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Bob Anspach was born in Milwaukee, the son of a hard-working businessman in the furniture trade.  His formative years were shaped by the onset of the Great Depression; a fact that he feels still influences his ideals and conservative tendencies.  When war came, Bob signed on as a flight cadet and went through his training in the Southeast Training Command in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama.  He was sent to Europe in 1944, and assigned to the 358th Fighter Group as a P-47 fighter pilot.

Bob accumulated more than 1,000 hours of flying time prior to Operation LUSTY and flew 75 combat missions in the Jug, most in support of the advancing ground forces.  Although he was often surprised by the lack of fighter opposition, German Anti-Aircraft fire was an ever-present threat, and on one occasion he was shot up so badly that he was barely able to bring his aircraft back across German lines.  He landed safely, but the plane was not repairable, and had to be scrapped. 

When he learned of the jet project, he volunteered for it and was immediately selected.   Bob went on to play an important and colorful role in the project, and was instrumental in ferrying several aircraft to port.  He returned home with the others aboard the H.M.S. Reaper aircraft carrier.

Separating from the Army Air Force in December of 1945, Bob entered college and earned a Mechanical Engineering degree.   The Korean Conflict resulted in his recall to active duty where he again saw combat, this time as an F-86 Sabre pilot.  Bob elected to remain in the Air Force after Korea, and spent virtually all of his career in fighter aircraft, from the F-86 and F-100 Super Sabre to the F-104 Starfighter.  During the war in Viet Nam, he returned to the cockpit for yet another combat tour, this time fielding rocket systems in attack helicopters (Huey and Cobra gun ships).  Bob retired a Lieutenant Colonel in 1969 and put his educational background to use as a math teacher for many years.

Even in retirement, Bob has remained active in education, and he still enjoys tutoring math in local schools.  He and his wife Betty live in the South, where he enjoys golfing and tending to family matters.

 


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