Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Colonel Jerauld R. "Jerry" Gentry 1936-2003

Jerry Gentry logged 4,500 flight hours in more than 50 different fighter, trainer, bomber and research planes.

Serving as Chief USAF pilot of the joint USAF/NASA Lifting Body Research Program, he flew the first flight of the X-24A, the second of the HL-10, and he was selected to pilot the first rocket-powered flight of both. Gentry was the Project Pilot for the F-4E performance, stability and control and spin tests. He also tested the M2-F2, F-4C/D, F-104, F-111 and F-5.

Gentry served for five years as the Tactical Air Command fighter pilot before becoming a test pilot and flew more than 200 combat missions in Southeast Aria. Later he held the positions of Director of Operations of the F-15 and F-4E Tactical Fighter Wings, Commander of Red Flag and Commander of the first operational F-16 Tactical Fighter Wing.

Gentry represented the USAF Headquarters as the F-16 Program Element Monitor, Deputy Director for General Purpose Forces, Directorate of Operational Requirements and as Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition. He also served as the principal U.S. representative to the NATO Air Forces Armament Group.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who holds an M.S. in Aerospace Management from the University of Southern California, Gentry has received the Silver Star, two Legion of Merits, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 14 Air Medals.