Robert W. Spielman

 


Preferred Name: Bob

Nickname/Call Sign: Spiels

Date Of Birth: June 15, 1937 (February 25, 2018)

Highest Military Grade Held: Lieutenant Colonel, O-5

Hometown: South Windsor, CT

Biography

Robert Spielman was born with a playful spirit in South Windsor, CT., the son of the late Arthur and Agnes Spielman Sr. He graduated from Ellsworth Memorial High School and Trinity College where he first experienced flying.

His “addiction” to flying was made possible by “borrowing” $7 from his mother’s wallet to fly for an hour at the local airport. Bob went on to proudly serve in the United States Air Force flying F-100 Super Sabres and then his favorite fighter, the F-105 “Thud” Thunderchief in Fukuoka, Japan where he met his lifelong love and future wife of 54 years, Debbie.

His most memorable mission in Vietnam was the bombing of the Doumer Bridge in Hanoi, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross.

From Rolling Thunder Remembered: 11 August 1967…Operation Rolling Thunder…New York Times (12 Aug reporting 11 Aug ops)…Page 1: “U.S. Bombs Bridge That Links Hanoi to China and Port of Haiphong”… “United States fighter-bombers cut the rail and highway bridge across the Red River at Hanoi today–an important link to China, the port of Haiphong and the Hanoi airport...In a special announcement the Air Force fighter-bombers, Thunderchiefs and Phantoms–knocked out a section of the span called the Paul Doumer Bridge with four direct hits. …No planes were lost although the pilots flew through intense anti-aircraft fire and surface to air missiles…the bridge is a 19-section steel structure set on piles across a mile-wide river. An island divides the waterway into two channels of which only the eastern is navigable for deepwater vessels. A section over the eastern channel was knocked out by the bombing…the pilots cut the capital off from China, Haiphong and the airport at Gia Lam. The Red River bridge was among a number of important targets that were immune to attack up to now. The list still includes the port of Haiphong, three MIG air bases, dikes, dams and number of industrial installations.1

Bob also earned the top graduate from the Nellis Air Force Fighter Weapons School.

In April of 2011, the FAA presented Bob with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying. (see video)

 

  1. Https://www.rollingthunderremembered.com/?p=6488

Units Assigned

1959-1960 Primary – Spence AB (T-34), Basic – Laredo AFB, TX (T-33)
1960-1961 Luke AFB, AZ Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
1961-1963 36th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Itazuke AB, Japan, (F-100)
1963-1965 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron Seymour Johnson AFB, SC (F-105)
1965-1968 35, 36, 80 TFS Yokota AB, Japan (F-105, F-4, they couldn’t make up their mind.)
1966 TDY 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli AB, Thailand (F-105) (Of 5 TDY pilots from Yokota, Art Mearns MIA, Vic Viscarra and Bob Keller rescued)
1967 TDY Takhli AB, Thailand (F-105)
1968-1969 434th Tactical Fighter Squadron, George AFB, CA (F-4)
1970-1985 192nd TRS Reno ANG, NV (RF-101, RF-4C)

Civilian
1969-1997 Western Airlines/Delta Air Lines

Awards & Decorations

Flight Info

T-33
T-34
F-100
F-105
F-4
RF-101
RF-4C

Military Education

1964 USC Safety School
1966 Fighter Weapons School (F-105)

Civilian Education

1955-1959 Trinity College
1964 USC

Colonel Robert W. “Bob” Spielman glided away from us on February 25, 2018. Born June 15, 1937 and known lovingly as “Spiels,” “Chukar,”  “Dad,” and “Jiji,” he left a deep imprint on the lives of everyone fortunate enough to have crossed his path.

He was an adventurous man with an infectious laugh and boundless energy.

Born with a playful spirit in South Windsor, CT., son of the late Arthur and Agnes Spielman Sr., he graduated from Ellsworth Memorial High School and Trinity College where he first experienced flying. His “addiction” to flying was made possible by “borrowing” $7 from his mother’s wallet to fly for an hour at the local airport.

