Colonel Richard E. Decker, USAF
Richard E. Decker, Naples, Florida and Akron, Colorado died October 10, 2013 in Naples, Florida. Services will be held Saturday, October 19, 2013, 11:00 AM in the Chapel at Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary and Cemetery, Burial to follow.
Col. Decker was born in Oberlin, Kansas on October 8, 1918, the son of Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Decker, now deceased. He was raised and educated in Coffeyville, Kansas and graduated from Coffeyville Jr. College. He also attended the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Arizona.
Col. Decker entered the Army Air Corp. in 1940 as a Flying Cadet. He completed flight training at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas in 1941 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1941. In 1942, he was sent overseas to England with the 78th Pursuit GP. And later joined the 14th GP in North Africa. There he completed fifty combat missions as a P-38 pilot and Squad Operation Officer.
He returned to the United States in 1943 and was assigned as Director of Operation and Training at Abilene Air Base in Texas.
Following WWII, Col. Decker was assigned to Headquarters XII Tactical Air Command in Bad Kissing, Germany. He returned to the United States in 1947 to serve as Squad Commander 307th Pursuit Squad, 31st Pursuit Group at Turner Air Base in Albany, Georgia.
In 1949 Col. Decker was sent overseas for the third time. He was assigned to the 51st Fighter GP as Deputy for Material. At the outbreak of the Korean conflict he was sent to Japan as Tactical Inspector Far East Air Forces.
He returned to the United States in 1951 to assume his first air defense command assignment as Deputy for Personnel of the 4706th Interceptor Wing in Chicago, Illinois. In 1953 he was appointed Air Defense Liaison Officer to the U.S. Navy's Eastern Sea Frontier headquarter in New York City.
Col. Decker was assigned next to Roslyn Air Force Station, Long Island, New York as Inspector General for the 26th Air Division. He left Roslyn in 1947 to attend the Jet All Weather Fighter School at Perrin Air Force Base in Texas, flying F-86 aircraft.
Upon completion of the school, he was assigned to Greater Pittsburg Airport, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania as Commander of the 54th Fighter Wing. He was there a short time when he received new orders for Pepperell Air Force Base in St. John's, Newfoundland in July, 1957.
He retired from the Air Force at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado in 1961. He has owned and flown his own plane between Florida and Colorado where he farmed near Anton for many years. He was a member of the P-47 and the USAF Association and a Shriner. He is survived by his daughter Delana Harrison, her husband, Scott. Grandson Decker, and Granddaughter Amanda all of Littleton, Colorado. Also survived by nieces; Debra Roberts of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sandra Lasker of Kansas City, Kansas and Nephew; Douglas Plattner of Sarasota, Florida.
Col. Decker is a command Pilot. His decorations earned in WWII and Korea, include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters.