Guy L. Hecker, Jr.
In his words… How I got to fly the F-100
“After pilot training, I went through F-86E training and was assigned to the Air Force Academy as an upperclassman at Lowry AFB, Denver, CO. I was next assigned to the 20th TAC Fighter Wing at Wethersfield, England.
The 20th wing had just transitioned to F-100’s. I was not qualified nor had I gone through training on the F-100. I was assigned to the 3rd Air Force instrument school. On one of the missions, I went to Spain to check out a 3rd Air Force Colonel on the procedures to travel from England to the Continent.
When we entered the Spanish Air Defense Identification Zone two F-86D’s appeared to intercept us. Having gone through F-86D training I knew what they were doing so I waited and at the last minute I rolled up and into them and they shot by. We had a little air to air engagement.
After I landed the wing commander came up and told me how stupid I was because they could have shot me down. I told him they couldn’t have shot me down because they could have never gotten me in their sights. That didn’t make him happy at all! So, the Colonel and I had a nice go at the bar.
As it turned out the Colonel that had been with me ended up as a 2-Star General, and one of the pilots in the intercept group was one of the Lieutenants who’d been at the Air Force Academy with me. What had happened was that we had filed all of the right paperwork, the system somehow lost it, and our flight plan did not get passed to the Spanish aviators in the Identification Zone.
Anyway, when I got back to Wethersfield everything was fine for a week or so and then I got a call to report to the Director of Operations, who asked me what had happened in Spain. I told him the exact story and he said “Okay, I got it. You made those people pretty mad but you did a pretty good job so I think it’s time for you to check out in the F-100.” And that’s how I got my time in the Hun.”
There are men who rise to the highest echelons of the military, but few are so accomplished in both the military and civilian arenas that they not only achieve the rank of General but also have their homes listed on VirtualGlobetrotting.com as a “Celebrity Home”. (The Hecker’s house is built on one of George Washington’s original farms in Mt. Vernon, and though George Washington never slept on that spot he did sleep close by). Guy will tell you proudly that there’s a plaque on the house to prove it.
Guy Hecker, Jr. can claim to be one of those men. At 88 he refuses to slow down and continues building businesses. He’s still the lead director at 8×8 Inc., and on February 10, 2017, he rang the bell to open NASDAQ. He’s also a principal with Gwynnie Bee, a major shareholder in NavCom Defense Electronics Inc., and serves on several Boards of Directors while offering his wit and wisdom to groups and Citadel organizations.
General Hecker is a strong believer in education as evidenced by his own pursuit of knowledge. He was born in 1932, in Louisville, KY, and later moved to Mobile, AL. After high school graduation in 1949, he attended the Marion Military Institute in Alabama and then The Citadel in Charleston, SC, where in 1954 he graduated with honors as a distinguished military graduate and with a bachelor of arts degree.
Furthering his education, he enrolled in George Washington University in DC and in 1972 received a Master’s degree in International Relations and in 1972 completed the management development program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business. He also received an honorary Ph.D. from the Citadel.
Guy was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps program at The Citadel. He earned his pilot wings in November 1955, at Webb Air Force Base, TX. He then completed F-86D training at Perrin Air Force Base, TX, and in June 1956, became an Air Training Officer at the newly established U.S. Air Force Academy (then temporarily located at Lowry Air Force Base, CO).
His F-100 flying career began when he was assigned to the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station Wethersfield, England and later when assigned to the 4510th Combat Crew Training Group at Luke Air Force Base, AZ. While at Luke he served as flight commander and later as chief of the Plans, Programming and Scheduling Section, 4510th Combat Crew Training Group.
In August 1964 he was assigned to TAC, Langley Air Force Base, VA., as a staff officer in fighter operations and in 1967 he was assigned to the RAF Command and Staff College in Andover, England. After which he went to Vietnam and flew 169 combat missions with the 90th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing out of Bien Hoa Air Base and was awarded the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He completed his tour in Vietnam as executive officer to the director of the Tactical Air Control Center at 7th Air Force Headquarters.
