Veteran Liaison: Special Forces, Founding Board Member
Born in a small mid-western town in Ohio to a returning US Army Air Corps Instructor Pilot, and his junior high school sweetheart, Jerry Hay had a unique childhood growing up in a military family. By the time he was five years old, the Korean War had started. The Air Force called Jerry’s father to duty and moved their family to Oklahoma. There, Jerry’s dad became a Test Pilot for the B-47 Strato-Jet, a 6 engine bomber that could reach Russia. As a “military brat” Jerry grew up moving about every three years to different states from Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, to Southern California. He completed his last year of high school at Palisades High where he was a part of the swim team, learned how to body surf, SCUBA dive, snow ski, and climb mountains. In college, he majored in Marine Biology. During this time it was the mid-60’s – the Vietnam War was escalating and the LA Draft board gave him a 1-A rating, which lead Jerry to join the Navy. He was the first in his family not to go into the Army. In the Navy, he volunteered and made it through training for the BUD/S training (Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal). He was assigned to UDT-12, one of three teams on the West Coast. His class was then sent to US Army Airborne, so they could learn to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, one of which was a Jet transport. Back to the Strand in Coronado, his whole team was sent to South East Asia and Vietnam. During this time, Jerry spent time in The Delta running night opts with their six man squad. To this day, Jerry thanks God that he came back in one piece. Shortly after he returned home, in April 1972, he was picked along with other swim buddies to work with NASA to recover the Apollo 16 Astronauts, also known as the “Bulls Eye From Space.” After going approximately 480,000 miles to the moon and back, the splashdown was within one mile of the recovery ship, the USS Ticonderoga. In civilian life, Jerry ended up following his parents into real estate and investing, which he still does to this day, serving the Orange County area of Southern California. Jerry strongly values community support and helping others. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the veteran charity, American Heroes Tribute from when they started in 2005 to 2012. Currently, he is a part of the Health Care Ministry at Saddleback Church and serves as a Board Member of the Board of Directors for Stand for Vets.