Veteran's Reflections: Nevada Governor Recalls Duty
(November 29, 2010)
Then-Lt. Col. Jim Gibbons, now the
governor of the state of Nevada, holds his son Jimmy
on the flight line prior to the Nevada Air Guard's
1990 deployment in support of operations Desert
Shield and Desert Storm. Gibbons would be awarded
the Distinguished Flying Cross for his extraordinary
achievements as a flight leader during the conflict.
Nevada Air National Guard photo courtesy of the152nd
||RENO, Nev., Nov. 5, 2010 – It was
Pearl Harbor Day 1990 when the Nevada Air National
Guard was called up to serve in operations Desert
Shield and Desert Storm.
One of the airmen called to duty in 1990 was a young
lieutenant colonel and Nevada state legislator, who
would go on to be awarded the Distinguished Flying
Cross for his extraordinary achievements as a flight
leader during the conflict.
Today, he's recognized across the nation as Nevada
Gov. Jim Gibbons.
The Nevada airmen were deployed to Shaikh Isa Air
Base in Bahrain, where they flew their RF-4C
Phantoms in extreme heat on demanding missions and
often encountered enemy fire.
Twenty years after the conflict, Gibbons recently
recounted his experiences, including his time
serving under Army Gens. Norman Schwarzkopf and
Colin Powell, and the friendship he developed with
another young officer, who would eventually become
the current Nevada adjutant general, Bill Burks.
Gibbons said the leadership of retired Air Force
Maj. Gen. Ron Bath, now the vice-chairman of the
Nevada Military Support Alliance, stands out in his
memory the most.
"Ron took charge when things weren't going well, or
if someone had a problem," he said. "Ron was the
individual whom everybody turned toward to help
solve a critical problem ... a guy I grew up with,
went to war with, a great friend and someone I
Gibbons said he applied many of his military lessons learned
to his civilian career. He served in the U.S. House of
Representatives from 1997-2006 before becoming the Nevada
"Military experience allows you to create great friendships
in addition to learning many things you would never get to
learn as a civilian, including leadership skills and
teamwork," Gibbons said. "Most importantly, the military
challenges you as an individual to discover your greatest
abilities, especially in trying times."
Gibbons began his Air Force career with an active-duty stint
He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College and the
Air War College and eventually attained the rank of colonel
before retiring as the vice commander of the Nevada Air
Guard's 152nd Reconnaissance Group in 1996.
"As governor, there are times I look back on my years in the
Air Force and appreciate the ability I gained to forge ahead
during challenging times when situations seemed impossible,"
Gibbons said the intangible value of friendships established
during combat are some of the most valuable and
longest-lasting relationships of one's life.
"Those individuals you see regularly, you train with, you
trust implicitly: those are the greatest friends you can
ever have," Gibbons said. "Those friends you make while in
the military are probably the most valuable, enduring
relationships you will ever have."
By Army 2nd Lt. Jason Yuhasz|
Nevada National Guard
American Forces Press Service
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