University of Washington Naval Reserve Training Corps

Robert E Galer

Class of 1936

BGen Robert E Galer

BGen Robert E Galer

Brigadier General Galer was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in July 1936 and was designated a Marine Aviator in April 1937.

Assuming command of the 244th Fighter Squadron on Guadalcanal in August 1942, then Major Galer devised innovative tactics that enabled the squadron’s F4F fighters to outperform the superior Japanese Zeros by diving upon them from a much higher altitude.

Brigadier General Galer was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 24, 1943 for his service as Squadron Leader of Marine Fighter Squadron Two Hundred Twenty Four (VMF-224) during aerial combat missions against Japanese forces at the Solomon Islands, October 1942. Leading daring raids, he shot down 11 enemy bombers in 29 days, with his pilots shooting down a combined total of 27 enemy planes. He shot down a total of 13 planes during the war.

In March 1952, during the Korean War, he became the Assistant Chief of Staff to the First Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) then transferred to command Marine Aircraft Group Two (MAG-12). In August he was shot down behind enemy lines while leading a flight of 31 warplanes against targets near Wonsan but was later rescued.

In July 1957, he retired and was promoted to Brigadier General.