Long-time simulator instructor Lt. Cmdr. Robert “Bob” Fischer was inducted into Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville’s Hall of Heroes by Capt. Thomas Korsmo in a brief ceremony Nov. 9.

Bob’s widow, Janice, and more than two dozen friends and family members were on hand for the induction. 

“Lt. Cmdr. Fischer left an indelible mark on naval aviation both as a combat tested pilot and through his many years of service here in Kingsville as a simulator instructor,” Korsmo said. 

“He helped train hundreds of student aviators for service in the fleet and in doing so, ensured our Navy was ready to protect America and her interests.”

The hall recognizes naval aviators who made a substantive contribution to naval aviation while serving aboard the air station. More than 90 Navy and Marine Corps aviators have been honored with induction since the hall was dedicated in January. 

Fischer entered the Naval Service on August 4, 1954 at NAS Oakland, California, as a naval aviation cadet. He earned his commission and was designated a naval aviator in March 1956.

His first assignment was with Air Development Squadron 5 in China Lake, California where he was assigned as project pilot for cruise control in the AD, F3, F9 and A4 aircraft, and as an instructor pilot in the T-33 and C-45. 

Following a tour of duty at NAS Moffett Field, California, with Attack Squadron (VA) 125, he deployed to the Western Pacific with VA-195 aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31). 

In October 1960 he reported to Training Squadron (VT) 21 at NAS Kingsville as a flight instructor in the F-4. He augmented into the regular Navy and amassed more than 900 instructional flight hours in just over 24 months.

Fischer transferred to the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School in Monterrey, California, in February 1963, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations.

He reported back to VA-125 in March 1965 for refresher training in the A4-E before deploying with VA-212 for combat cruises aboard USS Hancock (CVA 19) and USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31). 

He flew 152 combat missions over Vietnam and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, 13 Air Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals (with Combat V), The Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (with Gold Star), and the Gallantry Cross (with Palm). 

While with Attack Squadron 212, Fischer also performed duties as the aircraft maintenance officer and was subsequently assigned to Air Group 21 Detachment at NAS Cubi Point in the Philippines, where he was responsible for the repair of battle-damaged aircraft.

Following that assignment, Fischer was ordered to Naval Air Technical Training Center Lakehurst, New Jersey, where he completed the catapult and arresting gear course before joining the pre-commissioning unit of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA 62) as the assistant officer in charge of the Balance Crew. 

In that capacity, he was responsible for the training of 2,100 officer and enlisted personnel prior to their reporting to the ship. 

As a result of this training, the ship was fully capable of deployment 45 days after commissioning, a process that normally takes six months.

Fischer returned to NAS Kingsville in August 1970 for an assignment with VT-23, where he served until his retirement from the Navy on June 29, 1976. 

He spent the next 29 years serving as a civilian flight instructor at NAS Kingsville’s Ground Training Center. 

Lt. Cmdr. Fischer passed away Nov. 27, 2014.

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