Carl G. Schneider, Major General, USAF, (Ret) died unexpectedly in Williamson County, Tennessee, on April 20, 2023, at age 95. Born in Ralls, Texas, on March 6, 1928, to the late Carl Schneider and Laura Kerlin Schneider, he grew up during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, during which time he decided to become a pilot. Raised on a farm, he and his brother Clyde, decided that flying would be much more comfortable than picking cotton.
Carl joined the Army Air Corps in September 1946. Following basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, he entered aviation cadet training in 1947, completed advance training at Williams AFB in Chandler, Arizona, and was promoted to second lieutenant.
He spent most of his 32 years in the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot. Flying more than 30 types of aircraft, he logged over 3,000 hours in combat flying with more than a total of 5,000 hours in jet fighters. This record qualified him as a command pilot, an honor given to astronauts. He graduated from Williams AFB, flying the P-51.
During the Korean War (1950-1951), he flew 100 combat missions in the F-80. He was Ops officer of the 22nd Fighter Squadron at Bitburg AFB, Germany, flying F-100s from 1957 to 1959. He returned to Korea in the early 1970s as the Vice Commander of Air Forces Korea.
In 1962 and 1963, he established the Air Liaison Officer/Forward Air Controller system in Vietnam, flew combat missions with the Vietnamese Air Force, went on ground missions with the Vietnamese Army, and helped the U.S. Special Forces teams along the Cambodian and Laotion borders. Later in the war he flew the F-4 Phantom.
He is a graduate of the Squadron Officer’s School, USAF Fighter Weapons School, U.S. Marine Corps Staff College, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and the Air War College. He served in many jet fighter units and was Commander Ops when George W. Bush was a student at Moody AFB in Valdosta, Georgia. He served as Logistics Center Commander at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and later on was Wing Commander at Moody AFB. He earned his undergraduate degree in business management from Arizona State University and received a master’s degree in international relations from George Washington University. Additionally, he took a course in Air Power and Air Warfare at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England.
His awards and decorations include the following: The Distinguished Service Medal, The Legion of Merit with One (1) Oak Leaf Cluster, The Distinguished Flying Cross with One (1) Oak Leaf Cluster, The Meritorious Service Medal, The Air Medal with Six (6) Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Additionally, he was a member of the following organizations: Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame, Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame, Commemorative Air Force Museum’s Walk of Honor, Military Officers Association of America, Quiet Birdman Society, Super Sabre Society, Daedalians, Arizona Aviation Historical Society, and Arizona State University College of Business Hall of Fame.
Upon retirement from the Air Force, he pursued a successful career as a business executive in the Phoenix area.
In his later years he moved to Thompsons Station, Tennessee, where he was involved in several veteran’s programs, particularly at colleges and universities.
General Schneider was a kind, generous man who made friends easily and devoted his life to serving others.
He is the author of two books, the first if which was Little House on the High Plains, the story of growing up in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.
His second book, Jet Pioneer: A Fighter Pilot’s Memoir, is about his military service.
General Schneider was preceded in death by his late wife, Elaine, and sisters Joyce Winn and Grace Winn. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Carole Woods Schneider; son, Robert Schneider; daughter, Debi Furches (Eric); grandson, Cory Furches; granddaughter, Lindsay Stuart (Ian); stepdaughter, Laura McLeod; as well as his brothers, Clyde Schneider (Martha) and Dr. Finis Schneider (Eunice); sister, JoAnn Lamb; many wonderful nieces and nephews; and close family friends, the Eliasons and Wares.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Vietnam Veterans of America (Chapter 240), Delta Sigma Pi, or the Joe Foss Institute at Arizona State University.
A memorial service will be held at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home in Franklin, Tennessee, on Monday, June 5, at 10:00a.m. (CMT)