Texas Military Forces
Hall of Honor

Robert W. McDonald

Colorado City, Texas, native Robert W. McDonald began his military service in September, 1947, when he enlisted in the 132nd Field Artillery, 36th Division, at Lubbock, Texas. In 1951, he enlisted in the US. Air Force and served as a B-25 crew chief until he entered pilot training. After graduating from pilot training in December, 1952, he flew F-80s and F-86s on active duty at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and George Air Force Base, California. During this time, he advanced to squadron commander of the 388th Fighter-Bomber Squadron.

On February 6, 1956, McDonald entered the Texas Air National Guard and was assigned to the 181st Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dallas, Texas. He remained in the 181st until 1965 and progressed to flight commander during this time. When the 181st transitioned from fighters to KC-97G tankers in 1964, McDonald was instrumental in the conversion.

McDonald was subsequently assigned to various positions in the Texas Air National Guard State Headquarters, the 181st Tactical Airlift Squadron (formerly the 181st Air Refueling Squadron), and the 136th Tactical Airlift Wing during the next 15 years. Included in these assignments were tours of duty as state director of operations, 181st Tactical Airlift Squadron commander, and 136th Tactical Airlift Wing vice commander. He was named deputy commander, Texas Air National Guard, on January 30, 1980, and promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.

During his 42-year career, McDonald was rated combat ready for more than 20 years, amassed more than 8,000 flying hours, and took part in 47 deployments to Europe in KC-97Ls 41 as part of Operation Creek Party, the Guard's historic Cold War air refueling mission over Europe and the Atlantic.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, the Combat Readiness Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

Robert W McDonald was named commander of the Texas Air National Guard, and federally recognized as a Major General June 28, 1984. Since his retirement in 1989, he has continued to support the Guard through his membership in the National Guard Associations of the United States and of Texas, the Texas Legislative Task Force, and the Air Force Association.

 

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