James P. Eisenmenger
I enlisted in the Air Force on 15 Jan 1962 and was assigned to be an operator on the P-3 instrument trainer. Later I was volunteered to train as an operator on the B-52 electronic warfare simulator at Castle AFB, CA. Since this was a Top Secret machine it had to be manned 24 hours a day. The air police could only provide service from midnight to 0800 so I was volunteered to be there from 1600 to 2400.
After one night it became very boring so I signed up for a college-level course in American government through the base education office. I started to go to Merced College in the daytime and worked for the Air Force at night. Capt. Roger A. Drew who was the OIC of the EW simulator said as long as I was going to college would stay on the night shift, which I did for 2 1/2 years. I finished my Air Force enlistment with 61 hours of college credit.
The ANG only required 2 years of college to go to pilot training as opposed to the Air Force requirement of a 4-year degree. I was commissioned a 2LT in Oct 1966 in the SDANG and was in UPT in Dec 1966 at Moody AFB. GA. I graduated from UPT in Dec 1967. I then went to F-102 school at Perrin AFB Texas finishing in Jun of 1968.
In early 1969, I volunteered for Palace Alert which was a program to augment F-102 pilots in SEA. I was assigned to the 509th FIS/405th FW where I flew 52 combat missions in SEA In 1970, we converted to the F-100D which I flew for the next 7 years acquiring 1250 hours in the F-100F with 1.5 years as an IP, most of which I spent at Tulsa, OK in their transition from C-123s to F-100s. It was an interesting year, to say the least.
In 1977 we converted to the A-7D which I flew for the next 15 years. I was full-time with the SDANG from 1977 until 1987 at which time I was hired by Northwest Airlines. I continued to fly for the SDANG until 1992 when I retired as a Colonel. I was retired from Northwest Airlines in Sep 2003. I am one lucky guy!
- 1/15/1962 15 Entered USAF, assigned as an operator on P-3 instrument trainer
- Training B-52 electronic warfare simulator at Castle AFB, CA
- 10/1966 Commissioned 2LT, SDANG
- 12/1966-12/1967 UPT, Moody AFB. GA
- 12-1967-6/1978 F-102 Training, Perrin AFB, TX
- 1969 509th FIS/405th FW, SEA (F-102 – 52 missions)
- 1970-1977 175th Tactical Fighter Squadron/114th Tactical Fighter Group, Commander 1986 (F-100C/D, A-7D)
- 3/16/1992 Retired USAF
Awards & Decorations
FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
(Instructor in F-100, A-7, and C-12)
Military Flight Hours: 5,005+ hours
Non-Military Flight Hours: 13,750
Military & Civilian Education
- Merced College, SD