• 77°

Lynch reaches highest Warrant Officer rank

Early in his career, CW-4 Tom Lynch (back, third from right) stands with a group of B 8/8 pilots. CONTRIBUTED
Early in his career, CW-4 Tom Lynch (back, third from right) stands with a group of B 8/8 pilots. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – CW-4 (Warrant Officer) Tom Lynch balanced rocky teenage years by entering the military.

“I entered the Army in August 1966 after dropping out of the ninth grade in New Milford, Conn. at a judge’s strong ‘suggestion,’” Lynch said. He completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, S.C. and then AIT training at the MP Academy at Fort Gordon, Ga., where he earned his high school GED diploma.

His first assignment was Fort Huachuca, Ariz. for one year and next to D Battery, 3/71st Field Artillery, a Nike Hercules nuclear missile unit in Pforzheim, Germany.

“None of the two phone systems worked properly in the missile site guard towers, so I tinkered with them until they did,” Lynch said. “I was brought up on charges (but) the C.O. threw the charges out when the Sergeant admitted I had fixed all of the long-dead phones. The C.O. sent me to radio repair school, (and) I became unit Radio Repairman and then Communications Sergeant.”

“I had also married and had a daughter, so I applied to flight school to improve my income potential. Before leaving Germany, an F3 tornado destroyed our home and car, and devastated my unit,” Lynch said.

His Fort Wolters, Texas flight school in 1970 was in tiny TH-55 helicopters. At Fort Rucker, he trained in UH-1 helicopters, OH-13instruments and OH-58 scout aircraft. “My first pilot job was A Troop, 7/17th Air Cavalry in Vietnam II Corps at Pleiku. I learned the dangerous business of flying UH-1 Hueys while inserting/extracting combat troops in/out of LZs and PZs throughout II Corps,” he said.

He transitioned into AH-1 Cobra Gunships at Fort Hunter/Stewart, Ga. before going to Fort Hood Texas, back to the 7/17th Cav. He was selected for first Cobra Tow Missile-equipped unit and was the first pilot to hit a tank target at night with a TOW missile.

“I then helped to found B Company, 8th Aviation Battalion, 8th Infantry Division. We redeployed to Mainz-Finthen Airfield, West Germany. For four years, I specialized in aviation logistics,” Lynch said. “We’d launch our aircraft day or night, whenever the Soviets would head our way from East Germany with a few divisions.”

After serving as Test Pilot at Fort Eustis, Va., Lynch reported to Fort Campbell, Ky. and “I honed aviation logistics and maintenance skills at A Co., 5th Trans Battalion, AVIM for 101st Airborne Division.

He then served six months in Honduras. He returned to Fort Campbell and worked on 101st G4 General Staff and resolved maintenance and logistics issues. “I next went to D Troop, 4/7 Cav in Uijongbu, South Korea at Camp LaGuardia. Returning to Fort Campbell, I served my final two years with 2/17th Cav as a test pilot,” Lynch said.

“I always worked hard in logistics and maintenance ‘extra duties,’ so I managed to achieve the highest Warrant Officer rank (then) of CW-4 and retired with 22 years of service in August 1988. I then used the G.I. Bill to attend Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tenn., earning both a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education in four years,” he said. Lynch then taught in alternative schools in Clarksville and Nashville.

In 1997, he started working in Foreign Military Sales at Redstone Arsenal, fielding AH-64 Apache aircraft to foreign nations. He switched to SAIC and continues there as senior engineering analyst.

He, wife Vicki and son Tommy have lived in Madison since 1997. They attend Trinity Baptist Church, where Tom serves a deacon. Tom’s hobbies are reading, skydiving, scuba diving, horseback riding, water skiing, cave exploring, sport flying and traveling the world.

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