Richard “Mac” McClure

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Colonel Richard “Mac” McClure, USAF Retired, 92 of Peachtree City, Ga., was promoted to glory on Saturday, March 21, 2015.  Mac was a proud veteran of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.

Mac was born on May 1, 1922 in the small town of Tryon, N.C.  to working parents, Garrison and Allie.  After graduating from high school in 1941, Mac enrolled in Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) at Auburn, Ala. and was a member of Army ROTC.

At the onset of WWII, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps.  After completing basic training in Fresno, Calif., he was attached to the 365 Fighter Group in Richmond, Va. and assigned to the 387th fighter squadron, the “Hell Hawks.” As a maintenance crew chief on the squadron’s P-47 aircraft, his squadron was active against specific targets before, during and after the Normandy Invasion. The squadron moved into fortified Europe only 22 days after the D-Day invasion and was active in France, Belgium and Germany.

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After WWII, Mac returned to API (now known as Auburn University) and earned a BS in industrial engineering.  After graduation in 1948, Mac worked for a short time for Standard Oil before accepting a commission in the newly formed U.S. Air Force.

He was assigned as a squadron maintenance officer for B-29’s in Tucson, Ariz. In Tucson, he met and married Dorothy Ramsey.  Mac and “Dee” were happily married for 31 years until her death in 1981.

During his military career, with Dee by his side, Mac had many assignments of increasing responsibility. He was a flight line maintenance officer for B-29s in Japan during the Korean War. Shortly afterwards he received his MS degree in industrial administration from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Mac proudly served at various Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases in Utah, Ohio, Louisiana and SAC Headquarters in Bellevue, Neb. He had foreign assignments in Taiwan and Brazil.

During Viet Nam, he was the squadron maintenance officer for the largest maintenance squadron in the USAF in Thailand.  After Viet Nam, he was again assigned to SAC Headquarters as director of material.  Mac was then assigned as deputy commander for maintenance at Wurtsmith AFB.  While on this assignment, the wing went from worst to first in aircraft maintenance in SAC.  Mac was then assigned as deputy director of Aircraft Maintenance for all of SAC.

During his 30-plus year career, which he described as an adventure, Mac received 22 awards or decorations, including the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service and Air Force Commendation Medal.  Mac retired from the US Air Force in August 1976 in Bellevue, Neb.

After his retirement, Mac and Dee continued to reside in Nebraska and were snowbirds in Destin, Fla. During this time, Mac became an avid golfer and loved attending his beloved “Hell Hawks” reunions.  After Dee’s death, Mac married Lila Haukeness in August 1982. They continued to reside in Nebraska and snowbird in Destin. Eventually they moved to New Port Richey, Fla. and later to Tucson, Ariz.  After Lila’s death, Mac stayed in Tucson enjoying golf with his friends.  At age 84 he managed to shoot his age.  In 2011 he moved to Peachtree City to be near his two daughters.

Mac was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Dorothy, his wife Lila and his sister, Evelyn Landis. He is survived by his three children, Carole Rowland (Peachtree City), Richard McClure, Jr. (Riverton, Wyo.) and Cathy Kavanaugh (Peachtree City). He also has five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service for Colonel McClure at Mowell Funeral Home, 200 Robinson Rd., Peachtree City on Sunday, March 29 at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Evergreen Church, 225 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree City, GA 30269. Col. McClure will be interred with full military honors at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.