He began his military career in 1939 as an Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet. By 1944 he was a B-24 pilot with the 8th Air Force and was shot down on his 20th mission over Germany were he evaded capture and entered Switzerland only to make his way back into occupied France until D-Day.
By 1947, he was the Project Operations Officer and B-29 launch pilot on the Super Sonic project and in 1948 he was chief test pilot on the Northrop B-49 Flying Wing and Chief of Flight test operations at Muroc AB. Several notable assignments 1950-1973: National Nuclear War planner developing the NSTL target list, Deputy Commander 16th Air Force in Spain, negotiated with Moamar Khadafi on withdrawal from Whelless AFB in Libya.
During the Vietnam War, Col. Cardenas flew combat missions in F-105’s over North Vietnam and was promoted to Brig. General March 15,1968, and assumed command of the USAF Special Operations Command, 1970 assigned as US Deputy COS Live Oak in Mons, Belgium, where he spent a year telling the Soviets “nyet” and calling their bluff on closing travel to Berlin by road, rail or air. By June, 1973, he retired and returned to San Diego.
BGEN Robert L. Cardenas USAF retired web site: http://www.bobcardenasyb49.com/