Captain Robert Kirkwood Award, Airline Transport Pilot, Helicopter Pilot Legion of Merit Award
Colonel Ham graduated from Wilmington High School, joining the Delaware Army National Guard in 1966. To pursue his desire to fly, he entered the Delaware Army National Guard Military Academy Officer Candidate School Program, graduating in 1969. Recognized for his leadership abilities, he was assigned as a Tactical Officer at the Academy, with the current Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard, Major General Frank Vavala, as a candidate in the first class that he trained. He was selected for flight training at the U.S. Army Primary Helicopter Center at Ft. Wolters, TX and earned his silver flight wings at Ft. Rucker, AL in 1970.
In his aviation career he served as Section Commander, Platoon Leader, Maintenance Officer, and Commander, Co. B, 150th Aviation Company, where he was selected to receive the Captain Robert Kirkwood Award as the outstanding Company Commander in the Delaware Army National Guard. He was also the Standardization Instructor. He eventually became the ranking aviator as the State Army Aviation Officer. Col. Ham holds the highest ratings for both rotary and fixed wing as both a civilian and a military pilot.
During his eight years as State Aviation Officer, Delaware was repeatedly recognized for its accident-free flying record and the 5,500 mishap-free flying hours flown by Delaware helicopters during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He personally has flown more than 6,700 accident free hours. In addition he was influential in obtaining not only Black Hawk helicopters as replacement for the Huey, but factory fresh models for Delaware, a significant achievement.
Col. Ham completed his 42 years of military service in 2008 following four years as U.S. Property and Fiscal Officer for the State. He is a graduate of Wilmington University, and taught in the aviation program at the University. Among his numerous awards are the Legion of Merit and Delaware Service Cross.