Curriculum Vitae


Boy Scouts of America, Troop 150 – Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm
National Rifle Association – Distinguished Expert (.22 caliber rifle)
Order of DeMolay, John Blair Chapter – Past Master Councilor, Representative DeMolay, Chevalier
Annandale High School, Annandale, Virginia – 1965

College: Undergraduate

Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia
September 1965-May 1969
F Company Commander: 1968-69
B. S. in Mathematics: 1969

College: Graduate Studies

Livingston University (Now the University of West Alabama), Livingston, Alabama
M. S. in Continuing Education: 1973

Work History:

Fairfax Hospital, Fairfax, Virginia – unskilled laborer: Summer 1965
D&B Contracting, Dunn Loring, Virginia – unskilled laborer, concrete & construction: Summers 1966-68

United States Air Force – 2nd Lieutenant; 1st Lieutenant; Captain: May 1969-July 74

Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT), Craig AFB, Alabama: June 1969-June 70
Survival School, Fairchild AFB, Washington: 1970
Air Ground Operations School (AGOS) and O-2A Transition School, Hurlburt Field, Florida: 1970
Jungle Survival School, Clark AFB, Philippine Islands: September 1970
Bien Hoa AB, Republic of Vietnam (RVN): September 1970 – September 1971: Assigned as O-2A Forward Air Controller (FAC – call signs Sleepytime 21 and Rustic 41) to classified detachment, III DASC (Direct Air Support Center) Task Force that was renamed the 19th TASS (Tactical Air Support Squadron) Task Force in November 1971
Flew over 200 combat missions in Southeast Asia (SEA), mostly at night as a Night Rustic ( and primarily in Cambodia in the Rustic Operation (
Sea Survival School, Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan: 1971
Circuitous travel approved from SEA en route to the U. S. during September and October 1971 that provided for visits to: Thailand; India; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; Spain; Germany; France; Belgium; Netherlands; Denmark; Sweden; Switzerland; and Italy
Craig AFB, Alabama – Assigned as T-38 instructor pilot (IP): October 1971-July 1974
Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) – Randolph AFB, Texas: 1971
Honorable Discharge: 1974

USAF Photo

Awards and Decorations:

Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Air Medal (11)
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Virginia Air National Guard (VAANG) – Captain, Major: July 1974-April 1981

Byrd Field, Sandston, Virginia: Assigned as F-105 fighter pilot
McConnell AFB, Kansas: F-105 Transition School: August 1974-February 1975
Honorable Discharge: 1981


General Aviation/Airplane 1968-1993:

Licenses: Private; Commercial; Certified Flight Instructor (CFI); Instrument Instructor (II); Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI)
Ratings: Single Engine Land (SEL); Multi-Engine Land (MEL); Instrument
Owned: Piper Cherokee (P140) 4617R ; Beechcraft (C-55) 666DF ; Cessna 414 (C414) 47MD

Aviation – Highlights and Summary:

Combat missions in Southeast Asia, some exciting T-38 flights with student pilots, and flying the “Thud,” the F-105
Flew Piper Seneca from Selma, Alabama, throughout Mexico in 1973 with five passengers: Tampico; Veracruz; Chichen Itza; Merida; Cozumel; Acapulco; Monterey – while on a filed flight plan between Cozumel and Acapulco, forced down just north of the Guatemalan border by a Mexican Air Force T-28 and cleared to resume trip after aircraft inspection; returned to Selma via San Antonio, Texas, to clear U. S. customs
Flew Cherokee 140 in 1977 from Woodbridge, Virginia, to the Bahamas (Freeport & Bimini) and back with my roommate in pilot training, Bruce Happe
Flew F-105D in 1976 from RAF Lakenheath, East Anglia, England, to Byrd Field, Richmond, Virginia – solo transatlantic mission in flight of three Thuds, as part of eighteen aircraft 149th Tactical Fighter Squadron redeployment during Operation Coronet Fife
Flew Cherokee 140 in 1978 from Woodbridge, Virginia, solo to Calgary, Canada and back
Flew as a passenger in 2001 with two former 149th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Air National Guard) officers across Alaska and parts of Canada in one of the men’s Cessna 210: Anchorage; Fairbanks; Barrow; Prudhoe Bay; Skagway; White Horse, Yukon, Canada; and Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Over 6,000 accident-free hours logged in both military and in over thirty different types of general aviation aircraft as student pilot, pilot in command (PIC), instructor pilot, and Certified Flight Instructor
Survivor as a passenger (as in walked away from): Continental (COA) MD-80 (DC-9) Flight 1943 gear up landing with destruction of aircraft, Houston Intercontinental Airport, Texas – February 19, 1996

Insurance and Investments – 1975-2005:

