Robert J Goebel

media-24691.jpeg UPL 24691 Captain Robert Goebel
11 Victory Ace
31st Fighter Group - 308th Fighter Squadron - 15th AF 466th Bomb Group collection

Chris Brassfield Collection

Object Number - UPL 24691 - Captain Robert Goebel 11 Victory Ace 31st Fighter Group - 308th Fighter Squadron - 15th AF

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


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Units served with


  • Aircraft Type: P-51 Mustang
  • Nicknames: The Flying Dutchman
  • Unit: 31st Fighter Group 308th Fighter Squadron


Event Location Date Description


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


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


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



NARA files verified officer number for SS, DFC and AM.


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

Robert J Goebel: Gallery (2 items)