Bob Cardenas Obituary – Leader

Cardenas speaks at the dedication of a monument at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park honoring his military service.

Cardenas: Federal, State and Veterans Leadership; Honored for Military Service

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed Robert Cardenas the California coordinator for the Southwest Border Economic Action Group. In 1985, California Governor George Deukmejian named him chairman of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Group.

He also served on the California Council of Criminal Justice, and later as a member of the California Veterans Board, eventually becoming chairman. He served as chairman of the San Diego United Veterans Council, and as a director on the Board of the Veterans Memorial Center & Museum of San Diego, among many other organizations.

Cardenas was recognized frequently for his accomplishments in military aviation. In 2010, he was one of two veteran pilots to be honored as the first recipients of the of the Flight Test Historical Foundation’s “Life Time Achievement” award. In 2008, he was inducted into the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s “Legends of Flight” Hall of Fame, and the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Tributes also came to Cardenas from many other organizations, including the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, the Aerospace Walk of Honor in Lancaster, Calif., the Air Commando Hall of Fame in Florida, and San Diego County which named him “Veteran of the Year.”

Among his many military awards are the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Presidential Citation. Foreign decorations include the Spanish Grand Legion of Aeronautical Merit.

You can learn more about the life and military career of Brigadier General Cardenas at

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