On 17 January 1991, CAPT Speicher was shot down during a night combat mission over Iraq. His family, friends and the entire Tailhook Navy have not forgotten him.
This scholarship is awarded in memory of LCDR David Wooster “Woot” Taylor Jr., a World War II-era Naval Aviator who commanded two TBF / TBM Avenger torpedo squadrons, VT-4 and VT-7. Woot was killed 16 May 1944 when his F6F crashed following low-altitude engine failure during a training flight. Woot was a San Francisco, California native and was a 1935 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
CAPT Jensen, USN(Ret) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1974 and was designated a Naval Flight Officer in 1975. His operational tours included F-14 Tomcat radar intercept officer with VF-14, VF-101, VF-102 and flag lieutenant to Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. CAPT Jensen reported to VT-10 in February 1991 as executive officer and assumed command of the squadron in February 1992.
CDR Dean “Diz” Laird is the only Navy ace to shoot down both German and Japanese aircraft. Flying F4F Wildcats off the coast of Norway, he participated in the destruction of a couple of German airplanes October 1943. A year later he was flying F6F Hellcats from USS Essex (CV-9) in the Pacific Theater, where he was credited with the remainder of his 5 3/4 confirmed victories.
The annual host hotel for the Tailhook Reunion NAS Fallon and the Fallon Range Training Complex are the Navy’s premier integrated strike warfare training facilities supporting present and emerging national defense requirements. The mission is to support carrier air wings preparing to deploy and to support units participating in training events including Joint and multinational training and exercises. This scholarship is dedicated by Nugget Casino Resort to the men and women of NAS Fallon, past, present and future.
On March 3, 1969 the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of aerial combat and to ensure that the handful of men who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the world; they succeeded. Today, the Navy calls it Navy Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it...“TOPGUN”.‒
“The Navy has enriched my life in many ways that I cherish. This scholarship is just a way of saying thanks.” Francis “Frank” entered the Navy in 1946 under the Holloway Midshipman Program, spent 2 years in college under the V-5 program and entered flight training in 1948 as an Aviation Midshipman. He received his wings after completing advanced training in the F4U. He spent over five years on active duty flying from several carriers. He then completed 28 years of service as an active Reserve, retiring with rank of commander. He also retired from Clark Equipment Company after 28 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1953.
Clyde Ray “Tex” Welch hailed from Somerville, Texas. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in 1951 and reported to USS Essex (CVA-9) during the Korean War. His aviation career continued in TF-77 embarked in USS Shangri-La (CVA-38). He flew F9s, A4s and F-8s while deployed from NAS Miramar and NAS Lemoore. His combats awards included Distinguished Flying Cross and numerous Air medals with Combat “V” for valor. CDR Tex Welch was killed in action while serving as the VA-164 Ghostrider Executive Officer in CVW-16 on board USS Oriskany (CVA-34) in the Tonkin Gulf 26 October 1966. Nancy MacDonald Rodger Welch was born in Philadelphia. She met her husband Clyde in Tulsa Oklahoma while serving as an American Airlines stewardess. After Clyde was killed, Nancy earned degrees in Psychology. Nancy served as a U.S. Government senior U.S. Navy civilian for 20+ years as a Marriage Family and Child Counselor (MFCC) and retired in 1993 as the Director of Family Services at Naval Air Station Miramar, California. Nancy was the first female USNA Blue and Gold Officer as well as the first female to make a Western Pacific deployment return onboard a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier (USS Constellation, CV-64). She joined the ship in Singapore and provided returning sailors critical family counseling for their transition back into their families and homes.
During his career, ADM Keating served commanded VFA-87, CVW-9, Carrier Group Five, the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the U.S. Northern Command, North American Air Defense (NORAD) and U.S. Pacific Commands. He retired in 2009 after more than 38 years of service. He was the first Navy officer to head U.S. Northern Command and NORAD.