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Mr. Gilbert  Noriega

Obituary for Mr. Gilbert Noriega

August 6, 1942 - July 4, 2020
San Antonio, Texas | Age 77


Gilbert Noriega, age 77, entered into rest on July 4, 2020. Gilbert was born on August 6, 1942, to Manuel Santos Noriega (father) and Maria de Jesus Martinez (mother). He is survived by his wife, Rose Noriega; brother, Manuel Noriega (Alice); four daughters, Elva Garcia (Gene), Diana Vandiver (Patrick), Margaret Coughlin (Andrew), and Loretta Noriega; and grandchildren Hannah Nikole Pruske, Xiomara Yslette Zamora, Keith Andrew Coughlin, Emily Grace Coughlin, and Morgan Elizabeth Coughlin.

"I have led a full life. Do not be sad or cry for me as this should be a happy occasion… I have gone to meet my Lord.", Gilbert Noriega

The son of an immigrant, Gilbert graduated from Burbank High School in 1960 and from The University of Texas at San Antonio in December 1979, with a degree in Accounting.

Immediately after high school, Gilbert served a tour of duty with The United States Navy at the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii from 1960 until his honorable discharge in 1964. Upon his return to San Antonio he worked for an aircraft company until April 1967 when he entered Federal Civil Service at Kelly AFB. His first job was as a Wage Grade employee in Building 329 working on Gas Turbine Engines. He was transferred to the Aircraft Division where he worked on B-52 Bombers and C5 Cargo aircraft as a Flight Control Systems Installer. He served in a variety of functions ranging from Electrical Equipment Repair to Flight Control Systems Installer to Traffic Management Specialist Trainee to Lead Traffic Management Specialist to a career broadening assignment in the Logistics Civilian Career Enhancement Program. Following his career broadening assignment with Randolph AFB, Texas, as Chief of the Operations Section, Gilbert was assigned to the Directorate of Aerospace Fuels Management in November 1991, as Chief of the Material Support Branch.

In 1969, Gilbert enrolled at San Antonio College to pursue higher education and a degree. He later transferred to The University of Texas at San Antonio when it opened. He became a charter member of the UTSA Math Club. It took him ten years to graduate because very frequently he received TDY assignments that kept him away from his course schedule.

Gilbert advanced in his civil service career as opportunities presented themselves. In 1978, he transferred from "blue collar" work into the "white collar" field and worked for the Directorate of Aerospace Fuels for the next 21 years until retirement from Civil Service on April 2, 1999. The details of how he "shined brightly" in a sea of personnel are remarkable. His various supervisors, seeing his potential, continually sent him to advanced classes, schools, and training courses. In the space of five years he rose from a GS5 to a GS12, a position that was created for him. Gilbert was being groomed for Senior Executive Service (SES). SES is a position classification in the civil service of the U.S. Federal Government, equivalent to general officer or flag officer in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is the highest ranking in the civil service. He would retire with a series and grade of GM-301-14. His career spanned 39 years of dedicated service to his country.

The Directorate of Aerospace Fuels Management is a unique organization, responsible for the management of on-going contracts for liquid missile propellants, chemicals, gases and pressurants and special fuels in support of Department of Defense (DoD), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Energy and commercial space programs and specialized DoD aircraft operations. There was no other organization in the entire Department of Defense that managed all the cryogenics, special fuels, chemicals, and liquid rocket fuel. The transportation of rocket fuel was managed, massaged and moved with intense restrictions. Per his job description and responsibilities, it was required of Gilbert to frequently travel to The Pentagon because restrictions were continually being added to the guidelines of the transportation of these hazardous materials.

