In Memoriam

Bob Hagar

Robert Jon Hager

Bob Hager was born Sept. 13, 1946 in Grand Forks, N.D. and graduated from Bismarck High School in 1964. His parents were Norwegian and strong in their Lutheran faith as was Bob. He loved the outdoors and spent countless hours fishing and hunting with his fathers, brothers, and uncles. This love for the outdoors was always a constant throughout his life and he would find this in every place he lived during his military career and during retirement. Bob graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1968 with a BS in Engineering Management. He then entered pilot training and earned his wings at Webb Air Force Base, Texas in 1969. From 1969 to 1971 he was assigned to the 41st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif. flying HC-130 aircraft. From 1971 to 1972, he was assigned to the 39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Vietnam, flying over 100 combat search and rescue missions in Southeast Asia. It was when Bob came home from his Vietnam tour that he was diagnosed with diabetes which was pretty devastating for him but he didn't let that stop him. His next assignment was as flight examiner and test officer at the 1550th Air crew Training and Test Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In 1973, he transferred to the A-10 Program Office, Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He earned a master's degree in systems management from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 1974. In 1978, Bob was assigned to Ogden Air Logistics officer. In 1980, he became deputy chief of the F-16 Production Management Branch. From 1981 to 1983, he was a resource analyst in the Programs Division at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., assisting in the preparation of the Air Force budget. Later, he served as a military assistant in the office of the Secretary of Defense. In 1984, he assumed command of the 410th Field Maintenance Squadron at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Mich. The squadron was named best in 40th Air Division and received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. He next became the assistant deputy commander for Maintenance and later the deputy commander for Maintenance at the 410th Bombardment Wing. After graduation from the Air War College in 1988, Bob became the chief of the Product Quality and Reliability Division, Directorate of Maintenance, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. he established a Total Quality Management effort which included training for over 7,000 people and 40 process action teams. In 1989, he became the Assistant to the Commander for Quality, responsible for guiding the implementation of quality principles for the 16,000 people assigned to Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. In 1990 Bob was assigned as the Director of Programs and Productivity, Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command. He guided the Command's effort in winning the 1991 President's Quality Award. He was a member of the Board of Examiners for the Malcom Baldrige National Quality for 1992 and 1993. It was during this assignment at the Pentagon that we learned that Bob's kidneys were failing after years of damage from diabetes. Bob was reluctant to retire from his beloved Air Force but didn't really have a choice. After retirement we moved to Houston, Texas, where Bob became a consultant in quality, published a book, and continued traveling as a guest speaker. Then in 1995 Bob had to go on Kidney dialysis. He still worked and traveled arranging his dialysis around meetings, but after two years his health deteriorated such that he couldn't work any more because dialysis just made him too weak. His battle ended early on Oct. 15, 1999 after complications from heart surgery at St. Luke's Hospital. Bob was a pilot with 2,000 flying hours. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Force Achievement Medal. Bob is survived by his wife, Cheryl; his son Christopher, his daughters Susan and Allison, his mother, and his brothers Richard and Dean. We all miss him very much!      (Cheryl Hager)

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