Biography of Robert Orvis Harder


Born 8/2/45

Jackson, Mississippi

Married to Doris Ann (Dee Dee) Long in 1975


Graduated 1962 McGregor High School, McGregor, Minnesota
B.A. 1966 University of Minnesota, Duluth
Majors: Geography, Political Science
Minor: Air Science
AFROTC Distinguished Military Graduate
Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Regular Air Force, on 9 June 1966
USAF Hometown of Record: Tamarack, Minnesota


Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT) Class 67-20 -- Mather AFB, CA
Navigator-Bombardier Training (NBT) Class 68-7 -- Mather AFB, CA
B-52 Combat Crew Training - Winter, 1968 -- Castle AFB, CA
Received Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) 1525D-- B-52D Navigator
(ASQ-48 Bombing & Navigation System)

Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to 306th Bomb Wing, McCoy AFB, FL -- 1968-70
Certified as B-52C & D Combat Crew Navigator, Airborne/Pad Alert -- Summer, 1968
Temporary Duty (TDY) to SEA/Vietnam War under Operation Arc Light -- 1968-70 -- 145
combat missions

Military decorations include the Air Medal with Six Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force

Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device, National Defense Service Medal,

Vietnam Service Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, and the Republic of
Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Separation from USAF:

Captain Harder was upgrading to B-52D radar navigator when his resignation was approved under
the 1970 Christmas Early Out Program. Separated 12/19/70.

Civilian Flying/Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Ratings and Certificates:

Private Pilot Certificate--1971
Instrument Rating--1975
Multi-Engine Rating--1975
Commercial Pilot--1976
Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI)--1978

Business Career, Family Heritage, and Other Interests:

After his military service, Mr. Harder entered a management training program with Target
Stores, Inc., a young upstart company of only 27 stores in 1971, though it appeared to
hold considerable promise for future growth. After a subsequent, lengthy stint in the
merchandise catalog showroom industry, he capped his long retailing career as a vice
president of Montgomery Ward & Co., Chicago. Later, he was involved in real estate
investment and management, getting out of that business by 2004, having learned in Air
Force navigator and bombardier schools the enormous benefits associated with precision
timing. He is currently pursuing a full-time writing career.

In addition to military matters, Harder also writes about American colonial and frontier
life, both a lifelong interest. Although he is descended mostly from late 19th century
Norwegian/German immigrants, his maternal grandmother Nelson/Barnett traced her
heritage all the way back to colonial Virginia. Various Barnett oral and written histories
passed down for over 300 years also document the family connection to the Algonquian
medicine woman, Matoaka, more commonly known as Pocahontas. Recent family DNA
tests confirm a 3% Native American content in Harder's generation, a value that could
only have had its origins in pre-1700 A.D. Virginia. (Click here for a full narrative on
Harder's Colonial Virginia & Native American ancestry).

A member of the Authors Guild and Society of Midland Authors, Harder is also associated
with a number of aviation organizations and historical societies,including the 306th
Bomb (Group) Wing Association, Air Force Navigators/Observers Association, and the
Pritzker Military Library of Chicago. In 2012, he was elected to the Board of Directors of
the B-52 Stratofortress Association. He and his wife, Dee Dee, live in Chicago and at
their summer cabin on Big Sandy Lake in northern Minnesota.


Vice-President of the United States, Hubert H. Humphrey, presents USAF Second
Lieutenant Robert O. Harder with his graduation diploma during ceremonies at the
University of Minnesota, Duluth. The AFROTC cadet had been commissioned only hours
earlier. June 9, 1966.

Undergraduate Navigator Training Class 67-20, B Section, posing with a T-29C "Flying
Classroom." Robert O. Harder is kneeling front row, far right. Immediately to his right is
Lt. Joe Allen, destined to become Brigadier General John J. (Joe) Allen, USAF (Ret.). Joe
was one of the very few navigators of the Vietnam era to receive a flag. Immediately to
Joe's right is Lt. John Clemen, who became a B-52/Arc Light electronic warfare officer.
John, in later life a lawyer specializing in aviation matters, made substantial text
contributions to "Flying in the Black Hole.


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