Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

Robert E. Hawes

HAWESFlying Tiger Line Pilots Association

In Memoriam...

Robert E. Hawes

10/14/1918- 02/19/2006

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Robert Edmond Hawes, 87, of San Mateo and Westport, Mass., died at home Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006. He was the widower of Mildred (Von Protz) Hawes. Born in Dartmouth, Mass., he was the son of the late Roy T. and Philinda (Mosher) Hawes. He graduated from Dartmouth High School in 1936. He graduated in 1940 from Norwich University in Vermont with a degree in electrical engineering and diplomas from the cavalry, pilot and officer's training programs there. Army Air Corps Lt. Hawes boarded a ship to Hawaii in April 1941, where he met 2nd Lt. Army Nurse Mildred Von Protz of Monterey. They married in 1942 and were together almost 52 years. He lived in the same home in San Mateo for almost 51 years since he was stationed as a pilot at the San Francisco airport. Lt. and Mrs. Hawes were on duty in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. He was wounded when a bomb prevented him from reaching his plane on Hickam Air Field next to Pearl Harbor during the attack. He fought in the Battle of Midway and was a Flying Fortress Squadron commander in the South Pacific. He was decorated for heroism during the war, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross with seven oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and at least three citations for gallantry. He refused multiple Purple Hearts. Immediately after the war, he was base commander at Hilo, Hawaii. He retired from the military as a colonel in 1946. Living in South Dartmouth, Mass., he worked for a while in his family's business, Hawes Electric in New Bedford, Mass. He co-founded Massachusetts Airlines, which began service in January 1949 from New Bedford, Boston and the Islands. He sold his interest in 1950 and went to work for Flying Tiger Lines as a pilot for more than 28 years until mandatory retirement on his 60th birthday in 1978. He received a citation from President Johnson in 1964 commending him for the number of civilian missions he flew into Vietnam. Those missions continued until 1972. In more than 42 years as a pilot, including more than 350 bombing and numerous missions during World War II, no man or plane under his command was lost. After retiring from flying, he lived his passion for the outdoors. Since 1968, he enjoyed growing hay and raising horses on his farm in Half Moon Bay, which he continued to visit until shortly before his death. Through 2005, he also enjoyed his annual visits to his family's summer home in Westport, Mass., watching the farming and fishing and boating on the Westport River. He battled Parkinson's disease since the early 1990s. Thanks to superb caregivers, he remained active to the end. Survivors include two daughters, Valerie L. Hawes of Half Moon Bay and Barbara Hawes Caldwell of San Mateo, a grandson; a brother, Philip M. Hawes of New Bedford; and a sister, Marjorie E. Hall of New Bedford. There are no services. Arrangements were by the Neptune Society, Belmont.

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