Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Dick's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

Hackford1.jpg The Class of 1964 has lost a good friend and loyal comrade. Colonel (Ret) Richard H. Hackford, Jr. died February 16, 2010 after a short illness. Dick was born in Colorado City, Texas, into a military family, and grew up on military bases around the world, graduating from Wiesbaden High School in Germany.

Luckily for us, Dick became a member of ‘64 and we got to know his spontaneous humor and optimistic outlook. After graduating from USAFA in 1964, he went to pilot training, followed by Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, NV. In 1966, he went to Korat AB, Thailand, where he flew 112 missions with the 469' Tactical Fighter Squadron over the North in F-105s. Thirty-six missions were as a Wild Weasel pilot (finding and attacking Surface-to-Air Missile sites). Dick always said he was shot down because he was an “extra” plane, flying behind the others to take gun-camera pictures of the others making their attacks. He claimed that as he bailed out over Laos, his last radio transmission was, “There goes your pictures!” Dick spent the night hiding in a bamboo grove before being rescued and then returned to CONUS as an instructor pilot. Unfortunately, injuries sustained when he was shot down soon got him grounded, so he moved into non-flying duties.

He served at the Air Force Missile Development Center, the Air Force Avionics Laboratory, the A-10 SPO, as an Exchange Officer with the Royal Australian Air Force, Headquarters AFSC, and Research, Development and Acquisition at the Pentagon. He retired as Deputy Chief of Staff for Acquisition Logistics at Electronic Systems Division, Hansom AFB, Mass. after 26 years of service.

In the early 1970s at AFIT, Dick and I were in the same Master's Degree program and worked our thesis projects for the same advisor. Suddenly in the middle of the afternoon, Dick would stand up and say, “Come on, Hovde, it's time to run!” — and off we'd go to the gym. As we ran around Wright Field, Dick would expound upon whatever crossed his mind - usually about what we needed to do to be able to finish our theses in time.

Later, when we were stationed at the Pentagon, we got promoted to Colonel the same day. As we went out to celebrate, Dick looked at me very seriously and said, “Hovde. You know why the Air Force kept us around and promoted us on-time each grade? [pause] It's so they could tell how fast some of our other classmates had been promoted!”

In our last assignment together at Hanscom AFB, the Hackfords lived next door on Freedom Circle. We had snow early that year, and Dick was worried about how much work it was going to be to shovel it — so he bought Becky a snowblower! (Which I borrowed regularly!) Dick's wife, Becky, passed away a few years ago and he later married Marlene. Daughter Romany, son Richard, wife, Marlene, and all of ‘64 will miss you Dick!

(Bob Hovde, Class of 1964, Checkpoints, June 2010)
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