Airway Pioneer Member
Gordon W. Heritage, Jr.

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Where I was born is not of much interest, but here goes, Washington, DC, on August 14, 1938. My father was a military pilot and a civil engineer. Because of that, the first 15 years of my life were spent traveling and living in some 30 different places throughout the U.S. and the Far East, finally settling down in Richmond, California, in 1952. I completed high school in Richmond, interrupted by a short tour with my father in the Philippines. While living in Richmond I met my wife, Lisbeth Ewing, and we were married in August 1956. Once I got married I now needed a job so I joined the Air Force and got my first exposure to Air Traffic Control. After completing tower school in beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi, I was assigned to Hamilton AFB, California, where I spent my entire 4 years enlistment.

After a very short career as a construction laborer, I got the grateful telegram from the FAA offering me a position as a trainee at the Oakland Center in Fremont, California. I started my career with the FAA on November 1, 1960, remaining at Oakland for eleven years as a controller, training instructor, and Data System Specialist. I decided to move on to take advantage of the "mobility program." I was motivated to start moving after a brief discussion with Don Brink, the Facility Chief, about how to get ahead in the agency. One of the many highlights while at Oakland was teaching "Operation Raincheck." This was the original program developed and started by Joe Bashum.

My first move was to Salt Lake Tower as the Data Systems Officer for the newly installed ARTSIII system. This assignment was from September 1971 to December 1972. After Salt Lake, I transferred to FAA Headquarters Automation Division, Terminal Branch, AAT530, until July 1974. One of my most outstanding memories was my next assignment, from July 1974 to July 1976, in Taipei, Taiwan, as the Terminal Advisor to the Chinese Government in the FAA CAAG.

I returned from Taiwan to the job of Data Systems Officer at the Washington Center in Leesburg, Virginia. In January 1980 I was selected for the best assignment of my career, Chief of the CAAG in Madrid, Spain, remaining there until July 1983. My return rights were to the Eastern Region; therefore, I was again assigned to the Washington Center, this time as the newly established position of Quality Assurance Officer. I remained in this job until March 1986 at which time I was selected as Assistant Air Traffic Manager at the Kansas City Center in Olathe, Kansas. In December 1987, after 17 years, I reached the position I had told Don Brink I wanted, Air Traffic Manager (CHIEF) at the Boston Center in Nashua, New Hampshire.

During my tour at the Boston Center, my only son was killed in an automobile accident in Northern Virginia. He was 30 years old, married, and had a son. After this tragic event my wife and I decided we wanted to move closer to our remaining children, 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren, all living in the Washington, DC, area. I managed to find a job at the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In October 1989 I took over as Manager, Enroute Field Support Branch, ATR 430, at the FAATC. Still wanting to get back to DC, I continued to look for a position at FAA Headquarters. In January 1992 I was selected as the Assistant Division Manager, Automation Division, ATR200. In May 1993, my wife of almost 37 years passed away unexpectedly, leaving a great void in my life. After much consideration I retired on November 3, 1993, and moved on to another career. Since my retirement I have been working for one of the numerous contractors in the Washington area, lovingly known as "beltway bandits". My position with the contractor allows me to work closely with the FAA and stay in touch with many of my FAA friends and colleagues.

Another benefit of staying active is I met a lovely and beautiful lady. Her name is Cheri. I was introduced to her when I went to work right after retirement. We worked for the same company. It took me a long while (6 years) to muster up the nerve to ask her out and to my surprise she accepted. After a very short courtship and 7 years of being a widower, I got married in June 1999 to this wonderful lady. Who said you can't find happiness again? I have!! We honeymooned in Italy, what a great trip.

We currently live in Bowie, Maryland. The kids have added to the flock and I now have a great granddaughter. We are building our retirement home in Palm Coast, Florida. It will be finished in May 2001 and we will be relocating sometime in the future. We have not planned out that far yet. Gordon W. Heritage, Jr., gordon.heritage@verizon.net


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