Airman Emeritus – Ret. Lt. Col. Bob "Fox" Faux
by U.S. Air Force Timothy Sandland
102nd Intelligence Wing
The cycle of life at any military
organization is fluid. Airmen raise their hand, enlist, or get their
commission, they go off to schools, and they serve their time – some
leave after one or two hitches – others strive for that brass ring
20-year retirement and still others ... arguably the very few ... go a bit
further and become the “Airman Emeritus” of an organization.
In many ways, retired Lt. Col. Bob “Fox” Faux was the embodiment of
the wing’s history; a curator for an ever-evolving organization of
true airpower, a series of historical moments and a never-ending
stream of Airmen who came through the gates of Otis Air National
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bob “Fox” Faux
with the 101st Tactical Fighter Squadron stands next to his aircraft prior to a flight at an undisclosed location and date. He was the embodiment of the wing’s history; a curator for an ever-evolving organization of true airpower, a series of historical moments and a never-ending stream of Airmen who came through the gates of Otis Air National Guard Base.
(Photo courtesy of retired Lt. Col. Bob “Fox” Faux)
At the very least, Faux was a link to the
heritage and legacy of the wing.
Born in 1936, Faux grew up
in Abington Massachusetts and attended Boston College after
graduating high school in 1954.
Faux first took control of an
aircraft when he started pilot training as an aviation cadet at
Greenville AFB, Mississippi in July of 1957. During this time, he
flew the Beechcraft T-34 Mentor, North American Aviation T-28 and
the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star.
After earning his wings at
Greenville, Faux headed west to Williams AFB, Arizona to learn the
ins and outs of the legendary North American F-86 Sabre, an aircraft
he would fly during one of the most critical times of the Cold War,
The Berlin Crisis of 1961.
Departing Williams’ for Ellington
AFB, Texas, Faux went on to jet instrument school before returning
home to Boston, ready for duty at Logan International Airport – the
home base for the 101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron – where he got
his local checkout and officially began his career as a fighter
pilot with the Massachusetts Air National Guard.
spent just two short years as a traditional guardsman when a major
crisis developed in the capital city of Germany. The USSR demanded
the withdrawal of all armed forces from Berlin, including those of
their former allies in West Berlin. Unknown at the time, this would
be the beginning of border closures and the building of the Berlin
Wall, a manifestation of what had already become known symbolically
as the Iron Curtain.
During the summer of 1961, as the crisis
unfolded, several Air Force reserve units were notified of their
pending recall to active duty, one of which was Faux’ own 101st
Tactical Fighter Squadron.
In October, the 101st departed
Logan International Airport to Phalsbourg AB, France. Overall, the
102nd Tactical Fighter Wing deployed 82 Sabres across the Atlantic.
The 101st's primary mission, and that of Faux and his fellow
pilots, was to provide close air support to NATO ground forces and
air interdiction. During their time in theater, the 101st
participated in several USAF and NATO exercises, including a
deployment to Leck Air Base, West Germany near the Danish border.
Eventually, the Air Force decided to pull back forces and deploy
back to the United States. After months of operations based at
Phalsbourg, the squadron was set to return to Boston.
and his wingmen flew thousands of miles from Phalsbourg to
Prestwick, Scotland, to Keflavik, Iceland, and to Sondrestrom,
Greenland before several days later arriving in Boston, breaking
through the clouds above Logan Airport, where droves of proud
citizens cheered their return.
Faux continued to serve in a
part-time capacity until 1964, when he was hired as a flight
instructor. Just a year later, the wing received the Republic F-84
In another, albeit locally historic event in
1968, Faux, along with his fellow Airmen moved the entire wing
operation to its current location on Cape Cod. Otis Air Force Base
would be renamed a few years later, after the departure of the Air
In 1971, the unit transitioned to the North American
F-100 Super Sabre. Commonly called the “Hun,” short for “hundred”,
which Faux flew for two years.
Of the F-100, Faux recounted
“Air refueling in the F-100 was one of the hardest things I’ve ever
had to do in an airplane.” Faux was forever immortalized, having his
name emblazoned on F-100F, tail number 54-1851, during a dedication
ceremony in 2014. The aircraft is on display adjacent to the Otis
ANGB dining facility.
After his experience with the F-100,
Faux and the rest of the unit were given a significant upgrade to
the then state-of-the-art Convair F-106 Delta Dart.
years the Delta Dart would prove to be a favorite with pilots and
maintainers alike. Considered the ultimate interceptor, Faux and his
wingmen would routinely meet and greet Soviet bombers that were
testing the borders of international airspace, and arguably, common
The last aircraft Faux flew professionally was the
Beechcraft C-12J 1900. As the unit migrated to the McDonnell Douglas
F-15 Eagle, Faux went on to become certified on the C-12J, the
aircraft that he would fly until his retirement in 1992.
he retired, Faux had amassed a flying career of nearly 35 years and
over 5000 flight hours. Along the way he became a senior pilot, an
expert on more than 8 airframes and held nearly every position
available to a pilot, from flight instructor to commander of the
historic 101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron and later, Deputy
Commander for Operations for the wing.
Even in retirement,
Faux continued to contribute to the mission of an organization that
meant to so much to him. He was an active member of the Otis
Civilian Advisory Council for many years, serving as a one-time
president of the organization. Faux was also the longest standing
board member of the Eagle’s Nest all-ranks club, dedicating his
retired life to enhancing the morale and well-being of veterans
throughout the region.
In reading this story one might wonder
why there is so much wing history included.
Faux was a significant part of this wing’s
history – since 1957 he was a member of this organization, and even
in retirement, he was a pillar of our small community, staying
involved in the wellness and readiness of the wing.
many positions in his time here – and he was a part of this unit
through it’s every milestone of the last 65 years. How many
missions, how many commanders, how many Airmen enlisting, serving,
retiring in a span of over six decades?
Was he a keeper of
legacy or was he part of the wing’s legacy itself?
serving side by side with his fellow wingmen or supporting the
countless Airmen that have come and gone during his time – the
result is clear – Lt. Col. Bob “Fox” Faux was an American Airman.
If you were lucky enough to cross paths with him, consider
yourself fortunate – because he connected each of us to our past.
“Airman Emeritus” indeed.
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