Col. Glenn L. Nordin was born on a farm near Siren, Wisconsin on the 18th of November, 1929, the youngest of eight children. He graduated from Siren High School in 1947 and worked for one year before attending Wisconsin State University. The three most important things in his life happened at Wisconsin State University. First, he was in the first class of Air Force ROTC, which resulted in his being commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, and that commission shaped his entire career and subsequent retirement. Second, he received his B.S. which proved to be the entry level for a subsequent Master’s Degree from the University of Texas, multiple Air Force schools, and an assignment as a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And most importantly, he met his beloved wife, Mary Jeannine Anderson, whom he married on 26 November, 1955.
2nd Lt Nordin entered Active Duty August, 1952 and began Pilot Training with Class 53 G. Hepatitis A caused him to slip back to Class 54 B, receiving his cherished Silver Pilot wings January 1954. He went to gunnery training at Nellis AFB, NV flying F-80s and F-86s. It was here he discovered he was truly a fighter pilot with of love of flying that endured for the rest of his life. His first and favorite assignment was to the 44th Fighter Bomber Squadron, Clark AB, Philippine Islands. It was a fighter pilot’s paradise with access to gunnery ranges every day.
Upon completion of that assignment, he was next assigned to the 1738th Ferrying Squadron, Kelly AFB, TX delivering airplanes all over the world. Far more importantly, he married his wife while on that assignment and their first daughter, Glenda Ann was born.
Next came an assignment to a Fighter Day Squadron at George AFB, CA flying F-100Ds. It was there that daughter, Mary Beth was born.
His assignment to George was cut short by an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to the University of Texas, Austin where he earned a Master’s degree in Government/Foreign Relations. That was followed by an assignment to the 12th TFS, 18th TFW Kadena AB, Okinawa where he commanded the ATF Kilo. Their son, Carl Fred was born at Camp Kue Army Hospital, Okinawa.
This was followed by an assignment to the Air Force Academy as Air Officer Commanding of Cadet Squadron 12. Three years later, it was off to the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA. Daughter Kirsten Linnae was born at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
He won another fight with the personnel folks and was assigned F-4 RTU at MacDill AFB, FL with a follow-on assignment to the 366th TFW, 480th TFS, Danang AB, Viet Nam as Flight Commander. He completed 169 Combat Missions, 106 over North Viet Nam. He was shot down while on a mission and miraculously rescued by a very brave US Army Huey gunship pilot, Jim White.
After his combat tour, he was off to HQ USAFE, Germany where he led the Fighter Branch. His tour in Germany was cut short by an assignment to Torrejon AB, Spain as Commander, 613th TFS, 401st TFW, flying brand new, straight from the factory F-4 Es. With a surprise promotion to Colonel after only 15 months as a Lieutenant Colonel, he was called up to 16th AF HQ to plan and stand up the first Consolidated Command Post in the Air Force, bringing USAFE, MAC, SAC, and AFCC Command Posts into one Consolidated Command Post.
Next, Col. Nordin was sent as a Research Associate to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by an assignment to the Pentagon in USAF Plans. After 23 months, he was selected by General Galligan to be Chief of Staff, Fifth Air Force Japan. Only three months later, he was chosen by CINC, PACAF to form and stand up the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan AB, Korea. After successfully passing two ORIs in eight months, his wing was named best wing in PACAF by the CINC.
After completion of his tour as Commander of the 51st Fighter Wing, it was back to 5th AF, Yokota AB, Japan as Vice Commander under Generals Galligan and Loving, successively.
Col. Nordin completed 30 years, 4 months, and 3 days of active duty at Randolph AFB, MPC as Director of MPCA, followed by a final assignment at Lackland AFB with the Air Force Physical Evaluation Board. He was very proud of the fact he flew fighter aircraft for 26 years. Among his US awards and decorations are Legion of Merit w 2 OLC, Distinguished Flying Cross w 2 OLC, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal w 12 OLC, Air Force Commendation Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award w Combat V and 2 OLC, and 14 lesser awards. His 7 foreign awards are highlighted by the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure, the highest award the Japanese government bestows upon a foreigner.
Col. Nordin retired in San Antonio, TX in 1982 and subsequently was associated with Falcon Financial Corporation, starting as an Assistant Underwriter, rising to become President before he retired again. His retirement proved to be short-lived as two contractors with whom he had worked at Falcon talked him into becoming general manager of two 120-unit motels. Upon getting them opened and operating in the black, he retired, but again, temporarily. His final job was Editor of the Daedalus Flyer, the official magazine of the Order of the Daedalians. Seven years later, he retired permanently at the age of 65.
During his post Air Force life, he served on many boards and councils, chief among them, President of the F-86 Sabre Pilots organization. He was a lifetime member of the Air Force Association, Order of Daedalians, F-86 Sabre Pilots organization, and the Air Force Academy Athletic Association.
Glenn and Mary enjoyed 13 years of travel in their 5th wheel and spending summers at their home on beautiful Silver Lake, part of the Nordin family farm in Siren, WI. They especially loved having their family visit and enjoy the lake. Glenn was a committed, lifelong Lutheran and always described Church as the highlight of his week. He was also a passionate sports fan who was very proud of being a Green Bay Packer stockholder.
While being proud of his service to his country, Glenn held his family closest to his heart. He is preceded in death by his parents, 7 siblings, and daughter, Mary Beth. He is survived by his beloved wife, Mary, daughter Glenda and her husband Stan, son-in-law, Erik, son Carl and his wife Maria, daughter Kirsten and her husband Phil. In addition, he leaves ten grandchildren, their spouses, and eleven great-grandchildren. He was very proud of his family and loved them dearly.
A Memorial Service [was] held at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Universal City, TX on Thursday, 11/9 at 11:30… Internment Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, followed by a reception at the Army Residence Community at 3:00.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of a donation to the Air Force Aid Society.”
Video for Col. Glenn Nordin: https://ddgfqeo643onm.cloudfront.net/cmi/8/3/6/5/11495638/s_182811.mp4