AFA Remembers General Herres
General Robert T. Herres had a consequential Air Force career that included twice being entrusted with key first-time roles and bringing a unique perspective on joint operations among the services.
The Air Force Association (AFA) mourns his passing this summer. General Herres completed his distinguished Air Force career as Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff – the first to hold that position. Immediately prior to that, he served as Commander of U.S. Space Command, beginning in 1985, when that was also a first-time role in the Air Force.
As an Air Force general but also a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, class of 1954, Gen. Herres brought a unique focus on the priority of jointness to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recalls Lieutenant General Thomas Keck.
Lt. Gen. Keck, who once served under General Herres, recalls that his time as Gen. Herres’ Executive Officer was his most educational role in his Air Force years.
General Herres was highly regarded, a dedicated family man, committed to doing the right thing for the country and the military, and brought a great sense of humor to the job, said Gen. Keck.
A command pilot, Gen. Herres’ military decorations and awards included the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. He qualified for the Senior Missile, Air Traffic Controller and Space badges.
His command experiences included the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program, Strategic Air Command, the 8th Air Force, the North American Aerospace Defense Command and NORAD.
Born in Denver in 1932 and raised there, General Herres went on after Annapolis to earn graduate degrees from The George Washington University and the Air Force Institute of Technology. He retired February 28, 1990 and passed away July 24, 2008.
Following his Air Force service, Gen. Herres served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors for USAA.
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