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Pollard, Jessica; Gumbleton, Mason; Albrecht, Michael

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Pollard, Jessica; Gumbleton, Mason; Albrecht, Michael


U.S. History P.1


John Bitzberger

John Bitzberger was born and raised in Riverside, California. He graduated from Notre Dame High School receiving a Navy ROTC scholarship to the Illinois Institute of Technology. At that time, his fondest dream was to hopefully some day become the Commanding Officer of a submarine or any other small combat ship. After two and a half years, the Navy and John temporarily parted company when they dropped his scholarship in February of 1964. In August of 1964, the ships known as the Maddix, and the Turner Joy were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin. And as of November, 1964 he took and passed the tests necessary to become a Naval Aviation Cadet as a non-pilot crew member. Becoming a pilot was really one of the last things that John wanted to do, but it seems as though he was almost forced to the job.

In November of 1965, he received his navigation wings and a commission as an Ensign. John was also assigned to the Naval Air Station Sanford in Florida, where he took further training in the RA5C Vigilante. The units stationed there were designed as heavy Reconnaissance Attack Squadrons (RVAH). John and his wife Diann got married on December 28th, 1965, on their way to Sanford. The Vigilante was a supersonic flying carrier based nuclear bomber that was also fitted with several millions dollars of high tech cameras. In his normal configuration, John had six very sophisticated cameras that were capable of taking extremely detailed photographs at any speeds and altitude. His first deployment to Southeast Asia was from November, 1966, through July, 1967. Here was aboard the USS Enterprise. Typically, John flew his missions at altitudes of 3000 to 5000 feet in altitude and at supersonic speeds (650-750 mph).

In June of 1967, John was the first to photograph The North Vietnamese airfield, which had been bombed by the Navy about thirty minutes later after the strike. It was a ground breaking mission, and a portion of one of the photos taken was published in a national magazine. While on his deployment, John’s pilot convinced him that he should return to Pensacola and so call upgrade his pilot training from a navigator (or a co-pilot) to an aviator (head pilot). And so in January of 1968, John reported to the Training Squadron One for Primary Flight Training. He later went on to operate jets in Meridian, Mississippi. Then John received his own jet as a Naval Aviator in January of 1969 and was assigned to the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, California. After further training, John was assigned to Attack Squadron 192, (VA-192) also known as the World Famous Golden dragons, which was flying the A7-E jet.

In November of 1970, John departed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk for another deployment, which lasted until July of 1971. By the end of that cruise, he had completed 197 combat missions, over 200 carrier landings, and 100 carrier landings taking place in the back seat of the Vigilante. In November of 1971, John was ordered to Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, to finish his college education. During this time, he also earned a Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering (structures). He said “the two and a half years I spent there were probably the best years of my life up until then”. After he graduated, John was assigned to the USS Constellation and joined in the Far East in August of 1974. John returned from that cruise in December and then spent the next fifteen months in a shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, which he also said “were probably the worst fifteen months of his life” because of the labor that had to be done there, the horrible smell of the fish, and a scary experience as well. John transferred to the Naval Air Rework Facility at Naval Air Station North Island at Coronado, California in May of 1976. There he was later discharged from the Navy as of June 1, 1978.

Over the next several years John started up his own insurance agency, became a District Manager, worked for a District Manager, and by June of 1990 he started his own software engineering company which he still operates today. He also began rating software soft ware for insurance agents around the world, which was his job. He learned how to do this during his years of education at Monterey, which included a minor in Computer Science and at one point in his life he spoke five different coding languages.

In conclusion, King High Remembers was a very beneficial learning experience through the eyes of this group. At this event people learn things that are not acknowledged about in a text book, we’ve all learned many things that will stay with us forever, and we thank Mr. Bitzberger for this amazing learning experience.

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