Clarence Jack Servaes

December 15, 1933March 8, 2018
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As a young boy growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, for some reason I had always liked the military and particularly military aviation.

When I was fourteen, I joined the Civil Air Patrol in Kansas City, learned a little about the Air Force, went to Summer Encampment at Forbes AFB, Kansas, and got a few flights as “observer” in vintage aircraft and one flight in a B-17. I remained with the C.A.P. (Civil Air Patrol) until I joined the Air Force at the age of seventeen after I graduated from High School.

I was sent to Sampson AFB, New York on August 30th, 1951 for my Basic Training. After Basic, I applied for and was accepted for Turret System Mechanic Gunners School at Lowery AFB, Colorado. I arrived there in November of 1951, went through the ground school, and eventually went into Gunnery school, which also included flight training on the B-29, a large four engine bomber of the WW2 combat era. I did well in this school and was promoted to Corporal.

After graduating from Gunnery School, I was sent to Randolph AFB, Texas which by the way is the most beautiful base in the Air Force, and the famous base for the “aviation cadet” program of the 30’s and 40’s when a lot of pilots were needed, especially during WW2. At Randolph, I started my Combat Crew training. I did not complete it since a new program for mid-air refueling was being created, and our crew was selected to train in the KC-97 Air Refueling program.

We were transferred across the city of San Antonio to Kelly AFB to begin this training. First, the pilots had to be checked out in this new aircraft. My job as Boom Operator would start later. After the pilots were “checked out” we were sent to March AFB, California which is near Riverside. I did well again, so in June 1953, less than two years in the Air Force, I was promoted to A1C (three stripes) a new title for the airman grades.

In 1954, my NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) recommended me to take the aviation cadet entrance exam, and I gladly did so. A month later I was selected to enter Pilot Training with class 55-Q. (That means if I completed aviation cadets, I would graduate on June 30th, 1955 as a 2nd Lieutenant, and rating of Pilot)

I reported to Lackland AFB, Texas for Pre-Flight School in April 1954, and got the shock of my life. The program there was to discourage, tear down your moral, and make you feel like dirt. This was done to eliminate any one that could not handle difficult situations and severe stress. They (upper classmates), tried their best, but old Aviation Cadet Clarence J. Servaes was determined to make it through this program. When we were the “upper-class”, our job was to do the same to the “lower-class”. When Pre-Flight was completed, I was sent to Bainbridge AB, Georgia. This was not an Air Force base, but training was provided by a contract with Southern Airways. Bainbridge was a nice base. We started our Primary Flight Training in the PA-20, a Super Cub trainer. I soloed, and was thrown into the swimming pool, an Air Force tradition. I then moved on to the AT-6G, the advance trainer there at Bainbridge. I did well in it ... except after taking a solo flight to another nearby base for solo landing evaluation, which I scored a perfect score on all five landings, on the way back to Bainbridge, I “ground-looped” the T-6. Oh, was I embarrassed. After making five “perfect scored” landings graded by a flight instructor, . . . a ground loop?? That night at dinner, referred to as “chow” in the service, I had to stand up on a chair, hold my arms out like wings, and holler out to 250 classmates, “At-ease... at-ease …, today, I Aviation Cadet Clarence J. Servaes, did ground loop a T-6G” The crowd yelled out and applauded very loud with approval, as they would with any person that “ground looped” a T-6 and survived.

I had to prove to the flight school that I was worthy of continuing in the flight program, (a lot of cadets “washed out” after an event of such magnitude). I had a rough check ride, and if I didn’t pass, back to being and airman would be in my future. . . but I did pass with flying colors, and so on to graduation from Primary. When we became “upper class”, I was promoted to Cadet Captain and Squadron Commander.

I reported to Vance AFB, Oklahoma for Basic Multi-Engine training to complete my Aviation Cadet training. The B-25 was a famous light bomber, used in WW2 in both the European and Pacific. The most memorable event for the B-25 was when Jimmy Doolittle flew off an aircraft carrier and bombed Japan. That was quite an event for that day and time. Back to Vance, I really enjoyed the B-25 training, and graduated on June 30th, 1955 as a 2nd Lieutenant, and Pilot, a proud moment for me since my formal education was a High School graduate. At Vance and as “upper class”, I was promoted to Cadet Major, and once again a Squadron Commander.

At graduation, and much to my surprise, they wanted the new Pilot, 2nd Lt. Servaes to remain at Vance AFB, and become an Instructor Pilot, teaching other students to fly. Me... .an Instructor ??. . . Holy Cow!!! I did remain at Vance, and had six classes of students, each class having 4 student pilots over the next three years.

My assignment out of Vance AFB, in July 1958 was back to Randolph AFB for KC-97 Aircraft Commander training, with future assignment to MacDill AFB, Florida. I liked that. Florida, … palm trees and warm weather. No snow. We bought a house and was only there until January 1960, when our complete squadron was moved to McGuire AFB, New Jersey.

