Robert E. Tinney



Colonel Robert E. (Bob) Tinney died Saturday, June 2, 2001, following a lengthy battle with cancer.


Services will be 3:00 PM on Wednesday, June 66, in the chapel of the Hampton Vaughn Crestview funeral home.


Interrment will be in Crestview Memorial Park under the direction of Hampton Vaughn Crestview, Wichita Falls, Texas.


Bob was born November 3, 1930, in Bird Hollow, Texas, a rural community near Bowie to the late Tom and Gladys Tinney. He grew up on a Wise County farm and attended Alvord public schools until leaving after his junior year to enter college at North Texas Agricultural College, now University of Texas at Arlington. In December 1948, he transferred to Texas Tech and graduated in May 1951, with a BS in Agricultural Science. In his senior year, he and the former Wanda Hubert were married in Alvord, Texas, in August 1950.


Immediately following graduation Tinney reported to Perrin AFB in Sherman, Texas, for undergraduate pilot training, then on to Reese AFB in Lubbock, Texas, where he received his wings in 1952. He was assigned as a single engine fighter pilot. While his unit was en route to Korea in 1953, they were diverted to Japan, where his family joined him for a 30-month tour. Returning to the US in mid 1955, he was assigned as a flight instructor. In 1958, he was selected to become one of the 120 instructors, considered to be the top instrument pilots in the USAF, at the USAF instrument flight school. Four of his students would be assigned to the Presidential Flight, Washington, DC. In 1961, he came to Sheppard AFB as a student in the missile launch and maintenance course. His high class standing earned him a slot as an instructor for the next three years. He also had the additional duty as the pilot on Major General Thomas E. Moore's aircraft. In 1964, he joined General Moore in the Pentagon serving on the staff in Personnel Planning, again with additional duty as pilot on Moore's flights. In 1966, he transferred with General Moore to Alaska to pilot the command aircraft and became Commander of the famed "Firebirds," the 17th Tactical Airlift Squadron. Using wheel and ski equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft, they provided support to radar sights throughout Alaska, landing on short, gravel airstrips, some of which were constructed on the slope of mountains. They also had arctic search and rescue responsibility from Shemya Island in the Aleutians to Iceland. They supported the two radar sights on the Greenland ice cap and accomplished the re-supply of the Naval ice island T-3 in the Arctic ocean near the North Pole, a mission deemed impossible by all but the Firebirds. Bob considered this his most memorable assignment. He served a tour in Viet Nam, in the field with the US Army, where he set new standards for airlift management. He then went to Naples, Italy, for a special mission assignment with Air South (NATO) but was recalled to attend the prestigious Air War College dubbed by many as the "charm school" for future general officers. Following graduation he became Commander of the largest recruiting group in the nation, again, setting new standards in management and quality production. After twenty-three years of distinguished service, and after receiving numerous awards and decorations, he voluntarily retired in mid 1974 in the grade of Colonel.


Following retirement, he and Wanda returned to Wichita Falls, where they have resided for twenty-seven years. Bob started a ranching operation in Wise County. He later acquired the local farm supply, and in 1978 he and his brother, T.J. (Pete) Tinney of Wichita Falls, built and operated the Enco truck stop north of Alvord on US 287 for seven years.


In 1984, Bob joined long time friend Joe White, former executive director of Wichita Falls BCI, to assist him in the establishment of his "Pathfinder" economic development office for the county of San Bernadino, California. He was their lead representative for five years before leaving to open his industrial real estate office. During his time with the Pathfinders, they were the state leader in economic development for six consecutive years. He returned to Wichita Falls in 1995 to become a full time and successful fisherman of Lakes Fork and Texoma.


Bob is survived by wife Wanda of Wichita Falls, three children, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, one brother Pete, of Wichita Falls and a multitude of friends.


In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution in his name be made to Hospice of Wichita Falls, PO Box 4804, Wichita Falls, TX 76308.



 Back to Top