Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
I am extremely sad to have to inform people that Ex WO Gary James died of a heart attack in Saudi Friday 23 Mar early in the morning. Gary's body will be flown home in due course and If his wife gives permission I'll post the funeral details. Gary, joined the RAF as a ASOP back in the 70's and was the last Sgt ASOP to be converted into an WC at West Drayton in the 87 IIRC. After time on the East Coast and the Benbecula, he went to Waddo as one of the first UK OCU crews. He left with his Tate & Lyle to go back to Buchan were he made his home in the local area. Although he left prior to 55yrs he re entered as A FTRS for the SFC and left again to join BAES in Saudi teaching at the Saudi Air Force Academy. I have lost a great friend and teacher who guided me through some seriously bad and joined me in some great times. My thoughts are with Gary's wife and children at this time. Trap One
I am absolutely devastated! Gary was a very dear friend although it's been a long time since I last made contact....sorry Gary. Indeed he trained me when I got to Waddo, got me drunk and carried me home on many occasion on det.....sharing a room in Arizona during Blazing Saddles was an experience I'll never forget...I still have the 'Wpns cowboys photo' in my toilet. Before he was posted back to the ground he conducted my StanEval checks and gave guidance and advice to keep me on the straight and narrow!
I was always hoping that we'd get a chance to catch up if the branch ever had a real reunion weekend.
Gutted....absolutely gutted! I'm sure you'll have all those angels doing inside out 90's by now Gary...35 right @ 25 maintain heading and level mate!
It goes without saying my thoughts are with Gary's wife and family.
USPIAM ET PASSIM / SEMPER AGGRESSUS
Having a very big brandy right now mate...
Last edited by Sentry Agitator; 24th Mar 2007 at 15:07.
This is deeply saddening news. Gary and I were students together at West Drayton and ten years or so later worked alongside each other on the Sentry Standards Unit. Gary was a good operator and a cheerful presence, but my abiding memory of him must be from when we were crewed up together for the Kosovo war. Gary was a natural choice for the most demanding control job, the air-to-air refuelling. This involved 2 towlines, one over Albania and the other over Macedonia, each of which contained 3 tankers operating at different levels, with a succession of formations and individual aircraft arriving and departing constantly, some of which required close control to join (I think he was logging around 100 tanker joins per 6-hour on-station period). To say that Gary's frequency was busy would be the understatement of the war, but the last straw was a Luftwaffe air transport aircraft which was flying down the spine of Italy, miles from the action, and insisted on trying to check in. After the third long-winded transmission from our Ally, Gary lost his cool and I heard him transmit angrily: "German Air Force 342, shut up and never speak to me again!", before rapidly moving back to the task in hand. Happy memories.
My condolences to Gary's family in their untimely loss.
Last edited by Mystic Greg; 24th Mar 2007 at 00:06.
What incredibly sad news. I knew Gary during Op Deny Flt - he was grand chap who could always raise a smile and one hell of a good bloke to have on your crew. I'm sure all of 8 Sqn Crew 4 will be gutted. Sincerest codolonces to his family from my better-half & I.
Absolutely gutted to hear this tragic news. I first met Gary almost 20 years ago and spent many AWACS hours working alongside him. He was a supremely professional WC and aviator who'll be sadly missed. RIP mate and sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time. If anyone hears of the funeral arrangements, perhaps they could post details here. MM
I'm absolutely devastated. Gary was an complete gentleman, an extremely sharp operator and the best instructor I ever had the good fortune to be trained by. Gary exemplified everything a weaponeer should be. Deepest condolances to his family - he will be greatly missed by all who knew him
Just heard the very sad news, I am really upset at this loss of Gazzer.
Like Terry R, I too was on the great crew 4 of 8 squadron during the Bosnia days in Aviano with the likes of Scuba, Hooley, Thumper, Jaffa and a whole host of other truly great characters. Gary amongst them. A superb professional in every way, hugely talented and enormously well respected by all who flew with him and knew him.
My deepest condolences to Garys family, the world is a much sadder and less rich place with his passing.
RIP mate, you join a long list of other great aviators who have gone before you, so you'll be in good company. I'll be having a few large ones for you tonight though.
Gutted to hear this news. Gary was a true gent and extremely professional operator who more than deserved the tag of aircrew no matter what many many say about the FC brevet. I was proud to fly with him. My thoughts are with his family.
Gary and I went through ab initio FC Trg at West Drayton together - for a JO straight out of Cranwell, you could not have asked for a better mentor and friend. Gary and I did keep tabs on each other throughout our careers and I credit him with much of my success having put me firmly on the right track back in West Drayton days. A huge loss to the Service, Branch and to me personally. The world is definitely a poorer place because of his passing. RIP Gary - I am proud to have known you and honoured to call you my friend and mentor.
I can't believe I missed this thread; just learned of the dreadful news via an email at work. Absolutely gutted.
I had the honour of working with Gary at Buchan up until his retirement; as others have said, he was an incredible mentor to us young 'uns. He was an absolute gent and will be very sorely missed. My condolences to his family.