Colonel Robert A. Ditch


Surrounded by his loving family, Colonel Robert A. Ditch, U.S. Air Force Retired, passed on to his Heavenly reward on 22 January, 2019. He is survived by his loving wife, Altha L. Ditch of 67 years.
Col. Ditch started his Military Career in June, 1948, when he joined the National Guard in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, as a Private. In 1951, he transferred to the U. S. Air Force for Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He then held the rank of Private Airman. He, also, got married that year to Altha Louise Littell. In May of 1952, he received a direct commission as a 2nd Lt. in the Air Force. His new duty station was Lake Charles AFB (now Chenault AFB) in Louisiana.
After Lake Charles, he started his next tour of duty at Furstenfeldbruck, Germany in Nov. of 1953. He had then received the rank of 1st Lt. After the tour in Germany, returned to the USA and was station in Los Angeles and Norton AFB in San Bernardino, California, to start working with the Auditor General and Ballistic Missile Programs. From California he went to many other stations in the United States, including The Auditor General in Washington, D.C. After this, he went to different Air Force Schools like Squadron Officers and Command Staff schools in Alabama. Next, he was going back overseas to Guam and other little places in the Mariana Islands.
Back in the states Col. Ditch was assigned one of his most liked tours Teaching ROTC students at SMU and living in the Dallas area. Now he had reached the rank of Major in 1964. When he left Dallas, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel. (1969). He was then sent to Thailand (Royal Thai Air Base) in 1970 and 1971. Back in the states, he was assigned to the Auditor General in Arizona. After a short tour in Arizona, he was sent to Offutt AFB in Nebraska and promoted to Colonel in 1972.
His last assignment was at the Army- Air Force Base Exchange in Dallas. While there he was given an extra temporary assignment to substitute for a Colonel at the Air Force Academy, who was on leave. He was complimented for his overall performance during the six-week period as he amply demonstrated his ability to handle great responsibility and heavy work loads. He turned in a flawless performance as Commandant of Cadets (Elwood J. Waid, Col. Field Training Commander).
Colonel Ditch retired in July 1980. He served proudly in the U.S. Air Force for 32 years. His decorations include the Bronze Star, the twice awarded Legion of Merit, the Presidential Unit Citation, multiple Armed Forces Meritorious Service and Air Force Commendation Medals. He also received many expeditionary and campaign medals, an Army and Air Force unit citations from his service with Occupational Forces in Germany and the Vietnam War. He was a graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana and attended numerous schools within the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
He is survived by his sister, Mary Cain; son Col. Robert L. Ditch and wife, Carmel-Ann; daughter Barbara Wasinger and husband, Frank; daughter Mary Thomas and husband, Lee; daughter Jane Meyer and husband, John; daughter Anne Lee and husband, Jeff; daughter Patty Oliphant and husband, Gary; 17 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren; and, 1 great-great grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palestine, Texas, on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Donations may be sent to The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, 9600 N. Central Expressway, Suite 200, Dallas, Texas 75231 or St. Judes Hospital.
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Published on January 29, 2019
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