Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1974 Induction
(Inducted to represent the 1942-1949 period)
Colonel (later Lieutenant General) Robert R. Williams' association with Army Aviation began at Fort Sill immediately after his 1940 graduation from the USMA as a field artilleryman. While with the famous "Class Before One," he helped to validate the need for light aircraft in the artillery adjustment role. As Flight Division Chief, Department of Air Training, he organized the Army's first aviator training program and became the first ground force officer to receive an instrument rating. During 1947 in Europe, he organized the first ground force aviation unit, the U.S. Constabulary Flight Detachment. He was the first Chief, Army Aviation Branch, G-3, DA, which later became the Directorate of Army Aviation, and became the first active duty Master Army Aviator.
In 1955, he organized and was the first President of the U.S. Army Aviation Test Board and was instrumental in fostering the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) in 1957. In 1962, he assumed command of the Aviation School and was reassigned a year later as Commander of the Test and Evaluation Control Group which evaluated and validated the test of the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning. He served as Director of Army Aviation during 1966 and 1967, following this with a two-year Vietnam tour as CG of the 1st Aviation Brigade in combat.
He was Deputy Assistant Chief of Force Development - serving for extended periods as the ACSFOR - until he was promoted into that duty in 1970. During this period, the aircraft family for the 1980's was conceived and adopted. Later, he served as the Deputy, CINCUSARPAC. Throughout his career, he was in the forefront of the development of airmobile concepts and vigorously promoted Army Aviation from positions of great responsibility in both peace and as a combat leader. He is considered to be the "Father of Army Aviation."