Hacker, Robert Stephen (P3, C1, L13)
Major Robert Stephen Hacker, 36, of Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 201st Engineer Battalion of the Kentucky Army National Guard, in Ashland died of injuries received in a vehicle accident while on active duty in the Esmeraldas Province of the South American nation of Ecuador, 8 July 1998 just three days before he was scheduled to return home to Ashland. The accident occurred about 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday when the vehicle he was a passenger in ran off the road. There was also a member of the U. S. Army and an Ecuadorian Army officer in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
A member of the Kentucky Army National Guard for 18 years and a veteran of numerous overseas deployments to Latin America and the Caribbean, Hacker arrived in Ecuador 29 April as part of the command element for “Nuevos Horizontes” (New Horizons), the Kentucky National Guard’s humanitarian relief mission there. More than 1,300 soldiers and airmen were participating in the five-month relief mission to build four schools, a preschool and three clinics. Guardsmen also provided medical care, hospital and logistical support and site security. Hacker was the operations officer for the task force, supervising the fielding of troops and overseeing the numerous projects. Hacker is survived by his wife and son. He was a member of the South Ashland Methodist Church. A school was dedicated in his honor on April 3, 2000, in the Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador. A street adjacent to the Richmond Armory was named Robert Hacker Way in his honor. Hacker was a native of Madison County and is buried in the Richmond Cemetery.