Fred H. Ernst (3)

Fred H. Ernst,  82, retired Colonel USAF, of Huntington Beach, Calif., passed away peacefully Thursday, April 23, 2015. Fred was born in Sterling, Idaho, on March 16, 1933. He was the youngest of five children born to Alma Drews Ernst and Raymond Earl Ernst. As a young child Fred moved with his family to Butte, Mont., where he lived for the duration of his adolescent life. He graduated with honors from Butte High in 1951 and attended the School of Mines until he was selected to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in 1952. He received his BS from the Academy graduating with distinguished honors on June 1, 1956. The outstanding rating from the Naval Academy privileged Fred to be commissioned in the AF. Fred completed pilot training at bases in Texas. Again, Fred excelled and graduated top among 60 experienced pilots from Flight Combat Training. Fred’s first assignment was the 29th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Malstrom AFB Montana. While at Malstrom, Fred met and married his wife of 54 years, Janice Bauch Ernst. In 1961, Fred was selected to earn his master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Following receipt of his master’s, the Ernst family moved to Edwards AF Base in California, where the prestigious USAF Test Pilot School exists. Fred carefully mapped his route and while waiting for admittance into the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS ), he assumed duties as an Engineer Research Officer at the AF Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, Edwards AFB, Calif. The Test Pilot School graduation in 1965 lead Fred to instruct at ARPS in 1965 under Commander Chuck Yeager. Fred was classified as a top instructor at the USAF Experimental Test Pilot School until Jan. 14, 1966. Vietnam was next on his list. In Vietnam, Fred was a pilot of an F-4 and F-105 fighter jet. He was flight commander and flew more than 200 combat missions during the time there. All were successful missions. Washington, D.C. was next on the list for Fred and Janice. Fred began his assignment in that area at Andrews AFB and graduated to the Pentagon. He attended the Squadron Officers School and Air War College. Again, high achievement was the name of his game. While at the Pentagon, the Ernst Family, Fred, Janice and Doug were involved in a critical hit and run auto accident. Doug passed on as a result of this traumatic accident; Fred was pronounced dead but lived. Janice was in ICU and survived. Doug is buried at Arlington National Cemetery where Fred's remains will be put to rest. Fred and Janice chose Southern California as their next assignment. Fred, although put back on flying status, worked at SAMSO and Vandenburg AFB with the Missile Program. Under Fred's command at Vandenburg AFB he had 100% success of 22 missiles/spacecraft launches. Fred served 23 years in the USAF and retired July 1, 1979. Fred excelled throughout his military career. His achievements were many. Among them were the Legion of Merit, two distinguished Flying Crosses and 12 Air Medals. He was promoted to Lt. Colonel and then reached the rank of Colonel two years early. He spent in flight operations over 3,500 hours of flight time. Upon AF retirement, Fred trained and became certified in commercial real estate and financial planning. He worked for such companies as Bankers System, APR Data Systems, and Marcus and Millichap. His last endeavor was starting his own company, The Ernst Company. He had such clients as the Salvation Army, Platt College, and Jack in the Box. He quietly succeeded and retired April 2014. He was preceded in death by his father, Ray Ernst, and mother and stepfather, Alma and William Commins. He is survived by Janice, his wife, and his siblings, Bari Maddock, Lorraine Hulverson, Charmaine Ernst and Raeneda (Harry) Faroni; and numerous nieces and nephews. Fred departed life the way he lived his life and that is with much respect and dignity. To all who had the privilege of knowing Fred came the gift of presence of a good man, a person of integrity and honesty. Fred was a life example of humility, so full of knowledge and life experiences beyond the norm; yet so silent and humble on sharing his accomplishments. Fred lived to serve his country and his family. He was truly a great human being. He will be missed by many, but he will never be forgotten by those who knew him. Express condolences at