Colonel (UASF/Retired) Henry T. “Hank” Niedergeses, age 75, born in Lawrenceburg, TN and a resident of Perdido, AL died Wednesday, October 27, 2021. He resigned after ten years from Baldwin County High School on June 22, 2005. He was the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and JROTC Department Head at the high school. He was also a coach in cross country, track, and soccer as well as a co-sponsor for Model United Nations and Key Club. He was presented the “Outstanding Instructor Award” in 1997 and his unit was recognized as “Outstanding Unit” in 2000. During his tenure he expanded the unit enrollment by 400% (up to 173 from 43). His cadets won over 300 trophies at drill competitions and served the Bay Minette community with over 46,000 cadet service hours over the ten years. Over 85% of his senior cadets passed the Alabama graduation exam. Colonel Niedergeses received a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Tennessee and a M.S. in international relations from Troy State University. He completed post-master courses in education from Troy State University in Montgomery.
Colonel “Hank” entered the Air Force as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He is a graduate of the resident course at Squadron Office School, Armed Force Staff College, and Air War College. He served in a variety of operational, staff, and command positions in Vietnam, Thailand, Europe, and the Continental United States. He was a command pilot with over 3,000 flying hours and over 100 combat missions. His decorations included the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with bronze star. He was promoted to colonel on January 1, 1991. He retired on September 30, 1995 with over 26 years of service.
After commissioning in 1969, he attended undergraduate pilot training at Craig Air Force Base, Alabama. After earning his pilot wings in 1970, he was then assigned to fly C-141 “Starlifters” with the 20th Military Airlift Squadron, Dover, Delaware. He was also loaned to the 436th Military Airlift Wing as a war plans officer, intelligence officer, and security officer. In 1972, he volunteered for duty in Southeast Asia and was assigned to the 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron to fly the O-2 as a forward air controller. He flew over 100 combat stories from Saigon and Phu Cat, Republic of Vietnam. In 1973, he was assigned to Thailand as senior duty controller in the 56th Special Operations Wing Command Post. On return from overseas, he again flew the C-141 and advanced to instructor pilot while assigned to the 86th Military Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base California. In 1974, he attended Squadron Officer School at Maxell Air Force Base, Alabama. In 1975, he was selected for and Air Staff Training (ASTRA) assignment, which he served as a personal analyst at Headquarters, United States Air Force. He then returned in 1976 to Travis Air Force Base and eventually became an airlift director in current operations and the executive officer to the commander, 60th Military Airlift Wing. In 1978, he was assigned to the 322nd Airlift Division, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as an airlift controller and chief of exercise plans. He then attended Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia. In 1983, he was selected for a joint assignment as air operations officer in the operations division at Headquarters, United States European Command, Vaihingen, Germany. In 1986, he went to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, initially as a C-141 airdrop aircraft commander and later as chief of the combat operations division, 437th Military Airlift Wing. One year later, he became the headquarters squadron commander in the 437th Air Base Group. In 1988, he was assigned for one year as Air Force research associate at the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute Technology. He was then assigned back to the Pentagon as politico-military planner and South Asia branch chief in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, the Joint Staff (JCS). During Desert Shield/Desert Storm he was a key member of the JCS Battle Staff. In 1991, he returned to Maxwell Air Force Base to attend the Air War College with the Class of ’92. In 1992, he assumed his position as Deputy Director, Doctrinal Research, Airpower Research Institute, College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education. In 1995, he voluntary retired to assume an AFJROTC instructor at Baldwin County High School, Bay Minette, Alabama.
He is survived by his wife, Glinda Ilene Ammons Niedergeses of Perdido, AL; two sons, John Christopher (Sandra) Niedergeses of Killen, AL and Richard Phillip (Jennifer) Niedergeses of Sewanee, TN; one daughter, Michelle Renee (Milton) Niedergeses Yu of Boston, MA; step children, Carl Vickery of Daphne, AL, Stephen Vickery of Perdido, AL and Lodusky Sunshine Vickery Glass of Perdido, AL; on grandson, Jordan Yu and fpor step grandchildren, Grayson Vickery, Carson Vickery, Hannah Vickery and Coalten Glass.
Inurnment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Henry Thomas Niedergeses, please visit our floral store.