Richard Knobloch was born on May 27, 1918, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After attending the University of Wisconsin, he enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on November 25, 1940, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas, on July 12, 1941. His first assignment was as a B-25 Mitchell pilot with the 37th Bomb Squadron at Pendleton Field, Oregon, from July 1941 until he was selected for the Doolittle Mission in February 1942. Lt Knobloch was the Co-Pilot on the 13th B-25 to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942, and after bombing enemy shipping and supplies at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, the crew flew to China and bailed out when their aircraft ran out of fuel. He remained in the China-Burma-India Theater flying combat missions with 10th Air Force and then the 491st Bomb Squadron until he returned to the United States in July 1943. Maj Knobloch next served as Assistant Engineering Officer and then as Engineering Officer with the 27th Sub-Depot with Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin Field, Florida, from August 1943 to February 1944, followed by service as Chief of the Aircraft Maintenance Branch, Chief of the Ground Test Section, and finally as Chief of the Equipment Section with Air Proving Ground Command from March 1944 to August 1946. LtCol Knobloch then received an assignment to Kansas State College to complete his bachelor's degree from September 1946 to June 1947. His next assignment was as Deputy Assistant Chief of Material and then as Director of Maintenance with Headquarters 12th Air Force at March AFB, California, from August 1947 to January 1949, followed by service as an exchange officer with the British Royal Air Force in England from January 1949 to January 1950. Col Knobloch then attended the Royal Air Force Flying College in London, England, from January to December 1950. He next served as Assistant and then as Deputy for Material with Headquarters 9th Air Force at Pope AFB, North Carolina, from January 1951 to July 1953, followed by service as Vice Commander of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, from July 1953 to April 1955. After attending the Strategic Intelligence School and the Foreign Service Institute at Fort Myer, Virginia, Col Knobloch served as Air AttachÃ© to Italy from August 1956 to July 1960. His next assignment was as a student at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., from August 1960 to June 1961, followed by service with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from July 1961 to August 1963. He served as Deputy Commander of the U.S. Air Force Military Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, from August 1963 to June 1965, and then as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel followed by Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans with Headquarters Pacific Air Forces at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, from June 1965 to July 1968. During this time, Gen Knobloch managed to fly at least 1 combat mission in Vietnam. His final assignment was as Commander of the 1st Composite Wing at Andrews AFB, Maryland, from July 1968 until his retirement from the Air Force on February 1, 1970. Richard Knobloch died on August 13, 2001, and was buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame in 1997.
His Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, awards the Distinguished Service Medal to Brigadier General Richard A. Knobloch, for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility. General Knobloch distinguished himself as Commander of the 1st Composite Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, from 29 July 1968 to 31 January 1970. Under his superior leadership, the wing successfully accomplished its demanding mission of providing vital support to the United States Air Force, other governmental organizations, and the President of the United States. In meeting these ultimate responsibilities, he provided expert guidance on a wide spectrum of national interest matters, managed his resources most efficiently, and gave selflessly of his time and experience to insure the mission was performed flawlessly. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of General Knobloch culminate a distinguished career in the service of his country, and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.