Lt. Col. Giles W. Gainer, USAF Retired, “flew west” from home 7 July 2019 after suffering a stroke. He was born a mischievous child on 7 December 1931 in Capitol Heights, MD to Florence Boswell & Giles Oliver Gainer. He graduated from Maryland Park H.S. in 1948, and enlisted in the DC Air National Guard 01 July 1949. After 2 years of Mechanics, Tow Target Mission & Atomic Schools, he discharged from the DC ANG, and enlisted in the USAF 23 Dec 1952. He became a pilot, and by 1956, he was a test pilot for the F86 and an instructor. After flying the F-84, F-100 C/D, and the F-100 F fighter jets, he completed Academic Instructor School at Maxwell AFB. By correspondence, he completed the Squadron Officer, Air Command, and Staff Schools as well as the National War College. He became a Captain, and an icon in the F-100 community as an instructor pilot. From 1963 to 1967, he served at Itazuki & Yokota AFB where he was promoted to Major. He was an F-105 Thunderchief pilot assigned to the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron (80th TFS). During this time frame, he flew 19 combat missions, in addition to the 15 missions flown in 1964. The most memorable of these missions was on 27 July 65, the first Anti Surface to Air Missile (SAM) raid in the history of warfare, for which they were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was later awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, the third-highest military decoration. While Temporary Duty to Takhli, he flew 12 more combat missions attached to the 354th TFS. From 1967 to March 1968, he completed 54 more missions, totaling 100 missions over North Vietnam as a Wild Weasel pilot with the 333rd TFS, amassing more than 405 combat hours over SE Asia. From March to June of 1968, he was on combat alert during the Pueblo Incident, after which he returned stateside with the NGB at the Pentagon. He was promoted to Lt. Colonel, USAF 1 May 1971, and was awarded the Command Pilot Badge with 4,300 flying hours. He was also honored to have flown the last military Douglas B-26 Invader Fighter Bomber in the world, and presented it to the Smithsonian Institute in Oct 1972. From 1973 to 1975, he was an Advisor to the Georgia Air National Guard at Dobbins AFB before retiring 1 Jan 1975.
While at Luke AFB in 1960, Giles was to have a date with a pretty woman from Panama City, FL, but through other demands, she was not able to go. She arranged for her lifelong best friend and roommate, Dorothy Baxley to take her place. Three weeks later, Giles & Dorothy, the love of his life, were engaged and later married on 20 January 1961, and spent 58 exciting years together. They were blessed with two daughters, Cheryl Rene’ and Monique Elise, and later blessed with a grandson, Stephen. They lost Monique to breast cancer in 2016. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Bob, sisters Audrey and Judy. He is survived by his wife Dorothy, daughter Cheryl Gainer McCall, beloved grandson Stephen McCall, special niece & nephew Bobbi Joyce Penny, and Brett Gainer, as well as numerous other cousins, nieces and nephews.
The visitation will be held August 8th from 5-7pm cdt at Langley Funeral Home, 21837 Hwy 280, Camp Hill AL 36850. Burial August 9th 2pm edt at Ft. Mitchell Military Cemetery, 553 Hwy 165, Phenix City, Alabama 36856.
The family would like to thank their many friends for their special help and concerns they have given during this time. Special thanks and love to their longtime friends Pat Mearns and daughter Missy, and Pat and Joe Edmondson for their help & assistance. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Dadeville Public Library, 205 N West Street, Dadeville, Alabama.
Memorial messages may be sent to the family at www.radneyfuneralhome.com.
Radney Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.