BIO Index

Jay Bullington

After High School - I entered USF in Tampa ... there, besides the studying and the clubs, my only claim to fame there was joking with my last name and the fact that we had Brahma Bulls in the pasture near our house, my suggestion for the mascot received the most votes. Go Bulls! My quest was to be an officer in the Air Force, but every year the requirements were raised - first it was 2 years of college, then three, then four - always a year ahead of me. So I got flustered. Then, when I was accepted to the AF Academy, I had a choice of starting over (an additional 5 years of college - egads! ) - or going on an exchange program to Germany and the UK. I took the exchange - saw Europe at the age of 19 - then returned to quit USF and enlist ... a seemingly dumb move then ... which later proved to be the best for my life.

In 1965, I went to boot camp (which I thought to be a snap) followed by tech school to learn electronics and radar - then remained to teach the same. Being a military instructor was the best - but time and assignments moved on. In 1968, I went to Eglin (in north Fla) to help bring the space track radar into operation. Just in time as Camille leveled the house I lived in on the beach in Biloxi. While there, it dawned on me that the officers for whom I was working knew half the amount, but got paid twice as much for it. I had been offered an immediate rank increase if I would volunteer to be a helicopter pilot - in Nam! That decision was a no-brainer! So, as a Sergeant, I finished up my degree requirements at UWF in 1970... and went off to OTS, then Comm-Electronics School, back in Biloxi, MS.

Future assignments included working Los Angeles at the Space and Missiles Systems Org, then to Sparrevohn, Alaska, as a comm-electronics officer (my mountain-top duty), [see if you can google that one!!], then to a radar station in Kure Beach North Carolina (just south of Wilmington) where I became a commander for the first time. My next assignment took me to Colorado Springs, CO in 1976 and NORAD, working on projects as "Fat Albert", the aerostat which still flies over the keys in south Florida; then the joint-use of radars by the Air Force and the FAA. In 1978 I went to Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach (oh, such hard assignments) to command the Air Force unit on that Navy Base and install and operate a long range radar system there. In 1981 I was reassigned to Langley (an Air Force Base in Hampton, VA) just north of Norfolk, to be the director of the FAA/USAF Joint Surveillance System (which I had started working on as a project officer back in Colorado). In the meantime, I was able to get a masters degree from George Washington Univ. This led to being asked to teach at UMASS in Amherst MA - which I did for the next 2 years - but, being a Florida boy, finding that the people there were as cold as the weather, I said "I have put in my 20 years, I QUIT!!" - and retired as a Major. It all boils down to .... I was in the military as I had wanted when at USF.

In 1985, I returned to Florida, dabbling in selling stocks and bonds - but, when pushed to sell stocks & investments I was not comfortable with, I realized that was not for me either. My main memory from that period was watching the space shuttle Challenger, as it became the history that we all know.

After retirement from the military, I had turned down calls from Martin Marietta in Washington, DC to work for them, but finally accepted in 1986. I worked there as a contractor to, guess who for, the FAA - who had been looking for someone to help them with the program that they were muddling through - something about joint-use of radars with the Air Force. No problem with that one. That took me to 1994 when the radars were finished and installed around the US. I again returned to Fla to retire again, but got antsy to be doing something - so I began working for a company called CEXEC .... which was also a subcontractor to the FAA - this time in developing new communications systems. After 5 years I again said, "I quit!" and moved to where I am now, Williamsburg, VA, where my GGGGGGGGGF arrived in Jamestown in 1623. However, CEXEC and the FAA asked me to stay on by telecommuting ... as I still do today, even after 10 years here. Thank you computer technology!!

Family wise, I have three sons: Tony,42, living in Cupertino, CA, with two "children", a son (23) already with a MA from San Jose State, and a daughter (19) out of High School doing God-knows-what; Robert, 33, living in Sterling Heights, MI with his wife, Nadette, and 1 yr old daughter (Rebecca); and Brandon, 32, in Sanford, outside of Orlando, with his wife, Merri (31), and two children (Liam,2 and Aiden, 6), whom I see at least twice a year ... especially while on our annual trip to Key West for New Year's pagentry.

My wife, Patricia Parr, to whom I have been married for a whopping 1 year and 9 months, is finishing her second year of a 3-year doctorate program in physical therapy at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. We met some 10 years ago .. [on line, would you believe] .. and have watched her start at a junior college, graduate with a BS in Kinesiology from William and Mary, and now attending MCV. Next year at this time, she will be preparing to graduate and becoming the successful physical therapist that I know she will be. She has a son, Michael, 27, and daughter, Heather, 29, both of whom live in this area.

All of my family, as well as playmates and friends, of my "growing-up years" are now gone - grandfather, grandmother, mom, dad, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin. At our age, I know that everyone reading this has lost someone, somewhere, somehow. Even so, I still enjoy returning to Sarasota, if only to dine at the Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar - and spend some time at Lido or Siesta Beach - even driving past Southside and Alta Vista Elementary, what was SJHS, and seeing the red brick structure of SHS still looming. I just read somewhere that the only person one knows for their entire life is ... themself. So enjoy!!

I owe a lot to SHS - after all, my father was teaching there in the thirties when my mother moved to Sarasota and finished her 11th and 12th grades there. He never told me if she was in his class - or was it the other way around ?? There are so many things in life we will never know .... LOL.

Hope to see y'all at the reunion.

Jay Bullington