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Brig. Gen. Robert Dawson Cardwell Jr.

February 1, 1935 December 23, 2017
Brig. Gen. Robert Dawson Cardwell Jr.
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Obituary for Brig. Gen. Robert Dawson Cardwell Jr.

Brigadier General Robert D. Cardwell, Jr. passed away peacefully at his Bel Air, MD home on December 23rd, 2017. Born in Baltimore on February 1, 1935 to Robert D. Cardwell, Sr. and Grace Eleanor (Johnson) Cardwell, he was a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. The General began his forty year military career in 1954 and was awarded his pilot wings upon graduation from Reese Air Force Base in Texas. He was then assigned to the Air Rescue Service with duty at Ashiya Air Base in Japan. In 1957 he was assigned as a troop carrier pilot flying C-130 aircraft out of Ardmore Air Force base in Oklahoma.

In 1962 the General joined the 135th Air Commando Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard as a troop carrier pilot. He served the following duties between 1963 and 1966: Chief of Standardization/Evaluation, Flight Examiner, Instructor Pilot and Standardization Pilot. He was then assigned as a Flying Safety Officer with the 135th Special Operations Group and then transferred to the 135th Tactical Air Support Group as an air operations staff officer. He held that position until he was reassigned as Commander, 135th Tactical Air Support Squadron in 1974. In 1976 he was reassigned to the 135th Tactical Airlift Group as the director of operations and assigned as Group Commander in 1977. He served as Group Commander until 1989 when he was appointed to Chief of Staff for Air, Headquarters, Maryland National Guard. In 1990, he was promoted to and federally recognized as Brigadier general.

He attended the Air Command and Staff College Program, United States Air Force Special Operations School, University of Southern California Institute of Aerospace and Management.

The General was a command pilot with more than 7,500 flying hours. His awards and decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Force commendation Medal, Combat Readiness Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one hourglass device, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and Air Force Training Ribbon. He was the recipient of the National Guard Bureau Eagle Commendation Award. His Maryland awards include the State of Maryland Distinguished Service Cross, and the Maryland State Service Ribbon with three bronze botonees. He was also awarded a Military Order of World Wars certificate.

The General had a life-long passion for the water, sailing Chesapeake Bay for over forty years. He was an avid and accomplished sailor, having earned his US Coast Guard License to captain a 50-ton vessel. His sailing voyages included three sailing trips to Bermuda with his close sailing buddies and his son, using celestial navigation. After his retirement he made many trips up and down the Inland Waterway relocating watercraft. When he wasn’t sailing he enjoyed golfing.

General Cardwell and his wife were members of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church for 51 years and served in many building projects including the construction of the church’s columbarium.

The General is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Virginia (Clayton) Cardwell having shared 70 years as sweethearts. He is also survived by his son, Robert D. Cardwell, III (Judy) of Street, MD and his daughter Valerie Johnson (Larry) of Forest Hill, MD. He was predeceased by an infant son.

Survivors also include six grandchildren. Jacob Cardwell (Holly), Ginny Slunt (Chris), Natalie Edwards (Sam), Holly Johnson, Jill Frassetto (Anthony) and Evan Johnson. Also survived by five great-grandchildren, James Cardwell, Clayton and Lydia Slunt, Savannah Johnson and Alaina Frassetto. Also survived by step great-grandchildren, Lexi, Tori, Elyssa and Jacob Sisolak.

In lieu of lowers the family requests donations to: Christ Our King Music Dept. at the address above or to: Guiding Eyes for the Blind, 611 Granite Springs Rd, Yorktowne Heights, NY, 10598. Please designate donations toward a service dog for a Veteran in memory of Brig. Gen. Robert D. Cardwell, Jr.

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Memorial Service




2:00 PM 1/13/2018 2:00:00 PM
Christ Our King Presbyterian Church

10 Lexington Road
Bel Air,, MD 21014

Christ Our King Presbyterian Church
10 Lexington Road Bel Air, 21014 MD
United States

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