Lt. Gen. (Ret) Robert E. Hails

January 20, 1923March 16, 2012

Lieutenant General Robert E. Hails Ret.

MACON – Lieutenant General Robert E. Hails Ret., died on Friday, March 16, 2012. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 1:00 PM Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery. Father Allan McDonald officiating. Flowers will be accepted or donations may be made to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 830 Poplar Street, Macon, GA 31201 or the Museum of Aviation, Donation Department, P. O. Box 2469, Warner Robins, GA 31099.

General Hails was born in Miami, Florida in 1923, son of the late Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Troy Hails of Montgomery, Alabama. He graduated from Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Auburn University, and a Masters of Science degree from Columbia University.

General Hails was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and received his pilot wings in May of 1944. He served with the 13th Air Force in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater flying 26 missions totaling 271 combat hours as a B-24 air-craft pilot. In 1953, he was assigned to the American Embassy in Paris France as project manager for the United States production of the Mystere IV Jet Fighter. He was later assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff Material for the F-104, and subsequently developed the F-105. He later served as the Weapons System Acquisition Advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force. General Hails was assigned to headquarters of Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio as the Assistant Deputy of Maintenance, later assuming command of the Defense Personnel Support Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In August 1971, General Hails became the Commander of the Warner Robins Air material Area in Warner Robins, Georgia. He was the logistics support manager for the C-141, C-130, and F-15 aircraft and later became the Vice Commander of the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. General Hails retired in 1977 from the U S Air Force as Deputy Chief of Staff for Systems and Logistics. Upon retirement he became a management consultant to the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Vought Corporation and other aerospace companies.

General Hails was a Command Pilot and holds the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medals. He was inducted to the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.

General Hails is preceded in death by his brothers, Coleman and Troy Hails, and sister, Jean Hails Edwards. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Ethel Gayle of Montgomery, Alabama; children, Robert and Laura Hails of Melbourne, Florida, Merrily and Desmond Joiner of Fairhope, Alabama, Troy and Sam Patton and Laura Hails Smith of Macon, Georgia; eight grandchildren, Ansley Hails, Robert Hails, III, Elizabeth Hails, Catherine Smith, Mary Charles Smith, Reese Joiner, Donovan and India Joiner; a sister, Florence Hails Spalding (Versal); and dearly loved nieces and nephews.

Visit to express tributes. Snow’s Memorial Chapel, Funeral & Cremation Services Cherry Street, has charge of arrangements.


  • Funeral Mass Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lt. Gen. (Ret) Robert E. Hails

have a memory or condolence to add?


April 1, 2012

I am shocked to learn about Bob. He is truly a great American and a wonderful old friend. Faith and family will sustain you. I send my sympathy and wishes for the very best to you and your family. God bless!
Bob Harris, Atlanta

April 1, 2012

I was in Macon last week and wanted to stop by and say hello to General Hails and you, and was sorry to hear that he had just passed away. It was an honor to frame his house and to know him. Mary and I will keep you in our prayers.
Jessie Manning
Champaign, IL

March 31, 2012

Sincere condolence for the loss of your loved one. Draw close to the God of comfort and He will draw close to you...James 4:8

~HK, Acworth, GA

Juanita and Tim Landers

March 23, 2012

Mr Hails is legendary in his family leadership and love extended to all. Laura Thompson, I am truly sorry for your family's loss. He has lived a life well deserving of eternal rest. God bless you all.
Juanita and Tim Landers, Mobile

Ginger and Tom Concepcion

March 22, 2012

Tom and I just now found out about "WEO"s passing. It was an honor to have known him and our deepest sympathies and prayers are with you and your family during this time.

Ginger and Tom

March 22, 2012

What a blessing to have worked with General Hails many years ago at the Pentagon. What impressed me the most was his love for and devotion to his family and his faith. God Bless! Mary Kay Strothman (Wichita KS)

March 21, 2012

To Gerry and Other Members of General Hails Family,

As has been noted, Gen. Hails, or "Buck," was a "great American," and, in his case, that included being a great API Aeronautical Engineer and an enthusiastic supporter of Auburn University. The College of Engineering, the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and I personally, owe him much gratitude.


John Cochran
Professor and Head
Department of Aerospace Engineering
Auburn University

March 19, 2012

Am so sorry. What an impressive career Hope you'll consider moving back to Montgomery. Fondly, Jo Screws McGowin

Bob Komlo

March 19, 2012

The local Daedalians flight (Eagle Flight, #39) that Lt Gen Hails belonged to is greatly saddened by his last flight. We were honored to have him serve with our fraternal order of military pilots for so long. His service and commitment to the nation's defense will be perpetuated with our flight.
Volabamus – Volamus (We Fly – We Flew), Bob Komlo, 39th Flight Commander

Major General USAF (ret) Ron & Debbie Smith

March 18, 2012

What a great American, friend, and mentor. I could listen to his stories forever as there was always a valuable lesson or two involved! His great family is in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. May God rest his soul.