In 1987, at the request of his supervisor, Gilbert was asked to take an assignment at The Pentagon to work with 'Traffic Management'. He relocated to Alexandria, VA and returned home once a month between July 1987 and July 1988. Gilbert was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Transportation Policy Directorate, on a Professional Enhancement Program (PEP) career enhancement assignment. His immediate supervisor was Mr. Robert H. Moore who was the equivalent of a major general. During this assignment, after only two weeks of working at The Pentagon, Gilbert testified as a technical expert on liquid missile propellants transportation before a congressional subcommittee. In addition, he also served as Headquarters United States Air Force media spokesperson on liquid propellants before and during the congressional hearings. He played a key role in the development of Emergency Response Plans, Technical Escort Team procedures, route of Movement Risk Assessments, assessing specialized transport capabilities, and served as directorate spokesperson to the media on propellant transportation procedures. Gilbert also served as a technical expert member of the Strategic Nuclear Arms Elimination Working Group of the United States Safety, Security, and Dismantlement Delegation meeting with Russians, Ukrainian and Belarussians on strategic arms reduction issues in Moscow, Russia, Kiev, Ukraine; Minsk, Belarus and Paris, France. He was also instrumental in serving as Chief of the Directorate Transition Team which was responsible for accomplishing the transfer from the Air Force to the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), under the Defense Logistics Agency, and serving as a member of the DESC Executive Oversight Committee.

He successfully directed propellant support efforts for the Space Shuttle, Titan, Atlas and Delta space launch programs, never failing to provide the required propellants on time and within specification. No launch was ever delayed or rescheduled due to lack of these vital propellants. He played a key role during the Titan II Missile Weapon System Deactivation as the lead with responsibilities for ensuring the safe transport of millions of pounds of oxidizer and fuel throughout the United States.

Additionally, Gilbert served as a panel member on a Merit Systems Protection Board to provide views and knowledge related to a wide range of topics including employee discipline, labor-management relationships and supervisory span of control. Gilbert was Chairman of the Packaging, Handling and Transportability Panel of the Joint-Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force (JANNAF) Interagency Propulsion committee's safety and environmental protection subcommittee from 1986-1987.

Other examples of Gilbert's noteworthy accomplishments include his support of incredible volume of user requirements – over $100M of fuel/propellants/chemicals/specialty gases and cryogenic liquids deliveries without incident or delay. He increased the customer base to reduce overhead costs per unit; expanded customers include the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), NASA, Army, Navy, foreign governments, DoD contractors, and Air Force. His innovative use of high-tech systems resulted in providing the first DoD rail car satellite tracking providing 24-hour surveillance of highly toxic hazardous material shipments. Gilbert coordinated highway/rail emergency transportation Serene Response exercises with federal, state, and local response agencies. He successfully supported hundreds of NASA and Air Force space launches by expertly managing 54 critical missile products. His performance and leadership were instrumental in the Directorate winning the 1998 Frederick Dau Award for the best Material Group Manager for the Air Force Materiel Command.

During his 21 years in the Directorate of Aerospace Fuels he was selected as the AFLC Senior Logistics 'Manager of the Year', the Society of Logistics Engineers 'Logistics Manager of the Year', and was awarded The Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence.

In his retirement he was very active in various ministries at Santo Nino de Cebu Catholic Church including service on the Finance Council, Master Plan Committee and Pastoral Council. For his outstanding service he was recognized and awarded the Lumen Gentium Award by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller. Gilbert served as Board Member for the United States Selective Service System for over 15 years. He was an Election Judge in all Federal, State, County, and City elections under management of Bexar County Elections Office from 1999-2010. He worked as a Certified Professional Tour Guide from 2002 to 2019 and was President of the Professional Tour Guide Association for two terms. He was a volunteer for Each One Teach One helping adults with low literacy to improve their reading, writing, math, language and computer skills. He played as much golf as possible. Gilbert spent time chauffeuring his granddaughters to and from their many activities and traveled with "The Beautiful Mrs. Noriega" on several European trips and throughout this wonderful country. He was a parishioner of St. Matthew Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers the family strongly encourages you to make donations to San Antonio Food Bank or Mass Intentions in Gilbert Noriega's name to any church.

Due to current restrictions, all services are private, limited to the immediate family only. As a veteran of The United States Navy, Gilbert will be buried with Military Honors.

A recording of the services can be viewed via this link:

Services and Interment Will Be Private

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Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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