Officer at large – CDR Bill Ridge, USNR (Ret)
Commander William “Bill” Ridge received his Pilot’s wings in May 1967. Bill was recruited through the last of the Navy’s WWII Navy Cadet “NAVCAD” enlisted (E5) Flying Program that ended in Dec 65. Completing Flight Training, receiving a Commission and getting his “Wings of Gold” all the same week was quite a thrill! He then flew for the summer “NARMID 67” Midshipman flight recruiting program before reporting to RVAW-110 and then to the “Black Eagles” of VAW-113. Deployed twice to Viet Nam aboard the USS Constellation, earning six Air Medals and the Vietnamese Air Gallantry Medal as well as accumulating the Centurion designation as an E-2B Aircraft Commander aboard CVA-64 with CVW 14.
In 1970 he was assigned as a Transition, Precision, Aerobatic (TPA) VT-3 Flight Instructor in the T-28B at NAS Whiting Field. This tour concluded with the wind-down of the Viet Nam war at the end of ’72 and Bill returning to San Diego to join VAW-88 as a “Weekend Warrior” for the remainder of his Career. Joining VAW-88 in Jan ’73, he started a period of flying the E-1B with the “Cotton Pickers” that included making a significant contribution by assisting with the Reserve Transition Plan to have the Reserves move up to the E-2B which took place in ’77 with VAW-88 moving to NAS Miramar. His flying billet helped him accumulate 1800 hours in the E-2A, E-2B and C-2A as he also flew Post Overhaul Maintenance Test Flights with the Depot Facility at NAS North Island. His last year of flying included assignment as the Maintenance Officer for VAW-88 (’82). Bill performed various duties as Training Officer from ’83 to ’92 including working on the Staff at COMNAVAIRFORPAC. Bill completed his Navy Career with over 4,000 flight hours and 150 carrier landings.
Bill’s civilian career included being a Technical Writer for DC-10 Flight Manuals at McDonnell-Douglas and later for the NAVAIR/NAVSEA/NAVELEX Metrology (Calibration) Program with DALFI, Inc. Between those he was an Engineering Technician at the E-2/C-2 Depot at North Island. His career also included being a “Buyer” at NASSCO for the Navy’s newly designed “AOE” fast attack LM2500 turbine-powered Supply ship. The above careers included earning his BBA in ’79, publishing an E-2B Flight Planning Manual and participating as a “Weekend Warrior” until ‘92. Bill rejoined the NAVAL AIR DEPOT, now called the “Fleet Readiness Center” in ‘92 and is currently a certified NAVAIR Logistician for the E-2C, C-2A and E-2D Fleet Support Team. He is a Subject Matter Expert in E-2C Support Equipment and is currently working on documenting the latest Maintenance Planning for equipment aboard the E-2C and E-2D models. Today Bill enjoys giving personal tours aboard the USS Midway to all of his family and friends as well as volunteering for other activities that support CV-43 and the VAW-VRC Foundation.