An American Gypsy by John (Tom) Halbert

Sarasota MOAA Member John (Tom) Halbert has written an interesting book about his life and career.  Tom grew up in Iowa and served as both a pilot and a public affairs officer in the Air Force.

Tom’s skills resulted in being assigned to interviewing prominent persons including former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Iowa Governor William S. Beardsley and Mt. Everest conqueror Sir Edward Hillary. He was an Air Force advisor to many New York and Hollywood TV and movie productions working with the legendary including: CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite; NBC News Reporter Roy Neal; former Chicago Cubs first baseman Chuck Conners as the star of the Rifleman TV series; columnist Hedda Hopper, actress Joan Crawford; actor Jimmy Stewart, and producer Bernie Lay.

Tom amassed 5,000 flying hours in his career, gaining the Air Medal and the Bronze Star in combat. His expertise took him from base level assignments, to Headquarters Strategic Air Force Command and Air Force leadership in Air Force Public Affairs. Tom served eight years as the senior civilian in Air Force Public Affairs and later a 10 year tenure as executive manager of Armed Forces Radio & Television Europe.

In retirement Tom served as the President of Sarasota Sister Cities, leading it through a turbulent and challenging time.  He also served as President of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association.