Posts Tagged ‘US Navy’

Interview with Jack Cooper – Veteran WWII

October 13, 2014

I really enjoyed meeting and doing a video biography interview with Jack Cooper, a US Navy veteran from World War II. Jack enlisted in the Navy in Oct 1942 and served under Admiral Billingsly. Jack was instrumental in setting up an ordinance school in Maryland to help people handle bombs and guns more safely. He also was on a ship that sunk an enemy submarine. Jack told me some great stories about living in California back when he was a kid. I really am blessed to be able to meet these guys with incredible stories.

Jack Cooper

Jack Cooper


David Price – CEO American Airports, Aviator, Friend to Johnny Myers

September 2, 2009


David Price with Director RJ McHatton

David Price with Director RJ McHatton

It was a beautiful day in Santa Monica.  I was there to interview David Price for my documentary “Flying Man: Life and Times of Johnny Myers.”  David Price is a very nice guy.  I could tell that immediately.  He came from very humble beginnings to become a very successful businessman, aviator, and spiritual inspiration to many people.  David Price is the CEO of American Airports, the largest developer and operator of airports in the country.  He was the founder of American Golf Corp which managed over 300 golf courses.  He also is the founder of a Christian school and  the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica.  During our interview, David was awesome.  He showed me some airplane models all over his office.  These were models of all the different planes he has flown.  David’s eyes lit up when talking about each plane.  As we toured his office, David showed me his diploma certificate when he graduated from UCLA law school, pictures of his time as an attorney for O’Melveny & Myers, and he was very proud of a bell from the USS Arizona from Pearl Harbor.  As we sat down for the interview David reminisced about his friend John Myers.  I couldn’t get the camera started fast enough.  David was moved by him memories.  We talked a bit about his own life.  David really is a self-made man.  He came from humble beginnings. He is the son of Welsh immigrants  but did go to college studying economics at USC and then went to law school at UCLA.  He was a US Navy pilot  during the early 1950s.  He missed the Korean War, but clocked in lots of flying time as flight instructor.  He talked about his childhood in the Santa Monica area where Lockheed was building airplanes for the war.  He remembered seeing all the pilots in their flight suits.  This was where he probably got the bug for aviation.  He remembered all the cool interesting airplanes he saw in his youth. David talked about his first solo flight in an airplane.  That is a moment that most pilots will never forget.  David talked about his love for airplanes, especially those planes from WWII.  He owns a few now and tries to fly as much as possible.  He talked about his flying in the Reno Air Races and about the tremendous friends he has met through aviation, including his friend General Bill Anders.   I asked David to talk about those days at O’Melveny & Myers, his first law firm experience.  He talked about the incredible fundamental values he learned from those days.  He said they were very professional, efficient, and extremely dedicated to honest day work ethic.  Over the years David enjoyed working with many of the Hollywood celebrities who were clients of O’Melveny & Meyers.  He told stories about working with movie stars like Marlon Brando and Bing Crosby.  He talked about working with actor William Holden and negotiating the pay for his role in “Bridge Over the River Kwai.”  David told about his blessings to have met and learned from some wonderful mentors over the years. He talked about a turning point in his life when he met Joseph Drown, a local businessman and real estate investor.  He quit the law firm and went to work with Drown, which led him to leadership positions in several businesses like Getty Financial Corp, Beachcomber restaurants and the Bel Air Hotel.  Then David went into the Golf business and the rest is history.  During our interview, it was very interesting to me how David Price could recite Shakespeare and quotes from the Bible.  We talked about John Myers and his being such a great friend to so many.  We talked about how John Myers had so many friends that did not know each other.  I mentioned this might be the best legacy a man could have, to have touched so many in so many different ways.  David told me how he got to know John initially through John’s wife Lucia.    Lucia was a remarkable woman in her own right.  She was on the Board of Directors of Bank America for a long time.  David talked about times with John Myers at the Sunset Club and at Bohemian Grove and at the LA Country Club.  He talked about flying with John in his helicopter in Merced and about thier common love for aviation.  I was very touched by my interview with David Price.  He is a nice guy.  He is a true lover of aviation.  David Price a self-made man who reads the Bible, can recite Shakespeare, and loves to race WWII airplanes for fun.

