Hill Aerospace Museum announces Jan. speakers

Hill Aerospace Museum announces Jan. speakers

The Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, hosts a plane talk series featuring speakers related to heritage of Hill AFB, the U.S. Air Force, other military branches, and many other subjects related aerospace and the defense industry. Plane Talk takes place on Saturdays at 1 p.m. in the museum auditorium. Everyone is invited and admission is FREE.

January 14, 1 p.m. — Ken

Jaworski, retired U.S. Air Force F-111 pilot

January 21, 1 p.m. — Jesse Robert (Bob) Nelson, retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander

January 28, 1 p.m. — Tom

Fitzgerald, World War II Pilot

Speaker bios:

Ken Jaworski

Retired U.S. Air Force Captain Ken “Jaws” Jaworski served in the Cold War as a pilot, flying the F-111. His story is not one of tragedy or misfortune. When presented with a choice in the late 60s and impending draft to Vietnam, he chose to forgo his citizenship to another nation (Canada) and join  the service of his choosing — the U.S. Air Force — as an officer.

The F-111 was a feared, terrain-hugging, Mach 2.5, nuclear-ready fighter-bomber. It was more apt as a lightweight bomber than a fighter. Jaworski flew more than 1,500 hours in the F-111. During his career, he served as an aircraft commander, squadron ground safety officer, wing IG officer, range officer and simulator instructor.

Jesse Robert (Bob) Nelson 

Jesse Robert (Bob) Nelson was born and raised in Salt Lake City. He graduated from South High School and then the University of Utah. He attended the “U” on a Navy ROTC Scholarship, studying secondary education and general science.

Nelson started Navy Basic Flight Training in June 1954. Following Naval Advanced Flight Training, Nelson served valiantly throughout the world. Early in his career, he was attached to an Air Anti-Submarine Squadron and then was deployed to the western Pacific aboard the USS Princeton and the USS Hornet. From there he was attached to Fleet Airborn Electronics Training Unit in Coronado, California, as Anti-Submarine Warfare ground school instructor. From there he served in an Anti-Submarine Squadron and was deployed on numerous occasions to the western Pacific aboard the USS Hornet and the USS Bennington. Nelson also served at Long Beach Naval Base, California, as a staff intelligence officer and then as a Naval flight instructor in Corpus Christi, Texas.

In the early 70s he was attached to Carrier Onboard Delivery Squadron 50. He flew C-1A and C- 2A aircraft from Atsugi, Japan; Cubi Point, Philippines; and Da Nang, South Vietnam. Nelson was officer in charge of the detachment at Da Nang for about a year. Their mission was to transport cargo and passengers to and from the carriers that were operating off the coast of Vietnam.

He retired from the Navy on July 1, 1974. Due to his time with VT-31 as a carrier qualification instructor and his time flying supply missions out of Da Nang, Nelson had made at least one landing on every U. S. Navy carrier that was on active duty at the time.

After retiring from the Navy, he went back to school for a year to become a respiratory therapist. He worked at American Fork Hospital in that capacity for 21 years, retiring in 1986. He and his wife have been married for 65 years. They have 6 children, 29 grandchildren, and 56 great grandchildren with 3 more due within the next 6 months.

Tom Fitzgerald

Tom Fitgerald is 92 years old. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II in the European Campaign. He served in the Air Corps from 1943-1945. Afterwards he worked as a flightline mechanic on the P-47.

Fitzgerald will talk about the European campaign. He was in seven different airfields with General George Patton.

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