Flying Legend Visits 144th FW
By Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano , 144th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs
/ Published April 03, 2016
FRESNO AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif. -- Brig. Gen. (ret.) Robert "Earthquake" Titus visited the 144th Fighter Wing to share his experience and knowledge with 144th FW Airmen and members of the surrounding communities as part of the 3rd Annual Wing Heritage Week held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base, March 30 through April 2, 2016.
During Titus' time in the Air Force, he served as the program manager in the concept development of the F-15, which makes for a special connection between him and the 144th FW.
"The F-15 is and remains the finest fighter in the military today because of its performance, capabilities, and the people who make that happen," Titus said. "When I was sitting in the cockpit on Friday and I heard the engines start up, I felt at home. I was in a place that was familiar to me and I felt a sense of belonging."
To honor Titus, the 144th FW hosted several events on base and in the local community to include: a drill competition put on by Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps students from local high schools; a symposium at the Fresno Veterans Memorial Museum, where local community members had the opportunity to ask Titus and a panel of veterans questions; and a heritage presentation held at the Fresno ANGB, where 144th FW Airmen had the opportunity to learn more about their Air Force heritage and listen to Titus' and his fellow veterans' personal experiences.
Titus also had the opportunity to meet Airmen from various units on base, as well as sit inside one of 144th FW's F-15C Eagles, which is what Titus was looking forward to the most.
"Just talking with the Airmen and pilots, refreshing my association with the Air Force is what's great," Titus said. "I spent a major portion of my life in the Air Force, so I enjoy communicating with Airmen and finding out what they do and also what they like and don't like about it."
With more than 32 years of service, Titus flew approximately 100 combat missions in the F-51D Mustang during the Korean War, was shot down in an F-86, destroyed three MiG-21s in aerial combat, earning him multiple Distinguished Flying Cross awards for his accomplishments during the Vietnam, Korean, and Cold Wars, and other military decorations and awards to include the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal, just to name a few.
"The Mustang was my favorite aircraft to fly," Titus said. "Mostly because it's a magnificent machine, but also because I became one with the machine. The smell of the glycol and the power and sound of the engine made it an exciting airplane to fly. I think most pilots would agree that the Mustang would be a great airplane to fly."
Titus, flying legend, simply wanted to make happy memories with the 144th FW and share a little of his love for the Air Force and aviation with the Wing.
"It was great to be surrounded by a group of professionals," Titus said. "It's a fulfilling feeling for me to be in this environment. Again, I was totally at home."
When asked what his advice is for Airmen, Titus said:
"Be proud of being a part of an astounding service. Enjoy the opportunity to experience the best and drive what you can from it to your own benefit and satisfaction."