LT COL GARY ROSS CHASE (RET)
US Air Force - Strategic Air Command, Vietnam, B52 Navigator, Air Medal
MZHS "Hero of Air Power"
Gary Chase, son of Merle and Genevieve Chase of Medix Run, is another of those Bennett's Valley boys that have made the Valley proud. After
graduating from Bennett's Valley High School, Gary, at 20, joined the US Air Force in 1960. He soon completed aviation cadet training, became a
navigator, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Then he was on to advanced radar navigation, B-52 "Stratofortress" specialization, and being
a navigation instructor at various Air Force base bomb squadrons in the States.
As with many servicemen at this time, Gary was assigned his own personal combat time - 875 combat hours in three separate tours in
Vietnam (1967, 1968, and 1970). He was stationed with the Strategic Air Command's 3rd Air Division at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam and
U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, and flew in over 120 combat missions in a B-52D. In his own unique humor, Gary relates that most of
the "combat" time was knocking over coconut trees with bombs.
After Vietnam, Gary continued his role as an Air Operations Officer, and as a navigation/ bombardier instructor in strategic bombers like the
B52 "Stratofortress" and then, at that time, the newest fighter bomber-the FB 111 "Aardvark". He also was as a training director and involved
in operations planning at various air force bases in the United States. In 1985, after 25 years of service, Lt Col Gary Chase retired from the
US Air Force, but not aviation.
While in the service Gary found time to marry his wife Carolyn in 1966, and also received his college degree in 1974. His second career in
aviation was with Bell Helicopters and also the Northrop Corporation in developing training materials, and as an aviation instructor to
B2 (aka the Stealth Bomber) test pilots (both Air Force and Northrop), and finally retiring again in December 1994.
For his military service, Lt Colonel Gary Chase received many awards and medals including the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force
Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. And now the Mt Zion Historical Society is rightfully
proud to honor Gary Chase as one of its "Heroes of Air Power".