Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
William “Bill” Edward Tackas, Colonel, USAF (Retired)September 13, 1935 – October 16, 2007
COLONEL WILLIAM E. TAKACS 1935 – 2007 Col. William Edward “Bill” Takacs passed away Oct. 16, 2007.
Bill was born Sept. 13, 1935, to Katherine Angeline and John Raymond Takacs, Sr., in Joliet, Ill.
He graduated from Indiana University, which he attended on a football scholarship. He was married to Marilynn Joyce Dainko, his beloved wife of 28 years, and entered active duty in the U.S. Air Force in 1958. Bill’s military career spanned 30 years, including service at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.; Bergstrom AFB, Tex.; Mather AFB, Calif.; Stead AFB, Nev.; Saigon, Vietnam; Sheppard AFB, Tex.; and Taichung, Taiwan. Bill was brought in after the failed rescue attempt in Tehran as Commander of the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, where he was instrumental in building the SOF capability with H-53’s. Much of today’s readiness can be traced back to the efforts of “Col. T,” and his team of officers, NCOs and airmen. After serving with the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, he retired in 1988. Throughout his distinguished military career, Col. Takacs received numerous awards and commendations, including the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Republic of Vietnam Pilot Wings. He also served as a special advisor for Northrop-Grumman Aviation.
Bill was preceded in death by his father, John R. Takacs; mother, Katherine Angeline Takacs; and his wife, Marilynn J. Dainko. Bill is survived by his brothers, John R. Takacs, Jr., and Robert F. Takacs; sons, William E. Takacs, Jr., (Libby), Douglas J. Takacs and Thomas C. Takacs; daughters, Sally Jo Takacs-Miller (David), and Karen Chappell (Johnny); grandchildren, Samantha Miller, Alyssa Miller, Andria Miller, William E. Takacs III, Travis Takacs and Ryan Chappell, and also is survived by his long- time companion, P.J. Brumfield.
A time of visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007, at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road N.E., Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32547.A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 22, 2007, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Fort Walton Beach, Fl. Interment, with full military honors, will follow at Beal Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials to the Air Force Aid Society, American Cancer Society, or ALS in Bill’s memory. You may share memories and condolences at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Oct. 20, 2007
20th SOS mourns loss of past commander
by Senior Airman Ali Flisek1st SOW Public Affairs
11/2/2007 – HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. — Family, friends and members of the 20th Special Operations Squadron gathered at Beal Memorial Cemetery in Fort Walton Beach, October 22, 2007 for the burial of former 20th SOS Commander, retired Col. William Tackas.
The weather seemed appropriate for the occasion as many gathered under umbrellas to watch the Hurlburt Field Honor Guard fold the American flag over the casket. The flag was then given to Col. Brad Webb, 1st Special Operations Wing commander, who then with words of comfort handed the flag to Colonel Tackas’ son.
Members of the 20th SOS stood in formation during the ceremony to honor their squadron’s first commander. The honor guard performed the 21-gun salute. “Colonel “T” was a larger-than-life personality that influenced every PAVE LOW warrior from 1980 to the present,” Colonel Webb said, “While he will be sorely missed by all Air Commandos, his legacy will be pervasive far into the future and throughout Air Force Special Operations Command.”
Colonel Tackas held command of the 20th SOS from 1980 – 1982. He was an expert in helicopter requirements and special operations aircraft. He had a total of 7,780 flying hours, 6,180 of which was in a helicopter. Colonel Tackas traveled extensively throughout Europe and the pacific at bases worldwide. He completed 30 years of service in the Air Force, and retired, July 1, 1988.
He sparked what we’re able to do now; be the best elite helicopter squadron in the Air Force,” said Capt. Keith Snook, a pilot with the 20th SOS. “He will always be remembered as the beginning.”
Colonel Tackas was born on September 13, 1936. He passed away October 16, 2007. He is survived by his five children; William Jr., Sally Jo, Craig, Douglas and Karen. He was buried in his flight suit and the famous red scarf worn only by members of the PAVE LOW community.
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January 09, 2015I met Col T when I was first assigned to the 20th as an AB in Life Support, last time I seen him was at the Eglin O club during a ceremony for my new 59th FS Commander in 88. I’ll never forget he always called me Loon!~George Lunney, Rochester, New York
September 17, 2012Sincere belated condolences to the family and friends of Col. T. I was relating a story about him to my co-workers and I googled and found out about his passing. He is and will always be fondly remembered by all those who had the honor and pleasure to know him and serve with him. RIP Col. T.~Pete Sisinni, Macon, Georgia
February 04, 2012Met Col. Takacs while signing in the 20th. I just came back in the AF and back to the 20th and didn’t have a belt. Admin clerk had an extra and was putting it on when the Col. came out wanting to know Who in the Hell Was Getting Dressed in His Orderly Room. When I told him I was a Gunner, well you know the rest.~Paul Cartter, Tucson, Arizona
March 15, 2011I first met Major Takacs as a young Staff Sergeant in Thailand. Later, he was my squadron commander at Bergstrom AFB, TX, and at the 20th SOS, Hurlburt. He was a true leader. I could tell many stories about our flights together, but I think the one that most reflects both his humor, and the respect of his people occurred in 1982 during a trip to Maine for a joint service exercise. The Army Rangers were camped out in the middle of the woods and we had to fly Col Takacs out for a meeting with them. The only clearing suitable for landing was some distance away from the camp, so we dropped Col Takacs off and he was going to hike over to the Ranger Camp. As we were circling overhead, we spotted a bear nearby. Without exception, everyone on the crew immediately expressed concern — for the bear. If the two of them met, there was no doubt in our minds who would come out on the short end of the stick. Col Takacs could be as hard as nails, but he took care of his people. He called it like he saw it. You couldn’t ask for more from your leader.~Russ Reffitt, Ft Walton Beach, Florida
November 06, 2010Dad has been posthumously inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Honor as well as an inaugural inductee into the Special Operations Hall of Honor as well.~Bill Takacs
March 24, 2010I met and worked for Colonel Takacs when I was a very young airmen at Bergstrom AFB. He always had interesting stories to tell and was a great man to work for. I remember one time he showed us all a picture of John Wayne as the Joint Chief’s of Staff, it made me laugh. It was just that kind of humor that kept the office a good place to work.
