RG Head began flying when he was 15 and writing about aviation since high school. He got his private pilot’s license at 17 and entered the United States Air Force Academy with the second class in 1956. Graduating in 1960 he finished first in his pilot training class and was awarded the Commander’s Trophy. In 1962 he won the Top Gun award at Advanced Gunnery Training flying F-100s. His first operational assignment was with the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, where he participated in deployments to Japan, Korea and Turkey.
Volunteering for Vietnam he entered A-1 Skyraider training in 1964 and was assigned to the 602d Air Commando Squadron, Vietnam. He flew 325 combat missions over North and South Vietnam, winning the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Returning to the United States he made numerous public presentations on aviation and became an Instructor Pilot in the F-4 Phantom II before being assigned to graduate school at Syracuse University. In 1969 he completed his Master’s degree and PhD in Political Science. He taught International Relations and Defense Policy at the Air Force Academy from 1970 to 1973 and edited a major textbook, American Defense Policy, 3d. ed. He was reassigned to flying as an Operations Officer in Thailand and Squadron Commander of the 90th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which descended from the 90th Aero Squadron, in World War I.
General Head was a distinguished graduate of the National War College in 1977, where he wrote a book with Robert MacFarlane. Crisis Resolution: Presidential Decisionmaking in the Mayaguez and Korean Tree Confrontations. The following year he was a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, and authored an article in Foreign Affairs magazine.
In 1978 he was the Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, following which he joined the Joint Staff, where, as the Special Assistant to the Director he managed the agenda for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and attended approximately 1,000 JCS meetings. Selected for Brigadier General in 1983 he served as the Deputy Commander, Fifth Allied Tactical Air Force, Vicenza, Italy. He retired in 1987 with 27 years of service and 3,000 hours flying time.
The following 20 years was as an environmental engineer and Vice President of SRS Technologies. In this capacity he wrote extensively and provided consulting engineering services to US Space Command, Army Space Command and the U.S. Navy where he won two $100 million contracts for environmental planning for the Navy’s Pacific and Atlantic Commands.
In his retired life he builds dollhouses for his granddaughters and large, scale model aircraft. His five-foot Fokker Dr. I hangs in the Coronado Library, and his six-foot Albatros D. II is in the San Diego Air & Space Museum. He is building an eight-foot Hawker Hurricane for SDASM. He was selected as Coronado’s Man of the Year for 1914 and has a national platform with the 15,000 USAF Academy graduates, Daedalians, Red River Rats, Super Sabre Society, National War College Association, Naval Institute and social media presence on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. He and his wife travel extensively in Germany and the UK, where they attend classes at Oxford University. He has published articles in World War I Aero, Air Force Magazine, USAFA Checkpoints and letters to the editor of Cross & Cockade and Air Force Magazine. He is an experienced public speaker.
He is the author of Oswald Boelcke: Germany’s First Ace and Father of Air Combat (Grub Street Publishers: London, 2016).
25-year old German aviator Oswald Boelcke, a 40-victory ace and squadron commander of the 2d German fighter squadron was so famous among the English enemy pilots that when he died in 1916, the British flew over his funeral and dropped a wreath of flowers, with the letter, “To the Officers of the German Air Corps. In Commemoration of Captain Boelcke, our Brave and Chivalrous opponent.” “From the English Air Corps”
He is also the author of the timeline of World War I Aviation Events that can be seen at national WW1 Centennial Committee’s website. http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/educate/history/wwi-aviation-history-timeline.html
Awards and Decorations:
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Expeditionary Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with two Battle Stars
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry
Presidential Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Overseas Service Ribbon – Long Tour
Overseas Service Ribbon – Short Tour
Air Force Longevity Ribbon
Air Force Marksmanship Ribbon
Banner of Heroes, Coronado, California
Citizen of the Year, 2014, Coronado, California
Staff Commodore, Coronado Cays Yacht Club, 2013-2015
Commodore, Coronado Cays Yacht Club, 2012
Modeler and Volunteer, San Diego Air & Space Museum, Currently
Volunteer of the Year, San Diego Opera, 2008
Vice President, SRS Technologies, 1987-2007
Naval Air Force,Commander Pacific Fleet, Commander Atlantic Fleet, Naval Special Warfare Command, Naval Special Warfare Group ONE, Naval Region Southwest, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Air Force CHECKMATE
Outstanding Young Men of America, 1969, 1970
Outstanding Athletic Graduate, Wrestling, USAF Athletic Department
PhD, Political Science, Syracuse University, 1970
MPA, Public Administration, Syracuse University, 1969
B.S., Engineering Science, United States Air Force Academy, 1960
Distinguished Graduate, National War College, 1977
Top Gun, Advanced Fighter Training, Nellis AFB, 1962
Distinguished Graduate, Undergraduate Pilot Training, 1961