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LTC Gerald Raymond “Jerry” Linn

LTC Gerald Raymond “Jerry” Linn

Birth
Molalla, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA
Death 8 Nov 1982 (aged 40)
Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
Burial Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
Plot 003 A 066
Memorial ID 17325983 · View Source
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Gerald Raymond 'Jerry' Linn was the son of Virginia Spangler (1913-1998) and Orville David Linn (1909-1979).

Jerry attended Millard School in Langlois, Oregon as a Falcon Scholar in 1960-1961 and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 1965 where he was a member of Cadet Squadron 15.

From the 1965 USAFA yearbook, Polaris:
"In years hence, Mololla, Oregon, will wonder how it can get along without Jerry. However, Mololla's loss was the Air Force's gain. Jerry is an engineering science major who says he has fighters in his future. He's an outdoor man at heart and an intrepid skier. Fifteenth's "super skier" proved his daring all the way to the hospital. Future plans include going to graduate school in Aeronautical Engineering after burning up the skies in his F-4C."

After graduation from the USAFA, he attended pilot training and then upgraded to F-4C's. He ferried a F-4 to SEA and attempted to remain in country, however he was unsuccessful.

On October 29, 1968, he was assigned to the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 'Screaming Eagles' 8th Tactical Fighter Wing 'Wolf Pack' stationed at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand flying F-4D 'Phantom II' fighters. On May 20, 1969, he volunteered to become a Wolf FAC Forward Air Controller. Jerry checked me out as a Wolf FAC Aircraft Commander and later checked out Captain Gray Dawson Warren, a fellow classmate from the USAFA.

A few remembrances by Lee Hillard, Wolf 03A:

When Jerry checked me out as a Wolf in early August 1969, it was the wet season (South West monsoon season). There was a bulldozer West of Delta 79 that was nicknamed ‘Jerry's bulldozer'. As we approached ‘Bingo fuel' on each sortie, we emptied the SUU-23 of its 1,200 rounds of 20mm into the dozer. Strangely, when the dry season arrived the bulldozer just disappeared.

When we started flying Wolf missions into Barrel Roll in Northern Laos in September 1969, Jerry discovered a huge stock of 55 gallon drums filled with high octane aviation gas on the South side of the runway at Phonsaven on the Plains de Jars. Jerry found that strafing the drums with the SUU-23 and then firing a white phosphorus rocket into the barrels you could make some really big fires. After all of us had done his little trick for a few weeks, a message was forwarded to us from General Vang Pao, head of the Royal Lao Army, stating to cease and desist this practice as the fuel would be used by the Royal Lao's when the dry season arrived and they were able to retake the area around Phonsaven. In this same time frame, Jerry returned from a Barrel Roll mission and was all smiles as he had found a nearly new blue and white Chevrolet sedan in the same area and had managed to "blow the doors off" of said vehicle. A few days later, another message arrived from General Vang Pao stating to keep a look out for his blue and white Chevrolet sedan as the Pathet Lao had stolen it and he would like to recover the vehicle.

While we were Wolfs, we set up an exchange program with the Navy, where they sent some of their pilots to Ubon for a rub and scrub and one of the Wolves went to the USS Hancock (CVA-19) for a couple of days. Shortly after Jerry had visited the Hancock, he returned from flying one afternoon and told how he had refueled then dropped to the deck, turned the parrot off and flew out to the Hancock at about 500 knots. During his exchange visit, he had acquired their UHF control frequency so he proceeded to give them a call and requested permission to come aboard. Permission was granted so he pitched out and turned final with the gear, flaps and tail hook all down. Needless to say he did not land, but just buzzed the deck with it all hanging out. Several weeks later, when I was aboard the Hancock, they were still talking about his buzz job.

When Jerry departed Ubon, he was assigned to the 81st TFS which was an F-4C ‘Wild Weasel' squadron at Hahn AFB, Germany. The 81st TFS was transferred to Zweibrueken AFB, Germany in June 1971. While at Zweibrueken he returned stateside for Fighter Weapon's School at Nellis AFB, Nevada. In December 1972, he rotated stateside, joining the 75th TFS at England AFB, Louisiana where he flew A-7's. In December 1974, he went to RAF Wittering, England (just up the A1 from Alconbury), where he was assigned to the 1 Squadron as an exchange Officer. He first learned to fly helicopters and then transitioned to the Hawker Siddeley Harrier.

Returning stateside in 1978 he became Commander of the F-4G 'Wild Weasel' test team at George Air Force Base, Victorville, California.

He was then assigned to the 52nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany. On July 9, 1982, Jerry became commander of the 81st Tactical Fighter Squadron, which was a 'Wild Weasel' squadron flying the F-4G.

On November 8, 1982, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Raymond Linn and Captain Daniel K. Raichlen were flying F-4G, 69-0252, a low level training mission in Germany when the aircraft crashed near Neuhaus im Solling.

The most reliable scenario of the crash was provided by Les, who was the Flying Safety Officer at Spangdahlem.

"I was wing flight safety officer and on the initial investigation team. The aircrew fell victim to a visual illusion and flew into a huge oak tree barren of leaves hidden in a background of the surrounding pine forest. It lost an outboard wing, rolled rapidly and impacted the ground, at the top of a slight rise, inverted.
The townspeople of the village where they crashed put up a monument to the crew, as they felt their last efforts were to avoid hitting the school in the village. God only knows.
We lost two good people that day, and the 81st (and weasel tactics) was never really the same after that. Lt. Col. Linn had been on the test team for the F-4G and probably knew more about how to employ the aircraft than anyone else. Ironically the crash was in an area in which he loved to fly. I had been there, in the backseat, with him a week prior. He knew the area around Kassel like the back of his hand, yet he just missed the tree on the top of the hill.
That accident was the third of the year for the 52nd TFW and the second fatal one for the 81st TFS. We got a new Wing Commander after that. Another great F-4 guy, Colonel Paul Chase got fired and replaced by a real politician who knew nothing about F-4 ops."

Jerry was survived by his wife Sherry Lyn Webb Linn, sons John David and Craig Alan Linn.

A Falcon Scholar scholarship to the Valley Forge Military Academy & College located in Wayne, Pennsylvania, was given to Peter Gerald Forde in 2008 in Jerry's honor. The scholarship was sponsored by The Millard Foundation.


Family Members

Parents

  • Maintained by: Lee A. Hillard
  • Originally Created by: HEE
  • Added: 6 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17325983
  • Lee A. Hillard
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Gerald Raymond “Jerry” Linn (24 Jun 1942–8 Nov 1982), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17325983, citing United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Lee A. Hillard (contributor 47036613) .