“Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence In All We Do” are the creeds of the USAFA Preparatory School. It sounds a daunting task to live up to such ideals. Imagine the man who could do so. Where would he be from? In what hallowed halls would he be privately educated? What privileged life would he live, allowing him to focus on such lofty goals of self-perfection? Can you see him in your mind?
Chances are, if you are old enough, you saw him in your class or buying a bottle of soda pop at your local diner. Major General Richard S. “Beef” Haddad grew up in Kearny, graduating from Ray District High School in 1976 before going onto the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1977 and, in the same area, obtaining a 1981 Bachelor of Science degree in management in the U. S. Air Force Academy. He met and married Ginger, from Arkansas, on Dec. 28, 1983. He is the son of Navval Haddad of Kearny and the late Kelly Haddad.
General Haddad was commissioned through the U.S. Air Force Academy and entered active duty in 1981. During his career, he has served in a variety of positions, flying and command, including operations throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia. He accrued hundreds of hours of combat flying time in operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Desert Storm and was in command of the first gunship over Port-au Prince, Haiti, in support of Operation Uphold Democracy.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on American soil, General Haddad commanded the 711th Special Operations Squadron through operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, during which the unit racked up more than 5,000 hours of combat, free of flying accident, ending as the most decorated Reserve flying unit.
Currently, Haddad is responsible for the daily operations of the command at Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, GA, in his position as Vice Commander. Over 71,000 Citizen Airmen, 300 aircraft, 33 flying wings, 12 flying groups and one space wing fall under his purview. Air Force Reserve Command supports all 13 Air Force Core Functions by providing combat-ready forces to fly, fight and win, whether in the air, space or cyberspace.
Prior to his current assignment, General Haddad was the Deputy to the Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon. In his civilian job, he is an airline pilot with a major U.S. carrier.
In May of this year, Haddad was inducted into the USAFA Preparatory School’s Hall of Fame in an official Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony.
Though he is far away from his roots, he serves as a reminder that humble beginnings do not mean stagnation or deprivation. Keep on trying, reach for excellence, and, it can be achieved, no matter how small your beginnings.