Obituary Listings

Robert (Bob) Harland Ottman

January 26, 1920 December 31, 2002
Robert (Bob) Harland Ottman
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Obituary for Robert (Bob) Harland Ottman
Robert (Bob) Harland Ottman, age 82, of Altus, Oklahoma, passed away Tuesday, December 31st, 2002.

He was born in Lewistown, Montana, January 26th, 1920. In 1936 his family moved to Missoula, Montana where his father was engaged in the real estate and insurance business. Following his graduation from the Missoula County High School in 1938, he enrolled as a student at the University of Montana in Missoula.

In January of 1941, while a student at the University of Montana, he successfully passed the entrance examinations administered by the U. S. Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Examining Board and was accepted into the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet that same year.

After graduating from flying school as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, he became a flight instructor at Gardner Field, Taft, California. In 1943 he was selected to attend the B-24 Central Instructors School at Smyrna, Tennessee. After completing the instructors course in the B-24, he was subsequently assigned to an Operational/Training Unit at Casper, Wyoming where he and his crew were certified as combat ready. This led to his assignment as a Lead Crew with the 445th Bombardment Group, 703rd Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force, England. As a Captain at that time, he and his crew flew 30 combat missions over Germany, accumulating approximately 300 hours of combat time, which included three close support missions flown on D-Day, June 6, 1944. In July 1944, he was assigned to Headquarters Second Combat Wing, Second Air Division, 8th Air Force, as a combat operations officer, planning and executing combat missions for the three B-24 Bomb Groups assigned to the Wing. He remained in this position until January 1945, at which time he returned to the U.S. and was assigned to MacDill Field, Florida, whose mission was the training of B-29 crews for duty in the South Pacific.

Following the wars' end in 1945 he held several duty assignments in the Continental U.S. and in 1947 married the former Marion Willis of Fort Knox, Kentucky while stationed at Godman Field, Fort Knox as Operations Officer.

In 1951 he was assigned duty as Operations Officer with the 92nd Bomb Group during reactivation of Forbes AFB, Kansas, where again the mission of the base was the training of B-29 crews, but this time for the war in Korea.

It was during this period the B-47 aircraft was just coming to the forefront as the first all jet bomber of the Air Force for the Strategic Air Command. At that time, as a Major in the Air Force, he requested duty with the B-47 program and was accepted.

His first assignment with the B-47 program was in 1953 when he was assigned to the 301st Bomb Wing, Second Air Force, Barksdale AFB, LA. After being certified in the B-47, he remained in the status of a combat crew Aircraft Commander until 1957. A highlight during this period was in 1956 when he was assigned as project officer for the Strategic Air Command on Operation Redwing Nuclear Weapons Testing at the Pacific Proving Ground, Eniwetok Atoll. He participated in numerous "shots" which were designed to establish the weapons effect criteria and survivability of the B-47 aircraft during "high yield" weapons delivery. Following the "tests" he provided input for the development of tactics for nuclear bomb delivery and Initial Bomb Damage Assessment of High Yield Weapons for the Tactical Doctrine of the Strategic Air Command.

In 1958, while stationed at Barksdale AFB, he was assigned as Chief of the Training Division for the newly activated 4238th Strategic Aerospace Wing, one of the first B-52 units in the Second Air Force. One year later he received an assignment to the Staff of the Commander, Second Air Force, as the Chief of the Operations Inspection Division Office of the Inspector General, Headquarters Second Air Force. During the next four years he developed and implemented testing and interrogation techniques for both B-47 and B-52 Combat Crews as well as Command Post personnel during the Operational Readiness Inspection of units assigned to Second Air Force.
In 1963, he was assigned to the 11th Bomb Wing, Altus AFB, as the Chief of the Training Division. Later within the 11th Bomb Wing he assumed command of the 11th Field Maintenance Squadron. This led to his assignment in 1966 as Commander, Field Maintenance Squadron, 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, DaNang, Republic of Vietnam.

He returned to Altus a year later and was assigned duty as Assistant Deputy Commander for Maintenance, 11th Bomb Wing. With the deactivation of the B-52 unit in 1968, he was assigned as Chief of Maintenance, 11th Air Refueling Wing SAC, where he remained until his retirement in August of 1969.

In the course of his military flying career he accumulated over 10,000 hours of flying in 25 types of military aircraft. He held the rating of Command Pilot and also Radar-Navigator Observer. His military awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with 3 clusters, European Theatre Medal with 4 Battle Stars, WWII Victory Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Medal, and the French Croix De Guerre.

He was a charter member of the Air Force Association, the Daedalians, Second Bomb Division Association, 301st Bomb Wing Veterans Association.

Following his retirement from the Air Force, in August 1969, he accepted the position of Executive Vice President of the Altus Chamber of Commerce where he remained until his retirement from the Chamber in August of 1985.

Highlights of his Chamber career in which he played an active role were the initial development of the Great Plains Country Association and the establishment of Quartz Mountain State Park as a permanent site for Summer Arts Institute. He maintained a strong interest in the tourism industry, actively promoting Quartz Mountain State Park as a hub for the tourism industry in Southwest Oklahoma. He was a strong advocate for education, transportation and water resources, becoming heavily involved in development of Western Oklahoma State College and the Tom Steed Reservoir. His interest in total community development was evident in his continued efforts to make Altus a cleaner city and to improve the cultural and social benefits the city had to offer. He was extremely proud of the City and its accomplishments and expounded upon its attributes to visitors to our community and particularly to the "newcomers" at Altus Air Force Base during the weekly "Newcomers Briefing", as a member of the Air Base Briefing Team. He was equally proud of the Altus Chamber and its members whom he always felt were the strength of the community. He was proud that during his tenure he had built a strong Chamber membership base with a sound financial financial condition. He always strove for strength and purpose in community projects he formulated and often said that, "horse and buggy parades and pony shows will never "make things happen in a community." He emphasized that if small chambers are to survive they must make significant contributions to the overall social and economic development of their community. He was a member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executive, the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives, a graduate of the Texas A&M Industrial Development Course, and a past member of the Kiwanis International.

He was preceded in death by his parents of Missoula, Montana and a sister in Scottsdale, Arizona.

He is survived by his wife Marion of the home in Altus, Oklahoma; two sons, Jim and Jeff; and one grandson Todd of Edmond, Oklahoma and a brother Jay of Missoula, Montana.

Funeral Services for Bob Ottman are scheduled for Saturday, January 4, 2003 at 10:00 a.m. in the Lowell Tims Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Jeff Moore officiating. Interment will follow at 3:0-0 p.m. with Full Military Honors at Memorial Park Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma under the direction of Lowell Tims Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society in the name of Bob Ottman.

The family will receive guests Friday, January 3, 2003 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Lowell Tims Funeral Home.

10:00 AM

Lowell-Tims Chapel

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