Famous Airmen
AAF Emblem USAF Emblem
Courtesy of
- 07/02/04
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA
 - 07/02/04
Thanks, Dave!
1947 Insignia
Courtesy of http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/insig11.htm - 07/02/04

This list is comprised of people whose main fame comes from their life OUTSIDE their military service,
and should not be confused with "Noteworthy Airmen", although the two are not mutually exclusive.







Dave Arnold

(David Lee Arnold)

12 Aug 1947
Hampton, VA
21 July 2012
Richmond, VA
* Newport News High School Class of 1965
* Director of Personnel and Training Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail
* My Friend


  Ray Barnes

(Raeford Clifton Barnes)

29 Oct 1946
Statesville, NC
Living * Newport News High School Class of 1965
* My Friend
  James Carter

(James Frank Carter, Jr.)

13 May 1918
Halifax, VA
14 May 2004
Hampton, VA
* Head Custodian at Newport News High School
* Civil Servant



Jackie Coogan

(John Leslie Coogan, Jr.)

26 Oct 1914
Los Angeles, CA
01 Mar 1984
Santa Monica, CA

(heart attack)

* Actor
* Director


  Carl DeVard

(Carl John DeVard, Jr.)

02 May 1935
Oak Park, IL
28 Feb 2009
(Magna, UT)


* Contractor
* Carpent
* Mechanic
* Hypnotherapist
* My Friend


  Frank Ferguson

(Frank Railey Ferguson, II)

24 June 1939
Newport News, VA
25 Apr 1967
Atlantic Ocean near Nantucket Island, MA

(plane crash - Note - plane he and his crew crashed in was a EC-121H Constellation radar plane.  Frank was the navigator on board.)

* Newport News High School Class of 1957



Clark Gable

(William Clark Gable)

01 Feb 1901
Cadiz, OH
16 Nov 1960
Los Angeles, CA

(heart attack)

* Actor



Gordon Graham

(Gordon Marion Graham)

16 Feb 1918
22 Mar 2008
Irvington, VA
* John London's Cousin-in-Law
* University of California - Class of 1940
* Triple Ace
* Lt. Colonel - USAF
* Buried at Arlington National Cemetery


  Marcus Higgins

(Marcus C. Higgins)

  Living * Newport News High School Class of 1965
* My Friend
Dickie Lavender

(Richard Wallace Lavender)

20 May 1938
23 Sept 1981
Lake Worth, FL
* Newport News High School Class of 1956


S.E. Lewis, Jr.

(S.E. Lewis, Jr.) (sic)

07 June 1946
Cape Girardeau, MO
Living * Paul's Cousin
* Teacher
  George Lindsey

(George Smith Lindsey)

11 Dec 1928
Fairfield, AL
06 May 2012
Nashville, TN
* Walker High School, Jasper, Alabama, Class of 1946
 * Actor
* Comedian
* Rip's Friend




John London

(John R. London)

04 Feb 1939
Rocky Mount, NC
Living * Warwick High School Class of 1957
* Systems Engineer and Manager of SE from the NCR Corp and BancTec of America out of Dallas, TX. Specialty - Commercial Banks Account Processing
* My Friend



George McGovern

(George Stanley McGovern)

19 July 1922
Avon, SD
21 Oct 2012
Sioux Falls, SD
* Historian
* Author
* U.S. Representative
* U.S. Senator
* Democratic Party Presidential Nominee in the 1972 Presidential Election
* Distinguished Flying Cross
* Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters


Glenn Miller

(Alton Glenn Miller)

01 Mar 1904
Clarinda, IA
15 Dec 1944
over the English Channel

(plane crash)

* Band Leader


Willie Nelson

(Willie Hugh Nelson)

30 Apr 1933
Abbott, TX
Living * Country Music Singer-Songwriter
* Author, Poet, Actor, and Activist



  Sammy Nestico

(Samuel Lewis Nestico)

06 Feb 1924
Pittsburgh, PA
Living * Trombonist



  Chuck Norris

(Carlos Ray Norris, Jr.)

