Hunter Hackney was born on July 28, 1931, in Pasadena, California. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration in 1954, Hackney enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force on August 13, 1954, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on December 6, 1955. He then completed instructor pilot training and served with the 3576th Pilot Training Squadron at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, from March 1956 to October 1958. Lt Hackney next completed KC-97 Stratotanker Combat Crew Training and was assigned to the 380th Air Refueling Squadron at Plattsburgh AFB, New York, from January 1959 to August 1964, when he went through KC-135 Stratotanker Combat Crew Training. He then served with the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild AFB, Washington, from December 1964 to January 1968. During this time, Maj Hackney flew 40 combat missions in Southeast Asia from August to October 1966. He transitioned to the C-7 Caribou transport in January 1968, and then flew 139 combat missions with the 458th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay AB in the Republic of Vietnam from January to December 1968. His next assignment was flying KC-135's with the 43rd and then the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron and on the staff of the 92nd Strategic Aerospace Wing at Fairchild AFB from January 1969 to August 1971. He flew another 35 combat missions while on Temporary Duty in Southeast Asia from May to September 1969. Col Hackney attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1971 to May 1972, and then served with the 301st Air Refueling Wing at Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio, from August 1972 to January 1976. He was Deputy Director of Command Control and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations with Headquarters 8th Air Force at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, from January 1976 to May 1979, followed by service as Deputy Commander for Resource Management with the 351st Strategic Missile Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, where he served from May 1979 until his retirement from the Air Force on October 31, 1981. Hunter Hackney died on October 17, 1999, and was buried at the Rose-Neath Cemetery in Bossier City, Louisiana.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, awards the Air Force Cross to Major Hunter F. Hackney for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a C-7A Aircraft Commander near Duc Lap, Republic of Vietnam, on 25 August 1968. On that date, Major Hackney flew two drop passes delivering vitally needed ammunition through vicious concentrations of antiaircraft and automatic weapons fire in which his aircraft sustained severe battle damage, disabling it and causing him to recover at a forward base. Realizing that the defenders of Duc Lap could not survive through the night without resupply of small arms ammunition, Major Hackney obtained a new aircraft and volunteered to reenter this hostile environment in which five other aircraft had perished. With tenacious courage, he delivered his cargo, again sustaining heavy battle damage. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of an opposing armed force, Major Hackney has reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.