Richard ‘Dick’ Bradford
1936 ~ 2019
Captain Richard Bradford, age 83, passed away peacefully on November 8, 2019. Born in Utah to Harold and Ethel Bradford, Dick was educated in Utah and deeply grounded in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS).
After college Dick was commissioned in the Utah Air National Guard. He spent two years on active duty undergoing pilot training and fighter transition before returning to the Utah ANG. Assigned to the 191st Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Dick flew the F-86A and F-86L (very similar to the F-86D) and stood Air Defense Command (ADC) alert duty.
Northwest Airlines hired Dick on October 30, 1958; he was one of the youngest in his NWA pilot class. Significantly he was employed at the end of the hiring wave of the 1950s soon to be followed by an extended period of no pilot hiring. His initial checkout was as copilot on the DC-4. He experienced the last of the era of great propeller airplanes; flying copilot on the DC-6, DC-7, Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, and the Lockheed Electra. With the entry of the jet age, Dick flew captain on the Boeing 727, the 707 series, the DC-10 and the classic 747. He also served the NWA Training Department for many of years as an instructor/check airman, finishing his career as the Training Manager on the DC-10.
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James Allen Bestul
1933 ~ 2019
Captain James Allen Bestul, age 86, of Excelsior, Minnesota flew west for the last time on Nov. 07, 2019. Son of Sylvan and Rebecca (Ensberg) Bestul, Jim was born in Washington DC and grew up in Arlington VA and Bremerton WA. Jim was the oldest son, having a younger brother. For thirty-four years Jim’s father was an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Due to his father’s employment Jim attended his first three years of high school in Bremerton, WA and then his senior year back in Arlington, VA. Despite his fragmented high school experience, Jim played the trombone in high school marching band in Bremerton. He also played in a Dixieland jazz band.
Jim spent four years at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio; where he studied accounting, graduating in 1955. A friend convinced Jim to look into Naval Aviation. Jim whizzed through the screening tests. Now having completed his bachelor’s degree Jim was off to Pensacola for pre-commissioning officer training followed by primary pilot training. The Pensacola training was followed by advanced training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.
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Joseph ‘Ned’ Best
1940 ~ 2019
Captain Ned Best, age 78, passed away the morning of July 24, 2019 surrounded by his loving wife of 39 years and their three grown children. Ned was born an identical twin to Samuel and Helen Best on October 28, 1940 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Ned earned both a Bachelor or Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tulsa in 1962. Between the academic school years he found summer work fighting wildfires in Idaho, where he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, vowing to someday make it his home. In addition to his academic studies at the University of Tulsa, Ned completed four years of Air Force ROTC and upon completing his degree was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Resesrve.
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