Lieutenant Colonel Rocky Gannon's Speech at the South Carolina Aviation Association Conference Banquet (SCAA) February 25th, 2021
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony • Air Force Cyberspace Operations & Support • April 24, 2019 • Bolling Club, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, DC
In 1999 the Air Force established the Communications and Information Hall of Fame to honor those individuals who made significant contributions, both to the Air Force and our career field, while serving in the public and private sectors. Our 20th century Foundation Setters are Air Force leaders who began the tradition of excellence which led to critical communications and information capabilities for today's and tomorrow's Air Force. Each year new members are inducted into the Hall of Fame--visionaries who guided the Air Force toward a technological and information-enabled future. Their dedication, vision, patriotism, and honor established a proud legacy on which we continue to build today's information superiority.
Rocky Gannon was born in Palermo, New Jersey and moved to Ocean City when he was seven years old. Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and while he was a junior at Ocean City High School, Rocky enlisted in the Air Force at seventeen. He immediately entered pilot training. Shortly after his high school class graduated, Rocky became a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. At age twenty he was flying the
B-29 Super Fortress.
For the next 37 years, he flew six-thousand hours in thirty-four different aircraft, from bombers to transports, from gliders to fighters. He has fifty military awards and decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, ten Air Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. He flew as a combat pilot in World War II, Korea, the Belgian Congo and 387 combat missions in Vietnam. After World War II, he served three years in the occupation of Iwo Jima and Japan. Fifteen of his thirty-seven years of active duty were served overseas.
After his retirement from the Air Force in 1980, he became an International Aviation Consultant. Later he became the Executive Director of the Florence, South Carolina Regional Airport, retiring in 1993.
He is active in the community, serving on 11 boards and commissions. He is an Eagle Scout, recipient of the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award, the Rotary Four Way Test Award, and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001 he was named South Carolina Aviator of the Year and inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame.
He has been married to the former Roberta Gause for 56 years. They have three grown children, ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
While in the service he earned a Bachelors and Masters degree. On November 11, 2003 Rocky received his Ocean City High School diploma 59 years after he left OCHS.