After graduating from the National War College in 1972, Guy was assigned to Plattsburgh Air Force Base, N.Y., as the Commander of the 528th Bomb Squadron, 380th Bomb Wing, flying FB-111s. In April 1974 he became Asst. Dep. Ops of the 380th Bomb Wing and in August 1974, became Deputy Commander for operations.
In July 1975, Guy became deputy commander for maintenance until May 1976, when he took command of the 509th Bomb Wing. A 1978 promotion to Brigadier General led to being commander 45th Air Division, also at Pease Air Force Base, NH.
1978-1980 found General Hecker serving as a special assistant for M-X matters (the MX Missile Defense Systems) in the Office of the Deputy Chief Staff for Research and Development and Acquisition at Air Force Headquarters. In 1980, he was promoted to Major General and became Director of Air Force Legislative Liaison Office.
During his 27 years of service, he was awarded Legion of Merit twice, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Silver Star. On the day of his retirement, Hecker was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
After retiring from military service in October of 1982, Guy teamed with Lt Gen.(and astronaut) Tom Stafford, and Lt Gen. Kelly Burke as President of one of the most prestigious Defense consulting firms in Washington, DC. This association continued until 2010.
If that weren’t enough to keep General Hecker occupied, he gave generously of his time to organizations near and dear to him. Guy was President of the Greater Washington Area Citadel Club Alumni Association from 1980-1982 while simultaneously a member of the Presidential Advisory Council at Marion Military Institute from 1980-1984. He was awarded Alumni of the Year in from that organization in 1984. From 1978 – 2003 he served on the Advisory Committee to the Citadel Board of Visitors. He then continued on the Citadel Foundation Board of Directors from 2004-2012.
At 88 years of age Guy Hecker is still commanding a prominent place in the business world. He is energetic, vital, and shrewd and his life is a testament to a man with extraordinary insight and an engaging personality.
- 1954 Commissioned Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps program at The Citadel
- 11/1955 Pilot Training, Webb AFB, TX.
- 11/1955-5/1956 F-86D Training, Perrin AFB, TX (F-86D)
- 6/1956 Training Officer at the newly established U.S. Air Force Academy (then temporarily located at Lowry Air Force Base, CO).
- 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron/20th Tactical Fighter Wing at RAFS Wethersfield, England (F-100)
- 4510th Combat Crew Training Group at Luke Air Force Base, AZ (F-100)
- Flight commander and later as chief of the Plans, Programming and Scheduling Section, 4510th Combat Crew Training Group, Luke AFB, AZ
- 8/ 1964-1967 TAC, staff officer in fighter operations, Langley Air Force Base, VA
- 1967 RAF Command and Staff College in Andover, England
- 90th Tactical Fighter Squadron/3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam (F-100 – 169 missions)- completed his tour in Vietnam as executive officer to the director of the Tactical Air Control Center at 7th Air Force Headquarters.
- 1972 National War College
- 1972-4/1974 528th Bomb Squadron, 380th Bomb Wing, Commander, Plattsburgh AFB, NY (FB-111)
- 4/1974-8/1974 380th Bomb Wing, Asst. Dep. Ops, Plattsburgh AFB, NY
- 8/1974-7/1975 380th Bomb Wing, Deputy Commander for operations, Plattsburgh AFB, NY
- 7/1975-5/1976 380th Bomb Wing, Deputy Commander for maintenance Plattsburgh, AFB, NY
- 5/ 1976-1978 509th Bomb Wing, Commander, Pease AFB, NH
- 1978 promotion to Brigadier, Commander, 45th Air Division, Pease AFB, NH.
- 1978-1980 AF Headquarters, Special assistant for M-X matters (the MX Missile Defense Systems) in the Office of the Deputy Chief Staff for Research and Development and Acquisition at Air Force Headquarters.
- 1980 Promoted to Major General, became Director of Air Force Legislative Liaison Office
Awards & Decorations
Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal 1st Class
Military & Civilian Education
- Marion (AL) Military Institute
- 1954 BA/Air Force Officers Training Corps, The Citadel, Charleston, SC (Distinguished Military Graduate)
- 1958 Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
- 1967 Royal Air Force Command and Staff College, Andover, England
- 1972 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC
- Industrial College of the Armed Forces
- 1972 MA The George Washington University, DC
- Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business