O. Thomas Hansen


Early Life

Born in 1939 in Marblehead MA, birthplace of the American Navy. Graduated from Marblehead HS in 1957, with a minor in Hot Rods (cars). Worked in a Printing/Photo shop and as Assistant Manager in a grocery store as a teenager.

Enlisted Life

Joined the AF in 1959 to see the world and get a chance to fly. After Basic & Personnel Tech School at Lackland, assigned back to MA at Westover AFB in one of the first Consolidated Base Personnel Offices. While there I met, courted and married Peggy, and then applied for OCS in 1961.

OCS Memories

Mostly buried deep inside my forgetful brain, but a few things stick out. Hated Dining Hall experience, enjoyed academics and loved the team work needed to survive. Still wipe my body down with my hands before using a towel. Funniest incident was Gisriel and I on top of our bunks and everything else, during a “flood drill” laughing at First Class (Dean, I think) with him shutting the door and laughing with us. Worse experience beyond the everyday chow hall drill, was visiting Third Squadron to watch Air & Sea Power. I also did not enjoy the irony of being the class investigated for improper hazing, when the complaint came from one of our classmates.

Life After OCS

Completed Pilot training at Reese AFB and C-130 TTU at Sewart AFB. Flew MATS/MAC airlift out of McGuire AFB for four years, ranging East to India, South to Chile/Easter Island, West to Viet Nam and North to Thule. Involved in India-Pakistan War and Dom Rep incursion in 1965. Completed SOS in residence in 1967, and then moved on to Langley AFB in 1968. Flew 90 day rotations to Germany and England, and then went to SE Asia in 1970. Flew missions in Viet Nam and Thailand out of CCK AB, Taiwan, 25 days of every month for 8 months, and was the Chief of WG Current Ops for the last 7. Next came Rate Supplement and Defense Intelligence School, followed by 4 years as a Soviet Wargamer on the Air Staff (Tilbury was behind another Green Door there also, and I think I saw Bill May hiding behind his cloak a couple of times) and then off to Air Command & Staff in residence. While in DC, I flew T-39s, attached to Andrews AFB, for the first couple of years. Went Bootstrap to U of Maryland for my BA in Soviet Political Science, and then got a MA in Management & Supervision from Central Michigan University. Then assigned to McChord AFB for 6 years, where I outlasted everyone and commanded the 36th TAS. Promoted to Colonel and then assigned to HQ USECOM at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart Germany as MAC Liaison Officer in 1983. In 1986, right after they bombed the Headquarters building, I became the Base Commander at Rhein-Main AB Germany. With security being my prime concern in those days, that is when I started losing my hair on the backside. It was my most gratifying assignment, and I also organized  a 40th Anniversary for the Berlin Airlift Veterans. I also got them to organize as an association and I am still one of their board of directors. In May of 1986, we were then reassigned to Nellis AFB. As my final assignment, I controlled all the Airlift & Tanker resources (US & foreign) playing in Red/Green & Maple Flag exercises, and ran the Combat Aircrew Training School for airlift and rescue tacticians and Senior Officers. While in Vegas, I organized the 10 year reunion for classes 63 A&B in 1992. Retired 31 Dec 92, as the last member of 63B on active duty. Three months after retirement, I completed a Master in Aviation Management with Embry-Riddle University and then moved back to Lakewood, Washington.

My civilian work consisted of being an Aviation Management consultant for about two years, and then a Program Manager for ITT Federal services, running the newly awarded Rhein Main Base Maintenance Contract for 2 1/2 years. Heavily involved in the Bosnian deployment effort, with all my shops being augmented by active military and the ramp full with 25+ wide body planes. Peggy claims this is when I lost my hair in the front.

Life Today

Fully retired in Oct 1997 to driving my Boxster, playing lots of tennis, traveling with Peg, organizing reunions, and volunteering (SCORE, AFA, Retiree Affairs, Porsche Club, and Church). Currently in my last year as the NW Rep to AF Retiree Council and AFA WA St President. Our children are doing well, with our daughter Lisa working as Human resources/Payroll tech for a factory in NW Washington and our son Darren (A10 driver in Gulf War I) just returning from Gulf War II (USCENTCOM J-3) with an early promotion to Lt Col and a wedding in October.