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05/14/2017

Simica, Robert [Bob]

Well I think of Allegheny every day. Why you may ask? In my junior year a fraternity brother wiped out my right knee while playing “touch” football behind the house. So the aches and pains of old age center around that knee. I also remember when political science went from being a relatively easy major to being so hard that I almost did not graduate. I remember the snow. And then I remember the snow. And then I remember the snow crunching under my feet heading to the library that seemed to be heated to 100 degrees in comparison. I remember “fishbowls” and I remember the music. I listen to 60”s music on the radio and remember “Toga” and “Yard and ½” parties. All I thought about was the future then and I wish I had paused to enjoy college more. It went by so very fast. Kind of like the last fifty years.

Marriage

My wife Jane and I have been married for 27 years. She is a Greensburg, PA girl that I met shortly after retiring from the Air Force and moving back to Pittsburgh.

Where we’ve lived

As most of us that went into the military and served the full tour we bounced around a bit. I’ll just make a list.

  • Del Rio Texas
  • San Antonio Texas
  • Clovis New Mexico
  • Nakhan Phanom Thailand
  • Korea
  • Big Spring Texas
  • Alexandria Louisiana
  • Colorado Springs Colorado
  • Sioux Falls South Dakota
  • Murrysville PA
  • Orcas Island Washington
  • Bellingham Washington
  • La Quinta California

My jobs

Except for two years assigned as a liaison officer to the Fourth Infantry at Fort Carson Colorado I was always flying airplanes. After Air Force pilot training I was assigned as a T-38 Flight Instructor at Randolph AFB in San Antonio. Next I got caught up in the war where everything was screwed up most of the time. After originally being assigned to be a O-2 Forward Air Controller in Vietnam I did well enough at gunnery school to have that changed to an AT-28 headed to a country slightly northwest of Vietnam. Arriving at Hurlburt Field Florida to begin training I found out that they had just wrecked one of their four AT-28’s and the class was delayed. I called the personnel center at Randolph and they guy said “ Oh hell, just head over to the A-1 squadron”. That started one of the best years of my flying career. The A-1 was built the same year I was born. A slow propeller driven plane that could carry it’s own weight in bombs and fuel. It was used for close (really close) air support and helicopter escort. With the call sign of “Sandy” we searched for pilots that had been shot down and took the “Jolly Green Giant” helicopters in to try and rescue them. I enjoyed that mission more than I can say. It was approaching the start of the end of the war. We flew our plane to South Vietnam and gave them to the South Vietnamese. As I said things get screwed up in a war. No one told LBJ we had shut down and as the B52’s were heading for Hanoi he mentioned that it was a good thing we still had the A-1”s. You guessed it. We had to go back and get them and sit alert with Vietnamese markings on the planes. That lasted a week and we took them back again. We all lined up on the ramp and the commander says “Everyone that has been here longer than Simica is going home”. Like I said it was a F—- up war. So I go to Korea at Christmas with no warm clothes and no way to get them until after the new year. At the rate I am BSing this will never get done so I will condense the rest into as few words as possible. Back to Training Command to be a T-37 Instructor, you guessed it, it got screwed up and I ended up flying T-38s again. That is a really long story that we can cover in the bar. Then on to The A-7 aircraft at England AFB. This airplane and I would spend almost ten years together off and on as later I would be the Air Force Advisor to the South Dakota Air National Guard also in the A-7. As I was getting ready to retire from the Air Force I got a call from a company in Pittsburgh to come fly Learjets for transplant flights. I figured I might as well head back home to the “Burgh”. For a few years I flew hearts and livers and even lungs back to Pittsburgh for transplant. The constant night flying, (the doctors liked to put in the organs first thing in the morning) got tiresome and I got hired by US Steel as a corporate pilot in there Gulfstream jets. My dad had worked for US Steel and I had worked in the mill one summer during college and here I was back again. I spent 13 years at US Steel and then took an early retirement package and Jane and I headed west to the area north of Seattle. I was able to do some part time flying for awhile and that helped us pay for a boat and an airplane but finally those companies lost their flight departments in the depression and my flying stopped.

Our children / grandchildren

There are three daughters and four grandchildren

Retirement

We have settled in a 55 and over community about 25 miles east of Palm Springs in La Quinta California. Here we party and play cards. Good food abounds. The rest of the time we go to doctors.

Current activities / hobbies

Sleeping and walking our two poodles.

My contact Info

Address:  81810 Golden Star Way, La Quinta, CA 92253
Phone:  760-777-4128 (Home)   360-961-7318 (Cell)
Email:  

Freshman Book

2017

Jane & I

A-1 in Thailand

Stopping to refuel our airplane in Cody, Wyoming

2 Comments on “Simica, Robert [Bob]

Don Jackson
05/19/2017 at 2:00 pm

Bob,

Don Jackson here. You probably don’t remember me as our paths at Allegheny didn’t cross much but reading your comments got to me. I have 1500 hours in Air Force A-7’s and am surprised we never hooked up. I was the TAC Command SEFE in TAC Stan-Eval from 1978 to 1981. I flew with all of the guard units except Souix Falls. I was an A-7 Sandy at Korat at the end of the war having gone through the SAR school at Alex on the way to SEA. Still would have thought we would have run into each other along the line. I ended up with 1000 hours in F-15’s so had a great career in both A/G and A/A. No nukes. What a joy. Maybe we can chat at the reunion.

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Bob Simica
Bob Simica
05/21/2017 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for adding you comment Don. As the Air Force advisor I was an augmentee for several unit ORI’s. I believe they were all F-4 units to have a little dissimilar air to air and to chase them down on low level routes. I would have to go back in my records to see if I ever helped out on a stan-eval visit to another unit. I think we will have much to discuss at the reunion and probably know some of the same folks.

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