Died Aug. 26, 1987.
Robert Oswald Cork was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1907. He lived in Fort Wayne, Ind., and in Almont, Mich., during his childhood years and graduated from Northern High School in Detroit, Mich., in 1924. He received a bachelor of arts degree at the College of the City of Detroit, now Wayne State University, in 1928.
He entered the Army Air Corps Flying School at March Field, Calif., in the fall of 1928 and graduated from Kelly Field in the fall of 1929. He is an active command pilot and is qualified in both conventional and jet aircraft.
Lieutenant Cork was commissioned in the Regular Army Air Corps on Jan. 6, 1930. His pre-War II assignments included all types of tactical squadron jobs and commands (observation, pursuit, attack and bombardment). He had incursion into aerial photography via graduation from the Photographic Course at Chanute Field, Ill., in 1933-34, and subsequent mapping work for the Corps of Engineers along the Mississippi River.
His station assignments during the pre-war period included Mitchel Field, N.Y.; Chanute Field, Ill., Barksdale Field, La., Albrook Field, Canal Zone; Moffett Field, Calif.; Salt Lake City Airport, Utah; and Gowen Field, Idaho.
His bombardment squadron was deployed to Alaska in January 1942, following a short period of coastal patrol on the Pacific at the beginning of the war. In Alaska he commanded all of the Air Corps bases as built along the Aleutian Chain, and served as commander and deputy commander of the 11th Composite Bomb Group.
Upon return to the Zone of Interior in the summer of 1943, he commanded a B-24 group preparing for overseas movement at March Field, and then supervised the operational training stages of four B-24 groups at March and Muroc (Edwards) fields. He then reopened the airbase at Moses Lake (Larson) in the state of Washington, where he trained fighter replacement for movement to all theaters.
The spring of 1945 found him in the Office of the Director of Plans in the Air Staff working on general organization and force structures of the post-war Air Force. The soundness of many of the policies and principles evolved at that time is attested not only by the award of the Legion of Merit to General Cork by General Arnold, but also by the survival of many of these policies in the Air Force of today.
After graduating from the National War College at Fort McNair, D.C., in 1947, General Cork was assigned to Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Andrews Air Force Base as director of plans. He remained with Strategic Air Command headquarters upon its transfer to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in 1948 as comptroller. Probably his major accomplishment as SAC comptroller was the establishment of the SAC management control system and its acceptance as a major contribution to good management.
General Cork has been the assistant comptroller of the Air Force since the summer of 1954.
He is a director of the Armed Forces Relief and Benefit Association; a Mason and Shriner; and an honorary member of the Beta Alpha Psi fraternity. He possesses a Distinguished Graduate Award from Wayne State University, and in 1949, he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.
Photography, skeet shooting, bird hunting, fishing, swimming, golf; normally scores in the low 80's.
Board of Directors, Armed Forces Relief and Benefit Association.
Opinions, Tastes and Evaluations Generally prefers simplicity and comfort in food, clothing and housing.
Reads current events and biography; likes modern as well as operatic music; prefers art having historic, especially ancient, significance; despises all travel except by air; prefers climate with year around golf weather.
In youth, greatly influenced by Emerson's essay on self reliance; believes honesty and common sense, imagination and initiative accomplishes all things.
Directness and honesty are paramount; demands loyalty both up and down; becomes impatient with stupidity and fence straddling; requires facts, but refuses to let insignificant details over-shadow main points.
Enjoys participation in competitive sports, such as squash, Judo, football, swimming, golf and in mental competition, such as chess and poker.