Born in Sault Ste. Marie (the Soo), MI, I graduated from Loretto Catholic Central HS in 1964, followed by a year at Michigan Tech – Soo Branch before joining the Class of 1969. I enjoyed a varied 20-year Army career (retiring as LTC in Oct 1989) and then a 22-year DoD contractor career in Army aviation supporting development of the RAH-66 Comanche, ARH-70A Scout, and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, retiring again in May 2011.
My Army career began in a tank battalion in Germany. Later, as a company commander, I learned many lessons the hard way: I re-learned to suck it up, never give up, and do the best that you can. The commander challenged his line commanders to go to flight school and fly helicopters in Vietnam, which I did – flying scouts in combat and then flying Huey’s in Vietnam post-cease fire missions. Next came graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, and then back to West Point teaching terrain analysis to Plebes for a year and then as the Tactical Officer of D-1, my original company as a cadet. Deep down, I always wanted to be a TAC. After West Point, I went to Germany as XO of the 3-12 Armored Cavalry Squadron, followed by being the G3 Operations at 3AD HQ. Returning stateside to St. Louis, I was assigned at the Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center, including topographical engineering and Tomahawk cruise missile work. While there, the Program Manager of the Light Helicopter Experimental (Comanche) program asked me to work for him as a technical guy, for my last two active duty years and then as a DoD contractor.
I have been married 45 years to my second wife, Connie. We have three children (his, hers, and ours) and nine grandkids. Assignments in St. Louis gave our family a very stable time in our lives, proving to be providential for our family. Connie and I now spend our time at our home in AL and our little place in FL during the winter. When I need guy time alone, I listen to my 1960s – 1980s rock and folk rock vinyl LPs (2,500 in AL and 500 in FL) while reading the album covers and sleeves and my many books about the bands, singers, and session players.