John R. Gilchrist


 

Preferred Name: Jack

Nickname/Call Sign: Gilch

Date of Birth: January 18, 1934

Highest Military Grade Held: Colonel

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Super Sabre Society member John R. (Jack) Gilchrist, was born January 18, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1953 he married his sweetheart, Carol Sue Klose.  They had two sons, John Robert Jr. (deceased) and Daniel Robert, before he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Air Force on February 4, 1956.

In 1956, he was stationed at Hondo Air Base, Texas for primary pilot training in T34 and T28 aircraft. He was then stationed at Webb Air Force Base, Big Spring, Texas for advanced Pilot training in the T33 and where he earned his pilot wings in July, 1957 two weeks after his third child Linda Sue was born. . He attended gunnery training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona flying the F-84-F aircraft. He attended Nellis Air Force Base for advanced gunnery school flying the F-100-A.

In 1958 he was assigned to the 53rd Fighter Day Squadron at Landstuhl Air Base, Germany, flying the F-100-C aircraft. The squadron was redesignated 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. The mission was expanded to include delivering air to ground ordinance and 24 hour nuclear alert. The 53rd squadron deployed to Wheelis, Air Base, Libya for gunnery training. During this time his fourth child, Leslie Ann was born.

In 1961, he received PCS orders to the 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron at George AFB, California, flying the F-100-D. In September, 1961 the 309th deployed to Spangdahlam, Germany in support of the Berlin crisis.

He attended Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in January, 1962, graduating in March, 1962. During that time the 309th, 306th, 307th and 308thsquadrons or the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing were transferred to Homestead Air Force Base Florida. He returned to George AFB in time to clear out of base housing and travel to Florida. In early 1962 he deployed with the 309th to Okinawa to sit nuclear alert for the F-100 outfit that was converting to F-105 aircraft. The 309th was extended in Okinawa for an additional three months due to the Cuban Missile Crisis. TAC selected the 309th squadron to conduct night low level navigation missions carrying bombs and illumination flares. The pilot would locate the target, pull up from 500 feet to drop the flairs, then position to release the bombs or napalm. During his stay at Homestead AFB, he attended Safety Officer School, followed by Jump School at Fort Benning.  In 1964 he was deployed with the 308th squadron to Turkey for a 3 month rotation. The flight to turkey was non-stop using two sets of KC 135 tankers and seven separate air to air refuelings. The flight took over twelve hours. It was the longest non-stop F100 squadron deployment at that time. He returned just in time to attend the birth of his fifth child Lisa Marie. This was the end of his F100 flying days.

Upon his return to Homestead AFB, he received orders to Fort Benning, Georgia as an Air Liaison Officer with the 2nd Infantry Division. He deployed with the first ground troops, the 1st Air Calvary Division, to Vietnam in August 1965. He traveled to Vietnam on the USS Geiger ship that normally held 1500 passengers but was carrying nearly 3000, and took 32 days.  He flew the O1E Bird Dog. His call sign was Top Sail Hotel. He lived in tents and ate C rations. He was Jack the Fac.

After Vietnam he was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona from 1966 to 1968 where he was an F4 instructor pilot.

From 1968-1970 he was an Air Officer Commanding (AOC) at the Air Force Academy, 31st Cadet Squadron.

He attended Command and Staff at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, graduating in 1971 as a distinguished graduate. He also earned his Master’s Degree in Political Science from Auburn University

Next came Langley Air Force Base from 1971 to 1975, where he held several jobs including Assistant Director of Personnel, Assistant Chief of Staff of TAC, and Executive Officer to the TAC commander and afterwards attended the National War College, Fort McNair, D. C., and was a Distinguished Graduate in 1976.

He was the Commander of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying the F-4-E at Clark Air Base, Philippines. 1976 to 1977 and Commander, Cope Thunder (PACAF Red Flag) Clark Air Base, Philippines. 1977-to 1978 and later Director of Operations, 314th Air Division, Osan Air Base, Korea. 1978-1980 and Vice Commander, 405th Tactical Training Wing, flying the F15 Eagle, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona 1980-1982. His last assignment was as Chief of Staff 12th Air Force, Bergstrom AFB, Texas 1982-1984.

