Tag Archives: Vietnam

Community Human Interest

Tom Tschantz Is A Man Of His Time

The men and women who serve in the military discover a life after spending time at war. It can be a difficult transition for many. What service members do with their life once they come back to the states is a testament to their survival and recovery after witnessing the atrocities of war. Tom Tschantz is a man who served in the war in Vietnam. He carries with him the knowledge of war and what it means to work hard in order to get a job done. He operated on board the U.S.S Oriskany, which was an aircraft carrier that served as a runway for airplanes. He joined the navy after realizing that school was not for him. With little education, he was assigned to work in the boiler room located on the ship. He was on board when a fire broke out that killed 44 men.   Once Tom left Vietnam and returned home to Ohio he created a successful life for himself by working hard. Any job he was given, he excelled in accomplishing. After years of iron working, and rigorous labor constructing and painting water towers, he is now a registered flight instructor. He taught himself how to fly by climbing into an airplane and figuring all of it out on his own. He has built multiple lightweight airplanes that are referred to as ultralights. All of Tom’s accomplishments are a motivation and a demonstration for veterans that are struggling to find steady ground after returning home. His experiences in Vietnam did not hinder his ability to navigate through obstacles in life when creating a positive, productive lifestyle. Veterans all around the world can be motivated by the fact that keeping busy, and by being inspired by other veterans can increase the likelihood of a fulfilled life after war.    
Community Human Interest Lifestyle

Tom Tschantz Flies Through Life

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Tom Tschantz stands next to his propellor while discussing his home built ultralight. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
Tom Tschantz was born in 1947. He was raised in northern Ohio. He was the child of hardworking parents that taught him the importance of using his hands. He did poorly in school and has the saying, “I brought home a D one time and my dad bought me a new bicycle.”
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Tom Tschantz flips through old photographs of his hometown in Ohio. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
Tom eventually dropped out of school in the tenth grade, and joined the Navy. He spent two years active and two years inactive. He was stationed on the USS Oriskany (CVA 34) aircraft carrier, in Vietnam, where it was his job to work in the boiler room. During his last year on October 27, 1966 the worst fire in 20 years broke out on the Oriskany. 44 men died that morning. He said, “We would fire off aircraft 24 hours a day; we were always launching and receiving aircraft, but I worked down in the boiler room because I didn’t have any education, didn’t know anything about aircraft, so that’s where they put me”.
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Tom Tschantz sits in his home while telling the story about the day the USS Oriskany (CVA 34) aircraft carrier caught fire.
After returning home from Vietnam, Tom found himself a job as an ironworker. He worked structuring steel for 22 years, of which he enjoyed. Eventually he found an interest in oil field work, which then led the way for him to work on constructing and painting water towers. He built his own rigging equipment, “With my background in construction and iron working I knew the rigging end of it”.
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Tom Tschantz holds old photographs from when he would work inside water towers. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
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Tom Tschantz does a walk around his homemade ultralight. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
When it comes to flying airplanes, Tom has an abundance of knowledge. He has built three Kitfox aircrafts. Tom has an appreciation for ultralights, and has been featured in multiple magazines and newspapers. “I taught myself how to fly an ultralight and I loved it. From there, I went and got my private ticket in general aviation, got my instrument ticket, and then bought a big airplane, a Cessna 206 six seats with 200 horsepower”. He took the first single seat ultralight he built to Oshkosh and won Reserve Grand Champion. He qualified to teach for flying ultralights from Quicksilver in California for four years.