Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
Test pilot for spy planes, Ray Haupt
became an expert on leading-edge technology
Brigadier-General Raymond L. (Ray) Haupt, USAF (Ret.), a resident of Tucson, Arizona, for the past 27 years, was born in Missouri in 1927. His distinguished 30-year Air Force career included early secret test flights on some of America’s highest-flying and fastest reconnaissance aircraft such as the U-2 and SR-71. During the Cold War, many of his flights were over hostile territories, and much of his most significant work is still classified.
Beginning his service as a fighter pilot, Ray Haupt soon recognized the importance of strategic reconnaissance. He became one of the first five instructor pilots on the U-2 program and helped develop operational techniques and procedures for both the U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird. His leadership qualities were apparent early on and he soon held a number of top management positions, including command of the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.
Ray was subsequently assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon as Director of Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare and was selected to direct several secret projects involving security systems not necessarily related only to the Air Force. He also worked closely with the Secretary of Defense and his deputies. In 1973, Ray assumed command of the 12th Strategic Air Division at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
General Haupt retired in 1975. His military decorations include two Distinguished Flying Crosses and numerous Air Medals and Air Force Commendation Medals. His peers describe him as a “pilot’s pilot” and an “instructor’s instructor,” honors reserved only for fliers with exceptional skills. General Haupt’s many contributions to his country and to Arizona merit the wholehearted appreciation of a grateful citizenry.
Pima Air & Space Museum