April 2022 – Gary Wayne Vaughan
U.S. Navy 1972-1997
Gary Wayne Vaughan, a native of Memphis, Tennessee (TN), enlisted in the United States Navy in May 1972 at the age of 20. After bootcamp at Recruit Training Command, Orlando, Florida (FL), he attended Aviation Structural Mechanic Safety Equipment School at Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) Millington, TN. He arrived at his first fleet assignment with Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Virginia, in January 1973. During the next two years he attended F-4 Phantom school and worked as an F-4 maintenance technician. In January 1975, he accepted orders to the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD), which was also onboard NAS Oceana. His new duties included the testing and repair of seat survival kits, liquid and gaseous oxygen systems, and oxygen regulators.
In March 1976, a young Petty Officer 2nd Class Vaughan transferred to NAS Jacksonville, FL, for P-3 Orion air conditioning and pressurization training. He then reported to Patrol Squadron 49 (VP-49) where he was a maintenance technician shift supervisor and work center supervisor, deploying to Keflavik, Iceland; Sigonella, Sicily; and Bermuda. In May 1979, he was assigned as a Navy recruiter at Naval Recruiting District Columbus, Ohio. In August 1980 aviation duties called; and he transferred to NAS Kingsville, Texas, as the line division leading petty officer and the safety equipment work center supervisor for the T/A-4 Skyhawk aircraft.
He returned to NAS Oceana in December 1982, this time to VF-31 where he was the safety equipment work center supervisor on the F-14 Tomcat for three years. He took the same job at Training Squadron 4 (VT-4) at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, before moving on to Training Air Wing 1 (TW-1) as a contractor monitor in October 1986. In July 1989 he received orders to VF-14 at NAS Oceana. After promotion to Chief Petty Officer, he assumed the duties of maintenance control chief. He deployed to both Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm before his January 1993 transfer to NATTC Millington for his final tour of duty. There he passed his knowledge on to a new generation as an instructor and core supervisor for the Aviation Structural Mechanic – Equipment course which focused on safety, emergency equipment, and aircraft egress. Upon his promotion to Senior Chief Petty Officer, he assumed the added responsibilities of aviation life support division Leading Chief Petty Officer and training officer.
He retired in February 1997. For his service to our country, Senior Chief Vaughn was awarded two Navy Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, six Meritorious Unit Commendations, six Good Conduct Medals, Navy Expeditionary Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, Southwest Asia Service Medal w/Bronze Star, Armed Forces Service Medal, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), and Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist.
He is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Fleet Reserve Association. He and Jane, his wife of 44 years, reside in Covington. They are the proud parents of Kathryn, parents-in-law of Justine, and grandparents of Leah and Lindley. Gary was nominated for Veteran of the Month by his granddaughter, Leah, who learned of the program during a visit to the Tipton County Museum, Veterans’ Memorial, and Nature Center.