John Alkema, Jr.

John Alkema, Jr.


John Peter Alkema, Jr.








October 18, 2009


Air Force




John Peter Alkema, Jr., better known to his friends as Jack, was proud to serve his country as an aviator. His love of flying stretched far beyond his military service, however. It would become a calling that he would follow throughout his life. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 6, 1933, Jack Alkema joined the Air Force in 1954 as a Navigator. Soon afterward, he transferred to Air Force Cadets and began training as a pilot. His skill eventually put him on the other side of the classroom, progressing from T-33 instrument instructor to F-102 Interceptor weapons instructor at Perrin, Texas from 1959 to 1964. He spent the next year commanding a flight of six Officer Pilots in an F-102 Fighter-Interceptor Squadron based out of Misawa, Japan. In June of 1965, he received a new assignment as manager of nine T-33 jet trainers and five Convair twin-engine transports. After 18 months in flight operations, he was selected as aide to the General commanding the Air Proving Ground Center. In 1968, at the conclusion of this assignment, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. His service in the Air Force next to him to Bien Hoa, Vietnam, where he was selected to be a member of a ten-member combat evaluation team for the OV-IOA, with aircraft analysis to be conducted under combat field conditions. His work from 1968 to 1969 earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with ten Oak Leaf Clusters, and the First Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Force Commendation Medal. Having completed his tenure in Vietnam, he was assigned to serve as the Chief Pilot of the Convair branch of Special Air Missions at Wiesbaden, West Germany. As the aircraft commander for flights transporting high ranking dignitaries throughout Europe, his passengers included heads of state, US and foreign ambassadors, members of Congress, and civilian and military members of the Department of Defense. He completed this assignment in 1973 and separated from the Air Force after 20 years of service to his country. On leaving the Air Force, he moved to Waco, Texas and became a corporate pilot for Central Freight Lines. 1bis was followed by several years as a demo pilot for Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, KS. He continued his corporate flying as the chief pilot with aircraft leasing company in Canton, OH. He then left the cockpit and returned to the classroom, becoming a Citation instructor at SimuFlite Training in Dallas, TX. He held several other positions in the company before he retired and moved to Waynesville, NC. His first marriage ended in the death of his wife, Billie Alkema. He is survived by his three children (Cathy Kidwell, Bryan Alkema, Barbara Alkema), 6 grandchildren and I great-grandchild. He is also survived by his second wife, Charlotte Wilson. Jack Alkema was a big man with a booming voice. His laughter was contagious. He was always ready to travel, and took up ocean cruises as a new way to see more of the world. He loved to read, take photos, play poker and talk with anyone who would listen. A keen student of history, he was very proud of his service in the Air Force and to the United States. He died October 18, 2009 of complications from lymphoma. He is buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery.


LEFT FOR John Alkema, Jr.
POSTED ON 4.26.2019
POSTED BY: Bob Yarmey

Jack was a fine mentor

He was an esteemed senior instructor at SimuFlite. I learned much from Jack’s professional and well seasoned manner. I picture you teaching the angels some new tricks Jack. RIP
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POSTED ON 9.13.2011

Never Forgotten

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