NOTAM 08-2015 (CAPT Arnold)

Golden Eagle NOTAM
NOTAM 08-2015 (CAPT Arnold)
Golden Eagle

Dear Golden Eagles,

It is my sad duty to inform you that CAPT Robert B. Arnold, USN (Ret), 83, made his Last Take-Off on 2 June 2015 in Escondido, CA.  He is survived by his wife Pam and his older brother Tom, who lives in PA.  Funeral services will be conducted at Miramar National Cemetery on or about 30 June. Details will be provided by separate correspondence.

CAPTAIN Arnold was born in Jersey City, NJ, on April 11, 1932, the second of two boys. His mother’s name was Martina Smith and his father’s name was Thomas Arnold. They divorced when Bob was 2.  Bob stayed with his mother until he was 11 when he moved in with his father and step mother Grace Arnold in Schenectady, NY.  Both of his parent’s families had been in the US for generations with the exception of his maternal grandfather who was from Surinam in South America.  Bob’s father was a civil servant for the Army’s storage administration; he served in WWI.

Bob was very popular in school. He was in the top of his class in grades, was class president, voted “most likely to succeed,” wrestled and played football and basketball. He took up handball in his twenties and played it until October of 2013 when he was 81.

Bob joined the NAVCAD’s in Pensacola, FL, in January 1953 during the Korean War and became the Navy’s first jet cadet in 1954. He received his wings on 19 May 1954 in NAAS Kingsville, TX.  His first duty assignment was with VF-173 at NAS Jacksonville, flying F9F-6’s, F2-H’s and FJ3’s. He then served two years as a flight instructor and LSO in VT-5 flying T-28’s, followed by a one year tour as Public Affairs Officer for the Chuting Stars in NAF El Centro, CA.  In Jan 62, he went through VA-125 Fleet Replacement pilot training for the A-4 then to VA-112 as Operations Officer and LSO.  From 6/64 to 6/66 he was a student at the U. S. Naval Post Graduate School, then back to NAS Lemoore to be an A-4 instructor in VA-125.  He transferred to VA-164 as Operations Officer at NAS Lemoore and aboard USS Oriskany, deploying to Vietnam for the first of his four combat tours. He served on OPNAV staff in the pentagon for one year 5/68 to 5/69, then back to NAS Lemoore where he transitioned to the A-7 in VA-125, then to VA-97 as XO/CO deployed on USS Constellation and USS Enterprise during Vietnam deployments from 12/69 to 12/71. Bob was a Centurian 12 times on various aircraft carriers and had 1,265 arrested landings. He flew a total of 336 combat missions and was awarded the Silver Star, 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star and 38 Air Medals (6 Individual and 32 Strike Flight) plus several Vietnamese awards. He earned the Silver Star as Alpha Strike leader on Haiphong ammunition area strike and two DFC’s during three Iron Hand Strike Leads to Phuc Yen Airfield Hanoi. He was a courageous Naval Aviator and a real warrior.

He served two years on COMNAVAIRPAC as Light Attack Training officer in San Diego and then 6 months on Admiral McDonald’s staff aboard USS Midway. He was then assigned as XO of USS Kitty Hawk  from 6/74 to 12/75, and then he moved on to Washington, DC, on Joint Chiefs of Staff, J-5 Plans and Policy.  Bob was too busy to get married until he met Pam at the River House in Arlington, VA.  Pam was staying with her sister while looking for a job as secretary while her operatic voice matured from lyric to dramatic. Bob and Pam’s sister were friends and he invited her sister up to his apartment for a drink, and Pam accompanied her sister. That was the beginning of their life together. Bob retired on 1 May 1979 and they were married in 1980, 35 years ago.  Bob completed his Ph.D. in Human Resources and Development in 1980.  He was an adjunct professor in the School of Business Master’s Program for Redlands University for 26 years.  He was also a  leadership consultant from 1980 until he died.  He was still collaborating with his partner John Leach of John Leach Associates the week he passed away.  Bob was a fierce warrior when he flew navy aircraft, but he was a very mild mannered man in person and a wonderful story teller.

Another hero of naval aviation has departed.  He will be missed!

In Sadness,
Don Boecker-Pilot