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Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

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Old 02-20-2012, 06:55 PM
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jet time
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Default Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

On February 22nd, the Col. will celebrate his 94th birthday! The history of this man is unbelievable...look him up.
He recently lost his wife of 72 years last November, but is still going strong. You can find him at the field most every weekend FLYING and driving himself to and from the field. No cane, no fuss...just a great and very sharp person to be around.
He is in the AMA hall of fame and an inspiration to all.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CONONEL!!!! See you at the field at 100!!

Lowell Wexler
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:01 PM
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Happy birthday to the Col.

Just one word. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:14 PM
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Happy Birthday! Col. Thacker
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:22 PM
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Happy Birthday Colonel!

Marty
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:01 PM
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Happy Birthday Colonel Thacker!
Bob
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:07 PM
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Happy Birthday Colonel.....I had the honor of meeting him in 2007 at california jets. Flying his turbine and took a little time to talk about my efd's in a positive way. It was a real honor and inspiration.

I can only pray for that kind of health
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:12 PM
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Happy Birthday Col, Thacker.

Kevin
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:31 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

Happy Birthday Colonel!
You are definitely an inspiration!
Greg Moore
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:34 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

I had the honor of flying with the Col. Last Saturday at camp Pendalton. He was giving us a first hand account of ferrying b-17's into Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack, being a test Pilot with Yeager, and the very first unvailing of the b-17 at Wright Patterson. It was great seeing him again.

Happy Birthday!

In this picture I took, Ray Olsen, Joe C, The Col., Afterburner1.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:57 PM
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Happy Birthday Colonel, always great to see you at the flying fields. What ride will you choose on your 94th? See you soon.

Paul S
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:42 AM
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Happy Birthday Colonel !!!
Semper Fi
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:36 AM
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Happy Birthday Col. Thacker. Hope he has a great day!
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:01 AM
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It is always a pleasure to see the Colonel, never a dull moment when talking with him. Happy Birthday Colonel. Joe C!!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:32 AM
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Happy Birthday Colonel.

From the old chief.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:56 AM
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A sharp salute to you sir! Happy Birthday
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:29 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

Happy B-Day Colonel. Always a pleasure to talk with you. You are one admirable man.

Billy Edwards
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:48 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

Colonel Robert E. Thacker, USAF (Ret.) (born 1918) is a retired test pilot, a lifelong model aircraft enthusiast and designer,[1] one of the few pilots in history to do two tours of duty in two different theaters of operation (Europe and Japan) in World War II and the holder of a number of aviation records.

Thacker's interest in aviation was sparked in 1926 at age eight when a neighbor purchased an operating model aircraft. By 1929, Thacker had completed his first model, that of the Spirit of St. Louis and went on to earn spending money building balsa gliders. He joined his first aeromodeling club in El Centro, California in 1932. He would also become the Southern California yo-yo champion that year; his prize was US$40.00 in the form of $25, $10 and $5 gold coins.

A graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot Academy at California's Edwards Air Force Base, Thacker was responsible for testing a wide variety of aircraft bwetween 1939 and 1970, including the first accelerated tests of the P-80 combat-ready jet fighter, assisted by then Cpt. Chuck Yeager.





The Betty Jo P-82 in flight
His most notable achievement came in 1947 with his test of the Betty Jo, a P-82 named after his wife.[2] This was to be the first nonstop test of a fully laden fighter between Honolulu, Hawaii and New York City, New York. The 14 hour, 32 minute test, which started at Hickam Air Force Base on February 27 and which ended at LaGuardia Airport was a success; Thacker even set the speed record at an average of 350 miles per hour (560 km/h). Both the aircraft and the flight jacket Thacker wore are on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. His co-pilot on the trip was Lt. John Ard. The trip remains the longest and fastest ever by a propeller-driven fighter.

Another notable achievement came in 1972 as the test pilot of a solar-powered aircraft designed and built by Lockheed.

In wartime, Thacker flew two tours of duty in a B-17 in World War II, a single tour in the Korean War with a B-29 Superfortress and classified high-altitude reconnaissance missions during the Vietnam War.

His wartime service earned him two Silver Stars, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, ten Air Medals and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.

On January 9, 2010, Colonel Thacker was inducted into the Academy of Model Aeronautics Hall of Fame for his work in both model and full-scale aviation during day two of the AMA's annual exposition at the Ontario Convention Center, Ontario, California. Among the dignitaries present were then-AMA president Dave Brown (succeeded by Dave Mathewson later that year) and retired space shuttle commander Robert "Hoot" Gibson, himself a strong supporter of the AMA.

Thacker and his wife presently reside in San Clemente, California; he remains active in the hobby of radio controlled model aviation as an active AMA member, and frequently participates in meets in and around Southern California with his giant-scale, turbine-powered F-15 Eagle.
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:54 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

The biggest surprise of Bob Thacker's life.

He was a 22-year-old pilot, on orders to fly a B-17 from San Francisco to Hawaii. In the air all night, breaking through clouds for an expected uneventful landing on a Sunday morning just before 8, something didn't seem right.





Retired Col. Bob Thacker chats with Linda Ray after his talk Tuesday to the San Clemente Sunrise Rotary Club.





Thacker's radio man saw water spouts off Waikiki. Hickam Field wasn't answering the radio. There was smoke up ahead.

It was Dec. 7, 1941. Thacker's B-17 had flown smack into the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

, a retired colonel, told his story to the Sunrise Rotary Club. He said he managed to land his plane and that the crew ran away from the hangars and into a swamp - a move that saved them.

"He is truly one of the greatest of the greatest generation," Rotary's Jim Rutter said
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:18 PM
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The Col. is one of a kind. Always a gentleman, and a pleasure to speak with at the field.

Happy birthday Colonel!
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:59 PM
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Happy Birthday Col. Thacker. Hope you have a great birthday.

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:03 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

Hey Colonel Bob,

Sorry to hear about your wife.  I too lost my wife Katie a year ago and I know you miss your wife dearly. 

Katie and I always enjoyed seeing, talking and joking with you at shows and at events. We really enjoyed our time flying with you in the Tropical Fun Fly in Costa Rica.

Some of you may not know but the Colonel had many jobs as a aeronautical consultant to aircraft companies.  

Like everyone before said.....Colonel Robert Thacker is a very rare unique individual and for those of us that know him, we are the lucky ones.

Although Katie is not with us, I am sure she would want to be included in wishing you a Happy Birthday and many more. 

Bob Martin
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:06 PM
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Happy Birthday Colonel Bob! Keep Looking Up!

Your friend and BBQ chef in Lakeland
-Sean
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:27 PM
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Happy Birthday Col. you probably don't remember me but I used to CD a scale contest in Fremont California in the seventies. It was always a pleasure to see you and your wife, my condolences on her passing. You are and she were both the finest of people, My son and I who was then a young boy often speak of you.

Sincerly Dave Shirley Sr. and Dave Shirley Jr.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:45 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

I've known the Col since 1982. Great guy and a joy to be around. Here is a pic from this past Sunday

Tony Q, Sauzeech, The Col and AB1

[ ]
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:46 PM
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Default RE: Birthday wish to Colonel Thacker

I've known the Col since 1982. Great guy and a joy to be around. Here is a pic from this past Sunday

Tony Q, Sauzeech, The Col and AB1

[ ]
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