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Capt. Ted G. Vallas - Pilot

34th Tactical Fighter Sq, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing

A Distinguished Veteran

patch for 34th tac fighter squadron.T.G. was born to a Navy family on February 16, 1944, at North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado, California. The Vallas family were frequently on the move, as Ted’s father, George, continued a career in the military, having served in the Coast Guard, and later the Army Air Corp, retiring from the United States Air Force. It was while living in Navy housing at Torrey Pines that T.G. got his first taste of flying, on the lap of a female glider pilot towed airborne by a Stearman biplane. He attended five separate High Schools, Chandler H.S. (Arizona), Zama H.S., Yokahama H.S., Narimasu H.S., and finally graduating from Yamato H.S. (all four in Japan) in 1961. Ted selected Arizona State University in Tempe for college, and graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Construction Engineering in June of 1966, along with earning his 2nd Lt. bars in the Air Force Reserves. After a brief career in freeway construction with Peter Kiewit Company in Northern Arizona, T.G. was called to active duty and ordered to Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Arizona, to enter pilot training. Ironically, Ted earned his “silver wings” at the same base that he graduated from the 8th grade some ten years earlier. He and his wife, Sherry, whom he met at Arizona State University, were married in the same Base Chapel that his Scoutmaster’s wedding took place. Five years and five different military assignments took its toll on T.G. and Sherry’s interest in making the military a career. It was Radar School at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, and Sea Survival at Homestead Air Force Base, Key Biscayne, Florida, and then back across the U.S. to Land Survival in Spokane at Fairchild Air Force Base. A degree of stability was realized when they settled in for Combat Crew Training at George Air Force Base, in the high desert near Victorville, California. Ted was awarded the “Outstanding Pilot” for his class by infamous fighter pilot, General “Boots” Blesea, who was responsible for developing the 20mm gun pod for the Phantom F-4D. Having earned his “silver” 1st Lt. bars, he and Sherry traveled to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro, North Carolina, where T.G. was assigned to the 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying F-4D’s. While at Seymour, Ted deployed to Kunsan, Korea, following the downing of an unarmed EC-121 Constellation off the coast of North Korea. Shortly before departing Seymour for a Combat assignment to Southeast Asia, Lt. Vallas became a Captain, and he and Sherry were blessed with their first child Eric. Having relocated Eric and Sherry to Ft. Worth, Texas, it was on to combat duty over Southeast Asia, flying the F-4E Phantom II (specifications) out of Korat RTAFB, Thailand.
ted vallas signing the animal print.
Ted Vallas signing "The Animal"
t.g. vallas and his f4 phantom.While in Korat, T.G. logged nearly 200 combat missions over Laos, North Vietnam, Cambodia, and South Vietnam. In addition to the South Vietnamese Service Ribbon, Captain Vallas earned the Air medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. T.G. flew for the 34th TFS in the infamous 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, also known as the “Wrecking Crew”, hailed as the “most photographed” Wing in Southeast Asia. Returning to Dallas, Texas, on December 24, 1971, Ted had tallied nearly 1,400 hours in F-4 Phantom fighters, and around 1,750 hours of total “jet-time”. Ted, Sherry, and the family retired to Southern California, where T.G. managed the Whispering Palms Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe for two years, prior to becoming General Manager at El Camino Country Club for nearly 25 years. They raised their four children, two boys, Eric and Marc, and two girls, Stefanie and Emily, in the home that they designed and built adjacent to the El Camino Country Club. Following Ted’s retirement from the military, he chose to continue his flying ambitions, purchasing a Cessna 172 and obtaining his Commercial Jet Helicopter rating. T.G. logged time in the Hughes 300, Hughes 500-C Jet helicopter, and the Hughes 500-D model. Additionally, T.G. is a member of the Old Bold Pilots Association, as well as a Rotarian, having served as President of the El Camino Real Rotary on two occasions. In 1996, T.G. became the General Manager of the Olympic Resort Hotel & Spa. He has served on numerous community boards and commissions, presently as District Chairman for the Santa Margarita District of the Boy Scouts of America. Both T.G. and his son Eric, a computer software engineer for Sonic Solutions located in San Luis Obispo, California, are Eagle Scouts. Marc, raised in scouting and soccer, was selected “ Employee of the Year” for DDH, a wire company located in Vista. Daughter Stefanie is a Senior Assignments Editor for CNN, having graduated from Pepperdine University in Malibu. Younger daughter Emily blessed T.G. and Sherry with their first and only Grandson, Damon. Tragedy struck the Vallas household, when Ted’s beloved wife of 35 years succumbed to cancer in the summer of 2002, following a courageous four-year struggle with the dreaded disease.

