GARY THOMAS

 

In high school I had always been interested in animals and had thoughts of becoming Veterinarian. I submitted an application to Arizona State but was put on a waiting list. As a result, I enlisted in the United States Air Force in July of 1960. That certainly changed my path through college and into the world of a veterinarian. I was assigned to a job in intelligence but as things go in the military, I was redesignated to go to Air Defense. I ended up as a North American Air Defense Command Radar Operator. Upon discharge I held several jobs while attending college part time. I had no set goals at that time. In 1985, was employed by Pacific Bell and my career path was now started.

 

My first four years after graduation were in the military and rewarding in some ways but not others. I enjoyed meeting new people from all over the United States. I ended up in Texas, Mississippi, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The work was interesting and important for the national defense. In the beginning it was boring but later on had very interesting jobs, such Assistant Weapons Controller. Had an opportunity to fly in Super Sonic fighter jets that were armed with nuclear weapons. I even had the honor of flying (but not landing) an F-106 fighter aircraft. I was even stationed on a radar platform 90 miles of the coast of Cape Cod, which was called Texas Tower 3. They were like our current oil rigs but used for air defense radars. We were often surrounded by Russian Trawlers (spy ships) but often traded with them (smokes for lobsters). In 1963 was offered Helicopter school for reenlistment but declined. I found out it would be off to Viet Nam flying evacuation missions during this military action. Found out about a 90% casualty rate, so out of question. Accepted discharge in April 1964.

 

I returned to California in 1964 and lived in San Francisco, San Bruno, Foster City, Novato, San Anselmo and Napa. In 1995, moved to Lebanon, Tennessee where my wife and I live today. It is about 25 miles east of Nashville.

 

I was single until 1985, at which time I got married. I have no children of my own but step daughter, grandson, granddaughter from my wife's previous marriage. We have been married 24 years. I have a brother that graduated form Cap in 1962. Both my parents passed away, one in 1987 and the other in 1997. Interests are golf and working in yard and upgrading house. I have been a member of the Lebanon Board of Zoning Appeals.

 

In 1987, I retired from Pac Bell. My wife and I have traveled the world. We have covered the United States, Far East, South America, Mexico, Caribbean, Europe and North Africa. Most of it done in the years 1988 to 1998.

 

In 2001, we raised our grandson (then age13) until his high school graduation in 2007.

 

I love baseball, which I played in my senior year at Cap. Then it would be football. For participation it is golf. I have had three Doberman Pinchers, two of which have passed away. Our current one is 6 years old. They are great dogs and not as dangerous as people think.

 

My favorite movies include Rudy, The Last of the Moheganís and Itís a Mad, Mad World.

 

I completed about two years of junior college credits that involved business, environmental studies, criminal justice and general education. I was able to obtain a Certificate to become a Reserve Police Officer in California, in 1982. I used most of my business and general education for Pacific Bell advancement.

 

I started at Pacific Bell as an entry level employee. After 5 years was promoted to management and had jobs related to equipment maintenance and handling customer calls. I did spend 3 years working on resolving customer issues reported to the California PUC and to the Office of the President of Pac Bell. My area of responsibility was from Bakersfield to the Oregon border for all departments of the company. I was offered and accepted an early retirement in 1987. I then went on to owning my own landscaping business in Napa. In 1988 I became a Napa Reserve Police Officer. In 1995, we moved to Lebanon, Tn. In 1997 I became a Lebanon Reserve Police Officer and then a part time Sworn Police Officer, until I retired from the department in 2002. I am now retired but remain active in the Southern States Police Association.