Flying fueled Nash’ passion

(03-11-2016)

Article by Annalise Dorr '18

norman nash in navy by airplane

As child during World War II, Norman "Crash" Nash became obsessed with airplanes and made it his business to know everything there was to know about them. In the U.S. Navy, Nash explored his fascination with airplanes after being inducted into a flight program. However, the change of being a civilian to being in the military was a big transition: it was a hard and different lifestyle. "The recruits I was placed with in the Navy program had a very tough drill instructor – but he did turn us into aviators."

An Adams State alumnus Nash '57 learned to fly 20 or so different types of planes including: carrier based props in his first tour (1959-'64) as a Naval Aviator; jet aircraft in 1965 when he was a weapons test pilot in the early days of the Vietnam War, where he flew an array of fighter and attack aircraft. Nash also flew in an A-6 Intruder squadron based in Whidbey, Island, Wash. He was deployed to combat duty in Vietnam on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. Other tours included flying EA-6B Prowlers, and commanding a squadron of Prowlers in the Mediterranean on the carriers USS America and USS John F. Kennedy. Nash was also the Executive Officer of VX-5, the Navy's Test and Evaluation Squadron.

"Flying was my life. I loved flying for the glamour, thrills, exhilaration, and the fun that came with it, but most of all I loved flying because it gives you a kind of freedom, a freedom that you might not have otherwise."

At Adams State, Nash majored in biology and secondary education, and minored in physical education. "I had a general interest in biology, and I always liked the biological aspect of science." He is a self-described outdoors type who likes to hunt and fish. Dr. Joe Daniels, his biology professor, influenced and heightened his interest in the subject. "I appreciated the small classes. They offered a chance to get to know the professors better."

Although he didn't pursue a profession in biology, he still admires and appreciates the Adams State mentors including Lawrence 'Spud' Orr, emeritus associate professor of health, physical education, and recreation; Dr. Dale Lorimer, emeritus professor of psychology; and Dr. Ira Richardson, Adams State's first president. "I am proud to be a grizzly," Nash said.

Nash has kept in touch with friends he made in college, including: Paul and Maureen McCarrell, Patty and Tom Graves; a friend and Navy shipmate Bill Woodward who lives in La Jara, and Dr. Bob Whiting.

Nash enjoyed his 31 years in the Navy. He and his wife, Kristen, have three children.