John G. Sims

John Graham Sims, 67, Beloved son, brother, father, uncle and friend, graduated into the Wild Blue Yonder on December 13th, 2020. John was an aviation enthusiast from a young age and a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps throughout high school. He graduated from the Air Force Academy with a major in Military History in 1975, and served as a T-38 flight instructor and HH-3 Jolly Green Giant Helicopter pilot during his years in the Air Force.

Regaling us with stories of flight, such as of "torch runs" in the T-38, where they would break the sound barrier, or harrowing stories of in-flight refueling over the East China Sea while ferrying HH-3s to Korea, he also loved to dissect the ins and outs of flight, errors in flight, and aviation engineering down to the minutest detail.

As a student of falconry, he shared his awe of nature's aerodynamic genius and tales of befriending and caring for falcons. An amateur Historian, with near photographic memory of historical accounts, he enjoyed introducing people to new books and topics and sparking enthusiasm in others regarding the people and events of History, as well as the wonders of Natural History and Astronomy.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1983, he worked for Piedmont Airlines, first as copilot in the deHavilland Dash 7, and then as Captain of Dash 8s. John then joined the Maryland National Guard as a Warrant Officer pilot, flying UH-1 and UH-60 helicopters. He attended the Maintenance Manager Course and Test Pilot School. His work as a test pilot was critical to unit readiness as there were several years when the Guard did not have active-duty test pilots. John regularly traveled to Edgewood to support maintenance operations that would otherwise have stalled without him.

During his service in the Guard, he was called to active duty and deployed to peace keeping operations in Kosovo. Prior to the commencement of the second Gulf War, John answered the call to individual mobilization, joined the 101st Air Assault Division and deployed to the Middle East. He was severely injured in a UH-60 crash during the initial assault of Iraq. The crash prematurely ended the flying career of this great aviator. He subsequently retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4. He held the deepest gratitude towards Veterans throughout his life. Named after his Uncle, who died in the Battle of the Bulge, who himself was named after John Graham, the best friend of John's paternal grandfather, who died in WWI, he himself became an awarded Veteran. John's military awards include the Army & Air Force Commendation Medals, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, National Defense Service Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal "M" Device, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon, Combat Readiness Medal, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, and various badges.

He loved to read and engage in spirited debate. One of his greatest joys in life was to laugh and make others laugh. And he did!! His comforting storyteller voice, humor and laughter will be deeply missed. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held in July of 2021. Please sign the Guestbook at



The Association of Graduates has recently learned of the death of CW4 John G. Sims. Chief Sims passed away on 13 December 2020 in West Virginia and is under the care of Rosedale Funeral Home and Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Violeta:
Mrs. Violeta P. Sims
124 Robins Lane
Falling Waters, WV 35419-4827



Photographs and Memories


I served with Johnny in the Maryland Army National Guard for several years, and did overseas deployments with him in 1999 and 2001. John served as our UH-1H maintenance test pilot and as an operational aviator in El Salvador, and was a UH-60L test pilot in Bosnia. He was a consummate professional in the cockpit, and a humorous, knowledgeable and intellectual friend on the ground. Although his abilities were diminished by the severe injuries he suffered in the Iraq War, he was still among the brightest and best people I knew. I pray he now enjoys comfort and peace.

– Roger Weaver


Arlington National Cemetery