10 Mar 1940
Ryan, OK
Living  * World Professional Middle Weight Karate Champion
* Actor
* Humanitarian




 1986 - Lieutenant General Robert C. Oaks
Robert Oaks

(Robert C. Oaks)

14 Feb 1936
Los Angeles, CA
Living * Member of the first class to graduate from the United States Air Force Academy - 1959
* Fighter Pilot during the Vietnam War, once being shot down over the
Mekong Delta

* Commander of Air Training Command and United States Air Forces in Europe
* Four-Star General and Commander and Chief of U.S. Air Forces Europe and NATO Central Europe - 1994
*Senior Vice President - 
U.S. Airways
*  - 2009 General Authority of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints



  Dick Pike

(Richard Pike)

About 1930   * Church Organist
* Choir Director
(Does anyone know if he moved to Florida? There is a Dick Pike, organist, listed at a church in Inverness, FL)
Bob Ross

(Robert Norman Ross)

29 Oct 1942
Daytona Beach, FL
04 July 1995
New Smyrna Beach, FL


* Host of PBS-TV's The Joy of Painting, 1983-1994


  Dan Rouse

(George Daniel Rouse)

10 Oct 1941 08 Oct 1995
Shalimar, FL

(heart attack)

* Newport News High School Class of 1959
  Sam Somerville

(Samuel Howard Somervill, Jr.)

09 Nov 1923
Spencer, WV
04 Aug 2003
Newport News, VA
* Newport News High School Industrial Arts Teacher


  Mickey Spillane

(Frank Morrison Spillane)

19 Mar 1918
Brooklyn, NY
17 July 2006
Murrell's Inlet, SC
* Mystery Writer
* Fighter Pilot Instructor in the AAF in WWII.
  David Steinmeyer

(David J. Steinmeyer)

22 Dec 1943 Living * Jazz Trombonist





Russ Stephenson *

(Russell Garrison Stephenson)

01 Nov 1938 
Painter, VA
(Eastern Shore)
A B-52 Stratofortress like the one Col. Stephenson flew in Vietnam

"I only flew B-52's in Vietnam (210 missions). Later after Vietnam I flew the FB-111."

* Newport News High School Class of 1957
* Senior Compliance Officer, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) which is a part of the Treasury Department

Jimmy Stewart

(James Maitland Stewart)

20 May 1908
Indiana, PA
02 July 1997
Los Angeles, CA

(pulmonary blood clot)

* Actor
* Director




Wednesday, April 19, 1944

Brig. Gen. James M. Stewart, USAF Reserve
   Steve Tinkler

(Steven Bernard Tinkler)

06 Nov 1947
Manhattan, KS
Living * Engineer

Bobby Turpin by a captured WW II German "B 1" Buzz Bomb on Lackland AFB, TX during Basic Training
Bobby Turpin

(Bobby Gene Turpin)

25 Oct 1940
Living * Newport News High School Class of 1958
* My Friend
  Jack Webb

(John Randolph Webb)

02 Apr 1920
Santa Monica, CA
23 Dec 1982
West Hollywood, CA

(heart attack)

* Actor
* Director
* Producer


  Ronald J. Webb

(Ronald John Webb)

29 Aug 1937
Trenton, NJ
Living * Flew 44 missions; was an F-4C jet pilot when he was shot down 11 June 1967
* Spent 2,093 days as a POW in Vietnam
* Repatriated 04 Mar 1973
* Assistant Secretary of the Federal Aviation Agency



  Kenny Webber

(John Kenneth Webber)

30 May 1917
Belleville, WV
07 Feb 2009
Cape Girardeau, MO
* World War II: Air Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross with One Oak Leaf Cluster
* Electrician
* Paul's Cousin-in-Law


Chuck Wilson

(Charles Robert Wilson)

19 Feb 1921
Milford, CT
25 Sept 2004
Mesa, AZ
* Chris Wilson Starkman's Father




Earl Vaughn

(Earl Ray Vaughn)

21 Feb 1942
Vincennes, IN
Living * Elnora High School Class of 1960
* Hampton Police Department, Hampton, VA
* Hampton Sheriff's Office, Hampton, VA
* Lieutenant in charge of Intake and Release with the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, Williamsburg, VA - retired in 2003



A C-130 Hercules
from the 2nd Airlift Squadron,
Pope Air Force Base, NC, flies over the Atlantic Ocean.
F-102A Delta Dagger, a Vietnam era Fighter Jet A B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions
Images courtesy of Maj. Joseph A. Madagan, USAR Ret. ('57) of FL - 07/01/04
Thanks, Joe!



