GREGG O. OWENS, CDR, USN
Gregg Owens '67
Date of birth: May 7, 1945
Date of death: November 8, 1983
From the 1967 Lucky Bag:
CDR Owens was taxing in an S-3A at Cecil Field Naval Air Station, FL, when his aircraft was struck by an A-7 in its takeoff roll on the night of November 8, 1983. His co-pilot and the A-7 pilot were also killed.
From the 1984 January/February issue of Shipmate:
Cdr. Gregg Ouray Owens USN was killed in an aircraft accident on 8 November at Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida. A memorial service was held at the chapel at the Cecil Field naval air station on 14 November with interment in Schuykill Haven, Pennsylvania, after services at the First United Methodist Church.
Appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of Pennsylvania, he was graduated with the Class of 1967 and ordered to flight training, receiving his wings in November 1968, thereupon joining VS-28, flying the S-2E. In August 1971 he was ordered to the Naval Test Pilot School for training and after graduation reported to the flying qualities and performance branch of the flight test division. While on this assignment, Cdr. Owens flew twenty-eight types of aircraft with significant project work completed in the A-4 series, the OV-10, the EP-3A EMPASS modification, the C-2A, the E-2C, and the S-3A.
In 1975 Cdr. Owens was ordered to VS-41 for duty and in 1976 joined VS-38 as safety, administrative and maintenance officer, and he later served as fleet liasion officer in the S-3 A project office in the Naval Air Systems Command for duty as the fleet liasion officer in the S-3 project office, being appointed chairman of the S-3 software change review board and responsible for budget preparation and justification in all engineering proposals and Use modification. In March 1983 he reported to VS-24 as executive officer, the post in which he was serving when he was killed.
He had earned a master's degree in operations research at George Washington University, and he was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a life member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.
He is survived by his widow Cheryl; his daughter Tara, and two sons. Kip and Jay; all residing at 388 Foxridge Road, Orange Park FL 32073; his parents and his grandmother.
From the Class of 1967's 50th Reunion Yearbook, courtesy of William Belden '67:
Gregg Owens came to the Naval Academy from Cressona, in the coal region of eastern PA, with three gifts: He was an outstanding athlete, an outstanding student, and he was very serious about a very special girl. Gregg always wore stars, lettered as a varsity gymnast, and married that special girl, Cheryl Spotts. Following graduation with distinction, Gregg reported to Pensacola for flight training where he earned his wings in 1968.
Gregg’s first tour of duty was with VS-28 at Quonset Point, RI. He excelled as a pilot and was next assigned to Test Pilot School graduating in 1972. He was then assigned to the Flying Qualities and Performance Branch, Flight Test Division at PAX River, where he flew 28 types of aircraft with significant work on the A-4, OV-10, EP3A, C-2A and S-3A. While there he became a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
In 1975 he transferred to VS-41 at NAS North Island for a 14-month instructor duty assignment. This was followed by his department head tour at VS-38 on USS Enterprise as safety officer, admin officer and maintenance officer.
In 1980 he reported to Naval Air Systems Command where he served as fleet liaison officer in the S-3 project office responsible for all S-3 engineering and testing as well as budget preparation and execution. Gregg earned his Master’s Degree in Operations Research while at NAVAIR.
In 1983 Gregg returned to flying status and reported to VS-24 as Executive officer. On November 8, 1983 Gregg had just landed after a night training mission and was taxiing when his S-3 and an A-7E Corsair collided, taking Gregg’s life.
A superb naval officer on the fast track to flag rank, a wonderful person and a great friend, Gregg touched many lives. He is survived by his wife Cheryl, his children Tara, Kip and Jay and 12 grandchildren—a fitting legacy of the finest this country has to offer. Son Jay (USNA 1999) is an aviator and a Commander in the Naval Reserves flying the C-40. Jay is also an American Airline pilot flying the MD-80 out of DFW.
John Harrington '67 was also in 33rd Company.