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Jack Pettit

Jack Pettit

  • Service Branch: United States Airforce
  • Service Dates: 1960–1963
  • Stationed: stationed at
  • Rank: Captain

After four years of ROTC, Jack was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant upon graduation from Duke University in 1957. He was headed for pilot training and a three year active duty commitment, but a month after college graduation the Air Force advised Jack that his term of service would be a minimum of five years if he wanted to fly. Five years seemed like a lifetime, so Jack obtained a deferment to attend law school. He graduated from Georgetown Law School in 1960 and entered the Air Force soon thereafter as a JAG officer (judge advocate). For the next three years (‘60 to ‘63), Jack served as a JAG officer in the Air Defense Command’s 30th Air Division at K.I.Sawyer AFB in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. During Jack’s active service, he served as counsel (including prosecution and defense) and judge in more than 100 proceedings, in addition to providing legal advice and counsel to Air Force personnel on an almost daily basis.

Aside from the harsh winter weather, the most memorable event of his three years at Sawyer was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sawyer AFB was a key component of the country’s defense against nuclear attack with its squadron of F101 fighters and wing of nuclear-armed B52’s, and thus a potential target for enemy attack. Fortunately, Russia backed down from basing missiles in Cuba, and the crisis ended. At the time, most Americans believed we were on the brink of nuclear war. Jack left active duty as a captain in July 1963 and returned to his hometown of Washington, D.C. to practice law for almost 40 years. He and his wife, Anne, moved to Londonderry in April 2023.

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