I was born to the parents of Dale and Alice Lee in St Joseph, MO on June 18, 1947. Both came from a mid–west town in Nebraska and served as combat veterans in WWII. My mother was a Nurse on the beaches of Normandy and my Father was a Flight Engineer on the B-24 where he served on 11 ½ missions before being shot down and captured over Italy. Both my parents suffered from PTSD and were eventually granted 100% disability through the Veterans Administration.
I have two sisters and two brothers who worked with me on the family-owned Dairy farm in Deming, WA. I graduated from Washing State University in 1969 with a degree in Business Administration. Working on the farm provided me with a strong work ethic, ability to work with my hands, and a focused motivation to do something other than farming.
Our Family-owned Dairy was a full-time operation with little time for after school activities and social life. On the upside, I eventually owned three dairy animals which by the time I graduated from Washington State University had paid for my car, college education, and both my private and commercial pilots’ licenses.
Immediately after graduation from WSU, I enlisted in the Navy Aviation Officer Cadet Program where I earned my Officer’s Commission and the Navy Wings of Gold. Following this, I was assigned to VP-46 to fly the P-3 Orion based at Moffett Field, CA. In this capacity I served two tours of duty in Vietnam flying costal surveillance and reconnaissance. After five years of active duty and a rank of LT Commander, I left the Navy to pursue my desire for an aviation career.
Following my Navy experience, I served two years with TWA/Saudi Arabian Airlines flying the B-707 and L-1011. I was based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and flew routes over the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Feeling the tremendous burden this was putting on me and my family, I resigned in 1977 and returned to the US.
Shortly after returning home, I was hired by Braniff International where I was based in Miami, FL. At Braniff I flew the B-727, DC-8, & the B-747. Most of my flying experience was on the D-8 where I flew to all of Braniff’s South America destinations. Following five years at Braniff, the company went bankrupt and ceased operations.
After 10 months of working two jobs, I was hired at Alaska Airlines in 1983. I spent the next 24 years at Alaska Airlines, flying the B-727 and mulit-versions of the B-737. In addition to my flying as Captain, I served in several roles with the Pilots Union (ALPA). I spent two years as the Grievance Chairman, and 10 years as Chairman of Contract and Labor Negotiations. In 1996 I was awarded the Alaska Airline Customer Service Legend Award for “Outstanding Service, Performance and years of Dedication”. I retired from Alaska Airlines on April 1, 2007
Since my retirement, I have been active in my church and the local VFW Post. I have been married to my best friend for 52 years and have two lovely girls and five grandchildren. After following me around the world, my wife and I are now happy to be living in Sammamish WA