This is an interesting site:

More recent aircraft used in Iraq. Operation DESERT STORM -
US Air Force Museum Post-Cold War History Gallery:

A variety of insignia in case you wish to give the historical view:

http://www.af.mil/photos/index.asp?galleryID=2 - SWEET!

A couple of good photos at this site, among the more humorous ones.

The above links given at the suggestion of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 07/02/04
Thanks so much, Joe!

Russell Garrison Stephenson (NNHS Class of 1957) is a Colonel in the USAF (Retired).
He was serving in the Air Force as a jet pilot in Vietnam, and was shot down over North Vietnam.
Word got back to friends and family, and it was not until I was working with Patsy Bloxom Meider locating "missing classmates"
for an upcoming reunion back in the 90's that I found his name on the list of those classmates that had passed away.
I was not aware that he had died, and upon learning of the details of his being shot down over North Vietnam
I did a routine check of the Vietnam casualty list and did not find him listed.
In trying to reconcile this matter, I began to search for him, and found him living in Endicott City, Maryland.
I checked with a mutual buddy, Fred Hayman ('57) to see if Fred thought it might be "Gary" as we called him in school.
Fred tried to call him from Northern Virginia several times, and in frustration called at 2:00 AM and woke him up.
He was going by the name of Russell, and was startled to be awaken to "Gary"
for he had not used this name since leaving high school.
He and Fred had a reunion on the phone that morning. It was our "missing" buddy!
Russell ("Gary") Stephenson attended the next reunion of our class, and told us that he had been shot down
while flying a jet over North Vietnam, but had been later rescued by Special Forces.
He returned to duty, but not flying jets. He started flying B-52 Bombers, and spent two more tours
in Vietnam  flying B-52 Bombers in bombing runs.
He is currently working with Homeland Security tracing funds donated to suspected terrorist groups in Washington, D.C.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 06/30/04
WOW!  Thanks, Joe!

Sorry for the late response, I have had e-mail problems.
Thank you for the consideration for the web page, it would be an honor to be listed with such great patriots.
I will try to find a good photo that I can e-mail to you. I will have to get into my files which may take some time.

The story about me at the end of the web page is really not correct.
I do know that for some reason many folks thought that I had been lost in Viet Nam
 and Fred did call at 2 am, but the rest is incorrect.

 I only flew B-52's in Viet Nam (210 missions). Later after Viet Nam I flew the FB-111.
If it will help I will include a bio of my military service when I send the picture.
One late note, I currently work for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
which is a part of the Treasury Department. We chase money launderers and terrorist financiers.

Again, thanks for thinking about me

- Russ Stephenson ('57) of MD - 07/14/04
WOWZERS!  Thanks so much, Russ - sorry for the bloopers!