Colonel Gilchrist retired from the Air Force in May, 1984

Units Assigned

  • 2/1956 commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Air Force
  • 1956 Primary Pilot Training,  Hondo Air Base, TX (T-34, T-28)
  • 7/1957 Advanced Pilot Training, Webb Air Force Base, TX (T-33)
  • 1957 Gunnery Training, Luke AFB, AZ (F-84)
  • 1957 Advanced Gunnery Training, Nellis AFB, NV (F-100A)
  • 1958 53rd Fighter Day Squadron/53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron,  Landstuhl AB, Germany/Wheelis AB, Libya( F-100-C)
  • 1961 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron, George AFB, CA/ Spangdahlam, Germany (F-100-D)
  • 1/1962-3/1962 Squadron Officer School,  Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 3/1962  309th/306th/307th/308thsquadrons/31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Homestead AFB, FL/George AFB, CA
  • 4/1962-1964 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Okinawa (F-100)
  • 1964 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Incirlik, Turkey (F-100)
  • 1964-8/1965 2nd Infantry Division, Homestead AFB, FL
  • 8/1965-1966 1st Air Cavalry Division, Vietnam (O1-E)
  • 1966-1968 F-4 IP, Davis Monthan AFB, AZ
  • 1968-1970 31st Cadet Squadron  Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Force Academy
  • 1970-1971 Command and Staff at Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 1971-1975 Assistant Director of Personnel, Assistant Chief of Staff of TAC, and Executive Officer to the TAC commander, Langley AFB, VA
  • 1975-1976 Distinguished Graduate, National War College, Fort McNair, DC
  • 1976-1977 3rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Commander, Clark AB, Phillippines (F-4E)
  • 1977-1978 Cope Thunder (PACAF Red Flag), Commander, Clark AB, Philippines
  • 1978-1980 314th Air Division, Director of Operations, Osan AB, Korea
  • 1980-1982 405th Tactical Training Wing, Vice Commander, Luke AFB, AZ (F-15)
  • 1982-1984 12th Air Force, Chief of Staff,  Bergstrom AFB, TX
  • 5/1984 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

 Legion of Merit (2)
 Distinguished Flying Cross
 Bronze Star medal
 Meritorious Service Medal (2)
 Air Medal (9)
 Air Force Commendation Medal
 Combat Readiness Medal
 National Defense Service Medal
 Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
 Vietnam Service Medal (3)
 Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
 Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Command Pilot Wings
 Master Parachute Wings
Vietnamese Parachute Wings

Flight Info

T-34
T-28
T-33
F-100 A/C/D
O1-E
F-4E
F-15

Military Education

1962 Squadron Officer School
1970-1971 Command and Staff School
1975-1976 National War College

Civilian Education

1971 MS/Political Science,  Auburn University
1976 MBA, University of Pittsburgh

Biography

Super Sabre Society member John R. (Jack) Gilchrist, was born January 18, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1953 he married his sweetheart, Carol Sue Klose.  They had two sons, John Robert Jr. (deceased) and Daniel Robert, before he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Air Force on February 4, 1956.

In 1956, he was stationed at Hondo Air Base, Texas for primary pilot training in T34 and T28 aircraft. He was then stationed at Webb Air Force Base, Big Spring, Texas for advanced Pilot training in the T33 and where he earned his pilot wings in July, 1957 two weeks after his third child Linda Sue was born. . He attended gunnery training at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona flying the F-84-F aircraft. He attended Nellis Air Force Base for advanced gunnery school flying the F-100-A.

In 1958 he was assigned to the 53rd Fighter Day Squadron at Landstuhl Air Base, Germany, flying the F-100-C aircraft. The squadron was redesignated 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. The mission was expanded to include delivering air to ground ordinance and 24 hour nuclear alert. The 53rd squadron deployed to Wheelis, Air Base, Libya for gunnery training. During this time his fourth child, Leslie Ann was born.

In 1961, he received PCS orders to the 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron at George AFB, California, flying the F-100-D. In September, 1961 the 309th deployed to Spangdahlam, Germany in support of the Berlin crisis.

He attended Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in January, 1962, graduating in March, 1962. During that time the 309th, 306th, 307th and 308thsquadrons or the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing were transferred to Homestead Air Force Base Florida. He returned to George AFB in time to clear out of base housing and travel to Florida. In early 1962 he deployed with the 309th to Okinawa to sit nuclear alert for the F-100 outfit that was converting to F-105 aircraft. The 309th was extended in Okinawa for an additional three months due to the Cuban Missile Crisis. TAC selected the 309th squadron to conduct night low level navigation missions carrying bombs and illumination flares. The pilot would locate the target, pull up from 500 feet to drop the flairs, then position to release the bombs or napalm. During his stay at Homestead AFB, he attended Safety Officer School, followed by Jump School at Fort Benning.  In 1964 he was deployed with the 308th squadron to Turkey for a 3 month rotation. The flight to turkey was non-stop using two sets of KC 135 tankers and seven separate air to air refuelings. The flight took over twelve hours. It was the longest non-stop F100 squadron deployment at that time. He returned just in time to attend the birth of his fifth child Lisa Marie. This was the end of his F100 flying days.

