Chief Master Sergeant James Leonard Rash (Retired) passed away unexpectedly on May 22, 2020. James was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Clarence Leonard Rash, Jr. and Teresa Marie Landers Rash on January 22, 1947. After completion of High School he enlisted in the United States Air Force. He entered the USAF on January 29, 1965 and was assigned to Lackland AFB, Texas. Upon graduation from basic training, reported to the Ground Radio Equipment Repairman School at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. In 1968, he was then assigned to Pope AFB, North Carolina for specialized training for an assignment to Vietnam. After training, he was sent to Panama for Jungle Survival Training. In Vietnam, he was a Radio Operator assigned to the 903rd Aeromedical Evacuation Flight, at Phu Cat AFB, Republic of Vietnam. Jimmy worked at several sites throughout the country and then was permanently assigned to Tan San Nhut AFB, located in Saigon Vietnam. He was then selected to become part of the Special Activities Squadron located in Washington DC. In this assignment, he was responsible for communication equipment on Presidential airplanes. Part of his assignment included him traveling with Presidential candidates (including George Wallace and Ronald Reagan) in 1972 and 1976. He then was selected for another special assignment to Detachment 3, 1814th Communications Squadron, at a classified location as the NCOIC of Ground Radio Communications. He continued in this assignment eventually becoming the Squadron Superintendent. He retired from the USAF on November 30, 1985. His Military decorations include:
Joint Service Commendation Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon, with 1 oak leaf cluster, Air Force Longevity Service Award with 4 oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, w/3 devices, Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, w/1 device, Air Force Outstanding Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Meritorious Unit Citation. After retirement from the Air Force, he continued to work in the National Defense Industry and became a member of Hughes Aircraft Company in December 1985. During the rest of his career he worked in the communications field for worked for General Motors, Raytheon, and JT3. In 2005 after 40 years of service to his country, he retired as the Director of Remote Operations and Maintenance for JT3. He was a loving husband, father, brother and uncle and sadly, James leaves behind his wife of 31 years, Judy and son Pierce , brother Mark Timothy Rash (Ute) niece Cailan in Fallon, NV, brother John David Rash (Kumari) niece River Grace in London, United Kingdom and a large family of cousins, nieces and nephews in Missouri, Kansas, Nevada and Mississippi. Jimmy also, leaves behind friends and fellow patriots from his many years of service to his country. He was the type of person who would do anything to help anyone. When he entered a room the entire atmosphere changed because of his huge heart and personality. He was not one in a million he was one of a kind. CMSgt James Rash you are a true patriot and your dedication to your family, God and country gives you the right to rest in eternal peace! We will all miss Jimmy or as he often signed off “James L. Rash, (Esq).” written by Jerome Digiovanni
In 2004, the Rash family relocated to Lake Viking, Missouri for Jim to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes, fishing. While here, Jim started the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics in 2008 and was instrumental in the success of the plunge to increase funds every year until 2018 which was his last year to participate.
In 2011, Jim moved the family to Galt, Missouri to get his son Pierce involved with the DAWGS, Disabled Athletes with Grundy Support. Jim became a coach of 7 sports, year-round, drove the bus all over Missouri, raised funds all across this great country and gave much love and support to all of the team. At every tournament, athletes from all across Missouri would come to the DAWGS’ tent looking for Jim, AKA, Papa DAWG. They all wanted to be on his team because he found a way to connect with every single athlete in a way that they loved. His bigger than life personality would have him crossing his eyes, acting goofy, telling stories of his career, posing for the silliest of photos and loving every minute.
2013 found the Rash family being honored by Special Olympics as Family of the Year. Make no mistake, this honor was based on the fund-raising ability of Jim Rash and his hundreds of friends near and far who always answered his call for donations for his “kids” as he belly-flopped into the icy waters of Lake Viking for the Polar Bear Plunge.
In 2015, Jim was over-joyed to be selected to travel to Washington D.C. on the Honor Flight. Jim was thrilled to get to tour all fo the monuments as an honored guest. During the flight, he was presented with a multitude of comments from his friends all across this great nation. Everywhere they went, the highways were line with flags and people cheering. He would get overcome with emotion trying to tell of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Jim was an avid fan of every sport, but his love was first for the Royals and George Brett, and was even at the World Series when they won in 1985. He also loved the Kansas City Chiefs and Mizzou Tigers and was thrilled when the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl this year.
There is not enough time to name all of his accomplishments and honors, but it is sufficient to say, he was one of a kind and no one who ever met him will forget him.
The Rosary will be said at 5:00 P.M. followed by the burial mass on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at Slater-Neal Funeral Home in Trenton, MO. The entrance is located at 813 Custer Street.Family visitation will follow the Rosary and mass until 7pm and will conclude with the military services.Burial will be Friday, May 29, 2020 at the Leavenworth National Cemetery in Leavenworth, KS. Family only, no visitors. Memorials to either DAWGS or SOMO and they may be left with or mailed to the mortuary.
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