By this time, I had been promoted to Captain, and like all young Captains, I was sent to Maxwell AFB, Alabama on temporary duty to Squadron Officers School. Mid way through the course, all Strategic Air Command (SAC) officers were ordered back to their bases, due to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and then placed on alert. That meant, the crews would be able to take off within a few minutes of an order. In January 1963, I was assigned to Churchill AB, Manitoba Canada to work in the Command Post. We had several planes and crews on alert in case of hostilities with another country. At that time, it was The Soviet Union, and China. This place was awful. Winter temperatures got down to –60 degrees, with blowing snow off of the frozen Hudson Bay, and the base was on the bay. There, I saw several polar bears walking around the base and town looking for food. On the 27th of July 1963 I was assigned to Plattsburgh AFB, New York, about 50 miles south of Canada. At least I was becoming accustomed to extreme temperatures and snow!!

I was in the air, flying when JFK was assassinated. In September 1964 I was pleasantly surprised to find out our squadron was being up-graded to the KC-135, a four-engine jet tanker, that was the military version of the Boeing 707. That was great news. My training was at Castle AFB, California, and I took the same crew with me for the training. That was, and still is today a great airplane. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the KC-135, and especially the South East Asia tour called “Young Tiger”. We were stationed in Okinawa but flew combat missions into and out of Bangkok Tahli, Thailand. We refueled B-52’s loaded with bombs destined for Vietnam, several different types fighter aircraft armed to the fullest missiles, bombs, etc. I was never so proud of the job we were doing. In all I had 25 combat sorties, and our crew was awarded the Air Medal for our service. I was a Captain at the time but was promoted to Major shortly thereafter. I also received the aeronautical rating of Command Pilot, the highest rating a pilot can receive.

Upon returning to Plattsburgh NY, a few months later I was assigned to the 380th Bomb Wing Command Post. About six months later I was assigned to the 8th Air Force Command Post and stationed at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts We were there from 1968 until 1970 when the Strategic Air Command began a new squadron at SAC Headquarters, Omaha, Nebraska. I was assigned as Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Command and Control Section, and important part of the airborne command post known as “Looking Glass”, a 24 hour around the clock airborne command post with a General Officer on board always.

This was my last assignment in the Air Force. I retired after 20 years’ service, at the grade of Major. Counting my Aviation Cadet training which was a year, I served almost four years enlisted, and sixteen years as a commissioned officer. I have 5000 flying hours, and 122 hours of aerial combat time. During my retirement ceremony, I was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. I am proud to have served.


  • Visitation Wednesday, March 14, 2018
  • Funeral Service Thursday, March 15, 2018
  • Committal Service Thursday, March 15, 2018

Clarence Jack Servaes

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Gail Shara

March 16, 2018

I have known Jack for 75 years. I am the Gail in photo with our Uncle John, one of his Mother’s brothers. Although our paths did not cross often after Jack joined the Air Force, his mother, my Auntie Joyce, always kept us informed of all of his accomplishments. Jack’s Mother was one of 11 children, so there are many cousins. Jack liked to keep up with all his family. And everyone was proud of his accomplishments . For awhile Jack held the mantle of being the oldest cousin, but unfortunately, he passed that mantle to me. My condolences to Joan, his wife and all of his immediate family.
Cousin Gail

Sylvia Wade

March 15, 2018

Jack has been in my life for almost 40 years. He’s my sister Rachel’s father-in-law and we were neighbors for 14 years. Always a gracious respectful man and always kind to me. The photos uploaded made me cry. So many wonderful sweet memories. He will be missed by so many whose lives have been touched by his love, support and friendship.

Jeremy Hanuscin

March 13, 2018

Jack was my father-in-law (I am married to his daughter Barbara). Although we became related by marriage, Jack quickly became like another father to me during our time together. He was always generous, helpful, and pleasant. I enjoyed our visits to his home in Spring, TX, as well as his and Joan's visits to Pennsylvania. He held a special place in my stepdaughter Sarah's heart, as he helped to raise Sarah during the first years of her life before Barbara and Sarah moved to Pennsylvania. Jack was friendly and gregarious to everyone he met, making friends easily. He even befriended Chester the Squirrel, who hung out daily in Jack's backyard and waited to be hand-fed peanuts. Jack was also a very accomplished person. He did so much during his service to his country in the Air Force. He was also a successful entrepreneur after his military career. Most importantly, he was the heart of his family as father and husband. He loved his wife Joan completely - it was always heartening to see the closeness of their relationship. He brought joy and happiness to all of us. We feel his loss terribly, but we salute the memory of his full life. Eternal memory, Jack!

Jay Hanuscin




Dad as a boy and his father Clarence (Shorty)


Dad when he was younger


Uncle John, Dad and Gail


Dad & his mother Joyce




This is a B-17 and taken in 1949 while attending C.A.P. Dad (age 16) he is in the front row, third from the left.