Major General Robert F. Durkin was director
of the Defense Mapping Agency,
with headquarters in Washington, D.C.
General Durkin was born in Youngstown, Ohio,
in 1936, and graduated from the Youngstown South High School in 1954. He
earned a bachelor of science degree in military science from the U.S. Military
Academy in 1958 and a master of science degree in engineering management
from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1966. The General completed Armed
Forces Staff College in 1971, Air War College in 1978 and graduated
from the Institute for Higher Defense Studies in 1983.
Upon graduation from West Point, he was commissioned
as a Second Lieutenant. He began primary pilot training at Bartow Air Force
Base, Florida, and was awarded his wings in September 1959, when he completed
basic pilot training at Webb Air Force Base, Texas. The General then
attended F-86L interceptor training at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia,
and B-52 combat crew training at Castle Air Force Base, Calif., before
reporting to his first operational assignment as a B-52 co-pilot
with the 4038th Strategic Wing, Dow Air Force Base, Maine, in 1960.
A year later he transferred to Homestead Air
Force Base, Florida, where he served as an aircraft commander until
June 1965. After completing his graduate studies, General Durkin returned
to operational duty by attending C-130 combat crew training at Sewart Air
Force Base, Tennessee, and the Replacement Training Unit at Dyess Air Force
Base, Texas. In October 1966 he reported to Ching Chuan Kang Air Base,
Taiwan, as an aircraft commander.
When he returned to the United States in November
1967, General Durkin was
assigned as a test and deployment officer
with Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
In August 1968 he transferred to the Armament Development and Test Center,
Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, as a program manager for research and development
of conventional munitions.
In July 1970 General Durkin entered Armed
Forces Staff College and, upon graduation, was assigned as a staff
development engineer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research
and Development, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He
remained in Washington, D.C., for four years before moving to Ellsworth
Air Force Base, South Dakota, as chief of the Operations and Training Division,
28th Bombardment Wing. He then commanded the 77th Bombardment Squadron
there, from April 1976 to July 1977.
After graduation from Air War College, General
Durkin served as a nuclear employment and policy planner and then
as chief of the Nuclear Division, organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Washington, D.C., until August 1980. He subsequently became deputy commander
for operations, 5th Bombardment Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota,
and, in March 1981, became wing vice commander. He assumed command
of the 28th Bombardment Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base in October 1981.
In May 1983 the General returned to Air Force
headquarters as deputy for strategic forces, Directorate of Operational
Requirements, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development
He remained at Air Force headquarters
and served as deputy director of operations from October 1984 to
September 1985, when he became deputy director of plans. In March 1986
General Durkin was assigned as deputy director for foreign intelligence,
Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Analysis Center.
He assumed his last position in October 1987.
General Durkin was a command pilot with more
than 4,600 flying hours, including 97 combat missions in Southeast Asia.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service
Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious
Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster,
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Combat Readiness Medal,
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam
He was promoted to Major General November
1, 1986, with same date of rank.
General Durkin died in December 2004 and was
buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 3 January
Posted: 1 January 2005