Robert A. “Bob” Cord, 98, of Fruitland passed away Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, at the Jackson Manor Nursing Home in Jackson.
He was born Dec. 27, 1922, in St. Louis, son of J.O. and Martha Larsen Cord. He married Iris S. Guess July 6, 1946. She passed away Nov. 3, 2010.
Bob graduated in the 1940 class of Normandy High School in St. Louis County. While attending Normandy High, he was a member of the 1939 and 1940 wrestling teams that won the Missouri State wrestling championships. Bob won the 125-pound state championship as a member of the 1940 team.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp in August 1940. He qualified for entry into pilot training as an aviation cadet in early 1943 and successfully completed training and graduated as a fighter pilot with the grade of flight officer in February 1944. Following the end of World War II, he reverted to his previous rank of staff sergeant and entered the electronics and communications career field. In 1949 he received a direct commission of second lieutenant in the USAF Reserve. In 1951 while serving as a master sergeant in charge of aircraft radar drone operations, he participated in Operation Greenhouse, which included the detonation and testing of live atomic bombs. His group received the Presidential Unit Citation for it participation in this exercise.
In November 1952 he was recalled to active duty as a second lieutenant with pilot duties. In 1953, because of his past enlisted experience in the electronics and communications field, he was selected to attend Officer’s Communications School. In 1958 he was selected and awarded a commission of captain in the regular USAF. He remained in the communications and electronics field for the remainder of his military career, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel and the position of Assistant Director of Communication, Headquarters 2nd/Air Force, Strategic Air Command.
Upon his retirement in September 1971, Bob had completed 31 years and 11 days of active duty and had held every rank available at the time, from private through lieutenant colonel. An unusual result of his military career was the assignment of five separate and distinct serial numbers, all on active duty: enlisted, flight officer, commissioned both reserve and regular U.S. Air Force and Social Security number. To his knowledge, no other military member had this experience. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during his service in Vietnam.
Throughout his military career, Bob was active in military and civilian sports, mainly baseball, fast-pitch softball and bowling. He was a member of USAF Air Base baseball/softball teams at Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Harding Field, Louisiana; Chanute AFB, Illinois; Grenier AFB, New Hampshire; Boca Raton, Florida; Ladd AFB, Alaska; Castle AFB, California; Mather AFB, California; Biggs AFB, Texas, and Torrejon AFB, Spain. He was selected a league all star with the Alaskan League and Spanish-African league. As player/manager, he managed the Castle Air Force Base team (fast-pitch softball) in 1958 to second place in the USAF worldwide tournament, and again, in 1963, with the Terrejon AFB baseball team, won second place in the all-European AF tournament. Also in 1963, while stationed in Madrid, Spain, he and his partner won Spain’s National Doubles bowling title.
He was a former member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Elks. He was a director with the Cape Girardeau Bowling Association and was selected director of the year for 2010.
Loving survivors include a grandson, Robert “Michael” Cord Jr., of Fruitland.
In addition to his wife he was preceded in death by his son, Robert M. Cord Sr., and three brothers, William O., Walter R. and Jesse O. “Bud” Cord.
Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson.
The funeral will be at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Burial with full military honors will follow in the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Bloomfield.
To send an online condolence to the family, visit McCombs Funeral Home website at www.mccombsfuneralhome.com; then click on the TRIBUTE WALL tab of Robert’s personal obituary.