Cliff Gaston grew up in Carmel, California; Maplewood, New Jersey; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.He joined the U.S. Army in 1965, and served two combat tours in Vietnam. He joined the California Army National Guard in 1975, was reassigned to the US Army Reserves (IRR) in 1978, and retired in December 1985. For his military service, Cliff was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Air Medal with “V” Device and 22 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal with 4 stars.
In 1975 Cliff started his civilian career as a helicopter pilot in San Francisco and held a wide variety of flying positions, including radio station flight support, tourist flights, and Park Pilot at Yellowstone National Park. He also served as President of Cypress Helicopters, and Founder/Executive Director of Central California Mercy Flight, a 501(c)(3) air ambulance company, followed by a 20 year career at BMW in Monterey, CA.
He and his wife Alyson live in Boise, ID. Cliff has three grown children in Dallas, TX, and two grown step children – one in Boise, and one in Park City, Utah.