Jim Priddy


Finding the Purpose and Plan for My Life

My name is Jim Priddy, and I spent years not talking or telling others of my involvement with the famous A-12 CIA and SR-71 Blackbird Programs. It was one of the most incredible aircrafts in the history of aviation because it required a thermally stable hydrocarbon fuel, and systems that could withstand extreme temperatures at heights in excess of 80,000 feet.

I was part of highly dedicated U.S. Air Force and civilian maintenance team, who provided support for its worldwide deployments. This was a shrouded plane and the programs surrounding it. This has now been declassified. In his book, SR-71 REVEALED, Richard Graham, Col. USAF (RBI) states, “The SR-71 has been called the Seeker of Truth." I guess you could use that same phrase to describe me. Or, as the Bible says, "All the things hidden should be revealed."

With this introduction, I would like to tell you my story.

I was born in Washington, DC, raised in Southern Maryland and entered the United States Air Force in the late 1950s. I was always looking for something to fill an indescribable void in my life. I tried the night life, alcohol, and women. Eventually I settled on being a workaholic and got married early. The pressures of marriage, having a child on the way, and not knowing how to communicate with my wife only increased the stress and the void.

Our Family

SR - 71 Blackbird Spy PlaneA military program for top classified information is something you just don't talk about. This is great for national security.  Not talking about the problems didn't help my struggling marriage. Neither did trying to run my marriage like an Air Force project. For some reason, waking my wife up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning to get the house cleaned didn't go over very well.


Early one morning, after returning from a lengthy Top Secret A-1 2 and SR- 71 Blackbird spy plane deployment, my wife, Betty, picked me up at Beale AFB, California, and told me that she had enough and was leaving.

I distinctly remember going to the bus station and purchasing the tickets for my wife, five year old daughter, and less than two-year-old son, to leave. I stood watching as my daughter cried and gazed out the bus window, not wanting to leave her Daddy. I was not one to cry, especially not in public, but that day was different. As the bus pulled away, my life, with its mistakes, failures, hopes, and dreams flashed through my mind, and then seemed to vanish.

Many men don't see what is really happening until it hits them over the head, and I was one of them. I was full of pride and very hardheaded. My early marriage was “one-way” my way. Back then I didn't know that God had a plan for our lives, and I was even less aware of the meaning behind Amos 3:3 which states "Unless two agree, how can they walk together?"

At home, Betty was basically told that she'd made her bed, and that she'd have to lie in it. When she came back to me, it wasn't like when we were first married. She was there in body, but her spirit was far from mine. I had a little bit of understanding of what I had almost lost, and I was making an effort, as best as I knew how, but Betty was cold.

Later, I was transferred to Tokyo, Japan. I thought this would be the fresh start we desperately needed. Upon arriving in Japan, the money was good and I tried to buy them happiness, but I quickly discovered we still had the same old problems. The secrecy that I was bound to the workplace carried over to my home.

Then I decided that Betty was the problem. Yet the more pressure I placed on her, the bigger the gap in our marriage became. It would be years before I realized that I was supposed to be building my wife up, not tearing her down, and even longer before I would truly understand that God loved both of us and that I was to love Betty as Christ had loved the church.

When our son, Jimmy, was six years old, he announced that he hated God. It was then that Betty determined she needed to take the children to Sunday school. She felt as if she had failed as a mother because of this comment; I felt nothing. Nevertheless, I agreed to take them to Sunday school.

The very first Sunday, Betty returned all excited. She'd been asked to teach in Sunday school. Not only was she asked to teach, but my boss was also teaching. I was not excited. I believed in the separation of work and home, and at work I was the fair-haired golden boy. I could not risk my wife telling people at church about me. I had an image to uphold.

It wasn't long before Betty sought out a Bible study in order to find some answers for her life, answers to questions like, "What happens when you die?" I was quick to respond to her question with, “You go in the ground and rot.”

While she was at the Bible study, the teacher informed Betty that she needed Jesus in her heart in order to go to heaven, so she invited Him in, though she didn't tell me.

I didn't like Betty going to this Bible study because I was losing control of her, and I didn't know what was going on. I also thought she'd started acting funny. I had tried to be nice to get her to love me, but that hadn't worked. Now, all of a sudden, she couldn't love me enough or do enough for me. I thought something strange was happening and would try to start a fight just to get things back to normal. But, she would just love me and make my favorite dinner. Not only did she not tell me that she'd given her life to Jesus, she also didn't tell me that I was a dirty sinner who needed to be saved. She just loved me.

