Colonel James C. Ryan, age 90, died in his home surrounded by his loving wife Donna and his adoring family Saturday Dec 3.

Col. Ryan was the first born child of Ernest Homer and Edna Faye Ryan born on October 16, 1932 in Lodi Oklahoma.

Jim is survived by a wife, Donna, two sons Jim Lee and Tony, four Step-sons Jason Thomas, Greg Thomas, Anthony Pillittere and Step-Daughter Dina Haskins, 14 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. His sister, Ernestine Suhler.

Jim was a veteran of the Cold War and the Vietnam War. For his service, he was awarded Command Pilot Wings for 15 years as a rated pilot with over 3000 hours of flight time and Master Parachutists wings. His awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star with oak leaf clusters, the Distinguish Flying Cross with V device for Valor, the USAF Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, and the Legion of Merit, among many others.

As quoted The Colonel could fly anything that had the capability to get off the ground. From the Prop Planes he learned to fly while a Cadet, to the sleek and deadly F 86 of Korean War fame to the F 100 Afterburner Jet capable of the first sustained Supersonic Flight, being Hand Picked to teach German Pilots to fly the F 104 Star Fighter the fastest jet fighter in the world at that time , to the O 1e Birddog capable of 100 mph that he flew as a Forward Air Controller in Viet Nam and a UH 1d Huey Helicopter that the USAF did not have, nor pilots trained to fly them, and the A 7d in which he excelled in as a pilot. Several generals and senior pilots, said that He could do things in that airplane that just weren’t t possible.

The Colonel had a can do attitude, and he was an odds buster. From a very humble upbringing during the Great Depression, joining the Air Force on hopes of becoming a fighter pilot after watching a movie. Flying with the greatest pilots and aces of the time. He rose from an Airman Apprentice E-1 to a Colonel 0-6 and was well on his way to becoming a General. Which he gave up to spend time with his Father who was terminally ill with cancer.

He was a Cold War fighter pilot, flying the border of the Iron Curtain. He was a briefer at the Pentagon, Chief of Safety for the 12 Air Force, Operations Officer for the 40th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Squadron Commander for the 358th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Deputy Commander for the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, which was deployed to Korat AFB Thailand, and led the assault on the SS Mayaguez, the last combat operation of the Vietnam War. And was the Base Commander at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. He did it all As the Colonel always said When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

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