John Hubner

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John Hubner
John Hubner
Date of Birth:
December 02, 1932
Date of Death:
January 04, 2016
Fairhaven, Washington, United States



John - a distinguished Marine aviator and fighter airplane squadron commander in the Vietnam War, died peacefully at his home
in Bellingham, WA, on January 4, following a courageous struggle with cancer. Julie, his wife of 30 years, was at his side.

During the Vietnam War, John served as commanding officer of Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron 542 (VMFA-542).
He flew 275 combat missions, most of them dangerous low-level flights in support of Marine ground troops. "We flew every
day, seven days a week," says then Captain J.D. Beak Howell, who was a member of 542 under Major Hubner. "I was a flight
schedule writer, and John would always come by to make sure that we gave him the most difficult and dangerous missions. It
was a great honor to fly on the Skipper's wing.” Beak Howell retired years later as a Lieutenant General in the Marines.

John was awarded many individual medals and citations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, which recognizes
"heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight." He was also awarded the Bronze Star with
Combat V, 18 Air Medal Flight/Strike Awards, and other honors.
His lifetime Flight Log Book showed that he was qualified in
82 different aircraft.

Early in his teenage years, John showed a spirit of independence. Sent to an elite private boys’ school in Connecticut,
he excelled in math and the sciences, and displayed early proficiency in writing and an exceptional command of English. John
had bigger things in mind, however, than a likely career on Wall Street. At the close of his junior year, he left school to work on
a ranch in Colorado and begin a lifetime of charting his own course.

John enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, fulfilled college requirements to be an officer, attended Officer
Candidates School in Quantico, VA, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He earned his wings at Naval Air Station
Pensacola, FL. In the following years, as he rose through the ranks, he served in Marine line squadrons, was a test pilot at Naval
Air Station Patuxent River, MD, and an advanced flight instructor, and was made a landing signal officer (LSO) aboard the
USS Coral Sea.

Retiring from the Marines with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, John was then employed by the Department of Defense
to assist in developing the next-generation Marine fighter plane — the vertical takeoff and landing AV-8B Harrier II. He
represented the Department at the Rolls Royce Company in England, which designed and built the Pegasus jet engine for the

After his second retirement in 1997, John and Julie moved to Bow, WA, where they resumed their passion for flying
(Julie is also an experienced pilot and flight instructor). They owned a number of different airplanes, many feeding their delight
to explore the skies in all three dimensions and others that gave them the freedom to crisscross the USA
. The couple led in
air shows at their local airport, and was involved in programs for introducing young people to aviation. John’s last
aircraft was a low-hour classic 1943 Stearman open-cockpit biplane that he enjoyed flying over
the farmlands of the Skagit
Valley and the bays of Puget Sound until shortly before his final illness. Fellow pilots and staff at Skagit Regional Airport valued
his generosity, humor, and graciousness. He was a mentor to many pilots and an advocate for the Airport. His presence and
influence at the Airport will be sorely missed.

John Hubner III was born on December 2, 1932, in Tientsin, China, where his father, John Hubner II, was Vice Consul.
His mother, Suzanne, was a New Yorker.
(His grandfather, John Hubner I, was a prominent merchant, banker, builder, State
Delegate, and State Senator in Maryland in the late 1800s.)

John is survived by five children: Suzanne Hubner of Irvine, CA; William Hubner of Cambridge, MA; Elizabeth
Carpenter of Costa Mesa, CA; Janet Howard of Eugene, OR; and John Hubner IV, of Headley, Hampshire, England; and one
grandchild, Eli Howard. 

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