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Jack Sullivan
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Jack Sullivan
 
 
On January 1, 1956, I was enroute to Laughlin AFB
in Del Rio, TX.  I was married three days prior on
Dec. 30, 1955 to a beautiful Swedish blonde, Alice
Carlson, so we were on our honeymoon.  We rode in
style as we had bought a new red and white Ford
convertible.  After several months of basic training I
made a decision not to sign indefinite but to serve
out my specified time contract of three years on
active duty.  Between graduation from college and
going in the Air Force, I worked for Procon, Inc.
which hired me out of college and I promised to return
after three years.  If I had it to do over again, I
would have stayed on active duty.  So I was given a
choice of bases, either Larson AFB in Moses Lake, WA,
where they had C-124s or Pope AFB in NC where they had
C-119s.  Since I didn’t like the C-word in front of
airplane types, I chose Larson for the simple reason I
had never lived out west.  There I flew out of base
flight in C-47s and got four to eight hrs. per month
flying time.  I was assigned as group maintenance
officer as I had a BSME degree from GA. Tech.  The
work and flying was rather uneventful and I chose to
serve out my time on active duty.  In 1958, Alice and
I left and returned to Chicago where I started work
with Procon in Des Plaines.  I was to be a
construction superintendent trainee in building oil
refineries and petrochemical plants.  However, at the
time, construction jobs were few, so I worked in the
process design department doing more chemical
engineering than mechanical.  I immediately joined the
AF reserve at O’Hare Airport flying the C-119. (the
Air Guard was full).  After several years the future
of the company looked dim and the construction in the
industry had slowed down immensely.  So in 1961 I was
hired by the AF as a civilian engineer to work on the
Titan and Atlas missile systems at Norton AFB, CA.  I
joined the C-119 reserve unit at March AFB.  After a
few years I worked for TRW, Inc. in San Bernardino, CA
in support of the missiles at Vandenberg AFB.  In 1965
they had few new contracts with the AF and many of the
engineers were leaving for greener pastures.  Some of
my fellow pilots in the reserve were being hired by
the airlines.  So one day while passing through the LA
airport, I saw a United Airlines sign.  I picked up an
employment application and after an interview and
check ride in a simulator I was hired.  I started in
the spring of 1966 and flew for 30 years until I
retired in the spring of 1996.  I flew out of O’Hare
my entire career.  I flew the DC-7, 737,727, DC-8 and
DC-10 aircraft.  I also retired with 20 years in the
AF reserve and have logged about 18,000 hrs total in
both military and civil aircraft.  When we moved back
to IL in 1958, I built a house in Crystal Lake about
30 miles northwest of Chicago and we have lived here
ever since.  Alice and I have four children, two boys
and two girls.  David, the oldest is an engineer with
GE Medical, Barb and family live in beautiful
Evergreen, CO.  Jeff is a pilot for United and
Jennifer is a Montessori teacher and lives in the area
with her family.  Between the four of them we now have
five grandchildren.  Since retiring in 1966, I have
been busy with tennis, golf, gardening (nothing like a
fresh picked tomato), sailing on Crystal Lake,
traveling and remodeling the house from time-to-time.
In the winter we usually go to FL for two months.  It
is close to the end of 2004 and I am sure it will be
more of the same in years to come.  Except we will
have our 50th wedding anniversary on Dec. 30, 2005. 

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