Richard ‘Dick’ Hauff
1940 ~ 2019
Captain Richard Hauff, age 79, passed away quietly on December 9, 2019. He was a lover of country, church and Carol, his wife of twenty years. Dick was raised an only child and grew up in Royersford, PA. He graduated from West Chester University where he met his wife Carol.
Dick entered the Naval Officer Candidates School in August of 1962. He thereafter reported (one day late) to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, VA for USN BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) Class 29. This rigorous training program also included Army Airborne Training, guerrilla warfare training, which together added the air and land components to the sea (Frogman) UDT qualification. It can be safely assumed that all who graduated from this high washout program excelled in all respects.
The range of Dick’s SEAL assignments would be worthy of a captivating book, but he was especially proud of the cover of Time magazine showing his UDT team attaching the first flotation bladders to the Gemini Three space capsule after splashing in the Pacific.
In the late 1960s, Dick separated from the active duty Navy and returned to Pennsylvania to enter graduate school at Temple University. While enrolled at Temple University Dick had a USN Reserve assignment and remained active with the military decathlon programs, swimming and running and the obstacle course. He held several titles and was greatly respected by his teammates.
Dick was never one to sit on his hands. Once he felt the call of aviation, he joined the aeroclubs at the Navy base where he served. There is no doubt Dick hit aviation with as much intensity as he hit his duties as a Navy SEAL. Through Navy aeroclubs Dick was able acquire the instruction, flight time, and FAA pilot ratings required for airline employment. The fruits of his endeavors led to employment with NWA on April 21, 1969.
After initial hire training at NWA, Dick’s first line trip was as Boeing 727 Second Officer with Captain Max Kroll and First Officer Gary Ferguson. As his NWA career progressed Dick qualified in the B-720/320 series, B-727, B-757, DC-10, and B-747/400. His initial captain checkout was on the 727 and his crew position at the time of retirement in November 2000 was captain on the 747/400.
One had to appreciate the physical strength and endurance of this man, illustrated by a trip I flew with him one summer. We had just completed three days of tiring MSP to DCA (Washington, DC) shuttles with all points in between. As we approached MSP, I asked Dick if he was going to remain over night to rest before commuting home. He informed me that in a couple hours he was catching a flight back east to Norfolk, VA for USN reserve duty. That same night he would board a USN C-130 and do an offshore Navy SEAL parachute jump to a submarine rendezvous point in the Atlantic Ocean. He said that if he could catch some sleep on the flight to Norfolk, he would be fine. Dick retired from the Navy in the 1980s as a SEAL with the rank of Captain.
A year before his NWA retirement, Dick married his beloved wife Carol. The couple lived in Estero, Florida, traveled worldwide and thoroughly enjoyed life together. They were ever the athletes, maintaining their sharp physical edges by playing serious tennis. Carol died on Valentine’s Day 2020, 67 days after Dick’s passing.
All the way to his death, Dick remained strong in his faith, therefore it was most fitting that a memorial mass was held in his honor on January 11, 2020 at Our Lady of the Light Catholic Community Church in Estero.
- Bill Day