H. Russell Smith – Businessman, Philanthropist, Friend to Johnny Myers

September 2, 2009


H. Russell Smith with Director RJ McHatton

H. Russell Smith with Director RJ McHatton

It was a little bit smokey over in Pasadena this afternoon.  There was a 120,000 acre fire up in the foothills.  But it was pretty nice down in Pasadena.  I was there to interview H. Russell Smith, former CEO of Avery Dennison and good friend of Johnny Myers for over 75 years.  Russ had agreed to be interviewed for my new documentary “Flying Man: Life and Times of Johnny Myers.”  Russ was originally from Ohio and his family settled into the Whittier area in the 1920s.  Russ had some great stories about his youth and his family history.  His family were Quaker farmers who raised Russ with tremendous values and integrity.  Russ went to high school with Richard Nixon.  Russ always had interest in economics and political science so he won a scholarship to Pomona College where he was the captain of the track team.  After college Russ went to work for Kidder Peabody investment banking in New York City.  This was in the middle of the Great Depression.  He spent a year working in Switzerland during the late 1930s. Upon returning to the US, he worked for a year with Blue Diamond until the war started.  He served in the US Navy during WWII.  After the war he took a leadership role in Avery Adhesives (later Avery Dennison) where he rose to CEO.  He first met John Myers through John’s lovely wife Lucia.  Over the years John Myers and Russ Smith became close friends.  They were in a lot of clubs together including the California Club and the very exclusive Sunset Club.  Russ told me some great stories about his friendship with John Myers, including some of his fun flying adventures together.  Russ talked about Lucia Myers and her terrific personality and wisdom.  Russ did a fantastic interview and I really appreciate having the opportunity to meet him.  Russ talked about how John Myers was a handshake type of man.  I could see that Russ Smith was that type of man, too.  Russ and I talked about family history and biography.  He showed me two books he had written, one about his life and one about the letters he wrote to his mother throughout his life.  Russ signed his autobiography book and gave it to me.  I am grateful for his generosity.  As I started reading his book I learned how many charities and important causes that Russ has helped over the years and the list is long.  Pomona College.  Childrens Hospital. Philharmonic.  Psoriasis Research. The list goes on.  Russ is an inspiring man in many ways.

Brian Sweet – US Navy – Seabees – Iraq

June 29, 2009

Brian Sweet – US Navy – Seabees – Iraq






Brian Sweet

Brian came over to our Inventive Productions studios in Redmond, WA to be interviewed for the new documentary “The New Fighting Seabees.” While he was here, we also asked him other questions so we could send in his DVD footage to the Library of Congress under the Veterans History Program.

Brian has served in the US Navy since 1986 until his retirement in Oct 2008. He reached the rank of Commander. Brian served in numerous posts including time at Norfolk, Virginia and in Falluja, Iraq.

Brian told us some incredible stories about his experiences working with the Seabees.

For more information about the NEW Fighting Seabees documentary, go to

Bill Neubauer – US Navy – Seabees – 1953 to 1991

June 29, 2009

Bill Neubauer – US Navy – Seabees – 1953 to 1991

Bill Neubauer
I really enjoyed my time interviewing Bill Neubauer. Bill is a great guy.
Bill was at our green screen studio for an interview for the new documentary film, “The New Fighting Seabees.”
Bill was born in 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska. He served in the US Navy, both Regular Navy and Seabee. He enlisted in the Navy in January 1953 during the Korean War and finally ended as an E-6 First Class Builder in 1991.
Bill served in the Far East, including Singapore, Phillipines, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Bill told some great stories about the humanitarian work the Seabees have done over the years.

Bob Moeller – US Navy Seabee – 30 years

June 29, 2009

Bob Moeller – US Navy Seabee – 30 years

Bob Moeller
Bob Moeller came in to our green screen studio in Redmond to be interviewed for our new documentary film “The NEW Fighting Seabees.”

Bob served over 30 years in the US Navy, including time in Vietnam, Japan, and several places in the US.

Bob earned two Legion of Merit Awards plus many other medals. He was a Vice Commander, Naval Facilities Command.

While Bob was here we went ahead and asked our normal 124 questions we ask in a regular video biography interview.

Thanks, Bob, for all your help with our documentary project.