HELMS, JR., CDR. HARLIE B., 84 CDR. Harlie B. Helms, Jr. USN, 84 passed away January 2, 2015, at E.T. York Hospice Care Center, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Geneva, Alabama, however considered himself a native of Gainesville, Florida. The son of Lucile S and Harlie B. Helms, Sr. He graduated from Gainesville High School in 1948, lettering with the Baritone Horn. He attended the University of Florida, Sigma Chi fraternity before entering the Navy in April, 1951 as a Naval Aviation Cadet. He was commissioned from that program and received his wings in October, 1952 The beautiful and well educated stewardess with TWA, Cody H Benner stole his heart and they were married on September 9th, 1953 in San Mateo, California. His first tour of duty was with VA-195 in the Pacific Fleet, making two cruises aboard USS Oriskany (CVA-34). In January 1957 he reported to NAAS Kingsville, Texas where he served with ATU-102 and ATU-202 as a flight instructor. Commander Helms was selected for the Navy Five Term program in 1958 and reported to Columbia University in September. He graduated in January, 1960 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He then attended CIC Officers School at NAS Glynco, Georgia and the CCA Officer School at NAS Olathe Kansas before reporting aboard USS Independence (CVA-62) as CCA Officer. He served in that billet for one Mediterranean cruise and as Assistant Air Operations Officer for a second deployment to the Mediterranean. The Commander’s background in Heavy Attack began in 1962 when he reported to NAS Sanford’s RVAH-3 in Sanford, Florida for transition to the A-3B. He was assigned to RVAH-11 detachment #8 where he served as Training Officer and Operations Officer. While in that squadron, RVAH-11 won the NAVAIRLANT Battle Efficiency awards for 1963, and 1964 and the 10th Annual HATWINGONE ‘Bombing Derby.’ In June 1965, Commander Helms graduated from the School of Command and Staff, Naval War College, Newport Rhode Island. While at War College he completed the requirements for a Master’s Degree from George Washington University. He then served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel until July, 1967, when he returned to NAS Sanford, Florida to transition into the RA5C Vigilante as Executive Officer of RVAH- 5. As Executive Officer of RVAH-5, Commander Helms, made an eight month WESTPAC Deployment cruise on USS Constellation (CVA-64) during which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action against the enemy in Vietnam He assumed command of RVAH-5 in March 1969 and led the squadron on another deployment to WESTPAC aboard the USS Ranger (CVA-61). The squadron conducted extensive reconnaissance operations in Southeast Asia His next deployment was aboard the USS Roosevelt (CVA-42) as Air Boss where he received his Navy Commendation Medal on October 19, 1970. Leaving the sea for land be began Service in OPNAV and received a Commendation for completing three years of service on board in the Office of Naval Operations on August 29, 1975. During that time he also completed Navy Strategy at the Naval War College in 1972 and continuing education at Catholic University. His Honors earned included: The Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, United Nations Service medal, Korea Service Medal, China Service Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal (Cuba), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Cuba) Vietnam, Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sigmund Rhee Presidential Unit Citation Korea Unit Citation. Pilot positions included: Naval Carriers Assistant Air Operations, CVA . Commanding Officer, Reconnaissance Attack Squadron, Air Office, CVA . Upon retirement to his hometown of Gainesville, Florida from Potomac, Maryland in 1976, Harlie received his real estate license and took employment with John Merrill, INC Realtors then in April, 1986, he began working with Mike Warren, AMJ, INC. Realty where he remained for 14 years until his final retirement. The Blue recliner was his final destination of resting where he could enjoy family, naps, music, movies and never miss a Gator football game. Harlie was predeceased by his devoted wife, Cody B. Helms, of 58 years on February 16, 2012. He is survived by his sister, Frances S. Stroud of Fairview Heights, IL, brother, Hugh W. Helms of Lillian, AL, daughter, Suzanne Wansley Benner of Carthage, ME (husband Paul), son, David W. Helms of Gainesville, FL., grandchildren: Jennifer Wansley Edwards of Clearwater, FL, Rachel Wansley Garcia (husband Jose’) of Oldsmar, FL, Laura E. Wansley (wife Meagan) of Newberry, FL, and 12 great-grandchildren: Trevor, Lisette, Julia, Randall, Jasmine, Priscilla, Olivia, Jared, Brooklynn, Adrian, Mackenzie, and Harlyn. Memorial service will be on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 1:15PM, Forest Meadows funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Ave., Gainesville, FL 352-378-2528. Please be so kind as to follow CDR Helms request to dress in Orange and Blue. Full Military Honors are being held Monday January 19, 2015 at Forest Meadows Memorial Park East, 3700 SE Hawthorne Road., Gainesville, FL 32641 at 10:00AM.
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Please accept condolences from the Mercer family to CMDR Helms family. We lived in Sanford Fla when CMDR Helms was with Rvah-3 and Rvah-5. Semper Fi CMDR Helms.
Rest in peace old friend, you will be missed. Play your horn in that beautiful band in the sky
To the family take memories and love to your love one he will all way be with you