Manage episode 363955065 series 1016570
During the Vietnam War, with two years of college, Tom Speer was facing the draft. Out of curiosity, he visited a Marine recruiter and saw a photo of an F-4 and was hooked. The recruiter sent him to take numerous tests - which he aced - and he signed up to be a Marine Aviation Cadet. He had a bit of incentive when he received his draft notice!
Tom attended Navy/Marine flight training and was selected to fly jets. He was dogged in his pursuit of flying the F-4, turning down other jet offers until he prevailed. After F-4 training he was sent to Chu Lai, South Vietnam for his combat tour.
Returning from Vietnam he finished college and flew F-8s in the Marine Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. At the same time, he flew for Eastern, and honored the strike.
Following Eastern, he was hired by United Airlines, and was selected to manage the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) project, flying 747s at high altitude for NASA scientific research.
Tom now flight instructs on Beech 1900 aircraft.