This year’s fireside speaker is Gil Bertelson. Gil was born in Provo, UT, and grew up in Salt Lake City. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Utah and Master’s degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He attended Officer Training School, graduating from Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1970, and served as a T-37 Instructor Pilot, Student Check Pilot, and Wing Flight Examiner. He then had four assignments in the F-111.

Gil was assigned to the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing SRW to begin training as an SR-71 pilot. During that time, he flew highly classified and sensitive missions throughout the world from
the 9th SRW detachments located at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, and RAF Mildenhall Air Base in the UK. In addition to serving as a pilot in the SR-71, he was also a T-38 instructor pilot and wing flight examiner.

Fun fact: The SR-71 reconnaissance—”spy”—plane, now retired, flew at Mach 3+, or three times the speed of sound; top speed of 2,200 MPH! It is 107 feet long. One can be viewed at the Air and Space Museum near Hill Air Force Base. It’s statistics are very impressive, as is the airplane itself.

After five years in the SR-71, Gil was assigned to the staff of the Commander of Pacific Forces in Honolulu, HI. He was then assigned as director of Reconnaissance for the 15th Air Force at March AFB, California. His final assignment was Commander of the Air Force ROTC at BYU. He retired in 1993 and accepted a position at BYU as Director of the Executive MBA Program until 2007.

Now retired from BYU, he “plays as much golf as he possibly can.” He is married to Loye Draayer Bertelson of Salt Lake City. They have four daughters and ten grandchildren.

We are excited to have Gil as this year’s fireside speaker.