Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Robert

Last Name: Mathis

Birthplace: Eagle Pass, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Couth

Date of Birth: 03 July 1927

Rank: General

Years Served: 1948-1982
Robert Couth Mathis

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1948

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Robert Couth Mathis

General, U.S. Air Force

Robert Couth Mathis was born on 3 July 1927 in Eagle Pass, TX, where he graduated from high school in 1944. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a Second Lieutenant.

In November 1949, after pilot training at Randolph AFB, TX, and Williams AFB, AZ, he was assigned to the 51st Fighter Group on Okinawa, a unit equipped with the F-80 Shooting Star. During the Korean War, Mathis served as an F-80 fighter pilot in the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) with the 6148th Tactical Control Squadron. During his combat tour in Korea, Mathis received the Silver Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart.

In August 1956, following a tour as an Instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, he transferred to the Rome Air Development Center, Griffiss AFB, NY, as the Program Director of the Center's Trinidad Test Site. During this period he played a major role in the critical development phases of the Ballistic Missile Warning System, the Echo Satellite Program and the Project Mercury Downrange Tracking Program. After receiving his doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas in 1963, he served as a Project Officer in the Development Division, Air Force Weapons Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, NM, where he was responsible for the development of special weapons delivery systems.

Mathis completed the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC, in August 1967 and was assigned as the Senior U.S. Advisor to the Vietnamese Air Force with IV Corps in the Mekong Delta. From October 1967 to November 1968, he flew more than 200 combat missions, including an air strike in the A-1 Skyraider for which he received a second Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mathis returned to the U.S. in November 1968 for duty in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In August 1969, he was named Commander of the Rome Air Development Center. Under his direction the Center established one of the best flight safety and test aircraft utilization rates in the Air Force Systems Command.

In January 1971, Mathis transferred to the Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, where he became System Program Director for the General Dynamics F-111 and later the F-15. During this tour of duty, he also managed tactical reconnaissance, strike and electronic warfare programs.

Mathis served as Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems, at Air Force Systems Command Headquarters, Andrews AFB, MD, from October 1976 to May 1977, when he became Vice Commander of Air Force Systems Command. He became the vice commander of Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, VA, in March 1979.

On 1 March 1980, Mathis was promoted to the four-star rank of General and was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

General Mathis retired from the Air Force in 1982

Medals and Awards

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

Silver Star Medal

Legion of Merit (2 Awards)

Distinguished Flying Cross (2 Awards)

Air Medal (12 Awards)

Air Force Commendation Medal

Purple Heart

Distinguished Unit Citation

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award


Command Pilot Badge

Honoree ID: 779   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image