked the UH-1N Operation Bat crash in the Bahamas, the HH-3E crash in Alaska, and worked with Kenny Wing on the HH-53 Crash in the Philippines.
In 1985 I was requested by the LG to move to HQ 23rd AF/LGM as the Maintenance Superintendent, where I worked to get the HH-53’s from Hawaii, that moved to Kirtland, reconfigured with usable aft ramps. I worked on the AF H-60 program along with the glass cockpit program which never materialized, and moving the UH-1N’s from the Bahamas through depot than to Andrews.
When that failed I decided the fun was over and it was time to retire. I retired in Aug. 1987 when 23rd AF moved to Florida. Started working Civil Service in 1987 with the Army Blackhawk program, until I got selected to move back over to the AF acquisition system in 1988, and I am still here. Long career in government service working aircraft programs.
Jerold R. Clausius, USAF (Retired)
April 10, 1942 – January 04, 2023
O’Fallon, Illinois – Jerold “Jerry” R. Clausius, 80, of O’Fallon, born April 10, 1942, in Milwaukee, Wisc. to Russell and Gerda, nee Wolnik, Clausius, died January 4, 2023, at Mercy Rehab Center Swansea, Ill., with family at his side.
Jerry grew up in Hales Corners, Wisc., where he attended Union Grove High School and played on the football team. Upon graduation in 1960, he enlisted and served in the Air Force for 27 years. His two most memorable assignments were serving with the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Andrews AFB providing air support to high-ranking Executive Branch members, dignitaries, military leaders, and other VIPs. In Vietnam, he was a flight engineer/crew-chief providing airdrops of equipment, personnel, and pararescue for downed aircrew, earning his entire crew the Distinguished Flying Cross. Upon retirement, he returned to Scott AFB as a civilian for another 26 years. Jerry was an avid motorcyclist and had enjoyed hunting and fishing. He was a member of the American Legion Post 137 and the O’Fallon Sportsmen’s Club. Most recently, Jerry had been in the process of restoring his 1964 Corvair.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Charles (Chuck), son David Scott, and wife Jean Roney LaMaster Clausius.
He is survived by his fiancée, Kathy DeSpain-Rogers of O’Fallon; his daughter Holly (Michael) Cullum; five grandsons: John (Amador) and Daniel LaMaster of O’Fallon, Patrick (Alexis), Drew (Mackenzie), and Nikolas Silva, all of Memphis, Tenn., his brother Dr. Michael (Joyce) Clausius of Franklin, Wisc., and his sister Patricia Sadowski of Neilsville, Wisc.
Memorial donations are requested to be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois or Wounded Warriors.
Sign the guestbook at www.wfh-ofallon.com.
Visitation will be 5 – 8 pm, Monday, January 9, 2023 at Wolfersberger Funeral Home, O’Fallon.
Funeral Service will be 10 am, Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at Blessed Savior Lutheran Church, 1205 N. Lincoln Ave., O’Fallon, Ill., with Pastor Vern Lintvedt officiating. Military honors will be rendered. Burial will be in Elroy Cemetery, Elroy, Wisc.
Published by Belleville News-Democrat from Jan. 8 to Jan. 12, 2023.