Upon his return to Homestead AFB, he received orders to Fort Benning, Georgia as an Air Liaison Officer with the 2nd Infantry Division. He deployed with the first ground troops, the 1st Air Calvary Division, to Vietnam in August 1965. He traveled to Vietnam on the USS Geiger ship that normally held 1500 passengers but was carrying nearly 3000, and took 32 days.  He flew the O1E Bird Dog. His call sign was Top Sail Hotel. He lived in tents and ate C rations. He was Jack the Fac.

After Vietnam he was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona from 1966 to 1968 where he was an F4 instructor pilot.

From 1968-1970 he was an Air Officer Commanding (AOC) at the Air Force Academy, 31st Cadet Squadron.

He attended Command and Staff at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, graduating in 1971 as a distinguished graduate. He also earned his Master’s Degree in Political Science from Auburn University

Next came Langley Air Force Base from 1971 to 1975, where he held several jobs including Assistant Director of Personnel, Assistant Chief of Staff of TAC, and Executive Officer to the TAC commander and afterwards attended the National War College, Fort McNair, D. C., and was a Distinguished Graduate in 1976.

He was the Commander of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying the F-4-E at Clark Air Base, Philippines. 1976 to 1977 and Commander, Cope Thunder (PACAF Red Flag) Clark Air Base, Philippines. 1977-to 1978 and later Director of Operations, 314th Air Division, Osan Air Base, Korea. 1978-1980 and Vice Commander, 405th Tactical Training Wing, flying the F15 Eagle, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona 1980-1982. His last assignment was as Chief of Staff 12th Air Force, Bergstrom AFB, Texas 1982-1984.

Colonel Gilchrist retired from the Air Force in May, 1984

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 2/1956 commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Air Force
  • 1956 Primary Pilot Training,  Hondo Air Base, TX (T-34, T-28)
  • 7/1957 Advanced Pilot Training, Webb Air Force Base, TX (T-33)
  • 1957 Gunnery Training, Luke AFB, AZ (F-84)
  • 1957 Advanced Gunnery Training, Nellis AFB, NV (F-100A)
  • 1958 53rd Fighter Day Squadron/53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron,  Landstuhl AB, Germany/Wheelis AB, Libya( F-100-C)
  • 1961 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron, George AFB, CA/ Spangdahlam, Germany (F-100-D)
  • 1/1962-3/1962 Squadron Officer School,  Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 3/1962  309th/306th/307th/308thsquadrons/31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Homestead AFB, FL/George AFB, CA
  • 4/1962-1964 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Okinawa (F-100)
  • 1964 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Incirlik, Turkey (F-100)
  • 1964-8/1965 2nd Infantry Division, Homestead AFB, FL
  • 8/1965-1966 1st Air Cavalry Division, Vietnam (O1-E)
  • 1966-1968 F-4 IP, Davis Monthan AFB, AZ
  • 1968-1970 31st Cadet Squadron  Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Force Academy
  • 1970-1971 Command and Staff at Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 1971-1975 Assistant Director of Personnel, Assistant Chief of Staff of TAC, and Executive Officer to the TAC commander, Langley AFB, VA
  • 1975-1976 Distinguished Graduate, National War College, Fort McNair, DC
  • 1976-1977 3rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Commander, Clark AB, Phillippines (F-4E)
  • 1977-1978 Cope Thunder (PACAF Red Flag), Commander, Clark AB, Philippines
  • 1978-1980 314th Air Division, Director of Operations, Osan AB, Korea
  • 1980-1982 405th Tactical Training Wing, Vice Commander, Luke AFB, AZ (F-15)
  • 1982-1984 12th Air Force, Chief of Staff,  Bergstrom AFB, TX
  • 5/1984 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

 Legion of Merit (2)
 Distinguished Flying Cross
 Bronze Star medal
 Meritorious Service Medal (2)
 Air Medal (9)
 Air Force Commendation Medal
 Combat Readiness Medal
 National Defense Service Medal
 Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
 Vietnam Service Medal (3)
 Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
 Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Command Pilot Wings
 Master Parachute Wings
Vietnamese Parachute Wings

Flight Info

T-34
T-28
T-33
F-100 A/C/D
O1-E
F-4E
F-15

Military Education

1962 Squadron Officer School
1970-1971 Command and Staff School
1975-1976 National War College

Civilian Education

1971 MS/Political Science,  Auburn University
1976 MBA, University of Pittsburgh

Photos