Bob Runninger’s Bio

Left home in December of 1953 at the young age of 18 and went to Sampson AFB for Basic Training

Left there in February of 1954 on a train, dressed in blues, headed to Gary AFB, San Marcos, Texas for Helicopter School. Another A3C, who also got the chopper school, and I couldn’t figure out what the heck a Rotary Wing was. When we got close to the Base we saw a chopper flying. We then knew what we were going to school for. When we got off the air-conditioned train in those blues, we almost passed out from the heat

Left there In Aug. 1954 for the 74th ARSq., Ladd AFB at Fairbanks AK. First Helicopter I worked on was an H-5. Had fabric covered blades and Jack screws for servos. We then got H-19’s in to replace the H-5’s and later transitioned to H-21’s. Was assigned as Crew Chief and on flying status on the H-19 and the 21

Left there on 12 Jan. 1957 for Vincent AFB at Yuma Arizona. Assigned to 4750th FLD MAINTRON. (ADC) On 15 Jan 1959 was reassigned to 4750th OMS. Worked out of Base Flight on H-19A models and later H-21’s on Drone recovery. The H-19A with the 1340 engine just barely had the power to pick itself up in that hot climate

Left there on 7 May 1959 for the 4756th Drone Sq. (ADC) Tyndall AFB, FL. along with most of the other guys. We had H-21’s there and used them for drone recovery. Was assigned as crew chief and on status. We also used them for local rescue. We later transferred over to the 4756th OMS on 18 June 1959 doing the same job. We worked out of Apalachicola most of the time. On 1 Oct 1959 several of us went TDY to Apalachicola, FL. to support the World Wide Weapons Meet

Left there on 5 December 1960 and assigned to 389th Combat Support GP. (SAC) Francis E. Warren AFB, Cheyenne WY. Our Mission there was Site Activation Task Force for the Atlas Missile. Assigned Crew Chief on status among other jobs. Had C-47 time and H-19

Left there on 22 Jan. 1962 and assigned to 3902nd Air Base Wing (SAC). Worked in the 3902nd OMS. Was assigned Crew Chief on H-19’s on status and then H-19/L20 Flight Chief. Was run-up and taxi qualified on the L-20. The L-20’s had crosswind landing gear which made for weird landings. Mission was Missile Site Support

Left there on 22 June 1963 and assigned to 3635th Flying Training Wing, (ATC) Stead AFB. Was on my way to 917th FTD Saigon, VN. Reporting date of 7 July 1963. Flew there on a Super Connie. Was assigned Crew Chief on H-19 on status. Was awarded the South Vietnamese AF Crew Member Wings. Mission was training South Vietnamese pilots and mechanics

Left there in July 1964 and assigned to the 48th ARSq. (MATS) Eglin AFB, FL. On 8 June 1967 was assigned to Det. 25, EAARC same base. Moved over to the Pit. Assigned Crew Chief on status on the H-43B. Was Maint. Supervisor for a while but replaced by SMSgt. Pappy Everton. Assumed job of Flight Chief

Left there on 27 Sept. 1968 and assigned to Det. 4 PACAF ARRCtr. (MAC) Taegu, Korea. Assigned Crew Chief on H-43B on status. Was Maintenance Super until replaced by SMSgt Dubois. Went TDY to the Det. at Osan for 90 days and back to Taegu. Flew on Tail #’s 558, 557, 563, 251 and 252.

Left there in Oct. 1970 and assigned to Det. 11, 47th ARRSq. (MAC) at Kunsan AFB, Korea Assigned as Maint. Super on status. Flew on tail #’s 848 and 260 H-43B

Left there 15 June 1971 and assigned to 41st ARRWg. (MAC) at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. Assigned duty as Maintenance Coordinator for all the Detachments in SEA. Worked for Capt. Dunn who was the Maintenance Officer. Col. Dale Gordon, Director of Logistics. Worked with Pete Earle who did the same job for the Heavy’s

Went TDY on a Logistics Staff Assistance Visit on 24 Aug. 1972 to Det. 14 Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN , 37th ARRS Da Nang AB, RVN, 40th ARRS NKP, Thailand, Det. 3, 40th ARRS Ubon Thailand, Det. 5, 40th ARRS Udorn Thailand, Det. 12, 40th ARRS U-Tapao, Thailand, 56th ARRS Korat, Thailand and Det. 8, 43rd ARRS Takhli, Thailand. On 5 Jan. 1973 made another Staff Assistance Visit to Det. 1, 33rd ARRS Osan Korea, Det. 2, 33rd ARRS Kunsan, Korea, 33rd ARRS Kadena, Okinawa.

While stationed at Hickam I got my FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics License at the University of Hawaii

Left there Jan 1974 for Retirement after 20 Years. Moved to Oregon and went to work in a GM dealership as a mechanic for a while and then got a job working for Douglas County, Oregon as a mechanic on light and heavy vehicles

Left there in 1982 and moved to Florida. Got a job there working for Lake County Board of County Commissioners, Vehicle Maintenance. Worked as a mechanic on Light and Heavy vehicles and then took over as Vehicle Maintenance Supervisor

Retired from that job in 1998 at age 62

Got my FAA Private Pilot’s License in 1991 and bought my C172 in 1992. Flew as Mission Pilot for Civil Air Patrol for a few years in addition to Maintenance Officer and other jobs in CAP.


~ Final Flight 05 February 2015 ~

Robert Eugene Runninger Sr., 79, of Lake Panasoffkee, Florida, died Thursday, February 5, 2015. He was born November 23, 1935 in Oil City, Pennsylvania.

He was retired from Lake County Public Works as a Fleet Maintenance Supervisor and was a retired Master Sargent in the Air Force. He was a member of the Church of God, N.R.A. and was a Veteran of U.S. Air Force serving in Vietnam and the Korean Conflict, In Search and Rescue. He was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol and RotorHeads.

He is survived by his wife, Vicki Runninger of Lake Panasoffkee, FL; sons, Robert Eugene Runninger, Jr. of Oil City, PA, Thomas Erin (Karen) Quave of Picayune, MS, George Frederick Massie IV of Pensacola, FL; daughters, Naomi Marie (Dick) McCreary of Franklin, PA, Anastasia Marie (Cleve) Spittle of Leesburg, FL; brothers: Roger Dale (Linda) Runninger of Franklin, PA and John Runninger of VA; sisters: Sue Ann (Reginald) Rice of Lake Panasoffkee, FL and Nancy Lee Crawford of Rockmart, GA; Grandchildren: Nathan and Jennifer Runninger, Olivia Quave, Joshua Elkins and Devin Elkins; and great-grandchild, Kaylan.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, 2/14/15 at 11:00 am at the Purcell Funeral Home Chapel in Bushnell, Florida.
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