Edward J. Raismus

WHITESBORO - Major Ed Rasimus was a decorated fighter pilot, renowned author, political history professor, and a legend among aviators. During his two tours in the Vietnam War, flying first the F-105 Thunderchief, and then the F-4 Phantom II, he was awarded the Silver Star, America's third highest decoration for valor, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, and numerous Air Medals. The very toughest missions were his clarion calls. In the F-105 he flew more than 100 missions over North Vietnam, in the face of the most heavily defended area in the world. He matched that in the Phantom and was at the tip of the spear in the massive air assaults that led the enemy to sue for peace.

In his 23 years in the Air Force he covered the world, with service in both Asia and Europe, distinguishing himself at every level from squadron to headquarters. Between Vietnam tours, he was an instructor pilot with Air Training Command and was named Instructor Pilot of the Year.

Graduating with honors from numerous service schools, he also earned two masters' degrees from civilian universities, both with honors.

Ed was a man of keen and incisive intellect, fired with enthusiasm; he only knew how to do his very best, in everything he undertook. After Air force retirement, he first taught at the college level in Colorado and later in Texas. But for Ed, mere achievement was never the goal. For his warrior spirit, new challenges always loomed. His autobiographical books became best sellers and instant classics. As his books reached out, fellow aviators reached back. His demand as an inspiration speaker and champion of air power blossomed. He spoke to small groups and large, military and civilian, across the United States. When he was asked to assist in gathering Brigadier General Robin Olds' personal papers, the result was yet another bestseller.

When a fighter pilot passes away, it is customary to say, "He flew west." Ed Rasimus has flown his last flight, but in the wake of his jet wash is a story writ large of a warrior who did his duty, served his country, and cast a bright light of valor and accomplishment that will inspire fellow warriors for years to come. Throw a nickel on the grass!

Ed is survived by his wife Carol. Ed's burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery. The exact date is pending. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF), www.airwarriorcourage.org/donations.html.

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Published in The Herald Democrat on Feb. 11, 2013