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In Memoriam

Captain James "Malibu" Reynolds Jr.

Captain James "Malibu" Reynolds Jr.

10 August 1993

On August 10, 1993, Capt James H Reynolds Jr was killed when his F-16 crashed during a training mission at the Nellis Air Force Base Range. Captain Reynolds (“Malibu”) was a member of the 414th Training Squadron at Nellis and had been stationed in Las Vegas since 1991. He is survived by his parents, Mr and Mrs James H Reynolds, Sr, of Eustis, FL.

Jimmy received his bachelor or science in engineering from the Academy in 1986. He was a distinguished graduated in the undergraduate pilot training program at William AFB, AZ (where he received the ATC Commander’s Trophy) and Lead-in Fighter Training at Holloman AFB, NM in 1987. After attending F-16 RTU at Luke AFB, AZ he was assigned to the 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Homestead AFB, FL. While at Homestead, Jimmy served as a mission commander, instructor pilot, and chief of Squadron Standardization/Evaluation. He won a number of wing competitions, including the low-angle strafe (LAS), Top Gun for both the first and second halves of 1990, and the Overall Top Gun for January to June 1990. In 1991, he was selected to join the Adversary Tactics Division of Red Flag, Nellis AFB, NV, where he served as a mission commander, an instructor pilot, and was a member of the Weapons and Tactics Branch. Jimmy’s military decorations include the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, among others.

While at the Air Force Academy, Jimmy spent hours at the local airport taking aerobatic lessons and learning to fly the “Great Lakes” and “S2B Pitts” aircraft. It was then that he began to dream of designing and constructing his own high performance aerobatic plane. He realized his dream while stationed at Homestead AFB. With the help of the local mechanic, Jimmy constructed his own aerobatic plane which he named the “Wildcat.” The design and construction took over three years. When Jimmy was assigned to Nellis AFB in 1991, he joined the local chapter of the International Aerobatic Club and soon became the star attraction of the air shows he performed in. He gave generously of his time, talent and resources to various charity and aviation events. He has been referred to as the unofficial “ambassador” of Nellis Air Force Base to the Las Vega community and to general aviation pilots of southern Nevada. As a tribute to Jimmy’s life and the high standards that he set for himself, Chapter 777 of the International Aerobatics Club has established the “Malibu Award” which will be presented to a pilot who emulates the skill, excellence and professionalism that characterized the life of Captain Jim “Malibu” Reynolds. Soon after his death, Jimmy qualified for the North American P-51 competition, an aircraft he had dream of flying since his youth, and was scheduled to compete in the Reno Air Races. Jimmy was a loving son, loyal friend and extremely talented pilot who touched many lives with his vigor and enthusiasm. His memory will always remind us to strive for excellence in everything we do. This is Jimmy’s legacy to those who knew him. Thanks Jimmy for a “race well run,” we just wish it has been much longer.

Visitor Comments

Joe Redwine, Mar 11, 2007 - 06:54 PM

I knew Jim when I was at Nellis, but knew him as my neighbor. He was a good friend and an outstanding human being. Jim was also an excellent aerobatic pilot doing exhibitions in the plane he built. Though his life was short, he lived it to the fullest.

God Bless Malibu,


Chad James Humelbaugh, Jul 02, 2007 - 05:18 AM

I nkow that my dad (spalding) will always remember you.I will to.

Tim, Jul 09, 2007 - 04:40 AM

I was Malibu's Crew Chief until aug. 1992. Jim always had a smile and a story to tell whenever he came out to fly our aircraft. I knew I was blessed with an outstanding pilot the first time I met him. He treated me with respect, and I in turn respected him as a man. (not just his rank) He once told me that he loved flying so much that he would fly for nothing, then saying, "course dont tell them that" then winked. he was my all time favorite pilot assigned to any of my aircraft. Not because he was a great fighter pilot, but because he was great man.

I salute you Malibu. I will miss you.

childhood friend
rick, Mar 30, 2008 - 08:02 PM

Knew Capt James Reynolds all my life "Jimmy" as we knew him, was a schoolmate from first grade till we graduated in 1982. All he ever talked about was attending the academy and becomming a fighter pilot...and he was determined to be the best...always! I knew his mother and father very well and he even taught me how to swim when were very young while staying the summer over at Daytona. Thats how giving a person he was. He achieved his wildest dreams and lived more in his short life than most of us would in 10 lifetimes. I believe he won the commanders trophy twice you can't get much better than that. Sail on Jimbo none of us will ever forget!


USAFA Classmate
EM, Jul 02, 2008 - 07:02 AM

Knew Malibu at the Zoo. Always smiled and treated everyone with diginity and respect. Down to earth and great man. Blue Skies and tailwinds.

Missing Man
Steve "Sly" Lyzenga, Dec 24, 2008 - 04:54 AM

As a fellow Emerald Knight (308th), I had the honor of flying #3 in Malibu's missing man formation over his funeral in Florida. He inspired us all...

McCoy, Apr 14, 2009 - 03:14 AM

Malibu/Jim used to come out and fly my jet at Nellis. One time I tried to trick him with a panel that was adjusted too tight so he couldn't open it. He just went to my toolbox. Got an allen wrench and handed it to me and said "Save that one for the new guys Joe". A great guy and all the other pilots wanted to be like him.

