Lieutenant General Robert E. Hails Ret., died on Friday, March 16, 2012. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 1:00 PM Tuesday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery. Father Allan McDonald officiating. Flowers will be accepted or donations may be made to St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 830 Poplar Street, Macon, GA 31201 or the Museum of Aviation, Donation Department, P. O. Box 2469, Warner Robins, GA 31099.
General Hails was born in Miami, Florida in 1923, son of the late Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Troy Hails of Montgomery, Alabama. He graduated from Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Auburn University, and a Masters of Science degree from Columbia University.
General Hails was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and received his pilot wings in May of 1944. He served with the 13th Air Force in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater flying 26 missions totaling 271 combat hours as a B-24 air-craft pilot. In 1953, he was assigned to the American Embassy in Paris France as project manager for the United States production of the Mystere IV Jet Fighter. He was later assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff Material for the F-104, and subsequently developed the F-105. He later served as the Weapons System Acquisition Advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force. General Hails was assigned to headquarters of Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio as the Assistant Deputy of Maintenance, later assuming command of the Defense Personnel Support Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In August 1941, General Hails became the Commander of the Warner Robins Air material Area in Warner Robins, Georgia. He was the logistics support manager for the C-141, C-130, and F-15 aircraft and later became the Vice Commander of the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. General Hails retired in 1977 from the U S Air Force as Deputy Chief of Staff for Systems and Logistics. Upon retirement he became a management consultant to the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Vought Corporation and other aerospace companies.
General Hails was a Command Pilot and holds the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medals. He was inducted to the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.
General Hails is preceded in death by his brothers, Coleman and Troy Hails, and sister, Jean Hails Edwards. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Ethel Gayle of Montgomery, Alabama; children, Robert and Laura Hails of Melbourne, Florida, Merrily and Desmond Joiner of Fairhope, Alabama, Troy and Sam Patton and Laura Hails Smith of Macon, Georgia; eight grandchildren, Ansley Hails, Robert Hails, III, Elizabeth Hails, Catherine Smith, Mary Charles Smith, Reese Joiner, Donovan and India Joiner; a sister, Florence Hails Spalding (Versal); and dearly loved nieces and nephews.
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Snow's Memorial Chapel, Funeral & Cremation Services Cherry Street, has charge of arrangements.