Colonel Jacques Calvert Naviaux, USMC (Ret)
March 22, 1934-March 26, 2017
Jacques C. Naviaux, aged 83, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at his home on March 26, 2017 after a prolonged battle with cancer. As a Marine combat fighter-attack aviator in Vietnam in 1967-68, he participated in the some of the Corps' first night fighter escort missions over North Vietnam as well as pioneering loft bombing tactics there and the use of ground-based radar beacons in close air support at night and in bad weather. As a graduate aeronautical engineer, he designed flight controls for missiles and oversaw the integration of advanced tactical airborne radars and missiles into the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet, and other jets. He was an avid ocean yacht racer and continued flying until recently as an instructor in aerobatics and high performance sailplanes.
Jacques was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to Calvert and Lila Naviaux. He attended Cheyenne Central High School and worked as a professional musician playing the French horn and other instruments with local bands. He attended the University of Denver and become a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
In 1954, allegedly to get back at his father, a boilermaker for the Union Pacific Railroad, he decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He was so thin that he needed to gorge on bananas and drink gallons of water in order to make the minimum weight for enlistment. After boot camp, he was undergoing training at a radio repair school on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay when he was given the opportunity to take an entry test for the United States Naval Academy. He passed the test and was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, Maryland for a year before entering the Naval Academy. At the Naval Academy he was a member of the 13th Company and a highlight of his midshipman days included Ocean Racing onboard the yacht, "Highland Light," under the mentorship of Skipper, Naval Academy Math Professor and lifetime friend Jim Abbott. Becoming an Ocean Racer was an accomplishment in which he took pride for one who had grown up on the prairie of Wyoming.
Jacques graduated from Annapolis in 1959 and accepted a commission in the Marine Corps. Following the Basic School for officers at Quantico, Virginia, he underwent flight training at Pensacola, Florida and Kingsville, Texas. After receiving his wings of gold as a naval aviator, he was ordered to the Tigers of Marine All-Weather Fighter Squadron 542 (VMF (AW)-542) at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California. There he flew the first Navy and Marine Corps carrier-based fighter capable of exceeding Mach 1.0, the Douglas F4D-1 Skyray. During his time with the Tigers, the unit made a long deployment to the Western Pacific including Atsugi and Iwakuni, Japan, Okinawa, and Taiwan.
Jacques serve a tour as an instructor pilot in the T-39 Sabreliner in Brunswick, GA training Radio Intercept Officers for the new F-4 Phantom II before reporting to Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey where he earned a Master's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
In 1967 Jacques transitioned to the F-4B Phantom II at MCAS El Toro with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 before deploying to Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam for a 13 month Combat Tour. During his combat tour Jacques flew nearly 400 combat missions supporting Marines in operations such as the Tet Offense, the Battle of Hue City and the Siege of Khe Sanh.
After serving in Vietnam Jacques served briefly as a program manager for the CH-53 Heavy Lift Helicopter Program before leaving active duty and accepting a commission with the Marine Corps Reserve. Highlights of Jacques's reserve career include serving as the Operations Officer and then Executive Officer of Marine Observation Squadron 8 flying the OV-10 Bronco and serving as Commanding Officer of Marine Attack Squadron 134 flying the A-4 Skyhawk. Jacques also served as Commanding Officer of the 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (3d ANGLICO) on Terminal Island, Long Beach, CA. He retired as a Colonel in the late 1980s.
In civilian life Jacques' first job was with Schaefer Beer in Brooklyn, New York helping to develop their first computerized Beer Distribution system. This was followed by a brief stint at EDS before going to work for Hughes Aircraft's Radar Systems Group initially at Naval Air Station Miramar developing the Phoenix Missile System for the Navy's F-14 Tomcat Fighter and then in El Segundo, California, where he served as a Manager of Advanced Programs Marketing, developing Radar & Electronic Warfare Systems for many military aircraft including the F/A-18, F-14, F-15, F-117, TR-1, B-2 and other Classified Programs. He was soon promoted to Director of Business Development and Strategic Planning for the Radar Systems Group, having oversight of all US and Foreign military programs. After General Motors acquired Hughes Aircraft Company from the Howard Hughes Medical Foundation in 1985, he also acquired the responsibility of working with DELCO and participated in insertion of Hughes developed radar and optics technologies into General Motors products. After Raytheon purchased General Motors Hughes Electronics from General Motors in 1997, Jacques elected to retire from Raytheon in 2003.
He joined Bal Seal Engineering in Foothill Ranch, California as a consultant in the 90's. His technical and aerospace expertise combined with his leadership skills allowed him to quickly become a valued board member. Jacques served as a Board member and coordinated several major projects including a complex international legal defense of the company's patents. He served as President of this global manufacturing company for a period. He then coordinated a corporate expansion project, leading the selection and construction of a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Jacques continued to serve with Bal Seal as an active member of the Board of Directors until his passing.
Jacques was a very active volunteer with many civic, youth, and military support organizations. Highlights include serving as board member of the Flying Leatherneck Museum at MCAS El Toro and later at MCAS Miramar, a member of the Marine Corps Aviation Association, and serving on the board of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. He served as a referee with AYSO soccer and as an Assistant Scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 276, The Mountain Men of Palos Verdes Estates. He served as the President of the Palos Verdes Rotary Club and was very active with Bravo supporting the Norris Theater.
Jacques met Astrid Elaine Lundberg of Zamboanga, Philippines during his 1st Class year at Annapolis. They fell in love and married at the Naval Academy Chapel in October 1959. They enjoyed each other's company and supported each other through 58 wonderful years of marriage. Jacques and Astrid have two sons and daughters-in-law, Colonel Jacques Naviaux II, USMCR and a Delta Air Lines pilot of La Jolla, California and his wife Jeanine Balsells Naviaux; Doctor Ward Naviaux of Bellingham, Washington an emergency room physician at St. Joseph Medical Center and his wife Andrea Naviaux; and four grandchildren: Christophe, Philippe, Sophia, and Elena.
Jacques lived a very active life. A life-long pilot, Jacques enjoyed flying sailplanes over the crest of the Sierra Nevadas and the Southern Alps of New Zealand. He owned several aerobatic aircraft and also enjoyed long distance cross-country journeys in small aircraft across North America and all the way to Alaska. He also enjoyed sailing and competed in sailing at many different levels. He was an active member of the Los Angeles Yacht Club. He loved reading and collected volumes on military history. He enjoyed travel, fine food and wine and time with friends.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that a donation be made to Disabled Sports Eastern Sierras, in memory of Colonel Jacques Naviaux USMC.