HomeNewsArticle Display

Father and son share A-10 legacy

Lt. Col. Ryan Haden, left, 74th Fighter Squadron commander, shows his father, retired Col. Robert Haden, the inside of an A-10C Thunderbolt II cockpit at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Oct. 31, 2013. Robert Haden was also an A-10 pilot during his 28 years in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis Millican)

Lt. Col. Ryan Haden, left, 74th Fighter Squadron commander, shows his father, retired Col. Robert Haden, the inside of an A-10C Thunderbolt II cockpit at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Oct. 31, 2013. Robert Haden was also an A-10 pilot during his 28 years in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis Millican)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- Already anxious about the first day of high school football practice, a young junior donned his gear and was calmed as he looked to the sidelines to see his father there watching. For the junior, a life of uncertainty and unfamiliarity was something he was used to. The next day his father, an A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot, would lead a squadron of 48 A-10's on a deployment.

Nearly a decade later, the young man traded in his football gear for a flight suit.

The then-anxious football player is now Lt. Col. Ryan Haden who decided to follow in his father's footsteps by joining the U.S. Air Force and becoming an A-10 pilot. He now commands the 74th Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.

"My dad is a builder, of both things and men," said Ryan Haden. "I honestly believe there is no task that he cannot accomplish. He is my mentor and my friend, simply true to his words his entire life. ... He to me is the epitome of a leader of men.

"People would pull me aside at social events and tell me what an honor it was to have worked for, served under or be led by my father," he added. "To me, there's nothing better than to teach and lead people. In my mind, I wanted to be a leader and to do whatever I could to earn the type of respect that my father had."

Ryan Haden said he grew up with a father who demonstrated leadership in a way that made him want to emulate him.

"I'm very proud of my son and of what he has become," said retired Col. Robert Haden. "He was at my change of command, and now I can be at his change of command."

Ryan Haden took command of the 74th FS on Nov. 1, 2013. He says watching his father lead has helped to get him to where he is today.

Robert Haden added that through both his and his son's careers they have gained many mutual friends, including many pilots Ryan Haden eventually ran into who flew with his father.

"My first commander in Korea had been a lieutenant for my dad back when he was the squadron commander in Korea," said Ryan Haden.

Now, after nearly a decade of retirement, Robert Haden continues to show his support for his son.

"My dad pinned my lieutenant colonel rank on me," said Ryan Haden. "As I've gone through the ranks from basic pilot wings ... to command pilot wings I always get his sterling silver wings he wore in the mail."

Not only did Ryan Haden get to wear his father's pilot wings, but at 14 years old he also got to be a part of his final flight in Korea.

"I've hosed my dad down at a few of his fini flights," said Ryan Haden. "They handcuffed him to the ladder of the A-10 [in Korea] and we hosed him down."

The elder Haden added that final flight traditions have changed throughout the years, but the A-10 pilots continue to participate in different ways.

During a recent visit, Robert Haden was also given the opportunity to relive some fond memories in an A-10 simulator and fly once again. He said he was able to take off, land and shoot the gun, but all the new technology was something he was not use to.

Now, with nearly two decades between Robert Haden's retirement and today, both Airmen agree the aircraft remains mostly the same and the A-10 community continues to grow.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@ACC_Commander designates the 16th Air Force as a new information warfare numbered #AirForce at #ASC19. As… https://t.co/LMiMJ3rWNO
RT @AstroHague: Thank you to the Airmen across the globe who make the human exploration of space possible. Wishing the @usairforce a happy…
RT @Hanscom_AFB: “The @usairforce is leading the charge across @DeptofDefense. No one else in #government has as much ... of this software…
RT @PACAF: Commanders from Australia, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Thailand and the U.S. met for the 2019 Logistics and Safet…
To all those who helped establish the long blue line past, present and future, we honor you and we remember with th… https://t.co/teymF7proy
#ASC19: "We’re all in this together trying to make your service to country the best experience on the planet. We w… https://t.co/rdbCDBJr2c
#VCSAF Gen. Stephen Wilson speaks on what makes the #AirForce unique. #ASC19 https://t.co/gStwUZoaQC
RT @AFSpace: @AstroHague takes #aimhigh to the extreme by celebrating the @usairforce's birthday from the @Space_Station! #FrontiersofBlue
RT @VP: Happy 72nd birthday to the @usairforce! On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to the amazing men and women of the Air Force for…
#ASC19: There's a challenge to maintain warfighting capabilities until new bombers and missiles arrive. Hear more f… https://t.co/SWB3VjNod8
#ASC19: Want to know which three acquisition trends #AirForce acquisition experts believe should "go viral?" Click… https://t.co/hsiH3oQXOX
RT @NSAGov: Happy Birthday to the @usairforce! For 72 years you've taught us to aim high. We look forward to continuing to fly, fight, and…
RT @AFGlobalStrike: The Air Force is celebrating 72 years of service, so here is 72 seconds of Global Strike Command! #USAFBday #ThisIs72 h…
Moments like this one between @GenDaveGoldfein and retired Col. Charles McGee remind us of where we've been as we f… https://t.co/LlhJhfdHQb
ICYMI: @ActingSecAF Matthew Donovan announced Sept. 16 at #ASC19 that the B-21 Raider is being produced in Northrop… https://t.co/XTsOnLwrTw
ICYMI: @ActingSecAF Matthew P. Donovan announced on Sept. 16 at #ASC19 that the Air Force’s all-new advanced traine… https://t.co/9MULuV7vFN
RT @USNavy: To be young again... #HappyBirthday, @usairforce! Congrats on 72 years playing a key role in the National Defense Strategy. He…
RT @USArmy: Join us in wishing the @usairforce a #happybirthday! They may have separated from the Army in 1947, but they have been trail br…
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks @EsperDoD for speaking at @AirForceAssoc #ASC19 & chatting with our exceptional #Airmen who are dedicated to sharpe…