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In Memoriam: Robert Fassold

August 08, 2018

In Memoriam: Robert Fassold

AsMA was saddened to learn of the death of M.Gen.(Ret.) Robert W. Fassold, CSTJ, CD, BSC, DPH, M.D., former Surgeon General of the Canadian Forces, and Past President of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).

Gen. Fassold was a native of London, Ontario, Canada. He earned a B.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario in 1955, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, and was at the top of his class at advanced flying school in 1957.
   Gen. Fassold first served as a pilot at 2 Air Navigation School in Winnipeg, where he was also an aircraft maintenance and repair test pilot. In 1959, he flew heads of state and military and civilian dignitaries from the 412(VIP) Transport Squadron in Ottawa to destinations around the world in a De Havilland Comet 1A aircraft. He received an M.D. from the University of Western Ontario in 1967 and then served a tour as a Flight/Base Surgeon at CFB Trenton. After that, he attended the School of Hygiene at the University of Toronto, earning a DPH in 1972. He completed an aerospace medicine residency at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine in 1973 and was certified in aerospace medicine.
   In 1977, Gen. Fassold became Deputy and then Acting Chief of the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine. He was promoted to Deputy Surgeon General in 1980. He became Surgeon General in 1985 and served in that capacity until 1988. During his time as Surgeon General, he was the driving force behind the creation of the first two medical command formations in the Canadian Forces. During that time, he was also appointed Queen’s Honorary Physician and elected to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; he became a Commander in the Order in 1986. He was President of AsMA from 1986–1987, one of the first non-American AsMA members to be chosen.
   After Gen. Fassold retired from the Canadian Forces, he became Chairman of the Canadian Space Agency’s Life Sciences Advisory Committee and a Consultant in Occupational Medicine to Transport Canada’s Aviation Medicine Review Board. He was a Fellow of AsMA, was active in various committees, and served as a Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee. He was also a long-standing member of the NATO/AGARD Aerospace Medicine Panel and ASSC Working Party 61. His awards included the Canadian Forces Decoration with clasp.