Conard Stergas

Obituary of Conard Blasco Stergas

Conrad Blasco Stergas was born on October 7, 1942, in Gloversville, NY, the son of Blasco and Eoo Stergas and was raised in Johnstown, NY. He died after a long illness on December 2, 2023, at Mountain Valley Hospice House, Gloversville.

He is survived by a brother, Ronald Stergas, of Johnstown, as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, Blasco and Eoo (Altomare) Stergas.

While at Johnstown High School Conrad started flying airplanes and went on to become an excellent pilot.

After graduation Conrad attended the Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, MO, and graduated after four years with the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. While in college he was in the ROTC and a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity.

Conrad entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant following college and, after Engineering Officers Basic Training, started rotary wing flight school. In Ft. Rucker, AL, where he attended Advance Rotary wing flight school, he was in instrument flight training when his helicopter had engine failure shortly after take-off and crashed. He survived the crash and was only set back one graduating class.

After earning his rotary wing pilot license, Conrad was reassigned to Vietnam.

One Vietnam mission Conrad flew had a General officer on his Huey going to an engineer unit south of Cam Ranh Bay. While en route he received an emergency radio call of a unit under attack. This was during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Conrad advised the General of the situation and requested permission to go assist the unit that was under attack. The General gave permission but requested that another aircraft be available to pick him up if something happened to Conrad’s aircraft. Below is a copy of the Award of the Air Metal for Heroism Conrad received for that Mission.

“Air metal with V for valor Device for Heroism while participating in aerial flight in the Republic of Vietnam.  Lieutenant Stergas distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 1 February 1968 in the vicinity of Dalat in the Republic of Vietnam. Lt. Stergas was instrumental in rescuing personnel pinned down by heavy enemy ground fire. Although his aircraft was not equipped to be employed in an assault role, Lt. Stergas made repeated sorties into an extremely hostile area and was successful in evacuating many critical personnel. His expert flying and keen sense of military urgency has been in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself.”

Conrad also had hydraulic failure once while on a mission and was able to successfully land the aircraft without any injuries. 

Conrad is a Life Member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. And after being honorably discharged from the military on May 20, 1969, with the rank of Captain, Conrad went on to become certified as a Flight Engineer, an FAA Airline Transport Pilot and a FAA Flight Instructor, and piloted private and commercial aircraft, flying for Northern Electric, Air North, Air Indies, Eastern Provincial Airways, Air Malta, Yemen Airways, Royal Air Maroc, and Eastern Airlines.

Following his Eastern Airlines employment, Conrad was contracted with the United Nations to oversee the air fleet for the newly formed United Nations Office of Aviation Safety and Flight Standards for the UN operation in Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya.

In 1997 Conrad formed the Airline Safety Association International, a nonprofit organization advocating effective safety standards to protect airline travelers.

And in 2020 Conrad received the coveted FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of exemplary aviation flight experience, distinguished professionalism, and steadfast commitment to flight safety.

Remember Conrad Stergas for his love of flying, for service to his Country, and for his commitment to Flight Safety.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Betz, Rossi, Bellinger & Stewart Family Funeral Homes, Gloversville.

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