Col. Robert H. Sprayberry

Col. Robert H.Sprayberry (1928 - 2003)

Colonel Robert H. "Bob" Sprayberry, a native of DeKalb County, Georgia, attended the University of Georgia and graduated from the Atlanta Art Institute in 1949 with majors in commercial art and marketing. He enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard and quickly rose to the rank of staff sergeant. During the Korean War, Sprayberry was appointed a second lieutenant. He volunteered for U.S. Army flight training in 1952 and received his coveted wings at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Following an active duty tour, he served on the staff of The Adjutant General (TAG) Georgia, flying governmental dignitaries, governors, U.S. senators and congressional members in military and civilian aircraft. In 1956, Sprayberry attended U.S. Army helicopter pilot training at Fort Walters, Texas. Later that year, he became the first person to land a helicopter atop Stone Mountain. Logging 5,000 hours in helicopters, he was awarded a certificate of recognition for this outstanding achievement by the Bell Helicopter Corporation. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Sprayberry was on active duty and participated in a number of Army aviation and staff functions. Returning to his position with TAG Georgia, he spearheaded the creation of a separate Department of Aviation through the Georgia Legislature; in 1969, he was appointed its first director. As the first Military State Aviation Officer in 1972, Sprayberry checked out in the Grumman OVI "Mohawk." Realizing the potential of this surveillance aircraft, he convinced the Pentagon to assign missions of national security to two Army Guard units, bringing national recognition to the Georgia Army National Guard. Reassigned to the U.S. Army Reserves and named as Deputy Director USAICS, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, he began a program to utilize the reservist in integrated active army units in the military intelligence community called "Talent Tap." For this achievement, Sprayberry was awarded the U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal; the Army continues to use this program today. Colonel Sprayberry has received numerous awards and military decorations for his outstanding contributions to aviation. In 1984 and 1987, he gained national recognition for "Charlie Brown Airport" by bringing the National Business Aircraft Association aircraft display to Atlanta. He founded the Metropolitan Atlanta Airport Council and was a founding member of the Georgia Airport Association. He held an airline transportation Pilot rating and was a MASTER U.S. Army Aviator with over 20,000 hours of logged flight time. Sprayberry was an elected director of Greystone Power Corporation and was appointed to the board of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991. There, he served as Secretary, treasurer and later Chairman. In 2004, he was honored posthumously with the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame Chairman's Award.

In recognition of his distinguished military and civilian contributions to aviation, Colonel Sprayberry was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 23, 2005.