Robert Titus was born on December 6, 1926, in Orange, New Jersey. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 25, 1945, and served with the 82nd Airborne Division on occupation duty in Berlin, Germany, and in the U.S. until he left active duty on August 2, 1946. After serving 2 years in the Army Reserve, he enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force on September 29, 1948, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on September 30, 1949. Lt Titus served at the Reading Lab at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from September to December 1949, and then as an instructor pilot with the 3834th Air Installation Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Florida, from January to August 1950. His next assignment was as an F-51 Mustang pilot with the 3625th Training Squadron at Tyndall AFB from September 1950 to May 1951, followed by F-86 Sabre Combat Crew Training from June to August 1951. He then served as an F-51 pilot with the 40th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in Korea from September to November 1951, and as an F-51 and F-86 pilot with the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in Korea from November 1951 to September 1952. His next assignment was as a ferry pilot with the 1737th Ferry Squadron at Dover AFB, Delaware, from September 1952 to March 1954, followed by test pilot school at Edwards AFB, California, from April to October 1954. Capt Titus then served as an operations officer with the 6511th Training Group at El Centro, California, from October 1954 to December 1955, and as a flight test officer with the Flight Test Operations Division at Edwards AFB from December 1955 to October 1959. He received an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to complete his master's degree at the University of Chicago from October 1959 to August 1961, and then served as an F-105 Thunderchief pilot and operations officer with the 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ramstein AB, West Germany, from August 1961 to January 1963. Maj Titus next served as Flight Safety Officer with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Lindsey AS, West Germany, from February 1963 to September 1964, followed by service as an operations staff officer with Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, from September 1964 to May 1966. He served as an F-5 Freedom Fighter pilot and Commander of the 10th Fighter Commando Squadron at Bien Hoa AB, South Vietnam, from May 1966 to January 1967, and then served as an F-4 Phantom II pilot and Commander of the 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron at DaNang AB, South Vietnam, from February to September 1967, during which time he was credited with the destruction of 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. Col Titus next served on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon from September 1967 to August 1969, followed by the National War College from August 1969 to June 1970. His next assignment was as Vice Commander of the 15th Tactical Fighter Wing (later redesignated the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing) from June 1970 to May 1971, and then as Commander of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kadena AB, Okinawa, from May 1971 to May 1973. Gen Titus served as Commander of the 313th Air Division at Kadena AB from June to August 1973, and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations with Headquarters U.S. Systems Command at Andrews AFB, Maryland, from August 1973 to September 1974. His next assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff for LIVE OAK with Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe at Casteau, Belgium, from September 1974 to July 1976, followed by service as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Requirements with NORAD at Peterson AFB, Colorado, from July 1976 to January 1977. His final assignment was as Inspector General for NORAD from February 1977 until his retirement from the Air Force on August 1, 1977.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
Lieutenant Colonel Robert F. Titus distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-4C Mission Commander near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on 22 May 1967. On that date, Colonel Titus led his flight into one of the most heavily defended areas of North Vietnam in direct support of F-105 strike aircraft operations. Undaunted by accurate flak and five surface-to-air missiles that were launched at his aircraft, he repeatedly and unhesitatingly engaged numerous MIG-21s in defense of the friendly aircraft. During these aggressive and courageous aerial encounters, Colonel Titus destroyed two MIG-21 aircraft. As a direct result of his tenacity and extreme bravery in the face of great danger, the F-105 force was able to accomplish its assigned mission. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, Colonel Titus reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.