TOM MOORE TRAINED GLIDER PILOTS AND POWERED PILOTS IN WWII By John McCullough

Tom Moore was an instructor pilot during WWII at three locations: Finney Field north of Plainview; Breedlove Airport in Lubbock; and Avenger Field in Sweetwater. He worked for Clent Breedlove while instructing at Finney Field and at Breedlove Airport. Originally, Moore commuted by automobile between Lubbock and Plainview daily in order to instruct student glider pilots at Finney Field. Later in the summer of 1942, Moore moved to Plainview temporarily.

RON MILAM INDUCTED INTO OCS HALL OF FAME 

Ron Milam did not meet the qualifications to be inducted into the United States Army’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) Hall of Fame except for perhaps one of them, ‘achieving national and international fame from traits learned at OCS.’

RICK DOUGLAS HUSBAND, COLONEL, USAF, NASA ASTRONAUT (DECEASED)

Rick-HusbandA native of Amarillo, Texas, Col Husband earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University (TTU) in 1980 and was awarded the Outstanding Engineering Student Award. He was named a 1997 Distinguished Engineer of the TTU College of Engineering and Distinguished Alumnus in 2003, posthumously. He earned a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1990 and in 2002 was selected as the College of Engineering and Computer Science Distinguished Alumnus “Top Dog.”

            After graduation from TTU, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Husband attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma graduating with distinction in October, 1981and was assigned to F-4 training at Homestead AFB, Florida and then assigned to Moody AFB, Georgia flying the F-4E.  In November 1985, Husband became an F-4E instructor pilot and academic instructor at George AFB, California, and was awarded the F-4 Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year. In 1988, Col Husband attended the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) at Edwards AFB, California.  Graduating with distinction from TPS, he served as a test pilot flying the F-4 and the F-15. Husband became  an exchange test pilot for the Royal Air Force in Boscombe Down, England in June, 1992. During his test pilot career, he logged over 3800 hours of flight time in more than 40 different types of aircraft.

            NASA selected Col Husband as an astronaut candidate in December, 1994. After training completion, he was named the Astronaut Office representative for Advanced Projects working on Space Shuttle Upgrades, the Crew Return Vehicle, and studies to return to the Moon and travel to Mars.  Col Husband was pilot on STS-96 (1999) and crew commander on STS-107 (2003), logging 24 days, 51 hours, and 33 minutes in space. 

            STS-96 (Discovery) was a 10 day mission during which the crew performed the first docking with the International Space Station and delivered 4 tons of logistics and supplies in preparation for the arrival of the first crew to live on the station early the following year.  The mission was accomplished in 153 earth orbits, traveling 4 million miles in 9 days, 19 hours, and 13 minutes.  

            STS-107 (Columbia) was a 16 day flight dedicated to science and research.  Working 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, the crew successfully conducted approximately 80 experiments.  The STS-107 mission ended abruptly on February1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during re-entry, 16 minutes before the scheduled landing.

            Col Husband was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.  During his career, his military decorations included

the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and two NASA Group Achievement Awards for work on the X-38 Development Team and the Orbiter Upgrade.

2nd Lieutenance George Herman O’Brien, Jr, USMC

George-Herman-ObrienU.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenant George Herman O’Brien, Jr., a 1950 Texas Tech graduate was assigned as a platoon leader, Company H, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines during the Korean War.  On October 27th, 1952 a Marine force holding a vitally important hill position was overrun by a numerically superior Chinese Communist force.  Lieutenant O’Brien’s company was ordered to retake the hill.  Approaching the Chinese line, he was shot through the arm and knocked to the ground.  Managing to get to his feet, he went to the aid of another wounded Marine, and then rallied his men to continue the assault. 

During the next four hours of fighting, much of it hand to hand, Lieutenant O’Brien was knocked down three times from enemy grenades.  Though bleeding from shrapnel wounds, he refused evacuation and continued to direct the attack, finally subduing the enemy and establishing a defensive position. 

For his heroic actions on that day, Lieutenant O’Brien was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Dwight Eisenhower on October 27th, 1953 exactly one year after the action to retake the hill.

Major Troy Lee Gilbert, USAF

Tryo-Lee-Gilbert-PhotoU.S. Air Force Major Troy Lee Gilbert, a 1993 Texas Tech graduate was assigned to the 309th fighter Squadron and deployed to the 332nd Expeditionary Wing, Balad Air Base Iraq when he was killed in action on November 27th, 2006 while flying in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  On that day, Major Gilbert led a flight of two F-16s in an aerial combat mission near Taji, Iraq.  On the ground, insurgents were unleashing truck-mounted heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms fire against coalition forces.  In addition, special operations forces that were protecting a downed U.S. Army helicopter were in danger of being overrun by the enemy. 

Disregarding his own safety, Major Gilbert launched a strafing attack against an insurgent truck, destroying it with his 20mm Gatling gun.  Despite enemy fire, Major Gilbert pressed for a second strafing pass at extreme low-level to help save the lives of the helicopter crew and other friendly forces.  He lost his life on the strafing pass when his aircraft hit the ground. 

Major Gilbert’s final act of moral and physical courage was conducted selflessly, and he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for his heroic actions.

2nd Lieutenant Darryn Deen Andrews, USA

Darryn Deen AndrewsU.S. Army 2nd Lt. Darryn Deen Andrews, a 1998 Texas Tech graduate was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) when he was killed in action on September 4th, 2009 on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. 

