Stephen E. Katz
Born in NYC, Steve & his family moved to Freeport. Long Island after WW2, where he attended public school through the 9th grade. He spent the next three years at the Mercersburg Academy in PA, graduating cum laude. At age 21, he graduated from Dartmouth College, majoring in English, and won a commission as a 2dLt through AFROTC.
A year later, he
was awarded Navigator wings at Harlingen AFB, TX and reported to the 310th Air
(SAC) at Schilling AFB, KS in Jan 1958. A year
later, he met the love of his life, Captain Patricia Ann
Schwab, an Air Force Flight Nurse. The marriage
lasted almost 52 years until her death in 2012.
In 1962, after an unsuccessful attempt to earn pilot wings, he was reassigned to Sewart AFB, TN in the 62d Troop Carrier Squadron, where Pat joined him. She resigned her commission after 10+ years active duty. For the first time since becoming a navigator, he had the opportunity for overseas flying, including long TDYs to most of Europe, Asia and Africa, and earned promotions to Captain in 1962 & Major in 1966.
In 1968, Steve applied through AFIT for a graduate degree program, and graduated with honors from Syracuse University, NY. In 1970, thanks to the nav.
assignments people @ AFMPC, he was able to swap a "trash hauler" job at CCK ROCAFB, Taiwan, to join the 39th Air Rescue Squadron @ Tuy Hoa, RVN (the only PCS C-130 squadron in Vietnam). He volunteered for a consecutive tour extension (the squadron having moved to Cam Ranh Bay, RVN). He amassed 1350 combat flying hours in his 21 months in SEA, including 350 combat missions and earned 28 combat saves (along with his other crew members). He departed SEA with a DFC (presented @ CRB by B/G Frank Everest, commander of the Air Rescue Service), & 15 Air Medals.
He persuaded the good folks @ AFMPC to assign him to Southern California, where Pat was awaiting his return. She bought a house on a cliff overlooking Catalina Island, where Steve still resides. He joined the 15th Military Airlift Squadron @ Norton AFB,CA (C141s) and for the first time in his flying career crewed in an aircraft with an enclosed bathroom & flush toilet. He was promoted to LtCol in 1973 and was selected to become the first navigator in MAC history to be chief of a command post. Success in that job led to his promotion to Colonel in 1978, & a reassignment to Scott AFB, IL in HQ MAC Logistics. Pat wisely remained in SoCal, and after much whining and whimpering at the Colonels' assignment office, I got my first command job as Deputy Commander for Air Transportation & Commander of the 374th Aerial Port Squadron at Clark - my dream job. I also set a record for shortest PCS @ Scott, 51 weeks.
Once again, MPC came through for me in 1981 with an assignment to George AFB, CA as Deputy Commander for Resource Management & then Inspector General for the 831st Air Division there.
After 30 years and 20 days of active duty, I retired & moved back home to our home in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. In addition to the aforementioned honors, I was awarded the Legion of Merit, 3 MSMs, an AFCM, a Vietnam Service Medal with 11 battle stars, and completed SOS, Air Command & Staff College, The Industrial College of the Armed Forces (all by correspondence) and the Navy Postgraduate School.
After my career, I spent 23 years with Associated Global Freight, shipping household goods & freight for military personnel, then being put out to pasture at age 75. Now, as I approach age 79 next spring, I find myself in reasonable health, still enjoying my home, with a 50% disability rating, forced to use a walker, with a full-time live-in caregiver, two poodles who are so great, but can still drive, and enjoying good care from the VA. 12 out of 30 years in Southern Calif. ain't bad!
I'll do my best to make the CA reunion in 2014, and until then, may God Bless Us, Everyone.