Colonel Robert Bruce Hinckley passed away peacefully on November 14, 2022 following a short illness in Denver, Colorado.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts to parents Norman and Marjorie Hinckley, Bruce attended Classical High School and American International College. Following graduation, Bruce joined the Air Force and served his country honorably for nearly thirty years as a fighter pilot.
Bruce also served in Vietnam, spending five and a half years as a prisoner of war from 1968 to 1973. Upon his return, the President of the United States awarded Bruce the Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered while in service to his country; the Silver Star Medal (the third highest military decoration for valor in combat) for gallantry in delivering ordnance in his F-4D Phantom fighter-bomber in the face of intense anti-aircraft artillery fire, attacking enemy aircraft resulting in heavy damage to his target and the shoot-down of one hostile aircraft; the Legion of Merit Medal for exceptionally meritorious conduct as a Prisoner of War; the Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement as a Prisoner of War; and the Prisoner of War Medal.
Bruce remained in the Air Force for many years after his return, serving as a squadron and wing commander, as well as a test pilot, and earning a master’s degree from the Army War College.
Bruce later served as Commander and Professor of Aerospace Studies for Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 157 at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University during which time the detachment earned the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award. Bruce was awarded a Legion of Merit Medal for his service in this position, the third time in his career he was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal. Bruce later served as the University’s Director of Safety and also was involved in special projects for the University, including several projects in the Middle East.
Bruce lived many years in the Daytona Beach, Florida area before moving to live near his son in Thousand Oaks, California and later, Denver, Colorado.
Bruce enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, listening to music, traveling, and, of course, Gator Football.
Bruce was well loved by his family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Vivian Marie Hinckley. He is survived by his son Rob Hinckley and his wife Elizabeth and children Vivian and Jackson as well as his daughter Karen Palpant and her husband Bobby and her children Tessa and Larissa. Bruce is also survived by his brother Doug Hinckley and his children Jessica and Ryan.
A graveside service, including full military honors, will be held at the Swords Cemetery on Saturday, March 25 at 11 AM.
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