Richard A. "Knobby" Knobloch, Brigadier General
Co-Pilot Crew 13

Graduated from Kansas State University with a BA Degree.  Entered military service in November, 1940 at Randolph Field, Texas.  Graduated from pilot training and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, July, 1941.  After raid on Tokyo, remained in China-Burma-India Theater and completed more than 60 bombing missions before returning to the States in 1943.  After various assignments in the U.S. he reported to England for duty with the Royal Air Force.  He served as deputy commander of a Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, then as Air Attaché to Italy, deputy commander, AF personnel Center and Wing Commander, and Commander of Andrews AFB, MD.  Graduate of Industrial College of the Armed Forces.  Retired from the Air Force in 1970.  Decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal, and the Chinese Army, Navy, and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

Born May 27, 1918, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died August 13, 2001

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
1520 Harry Wurzbach Road
San Antonio, TX 78209

Section 36 Grave 298
Interment 8/16/2001

Inducted Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame, 1997


Sitting. L to R: Capt White - Air Force. Capt Boone - Air Force. Major Jordan - Ordnance Corps. Col Cohen - Quartermaster Corps. Lt Col Knobloch - Air Force.  Major Newman - Air Force. Maj Morissette - Adjutant General Corps. Capt Tucker - Air Force. Capt Riedy - Air Force.

Standing. L to R: Cpl Hilbrich. Pvt Hunt. TSgt Wood. Pfc Esayian. TSgt Miller. 1Lt Ellis - Air Force. Civ Williams. Civ Martin. Civ Tally.  CWO Butkovich - Air Force. MSgt Kenen. MSgt Ates. MSgt Mulkey. TSgt Olson.

(All enlisted were Air Force personnel. The forthcoming Air Force chevrons and designations of rank were still on the horizon).

Regards. Larry Hilbrich

Chunking, China
May 4, 1942.

Subject: Report of Engineering.
(Airplanes #40-2247, 40-2297, 40-2282, 40-2344)
To: Chief of Air Corps -- Attn. General Doolittle.

Engines and accessories.

All four airplanes ran cool and one crew chief claimed he could have obtained better engine performance on auto lean with winterized equipment on engines.

Oil pressures and temperatures were normal at all times.

On three ships the AC - LS - 85 plug gave satisfactory performance and was highly recommended. The other crew chief claimed the BG - LS - 65 would be better..

The difficulties encountered were confined to occasional starving of engine on manual lean (less than auto lean setting).

No excessive corrosion noticed on engines or engine accessories.

Airplane in General.

Bomb shackle adaptors, and antennae leads corroded considerably due to salt air probably.

No corrosion noticed on aileron, appendage or flap hangar bolts and posts.

Bomb-bay, turret, crawl-away, and wing tanks gave satisfactory performance.

No major difficulties in airplane were encountered during mission.

Recommendation by all four ships that fuel transfer pump be located so as work could be performed on it in flight.

1st Lieut. A.C.


Richard A. Knobloch

SETTING: The plan was to fly at night, bomb in the early morning, and recover in China during daylight. But the USS Hornet, a temporary floating USAAF bomber base, was spotted by Japanese pickets about 670 miles from Japan. On 18 April 1942, Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, commanding the daring operation from the USS Enterprise, launched Doolittle's North American B-25 Mitchell's about 150 miles early. Four Japanese cities--Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, and Osaka--got a taste of "surprise attack." Although 15 of the 16 raiders crash landed in China or were lost at sea, it was a tremendous boost for America, stung by the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor.

Richard A. Knobloch piloted one of the 16 North American B-25 Mitchell's that carried out the famed Doolittle Raid, the most daring mission in the annals of aviation history! Knobloch was born in 1918 in Wisconsin. He attended high school in Illinois, but returned to Wisconsin for his university studies. As war clouds rose in Europe, he left school and entered the military as an aviation cadet, training at Randolph and Kelly Fields, in Texas. Receiving his pilot wings in July 1941, he was assigned to submarine patrol in the 37th Bombardment Squadron at Pendleton, Oregon, flying the B-25 Mitchell. Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Knobloch volunteered for a secret mission. The mission took him to China and would later be named after its famed pioneer aviator leader, Jimmy Doolittle. Knobloch remained in China for over a year, making a dramatic nighttime bailout in a rainstorm, and flying more than 50 missions in the B-25 and the Douglas C-47 "Gooney Bird." " In mid-1943, he was reassigned to Eglin Field, Florida. There, as an engineering officer and test pilot, he flew many aircraft including bombers and fighters. In September 1946, he returned to his studies, eventually earning a degree in agriculture at Kansas State College. Later, back in the military, he became Deputy Assistant Chief, Materiel at Twelfth Air Force, March Field, California. In July 1949, he went to England and attended the Royal Air Force Flying College. He was next assigned to the Ninth Air Force, Pope AFB, North Carolina, as Deputy for Materiel. In July 1953, Knobloch became Vice Commander, 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, and flew the RB-57. Two years later, he attended Strategic Intelligence School and Foreign Service Institute in Washington, D.C., and was then assigned as Air Attaché in Italy. During 1960-61, Knobloch studied at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, at Ft. McNair, in preparation for duty at Headquarters USAF in the Pentagon. He worked for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and then headed the Officers Assignment Division. Next at Randolph AFB, Texas, he became Deputy Commander, USAF Military Personnel Center, and then went to Hawaii, where he was Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, at Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). In September 1967, he became Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans, at PACAF and remained there until August 1968, when he took command of the First Composite Wing, Headquarters Command, Andrews AFB, Maryland. Since his retirement from the military in 1970, Knobloch has twice served as President of the Wings Club of New York City, an organization of pilots and others active in the aviation industry.*


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