MAJ Jerry T. Dennis was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 03/09/2008 at the age of 65.9 from Heart attack
Ventura, CA
Flight Classes 68-501 and 67-25
Date of Birth 04/30/1942
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with 173 AHC in 66-67, A/1/9 CAV 1 CAV in 69-71
Call sign in Vietnam HEADHUNTER 4
This information was provided by Ross Clement

More detail on this person: Former Alaska resident Jerry Thomas Dennis, 65, died March 9, 2008, in Ventura, Calif., of a heart attack.

A graveside service with military honors will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Fort Richardson National Cemetery. Attendees must meet at the gate at 12:40 p.m. Celebration of life, 2 p.m., American Legion 28, 7001 Brayton Drive. Call the Medallion Foundation, 743-8050, for more information.

Jerry was born April 30, 1942, in El Centro, Calif., to Loren and Thelma Dennis. In 1960, Jerry graduated from South High School and later that year enlisted in the Air Force to pursue his dream of flying jets. In 1961, Jerry was accepted into the Air Force Academy, graduating in 1965. Due to a serious knee injury, Jerry had to leave the Air Force. However, that did not deter his passion for aviation. In 1965, he enlisted in the Army to become a helicopter pilot.

In May 1966, Jerry married Hannelore "Lory" Padilla.

In September, he was sent to Vietnam for his first tour. After he returned to the States in 1967, he was selected for rotary wing flight school, from which he graduated with honors and first in his class in December 1967. The next year, Jerry served his second tour in Vietnam, this time as a helicopter pilot and aircraft commander. He was later stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala., as an aircraft accident investigator, which launched his career in aviation safety. In 1974, as a major, he left the U.S. Army, and from 1975 to 1985, he remained in the Army Reserves 1898th Aviation Company at Fort Richardson. Jerry proudly served his country for more than 25 years.

In 1974, the National Transportation Safety Board hired Jerry to investigate aviation accidents in Alaska due to his knowledge and experience with safety in aviation. In the 1990s, Jerry continued his work in aviation for insurance companies in New York and Washington, D.C. In 2001, Jerry wrote the basic business plan for the Medallion Foundation, launching a unique aviation safety program in Alaska. His expertise and foresight brought change to the culture of aviation and helped save lives. This program has been viewed nationally and internationally as one of the best worldwide.

Jerry's adventures were just beginning on his recent move to California to be a consultant to the aviation industry.

His family wrote: "Jerry should be remembered for serving his country and for his significant contribution to aviation safety through awareness, education, and training. We know he is up in the heavens directing angels on how to fly safely."

Jerry is survived by his daughter, Nicola Barnes of Reno, Nev.; grandson, Christopher Barnes of Anchorage; two great-grandchildren, Bianca and Rebel of Anchorage; brother, Byron of Bakersfield, Calif.; and former wife, Hannelore "Lory" Dennis of Anchorage.

Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 51810, Sparks, NV 89435. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust,; or to the Jerry Dennis Aviation Safety Scholarship, University of Alaska Anchorage Aviation Technology Program, 2811 Merrill Field Drive, Room 131, Anchorage 99501, attention: Leonard Kirk.

Published in the on 3/16/2008.

HAI Sadly Announces the Passing of Jerry Dennis (UPDATED)

Helicopter Association International (HAI) sadly announces the passing of Jerry Dennis, who died March 9, 2008 in Ventura, California at age 65.

Dennis began his love for aviation when he enlisted in the Air Force with a dream of flying jets. A knee injury forced him to leave the Air Force, but did not stop him from doing what he wanted to do _ fly. In 1965, Dennis enlisted in the Army to become a helicopter pilot. After returning from Vietnam, he attended and graduated first in his class from Rotary Wing Flight School. Dennis returned to Vietnam _ this time as a helicopter pilot and aircraft commander _ before coming back to the U.S. to work as an aircraft accident investigator in Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Dennis began working for the National Transportation Safety Board in 1974 to investigate aviation accidents in Alaska. He also continued his work in aviation for insurance companies in New York and Washington, DC. In 2001, Dennis wrote the basic business plan for the Medallion Foundation. He served as the Executive Director for the Medallion Foundation, Inc. from its start in 2001, until retiring in February 2008 to pursue other interests in aviation. The Foundation is an Alaskan non-profit safety organization funded by grants from the FAA. The foundation works to reduce aviation accidents, commercial aviation insurance rates, and influence the aviation Safety Culture throughout the state of Alaska. His expertise and the work of the Foundation has been valuable in promoting change to the culture of aviation and has been viewed nationally and internationally as one of the best programs worldwide as it continues to save lives.

Dennis is survived by a daughter, a grandson (who he was helping to get his ATP pilot license, and currently flys for PenAir), two great-grandchildren, and a brother. HAI sends its condolences to his family, friends, and all who knew him. He was an inspiration to the industry and will be truly missed.

A memorial service will be held March 21, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery in Anchorage Borough, Alaska. Attendees must meet at the gate at 12:40pm. Military Honors at gravesite only. After the service, a celebration of life will be at 2 p.m. at the American Legion 28 , 7001 Brayton Drive, Anchorage (frontage road off New Seward Hwy from Dimond Blvd north bound). Any questions please call the Medallion Foundation at 743-8050

Condolences can be sent to the family at: Nicky Barnes, c/o PO Box 51810; Sparks, Nevada 89435. Email:

Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ultralight plane crash kills Texas pilot in southest Oregon

Posted by Richard Cockle, The Oregonian May 27, 2008 11:25AM

JORDAN VALLEY -- An ultralight aircraft was banking steeply above a private airstrip near Jordan Valley in southeastern Oregon on Sunday when onlookers said it "fell out of the sky," killing a Texas pilot.

The Malheur County Sheriff's Office said John A. Williamson, 58, of Arlington, Texas, was killed instantly in the 10:50 a.m. crash. A sheriff's department spokesman said Williamson was "banking hard" above the airstrip about seven miles south of Jordan Valley when the accident occurred.

He was flying the enclosed cockpit aircraft during an annualouting.

A Vietnam veteran, Williamson was an experienced pilot and had flown more than 1,500 hours in that aircraft, deputies said.

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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