Major Neil Black, USAF (RET), Air Force Cross, Legion of Valor
A native of Pennsylvania, Neil enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1963.
Following recruit training, he attended survival, medical, parachute and SCUBA
schools, received the Pararescueman Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) and was
assigned to a Pararescue team for two years with the 79th Air Rescue Squadron at
Anderson AFB, Guam.
In 1965, Neil volunteered for duty in Southeast Asia where he flew on
rescue helicopters into North Vietnam. On September 20, 1965, while attempting
to rescue a downed fighter pilot, Neil and his crew were shot down and captured
by the North Vietnamese. After 7 1⁄2 years of captivity he returned home in
February 1973 and received a direct commission from then President Nixon.
Neil graduated from pilot training and was assigned to the 41st Air Rescue
Squadron, where he flew the HC-130. Later, he was assigned to the 455th Flight
Training Squadron, where he was a flight commander and instructed in the T-37.
In 1984 Neil volunteered for duty in East Germany as operations officer for the
U.S. Military Liaison Mission to the Soviet Forces, where he organized and
participated in military intelligence operations in the Soviet zone of occupation.
Neil retired as a major in 1987 with 24 years of active duty. He moved to
Allentown, PA where he joined his family’s building supply business as a vice-
president. For the next 15 years Neil continued to serve his community as a Rotary
Club president and as an adjunct professor at Muhlenburg College where he
developed and taught a course in American Foreign Policy. During the 2000
presidential primary, Neil was selected as PA state co-chairman for John
Neil and his wife, Vicki, currently reside in Carlsbad, CA where he is
active as a volunteer in a number of community and veterans organizations. He is
a member of the Rotary Club of Carlsbad and served as the Rotary district
assistant governor. Neil currently serves as Co-Commander of the SoCal
Department, California Chapter of the Legion of Valor, and is a member of the
United Veterans Council, NamPOWs, and the Order of Daedalians. He regularly
speaks to local service organizations and schools, including JROTC AFROTC and
NROTC, where he participates on the annual Combat Leadership Panel. Neil is
currently serving as a planning commissioner in Carlsbad and sits on the board of
directors for the Carlsbad Library and Arts Foundation.
Among Neil’s military awards are the Air Force Cross, Defense Superior
Service Medal, Bronze Star w/oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit and
Air Medal. He holds a BA in Government with a minor in Russian from CSU
Sacramento and an MA in National Security Affairs from the U.S. Naval
Postgraduate School. Neil and Vicki have two children, Todd and Tracy.