I was born in 1942 during the Second World War. I was raised on Long Island with my parents and my two siblings. I came of age as a man facing a decision whether or not I would participate in the Vietnam War. This particular conflict was very divisive throughout all of American society.
These pictures were taken in the spring of 1972 at Ubon AB in Thailand. The climate was very warm and humid.
Capt. Paul F. Gilbert was my hooch mate, my good friend and the pilot on that doomed mission. We were shot down on 18 June 1972. Paul died bravely saving two crew members. I was one of the three survivors of the 15 man crew. I named my son, Joshua Paul, to honor his memory.
I was shot down over the A Shau Valley on 18 June 1972. Capt. Paul F Gilbert, my hooch mate, my good friend, and pilot on that mission had to sacrifice his life to save two of his crewmates including myself. I came very close to being captured and I am one of three survivors of that 15 man crew. I received the DFC for valor about a year later.
After leaving Southeast Asia, I was sent to Sacramento California, Mather AFB in particular, where I taught celestial navigation for four years.
The Air Force sent me to Kadina AB as a rescue navigator. My crew and I did a rescue mission that lasted a week on the island of Iwo Jima which was a famous battle site of World War II.
18 months later, I was sent to Eglin Air Force Base to serve another 18 months.
My last active duty mission with the aborted attempt to rescue the 52 hostages held by Iran. Pres. Carter initiated Operation Eagle Claw to end the Iranian hostage crisis and rescue the 52 embassy staff members held captive in Tehran. Unfortunately, the operation was aborted due to many obstacles. Eight members of the United States Air Force died in the Iranian desert as the mission was a complete failure. This Stormrider book will inform the reader as to why that happened
After leaving military service, I took a civilian job for about 18 months. However, that company changed hands.
I met my wife Betsy in the spring of 1981, and we were married two years later.
In April 1983, I attended the FAA Academy and was assigned to Elmira Flight Service Station. I spent the next 27 years as an air-traffic controller.
In 1985, my son Joshua Paul was born I named him in the loving memories of my hooch mate and my good friend, Capt. Paul F. Gilbert. I also have a stepdaughter named Mollie.
I fully retired in 2008 from my job of air-traffic controller. Later I shifted my focus to writing War literature.
This is the speech I gave to my congregation when I learned that I am suffering from stage IV, mantle cell lymphoma. The doctors informed me that this particular type of cancer occurred due to my exposure to Agent Orange in the year that I flew combat. The topic was answering my wife's question to me, "Knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again?"