Robert “Bob” Nester of Speedway, Indiana joined the ROTC at Parks Aeronautical College of St. Louis University and received his U.S. Air Force commission at age 20. His first assignment after training was to the F-4 Phantom with the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron in South Vietnam. He completed 187 combat missions and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Bob left active-duty in 1971 to join the U.S. Air Force Reserve flying the A-37 and A-10 Thunderbolt. From 1982 to ‘92, he held various command positions and was promoted to Brigadier General in August 1992 becoming assistant to the 9th Air Force commander. He later served as the mobilization assistant to the Vice Commander of the Air Force Reserves and the Chief of the Air Force Reserve Command.
Bob was promoted to Major General on April 3, 1995 and retired in April 2000 after holding various command positions. In addition to his military career, Bob Nester was an airline pilot with 19 type ratings and over 25,000 hours logged. He was an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector and Principal Operations Inspector for ATA Airlines. He served as the President of the National Reserve Officers’ Association, was named a Sagamore of the Wabash in Indiana, and led the effort to place the statue of Colonel Weir Cook in the Indianapolis International Airport terminal.