Retired Gen. Robert W. Bazley, who led Pacific Air Forces from November 1984 to December 1986, died on Dec. 16 at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., according to his family. He was 87. Bazley’s military career spanned 43 years and 35 assignments at home and aboard. He commanded at the squadron, wing, and numbered air force level, and in later years was vice commander-in-chief of US Air Forces in Europe and then Air Force inspector general before becoming PACAF’s commander-in-chief. Born in Pittsburgh on Dec. 5, 1925, Bazley enlisted in the Army Air Forces in September 1943 during World War II and received his navigator wings and a commission as a second lieutenant in March 1945, according to his official Air Force biography. He was released from Active Duty in February 1946, but recalled in November 1951 during the Korean War, serving as an RB-26 navigator on 50 combat sorties. He chose to remain in the Air Force and became a fighter pilot. In August 1968, he commanded the 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron in South Vietnam, flying 257 combat missions in F-100s. He retired from the Air Force on Jan. 1, 1987. Among his military decorations and awards are the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, and Bronze Star Medal. Bazley logged more than 4,500 flying hours over the course of his military career.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.