Southern California born, high schooled in Japan, Eagle Scout, Graduate Engineer, Fighter Pilot, Country Club Manager, proud Father, Scoutmaster, Christian, Southern California native until I “Slip the surly bonds . . .” Amen!
night owl patch. You Pickled the TER!
“On one of my missions, one of our outer bomb racks on the F-4E I was crewing wouldn’t release the three bombs that were attached to it. I had a young 2nd Lieutenant in the front seat, and I told him to pickle the TER (Terceary Ejector Rack), as the three bombs were possibly armed, and I didn’t want to land with them attached to the wing. We talked it over a long time, as we knew we were going to catch hell, as each TER cost almost $40,000 each. I was trying to talk to the frontseater, as he had to have certain switches set in order to pickle the TER, while the Lt. Colonel was talking to us over the radio, asking what the hold-up was. Another set of fighters was coming in behind us, so we pickled the TER with all bombs attached, and the rack with the three bombs attached hit the target. We weren’t sure if it would go off, boy were we wrong, as we were not sure the bombs would arm since the arming wires were attached to the TER. The Lt. Colonel started yelling into his mike, “You pickled the TER!” We knew we did, but we couldn’t tell him over the radio due to all the chatter. It made quite an explosion as we basically hit the target with a 1,500 pound bomb!”

General Vang Pao
“I was flying a day mission on August 27, 1971, as part of a two-ship formation. We were redirected from our primary target to help an element of the Royal Laotian Army, which was being attacked by North Vietnamese soldiers in a valley surrounded by huge ‘Karst’ cliffs. These huge Karst cliffs were made of limestone, and are similar to the rock formations found in Monument Valley, Arizona, except there is jungle on top of the Karst and also at the base. Triple A fire was intense on each of our several passes. We had to come in underneath the overcast and drop slick 500 pound bombs, as we didn’t have any high drag bombs for close air support. We were worried about the bombs hitting each other in the air before they impacted and exploded on the ground. If they exploded in the air, it could do us in. We hit the target and after pulling off the target area, we heard on the radio General Vang Pao of the Royal Laotian Armed Forces yelling at us, ‘Sierra Hotel (#*$^ hot), G.I., you are number one! The enemy is now running, we are now on the offensive!”

1000 hours in phantom patch.Distinguished Flying Cross Official Citation 8/27/1971
Captain Theodore G. Vallas distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an F-4E Pilot Systems Operator over Southeast Asia on 27 August 1971. On that date, Captain Vallas was flying in the second aircraft of a formation of two fighter-bombers which was diverted from a scheduled mission in response to an urgent request for air support by a friendly position under attack by a numerically superior and well entrenched hostile force. In spite of marginal weather and adverse terrain, and disregarding the constant hostile ground fire, Captain Vallas directed his aircraft in repeated low-angle bomb and strafe passes which resulted in fourteen bunkers destroyed or heavily damaged, one confirmed, and many probable hostile troop fatalities, and complete dispersal of the forces attacking the friendly position. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Vallas reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Distinguished Flying Cross Official Citation 5/6/1971
Captain Theodore G. Vallas distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an F-4E Pilot Systems Operator over Southeast Asia on 6 May 1971. On that date, while operating at night as an escort for an AC-130 Gunship, and hampered by marginal weather conditions, Captain Vallas directed his aircraft in multiple high angle bombing passes on anti-aircraft artillery positions firing at his aircraft and the gunship. In spite of intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire directed at the aircraft, his determined efforts and exceptional bombing accuracy resulted in the silencing of several hostile gun emplacements. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Vallas reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Ted Vallas is one of our Rogue's Gallery members.
(Thanks are due Ted for providing photos and stories)
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