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I grew up in San Diego where I lettered in three sports all four years at Marian High School. At the Air Force Academy I ran Cross Country and Track 4th Class (freshman) year. I foolishly started smoking and gave up running unless chased. I graduated from Cadet Squadron CS-36.
As flight school wasn't scheduled to start until Fall, flew to London and bought a new Triumph 650 motorcycle for $650 (US). Met up with Classmates Lance Ammon (Winded Warrior Teammate) and Bob Wagner by chance somewhere in England and headed South. What a great start in the "real Air Force"!
I went to flight school with the Army where I learned to fly helicopters, After flight school I headed to Vietnam and flew a UH-1N helicopter gunship in the 20th Special Operations Squadron where I earned 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and a few Air Medals inserting and picking up small, secret units along the Ho Chi Minh trail. After Vietnam, I taught mountain flying at Hill AFB, UT. Then was off to fixed-wing conversion at Webb AFB. While in Air Training Command, I flew T-37 and T-38 jet trainers at Vance AFB and Randolph AFB where I also served on the Inspector General's staff.
From there it was back to helicopters as the commander of a HH-3E ("Jolly Green Giant") detachment at Myrtle Beach AFB. From there we deployed to Patrick AFB, FL to fly rescue for the Space Shuttle. I was then selected as the commander of the 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Osan AB, Republic of Korea where I gave up smoking. My youngest, Jared. was my first "rescue" in Korea in 1988 when my first wife went into premature labor.
My last assignment was as the Director of Operations for the Air Component of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). There we brought you Operation Just Cause ( the Panama invasion). In 1990 it looked like Russia was giving up, so I figured it was a good time to quit (retire). I got my retirement papers just as Sadam Hussien marched into Kuwait.
My first job in civilian life was as an EMS/Rescue pilot in south Texas. It was nearly like Special Ops ... flying to car wrecks ... rescuing ... dropping water on fires ... and actually chasing bad guys. Got to fly several nice helicopters like the 412 (a four bladed version of my Vietnam helicopter). While there I ran the "Rock and Roll Marathon" in San Diego. My time was around 3:40. A couple of years later I ran it again.
While flying out of Austin TX, I was recruited to fly for a Canadian company to fly an S61 very similar to the HH-3s I flew back in the day. We flew it all over Canada and Alaska as a rescue aircraft as far north as Barrow Alaska in the US and Iqualuit Northern Territories in Canada. Each Spring I would pick up the helicopter in Vancouver, BC and fly to Barrow, Alaska, usually at 500 ft where the scenery was amazing over the water and the land.
One year I picked up the helicopter in Edmonton and flew it to Nuuk, Greenland ... pretty far to go at 120 knots and 500 ft. While in Nuuk I ran the Nuuk 10k and finished first in my age group as there were only a few old farts in the race. My last flying job was flying rescue S-92s offshore from Galliano, LA to oil rigs 200 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
I am now living in New Braunfels, TX with my second wife Diane. I have been running steadily since I quit smoking in 1981. When I heard about the Hood to Coast Relay I was excited to run it but had been nursing an achy hip. A visit to my Orthopedic doctor who MRI'ed the hip and found no cartilage. I got the new hip on June 4th. I'm still reluctant to give up running... Dr says not to. We'll see
Let's go 70!!
The "Winded Warriors" Team
Follow Winded Warriors all the way to the finish line!