Kalata speaks at Wautoma Kiwanis Club meeting
The Wautoma Kiwanis Club had its own member Dick Kalata as their speaker at the Dinner Meeting at Silvercryst, Wautoma, on Sept. 6. Dick spoke to the members about his time as a helicopter pilot for Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Dick was raised seven miles outside of Wautoma, went to a one-room school house for the first eight grades with one teacher, graduated high school, and went to UW-Steven Point. After college he knew he would be drafted to the Vietnam War, so he chose to enlist in the US Marine Air Core. After basic training, he went to Florida to train to get his Naval Academy Wings. The first time Dick was ever in a plane was on his maiden test flight and was hooked from that point on. He was sent to Vietnam and finished out his four-years of service. He came home and found a job, but he found he missed flying, so he reenlisted in the Marines. Dick was offered the opportunity to go to Quantico and train. After receiving his security clearance, he began to fly for President Nixon until he resigned. His favorite staff member he flew was Dr. Kissinger. His helicopter could cruise at 160 mph. After President Ford’s term was over, Dick worked for President Carter and one of his most favorite things to do was to land his helicopter on the White House lawn at night. It was not an easy thing to do since the lawn has a slope, so you had to make sure you landed just right and also landed on the big round pads the White House grounds keepers would place on the lawn. Dick rose to the rank of Colonel when he retired after 28 years of service to his country.