USAF ROTORHEAD Members
My military career covered 37 years, five months and 15 days of active duty. I had 75 days of inactive reserve time.
Was awarded the Commendation Medal, the Air Medal w/4 clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal w/3 clusters, the Legion of Merit, and the Silver Star. I also received a foreign award , the Republic of Korea National Security Merit 5th Class awarded by the President of South Korea, Park Chung Hee in 1967. (Also was given the Army Good Conduct Medal w/2 loops.
Enlisted in Los Angeles, CA on 1 October 1953. Basic at Lackland.
Assigned to Gary AFB, TX as a student helicopter mechanic February 1954.
Assigned to Kirtland AFB, NM July 1954, as a 43130 but worked as a 43131/51 until personnel caught me trying to upgrade. L-20s, C-45. and C-47 experience.
Transferred to Yuma County Airport, Yuma Arizona, along with Ahart Reed, to the Base Flight section in March 1955, as a 43130/50 working on H-13s and H-19s along with the L-20s. Was on flying status.
Got out on 30 September 1957. Got married and re-enlisted and went back to Yuma, Vincent AFB, in the 4750th Drone Squadron and H-21s. Got back on status
Assigned to the 36th Air Rescue Sqdn. at Johnson AB in 1958 and back working on H-19s and back on status. The 36th closed and the H-19s went to Yokota and so did I.
Left Yokota in September, 1961 to attend Officer Candidate School.
Completed that, was commissioned a 2Lt and was selected to attend pilot training.
Went to Webb AFB, TX., in June of 1962, flew the T-37 and the T-38, and got my wings on 25 June 1963. Told the Tac Officer that I wanted to fly helicopters; he said we train fighter pilots here. Got a helicopter slot anyway.
Stead AFB, NV. for helicopter pilot training in July 1963. Went through survival school first then flew the H-19 and chose the H-43 as my follow on aircraft. Completed that in February 1964 as the distinguished graduate.
Kirtland AFB was next where I was upgraded to Rescue Crew Commander in minimum time, we had five IPs there.
The Detachment was closed and most of us were sent TDY to NKP in April, 1965. Was there for 150 days and participated in 15 out of country missions to pick up downed pilots which resulted in five saves.
Back to Webb AFB in November 1965.
To Det. 9, PARRC, Osan AB, Korea in December 1966 as an RCC/IP.
Then to Det. 14, WARRC, Nellis AFB, January 1968.
Det. 11, 38 ARRSq., Tuy Hoa, June 1969, as an RCC/IP/FE.
Back to Nellis in February, 1970.
Then to ARRTC, Eglin AFB, FL. and the HH-43 SATS as an IP and Flight Examiner.
To Hill AFB, UT., in April, 1971 and the 1550th as a H-43 FCF pilot and IP/FE. Was selected to be the operational test pilot for the HH-1H during the acquisition phase of that buy. Also instructed in the HH-1H, still flew FCFs on the H-43’s and the HH-1H. Got checked out in the UH-1N model, still qualified in the H-43 and the HH-1HH and flew as an IP/FE in all three. Then came the opportunity to be a Det. Co. in the newly formed 37th ARRSq. and I got checked out in the UH-1F model.
Grand Forks AFB, on 1 October, 1973 as the Detachment Commander of Det. 3, 37 ARRSq. We had five UH-1F models, some good pilots and some really great mechanics. Left there to attend Columbia College, Columbia, MO. and finally get a degree in December, 1976.
In January, 1977, after completing the degree was assigned to the 11th CAMS, 41st RWRW, McClellan AFB, CA, as the Chief of Maintenance. This assignment effectively ended my time in the cockpit of Air Force helicopters. We had some tired HH-53’s there as well as C-130’s, WC-135’s and T-39’s.
Became the Commander of the 41st CAMS in September 1978.
Back to Kirtland AFB, NM. in June, 1980 as the Asst. Deputy Commander for Maintenance in the 1550th ATTW. Had that job when I went TDY to Woodbridge and the 67th ARRSq. as the Chief of Maintenance in October 1982 then back to the Asst. job at Kirtland in March of 1983.
Promoted to Colonel on 1 January 1984 and became the DCM that same day. Now we had UH-1Fs’, UH-1N’s, H-3’s, H-53’s and C-130’s to take care of.
To Clark AB in August 1986 and the 374th Airlift Wing with a full complement of C-130’s and the MAC Enroute aircraft to work/turn as the DCM. Also kept on eye out for my HH-3 friends. And we had a couple of C-9’s to help round out the day.
To Scott AFB, August 1988 and duty as the Director of Maintenance Engineering (LGM) at Hq. MAC. Still had some oversight of the helicopter fleet but didn’t touch many of them!
Retired from active duty on 1 June 1991.