James Richard Thrash
Enlisted in U.S. Air Force, effective 13 January 1959
First assignment was Lackland AFB, Texas (13 Jan 59 - 13 Feb 59), 3353rd School
Squadron (ATC). Here I completed 4 weeks of basic training before being
transferred to Chanute AFB, Ill.
Chanute AFB, Ill (14 Feb 59 - 1 Dec 59), 3345th Technical School (ATC). Here I
completed my basic military training. Also, I was entered into the Flight
Simulator/Instrument Trainer school. Primary goal is to learn how the
simulators worked and then be able to perform the maintenance and inspections on
them when required. Flight simulators are used for pilot training programs,
where the pilot has to have a required number of hours in the simulator to learn
instrument flying procedures that will later be used in the actual aircraft.
Greenville AFB, Miss (20 Dec 59 - 6 Oct 60), 3505 Pilot Training Wing (ATC).
This base is a USAF Primary Pilot Training unit. Here I was trained to be an
instructor on the flight simulator for the T-33 aircraft. I had to teach pilot
trainees instrument flying procedures. Also, we had to do all the maintenance
and inspections on the simulators.
Craig AFB, Al (19 Oct 60 - 2 Dec 66), 3615th Pilot Training Wing (ATC). Craig
AFB is a Primary Pilot Training Base. Again, I taught pilot trainees instrument
flying procedures for the T-33 aircraft. We had to do our own maintenance and
inspections on the simulators, too. As instructors we had to be evaluated by
the Base Standardization Evaluation Board for pilots. I was the first enlisted
person to receive all Excellent ratings on the required evaluations.
England AFB, La (7 Dec 66 - 31 Aug 67), 834 Tactical Fighter Wing (TAC). At
this base I worked as an instructor and simulator maintenance person. We
supported pilots flying the A-26 aircraft (converted B-26), AC-130 Gun Ships,
C-47 and C-123 aircraft and later on the Combat Dragon A-37 aircraft (converted
T-37 twin engine pilot training plane). These aircraft were used during the
Chanute AFB, Ill (5 Sept 67 - 23 Jan 68), 3345th Tech School (ATC). Here I
attend an advanced Flight Simulator Course. This included training on the new
Flight Simulator GP-4 Computer system being install in the newer simulators.
England AFB, La (10 Feb 68 - 31 Dec 71), 834 Tactical Fighter Wing (TAC). The
base was renamed the 4403rd Tactical Fighter Wing(TAC) about mid 1970. We still
provided the same support as indicated above for England AFB.
Lowry AFB, Co (3 Jan 72 - 30 May 72), 3427th Student SQ (ATC). Here I attended
the 46130 and 46150 Munitions Maintenance Specialist courses before getting an
Utapao AB, Thailand (15 July 72 - 10 July 73), 635 Munitions Maintenance
Squadron (PACAF). At this base I was the day shift supervisor for the bomb
assembly section. We installed the fins, fuses, boosters and delays for the
bombs that are to be loaded onto the B52 aircraft. The aircraft takes off for
Vietnam, drops their load, and then returns to the base for maintenance,
refueling and uploading of more munitions.
Andrews AFB, MD (18 July 73 - 1 Oct 74), 1 Composite Squadron (HQ Command). I
am the NCO in charge of the T-40 Flight Simulator. There is one person working
for me at this location. Here, we provide flight simulator training for the
pilots located here at Andrews AFB and those that have desk jobs in the
Pentagon. While at this assignment, I was presented with the Air Force
Commendation Medal for service performed at my previous assignment (Utapao AB,
Thailand). I also attended the HQ Command NCO Academy located at Bolling AFB,
DC. This was a 5 week 4 day management-training course. I was also promoted to
the grade of Master Sergeant (E7).
Udorn AB, Thailand (15 Oct 74 - 15 July 75) 432 Munitions Maintenance Squadron (PACAF).
My assignment here was the dayshift NCOIC Munitions Control. I scheduled and
dispatched the munitions to the flight line for loading on the F4 aircraft.
England AFB, La (1 Aug 75 - 25 Aug 76) 23 Munitions Maintenance Squadron (TAC).
I was the NCOIC Munitions Equipment Maintenance Shop. We maintained all
equipment in support of the munitions for storage, inspection, maintenance and
Clark AB, Philippines (28 Sept 76 - 1 Sept 82) 3 Munitions Maintenance Squadron
(PACAF) My first job here was as the NCOIC Munitions Equipment Maintenance
Shop. After about a year and three months, I became the Squadron Training NCO
and Career Counselor. Then about a year and half later, the Commander needed a
First Sergeant, so he tapped me for that job. This job means you have to be
involved with the squadron personnel day and night. I was a marriage counselor,
financial counselor, drug counselor, got personnel out of jail day and night,
helped the Commander in the performance of disciplinary action such as Article
15 and court martial, plus any other task that the Commander wanted me to do. I
also, got promoted to Senior Master Sergeant (E8). Along with this promotion, I
was selected to attend the USAF Senior NOC Academy (8 weeks), located at Gunter
AFS, AL. Only about 3% of the eligible NCOs are selected to attend this
academy. Upon returning to Clark AB after completing the Senior NCO Academy, I
had a new assignment. I was assigned as the NCOIC Munitions Maintenance
Branch. I had a 2LT that was the OIC of the branch. We were in charge of all
munitions operations for our Squadron as well as for the Base.
Shaw AFB, SC (19 Sept 82 - 31 Aug 85) HQ 9th Air Force (TAC). AT this base I
had to wear two hats, one as the NCOIC Munitions Planning for HQ 9th AF and the
other for HQ USCENTAF. The USCENTAF (US Central Air Force) is part of the
USCENTCOM (US Central Command) (McDill AFB, FL) military forces that are in
charge of plans for a possible war in the Middle East countries. I received an
Air Force Commendation Metal for my service at my previous base of assignment
(Clark AB, Philippines). Part of my job during this assignment was to do
Munitions Inspections at other 9th AF bases such as Langley AFB, VA,
Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC and Homestead AFB, FL.
Retired from the USAF after serving 26 years, 7 months and 18 days.
USAF 1959 USAF Retirement Ceremony
Attachment: DD Form 214