Harold D. Reddish
Harold D. Reddish
  • January 15, 1933 - September 25, 2017
  • O Fallon, Illinois

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Harold "Hal" D. Reddish, Retired Lieutenant Colonel. 84, born January 14, 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland passed away on Monday, September 25, 2017 at Memorial Hospital East, Shiloh, Illinois. Committed to enlist in the United States Air Force (USAF) before graduation from high school in Columbus, Georgia, and entered the service on 15 June 1951. Proceeded by train to Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX for basic training. The base was so crowded that after 10 days in tents, without showers and little water, moved to Sheppard AFB, TX and opened up old WWII barracks. After 18 more days in basic, assigned to Lowry AFB, Denver, CO as a B-29 Remote Turret Systems mechanic. Finished in 3 months and promoted to corporal. Volunteered for 29 gunnery school, also at Lowry. On first day of flight training, a B-29 crashed in a Denver suburb, killing 5 crew members (what a start to my flying career)! Finished training in January, 1952, and assigned to Randolf AFB, TX to join the rest of my B-29 crew. Fortunate to be on a crew where all officers except the co-pilot had flown combat in WWII.
Promoted to Sargent in March, 1952. Finished crew training as central fire control gunner (CFC) and crew shipped to Forbes AFB, KS for combat crew training. Arrived in Kadena AB, Okinawa and began flying combat missions over North Korea with the 307th Bomb Wing (BW). Flew 31 combat missions and returned to the states in January, 1953, with crew assigned to the 308th Bomb Wing, Savannah, GA. The unit was converting to B-47 aircraft, so applied for B-36 gunner training. Was accepted and went back to Lowy AFB for training.
Finished B-36 gunnery school in 1953 and assigned to a select RB-36 crew in the 28th Strat Recon Wing at Ellsworth AFB, SD. Lots of flying hours in recon as the average mission was 32 hours without refueling. Flew some interesting missions over the north pole and off the coast of Russia. In 1954 promoted to Tech Sargent after only 40 months in the Air Force. Also got a Strategic Air Command (SAC) spot promotion to Master Sargent. Selected as one of the first B-52 gunners in the Air Force. After training at Castle AFB, assigned to Lowry AFB to set up the B-52 gunnery school. At Lowry, decided to try for Air Force Officers Candidate School OCS) and selected to attend class 58B. On graduation from OCS as a Second Lt in June, 1958, assigned as an avionics officer in a B-47/KC-97 unit (100BW) at Pease AFB, NH. Accepted regular status in January, 1959. As a First Lt was selected to be a Guidance Control Officer (GCO) on a Titan 1, Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch crew. After 4 months of training at Sheppard AFB and 3 months crew training at Vandenberg AFB, CA assigned to the 568th Strategic Missile Squadron at Larsen AFB, WA. My crew was on alert the day the Russian ship was carrying missiles to Cuba. President Kennedy had the courage to head them off. With fear and trepidation, we counted our 3 missiles down to minimum hold, awaiting launch order. For 45 minutes we did not know if WWIII was about to erupt. What a tense time in this nation's history! When the Titan 1 phased out in 1964, went to Staff Communications Officer course at Keesler AFB, MS. On completion was assigned to the First Combat Communications group at Clark AB, PI. Spent most of 1965-66 deployed to bare bases in Vietnam (Phu Cat, Danang, Pleiku, Bien Thuy, Nha Trang and 3 wonderful days at Khe Sahn) installing and operating mobile communications and NAVAIDS.
Returned to the states in 1967 and assigned as a staff communications officer in HQ Military Command at Scott AFB, IL. In 1971, attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, AL. On completion assigned as an advisor to the Vietnamese AF at Tan San Nhut AB, RVN. Was in Vietnam when the cease fire was signed January, 1973, and was on the next to last aircraft to leave with US troops in March 1973.
Returned to the states in 1973, and assigned as a staff communications officer, HQ Air Force Systems Command at Andrews AFB, MD (longest tour at one place (1973-1979). In August 1979, assigned to HQ Air Force Communications Command as Director of Plans, retiring in January, 1984 after almost 33 years in the USAF.
Since 1984 have been working with various defense contractors designing and testing software for an Automated Computer Flight Planning system for Air Mobility Command. Retired for good in 2009.
Hals Medals and Awards
Bronze Star, Air Medal w/1Oak leaf Cluster (olc), Meritorious Service Medal w/1olc, Air Force Good Conduct Medal w/1olc, Army Good Conduct Medal w/2olc, Vietnamese Honor Medal First Class, Vietnam Service Medal w/1olc. Korean Service Medal w/2olc, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Medal, Air Force Unit Citation Medal, Air Force Long Gevity Medal w/1 gold OLC, Air Force Marksmanship Medal, Korean War Presidential Medal, Sigmen Rhee Korean War Medal. Missile Crew Member Badge, Aircraft Gunners Badge, and Senior Aircrew Member Badge. Ranks Attained Private, Private First Class, Corporal, Sargent, Staff Sargent, Tech Sargent, Second Lieutenant (June 1958), First Lieutenant (1959), Captain (June 1963). Major (June 1968), Lt. Colonel (June 1974).
Hal was preceded in death by his parents, Dewey and Ada Marie, nee Cage, Reddish; father in law, Robert Schaffhauser; sister in law, Bonnie Roy and a sister and brother in law, Betty and Brody Jernigan.
Surviving is his loving and devoted wife, Judy Anne Reddish, nee Schaffhauser; step son, Robbie Schorr; sons, Jerome (Connie) Reddish, Christopher (Birgit) Reddish ,Eric (Laurel) Reddish, Andrew (Kari) Reddish, Karen (Lee) Altier and Jennifer Rechardt ; mother in law, Mary Schaffhauser; several grandchildren, and great grandchildren, also, survived by nieces, nephews and other relatives family and friends. Memorials in Mr. Reddish's memory may be made to the Millstadt Food Pantry or