R. Craig Seabaugh, Class of 1972

January 05, 2000
Santa Paula High School Alumni Association
Santa Paula High School
by B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association The son of Bob Seabaugh, Class of 1946, and Betty Autry Seabaugh, Class of 1952, Craig’s siblings are Cathy, Class of 1977, and Todd, Class of 1979. His wife and siblings’ spouses are also alumni of SPUHS.Following graduation Craig attended Oregon State University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. In 1973 he married Gwen White, Class of 1972, and they both graduated from OSU with BS degrees in 1976. They moved to Tucson, Arizona, where Craig received an MS in Molecular Biology from the University of Arizona in 1979.Craig started active duty in the U.S. Air Force in 1979, the same year that saw the arrival of their first child, Jeff. Craig attended navigator training at Mather Air Force Base in California and, after receiving his Navigator’s wings, his first assignment was as a Weapons System Officer flying the back seat or “pit” of the F-4F Phantom at Moody AFB, Georgia. He quickly cross-trained into the F-4G “Wild Weasel” version of the jet, and was sent to George AFB, California, where their daughter Emily was born.Craig and Gwen often tease the kids that they were born on Air Force bases that have since been closed, making their birth certificates invalid.During his time at George AFB, Craig flew combat training sorties over the California and Nevada deserts daily, and states that was “some of the most beautiful country in the world for that kind of flying.”His next tour of duty was at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska, flying with the F-15 interceptors and training U.S. and Canadian pilots on the “fine points” of enemy electronic combat systems and tactics. “Living in Alaska was a wonderful experience for the whole family,” says Craig. “We fished and hiked in the summer, and had moose in our front yard in the winter. I’d move back in a heartbeat.”
The Seabaughs’ next move was to the Eifel region of Germany, where he was assigned as an instructor and flight examiner flying the Wild Weasel. During this tour, he became the chief of the 52nd Fighter Wing’s Standardization and Evaluation Division. In September of 1990, Craig was one of the six Wild Weasel volunteers to deploy to Saudi Arabia from Germany for Operation Desert Shield. He spent seven months in Saudi, a period that included Operation Desert Storm. In all, he flew 22 combat missions and launched 11 anti-radiation missiles at Iraqi surface to air missile batteries.Craig doesn’t reflect on his combat flying much. He says it was a job that had to be done, and he is extremely grateful for the intense training he received during the 1980s. He will forever be thankful to the American people for the supportive letters and “care packages” that poured in to the airmen all over the Gulf region. “It really made a difference.”After Desert Storm, Craig returned to his family in Germany, and a year later received word that he had been selected to teach biology at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1998 he completed requirements for a Ph.D. in microbiology at Colorado State University, and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel and the deputy head of the Academy’s Department of Biology, teaching the Academy cadets.Craig’s decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and three Outstanding Unit Citations, including one for valor.Craig and Gwen think their two children have fared well as “military brats.” Son Jeff is now serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and daughter Emily attends college at Colorado State University. They reside in Colorado Springs, where they enjoy hiking and skiing in the Rockies.

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