Victor H. Bilek, a Kettering resident for 73 years, and a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, was born to Rosa and Rudolph Bilek in Tacoma, WA, Nov. 21, 1918, and died in Dayton, Jan. 2, 2020. His remarkable 101-year life spanned 12 decades. After his education at University of Washington, of which he is a lifetime Alumnus, he came to Dayton in 1941, and began his engineering career at Wright Field as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Armament Laboratory Bombing Branch, Engineering Division. He worked on the Norden bombsight and its installation in several bombers including prototype B-36. He was transferred to Fire Control as Unit Chief and worked on the installation of remote control gun turret systems for B-29s, A-26s and P-61s, including the first electro-mechanical integrated fire control systems. He ended his research and development work in the Lab as Chief of the Aircraft Gun Unit in 1946 and separated from active duty as a Major. He continued to work at Wright Field as a civilian in the air technical intelligence organization, then known as T-2, now known as the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. He started working with the German Scientists and the captured German Luftwaffe (Airforce) equipment and scientific and engineering documents, authoring a study of the V-2 missile production in the underground factory which is still used as a reference today. He became Chief of the Armament Branch and continued after recall to active duty in 1951 for the Korean conflict, returning to civilian service in 1953. He tested the weapons on the German Me-262 fighter, and later the Soviet MiG-15 and later transferred to the staff in 1958 as ATIC's Deputy for Production Control, then Chief of the Program Office, and then Assistant for Limited War under the Commander, Foreign Technology Division, Air Force Systems Command. Before retiring in 1973 after 32 years of service, he was appointed as chairman of the Joint Services Battle Damage Assessment and Reporting Program in South Vietnam and Thailand, and led a joint service team in theater in 1969, serving as the commander's "Assistant for Limited War." In 2006, his name was added to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center Wall of Honor, the greatest honor that NASIC bestows on alumni. Vic’s stories (told many times over to family and friends) have been recorded in historical collections at WPAFB and will help preserve the emergence of the intelligence program there. He has also appeared in the TV Cable History Channel production on the Spoils of War segment of Last Days of WWII, and the Speedvision Channel Project ZETA - The Exploitation of the Russian Yak 23 Soviet Jet Fighter.
After retirement, Vic volunteered 32 years as a safety instructor in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and was Division Captain in the 2nd CG District. He put in 15 years of voluntary service in the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) program in the US Small Business Administration. A long time member, he was also President for many years of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE.) Vic was also a member of the American Aviation Historical Society, Huffman Prairie Chapter, and the Hithergreen Aviation Club.
His wife of 61 years, Marj, died in 2006. Together they traveled to 46 states in their motorhome, toured Europe and North Africa, and enjoyed boating, visiting with family, and socializing with lifelong friends. An avid fisherman, hunter, photographer, and flea marketeer, Vic's interests were wide and evergrowing.
He is survived by his daughters, Karen and Vicki, who were with him at his death, their spouses, 5 granddaughters, and 7 great grandchildren.
Services are pending at this time.