Thoral E Gilland Biography

Apollo program awards & commendations:

  NASA Apollo Achievement Award

Outstanding Performance Award ( 500 hours of instruction)

 Astronauts Personal Achievement Award "Snoopy Pin," presented by Astronaut Mike Collins, Command Module Pilot, Apollo 11.

Letters of Appreciation:

From Astronaut James Lovell, (1969) following the Apollo 8 mission.

From the Apollo Astronaut Team. (1967

Thoral "Gill" Gilland's career began during the WW II era when he served as a training supervisor and safety engineer for Hawaiian Airlines in Honolulu. Gill was also an instructor/teacher at the Navy Teacher Training Center in Chicago, and a teacher at the Oklahoma City Trade School. He was a student teacher and flight instructor at Oklahoma A&M College on the Vocational Education for National Defense (VEND) program, and a Ground instructor on flight and aircraft maintenance subjects at Western Flying Training Command, U.S. Army Air Corps.

His aerospace career at North American Aviation began in 1950 when he joined the company as a Rocket Engine Mechanic. He was assigned to the Research Department at the Propulsion Field Laboratory in Santa Susana, CA. While working at the Laboratory, Gill advanced through the ranks to Assistant Supervisor. He also participated in the design of the Redstone, Jupiter, Thor, and Atlas Weapons Systems; Saturn V Booster system for the Apollo lunar mission, and preliminary development work for the liquid hydrogen turbopump, which is presently incorporated in the Shuttle propulsion system.

Gill was a Field Engineering Representative for the Rocketdyne Division and provided technical services for the Ordinance Guided Missile School in Huntsville, AL, and Vandenberg AFB in California. He provided technical assistance and engineering liaison to General Dynamics/Astronomics Base Activation personnel on Rocketdyne supplied propulsion systems and GSE. His assignments also include the Nevada Test Site of the Atomic Energy Commission in Mercury, Nevada where he installed test stands, instrumentation and turbopumps, and advised the customer on checkout, operation and maintenance tasks.

In 1963 he transferred to the Apollo Logistics Department as a Customer Training Specialist on the Apollo Training Team. He planned and implemented manpower development programs to enhance technical proficiency of customer, company, and supplier personnel, including the NASA and the astronaut team. He assisted in cross training and orientation of newly hired instructors, prepared text and illustrations for training manuals, Apollo Operations Handbook and the Flight Crew Checklist.

As the Apollo program began phasing out in 1971, Gill elected to retire and devote more time to family matters and his farm in North Dakota. His finishing words for this biography were "Working with the Apollo Training Team was an enormously satisfying experience and I take great pride in submitting this material for the archives."

Gill has retired near Yosemite National Park in California  "where the eagle soars" 

Here are some of his many certificates, awards, and commendations:

FAA Airman's Certificates:

Commercial pilot # 31391 (since 1934), Flight Instructor, Ground Instructor, and A & P Mechanic.

Special Retirement Award:

Honorary Lifetime Membership in the North American Rockwell Management Association, Southern California.

Memberships:

Society of Automotive Engineers

Free and Accepted Masons (Past Master, Fullerton Lodge #339, F & AM, Past Grand Lodge Officer, Grand Lodge of California and Hawaii, F & AM)

Hobbies & Avocations:

Freelance Aviation Writer, Contributing Editor, Kitplanes Magazine

Amateur Astronomy

Amateur Radio, KG6FF

Note: Sorry to report that Instructor Engineer Thoral E. (Gill)Gilland passed away August 12, 2007. Gill will be missed by all, and it should be noted that he contributed greatly to the development of this site during his final years at ages 90 and 91.