He was a truly a good man and I sometimes still tell family about him.
I know that it has been a few years since his passing but I am truly sorry about your family’s loss of the Colonel.~Jeff Rodman, Garrett, Indiana
July 01, 2008I WAS VERY SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT THE PASSING OF COL.T. AS A FRIEND OF DOUGS, I KNEW WHAT A HERO HE WAS TO DOUG. MY MOST HEART FELT SIMPATHY GOES TO DOUG AND HIS FAMILY.~REBECCA (BECKY) RICHARDS (DORAZIO),WARNER ROBINS, Georgia
February 18, 2008My sincerest and belated condolences to Doug and his family.I just recently found out about Bills passing. He was a remarkable man and left alot of good memories behind. I will never forget mine at the lake house or the holidays watching football. I loved his war stories and his smile.~Chalon Suchsland, Tampa, Florida
October 29, 2007I knew the Col. way back in the late 70’s early 80’s when I played sports with Doug and Craig. A great man who helped raise great children!My families thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.~Jon Primm, Sacramento, California
October 29, 2007Col. Takacs’ son Doug, is a good friend and I am so sorry for his loss. I met the Col. several times when Doug and I were home from FSU. The Col. commanded respect, but at the same time had sense of humor. He was a honorable man who loved his family. Doug talked fondly of his dad and was very proud of him. God bless the Tackas family during this time and always.~Martin McHugh, Lakeland, Florida
October 29, 2007Doug introduced me to the colonel during a trip to the panhandle. The area was part of my sales territory and I was able to meet up with the colonel many times after that for a round of golf and a few beverages. I truly enjoyed it and will miss the opportunity to see him again.My deepest sympathies go to his family.~Greg Hayes, Dunedin, Florida
October 25, 2007My sincere condolences to all.~Rich Jones, Houston, Texas
October 25, 2007The Col. and I had many good discusions on life and matters of subtance over the years. We were peers to some extent in regard to our period of military service, and I always had the highest regard for his integrity. His son – Doug and I became social friends over a period of years and he was always loyal and reverent to the memory of his dad. Bill raisd him ‘right’ and any decent man would have been proud to have such a son. My wish is that he has found peace and favor with his God.~Joe Cortina, Florida
October 25, 2007My sincere condolences. The last time I saw Bill was at our 50th class reunion. I was glad that I had the opportunity to spend time with Bill and reminisce about our old school days.~Larry and Babs Bertignoli, Sun City, Arizona
October 24, 2007Bill graduated from Joliet Township High School and was one of the football stars and heroes for the Class of 1953. It was always fun to see him at our class reunions and especially at our 50th in 2003. He will be missed but fondly remembered next year at our 55th reunion.Sincerely, Sue Cates Martin, Joliet, Il~Sue Martin, Joliet, Illinois
October 24, 2007My sincere condolences. I work with Johnny, and know well the loss of a loved one, having recently lost my Dad, and my husband only a few years ago. My prayers are with you all.~Rita Daniels, Houston, Texas
October 24, 2007I did not have the pleasure of meeting the Colonel over the many years, but his son Doug has become one of the best friends a guy could hope to have. Hearing the Colonel’s best friend talk about him reminded how inportant a true friend can be. I keep Doug and his family in my prayers in hope that they get through this difficult time.~Rick Fraser, Tampa, Florida
October 22, 2007I have been a friend of Bills son Doug Takacs for 24 years. I had several opportunities to meet Col. T but I did not personally know him well – what I do know is that Doug is a direct reflection of both his parents and that he was very proud of dad. I consider Doug to be of the highest integrity and I know that his father was largely responsible for that trait. I also know that people like Col. T are the primary reason we live in freedom in the greatest country in the history of the earth. I thank God for Col. T and I pray for God to bless and comfort his family.~Jim Flanders, Tampa, Florida
October 21, 2007Bill, You and I met when you use to come into the Ramada Lobby Bar in FWB. We discovered that we were both from Joliet and that you and my Dad were good friends. It was so nice talking to you and knowing someone from home!! You also helped my son Chris get a military injustice righted and for that I will be in your dept forever!! You were a wonderful friend and the one I missed the most when I moved back here to Joliet!!Thank you for being my friend and for coming into my life!! I will miss you terribly and I miss the sound of your voice and your gruff ways (although I always knew you were a softie!). I know that God has a special place for you and that you are truly “home” now! God speed Bill and lots of love from your old friend Kathy~Kathy Lingle, Joliet, Illinois
October 20, 2007My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.~Bernie Maloney-Albert, Manhattan, Illinois
October 20, 2007My condolences to the Family and Friends of Bill Takacs. I was a friend of the Takacs Family in Joliet Illinois. I knew Bill, and his two brothers, John and Bob and his parents. I was very sorry to hear of Bill’s passing.~Lawrence “Larry” Ahlvin, Denton, Texas
October 20, 2007~Tim/Michelle/Peyton/Alex Winchester, Richmond, Texas
October 20, 2007Please accept my deepest sympathies~Bob Tietz, Estero, Florida
October 20, 2007~Lawrene &Judith Maloney, Joliet, Illinois
October 20, 2007~Roy & Honey Ann Doerfler, Sarasota, Florida
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