Craig R. McKinley became the President of the Air Force Association as of October 1, 2012. As AFA's top staff executive, McKinley directs the association's professional staff in all functional areas and is responsible for the management and operations of the Association. He will also hold the position of publisher of Air Force Magazine, the official journal of the more than 108,000-member association.
After 38 years in the Air Force, McKinley retired as a four-star general in November 2012. His last assignment was as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, where he also served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he was a military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and was the Department of Defense's official channel of communication to the Governors and to State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard.
McKinley received his commission in 1974 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Southern Methodist University. He has served in numerous assignments in flying and operations, as well as command positions at group, wing, sector and field operating agency levels. His assignments include Commander, 1st Air Force, Air Combat Command, and Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. He has served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and Director, Mobilization and Reserve Affairs Directorate, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany.
McKinley is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours, primarily in the T-38, F-106, F-16 and F-15. Additionally, he has been pilot in command in the C-131 and C-130 operational support airlift aircraft.
Among his military decorations are the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster; Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Air Force Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Combat Readiness Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters; and National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star.
In addition, McKinley has had a longstanding relationship with AFA, having served in key AFA leadership positions at the chapter, state and region levels.
McKinley graduated with a Bachelor's degree in business administration at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, in 1974; and received his Master's degree in management and economics, at Webster College, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1979.
McKinley and his wife Cheryl reside in Arlington, Virginia.
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