Richard S. Harder
August 14, 1922 – February 2, 2020
Class: 44-B-SE
Graduation date: 2/8/1944
Rank at time of graduation: 2nd Lt.
Unit: 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group
Service # 0821914
From: Brooklyn, NY

Richard “Rip” Harder was born in Schenectady, New York and raised in Saratoga Springs, New York. He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where he was an outstanding athlete and major lettermen in football, basketball, tennis, and track. He entered active duty in the United States Army Air Corps in 1942. He was selected for flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. He graduated as a pilot on February 8, 1944 and commissioned a Second Lieutenant. After several months of additional training, he was transferred overseas and assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group in Italy. Their mission was high-altitude escort of bomber aircraft flying over Germany. He flew many missions over Germany and was promoted to the rank of Captain. His military career spanned 30 years. He served in Korea as the Commander of a Communication Squadron. He served as Deputy Commander and Executive Officer of the 1961st Communications Group at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines from June1964 through June 1966. He served as Director of Operations, Headquarters Western Communications Region at Hamilton Air Force Base, California, from May 1968 to June 1970. He soon retired after losing his wife Jacqueline to cancer. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.

Tuskegee Airmen leaving the parachute room. Left to right: Richard S. “Rip” Harder, Brooklyn, NY, Class 44-B; unidentified airman; Thurston L. Gaines, Jr., Freeport, NY, Class 44-G; Newman C. Golden, Cincinnati, OH, Class 44-G; Wendell M. Lucas, Fair



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