Retired July 1, 1977.
Lieutenant General Robert E. Hails is the deputy chief of staff for systems and logistics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He is responsible for all Air Force logistics support, which includes procurement policy, maintenance engineering and supply, transportation, and foreign military assistance and sales.
General Hails was born in Miami, Fla., in 1923. He graduated from Lanier High School, Montgomery, Ala., in 1941, received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Auburn University in 1947, a master of science degree in industrial management from Columbia University in 1950, and completed the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1965.
General Hails enlisted in the Army Reserve in December 1942 and became an aviation cadet the following April. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and received his pilot wings in May 1944. He served with the 13th Air Force in the Asiatic-Pacific theater of operations from March to October 1945. While serving with the 5th Bombardment Group, he flew 26 missions totaling 271 combat hours as a B-24 aircraft pilot in New Guinea and the Philippines.
He was released from active duty in April 1946. After receiving his degree from Auburn University, he was commissioned in the Regular Air Force and returned to active duty in October 1947. He initially served with the 43d Bombardment Wing as an aircraft commander and later with the 2d Bombardment Wing.
General Hails entered Columbia University in January 1949 under the Air Force Institute of Technology program. In July 1950 he was assigned to the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Air Force, at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., in the Directorate of Procurement Inspection. In September 1953 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and attached to the American Embassy in Paris, France, as project manager for the United States-sponsored development and production program of the Mystere IV jet fighter.
General Hails graduated from the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in June 1956. He was next assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Materiel, as the project officer for the F-104 jet fighter aircraft program, and subsequently served as the project officer during the development of the F-105. While in this assignment, General Hails assisted the West German government in establishing the F-104 consortium production program in Europe.
In August 1960 General Hails became commander, San Francisco Air Procurement District, at Oakland, Calif. In July 1962 he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as military assistant for weapon systems management in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force. He served as technical adviser on development, engineering, production and management aspects for all weapon systems acquisition programs. In January 1966 he was assigned to the Air Force Systems Command as system program director for the A-7D aircraft, with duty in the joint Air Force-, Navy A-7 project office within the Naval Weapon Systems Command, Washington, D.C.
In August 1968 General Hails was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as assistant deputy chief of staff for maintenance-engineering and, in 1969 became deputy chief of staff, maintenance. AFLC is responsible for the overhaul and repair of all Air Force aircraft, missiles and equipment. During his tenure, the maintenance activities of the command were reorganized and all operations were placed under industrial funding procedures designed to provide enhanced management control of maintenance costs.
General Hails assumed command of the Defense Personnel Support Center, Philadelphia, Pa., in August 1971. In this assignment, he was responsible for the procurement and management of all medical, subsistence and textile items for the Department of Defense.
In August 1972 General Hails became commander, Warner Robins Air Materiel Area (redesignated Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (ALC)), Robins Air Force Base, Ga. The center is logistics support manager for the C-141, C-130, and F-15 aircraft. This ALC is responsible for service engineering, modification, overhaul and supply support of assigned aircraft and Air Force helicopters, air-to-air missiles, airborne electronic equipment, powered surface vehicles, and ground support equipment.
In August 1974, General Hails became vice commander of the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. TAC is responsible for organizing, equipping and training all tactical forces within the continental United States, and for the combat readiness of the majority of Reserve and Air National Guard flying units.
In September 1975, General Hails returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as the deputy chief of staff for systems and logistics.
General Hails has the unique distinction of being the only U.S. Air Force officer who has served as both a system program director and an air logistics center commander.
He is a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general on Sept. 1, 1974, with date of rank Aug. 29, 1974.