Col. Rick Rider
Col. Richard “Rick” W. Rider, USAF (Ret.)
January 25, 1945 – October 23, 2002
Colonel Richard W. Rider was born on January 25, 1945 in Alexandria, Virginia and grew up in Ballston Spa, New York. He attended the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Land Management in 1966. In 1969 he earned a Master of Science degree from the same college in Forest Tree Improvement. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1973 in residence and Air Command and Staff College in 1992 via correspondence.
He received his commission as a second lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1966. In 1968 he entered active duty and was assigned to 347th Civil Engineering Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan as squadron construction engineer. In 1970, he was reassigned to the Republic of Vietnam. He served in 554th Civil Engineering Squadron (Heavy Repair) as squadron engineer on Hon Tre Island and Cam Rahn Bay Air Base. He was then assigned to the 315th Civil Engineering Squadron at Phan Rang Air Base as civil engineering programs officer.
Upon closure of that base he became a Military Assistance Command, Vietnam advisor to the Vietnamese Army Corps of Engineers in Cholon City on facility maintenance and fire protection. In 1973 Colonel Rider was assigned to Headquarters, United States Air Force Security Service, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas first as a facility maintenance officer and then as force planner. In 1976 his reassigned to the 48th Civil Engineering Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England as Chief of Resources.
Colonel Rider left active duty in 1978 and joined his family operated business, Paul Rider Warehouse, as vice-president and distributed Valvoline Motor Oil all over the Northeast United States. Upon sale of the parent company, Rider Oil Company, Inc. in 1991, he went to work for Lubricant Packaging and Supply as their Albany, New York warehouse manager.
In 1981 he was elected a Councilman to the town of Ballston Spa, New York, and was appointed Deputy Town Supervisor in 1988. He held these positions until 1993 when he resigned to return to Air Force active duty at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
Colonel Rider joined the Air Force Reserve in 1980 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency program. He was assigned to the Northern District of the New York State Emergency Management Office at Glenn Falls, New York as a disaster preparedness officer. In 1985 Colonel Rider was chosen as the first commander of the 933rd Civil Engineering Squadron, Griffis Air Force Base, New York and built the unit to full combat readiness. During his nearly eight years of command, the unit had deployments to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Howard Air Base, Panama , and Bitburg Air Base, Weisbaden Air Base and Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The Fire Protection Section of the squadron was activated for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990.
Colonel Rider was promoted to colonel in 1993 and returned to active duty to serve as Chief, Readiness Division, Directorate of The Civil Engineer, Headquarters, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Colonel Rider retired from the Air Force in 1998 after nearly 32 years of service on active duty and as a reservist.
Colonel Rider’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with one device, the Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class, the Vietnam Service Medal with five devices, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Among his awards are the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with eight devices, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with one device, the Air Force Longevity Service Award with three devices and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with one device.
In 1995 Colonel Rider became involved with Christmas in April as a volunteer in the City of Macon, Georgia. Recognizing this as a very worthy cause, Colonel Rider served on the Board of Directors of Christmas in April Macon participating on various committees from 1995 until his term expired in 1998. He was one of the original organizers and founders of Christmas in April Warner Robins, now known as Rebuilding Together Warner Robins, in 1996 and served on the Board of Directors from 1996 until his death in 2002. During this period the organization improved 73 homes and will approach 100 houses by the end of National Work Day in 2001. He served as Chairman from 1999-2002.
His additional civic affiliations include the Air Force Association (Life Member), Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, the National Rifle Association (Life Member), The Reserve Officers Association (Life Member), the Retired Officers Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars (Life Member) and the American Legion.
Colonel Rider was married to the former Flora Barker of Tucson, Arizona. They have one son, Richard-Paul R. Rider.