Bob went on to proudly serve in the United States Air Force flying F-100 Super Sabres and then his favorite fighter, the F-105 “Thud” Thunderchief in Fukuoka, Japan where he met his lifelong love and future wife of 54 years, Debbie. His most memorable mission in Vietnam was the bombing of the Doumer Bridge in Hanoi, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also earned the top graduate from the Nellis Air Force Fighter Weapons School.

After the Air Force, Bob spent his career flying for Western Airlines, flying F-4 Phantom IIs for the Nevada Air National Guard, and finally retired from Delta Airlines in 1997. Never one to stay on the ground for long, he embarked on a 25-year journey flying gliders as a member and former club president of the Nevada Soaring Association. He shared his enthusiasm, expertise, and experience with pilots from around the country and has been recognized with the prestigious Glattly Award for his involvement in glider flying. He also broke many regional and national soaring records.

The FAA presented Bob with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying. Shortly after, at the age of 77, he can be vividly remembered floating from the sky above downtown Reno in a blue parachute after his glider’s wings snapped off, earning him yet another nickname, “Lucky Bob.”

Bob was also an avid outdoorsman, and most content chasing chukar all over Nevada. He taught his family a love of the outdoors and an endless sense of adventure. He can also be remembered wood cutting, skeet shooting, feeding wildlife, laughing out loud, and having an unbridled enthusiasm for life.

Bob’s family meant the world to him (when there were not good soaring conditions). Just last week, he looked at Debbie and remarked how beautiful she was and how truly lucky he was. He is survived by his children, Michael married to Aiden Gould and Kimi married to Mike Riter; grandchildren Evan, Kita, and Kaia; siblings Arthur Spielman Jr. and Janet Prior, and many nieces and nephews.

In Bob’s honor, donations may be made to the  Jim “ Billy Goat” Hayes Youth Soaring Scholarship Fund. Https://www.airsailing.org/fundraising2017.html (Click on the bottom “Donate” button and write “Chukar” in the “what is the donation for?” box. ) Checks can be mailed to Ty White, Treasurer ASI, 5973 Kolb Ranch Drive Pleasanton, CA  94588.

Robert Spielman receving Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award

Biography

Biography

Robert Spielman was born with a playful spirit in South Windsor, CT., the son of the late Arthur and Agnes Spielman Sr. He graduated from Ellsworth Memorial High School and Trinity College where he first experienced flying.

His “addiction” to flying was made possible by “borrowing” $7 from his mother’s wallet to fly for an hour at the local airport. Bob went on to proudly serve in the United States Air Force flying F-100 Super Sabres and then his favorite fighter, the F-105 “Thud” Thunderchief in Fukuoka, Japan where he met his lifelong love and future wife of 54 years, Debbie.

His most memorable mission in Vietnam was the bombing of the Doumer Bridge in Hanoi, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross.

From Rolling Thunder Remembered: 11 August 1967…Operation Rolling Thunder…New York Times (12 Aug reporting 11 Aug ops)…Page 1: “U.S. Bombs Bridge That Links Hanoi to China and Port of Haiphong”… “United States fighter-bombers cut the rail and highway bridge across the Red River at Hanoi today–an important link to China, the port of Haiphong and the Hanoi airport...In a special announcement the Air Force fighter-bombers, Thunderchiefs and Phantoms–knocked out a section of the span called the Paul Doumer Bridge with four direct hits. …No planes were lost although the pilots flew through intense anti-aircraft fire and surface to air missiles…the bridge is a 19-section steel structure set on piles across a mile-wide river. An island divides the waterway into two channels of which only the eastern is navigable for deepwater vessels. A section over the eastern channel was knocked out by the bombing…the pilots cut the capital off from China, Haiphong and the airport at Gia Lam. The Red River bridge was among a number of important targets that were immune to attack up to now. The list still includes the port of Haiphong, three MIG air bases, dikes, dams and number of industrial installations.1

Bob also earned the top graduate from the Nellis Air Force Fighter Weapons School.

