LTC Gene T Boyer was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 08/26/2016 at the age of 87.1
Seal Beach, CA
Flight Class 54-G
Date of Birth 07/24/1929
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with B/228 AVN 1 CAV in 66-67, HHC/45 TC BN in 69, 145 AVN BN in 69
Call signs in Vietnam CROSSBOX 6, ARMY ONE
This information was provided by Mike Law

More detail on this person: Remembering Col. Gene Boyer, Pilot to the Presidents

Memorial services for Col. Boyer will be at the Nixon Library on Friday, September 9 at 10 AM.

Lt. Col. Gene Boyer, White House Senior Pilot who flew presidents Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, died August 26, 2016. He was 87.

Col. Boyer was a 22-year Army veteran, who clocked 7,000 flight hours including 376 combat hours in Vietnam. He piloted 500 presidential missions as well as flights with Leonid Brezhnev, Charles De Gaulle and Anwar Sadat.

He served as President Nixon's helicopter pilot throughout the entirety of his presidency.

Just weeks after inauguration, he piloted RN's first presidential trip abroad with a tour of Europe. During the visit, he made history by landing the first helicopter at St. Peter‚«÷s Square in Vatican City.

With Col. Boyer in the cockpit, Pat Nixon became the first First Lady to fly over a combat zone, traveling through the battlefields of Vietnam. On a 1974 tour of the Middle East, he took the presidential fleet to the Great Pyramids of Egypt where RN presented Sadat with his own chopper as a gift.

"Gene was American hero who proudly served his country and his Commander in Chief,‚«• said Col. Jack Brennan, President Nixon‚«÷s Marine Aide and longtime friend of Col. Boyer. ‚«oI nostalgically recall our four decades of making mischief together,‚«• he added.

In retirement Col. Boyer was instrumental in tracking down and extensively restoring his old 1960 Army One chopper that he flew the Nixons in.

Once restored he brought it home to the Nixon Library, where it‚«÷s been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors for the past 10 years. The helicopter is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and will be ready for the opening of the new museum on October 14.

Memorial services for Col. Boyer will be at the Nixon Library on Friday, September 9 at 10 AM.

Gene Boyer, Renowned White House Pilot, Dies at 87

September 1, 2016 - Lt. Colonel Gene Tunney Boyer, 87, distinguished US Army aviator, passed away Saturday, August 27, 2016 in Los Alamitos, CA leaving behind his beloved daughter Robin and son Curtis. Born on July 24, 1929, in Akron, OH, to George and Edna (Monroe) Boyer, he arrived in the company of his twin brother Jack Dempsey Boyer. Named for two of the 20th century's greatest prize fighters, the Boyer family, including older brother Wallace Richard (Dick) Boyer, battled their way through the Great Depression one odd job, one cabbage dinner, one shoeless summer at a time.

A Boy Scout in his youth, the Colonel excelled as an athlete at Copley High School. His football coach helped him land a football scholarship to Ohio University. It was there he first became sensitized to the injustice of racism when African-American players were forced to stay in "colored only" hotels on away-game trips. That experience would fuel the Colonel's determination to fight prejudice in the military and purposefully integrate the White House Executive Flight Detachment when he took command in 1969.

After the Colonel graduated from Ohio University in 1952 with a degree in Business Administration, he was drafted into the Army where he qualified for Infantry Officer's Candidate School. He attended helicopter training at Fort Sill, OK, and began his prestigious career as an US Army aviator flying MASH helicopters in Korea. In the mid-1950s, the Colonel left the Army to fly for New York Airways and was among the first civilian helicopter pilots to fly in South America doing oil survey work.

In 1958, the Colonel re-enlisted in the Army, trained as a paratrooper and completed Ranger School at Fort Benning, GA. In 1962, he was assigned to the 1st Aviation Detachment, US -European Command at Orly Airport southeast of Paris, France. In addition to shuttling NATO VIPs, he had the opportunity to fly former President Dwight Eisenhower and CBS anchor Walter Cronkite over the beaches of Normandy during the filming of the 20th Anniversary of D-Day. While in Europe, the Colonel married Cynthia (CeCe) Wells Campbell. They would have two children and divorce in 1980.

By the spring of 1964, the Boyer family had relocated to Fort Belvoir, VA, where the Colonel began his eleven-year tour of duty as a White House helicopter pilot with the Army's Executive Flight Detachment, a mission they shared with the Marines. During the next decade, he accumulated nearly 650 flight hours with President Johnson, Nixon or Ford aboard as well as other world leaders such as Anwar Sadat, Leonid Brezhnev and the Shaw of Iran. Other notable passengers included, John Wayne, John Steinbeck and Winnie the Pooh. He flew missions in 49 US states and 17 countries amassing nearly 7,000 total helicopter flight hours.

During a year-long tour of duty in Vietnam, 1965-66, the Colonel was stationed at An Khe where he earned the coveted Soldier's Medal for "heroism" and accumulated 368 hours of combat flight time. Additional awards include a Distinguished Flying Cross w/ 1 Gold Leaf Cluster, a Bronze Star, an Air Medal w/"V" and 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, and three Legion of Merit Awards, among many other well-earned recognitions.

History will long associate the Colonel with the day Nixon resigned from office. In the cockpit of Army One, the helicopter upon which steps Nixon paused to give a final salute, were LTC Boyer and his lifelong friend CW4 Carl Burhanan, the first black pilot to fly for the White House. Frequently described as a "sky-witness to history," the Colonel's military career is chronicled in his award-winning memoir, "Inside the President's Helicopter: Reflections of a White House Senior Pilot."

The Colonel retired from the Army in 1975 and moved his family to Southern California, where, among other lofty ventures, he worked for Hughes Helicopter as Director of Marketing for the Middle East and Africa where he also marketed L-1011 aircraft for Lockheed. In his later years, he became an advocate for veteran rights and spearheaded efforts to restore the White House helicopter now an exhibit at the Nixon Library.

LTC Gene Boyer is survived by his former wife CeCe, daughter Robin LaFerrara (Seal Beach), son Curtis Boyer, (Long Beach), son-in-law Guy LaFerrara, two grandchildren, Aryn and Ryan LaFerrara, and his devoted four-legged walking companion, Amber.

A life celebration service is scheduled for September 9, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Richard Nixon Library. In lieu of flowers, the Boyer family requests a donation to the Alzheimer's Association of Orange County at or to the ongoing restoration of the helicopter at the Nixon Library that LTC Boyer piloted the day Nixon left office. Please make checks payable to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, note "Helicopter Fund/Gene Boyer" in the memo section and mail to 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, CA 92886.

Private interment will take place in the near future at Riverside National Cemetery

Burial information: Riverside National Cemetery, CA

This information was last updated 09/04/2016

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Date posted on this site: 03/10/2024

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