In this update: We remember our teammate, CMSgt Omar Chramosta, USAF (Ret)

CMSgt Billy ( Omar ) Chramosta USAF, (Ret)

February 22, 1933 – April 16, 2019

Omar hadn’t ridden motorcycles for a couple of decades, but he was always willing to have fun

On early Tuesday one of our favorite team members  Billy ( Omar) Chramosta passed away after a short battle with complications from pneumonia.  He was preceded in death by his wife Beverly, his sister Andra and brother Joseph.  He was born on February 22, 1933, to William and Andra Chramosta in Duluth, MN.  He and  Beverly had three grandkids and five great-grandkids.

He was born in a 16′ x 24′ house with no water and electricity.  As a kid, he tells the story of having to drag his wagon to retrieve water.  His dad got a job as a well driller and then was able to bring water up to the house.  When he was nine he moved to Ellensburg, stayed about nine months then moved to Seattle.  He was named after the character played by actor Cornel Wilde in the movie Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam because of his resemblance to the actor.

Chief Master Sergeant Omar Chramosta enlisted in 1951 and retired from the USAF July 31, 1984, after 32 years, 11 months and 10 days, as Omar liked to say.  He was part of the USAF 4th MAS. He worked on C-124 Globemasters and C-141 Lockheed Starlifters.  He was in Vietnam when President Kennedy was shot and flew many flights during the war;  bringing in supplies and bringing wounded and deceased soldiers home to their families.  He has traveled the world, including a number of trips to Antarctica.  He taught in the Flight Simulators at McChord AFB.

Omar was one of the crew that brought in the C-124 that now sits at JBLM air museum (Joint Base Lewis McChord) on October 9, 1986.  Omar who was the flight engineer liked to have fun,  and on the final flight, he wore a railroad train engineer bib overalls and hat!  On final approach, the C-124 sucked a valve and began to smoke. When it landed,  with the engine smoking, Omar steps off the plane with his railroad bibs.  They say it was pretty funny!  Sounds like Omar.  For awhile friends said Omar deliberately caused the engine to hang a valve so it would appear to be on fire when it landed.  Omar said it would take a pretty good mechanic to be able to plan that. He laughed.

John Winchester, Ed Shadle, and Omar early 2018

Omar met Ed Shadle at Spanaway Airport and the two became good friends.  Omar owned a Cessna 150 and taught a number of people how to fly. About twelve years ago he had a stroke that put an end to his flying career, although he was known to hop in the left seat and take the controls from time to time.  Omar grew up in a time that seems to be slipping away.  He was an avid hunter and expert with a rifle. And, as in the movie, he liked planes, trains, and automobiles.

In spite of his age of 86 years,  Omar had a sharp mind.  He could remember old Air Force limericks….many that can’t be repeated here!  He was a wonderful, honest man and always brought a smile when he arrived at the hangar on Saturdays.  He would first pour himself a cup a coffee, solve world problems with the rest of the team, and most of the time join us in lunch.  He had a great sense of humor and often wore his signature black hat that proclaimed  Good Guys Wear White Hats.  

His celebration of life will be April 25, 2019, at Franklin Pierce High School, Corrigan Room.  It is located at 11002 18th Ave E, Tacoma, WA 98445.  Full Military Honors,  and Chaplin Larry Redelsperger will be guiding the Celebration of Life.  Following the ceremony, friends can gather at Rollies Tavern on 112th and tell Omar stories!  Omar used to say:

“Friendship the  most valuable thing on the planet”

Omar asked his longtime friend Rollie to put this message on his reader board when he passed

C-124 Globemaster

C-141 Starlifter

Omar points to the C-124 he brought in to JBLM Museum

Omar pointing to his name badge at Rollie’s Tavern in Parkland

Omar’s USAF name badge

Omar’s 86th Birthday Celebration held February 23, 2019

Blowing the candles out on his 85th Birthday with Don Mitchell on March 1, 2018 when the week before there was too much snow

Omar rarely missed a weekend work party

One day a young man named Omar dropped by the hangar –  Two Omars

March 31, 2018

Omar helps celebrate Brandyn Bayes acceptance to UW- June 3, 2017

With Ken Broyles working on the steering pump

Our Favorite Photos of Ed Shadle – With Omar Chramosta


Omar telling Ed what to do on the ladder!

May 8, 2016, with Ed Shadle


With Ed Shadle February 20, 2016


Omar and Ed Shadle working on the trailer hydraulics

Omar with Tom Layson of KBTC Tacoma Public TV

RIP our friend. You are greatly missed