Richard M. (Dick) Pierce

PierceI was born in 1936 in Indianapolis, IN, and attended school in Plainfield, IN. In 1954 – my last year of High School – I joined the Indiana National Guard. Later that year I got a job at Interchemical Corporation. After a brief stint in the factory, I moved into the laboratory as a color matcher and formulator. Interchemical is the world’s largest manufacturer of printing inks. I ultimately became Production Manager for the plant. In 1958 I married Elizabeth (Libby) Ann Cogill.

In October 1961, I was activated for the Berlin crisis and attained rank of E-4 as Personnel Clerk. It was during this period I learned that I could qualify for OCS and Air Force Flight School. We were married with two sons ages 2 and 1. I submitted paperwork for OCS five times before making it through all the hoops and getting accepted. I attended and graduated with the last class of Air Force OCS Class 63-D. Libby was a “Mother” for three sons initially but attrition brought the total to one by graduation. I was an OC Major and Chairman of the Honor Council.

In 1963-64, I attended Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 65 A at Moody AFB, GA. Flew the T-37 and T-33 aircraft. I hit flight school at age 26 years, 11 months, and 5 days. They called me “Pop”. Went through fighter upgrade training at Nellis AFB, NV in the gunnery version of the T-33 and the F-86F fighter with OCS classmate, Bob Warren. In Jan 1965, I returned to Indiana Air National Guard and checked out in the F-84F. Was a traditional Guardsman until 1978.

At the same time, I returned to a civilian occupation with Interchemical Corporation and moved from Production Manager to Technical Sales specializing in complex packaging applications. My primary territory was the State of Indiana but I traveled all over the United States working with larger corporate accounts. Our third son was born on 4 Sep 65. In 1972, the Indiana ANG converted from F-84F to F-100D/F aircraft. I had attained approximately 1,000 hours in the F-84F before conversion.

In 1973, I left Interchemical Corporation to go into civilian aircraft sales. Sold Aero Commander Twins, Aero Commander Turbo Prop, Piper, and used aircraft. I joined Piper aircraft dealership as Vice President and Sales Manager. Simultaneously, I maintained currency in over 25 aircraft and kept up participation in ANG. Civilian flight time is not certain because of the high frequency of flights but estimated at over 3,000 hours. Became Operations Officer of 113 TFS in 1976 after moving through all four flights as Flight Commander.

I accepted a full-time position as Range Commander, Atterbury Range, IN and was promoted to Lt Col 1 Sep 78. I converted to Active Guard and Reserve status on 1 Jul 79, i.e., active duty but under State of Indiana control. Commanded two Air-to-Ground Gunnery Ranges in Indiana – Atterbury and Jefferson Proving Grounds. Provided service to 12 flying units from 5 states daily. I became the first Chairman of the Air National Guard Range Council with responsibilities for representing 15 ANG range manpower and equipment issues to HQ ANG and HQ ACC.

I flew the F-100 for approximately 850 hours before converting to the F-4C aircraft in 1979.; Converted to the F-4E aircraft in the mid-’80s and accumulated over 3,000 hours of total flight time after actively flying military aircraft for 28 years. Attained Command Pilot status midway through my career. I retired from Indiana Air National Guard on 19 Jul 91 with 28 years commissioned service and a total of 37½ years in the ANG.

In 1991, I accepted a position as a GS-13-10 at HQ ANG, Andrews AFB, MD as an Airspace Specialist and ultimately moved into ANG/CEVP, Environmental Planning, representing operations perspectives in environmental actions. I primarily supported ANG airspace and range issues throughout the US and its territories and helped develop the Air Force Airspace and Range Council process utilized today by the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard. I retired from Civil Service upon age 60 and began drawing USAF retirement.

I now work as an Airspace and Range Planner on a part-time basis with SEA, Inc (Science and Engineering Associates) supporting the ANG and sister services in acquisition, give-back, and modification of military airspace and ranges. Work is done from our home in Panama City Beach, FL with occasional travel over much of the US required to support various actions and meetings. I am the primary author of the ANG Range Master Plan.

We plan to reduce my hours next year so Libby and I can begin more travel and free time. As of February 2004, I will have 50 years of direct involvement and support of the Air National Guard and our military forces.

Libby and I have three sons, aged 44, 42, and 37 with four grandchildren aged 26, 11, 10, and 7. The two oldest sons and families live around the Indianapolis, IN area and the youngest and his wife live in Nashville, TN.

I spend my spare time working in the yard and playing golf. Libby is busy on the computer and making our home even better. We belong to the Tyndall AFB Aero Club and cruise the panhandle airspace in Cessna 172s.


LTC (Ret.) Richard M. Pierce (Rick Rudder), 75, of Panama City Beach, Fla., passed away Tuesday, June 26, 2012.

A love of flying led him to the Indiana Air National Guard where he served his country with pride over a distinguished 38-year career, logging over 5,000 hours of single-seat fighter time. He was consistently recognized and awarded for his leadership skills and dedication in both his military and professional careers.

A loving and devoted husband and father, he was a man of principle, character, and integrity. Dick was quick with a good joke and eager to help others. His design and engineering skills with a perfectionist’s eye were in demand around the neighborhood. Musically inclined, his hobbies included playing guitar and piano, as well as being an avid golfer.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Libby Pierce of Panama City Beach, Fla.; his sons, Mike Pierce and wife Stephanie of Avon, Ind., Greg Pierce and former wife Jayne of Fishers, Ind., and Ron Pierce and wife Candice of Clarksville, Tenn.; his sister, Beverly Walker of Silver Spring, Md.; former daughter-in-law Debbie Pierce of Brownsburg, Ind.; his grandchildren, Ryan, Tyler, Hannah, Nick and Sarah; and great-grandchildren, Avery and Collin.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Dick’s name may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.