Licensed Agent in multiple states: Life and Health
License Consultant in multiple states: Life and Health
National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD): 6, 22, 63 licenses
Owner and co-owner of several corporations during career in business, the last of which were Mercer & Jenkins, Ltd. (insurance and investments) and Insurance Analysts, Inc. (consulting)
Authored numerous articles in industry publications relating to products, taxation issues related to products, estate and business planning

Education and Designations – Insurance & Investments:

The American College, Bryn Mar, Pennsylvania: Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) – 1981
The American College, Bryn Mar, Pennsylvania: Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) – 1983
CFP Board of Standards, Denver, Colorado: Certified Financial Planner (CFP) – 1995
Note: The CFP designation was voluntarily relinquished in 2003 upon retirement from the insurance and investment industries
Institute of Business and Finance, San Diego, California: Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) – 1995
Note: The CFS designation was discontinued in 2003 upon retirement from the investment industry

Consulting and Expert Witness:

Worked with the U. S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Monopolies, and Business Rights in 1991-92 relating to its investigation of insurance products, consumer issues, and agent and company ethical issues
Provided written and oral testimony as a witness before the U. S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Monopolies, and Business Rights, “Hearing on Consumer Disclosure of Insurance”: June 23, 1992
Provided expert witness testimony on insurance and investment products and related agent and company ethical considerations on a national basis in both individual and class action civil litigation: 1993-98


“A Lifetime’s Spectrum: Poetry in Flight – A Collection of Verse” (2001)
Inverted Flight – A Collection of Verse (2004)
“Connecting the Dots: The Buy Out and Sell Out of Our POWs and MIAs” (2008), Paper presented at the Sixth Triennial Vietnam Symposium, The Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas on March 13-15, 2008
Lights Out – Destination Darkness/America’s Unknown War: Cambodia/Volume I (2009)

Co-editor with Lt. Col. James A. Gabel, USAF (Retired), Rustic Bravo, following the death of the author:

Vietnam and Cambodia Recalled – It Still Hurts (2007) by William Frederick Sleigh, M.D., Rash 36, Rustic 12


The Rustics – A Top Secret Air War in Cambodia (1999)

Member, Editorial Committee and Contributor:

The Rustics – A Top Secret Air War in Cambodia/The History of the Rustic Forward Air Controllers 1970-73 (2011)


Began serious photography using a Nikkormat SLR (single lens reflex) and a Nikon Super 8mm in 1971 in Southeast Asia
Has used primarily Nikon and Sony camera equipment for over forty years,, with a recent addition of GoPro and Panasonic Lumix cameras
Filmed over seventy interviews using Sony DVCAM equipment to record members of his Air Force unit, the Rustics, during a period of over one and a half years – on the road for over eight months in total – traveling through forty-four contiguous states and Alaska
Participated in numerous workshops or on trips during which a photo expert was available:

  • National Geographic at its headquarters in Washington, DC, with staff photographer, Mark Thiessen
  • Costa Rica & Panama – National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions with Jose Calvo
  • African Photo Safari – Paul Renner
  • Nikonians Workshop in the Grand Tetons – Jim Stamates
  • Galapagos Archipelago – National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions with Aura Banda Cruz & Christian Sea
  • Nikonians Workshop in Arizona – Winston Hall
  • Panoramic Photography – Ken Knight through Norfolk [Virginia] Botanical Garden
  • Macro Photography – Ty Brown, EPSA, through Norfolk [Virginia] Botanical Garden
  • Nightscape Workshop in Grand Teton National Park – Royce Bair

Currently uses Nikon D800e, D300, D7100, D5000, Nikon AW-100 with underwater capability, Panasonic Lumix FZ200 with f/2.8 Leica aperture, Sony RX-100, and GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition.  Lenses include Nikkor: 60mm (macro prime); 18-55mm; 18-105mm; 55-200mm; 70-300mm; 80-400mm; 24-70mm f/2.8 (nightscape and landscapes); Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 (nightscape);  and Tokina 11-16mm.  A Manfrotto tripod is used with ball head.
Owner, Rustic 41 Creations
Sale of signed and numbered (S/N) limited edition prints and signed open prints

Photo by Larry Jordan – In the Gros Ventre Valley Shooting the Grand Tetons, June 2014

All images, text and poetry appearing on this website are Copyright © by H. G. “Don” Mercer 1966-. As such, all content on this web site is the property of H. G. “Don” Mercer and is protected by applicable copyright laws. No images, text, or poetry may be used in any form without prior written permission of Don Mercer and, where applicable, payment of required fees. Scanning and/or reproduction in any format of any image or text, or any part thereof, is/are prohibited. To receive permission and reproduction rights, please contact Don Mercer at or by phone at 757-635-6016.

Website Designed by Think Tank Creative.