National Guard service leads to a career in aviation for Krantz
Ron Krantz, Warren, enlisted in the New Jersey Air National Guard in May 1966 and served six years as a weapons mechanic at McGuire Air Force Base. As a weapons mechanic, he was part of the release party responsible for servicing guns, bombs, and rockets and attached to deployed aircraft.
A native of Long Island, New York, Krantz attended Fairleigh Dickenson University where he attended undergraduate school and was in his second year of graduate school working on an MBA when he enrolled.
“I wanted to fly, but there was no room for me because of my eyes,” he said, noting that at the time pilots’ vision had to be within specific parameters without correction. .
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His unit at McGuire, the 105e, had been activated on all previous international conflicts but was not activated during the Vietnam War. He originally intended to enlist in the Atlantic City Guard unit where family ties allowed him to apply there in April 1966, but he arrived three minutes late and did not was allowed to take the test.
He stopped at McGuire and found Sergeant Zimmerman who invited him to come the following Saturday and take the test. He did, and the following Monday he got the call to come and take the oath.
He did his basic training in Texas, then did technical bomb training in Colorado.
While in the National Guard and in graduate school, he had also learned to fly. After completing his training and returning to the East in October, he began applying to airlines and was hired by Eastern. He received an airline class start date in February 1967.
“Back then, to fly for the military you had to have uncorrected 20/20 vision, but in the airlines you could have a freshly minted pilot’s license with corrective lenses. It was a supply and demand issue because of Vietnam. There were inexperienced pilots in every airline from 1965 to 1967,” he recalls.
He juggled completing his master’s thesis, National Guard weekends and airline classes and started flying east, which he did for 21 years. He said the flexibility of his daycare allowed him to accomplish these things.
He piloted the entire airline system, flying both domestically and internationally. When Eastern went out of business, he flew for five years for Business Express, then Atlas and Jet Train. After that, he spent 10 years as an FAA inspector.
Before moving full-time to Vermont, Krantz had a long history with The Valley, first skiing here in 1963, buying a condominium in Drumley in 1972, then buying land and building a house.
For a time he flew a glider at Warren-Sugarbush Airport, which he gave up when he bought his own planes as he didn’t want to do both.
When he retired from the FAA in 2006, he kept his plane private for a few years, but then sold it.