Cdr. Hurt is survived by his daughters, Margaret Hurt Guthrie (spouse Arthur) of Los Alamos, NM, and Norma Jane Hurt, Ph.D., of Clemson, SC; stepson Thomas Billingsley of Lexington Park; three grandchildren (and their spouses), one step-granddaughter (and her spouse), and five great grandchildren. Cdr. Predeceased by his parents and sister, his first wife, Norma Teal Hurt, and his second wife, Nan Billingsley Hurt, Cdr. Hurt was 92 years old at the time of his death.
Cdr. Hurt’s career as an aviator spanned 44 years, during which he logged 28,236 hours of flight time. His 24 years as a Navy pilot began in 1942 when, as a V5 cadet, he started his military training. He received his designation as a Naval Aviator in January, 1944. He retired from the Navy on June 30, 1966. The August 1966 issue of Naval Aviation News gave a detailed account of his Navy career, the last 11 years of which Cdr. Hurt was known as the CNO’s pilot.
Beginning in 1955 he was assigned to be the Aircraft Commander for three Chiefs of Naval Operations: Admiral Arleigh Burke (1955 to 1961), Admiral George Anderson (for two years: 1962 and 1963), and Admiral David M. McDonald (1963 to 1966). During his career in the Navy, Bob Hurt was involved in many noteworthy events. Two examples: while at Patuxent River NAS’ squadron VR-1, flying the Atlantic leg of the Berlin Airlift, OperationVittles in 1945; and while stationed at Westover AFB, MA (1949-’53), participation in Operation Bluejay – supplying materials and equipment to developing defense bases in Greenland (esp. Thule), as a result of which Bob Hurt, pioneering, along with his fellow VR-6 pilots, “…polar navigation techniques and cold-weather flying doctrine.” (Ens. Paul K. Brace, USNR, “CNO’S PILOT ENDS 24-YEAR CAREER”, Naval Aviation News, August, 1966)
Bob Hurt continued to fly for an additional 20 years as Captain (Chief Pilot and Director of Operations) for the Emerald Shillelagh Chowder & Marching Society, a private air travel club based at Dulles International Airport, in northern Virginia. Beginning July 1, 1966, he flew the Shillelaghs to many foreign places including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Casablanca, and Dakar, Africa (to mention a few) often revisiting cities he had been to during his notable Navy career. He retired in 1986, after having made significant contributions in both his military and private sector service (as the Shillelaghs’ pilot by writing a rebuttal to proposed FAA regulations governing air travel clubs). In addition, he wrote a memoir Flying Above All Else that was published privately. Copies may be obtained through the family.
A Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 14 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Brinsfield Funeral Home, 22955 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650. A Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 44078 St. Andrews Church Road, California, MD 20619. Interment will follow in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any animal rescue groups such as ASPCA or The Humane Society. Local donation mailing addresses are: Humane Society, 71 Industrial Park Drive, Waldorf, MD 20602 and St. Mary’s County Animal Welfare League, P.O. Box 1232, Leonardtown, MD 20650.
Condolences to the family may be made at www.brinsfieldfuneral.com.
Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A., Leonardtown, MD.