Slipping the Bonds - by Neil Jennings
December 31, 1959
February 14, 2017
Neil Jennings went to be with the Lord on
Tuesday, February 14, 2017. Born in Springfield,
MO, in 1959, Neil was the second of two children
born to Marshall Jennings and Suzanne Lucas.
Neil grew up in Clovis, CA, eventually moving to
Fresno, CA, in his later childhood years, and gra-
duating from Bullard High School. He attended
California State University, Fresno, which he
fondly referred to as "the best six years of his
life." While attending college, he worked part time
as a China Peak Ski Instructor and also waited ta-
bles in several different restaurants. He was
headwaiter in two restaurants, which led to one
of his favorite sayings, which was that waiting ta-
bles was the last job he was truly good at. Shortly
after graduating from CSUF, Neil met the love of
his life, Susie Dalzell. They met through Susie's
sister Stacy, who worked with Neil at Reuben's
Restaurant. Approximately one year after meet-
ing, they were married in Fresno, and from that
point were sweethearts and best friends for more
than 30 years.
One week after his wedding, Neil left for
Officer's School in Pensacola, FL, beginning a
Navy career that lasted two decades. While in the
United States Navy, Neil and Susie were blessed
with two kind and generous children, their daugh-
ter, Jennifer, and son Jordan.
After entering the Navy, Neil trained to be a pi-
lot and was later selected to fly fighter jets at
Naval Air Station Miramar. While there, he
deployed overseas several times, flying combat
missions during Operation(s) Desert Shield,
Desert Storm, and Southern Watch. He addi-
tionally attended Navy Fighter Weapons School,
also known as TOPGUN.
During one of his overseas deployments, Neil
was almost shot down over Iraq when six SA-3
surface-to-air missiles were tracking on his air-
craft. Fortunately, he and his Radar Intercept
Officer (RIO) were able to avoid the missiles and
make it back to the ship. On another deployment,
he and his RIO ejected from their ailing Tomcat
after it blew up at more than 600 knots, only 800
feet above the water.
During the last half of his career, Neil was
assigned to fly F/A-18 Hornets at Naval Air
Station Lemoore. As a Hornet pilot he deployed
overseas for Operation(s) Southern Watch,
Desert Fox, and Enduring Freedom. Neil's Navy
career culminated in his assignment to VFA-147
Argonauts as their Commanding Officer.
Following the Navy, Neil embarked on a 12 year
career in Defense Industry where he was in
charge of selling the AIM-120 Advanced Medium
Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) to domestic
and overseas customers. In both the Navy and in
Defense Industry, Neil truly loved his work, main-
ly because of the amazing people he was
honored to associate with on a daily basis.
For the past 37 years, Neil held an unwavering
faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. For
many years, he enjoyed serving in church,
playing his sax and flute in Christian bands and
on Worship Teams.
Neil is survived by his wife Susie; his children,
Jennifer and Jordan; his sister Patricia; his father
Marshall; and his mother Suzanne. Those of us
who knew him will dearly miss him.
A Memorial Service will be held at First
Presbyterian Church of Hanford, CA, on
Saturday, March 4, 2017. A short reception will
be held following the celebration of his life.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to any
of Neil's favorite charities, Biblica; Voice of the
Martyrs; or Salvation Army.