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Neil M. GOBRECHT

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Neil M. GOBRECHT Obituary
POQUOSON - Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Neil M. Gobrecht, 87, died Wednesday, May 4, 2011.
He was a native of Findley, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University as a pre-med student prior to enlisting in the Air Force in 1942. He later continued his education and graduated from George Washington University with a B. A. degree. He was a Peninsula resident since 1961.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Sally; a loving son, Dana Neil Gobrecht and wife, Camille; two loving daughters, Karen Fowler and husband, Dick and Kimberly Huskey and husband, Rod; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Lt. Colonel Gobrecht entered the Air Force in 1943, trained as a pilot and graduated from Turner Field, Albany, Ga., in 1944. He was retained at Turner Field as an instructor pilot for a short time and then reassigned to train as a pilot in a B-24 bomber. He trained with a crew at Westover Field in Massachusetts.
After training as a co-pilot he and his crew were assigned to Langley AFB for a short time flying submarine patrol. The crew was then assigned to the Eighth Air Force in England where they flew 35 sorties bombing missions over Germany. After their return to the U.S. the war in Europe ended and he returned to college.
He was recalled to active duty in 1953, trained in B-29 bombers and served during the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, he was the commander of the Psychological Warfare unit in the I Corp area, the northernmost part of South Vietnam. During this period he flew 341 missions.
During his career, he was a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and was selected to fly in the world's largest airshow held in Paris, at LeBourget, France; flew 18 different airplanes, had a total of 5,000 hours of flying time; flew 376 combat missions; and flew more than 648 hours of combat flying time. He had over 1,500 hours of instruction pilot time
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with 14 clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two clusters, the Air Force Meritorious Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the American Defense Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, the World War II American Theater Ribbon, European WWII Theater Ribbon with three battle stars, the National Defense Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with two stars, the Republic of Vietnam Service Medal with three battle stars, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
He was a member of the Military Officers Association of America, the Eighth Air Force Historical Society, the Second Air Division Association, the National Officers Association, was a Founding member of the American Air Museum in Duxford, England. He was also a member of the American Legion Poquoson Post #273.
After his retirement from the Air Force, he taught science for 12 years at Spratley Middle School, Phoebus High School in Hampton, and Poquoson Middle School in Poquoson.
The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Claytor Rollins Funeral Home, Poquoson, immediately followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. in the funeral home chapel by the Rev. Dr. Bill Wash. A reception will follow at the funeral home. Inurnment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at a later date. At other times the family will be gathered at his home.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Southeastern VA Chapter, 213 McLaws Circle, Suite 2-B, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Online condolences to www.claytorrollins.com. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.

Published in Daily Press from May 5 to May 7, 2011
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