Russell G. Stephenson, Colonel, USAF (Ret), was born November 1, 1938, in Painter, Virginia. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in September 1958, was selected for flight training through the Aviation Cadet program, graduating in March 1960. His first operational assignment after completing training was to the Strategic Air Commands’ 96th Bombardment Wing (H), 337th Bomb Squadron, Dyess AFB Texas, flying Boeing B-47E’s. After completing several “Reflex” deployments to the United Kingdom, he was reassigned to the 91st Bombardment Wing (H), 322nd Bomb Squadron, at Glasgow AFB, Montana, flying Boeing B-52D’s. During the fall of 1965 he was appointed to lead the Wings Aircrew up-grade program that provided training on the Wings newly assigned “Big Belly” modified B-52D’s. Following three “Arc Light” tours in support of B-52 operations in Viet Nam, he was reassigned back to the 96th Bomb Wing, 337th Bomb Squadron, Dyess AFB Texas, as a senior “Arc Light” training officer in May, 1968. His initial assignment established the wings training program to train and certify the wings assigned aircrews in “Arc Light” operations. After completing the aircrew certification assignment, he was reassigned to the Wings Standardization and Evaluation Division. In the spring of 1969, he deployed back to South East Asia to the Headquarters, 8th Air Force Tactics Evaluation Office, B-52 Division. In this position he was responsible for developing and improving B-52 aircrew tactics and evaluating overall aircrew operations. 8th AF’s “Tac Eval” was also responsible for the bi-annual review and certification of SAC’s Arc Light Combat Crew Training Squadron (CCTS) operations at Castle AFB in California. Returning stateside in the fall of 1969, he was assigned as the senior crew in the Wings Standardization Division responsible for all evaluations of the wings aircrews. He returned overseas and completed his final “Arc Light” tour as the 8th AF TAC Eval, returning stateside in December 1970. January 1971, he was reassigned to SAC’s 380th Bombardment Wing (M), Plattsburgh AFB, New York, with training in route at Mather AFB, California and Carswell AFB, Texas, in SAC’s new FB-111A aircraft.
 During the period 1971 to 1975 he led numerous developmental projects for the aircraft and as well as serving in the Wings Standardization Division. In 1974, he led the effort to incorporate and certify the AGM-69A, Short Range Attack Missile, into the aircrafts’ weapons inventory, firing the wings first operational missile launch at the Tonopah Test range in Nevada. From 1975 to 1978 he served as Commander of the 380th Transportation Squadron winning the Air Force Outstanding Unit award twice. He was reassigned to the National Security Agency Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland in May 1978 as the agency’s Director of Transportation. During this assignment he developed and implemented an air cargo movement program, an agency first. Employing special air and surface movement modes, he was able to save the agency over $3 million in one special project. In June 1981, he was reassigned to Europe to an organization with oversight of several airborne intelligence platforms. Working with the U.S. Army Air Defense Command he was instrumental in establishing and improving interoperability procedures between the two organizations. Returning to Fort Meade in June 1983, he assumed command of the 6940th Intelligence Wing, the largest in the Air Force. The wing provided personnel and support for air and ground operations worldwide. During U.S. Military operations in Granada, he acted as the Airborne Commander for the “Comfy Levi” airborne tactical SIGINT platform supporting the ground forces on the island. July 1, 1985, he was appointed as the new Director of Military Personnel for the National Security Agency responsible for managing the military positions at the Agency for the five military services. Colonel Stephenson retired from the Air Force, April 1, 1990, having logged over 7000 hours (1365 combat) of flying time during his career. He currently works for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a Bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as a Senior Compliance Officer in the Office of Regulatory Programs in Washington D.C.

- Col. Russell G. Stephenson, USAFR ('57) of MD via Maj. Joseph A. Madagan, USAR ('57) of FL - 08/03/04
GULP!  WOWZERS!  Thank you, Gentlemen!

Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

  Off we go into the wild blue yonder
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At'em boys, giv'er the gun!
Down we dive spouting our flames from under,
Off with one hell-uv-a roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame,
Nothing'll stop the US Air Force!

Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder
Sent it high into the blue
Hands of men blasted the world asunder,
How they live God only knew!
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer
Gave us wings ever to soar,
With scouts before and bombers galore,
Nothing can stop the US Air Force!

Here's a toast to the host of those who love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send the message of his brother men who fly.
We drink to those who gave their all of old,
Then down we roar to score the rainbow's pot of gold.
A toast to the host of men we boast the US Air Force.
Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true!

If you'd live to be a gray haired wonder,
Keep your nose out of the blue!
Flying men guarding our nation's borders,
We'll be there followed by more,
In echelon we carry on!
Nothing'll stop the US Air Force!

"Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder" midi courtesy of http://members.tripod.com/~Son_Struck/pmm.html - 07/01/04

"Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder" lyrics courtesy of http://www.lilesnet.com/patriotic/music/off_we_go.htm - 07/02/04

C-130 Hercules image courtesy of http://www.af.mil/photos/search.asp?q=C-130&page=3,
 at the suggestion of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 07/01/04
Thanks, Joe!

F-102A Delta Dagger image courtesy of http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/air_power/ap54.htm,
also at the suggestion of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 07/01/04
Thanks again, Joe!

B-52 Stratofortress image courtesy of http://www.af.mil/photos/index.asp?galleryID=12
also at the suggestion of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 07/01/04
And thanks again, Joe!

B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber image courtesy of http://www.af.mil/photos/search.asp?q=stealth&page=2,
 once again at the suggestion of Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 07/01/04
And thanks again, Joe!

Famous Coast Guardsmen and Famous Merchant Marines
Famous Marines
Famous Sailors
Famous Soldiers
Return to Newport News High School

If you (or a family member) served our nation as a member of the United States Air Force,
and would consent to being included on this page, please send your full name,
date and place of birth, other occupations, and images in uniform
to the Web Mistress:

Carol Buckley Harty of IL: cluckmeat@yahoo.com

Thank you.