Captain Simon Patrick Gaskill 

Simon Patrick Gaskill graduated from the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in 1965 with a major in Psychology and as a member of the United States Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. While attending A&T in Greensboro, he became very active in the civil rights movement during the lunch counter sit-ins.

As the war in Vietnam escalated Simon proudly piloted the OV-10 aircraft, serving with the Rustic Forward Air Controllers in Southeast Asia and was one of America’s first African American B-52 pilots attaining the rank of Captain.

In the summer of 1970, Simon was hired by Eastern Airlines, joining a handful of African American commercial airline pilots. During his career with Eastern, he and fellow African American pilots formed the Organization of Black Airline Pilots where he served in several positions, including time spent at the youth summer camp in Tuskegee, Alabama.

While living in New York, Simon served as a mentor to college youth with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). After his retirement from Eastern Airlines, he became a member of the distinguished Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. – Virginia Tidewater Chapter, Board Member Youth Program, Rustic Forward Air Controllers and the Denbigh American Legion Post #368. He worked for Senator Max Cleland of Georgia as Veteran Affairs representative and was hired as Scout Reach Executive with the Colonial Virginia Boy Scout Council.

Simon’s volunteer work included Hampton, Virginia Military Affairs Committee, Y.H. Thomas Community Center, president of the Aggie Alumnus Williamsburg/ Peninsula Chapter, NCA&T State University Booster Club, Little League baseball coach and coach of the undefeated Saints Peter and Paul School basketball team.

Simon was a faithful member of Saint Vincent de Paul Church in Newport News, Virginia where he served on the Parish Council, member of Knights of Peter Claver and was a Parish Lector. In 2006, he tossed his hat in the ring for the Hampton City Council. Simon enjoyed acting in stage productions, TV series and commercials. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Ree and children, Crystal, Simon and Nia. 

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