Fighter Pilot University
FU Store

Phil Straley - FU Hero

Posted by borg on November 20, 2009

Phil "Strales" Straley

Phil "Strales" Straley.  We have often written about our heroes here at this distinguished institution of higher learning. They are usually folks that we have all heard of from the wars of our past. Today I’m going to write about one of my heroes and a great friend that I will miss dearly. Phil flew F-111’s, A-10's and F-16’s before going to FedEx as a an airline pilot. ”Strales” was killed in an accident in Memphis a few weeks ago and the world has been a duller place without his presence. He was a great man, a great husband to his exceptional wife Judi and a great friend to all who knew him. We will all miss his voice and the way he owned a room as soon as he walked into it. I’ll see you on the other side Strales; have the rum ready. Here’s a short synopsis of his life.


Colonel Philip Straley Died October 14, 2009, from injuries received in an automobile accident on October 5, 2009 in Memphis, TN. Col. Straley was formerly of Clinton, Iowa, but has resided in Tucson for many years. Phil was born September 14, 1948 in Clinton, Iowa, to Larry and Virginia Straley. He was raised at the Clinton Municipal Airport, which his father managed for 35 years. On Phil's sixteenth birthday he had the distinction of achieving solo flight in, not just one, but sixteen different planes. Following graduation from Camanche High School he went through ROTC at Coe College and became an Air Force Commissioned Officer. His military career spanned twenty-six years, and took him through Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East flying various fighter aircraft. The proudest of his accomplishments was becoming the Commander of the 308th TFS, Emerald Knights. His "comrades in arms" will tell you that he was a "pilot's pilot" who was never shy to tell you about his adventures. After retiring from the military he began flying Boeing 727's for FED EX, and became a Line Check Airman as well. Col. Straley is survived by his wife Judi; daughter, Anna (James) Cameron of Edinburgh, Scotland; son, Trent (Karita) of Phoenix; grandchildren, Piper and Nolan; brothers, Steve (Judy) of Tucson and J.B. (Kathy) of Eldridge, IA. Military Funeral Service was held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, October 23, 2009 at Davis Monthan Air Force Base Chapel. Memorials may be made in the Colonel's name to River Rats Air Warrior Foundation, St. Judes Childrens Research Foundation, Special Olympics, or Honor Flight Fund.


Posted by Farmer on
Strales never met a stranger. I predict the folks on the other side are
already busting a gut over some tale of aeronautical achievement, told
in true Straley fashion!

God Bless, buddy.

Posted by Jolly on
Time for some of Starles one liners:

Line 1. To be used while looking at a bunch of empties the morning after a large night, with multiple fighter pilot bros passed out in his living room, and while sporting the full monte "Strales morning hair doo"---

"Good morning soldiers, looks like we put in a full shift last night!"
Posted by SteveStraley on
As his older brother thank you for the kind words.
He taught us all that flying and fun were his two favorite words.
Posted by Smokin on
Strales was my ops-o in the 309th. Led the way with a chuckle, capability, and a ready tale. Taught my wife the 'real' way to drink tequila. That alone was a sight to behold. Clear skies, fair winds, multiple targets...
Posted by MikeCool on
I wouldn't know where to start; driving his red Bonniville through my garage at Cannon AFB, sneaking "willie pete" into the O club at Korat, driving his head through the BOQ wall looking for some smart ass A-7 driver, puking contests at Takli RTAFB, football in the O club at Korat. Well, you get the idea. Last time I saw Phil I was getting a good attorney for him and getting my police officers not to send his driving record from Las Vegas court records to the base! You owe me a 151 for that one Strales!! We had some neat times. I'll see you in the future when the pheasant hunting is over and we can roll some dice with Boomer. Keep a seat open for me.
Posted by PhilBrandt on
I was shocked to learn, at this late date, of the untimely passing of Strales who, I confess, I had lost track of for at least two decades. He and I were in the same F-111A class at Nellis circa Sep 1973, when he was upgrading from PWSO and I was an older, but newbie, Vark WSO. I enjoyed
seeing seeing him six months later when I was TDY to Takhli from NKP. His exploits at Takhli were legendary, and it was a pleasure knowing him. I'll never forget the "distinctive" nametags he and his WSO wore during an ORI.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Herman P. Brandt II
Maj, USAF (Ret.)
Austin, TX
Posted by pwbrewer on
Phil was my student in the A10 at DMAFB. What a bunch of cool stories we had to tell about that incredible experience. 2 in particular. He was in transition training with me out in the east practice area when a no notice thunderstorm brewed up out of no where. I had no choice but to put him on my wing, in close formation. It turned out to be my left wing. We weren't supposed to do close formation in the weather with a new stud, but, no choice. We got back and he told me that it was the first time he had flown close formation in years on the left wing.

Why? Cause in the 111, you only flew close formation on the right wing. Duh.

The other time was when we did a very low altitude cross turn on the way to the range. Starting at 4000 feet line abreast, and low, I mean, really low, it was a slow motion turn to impact. No kidding. We somehow mirrored each others exact move, at the exact same times to end up being inevitably in the same airspace. We later confessed, while drinking our 5th margarita sitting in my jacuzzi, that neither of us could conceive how we missed each other that day.

What a great guy!!
You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Fighter Pilot University   |   1267 NW 355th, Holden, Missouri 64040   |   1-888-456-WTFO (9836)   |
© 2022 Fighter Pilot University. Web development by Shout Marketing