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Robert J Goebel

Military

11 Victory Ace

It took less than three months of World War II action for Robert J. "Bob" Goebel to become a Double Ace flying the North American P-51 Mustang. Goebel, the youngest of seven children, was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin. At age 19, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet, earning his wings and his commission in May 1943. After graduation, Goebel was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone flying the Bell P-39 Airacobra and the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. In early 1944, he was reassigned to the 31st Fighter Group in the Mediterranean Theater flying the Supermarine Mark V Spitfire.

Soon after joining the Group in Italy as a member of the 308th Fighter Squadron, Goebel transitioned to the North American P-51 Mustang with the mission of fighter escort for 15th Air Force heavy bombers. While in the 308th, he flew 61 long-range missions from San Severo, Italy, supporting the bomber offensive in Southern Europe. During his combat tour, he destroyed 11 enemy fighters in the air over a 91-day period from 29 May 1944 to 28 August 1944. By the time he completed his first tour in September of 1944, he was 21 years old, had been promoted to captain, had led his squadron of 16 Mustangs into combat 7 times, and twice led an entire group of 48 aircraft into combat.

Captain Goebel resigned his commission in 1946 to attend the University of Wisconsin where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics in 1948. He served in the Wisconsin Air National Guard as Commander of the 126th Fighter Squadron flying the P-51D and the Lockheed F-80A Shooting Star until he returned to active duty in May 1950. However, instead of flying, he served in the Atomic Energy and Space Programs, with assignments in England, the Pentagon, and Albuquerque, New Mexico as a liaison in the Office of the Atomic Energy Commission. After attending the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, he was assigned to the Gemini Launch Vehicle Directorate charged with procuring 12 Titan II vehicles and reconfiguring them as boosters for the Gemini Space Program. After the launch of Gemini VII in 1966, at the end of a completely successful program, Lieutenant Colonel Goebel retired from the United States Air Force.

He has flown nine different aircraft, accumulating over 2700 flying hours, over 300 of which have been in combat. In 1991 he published a book covering his early years and his combat experiences entitled MUSTANG ACE, Memoirs of a P-51 Fighter Pilot. His decorations include the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with 1 oak leaf cluster, and the Air Medal with 17 oak leaf clusters. He and his wife, June, of 58 years, live in Torrance, California, and have 9 children and 27 grandchildren

Service

Units served with

  • 15th Air Force

    15th Air Force

    Command
    The Fifteenth Air Force was one of two Strategic Air forces in Europe, along with the Eighth Air Force. ...

  • 31st Fighter Group

    31st Fighter Group

    Group
    The 31st Fighter Group only flew missions from England between June and September 1942 but during this period they supported the Dieppe raid, the assault on occupied Europe, predominantly by the Canadian army. The attack was forced into early retreat...

  • 308th Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

Events

Event Location Date
Born Racine, WI, USA 14 November 1920
First Combat Mission Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania 16 April 1944
First Victory Wiener Neustadt, Austria 29 May 1944

Bf-109

Died Torrance, CA, USA 20 February 2011

Lt. Col. Bob Goebel, USAF (ret), left this life surrounded by family on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at his home in Torrance where he has resided for almost 50 years. Born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, he joins his loving wife, June (Meany) Goebel, also of Racine, who has been with the Lord since March 2006. Col. Goebel joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 at the age of 19. As a young fighter pilot in WWII he was stationed in San Severo, Italy with the 308th Fighter Squadron, where he distinguished himself in combat flying the P-51 Mustang. He was credited with eleven victories, earning the status of double ace, and was 21 years old at the end of his combat tour. After retiring from the military, Col. Goebel worked as a quality control engineer in the aerospace industry in California. In 2003 he was inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame. He is also the author of the book Mustang Ace. Col. Goebel is survived by his nine children: son Gary of Maple Valley WA, daughter Suzanne Rechs of Grass Valley CA, son Robert, Jr. of Seattle WA, daughter Patricia Arritt of Priest River ID, daughter Therese Silveria of Yuba City CA, daughter Thomasine Goebel of Long Beach CA, son Mark of Moreno Valley CA, son James of Torrance CA, and daughter Karen Satterlee of Auburn CA. He is also survived by 27 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 1:00pm at St. Lawrence M

Buried Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA 24 February 2011

Green Hills Memorial Park
Rancho Palos Verdes
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Park View Terrace Lawn Crypt: 263 D

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2016 01:23:20 466thHistorian Changes to media associations
Sources

Bob Goebel - Photo and letter to Chris Brassfield - 29 November 1999

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2016 01:22:18 466thHistorian Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

http://acepilots.com/usaaf_goebel.html
http://goefoundation.org/eagles/biographies/g/287/Goebel-Robert-J

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