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In Memoriam - Dick Trumbo

February 23, 2017

In Memoriam - Dick Trumbo

We are deeply saddened to report that Richard B. “Dick” Trumbo has passed away at the age of 84.

   You may know him best these days as the benefactor of the annual “Fun Run” 5k run/walk at AsMA’s annual meetings, a project that was near and dear to his heart. A Fellow and 50+ year member of the Association, Dick spent 8 years as AsMA Assistant Executive Vice President and our meeting planner from September 1991 to July 1999. He thoroughly enjoyed his many world-wide friendships through AsMA. His wife, Peggy, has been a very active member of the Wing of AsMA for many years.
   Richard Bonner Trumbo was born 2 February 1933 in Norfolk, VA. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1954 with a major in biology and attended the Medical College of Virginia from 1954-1957.  He was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force as an aviation physiologist in 1957.  Col. Trumbo received his Master's and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California with a major in physiology.  He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College while on active duty.
   Dr. Trumbo was first assigned as an aviation physiologist at the Craig AFB Alabama Physiological Training Unit. His next Air Force assignment was from 1963-1966 with the Physiological Training Section, USAF Hospital, Andrews AFB, MD. In 1968 he was assigned as Commander, 831st Physiological Training Flight, 479th Tactical Hospital, George AFB, CA. In October 1969, Dr. Trumbo was reassigned to the Physiological Support Division, USAF Regional Hospital, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, in support of the SAC, U-2 reconnaissance program. He was selected for an assignment at the Air Force Academy, CO, where he served as Instructor, Assistance Professor, and Division Director of Life and Behavioral Sciences from 1971 until 1974. In 1975, Dr. Trumbo was assigned as staff Physiologist in the Office of the Command Surgeon, HQ AFSC, Andrews AFB, MD, with the Directorate of Biotechnology from 1975 through 1978 participating in management of manned systems-related research in the Air Force.
   In 1978, Dr. Trumbo was selected for a DOD assignment at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, MD, as Director of Grants Management and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Physiology, and Military Medicine and History. In August 1981, he was assigned to the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI), Bethesda, MD, as a Research Physiologist. Dr. Trumbo participated in radiation cardiocardiovascular research and served as the senior Air Force officer at the Institute. Dr. Trumbo was named as Chief, Physiological Support Division, USAF Hospital Beale AFB, CA, in 1982. He was responsible for the support of aircrews in the SR-71, U-2, TR-1 aircraft worldwide high altitude reconnaissance program for SAC as well as the Command's Physiological Training Program. In the summer of 1984, he returned to HQ AFSC as Director of Biotechnology and Human Factors. In 1985, he was reassigned as Chief, Aerospace Physiology, Office of the Surgeon General, as well as the Associate Chief, Biomedical Sciences Corps for Aerospace Physiologists.
   Upon retiring from the Air Force in 1988, until mid-1989, Dr. Trumbo served as Manager, Space Medicine and Biology Department, Life Sciences Program Office, Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company. In this position he was responsible for planning, organization, direction, and control of scientific and administrative assistance in support of the Space Medicine and Biology Branch, the NASA Headquarters, Life Sciences Division. In the summer of 1989, Dr. Trumbo established a consulting firm, Aerospace Life Sciences, Inc, (ALSI) to provide consultation services in the areas of aerospace physiology, human factors, biomedical and environmental sciences, and life support, as well as exercise and fitness.
   Then, in September of 1991, Dick became the Assistant Executive Vice President of AsMA. He was responsible for meeting planning and site selection during his tenure from September 1991-July 1999. During his time at AsMA headquarters, he always had time for you—a cup of tea and a chat. He was quite the Southern gentleman. He knew every member who needed assistance with planning at the meeting and treated them with kindness and respect. He could always handle the ‘glitches’ calmly.  
   His military decorations included the Air Force Legion of Merit, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Services Commendation Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. He was a recipient of the Fred A. Hitchcock Award for Excellence in Aerospace Physiology, AsPS.  In addition to his Fellowship in AsMA, Dr. Trumbo was a past president of the Aerospace Physiologist Society (AsPS) and a member of the SAFE Association. He was certified in Aerospace Physiology by the AsMA, was a private pilot, and a certified scuba diver. His outside pleasures included sailing, skiing, tennis, his West Virginia homeplace, and Cobbs Creek, VA, on the Piankatank River.
   Memorial gifts may be made to St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Virginia Military Institute (Richard B. Trumbo Scholarship Fund) in Lexington, VA 24450, or Capital Caring Hospice, 5845 Richmond Hwy, Alex, VA 22303.