In April of 2011, the FAA presented Bob with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying. (see video)

 

  1. Https://www.rollingthunderremembered.com/?p=6488
Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

1959-1960 Primary – Spence AB (T-34), Basic – Laredo AFB, TX (T-33)
1960-1961 Luke AFB, AZ Nellis AFB, NV (F-100)
1961-1963 36th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Itazuke AB, Japan, (F-100)
1963-1965 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron Seymour Johnson AFB, SC (F-105)
1965-1968 35, 36, 80 TFS Yokota AB, Japan (F-105, F-4, they couldn’t make up their mind.)
1966 TDY 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli AB, Thailand (F-105) (Of 5 TDY pilots from Yokota, Art Mearns MIA, Vic Viscarra and Bob Keller rescued)
1967 TDY Takhli AB, Thailand (F-105)
1968-1969 434th Tactical Fighter Squadron, George AFB, CA (F-4)
1970-1985 192nd TRS Reno ANG, NV (RF-101, RF-4C)

Civilian
1969-1997 Western Airlines/Delta Air Lines

Awards & Decorations

Flight Info

T-33
T-34
F-100
F-105
F-4
RF-101
RF-4C

Military Education

1964 USC Safety School
1966 Fighter Weapons School (F-105)

Civilian Education

1955-1959 Trinity College
1964 USC

Headed West

Colonel Robert W. “Bob” Spielman glided away from us on February 25, 2018. Born June 15, 1937 and known lovingly as “Spiels,” “Chukar,”  “Dad,” and “Jiji,” he left a deep imprint on the lives of everyone fortunate enough to have crossed his path.

He was an adventurous man with an infectious laugh and boundless energy.

Born with a playful spirit in South Windsor, CT., son of the late Arthur and Agnes Spielman Sr., he graduated from Ellsworth Memorial High School and Trinity College where he first experienced flying. His “addiction” to flying was made possible by “borrowing” $7 from his mother’s wallet to fly for an hour at the local airport.

Bob went on to proudly serve in the United States Air Force flying F-100 Super Sabres and then his favorite fighter, the F-105 “Thud” Thunderchief in Fukuoka, Japan where he met his lifelong love and future wife of 54 years, Debbie. His most memorable mission in Vietnam was the bombing of the Doumer Bridge in Hanoi, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also earned the top graduate from the Nellis Air Force Fighter Weapons School.

After the Air Force, Bob spent his career flying for Western Airlines, flying F-4 Phantom IIs for the Nevada Air National Guard, and finally retired from Delta Airlines in 1997. Never one to stay on the ground for long, he embarked on a 25-year journey flying gliders as a member and former club president of the Nevada Soaring Association. He shared his enthusiasm, expertise, and experience with pilots from around the country and has been recognized with the prestigious Glattly Award for his involvement in glider flying. He also broke many regional and national soaring records.

The FAA presented Bob with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying. Shortly after, at the age of 77, he can be vividly remembered floating from the sky above downtown Reno in a blue parachute after his glider’s wings snapped off, earning him yet another nickname, “Lucky Bob.”

Bob was also an avid outdoorsman, and most content chasing chukar all over Nevada. He taught his family a love of the outdoors and an endless sense of adventure. He can also be remembered wood cutting, skeet shooting, feeding wildlife, laughing out loud, and having an unbridled enthusiasm for life.

Bob’s family meant the world to him (when there were not good soaring conditions). Just last week, he looked at Debbie and remarked how beautiful she was and how truly lucky he was. He is survived by his children, Michael married to Aiden Gould and Kimi married to Mike Riter; grandchildren Evan, Kita, and Kaia; siblings Arthur Spielman Jr. and Janet Prior, and many nieces and nephews.

In Bob’s honor, donations may be made to the  Jim “ Billy Goat” Hayes Youth Soaring Scholarship Fund. Https://www.airsailing.org/fundraising2017.html (Click on the bottom “Donate” button and write “Chukar” in the “what is the donation for?” box. ) Checks can be mailed to Ty White, Treasurer ASI, 5973 Kolb Ranch Drive Pleasanton, CA  94588.

Photos
Video

Robert Spielman receving Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award