Dick Nelson

 Lives go in so many different directions, but we all started at the same place---that beautiful old building on US41. Every time I pass by there, the memories come flooding back.

After we graduated, I entered the Naval Academy and was sworn in 7/5/60. Plebe year was really tough, but the next three were not a cake-walk either. I had some amazing adventures, which I won't bore you with, but managed to graduate June 1964. In the next month, I got married to a girl from New Jersey and reported to flight training in Pensacola. I received my wings Nov. '65, and then trained in the F-8E Crusader at Cecil Field in Jacksonville. The F-8 was a single-seat, single-engine, carrier-based jet fighter.

After completing that training, I reported to a Fleet squadron at Miramar, CA (home of Top Gun). I did two combat tours in Vietnam, which included some exciting moments. During my time in San Diego, I learned to surf, which got me the call-sign "Hot Dog."

I was lucky, and survived 300 carrier landings and about 250 combat missions. After I returned, Wife #1 and I were divorced. I remarried in Feb. '69 to Janet, an American Airlines flight attendant (who just retired after 41 years!)

I left active duty in 1969, and joined Continental Airlines. I left, when Continental filed for bankruptcy in the mid-80s, and entered law school at UCLA, graduating in 1987. I practiced law for the next 18 years, then took a job with U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security in Miami as a Political Asylum Officer. I retired to Punta Gorda, where Jan and I concentrate on playing tennis and boating around Charlotte Harbor and Southwest Florida.

Currently, I have been doing some serious writing. My first book, entitled The Contrail Chronicles, will be coming out in about 60 days on Amazon and the major bookstores. It is essentially a painfully accurate biography, including some details of my family that people will probably find interesting, if not surprising. That included some events at SHS.