September 29, 1998

Hornbeak new commander of VSU Air Force ROTC

An Air Force officer experienced in rocket missions and missile readiness has taken charge of Valdosta State University's aspiring military men and women.

Lt. Col. Richard Hornbeak has assumed command of VSU's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Detachment 172.

Hornbeak comes to VSU from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where he commanded the 2nd Space Launch Squadron, where Atlas II, Delta II, Pegasus and Taurus spacecraft blast into space.

During his career Hornbeak has also served as a "missileer," completing duty as a crew member for the Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Hornbeak said his goal is to maintain VSU's AFROTC detachment as a quality educational experience for its 100-plus students interested in aerospace studies.

"The direction of this program is on-track already-all I can hope to do is keep it on course and make it better," Hornbeak said. "That can only be done by working hand-in-hand with the university."

Hornbeak, a native of Paducah, Ky., graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a commission through AFROTC. In 1983, he graduated from Northern Montana College with a Master of Education degree. He is a distinguished graduate of Squadron Officer School, a 1992 graduate of Air Command and Staff College resident course and a 1996 graduate of the Air War College seminar program. His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal and the Combat Readiness Medal.

Hornbeak is married to the former Jan Patrice Peger of Brownsville, Ky. They have four daughters: Erin, Jamie, Paula and Patti.

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