BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum released the following statement today regarding retired North Dakota Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Darrol G. Schroeder, who passed away Sunday, March 3, at age 88.
“Darrol Schroeder devoted a lifetime to his country, his state and his community through his exemplary service and leadership in the U.S. Air Force and North Dakota Air National Guard and his founding roles in the Fargo AirSho and Fargo Air Museum,” Burgum said. “He was a remarkably skilled pilot, a driving force in the community, a loving husband and father, and an incredibly kind and generous person, and I am thankful to have known him personally for over 40 years. It was always inspiring to see how deeply he cared for his fellow National Guard members. Kathryn and I are tremendously grateful for his service, and we extend our condolences and prayers to his family, friends and everyone in the military and aviation communities who treasured his friendship and leadership.”
A native of Davenport, N.D., Schroeder enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1947 and was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program in May 1952 after graduating from North Dakota State University. He became an Air Force instructor, flight examiner and test pilot, accumulating more than 5,000 flight hours in fighter aircraft during his military career.
Schroeder rejoined the Air National Guard in March 1957. He was assigned as a squadron pilot and later served as a flight commander and director of group operations with the 178th Fighter Squadron at the 119th Wing in Fargo, nicknamed the “Happy Hooligans.” He was promoted to major general in 1980. Three years later, he was appointed Air National Guard assistant to the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Schroeder retired from the Air National Guard in June 1987. He also founded an agricultural aviation company, Schroeder Aviation Inc. in Davenport, operating a fleet of 12 aircraft and accumulating more than 12,000 aerial application hours until his retirement in 1989.
Schroeder co-founded the Fargo Air Museum and served as co-chair of the Fargo AirSho from its inception in 1989. He was inducted into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.