|Birth: ||Mar. 10, 1968|
|Death: ||Mar. 28, 2002|
I went to high school with Jason. I wasn't close friends with him but he was always a nice guy. I'm glad he got to live his dream during his short life.
Here is some information compiled about his life & death:
Early in his career with the U.S. Navy, Jason Bayer chose "Griz" as his call sign, short for grizzly bear. But when Bayer's colleagues discovered that his future wife, Anne, was calling him "Pooh Bear" in love letters, that was the moniker that stuck.
Lieutenant Commander Arthur Jason "Pooh Bear" Bayer was remembered in a ceremony that drew 300 people to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Carson City, Nevada.
Bayer, 34, was killed in a Navy helicopter crash on March 28 about 120 miles north of Los Angeles. He leaves behind his wife, who was expecting a son and 1-year-old daughter Gabriella.
Bayer was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Bayer was born in Reno in 1968, and graduated from Carson High, where he played on the football team.
Bayer took an early interest in airplanes and the military. His aunt, Tia Cobb, remembered how, during a visit to a bookstore, her nephew bypassed children's books in favor of a book with pictures of ships, planes and soldiers.
Bayer's father, Art Bayer, recalled his son's first words. "He pointed to the sky, with his little baby finger, and said ‘jet,'" Bayer said.
Bayer seemed to be on track to realizing his dream of becoming an astronaut, and the first person to land on Mars. "You know it as well as I do, he was going to make it," Art Bayer said.
After graduating from USC with a degree in sports medicine, Bayer was accepted into the Navy's Aviation Officer Training Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida.
"I remember him telling me that his graduating class had the highest scores ever up to that point," a friend said.
From there, Bayer went to Primary Flight School in Corpus Christi, Texas, then to Intermediate Flight School in Kingsville, Texas, and finally to Advanced Flight School in El Toro, Calif.
Bayer was selected to fly the F/A-18 fighter attack jet and in 1994, he became a pilot on the USS Independence aircraft carrier, based in Japan. (in a weird twist of fate I was living in Japan at the base at the same time!)
After three years on the USS Independence, Bayer became an advanced flight instructor for the Navy.
In 1999, he was transferred to the base at China Lake. He and his family were in the middle of moving to Lamore Naval Air Station when he was killed.
At the time of his death, Bayer was a test pilot in the Naval Weapons Test Squadron at China Lake in Ridgecrest, California.
Complementing his professional life was his marriage to Anne in 1995 and an active involvement in church.
Bayer's sister, Jessica Bayer, said she watched her brother grow from the boy she had rubber-band fights with to become an "amazing man." "He was a leader, showing us how to follow our dreams," she said. "I would even guess that Jason is right now teaching the angels a few new tricks about flying," she added.
Bayer's mother, Carson High teacher Merry Ann Bayer, died in 1999 after battling cancer.
Jason's funeral ceremony started with the national anthem and ended with "America the Beautiful." Two of Bayer's Navy colleagues presented Art Bayer with an American flag in his son's memory.
The crash that killed Bayer also took the life of Petty Officer Charles Chaco, 22,of Guam.
Both men were aboard a Navy HH-1 Huey helicopter that crashed during a search-and-rescue exercise on a rugged Sierra Nevada ridge about three miles west of Kernville, California.
Bayer, who was one of Carson High's top graduates in 1986, volunteered for the ride-along at the last minute when another crew member became ill.
"That sounds like him. Somebody needed something and Jason jumped to it," said Bernadette Garcia, a friend of Bayer's since their college days at the University of Southern California who now works for Southwest Airlines.
Carson High classmates who grew up with Bayer remembered him as a good friend to have, especially after he earned the Dean's Scholarship to USC and began a four-year stint as the manager for the USC football team.
Four others aboard the helicopter were injured.
I do not know if the following is still accurate but I leave the info here just in-case:
A special Educational Fund has been set up for Jason's two children, Gabriella and Jason Christian (J.C.) Bayer. Donations may be sent to:
c/o Anne Bayer, Account #05059-00047
Bank of America
101 W. Ridgecrest Blvd.
Ridgecrest CA 93555
Attention: Linda Estrada
Merry Ann Bayer (1946 - 1999)
Arlington National Cemetery
Created by: Blue Rose Of Cairo
Record added: Dec 17, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 12712878