Mark Robert Richards – Colonel, United States Air Force

From a contemporary press report:

Mark Robert Richards, 68, a retired Air Force colonel and pilot who flew combat missions in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, died of lung cancer July 30, 1998 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.

Colonel Richards served 31 years in the Air Force before retiring in 1984 as a senior adviser on loan to the State Department's office of public diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean. After his military retirement, he continued in the position as a civilian for another 2 1/2 years, specializing in intelligence analysis and media consulting.

A resident of Alexandria since 1969, Colonel Richards was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in Van Nuys, California. He graduated from the University of Houston and received a master's degree in governmental public relations and the psychology of communications at Boston University.

His Air Force career included 6,000 pilot hours, and he flew 153 attack missions in Vietnam, where he was awarded a Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 10 Air Medals.

He also served in senior staff positions at Air Force Systems Command headquarters, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the offices of the secretary of defense, the secretary of the Air Force and the secretary of state.

After his civilian retirement, he was a member of the Potomac Valley Track Club. He was 1991 National Masters Pentathlon champion.

Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Caroline Scrivner Richards of Alexandria; two daughters, Julie Richards Apfel of Highland Village, Tex., and Leslye Richards LeBlanc of Houston; his mother, Ruth Charves Richards of Houston; and eight grandchildren. A son, Robert Mark Richards, died in 1977.


On Thursday, July 30, 1998, husband of Caroline Scrivner Richards; father of Julie Richards Apfel, Leslye Richards LeBlanc and the late Robert M. Richards; and grandfather of eight. Funeral to be held at Old Post Chapel, Ft. Myer on Thursday, August 13, 1998 at 11 a.m. followed by burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made in his name to Hospice of Northern Virginia, 6400 Arlington Blvd., Suite 1000, Falls Church, VA 22042.

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