Elbert R. (Ray) Oliver

OliverEarly Life: Lived on a farm in south Alabama until age 15 then moved to Jacksonville, FL with mom and stepdad. Graduated number one in HS class of 515, then enlisted in Florida ANG, and off to basic in June, ’59. Married, with one and one-half children before OCS.

Enlisted Life: Promoted E-5 six months prior to OCS. Crew Chief on T-33 and Transit Alert shift NCO. Loved the Air Guard!

OCS Memories: I discovered very early that I was not as smart as I thought I was. Just about everyone else there was much smarter. Spent a lovely evening in OC Capt Mittlemen’s room against the locker in a brace as he continued to tell me I would stay there until I SIE’d. Fooled him. Funny thing, making it to First Class meant more than graduation and commissioning. I finally got to eat.

Life After OCS: (Military and Civilian) After being assigned to Moody AFB for UPT, both the Air Force and 2nd Lt Oliver discovered I was not cut out to be a military pilot and I returned home to the Air Guard where I resigned and officially became a civilian again. Needed to earn a living and provide a home for my growing family so I became a sales trainee for a large company, and discovered that I was indeed qualified for that career. Since then we have been moved from Jacksonville to Syracuse to Houston to Memphis back to Houston to Atlanta to Anderson, SC back to Atlanta for the next 20 years. In 1995 we moved on our own to Mobile, AL, and have lived in a wonderful old 14-room home, built in 1907, with our dogs and cats, and occasionally some of our grandkids, but they always brought their parents. Oh well, you do what you have to do.

During my career, I have traveled Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico and South, the Islands, and every state in the USA, and it has all been on an expense account.

I have been blessed! I have been married to Ceil for nearly 49 years, I have a logbook with nearly 4,000 hours, single and ME, recip and turbines, and I have never scratched a plane. Seems I was cut out to be a pilot, just not in the Air Force. Currently, I am negotiating for a nice Beech Sierra that I intend to build up the way I want it, then I will give it to my grandkids.

Life Today: My wife and I live comfortably in Mobile with a giant Dog and a very small puppy with the sharpest teeth in the animal world. We are involved in our Church, civic and neighborhood affairs, and travel, etc. We have a beautiful Great-Granddaughter, seven grandkids, three daughters, and one son. I continue to run a rep business, retired and discovered I did not enjoy it so I went back to work.
We have some property in N. Central Florida where we are considering building a second home. Time will tell.

There is not a day when I don’t think about OCS and what it has meant to me in all the years since June 21, 1963. I met many great people, learned enough for me to understand what I still needed to learn, and realized how that brief six months changed my life.

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life!