Anonymous, Jun 21, 2009 - 05:56 AM

I knew Jim from UPT, I was wondering if anyone who had any good pictures of him could email me at

Anonymous, Dec 12, 2009 - 11:53 PM

God we miss you bro!!

tammy hodges, Jun 29, 2010 - 01:43 AM

this is to steve "sly" lyzenga... i read your post. jimmy was my cousin. i want to say thanks for that missing man formation! Brought tears to my eyes and ive been addicted to F-16s ever since that day. That was the most beautiful thing Ive ever seen.

Bertha Monin, Nov 18, 2010 - 07:18 AM

Jimmy was my very special nephew. There will never be

another like him. He was the most well behaved, yet full of fun, man I have ever known. He had the best manners and was always fo polite to everyone. I loved that boy so much. Sure do miss his sweet smiles. He had good parents who set good examples for him to follow. He was their life. We all still miss him and cherish the memories we hold dear.

Jean Sirmans Herrin
Anonymous, Nov 18, 2010 - 11:29 AM

I too agree that he lived the life of his dreams. His memories leave us much to be envious of as he fulfilled his lifetime dream. Also he was truly raised by Godly parents who loved him very much. He left a void in all lives that he touched. His memories live on.

weapons, Mar 23, 2011 - 08:17 PM

I was a weapons In Viper where Capt. Rynolds was

assigned. 86-250 was his F-16, painted light green and white. I used to call it the Cantilope. The green, brown and grey F-16 was called the watermelons.

Capt. Rynolds ALWAYS treated you like a man and an NCO.


The Real Deal
Dawn, Jul 19, 2011 - 02:08 PM

Jimmy was my first boyfriend. He was exactly who he appeared to be-concientious, caring, intelligent, and brave. Scary brave. I saw him over Christmas a few months before he died and he was still the same sweet guy. I was brokenhearted when I received the call that he was gone. At his stirring funeral, all I could think was why did God take Jimmy when most of there couldn't hold a candle to him? All these years later and I still miss him. He was simply one of the best people I have ever known.

Anonymous, Aug 11, 2011 - 06:24 AM

You are always in my thoughts

Doc, Oct 14, 2012 - 07:44 PM

I was his flight surgeon in the Aggressors. Had many amazing back seat Viper rides with Malibu and lots of good times. I think about him often. We were so lucky to have him as a friend but continue to feel the void of his loss.

Malibu in Homestead
Greg Sembower, Nov 12, 2012 - 06:11 AM

Malibu and I were squadron mates in the 308th at Homestead, and close friends. I was in a closet in Saudi Arabia on the batphone to my girlfriend in Vegas when I got the word he was gone. I still miss him, and his grin.

I had the unfortunate experience of going through life support school a few months after his passing, and got to examine his flight gear from his last flight, which did provide some insight into what he was thinking in his final moments.

Anonymous, Aug 11, 2014 - 03:47 AM

Still missing you.

Missing Maliby
Amy Alyea Zeek, Aug 05, 2016 - 08:31 PM

Coming up on the anniversary of Jimmy's passing (August 10th) I realize he is never far from my thoughts. We had many great times together and I will never forget flying to Miami to see him and him greeting me at the gate in his flight suit!

Most Professional Warrior
Trevor Clark, Mar 11, 2017 - 10:13 PM

My interaction with Malibu was not very long, but his impact was long lasting. As a new C-130 lead navigator, I led a three-ship formation on “MAC” Attack Day at Red Flag in the summer of 1993. After our mission, Malibu made an extra effort to pull our crews aside and provided the most thorough debrief of our threat reactions and tactics. I remember being very sadden when I read in the USAFA AOG Checkpoints Gone But Not Forgotten section that Malibu had passed away only a week after our “MAC” Attack debrief with him…Malibu was a warrior’s warrior.

Always Love
Yellow rose of Texas, Jul 08, 2018 - 11:36 PM

I can’t believe after almost 25 years the loss of Malibu still affects me. My heart has gone on but will always love you.

Anonymous, Sep 26, 2018 - 11:33 PM


Memorial day
Tim, May 26, 2019 - 10:10 AM

Not single Memorial day goes by that I don't think about "Malibu"

This one will be no different.

I Salute you Malibu.

With love and honor
LSE, Aug 10, 2019 - 04:48 PM

26 years ago God took you to Heaven. The love of you doesn’t fade and every time I see an F-16 I am left with so many wonderful memories.

A better man
John, May 25, 2020 - 06:24 PM

Every Memorial Day I reflect on Jim’s passing. He always was a better man from our years at the Academy and into the real Air Force. Great friend, better than we deserved. I’m sure he continues to bless us from heaven today

Till we meet again

The memory never fades
Lori, May 25, 2020 - 09:55 PM

Always and forever...Love!

We will never forget
LSE, Aug 11, 2020 - 03:08 AM

You touched so many lives....the love never fades

I still remember
Auger Inn TX, Aug 11, 2021 - 01:52 AM

Today 28 years ago you left this earth… I mourn you and what could have been.

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