One week, she asked if she could go to the Bible study and I said no, thinking that that would end the nice stuff, but she just smiled and said okay. On the second week, I again said she couldn't go. On the third week, she asked if I didn’t mind if the Bible study came to our house. To this day, I don't know why I said they could come over; maybe I thought I could see what they were really up to, because I knew no one would really stayed up until midnight just talking about the Bible.

Once I realized I had actually said they could come over, I informed Betty that they'd better not say anything to me or I would run them out of the house. So they came. I opened up my bar and poured myself a nice big drink, thinking that this would disturb the group, but it didn't. Instead, they sat down in their circle and started discussing the Bible and the new wine. I didn't want to seem dumb, and felt that I could add some insight about wine, so I joined in the conversation. Never once did they condemn me.

When the Bible study was over, I discovered that the leader had also been assigned to the SR-71 Blackbird Project. We had something in common, which opened the door for me to talk to him (little did I know that an even a greater door was being opened). The leader asked me, "Are you a Christian?" to which I gave my standard reply -- I had been baptized and knew all the books of the Bible. This pat answer had always worked before, but this time it didn't. The man said. "That is not what I asked you. I said, "Are you a Christian?" The Bible says in 1 John 5:11-1 2, “This is the testimony; God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son, he who has the Son has life, but he who has not the Son of God, has not life." That's all he said. He didn't hit me over the head with a Bible or tell me that I was a sinner headed straight for hell; he just planted the word of God.

And the seed began to grow. I began to wonder how you got the Son and how you got to heaven. I figured it must be one of those `secrets' in the Bible.  I started reading and soon discovered that you had to invite Jesus to come into your life. Betty was still being nice and sweet. I figured if God could do that for her, maybe He could help me, too. Going to bed early one night, I knelt down and said a simple prayer, committing my life to Jesus. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I slept soundly that night.

 The very next day as I went to work, the sky seemed a brighter blue. I couldn't believe it; it looked like a new world. In the past I had never gone to God for anything. As a matter of fact, the only time God' ever crossed my mind or my lips was in my language - God this and God that! I soon found that I was no longer cussing. For two weeks straight I had not cussed out a single worker. The men under my supervision even came to me and asked me what had happened? I had not cussed them out in two weeks. My meek reply was that I must be slipping.

Deep down I knew that God had supernaturally taken the profanity away from me, but I hadn't cured my lack of communication skills. With that, among other things, I had to die to daily.

Upon leaving Japan, I received assignment at Andrews AFB, Maryland, where I was on the support team for Air Force One through three United States Presidents. It was while I was at Andrews that I received the Baptism of The Holy Spirit.

I and my boss, John Perry, who had been on the SR-71 Blackbird project several years earlier, did a Bible study for over a year, during which we determined that speaking in tongues was not for today. However, Betty had already received the gift of tongues. While at a friend's house one night they asked Betty to speak in tongues. Betty didn't even know if she could speak in tongues on demand. But she said that she would pray, and she did indeed pray in tongues. That night, I prayed that if what Betty had was from God, I would receive it, too. God gave me my prayer language. The very next morning, I went to work and shared this new language with John, who immediately became angry that God had given it to me first when he'd been a Christian longer. This was the same man who'd been convinced; along with me, that tongues wasn't for today. That was the very first day that I ever shared Christ with anyone. For the first time ever, there were no secrets. I had been set free by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sometime later, while at the Pentagon, I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to retire from the Air Force and start a Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship Chapter. That changed my life forever.

I served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years under the command of six sitting U.S. Presidents. I served on many high level projects, which were used to inform top decision-makers, including the President of the United States, on data which had been gathered by the SR-71 blackbirds. I was a member of the Blackbird Association. After retiring from the USAF, I went on to work for the Department of the Navy as a federal employee for another 20 years. I retired from the Department of Defense with a total of over forty years of service to my country.

 I reside in Southern Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC, with my wife of 54 years, Betty, a real estate agent. We have three children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren. I serve as the National Director in Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America for the State of Maryland and as a part time volunteer-ranch hand and advisor at my daughter and son-in-law’s spread, Rosemary Ranch in Port Republic, Maryland.

While there are no more top secret projects for me, I now work on a project of the Highest level -- the leading others to Christ. Today, my favorite conversation begins with "There are only two kinds of people, those who are saved and those who are about to be saved, which one are you?" 

Jim Priddy's Hearing His Voice Testimony

Jim Priddy Testimony