News>Air Force advocate on House Armed Services Committee passes away
Retired Air Force Col. Douglas C. Roach as an F-4E pilot with the Thunderbirds air demonstration team in 1974. Roach, an Air Force advocate and long-time staff director with the House Armed Services Committee on tactical air and land forces, passed away on Jan. 11 following a battle with cancer. (Courtesy photo)
1/16/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- A retired Air Force colonel and one-time Thunderbirds air demonstration team pilot, who was an important Air Force advocate as a staffer with the House Armed Services Committee, has passed away.
Douglas C. Roach passed away Jan. 11 from complications due to cancer at the age of 70.
"The Air Force family lost a great Airman and advocate in Doug Roach," said Tony Reardon, Deputy Director, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C. "Doug was a patriot who embodied Air Force core values, and his loss will be felt for years to come."
As an Air Force pilot he flew the F-4 Phantom and the F-15 as an operational test pilot working on precision-guided munitions and air-to-air missiles. He also worked as the Air Force legislative liaison and the Pentagon's legislative affairs office. Since 2001, Roach was the staff lead for the tactical air and land forces subcommittee.
"America lost a selfless servant and true hero," said House Armed Services Committee chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.). "Doug Roach was more than a member of my staff; he was an institution."
Roach began his career with the House Armed Services Committee in 1991 following a distinguished Air Force career that included 516 combat missions during the Vietnam War.
Roach served with both political parties to help push through important national security legislation, and according to the chair of the tactical air and land forces panel where Roach worked, was always up front with his advice.
"Doug Roach was a trusted counselor to members of both sides of the aisle for many years," said Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). "He always gave us his best advice, regardless of party interest or agenda."
1/17/2013 3:59:00 PM ET Interesting bit of trivia about Col Roach. He was the first Civil Air Patrol cadet to earn the Spaatz Award the highest award in the cadet program.