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Col. Robert Andrew Nolan, USAF (Ret.)
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Obituary for Col. Robert Andrew Nolan, USAF (Ret.)

Robert A. Nolan, Colonel (retired), United States Air Force died on 13 December 2017 of natural causes at his daughter’s home in Burlington, Washington. Colonel Nolan, a resident of Northern Virginia for more than forty years following his retirement from active duty, was born in Clarendon, Virginia on 4 June 1921. He attended St. Charles school in Clarendon, Mount St. Joseph High school in Baltimore, and was a graduate of The University of Maryland.

Colonel Nolan enlisted in the Army Air Corps in July 1942, and was called to active duty for flight training in January 1943. After completion of flight training he flew 93 combat sorties as a P-51 pilot in Europe. In 1950 he volunteered for assignment to Korea, where he flew 100 combat sorties, again in P-51 aircraft. Subsequently, Colonel Nolan served as the Director of Operations for an Air Defense Wing in the Northeastern US, as a staff officer at an intermediate Command Headquarters, as an Air Defense planning officer at Headquarters United States Air Force, and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Organization. Prior to retiring after more than 30 years of active duty, he served as the United States Defense Attaché in Ethiopia, as a member of the Faculty at the Armed Forces Staff College, and as the United States Defense Attaché in Pakistan.

Colonel Nolan's military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal w/clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the United States Air Force Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the French Croix de Guerre.

In retirement Colonel Nolan was active in the Real Estate business in Northern Virginia for several years before again retiring. Thence, he devoted himself completely to volunteer work at the United States Army Vint Hill Farm Station in Fauquier County, Virginia where he conducted a recreational wood working shop for active and retired military personnel. In 2014, he moved to Washington to reside with his daughter in Burlington.

Colonel Nolan was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Martha Anne Worley. He is survived by his three daughters, Nancy Anne Goulart of Broken Arrow, OK, Mary Jo Rust (and husband Steve) of Burlington, Washington, and Sandra Stansberry (and husband Michael) of The Woodlands, TX, as well as 9 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Not only was Dad an accomplished, self-made man, he also was a compassionate, generous, and very kind man who loved his family and friends well. Concern for his “girls” was a constant theme, even in his last days. We will miss him but know we will see him again!

Burial with full military honors will be at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm. A remembrance of life and reception will be held following the graveside service. Memorials may be given to Hospice of the Northwest Foundation, 227 Freeway Drive Suite A, Mount Vernon, WA 98273 (

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1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Arlington National Cemetery

1 Memorial Ave.
Arlington, VA 22211


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