Baird, Robert Abner, Maj

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1966-1966, 1321P, 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing
Service Years
1942 - 1966
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

48 kb

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Sgt. D.L. Kimbrow (Skip) to remember Baird, Robert Abner, Maj.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Otis AFB, Massachusetts

Date of Passing
Nov 11, 1966
Location of Interment
Orem City Cemetery - Orem, Utah
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Line of Duty

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of Duty
  1966, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
PROFILE INCOMPLETE: Details of service in WWII, Korea and subsequent needed.

Major Robert Baird entered the Army Air Corps on 16 May 1942.  He had attended both Utah State and Brigham Young  prior to his enlistment. During WWII, he served as a transport plane pilot over "The Hump" in the China-Burma-Inda Theater, serving overseas from 23 August 1945 until 25 January 1946. He left the service 3 April 1946. 

He  returned to active duty during the Korea War, remaing active until his death in 1966..

In 1966, He was the aircraft commander on EC-121H "Constellation" (#55-5262) based at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts, flying radar operations between Labrador and Bermuda.  At that time, he was serving with the 961st Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron, 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing.

On 11 November 1966, he and 18 crew were killed in the crash of the aircraft 125 miles off Nantucket, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The aircraft was lost 40 minutes after takeoff, possibly due to engine problems. It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, as it was seen by fishing craft, ditching and then exploding leaving "only a widening oil slick and a few bits of floating debris marked the spot of the crash. Recovered were pieces of aircraft skin and insulation, a seat with a cushion, and three empty life preservers. Air Force officials identified them as from the missing plane."

Those lost:

961st Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron:
Major Robert A. Baird (Aircraft Commander)
1st Lt. Richard E. Hoppe
1st Lt. Larry D. Rucker
1st Lt. Edward W. Taylor
MSgt. Armand H. DiBonadventura
MSgt. Clarence D. Hendrickson
MSgt. John J. Nerolich
MSgt. Robert A. Thibodeau
TSgt. Arthur J. Lambert
SSgt. Lawrence E. McNeill
SSgt. James R. Pater
SSgt. Robert J. Simmons
A2C Robert P. Kay
A2C Larry L. Stoner

551st Electronic Maintenance Squadron:
SSgt. Robert Sparks
A1C Joseph F. Adamick, Jr.
A1C James D. Rogers
A1C David N. Bailey
A2C James D. Wilbur

Major Baird left a wife and eight children at his passing, five still at home in Massachusetts at that time.
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Korean War/UN Defensive (1950)
From Month/Year
June / 1950
To Month/Year
September / 1950

Early on June 25, 1950, North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel near Kaesong to invade the Republic of Korea
(ROK).* During the afternoon, North Korean fighter aircraft attacked South Korean and U.S. Air Force (USAF) aircraft and facilities at Seoul airfield and Kimpo Air Base, just south of Seoul. The next day, Far East Air Forces (FEAF) fighters flew protective cover while ships evacuated American citizens from Inchon, a seaport on the Yellow Sea, 20 miles west of Seoul.

With the Communists at the gates of Seoul, on June 27 FEAF transport aircraft evacuated Americans from the area. Fifth Air Force fighters escorting the transports destroyed 3 North Korean fighters to score the first aerial victories of the war. Meanwhile, in New York the United Nations (UN) Security Council, with the Soviet Union's delegate absent and unable to veto the resolution, recommended that UN members assist the Republic of Korea. President Harry S. Truman then ordered the use of U.S. air and naval forces to help counter the invasion.  The Far East Air Forces, commanded by Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, responded immediately. On June 28 FEAF began flying interdiction missions between Seoul and the 38th parallel, photo-reconnaissance and weather missions over South Korea, airlift missions from Japan to Korea, and close air support missions for the ROK troops.

North Korean fighters attacked FEAF aircraft that were using Suwon airfield, 15 miles south of Seoul, as a transport terminal and an emergency airstrip. The next day the 3d Bombardment Group made the first American air raid on North Korea, bombing the airfield at Pyongyang. The FEAF Bomber Command followed this raid with sporadic B-29 missions against North Korean targets through July. Then in August the B-29s made concerted and continuous attacks on North Korean marshaling yards, railroad bridges, and supply dumps. These raids made it difficult for the enemy to resupply, reinforce, and move its front-line troops.

As Communist troops pushed southward, on June 30, 1950, President Truman committed U.S. ground forces to the battle. Shortly afterward, on July 7, the UN established an allied command under President Truman, who promptly named U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur as UN Commander. A few weeks later, on July 24. General MacArthur established the United Nations Command. Meantime, the Fifth Air Force, commanded by USAF Maj. Gen. Earl E. Partridge, established an advanced headquarters in Taegu, South Korea, 140 miles southeast of Seoul. Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army in Korea, under U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, was also set up at Taegu.

During July 1950, as UN forces continued to fall back, most FEAF bombers and fighters operated from bases in Japan, over 150 miles from the battle front. This distance severely handicapped F-80 jet aircraft because of their very short range, even when equipped with wing fuel tanks. After only a short time over Korean targets, the F-80s had to return to Japan to refuel and replenish munitions. Cooperating with naval aviators, the USAF pilots bombed and strafed enemy airfields, destroying much of the small North Korean Air Force on the ground. During June and July, Fifth Air Force fighter pilots shot down 20 North Korean aircraft.  Before the end of July, the U.S. Air Force and the Navy and Marine air forces could claim air superiority over North and South Korea.

UN ground forces, driven far to the south, had checked the advance of North Korean armies by August 5. A combination of factors--air support from the Far East Air Forces, strong defenses by UN ground forces, and lengthening North Korean supply lines--brought the Communist offensive to a halt. The UN troops held a defensive perimeter in the southeastern corner of the peninsula, in a 40- to 60-mile arc about the seaport of Pusan. American, South Korean, and British troops, under extensive and effective close air support, held the perimeter against repeated attacks as the United Nations Command built its combat forces and made plans to counterattack.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
June / 1950
To Month/Year
September / 1950
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
Personal Memories
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  16 Also There at This Battle:
  • Zoller, Virgil Lee, Brig Gen, (1932-1963)
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