Col. Rauenhorst retires with honor from U.S. Air Force
Today we honor a special man who is part of a special family in the dedication to their country,” began the remarks of Major General John M. Croley at the retirement ceremony for Colonel Robert L. Rauenhorst.
The event was held at Club 569 in Easton, which is the former American Legion building on Sunday, Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day.
Colonel Rauenhorst is retiring after serving his country for over 35 years in the United States Marine Corps.
Colonel Rauenhorst grew up in the Easton area and graduated from Delavan in 1984.
His service actually began when he signed papers in 1983 before his graduation from high school.
“I was looking for a way, means, and ends to get through MSU (Mankato State University),” states Rauenhorst.
He met his future wife, Annette, in 1986 while employed at Green Giant in Blue Earth.
Two years later they were married and they would eventually have three children, Whitney, Morgan and Sara.
Rauenhorst also knew that he wanted to fly. Upon graduation from college he was commissioned through the Platoon Leaders Course in May 1989. Completion of this course guaranteed him a spot at flight school.
Rauenhorst reported to Naval Air School (NAS) in Pensacola, Florida in September 1990 and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1992. He completed his F/A-18 transition training and reported to Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina in December 1993.
Among his more interesting experiences was being in an officer exchange program with the Royal Australian Air Force from 1997-1999.
“We were in a very remote area, literally in the Outback,” notes Rauenhorst.
It also provided an excellent opportunity for him and his family to explore the Great Barrier Reef, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Alice Springs.
Rauenhorst is also one of very few military pilots to have flown a fixed wing aircraft, a tiltrotor aircraft (Osprey) and a rotary wing aircraft (helicopter) during his career.
Rauenhorst has always appreciated the support he gets from the community back home.
“I would get cards or letters from members of the Easton Legion Auxiliary,” comments Rauenhorst. “That means a lot when you’re are deployed and far from home.”
Though he was far from Easton, he did get the chance to work with someone from his hometown.
“Nick Braunshausen, a 1998 Blue Earth Area graduate, and I were both on the U.S.S. Truman, which is an aircraft carrier,” explains Rauenhorst. “Nick was an air traffic controller for the ship and I was flying the F-18.”
Rauenhorst is the second oldest of the seven children born to his parents Ray and Sharon.
All six of the boys have served in the military and the lone girl married a military man.
Rauenhorst is currently on leave until his retirement becomes official at midnight Dec. 31, 2018.
He has been on six continents, has two masters degrees and has been awarded numerous personal decorations.
Later this month he will begin a new career as a commercial airline pilot and looks forward to having more time to spend with his family and friends.