Korean War Veteran, Forward Air Controller, F-86 Saber Jet Pilot, All American Engineering
Captain Tom Nale is a graduate of the University of West Virginia. Capt. Nale then joined the Air Force and graduated from pilot training in 1952. He was assigned to the 7th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 49th Bomber Group in Kunson, Korea where he flew 20 combat missions and 63
combat hours and also served as a Forward Air Controller before the end of the war. Capt. Nale then joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard where he flew F-84s while earning a second bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
In May of 1958, Capt. Nale joined the Delaware Air National Guard as an F-86H Saber jet pilot and took a civilian position with All American Engineering (AAE). On September 25, 1958, Capt. Nale and his wingman took off for a training mission to Dover AFB when his F-86 lost power. The jet crash landed. The ignited fuel burned over half of his body, and his right arm was nearly ripped from his shoulder. He underwent countless surgeries, painful rehabilitation and the loss of his arm.
Following his release from the hospital, Capt. Nale retired from the Air National Guard and returned to his civilian employment with All American Engineering. In 1965, Tom got his civilian pilot’s license back. Tom had 15 interesting years working at AAE. He worked on ways to handle vertical
takeoff and landings aboard a ship. He was involved with cargo being extracted from low flying aircraft. Tom became Chief, Preliminary Design at the AAE's Old DuPont airport site in Wilmington. He was responsible for the air-to-air recovery of a pilot descending by parachute. Tom was involved with arresting commercial aircraft in an aircraft emergency, utilizing nylon nets. He worked on an energy absorber to arrest the Concord SST in the event of an emergency and designed a net to engage and arrest a fully loaded B-52 bomber. His work enabled him to travel the world including
representing AAE at several Paris Air Shows.