- The Washington Times - Friday, July 6, 2007

Reid C. Tait, 84, retired judge

Reid C. Tait, an administrative law judge, lawyer and World War II fighter pilot, died June 20 at Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Sandy Spring. He was 84.

Judge Tait was born in Fairfield, Conn., and spent his early years in Connecticut and New York.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and also served in the Air National Guard, Air Force and Air Force Reserve. During World War II as a first lieutenant, he served in the Pacific Theater with the 348th Fighter Group as a P-47 and P-51 fighter pilot. He was credited with downing four enemy planes during combat in 1944 and 1945.

His awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He graduated from George Washington University in 1948, and received his law degree there in 1950.

Judge Tait was recalled during the Korean War and was stationed at the Pentagon for several months before serving with the 113th Fighter Wing as wing legal officer, F-86 pilot, test pilot and flight instructor.

Starting in 1956, he spent several years as a hearing officer with the Civil Aeronautics Board. In 1962, he joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and rose to become the chief of the Accident Counsel Branch, Litigation Division.

He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve as a major in 1963.

During his time at the FAA, he was responsible for all litigation involving the agency arising from aircraft accidents. He also prepared presentations for congressional hearings.

Judge Tait remained with the FAA until 1972. He then spent several years in private practice. He was named as an administrative law judge for the Labor Department in 1980.

At the Labor Department, Judge Tait presided primarily over black-lung disability compensation cases. He also served on the Labor Department’s Benefits Review Board.

He served as a consultant for several years after his retirement in 1989.

Judge Tait was a member of the American and Federal Bar associations and the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and he was admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court. He also was a Freemason.

He enjoyed participating in dog shows with his two briards and annual family vacations to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Judge Tait is survived by his wife of 51 years, Margaret C. Tait of Rockville; three sons, David Tait of Plano, Texas, Philip Tait of Bethesda and Christopher Tait of Hanover, Md.; and five grandchildren.