Bob Galer was born on October 24, 1913, in Seattle, Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in commercial engineering, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps through the Navy ROTC Program on June 1, 1935, going on active duty beginning in June 1936, when he entered flight training. Lt Galer was designated a Naval Aviator in April 1937, and then joined VMF-1 at MCAS Quantico, Virginia, for a short time before attending the Basic School. His next assignment was with VMS-3 at St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, where he served from June 1938 to June 1940, followed by duty with VMF-2 at North Island, California, from June 1940 to January 1941. Galer then transferred to VMF-211 at MCAS Ewa, on Oahu, Hawaii, and was there at the time of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. He was put in command of VMF-224 in May 1942, and deployed with the squadron to Guadalcanal in August 1942. After destroying 13 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus 4 probables, he returned to the United States in October 1942, and after stateside assignments in San Diego and Hawaii, he returned to the Pacific Theater in November 1944 as Operations Officer for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Col Galer returned to the U.S. in June 1945, and served at the Naval Air Training Base at Corpus Christi, Texas, from July 1945 to August 1947, followed Armed Force Staff College from August 1947 to June 1948. He then served as Operations and Training Officer for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, from June 1948 to April 1950, and then on the staff of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at NAS San Diego, California, from April 1950 to March 1952. Col Galer was Assistant Chief of Staff for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea from March to May 1952, and then served as Commander of Marine Aircraft Group 12 from May to August 1952. After returning from Korea, he was assigned to the staff of Fleet Marine Force Pacific at MCAS El Toro, California, from October 1952 to July 1953, and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from July 1953 to June 1954. Gen Galer's final assignment was with Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon, where he served as Assistant Director and then Director of the Guided Missile Division in the Bureau of Aeronautics, Department of the Navy, from June 1954 until his retirement from the Marine Corps on July 31, 1957. Bob Galer died on June 27, 2005, and was buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
For conspicuous heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as leader of a marine fighter squadron in aerial combat with enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area. Leading his squadron repeatedly in daring and aggressive raids against Japanese aerial forces, vastly superior in numbers, Maj. Galer availed himself of every favorable attack opportunity, individually shooting down 11 enemy bomber and fighter aircraft over a period of 29 days. Though suffering the extreme physical strain attendant upon protracted fighter operations at an altitude above 25,000 feet, the squadron under his zealous and inspiring leadership shot down a total of 27 Japanese planes. His superb airmanship, his outstanding skill and personal valor reflect great credit upon Maj. Galer's gallant fighting spirit and upon the U.S. Naval Service.