Lieutenant General Robert “Bob” Springer, USAF, Retired, formerly of Pinehurst, NC, went to the Lord and eternal salvation on Thursday, August 19, 2021.
Bob was born January 17, 1933, in Millheim, PA to the late Simon Peter and Ruth McCool Springer. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Bonnie Brubaker Springer, his brother William J. Springer, five half-brothers, and one half-sister. He is survived by his sister Kathleen M. Wert, of Rebersburg, PA., and his five children, Robert D., Jr., husband of Pam Springer; Debra, wife of Dave Miller; Curtis, husband of Romaine Springer; Michele, wife of Ray Becker; Tania Springer, 11 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Bob graduated from the Patton Masonic School, Elizabethtown, PA., in 1950 and entered the Air Force in October 1952. Bob was initially a B-29 navigator. He subsequently earned his pilot wings and was a C-130 pilot. Bob served in Vietnam from 1965-66. After graduating from Air War College, Bob served as the special assistant to the Air Force Vice Chief of Staff. He went on to serve as the Vice Commander of the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing at Pope AFB, NC and then as Commander of the 435th Tactical Airlift Wing in Rhein-Main, Germany. While serving as Commander of the 322nd Airlift Wing in Ramstein, Germany, he oversaw the airlift of the embassy hostages out of Tehran, Iran in 1981. He later served as Commander of the 21st Air Force at McGuire AFB. Bob completed his Air Force career serving as the Vice Commander of the Air Force’s Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB in Illinois and retired in 1988.
After the Air Force, Bob and Bonnie made Pinehurst, North Carolina their home. Bob and Bonnie worked closely with Arnold Air Society for several years. Bob then served as the Vice Chairman of the Air Force Memorial Foundation resulting in the building and dedication of the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, VA in 2006 to honor all Air Force personnel—past, present, and future.
Bob Springer loved and treasured his family and always had a story to tell or a joke to make you laugh. Bob was dedicated to his country and proud of his service. Bob never forgot where he came from and credited his success in life to the opportunity the Masons gave him to attend the Patton School in Elizabethtown, PA which gave him the tools to gain his B.A. and M.A. from George Washington University and pursue his Air Force career. Bob was a member of the Order of the Daedalians—an organization that honors the rich heritage of military aviation as well as being an inspiration for the future of military aviation—for almost 60 years. Bob helped start the Harley H. Pope Flight of Daedalians at Pope AFB in 1977.
A funeral service and interment at Arlington National Cemetery will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, friends may honor Bob’s memory with a gift to Harley H. Pope Flight Order of Daedalians (c/o Chris Goff, 1011 No. Ellis Ave, Dunn, NC 28334).
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Rothermel-Finkenbinder Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., 25 W. Pine St., Palmyra, PA 17078. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.FinkenbinderFamily.com.