James B. Gisriel


OCS Memories

For the most part, OCS is still a blur. However, I can clearly remember my first weekend off-base and eating two T-bone steaks at the resturaunt next to Kellacs, while waitng for my uniforms. Other distinctive memories include: 1) Club nights and being there with the wives to set up our parties and pre-flight my liver with a couple of “test” drinks. 2) Showering with the crowd and 3) the Graduation party and ceremony. From my perspective, OCS was a matter of outlasting the 1st class and reminding myself (everyday) that if those clods could make it through the program, then I most assuredly could. We single guys couldn’t have made it without our “Mothers”. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Peggy Hansen for setting up my checking account at Kelly Field Bank, for hauling my uniforms/shoes back and forth, for “breaking starch”. and other tasks too numerous to list here.

Life After OCS

After OCS, went to avionics school at Kessler AFB and then was assigned to Luke AFB, AZ, for two years. It was there I met and married my wife Ellie. Went to Clark AB, PI, in January 66 and stayed there for two years, with numerous TDYs to Viet Nam & Thailand. Was assigned to Mather AFB in Jan 68 to run the Nav/EWO Trainer maintenance shop, and 14 months later was sent to Hq ATC/LGME at Randolph AFB, TX, to be on the procurement team for the new T-43A navigator training aircraft and UNTS simulators. Went to Korat RTAFB in Oct 73 to command the 388th AMS. In Mar 74, I was notified that I had to retire in July 74 as part of the Reserve Officer Reduction in Force. Went back to Randolph for retirement and moved to Dallas/Ft Worth to work for American Airlines as Program Manager for the KC-10 Aircrew Training System. In Jan 84, went to work for United Airlines in Denver as Director of C-5 Aircrew Training. Left United in 88, when their military training unit was bought out by Flight Safety, and spent the next four years doing training system consulting for the major military aircraft training companies (Boeing, McDonnel-Douglas, Link, etc.) In Mar 92, went to work for Flight Safety in Denver finishing up on the ground-based training team for the JPATS (T-6A Texan II). Retired from Flight Safety and moved to Surprise, AZ, in Jun 01. I have two daughters in Seattle, where my wife Ellie & I visit when the “heat” rises in the Valley of the Sun. My son is back in college at ASU studying classical guitar. Unfortunately, I missed the last reunion due to an unbreakable business commitment. However, now that I’m totally free (except for the occasional “Honey Do”), I am primed and ready to roll. It is sometimes hard to believe that I have been retired for 28 years from the military, while serving for 21 years, and am still ambulatory. Hope you are, too —