Honoring Our Heroes
August 1, 2023 | View PDF
Lt. Col George Robert Partridge
Lt. Col George Robert Partridge served 33 years in the U.S. Military including seven months enlisted in the Marine Corps Air Reserve and 32 years in the U.S. Air Force including four years as enlisted and 28 years as an officer. His Military Occupational Specialty Code (MOSC) was fighter pilot racking up more than 5,000 hours flying military aircraft. Lt. Col Partridge served three “temporary” tours for a total of 13 months in Vietnam. The F-100 Super Sabre, the first fighter in the inventory that could break the speed barrier in level flight, the most versatile day fighter in service and a fighter-bomber with nuclear delivery capabilities was his favorite mount in the service. He received the following medals, decorations, citations and badges: Silver Star; Bronze Star; Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal and Purple Heart.
Lt. Col Partridge was born to his parents, George and Lenna Partridge, at Doraville, GA, in 1933. He was reared at Chamblee, GA, and Norcross, GA, and he graduated from Lilburn High School in 1949. He attended North Georgia College, a military college, for two years majoring in mathematics. Because of his strong desire to become a military pilot, on March 4, 1951, he enlisted in the Marine Air Corps Reserve, but he served only until March 28, 1952, and then on March 29, 1952, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he completed eight weeks of Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, (AFB), TX. He was sent to Claysburg, PA, a radar site, where he worked in administration for six months. He then attended the Jet Mechanic School at Amarillo, TX, for 12 months. Next, he returned to Claysburg, PA, followed by assignment to the New Castle Airport, DEL, a joint use base with civilian aircraft operating as well as U.S. Air Force where he worked as a jet mechanic until January 1955. He was finally sent to Lackland AFB, TX, for preflight pilot training followed by training to fly the T-34 and T-28 at Spence Air Base, GA. Next, he was sent to Bryan AFB, TX, for training to fly the T-33 jet. He returned to serve at the New Castle Airport, DEL, to fly the F-94-C jet with the 97th Fighter Interceptor Squadron for one year. This was followed by serving at Hamilton AFB, CA, where he flew the F-89 Interceptor from January 1958 to September 1958 and also when he was transferred to Canadian Force Base, Goose Bay, Labrador. Next, he served at Tyndall AFB, FL, where he completed radar controller training, and then he served as a mobile radar controller at Ft. Gordan, GA, on Temporary Duty at Vietnam for five months September 1961-February 1962 where he flew the F-100 serving as a forward air controller with the 1st Infantry Division and then on regular duty at Shaw AFB, SC. He then served as a pilot of the F-100 at Cannon AFB, NM, flying and instructing. In 1965, he had a three month deployment to Japan and Korea. Col Partridge escaped fatal injury when he was forced to eject from his F-100 when flying near Kunsan, Korea, because of weather and fuel problems in May 1965. He served as the Forward Air Controller to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 3rd Brigade, US Infantry Division on a second TDY tour to Vietnam September1965 to February 1966. He then served as a pilot and instructor of the F-100 at Luke, AFB, AZ, 1966-1968. Next, he served as the Action Officer at the Pentagon preparing information for the generals 1968-1970. Although he volunteered for service as a pilot of the F-100 at Vietnam, he was assigned to serve as the Operational Plans Officer at Seymour AFB, N.C. and at Shaw AFB, S.C., 1970-1971 followed by two years of service at Clark Air Base, Philippines as Assistant Plans Officer Plans Officer in 1971 with the 405th Fighter Wing. He was sent TDY to Tan Son Nhut AB, Saigon, Vietnam, on June 1,1972 to serve as the Fighter Duty Officer for the 7th Air Force Tactical Control Center. He completed training at the U.S. Survival School at Fairchild AFB, WA, and at the USAF Air/Ground Operations School at Hurlbert Field, FL. He served one year in 1973 at Osan Air Base, Korea, with the 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron as Operations Officer. Next, he served at Eglin Field AFB, FL, as the Division Chief in Command and Control 1974-1977. Then he served at Mitchell Field, N.Y., as the Liaison Officer to the New York Civil Air Patrol 1977-1982 and also in this role with the AL Civil Air Patrol Headquarters 1982-1984 where he retired from military service October 1, 1984.
After his military service, for 10 years, Lt. Col Partridge worked as the Job Coordinator at the Louise M. Smith Development Center at Prattville, AL, where services included daily living skills, prevocational training and basic education for high school students and adults. During this time, he also returned to his love of flying working as an instructor at the Maxwell AFB Aero Club. While working at Montgomery, AL, he graduated from Troy University with a Master of Science Degree in Adult Education in December 1983. Lt. Col Partridge retired from all employment in 1999.
Lt. Col Partridge and his wife, Patricia, were married 45 years before she passed away, and they had two children and two grandchildren. He and his wife, Margaret, have been married 20 years. They have enjoyed traveling especially to reunions of Air Force squadrons and to sites in Europe which his father had described in his letters where he had served during WWI. They belong to First Baptist Church of Prattville, and he belongs to the Daedalians, the premier organization for U.S. military aviators and to the Lions Club International at Prattville, AL, from which he received the Lions Club Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. He was inducted into the Georgia Military Hall of Fame and in November 2018 received the Medal for Valor in combat in Vietnam. His autobiography, My Story…And I’m Sticking to It, I think, is available for sale on Amazon. For many years, he presented a “live” military uniforms ceremony at Prattville, AL, using items from his collection of military uniform memorabilia.
Lt. Col Partridge’s conclusions about his military service are: “It was a life long ambition to be an Air Force pilot, to become a veteran pilot and to retire. I felt good about my service as I am a patriotic person. I wish people would remember why we are free today.”