PAVE LOW Pilot
20th SOS Commander 1980-1982
Colonel William Edward "Bill" Takacs passed away Oct. 16, 2007. He was born Sept. 13, 1935, to Katherine Angeline and John Raymond Takacs, Sr., in Joliet, Ill. Bill graduated from Indiana University, which he attended on a football scholarship. He was married to Marilynn Joyce Dainko, his beloved wife of 28 years, and entered active duty in the U.S. Air Force in 1958. His military career spanned 30 years, including service at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.; Bergstrom AFB, Tex.; Mather AFB, Calif.; Stead AFB, Nev.; Saigon, Vietnam; Sheppard AFB, Tex.; and Taichung, Taiwan.
Bill was brought in after the failed rescue attempt in Tehran as Commander of the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, where he was instrumental in building the SOF capability with H-53s. Much of today's readiness can be traced back to the efforts of "Col. T," and his team of officers, NCOs and airmen.
Col Takacs was preceded in death by his father, John R. Takacs; mother, Katherine Angeline Takacs; and his wife, Marilynn J. Dainko. Bill is survived by his brothers, John R. Takacs, Jr., and Robert F. Takacs; sons, William E. Takacs, Jr., (Libby), Douglas J. Takacs and Thomas C. Takacs; daughters, Sally Jo Takacs-Miller (David), and Karen Chappell (Johnny).
Words from Russ R.:
Col Takacs was probably the best Commander I had the honor of serving under. He was the type of leader that you would follow unquestionably, because he was in the lead, not calling the shots from somewhere safe. Case in point:
Deployed to Panama, 1981, 6 Paves and 5 HH-53 rescue birds from Kirtland if memory serves. On real-world alert to evacuate the embassy in Managua. Lt Col Takacs was the Helicopter Mission Commander. During the pre-mission brief, with attendance for all Air and Army assets, we were told we needed 5 choppers to carry out the "precious cargo". A two-star briefed that should any of our choppers go down, the crew was on their own as no assets would be diverted unless there was "precious cargo" on-board. The entire mission was briefed as such. Lt Col Takacs was the last briefer. In front of the two star and everyone else in attendance, he prefaced his briefing with "If anybody leaves one of my crews on the ground, they'll have me to deal with when they get back." We must have had well over 200 people in the base theater where the briefing was held. It was dead silent. The proverbial you could hear a pin drop. Then Lt Col Takacs proceeded to brief the helicopter mission.
They didn't make them any better.