J. Lynn Helms was born in 1925 in DeQueen, Arkansas. Helms began his aviation career when he joined the U.S. Navy Aviation Cadet training program while at the University of Oklahoma, early in 1942. On completion of the program he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, remaining in the service as a regular officer after the end of WW-II. Subsequent service included postings to Japan, China, Korea, various aircraft carriers and other Military Assignments. He became a U.S. Navy test pilot on graduation from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, test flying the earliest American jet aircraft. He was awarded the U. S. Marine Corps Air Medal and the USAF Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster for Combat and Exceptional Service during the Korean War. He was the first man to fly 1000 miles an hour, accomplishing this in the Navy’s F8U Crusader on June 24, 1955. He subsequently retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Lt. Col.
He served as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, as an appointee of President Ronald Reagan. During his tenure as FAA Administrator Helms originated and oversaw development of the 1982 National Airspace System (NAS) Plan; He headed the US delegation to the United Nations emergency session following the Soviet Union’s shooting down of Korean Air Flight 007 and played a key role in the August 3, 1981 Air traffic Control Strike.