Mark Wesley Swisher, 61, departed us on January 22, 2020.
Funeral services: THERE IS A CHANGE IN LOCATION FOR THE ACTUAL FUNERAL SERVICE ONLY!! -- 11:00 a.m., Thursday, January 30th at The Church At Benbrook, 930 Winscott Road, (across from the funeral home) Benbrook, Texas 76126. Visitation: 5-7:00 p.m. Wednesday at Winscott Funeral Home, 1001 Winscott Road, Benbrook, Texas 76126. Burial: 2:15 p.m., Monday, February 3, 2020 at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, Texas 75211.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mark's name to the National Kidney Foundation at www.kidney.org, or A-3 Skywarrior Association at 1921 Vermont St., Manhattan, Kansas 66502.
Mark was born in Atlanta, Ga. on August 23, 1958, son of the late Gerald Wayne Swisher and Blanche Bonnibelle Rainbow. He was raised in LaFayette, N.Y., graduating from LaFayette Central School in 1976. Mark embraced life fully, creating many memories with family, friends and U.S. Naval Comrades during his lifetime.
Mark served in the United States Navy from 1978 – 1984 as an Aviation Electronics Technician, Second Class Tailhooker, A-3 Airplane Captain, and Electronic Warfare Operator. He logged over 1000 hours with the EA-3B Skywarrior aircraft, along with over 200 Cats & Traps aboard numerous U.S. Aircraft Carriers such as the USS Nimitz (CVN-68). Mark would be the last crew member to man the A-3 and give the “five-safety pin” OK to “Take Off” before allowing the A-3 to taxi towards carrier launch. He was a member of the Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron-Two (VQ-2, FAIRECONRON TWO).
The highly classified Signals Intelligence reconnaissance missions he flew kept an eye on Cold War Soviet weapons systems, Col. Gaddafi’s Libya and President Hafez al-Assad’s Syria to name a few targets of interest to the U.S.
Mark expressed his love for the A-3 Skywarrior by helping to create and serving on the executive board as Treasurer of the A-3 Skywarrior Association since its inception in 1998 to present. Through this amazing association, he helped rescue, restore and maintain many A-3 Skywarrior aircraft; placing them at aircraft museums across the U.S. Incredibly, he placed the specific EA-3B Skywarrior which “Plane Captain Swisher” serviced and flew around the world while in the Navy at the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth, TX, a legacy that will endure.
Mark’s career included 35 years at Lockheed - Martin and General Dynamics, most recently as a System Engineer – Field Tech Support Sr. Staff on America’s newest Fifth Generation strategic F-35 LIGHTNING-II, which has entered the inventories of the USAF, US Navy and US Marine Corp, as well as multiple countries' military programs. He has been instrumental in the scheduling and ferry of jets to the US, Italy, Israel, Japan, Korea and Australia. Mark has served on the F-35 JSF project from its inception. He lead the Manufacturing Test Engineers from test aircraft AA1- to the inception of production of the F35’s as we know them today. Mark and colleagues spent countless hours testing the F-35 from the first test aircraft to what is being sold around the world today. It would be safe to say “Swish” knew every inch of the F-35, from nose to tail and was a 4-time Aerospace Award Winner.
Retired since January 1, 2019, Mark enjoyed fully restoring his 1967 Yellow Mustang and riding his Harley with Susan and Friends. Mark was a member of the North Texas Mustang Club, a founding member of the Fort Worth HOG (Harley Owners Group) and maintained many close relationships with his fellow RBOers who were stationed alongside him in Rota, Spain. He was a Master Mason and member of the Ridglea Lodge #1341, a 32 Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner.
Remembering Mark’s angel, Robin Tryon (step-sister), who graciously donated her kidney to Mark last March, along with Doctor Richard Dickerman who performed the transplant surgery perfectly. Mark was forever grateful to Robin and Doctor Dickerman.
All of his loving family are deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of their husband, father, brother, cousin and uncle and all will immensely miss Mark for the rest of their lives.
Fair Winds and Following Seas.
Survivors: Mark is survived by his loving wife of 19 years, Susan; daughters, Jessica and Elizabeth; son, Stephen; brothers, Stephen, Paul and Peter; sister, Maria; nephews and nieces, Jeremy, Liam, Hazel, Russell, Maya, Noah, Ian and Elijah; and multiple cousins, all who will miss Mark dearly.
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