Lieutenant General Richard Phillip Klocko was born in Dunkirk, NY on Feb 26, 1915. He graduated from Dunkirk High School in 1933, received a Competitive Congressional Appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, and graduated from there in 1937. He completed primary and advanced flying training at Randolph and Kelly Air Bases at San Antonio, TX, and received his wings in October 1938.
General Klocko’s first assignment in the Army Air Corps was a two-and-a-half year tour with the 8th Pursuit Group, Langley Field, VA. In January 1941, he was transferred to the 36th Pursuit Group, which, shortly thereafter, was moved to Losey Field, Puerto Rico, where he served until June 1942. At that time he was reassigned to England, where he served in the Headquarters, European Theater of Operations, until October 1942, when he requested release from his staff duties.
In October 1942, he was assigned to organize and command the 350th Fighter Group being formed in England. Klocko readied the unit, equipped with P-39 fighters, for combat. Starting in December 1942, the group flew incrementally from England to North Africa in support of the Allied invasion. In February 1943, Klocko (by this time a lieutenant colonel) dropped an escape and rescue message to the “Lost Battalion” surrounded by German troops, for which he was awarded the Silver Star. Shortly thereafter, on February 24, Klocko was shot down by AA fire while on a strafing mission. He was captured by Rommel’s forces, flown to Germany and remained a Prisoner of War until April 1945.
Following the end of the war, Klocko was assigned to the War Department General Staff, Washington, DC, from August 1945 to October 1947. Upon establishment of the separate United States Air Force, he was transferred to the Air Staff. His sole task was to establish an Air Force counterpart to the Army Security Agency. In 1949 his efforts resulted in the establishment of the U.S. Air Force Security Services.
From August 1949 to July 1950, Klocko attended the Air War College, and from July 1950 until July 1952 he served as instructor and member of the Air College faculty. Klocko remained at Maxwell Air Force Base until July 1954, serving as a member of the Graduate Study Group, writing on policy and doctrine for Air Force operations.
Klocko then was assigned to the Air Force Security Service, Kelly Air Force Base, TX, as Deputy Chief of Staff Operations Commander, 6900th Security Wing, Frankfurt, Germany. He commanded the wing until August 1960. At that time he was returned to Kelly Air Force Base as Deputy Commander and later, on Sep 1, 1962, as Commander of the Air Force Security Service.
General Klocko, a Command Pilot, assumed command of the Air Force Communications Service at Scott Air Force Base, IL, on Oct 19, 1965. In November 1967, he was selected as Director, Defense Communications Agency, in Washington, DC, in which position he served until his retirement on Sep 1, 1971.
Klocko’s decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, three Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, three Air Medals, and the two Army Commendation Medals.
Following his military service, Klocko served as a Program Manager for General Electric Corporation at Valley Forge, PA. In August 1972, he began work as Director of Personnel Relations and Special Assistant to the President, Texas Tech University at Lubbock, TX. In June 1979, Klocko retired at Hilton Head Island, NC. General Klocko was married to the former Madelyn Norine Ahern of Nashua, NH. He has five children: Mary Julia, Kerry Ann, Susan Ellen, Richard Phillip, Jr., and Nancy Jane. After Madelyn died in 1979, he married Jane Gray of Hilton Head Island in 1981.