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Howard Joseph Pierson

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Howard Joseph Pierson Obituary
Howard Pierson died peacefully at home in Novato, Calif., on Sunday, March 10, 2013, after a long illness, under the care of hospice and his wife, Gilberta. Memorial service: 2 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at The Ranch of Lonesome Dove, 2299 Lonesome Dove Road, Southlake, 12 miles from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Howard was born in Bloomfield, N.J., in 1927 to Hilda Dirner-Pierson and William "Bedford Bill" Howard Pierson. A veteran of three wars, he joined the U.S. Navy at age 17 during World War II. He attended the University of Alabama and earned his U.S. Air Force pilot's wings in 1952 at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock. He was an aircraft commander on the B-29 bomber. When the Korean War ended, he returned to the States for bombardier-navigator training to fly the Strategic Air Command's nuclear B-47 and B-52 bombers during the Cold War and flew B-52s to test the NORAD missile defense system over the North Pole and was a pilot during the Cuban missile crisis. He volunteered for two additional combat tours in Vietnam. He instructed student pilots in T-38s at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Ala., and was a squadron commander at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock. In Vietnam he was operations adviser to the Vietnamese Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Thailand. Spanning his career he logged over 10,000 flying hours. He founded and was a motivational speaker for the "Top Gun and Formation, Leadership" seminar and a consultant to American Airlines for seven years. In retirement from the Air Force, Lt. Col. Pierson devoted his time to attending military reunions, veterans groups, civic organizations, football games and golf. He served as chaplain of the Marin County Military Officers Association of America, the Forward Air Controllers Association and the All Three Wars Association. Other memberships included the Order of Daedalians, Kappa Sigma, University of Alabama Crimson Tide "A" Club and the Blue Star Moms of Marin. His service awards include the Airman Medal for Valor, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Bronze Stars, 39 Air Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross and many additional awards. He was presented with pilot wings from the South Vietnam, Cambodian and Royal Thai air forces. On Sept. 3, 2011, Howard Pierson was named recipient of the Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award at the University of Alabama. Survivors: Howard was married to the writer Gilberta Guth-Pierson. He is also survived by his son, Howard Joseph Pierson of Denton; daughter and son-in-law, Hilda and Ben Howard Adams of Lubbock; son and daughter-in-law, Steve and Paige Pierson of Denton; daughter and son-in-law, Heidi R. and Larry Simmons of Lubbock; stepsons, Joseph H. Guth of Albany, Calif., John E. Guth of Irvine, Calif., and Dan R. Guth of Petaluma, Calif.; stepdaughter, Lesley A. Guth of San Francisco, Calif.; 13 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Published in Star-Telegram on Apr. 2, 2013
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