Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Roger's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

HeadSm.jpg Colonel Roger C. Head, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, died of cancer in Albuquerque, NM on 2 October 1994.

Amid the joy and celebration of the Class of 1964's 30th reunion, sad and painful news reached many who attended the event. Our friend and classmate Roger Head died after a short but fierce bout with cancer. The sorrow and pain surrounding Roger's tragic death is made all the more devastating since he had eagerly anticipated being with all of his classmates those few days in October. Those of us who knew Roger as 10th Squadron cadets and fellow officers and friends will agree the one thing that impressed us most about him was his true sense of comradeship and devotion to his fellow man. Roger was above all a person who cared about and respected others not only in word but in deed. In fact he was meticulous about avoiding condemnation of others and staying in touch with those he called friends.

Roger's many achievements began at USAFA where he was an outstanding student and varsity basketball player. Prior to his retirement in 1990 as a colonel after 26 and a half years service, he served in combat in Vietnam, flew as a test pilot at Edwards AFB, CA after completing his master's program at Purdue, commanded the Test Group at Holloman AFB, NM and was vice commander of the Phillips Laboratories at Kirtland AFB, NM.

After retiring, Roger taught math and coached basketball and football at the high school in Ruidoso, NM. At the time of his death he was working as a project engineer at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque.

Roger had two sons, Keith and Greg, from his first marriage. In addition, he was a dedicated father to the four children (Chris, Paige, Lauren and Ashley) of Jane, his lovely and devoted wife for the last 17 years of his life. For Roger, his family was always a source of pride as well as focus of his love and support. He was dependable and supportive of all their endeavors. All this was also true of his relationship with his mom and dad, Ralph and Frances, and brother Steve.

Most who knew Roger as a career officer and pilot can attest better than I to his outstanding level of professionalism and flying skill. The Air Force's investment in his education and training paid superb dividends in every way. He brought to the test pilot role a perfect mix of engineering training and flying talent. Beyond his Air Force career, however, Roger's sense of dedication to all his endeavors was always evident. He spent many long hours cramped in school buses traveling with often-unappreciative teenagers to the four distant corners of New Mexico to coach basketball. He volunteered without pay to teach Indian kids math during his free time. In spite of low pay and administrative “red tape,” he won the respect of students and fellow teachers for his initiative and selflessness.

I visited Roger two days before he died. Although he was in excruciating pain both physical and mental, faced as he was with the cruel fate he didn't deserve, he could still reach out to me and call me his friend. We'll never know another person like Roger Head. He gave so much and asked for little in return. His ever-present smile and true generosity warmed his many, many friendships. We love you, Roger. We'll never forget you.

(Angelo Cappuccio, ‘64, Gone But Not Forgotten, Checkpoints, Fall 1994)
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