Erik Whipple was born at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Annapolis,
MD on July 13, 1962. His father, Earl- a 1954 graduate of the U.S. Naval
Academy and career Marine Corps Officer- and mother Betty, started him on a
regular diet of airplane models and air shows at a very early age. Erik's
favorite models during the mid-60's& early 70's were the Revell 1/32nd and
Monogram 1/48 series.
While being raised at NAS Coronado- along with older sisters Karen and Kim- the defining event of Erik's developmental years occurred. The "Old Man" had already taken him to see the feature film "The Battle of Britain" when the skies over Coronado began to swarm with faux Kates, Vals, & Zeros being chased by real P-40s... the filming of "Tora Tora Tora" brought the exhilaration of high-revving piston engines to the young chap in all their roaring glory. "After spending a summer on the beach watching the Tora Tora Tora formations zooming over at rooftop height I was hooked", Erik says. High school brought a lull in his model building as his life became more focused on teen pursuits, but his interest in aviation history remained.
Erik enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1987 and spent two years on the crew of Cutter Polar Sea (WAGB-11) participating in operations in Antarctica. Later becoming rated as a Marine Science Technician working in the marine safety field, he and four of his fellow Coast Guardsmen survived an aircraft mishap which resulted in the uncontrolled crash of helicopter CG-6579 on January 13, 1995- which oddly enough is his wife's birthday! While recovering from minor injuries Erik started building models again and shortly returned to operations, accumulating nearly 1000 more hours as an infrared
observer in Coast Guard HH-65s, C-130's, and Louisiana Army National Guard UH-1's. He currently holds the rank of Chief Petty Officer, and is stationed at the USCG Training Center Yorktown, Virginia. Erik and his wife Julie are active members of the Friends of the American Fighter Aces Association and he is the current Director of Publications for the Northern California Friends of the Aces.
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