Robert Fanthorpe


 

Preferred Name: Robert

Nickname/Call Sign: Fanjet

Date of Birth: December 16, 1942

Highest Military Grade Held: Major O-4

Hometown: Kankakee, IL

Biography

I entered USAF Pilot Training via the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Illinois. At the time, I had no understanding or knowledge of the different types of aircraft and associated flying; I only knew I wanted to fly. By the end of the year of pilot training, I had become excited about flying fighter aircraft, and received my first choice of assignments flying the F-100 Super Sabre. It was a real thrill to fly low and fast and learn all the various ways to hurl myself at the ground at 500 knots delivering ordinance on a target. I flew about 1500 hours in the F-100D, including 310 combat sorties in Vietnam. After Vietnam, I was a T-38 Instructor Pilot for four years until the “Rated Supplement” program was launched, drastically reducing the number of Air Force flying jobs. I was then trained in Air Traffic Control, and served the rest of my career flying desks with many telephones.

Following my USAF retirement in March ’86, I flew a United Express EMB120 “Bandit” out of Fresno, Ca. for 9 months in ’87 until hired by Continental Airlines in January ’88. There I flew Second Officer B-727, First Officer and Captain B-737, all models. While based in Newark, NJ, I have vivid, unforgettable memories of watching 911 unfold in New York City, from my Newark crash-pad hotel room window. I especially enjoyed my last 6 months flying Continental’s “Island Hopper” between Guam and Honolulu, until I was forced to retire 6 months early due to a bout with cancer in 2002. The cancer was successfully removed, and has not returned, but it was too late for me to get back into the front seat of an airliner. So I learned to enjoy my second retirement, and re-discovered the great game of golf while living the good Sun City lifestyle in Las Vegas. My wife of 47 years, Diane, and I also love taking cruises. After living in the desert for 33 years, in 2016, we moved closer to two of our three daughters who live in the Atlanta area.

Units Assigned

  • 1965-1966 UPT, Vance AFB, OK (T37, T38)
  • 1966 4514th Combat Crew Training Squadron, Luke AFB, AZ (F100)
  • 1966-1968 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Myrtle Beach AFB, SC (F100)
  • 1968-1970 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Tuy Hoa AB/ HQ7AF, Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam (F100)
  • 1970-1974 3651st PTS/14th Fighter Training Wing , Columbus AFB, MS, (T-38 IP)
  • 1974-1976 Air Traffic Control Training, Castle AFB, CA
  • 1976-1978 2154th CS, Whiteman AFB, MO
  • 1978-1981 HQ AFCC, Scott AFB, IL (T-39)
  • 1981-1983 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Clark AB, Philippines (T-33)
  • 1983-1986 355th Tactical Training Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Awards & Decorations

 Distinguished Flying Cross
 Bronze Star Medal (with 1 device)
 Air Medal (with 14 devices)
 AF Commendation Medal (with 1 device)
 Vietnam Service Medal
 AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon (with 4 devices)
 Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class
Republic of Vietnam Air Service Medal
Command Pilot Badge
Air Traffic Controller Badge

Flight Info

T-37
T-38
F-100
T-39
T-33

1500 hrs. in the F-100 with 310 Combat Sorties over 28 months in Vietnam.

Wall of Honor Location: Foil: 10 Panel: 2 Column: 4 Line: 74
Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend
Dedicated Panel: F100 Super Sabre Society

Military Education

  • Pilot Training
  • Basic, Sea, Jungle, Survival School
  • USAF Fly Safe Officer School
  • USC
  • SOS
  • Air Traffic Control
  • ACSC

Civilian Education

  • BS Psychology, University of Illinois
  • MS Aviation Safety, Central Missouri State University
Biography

Biography

I entered USAF Pilot Training via the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Illinois. At the time, I had no understanding or knowledge of the different types of aircraft and associated flying; I only knew I wanted to fly. By the end of the year of pilot training, I had become excited about flying fighter aircraft, and received my first choice of assignments flying the F-100 Super Sabre. It was a real thrill to fly low and fast and learn all the various ways to hurl myself at the ground at 500 knots delivering ordinance on a target. I flew about 1500 hours in the F-100D, including 310 combat sorties in Vietnam. After Vietnam, I was a T-38 Instructor Pilot for four years until the “Rated Supplement” program was launched, drastically reducing the number of Air Force flying jobs. I was then trained in Air Traffic Control, and served the rest of my career flying desks with many telephones.

Following my USAF retirement in March ’86, I flew a United Express EMB120 “Bandit” out of Fresno, Ca. for 9 months in ’87 until hired by Continental Airlines in January ’88. There I flew Second Officer B-727, First Officer and Captain B-737, all models. While based in Newark, NJ, I have vivid, unforgettable memories of watching 911 unfold in New York City, from my Newark crash-pad hotel room window. I especially enjoyed my last 6 months flying Continental’s “Island Hopper” between Guam and Honolulu, until I was forced to retire 6 months early due to a bout with cancer in 2002. The cancer was successfully removed, and has not returned, but it was too late for me to get back into the front seat of an airliner. So I learned to enjoy my second retirement, and re-discovered the great game of golf while living the good Sun City lifestyle in Las Vegas. My wife of 47 years, Diane, and I also love taking cruises. After living in the desert for 33 years, in 2016, we moved closer to two of our three daughters who live in the Atlanta area.

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 1965-1966 UPT, Vance AFB, OK (T37, T38)
  • 1966 4514th Combat Crew Training Squadron, Luke AFB, AZ (F100)
  • 1966-1968 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Myrtle Beach AFB, SC (F100)
  • 1968-1970 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Tuy Hoa AB/ HQ7AF, Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam (F100)
  • 1970-1974 3651st PTS/14th Fighter Training Wing , Columbus AFB, MS, (T-38 IP)
  • 1974-1976 Air Traffic Control Training, Castle AFB, CA
  • 1976-1978 2154th CS, Whiteman AFB, MO
  • 1978-1981 HQ AFCC, Scott AFB, IL (T-39)
  • 1981-1983 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Clark AB, Philippines (T-33)
  • 1983-1986 355th Tactical Training Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ

Awards & Decorations

 Distinguished Flying Cross
 Bronze Star Medal (with 1 device)
 Air Medal (with 14 devices)
 AF Commendation Medal (with 1 device)
 Vietnam Service Medal
 AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon (with 4 devices)
 Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class
Republic of Vietnam Air Service Medal
Command Pilot Badge
Air Traffic Controller Badge

Flight Info

T-37
T-38
F-100
T-39
T-33

1500 hrs. in the F-100 with 310 Combat Sorties over 28 months in Vietnam.

Wall of Honor Location: Foil: 10 Panel: 2 Column: 4 Line: 74
Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend
Dedicated Panel: F100 Super Sabre Society

Military Education

  • Pilot Training
  • Basic, Sea, Jungle, Survival School
  • USAF Fly Safe Officer School
  • USC
  • SOS
  • Air Traffic Control
  • ACSC

Civilian Education

  • BS Psychology, University of Illinois
  • MS Aviation Safety, Central Missouri State University