28 February 1941 – The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) proposal for a “day fighter”, the F-84 first flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948
Robert C. Konopka
After attending flight school and receiving his commission, Bob was assigned to a B-52H crew during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Five years later he graduated at the top of his pilot training class and was thrilled to fly the F-100 with the 615TFS at Phan Rang. Bob was far from home on his first combat tour during the 1968 TET offensive and later as Misty 70 in North Vietnam while his wife Sally watched over their children: Kathy, Kim, Rob, and Jeff. Bob then flew F-100s and F-4Es with the 613th TFS and volunteered to fly a second combat tour in F-105G Wild Weasels in Thailand. He later transitioned to the F-16 with classmate Col Ron Fogleman (later Air Force Chief).
Bob is a Graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, served in the Air Force Fighter Division (near the purple water fountain) and later as a Division Chief in the Pentagon.
His last job before retiring from the USAF was Vice Commander of the 474th TFW under USAF Thunderbird solo pilot Mike Kerby.
Bob’s awards include the Silver Star for Heroism 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 12 Air Medals
After retiring from the USAF, Bob and Sally enjoyed their life in sunny California while he worked for Ford Aerospace Lockheed Martin, and Viasat until his civilian retirement. Bob was married to Sally for 57 years and is the grandfather of 13.