His unit was on patrol when they were ambushed with an improvised explosive device and a rocket-propelled grenade.  With no thought for his own safety, Lieutenant Andrews tackled three of his fellow comrades, placing himself between his soldiers and the incoming fire to protect them from being hit.  For his heroic actions.

Lieutenant Andrews was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.  Additionally, he was awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration that may be awarded to Texas Military Forces.  The award has been given only eight times since 1997.

1Lt Lee Roy Herron, USMC

Lee Roy HerronLee Roy Herron graduated Texas Tech University in 1967 and was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps. Having attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) prior to graduation, Lee Roy knew that he would most likely serve in Vietnam. He attended OCS and Vietnamese language school, and was sent to Vietnam in December, 1968.

Serving as the Executive Officer of Company A, First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division, his unit was involved in many operations during the first months of his tour of duty. On February 22, 1969, in the Ashau Valley in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, Lee Roy assumed command of the second platoon when their leader was seriously wounded. He directed the platoon into an assault force until they were halted by snipers in trees and two enemy machine gun bunkers that were providing crossfire. This firefight was incredibly intense and as a result of the machine gun fire, evacuation of the wounded was virtually impossible.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Lee Roy moved among his platoon, encouraging them to take out the machine gun bunkers with light anti-tank weapons (LAW). Then he "leapt to his feet and fearlessly charged across the fire-swept terrain to hurl hand grenades and fire his weapon against the enemy emplacement, killing nine North Vietnamese soldiers who were in the machine gun bunker. While directing his men in the assault on the remaining bunker, he was mortally wounded by enemy sniper fire." For his actions in the Ashau Valley, Lee Roy Herron was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

Lee Roy Herron's contribution to Texas Tech did not stop with his death. Through the contributions of his family and friend David Nelson, also a Texas Tech graduate, the Lee Roy Herron Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established and since 2001, over sixty students have been granted funds to travel to Vietnam to conduct both graduate and undergraduate study on the Vietnam War. His legacy will live on through the efforts of these students. 

Sherman Phillip Vinograd, M.D. now residing in Cedar Park, TX

     A brief paragraph about Dr. Vinograd and his relationship to TTU can be found at:  http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/alumni-class-notes/26760

James R. Reckner, PhD, now residing i Cappell, TX

    Information about Dr. Reckner can be found at:  http://www.zoominfo.com/p/James-Reckner/21134367

Patrick Henry Brady, Major General, USA (Retired). now residing in New Braunfels, TX

     A biography for MG Brady can be found at: http://generalbrady.com/

Robert (Mac) M. Staples, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Retired)

   Lt Col Staples flew 240 combat missions in Vietnam in the F-100 Super Sabre aircraft.  He arrived in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in 1968, and was stationed at Ton Son Nhut Air Base.  He dropped over 300 tons of tactical munitions in his combat missions, including a harrowing napalm strict (exactly where it was requested) on the perimeter of Ton Son Nhut Air Base itself during the invasion.  He is the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters.  

James (Jim) C. Gibler, Colonel, USAF (Retired)

Photo of COL Gibler receiving his recognition award from BG Gary Harber

  Gibler-Award smCOL Gibler logged 213 combat missions and over 430 combat flight hours as a forward air controller in the Cessna 0-2A aircraft, earning the Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Silver Star.  He earned the Silver Star for his heroism while serving as a forward air controller in the Battle of Kham Duc during the Tet offensive in 1968.

 

 

  

Kenneth (Ken) Hite, Colonel, USAF (Retired)

Photo of COL Hite receiving his recognition award from BG (Brigadier General) Gary Harber, a member of the TAHFI Board of Directors and the speaker for the award program

Hite-Award sm            COL Hite flew 113 combat missions in Vietnam, 100 of them over North Vietnam in the F-105D aircraft.  Here, he routinely faced the toughest air defense system the Air Force had ever seen.  This defense system included MIG 17, 19, and 21 Soviet fighter jets, SA-2 surface to air missiles capable of Mach3+ speeds and an abundance of AAA, or anti-aircraft guns in the 23, 37, 57, 85, and 100 mm varieties.  Ken had 13 combat missions over Laos, as well.  Vietnam was not his first combat experience.  He also flew 90 combat missions over North Korea in the F-86 aircraft during the Korean War.  

      An interesting story about COL Hite and his career, along with his brother, Robert's story, can be found at:  http://lubbockonline.com/life/2013-09-22/two-brothers-earth-were-valient-nations-wars#.Uw610umPKUk

William C. McCool, Commander, USN (Deceased)

        Official NASA biography can be found at: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/mccool.html

        A statue of Willie can be found in the Lubbock, TX War Memorial Park, located at 83rd street and Memphis.

The Columbia shuttle mission that Rick and Willie were killed on was mission STS-107.  A gallery of photos from that mission (official NASA site) can be found at:  http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-107/ndxpage1.html

MccoolandHusband sm

Congressman George Mahon (deceased at the time of the award)

TEXAS AVIATION HERITAGE FOUNDATION, INC.

 

Honoring

Congressman

George Mahon

 

His leadership in bringing the Lubbock Army Air Field (later Reese Air Force Base) and the South Plains Army Air Field to Lubbock, Texas in the early 1940's provided the foundation for Lubbock's long history of leadership in aviation.

 

Dedication of plaque to the Silent Wings Museum in honor of A.B. Davis and Congressman George Mahon