USAF ROTORHEAD Members
Lionel “Lon” Skay
Enlisted in the Air Force July 15th 1965, right after graduating from high school.
From the Phoenix AFRS I was sent to Lackand AFB that night. Basic Training at Lackland AFB, TX. from July 16th to 11 August 1965.
Aug. 18, 1965 – assigned to Basic Medial Helper School Gunter AFB, Alabama, Six weeks of intensive medical corpsman training in combat medical techniques. (They knew where I was going). Graduated from Gunter AFB on October 12, 1965.
Nov. 1, 1965 – assigned to Brooks AFB School of Aerospace Medicine, San Antonio, TX. for specialty training. AFSC would be an A901X0 (Aero medical tech.) In this school we learned more about care and treatment pertaining to pilots. Conducting or assisting with flight physicals, treating minor illnesses, giving injections, audio test, eye test, ekg’s, and crash rescue response in the old cracker box ambulances. We would also participate in aerial flight as crew members so we needed altitude chamber training and survival training.
Dec. 15, 1965 – Assigned to 4453rd CCTW Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona. I was assigned to a small flight line dispensary located in the Chief of Maintenances building. We had basically two rooms. The flight surgeons held sick call for the pilots and flight line maintenance personal and dependent’s. The Technicians would screen patients and performs most of the minor sick call such as handing out APC’s cough syrup and minor first aid treatment. We also did Suturing. The doctors would do more but over time we were pretty much training to do all. We would respond to crash calls or airborne emergencies of aircraft.
Sep. 1, 1966 – Placed on aeronautical orders. Several times a week we would share duties with the local base rescue detachment (Det. 17, WARC) pulling alert duties with the crew. HH-43’s were kept on the flight line and we would be physically located in the alert shack with the alert bird (Pedro) two fireman and a FE. Typically the aero medical tech would ride in the left seat, the AC in the right and the two firemen would be in the back with the FE. We would respond to declared emergencies, orbit until the aircraft landed or crashed. I performed those duties for some time.
Jan. 17, 1968 – Assigned to the 7272nd USAF Hospital Wheelus AB Tripoli Libya. Again, a major portion of my duties were as a crew member attached to the 58th ARRSq. Here at Tripoli I would be on alert for LBR one day, the next day I would be on duty at the Ulotia Gunnery Range for four days. As the range medic I was the only medical person on station. Any illness, accident or injury was my call. I performed duties as an independent medical corpsman. During the 18 months I was there I was upgraded in my crew position from med tech to instructor med tech and then to flight examiner med tech. This was a very active Rescue squadron. Jolly Greens were also assigned but primarily support long range missions in support of NASA. Additional duties while attached to the 58th were MT, then Flight Instructor MT, and finally Flight Examiner MT for HH-43.
Apr. 10, 1969 – Assigned to Lowry AFB, Denver, CO. My duties here were primarily administrative and doing Air Force Academy physical examinations. I did not fly during this time.
Oct. 8, 1971 – Assigned to Vietnam. Attended Jungle Survival School at Clark AB, Philippines enroute to Vietnam.
Oct. 15th, 1971 – Assigned to the 12th USAF Dispensary, Phu Cat AB. Attached to Det. 13, 38th ARRS for flying duties. This was at a time when we were starting to shut down bases. Most of my flying duties were in anything I could get time in. I would fly dust off, med evacs., Caribous, C-123, C130’s and some HH-43.
Jan. 5, 1971 – Assigned to 483rd Combat Support Group, Cam Ranh Bay AB, RVN, Also, assigned to the 483rd USAF Hospital and Det. 8, 38th ARRS I did not fly any helicopter missions at that time, but did fly on C-7A, C-130, HC-130P and UH-1N helicopters.
Apr. 10, 1972 – Assigned to the 377th USAF Dispensary Ton Son Nhut AB, Siagon and was attached to the 41st ARRGp., Detachment 14. I would fly CSAR from Ben Hoa every other day with the other days at Ton Son Nhut being worked in the dispensary with typical illness and injuries.
Nov. 10, 1972 – Assigned to the …USAF Hospital Edwards AFB Calif. Independent duty attached to Army Test program in Mammoth Lakes Calif out of Bishop California. Also, performed safety chase for Lifting body flights, and new aircraft such as the F-15.
A lot of flying time in various aircraft, T-38, F-4, F-15 and UH-1H and HH-1H.
Nov. 1973 – Assigned to USAF Hospital Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona, attached to the 37th ARRS, Detachment 1. During that period I participated in many MAST missions. HH-1H was our main helicopter.
Jun. 30, 1981 – Assigned to the 33rd AGSq., Eglin AFB Florida, Fort Walton Beach Florida. I was not on flying status after leaving Tucson in January 1980. I spent one year at Eglin then took a humanitarian reassignment back to Arizona.
Jan. 7, 1982 – Assigned to 832nd Combat Support Group, Luke AFB, Arizona and retrained into the ISD Field. I worked for the last 4 years in the F-15 maintenance training dept. developing maintenance training programs for new equipment.
I retired Aug. 1985. My first daughter was born at Luke AFB in 1986. I started attending the University of Arizona in 1987 moving back to Tucson. In November 1989 my second daughter was born at Davis Monthan AFB hospital.
During the years 1978 to 1990 I learned to fly hot air balloons and soon purchased my own. I rose up through the ranks and became a flight instructor then in 1989 became Tucson’s only FAA designated Flight examiner for Lighter than Air aircraft.
I graduated in December 1990 took a job in Toledo Ohio in 1991 and am now living just outside of Columbus Ohio working for the Dept. of Veteran Affairs.