My entire career has been spent in service to my country: first as a Naval Commander, then as a U.S. Customs agent, and finally as a helicopter and tanker pilot fighting fires for the U.S. Forest Service. In my service I learned the values of teamwork and cooperation and I will take these qualities to the capitol with me. I am humbled by your faith in me to represent LD-1 this legislative session. I pledge to be the true citizen-legislator our forefathers envisioned.
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona in a family of law enforcement officers. I graduated from St. Mary’s High School and later attended Arizona State University where I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business in 1965. I was fortunate to spend my third year of college at the National University of Mexico where I fell in love with Mexican culture and learned to speak and write fluent Spanish.
A year after I graduated from college, in the height of the Vietnam War, I volunteered for Naval Flight Training. I received my Wings of Gold after completing my aircraft carrier landing phase in March, 1968. In response to the needs of the Navy and the direction of the war, I volunteered for helicopter training and learned to fly the UH-1B Helicopter Gunship. I joined my squadron, the Seawolves and spent a year in the Mekong Delta flying close-contact air support for the Navy Seals, PBR Riverine Forces, and Army Special Forces. After my tour in Vietnam, I remained on active duty until 1971. At the end of the first Gulf War in 1991, I retired from the Naval Reserves as a Commander (05).
During my years of military service I received the following commendations: Bronze Star, U.S. Air Medal with 16 Flight Strike Awards, U.S. Presidential Unit Citation, U.S. Vietnam Services Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and the National Defense Ribbon. In 1970 I had the honor of serving on the Apollo 13 space module recovery team.
After retiring from the Navy, I began work as an agent for the U.S. Customs Service/Department of the Treasury. For over ten years I worked in Mexico, Central America, and South America combating the illegal drug trade infiltrating our country. I also worked along the borders in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California in cooperation with the Border Patrol, ATF, and the Department of Immigration. Also during this time I served at the Pentagon as the Customs Liaison in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is here I received my first exposure to politics when the military joined the drug war. I ended my fulfilling and educational career with the Customs Service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 57 in 1998.
In 1999 I began fighting forest fires as a tanker pilot, air attack pilot, and helicopter pilot for the U.S. Forest Service. In this position I have learned a great deal about our natural resources and how to protect them, including forest stewardship which can both prevent wildfires and create jobs.
At this time I moved to Prescott because I love the area and its history. I have the great fortune to live in a historic home listed in the National Register and I also own a small business in town. Additionally, I keep busy by leading motorcycle tours through Mexico and Central America. I have two adult children, one delightful daughter-in-law, two beautiful grandsons, and brand new baby granddaughter. My family keeps me busy and mindful of my strong responsibility to young people and the future.