Chuck Horner, General, USAF (Ret.)
Richard “Dick” Myers, General, USAF (Ret.)
Claude Bolton, General, USAF (Ret.)
James Keck, Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret.)
Michael V. Hayden, General, USAF (Ret.)
R. A. "Bob" Hoover
Jim McDivitt, Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.)
Civil Air Patrol “Our Congressional Gold Medal Journey”
The American Fighter Aces
Joe H. Engle, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret)
During his career, General Engle flew more than 185 different types of aircraft, including 25 different fighters, and logged more than 14,700 hours of flight time. By the time he retired from active duty in the Air Force and as an astronaut in November 1985, then-Colonel Engle had accumulated 224 hours in space and held the unique distinction of being the only person to have flown two entirely different winged space vehicles -- the X-15 and the space shuttle.
Congressman Sam Johnson
Sam Johnson, a decorated war hero and native Texan, ranks among the few members of Congress to fight in combat. During his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Representative Johnson flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Sam was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, one Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and three Outstanding Unit Awards. He endured nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi, including 42 months in solitary confinement. Following his distinguished military career, Sam established a home-building business in North Dallas and served in the Texas State Legislature.
The Arlington Committee of the Air Force Officers’ Wives’ Club
“The Arlington Ladies”
Since November of 1948, Air Force Arlington Ladies have attended more that 27,000 funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, fulfilling a mission established by Gladys Vandenberg who believed that no Airman should ever be buried without family members present. These volunteers are spouses of active duty or retired Air Force Officers and exemplify the special dedication the Air Force Officers’ Wives’ Club has to our Air Force family.
James P. McCarthy, Gen, USAF (Ret)
General James McCarthy served
in the US Air Force for 39 years. From his ROTC commission to his final assignment
as Deputy Commander in Chief for US European Command, he flew more than 6,000 hours
in 28 different aircraft. General McCarthy now teaches Political Science at the
Air Force Academy and is currently a member of the Defense Science Board. He chaired
the Task Force on Lessons Learned in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Task Forces on
Lessons Learned for Kosovo and Bosnia. He also chaired the study on transformation
of the military for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
A major conflict that dominated
the minds of Americans for more than two decades began with the arrival of troops
in South Vietnam in 1961. As thousands and thousands of courageous men and women
fought in the Vietnam War, the fate of many were left in limbo as they were captured
by enemy forces. Many prisoners were subjected to unbelievably cruel treatment and
prolonged physical and mental torture. Operation Homecoming began in February 1973.
Each C-141 mission brought back 40 POWs, based on longest length of time in prison—with
some having spent up to eight years as prisoners of war.
Berlin Airlift Aircrews
Sixty-five years ago, post
war Germany was sectioned into four quadrants. The Soviet Union did not agree with
the Western Allies plan to rebuild Germany, so the Soviet Union cut off electricity
and supply routes. The United States and its allies were forced to become a lifeline
to 2.5 million Berliners. With the US Air Force less than one year old, a full-scale
airlift was begun. At the height of the operation, allies were landing in Berlin
every three minutes. On April 17, 1948, USAF and its allies delivered a record 13,000
tons of cargo. USAF crews took off more than 89,000 times, totaling more than 600,000
hours of flight.
Korean War Airmen
In the first critical week
of the Korean War, the US Air Force transported troops and equipment, provided significant
intelligence through aerial reconnaissance, and helped to slow the North Korean
advance. When, in 1950, the Soviet MiG-15 arrived, USAF moved quickly to counter
with the F-86 Sabre, with most of the aerial warfare between them taking place in
what became known as “MiG Alley.” In 1951, the Sabres numbered only 44, seeking
battle against some 500 Chinese and North Korean aircraft. UN forces gained air
superiority in the Korean theater after the initial months of the war and maintained
it for the duration.
Fighter Pilots of WWII
While fighter aircraft were
active in World War I, the fundamentals of modern air superiority are rooted in
World War II. The pairing of operational requirements, doctrine, and new technology
with the determination, bravery, and skill of Army Air Forces fighter pilots yielded
the world’s first air arm capable of attaining large scale air superiority. Whether
discussing the Combined Bombing Offensive, the island hopping campaign across the
Pacific, Allied invasion of Normandy, or final defeat of the Axis Powers—none would
have been possible without control of the sky. The fighter pilots of WWII fundamentally
redefined warfare, and their legacy has afforded America an unparalleled advantage
in all subsequent conflicts.
Mrs. Natalie W. Crawford
Mrs. Natalie Crawford is a
Senior Fellow at the RAND Corporation and has been a director of Project AIR FORCE
(PAF). It was her responsibility to ensure that the research agenda of PAF addressed
problems of greatest enduring importance to the Air Force and that the research
was of the highest possible quality and responsiveness. Mrs. Crawford is also a
consummate and tireless mentor. She never misses an opportunity to infuse her analytic
expertise and substantive knowledge of Air Force systems and organizations into
the next generation of military operations research analysts.
Thomas P. Stafford, Lt Gen, USAF (Ret)
Following his graduation with
honors from the Naval Academy in 1952, General Thomas Stafford was commissioned
in the Air Force where he flew F-86Ds and graduated from the Air Force Experimental
Flight Test Pilot School. In 1962, he was selected as an astronaut by NASA. He flew
on Gemini 6, Gemini 9, Apollo 10 and the Apollo-Soyuz flight. After retiring from
the Air Force in 1979, his business career includes sitting on the Board of Directors
of several corporations. He has been a defense advisor to Ronald Reagan and has
served on the Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews.
Larry D. Welch, Gen, USAF (Ret)
Including flying F-4C Phantom
IIs over Vietnam and Laos, General Larry Welch has over 6,500 flying hours. He served
as commander in chief, Strategic Air Command and was the 12th Chief of Staff of
the United States Air Force. On the Rumsfeld Commission, he reported to Congress
on the ballistic missile threat to the United States. He was asked by Robert Gates
to lead the Defense Science Board advisory panel that would study the 2007 nuclear
weapons incident as part of a larger review of procedures and policies for handling
nuclear weapons. He then briefed the Senate Committee on Armed Services on the results
of the review.
Heavy Bombardment Crews of WWII
Prior to the Second World War,
it was commonly held that wars were fought and won by troops on the ground and forces
at sea. While many theorized that aerial strikes launched against strategic targets
would cripple an opponent’s ability to fight, technological barriers in the aviation
sector limited the practical application of such ideas. This changed during the
Second World War. Aircraft like the B-17, B-24 and later the B-29 afforded sufficient
range and payload to make long range strategic strike possible. Between 1941 and
1945, Army Air Force bomber crews flew over 100,000 missions – targeting production
centers, logistics hubs and associated centers of gravity. These raids had a profound
effect on the Axis powers – dramatically degrading their ability to fight and ultimately
bringing a conclusion to the war with the dropping of the two atomic bombs. However,
AAF crews paid a heavy toll for these achievements. Over 10,000 bombers were shot
down and airmen suffered over 100,000 casualties. The contributions that the heavy
bombardment crews made during WWII led directly to the formation of an independent
Air Force in 1947 and critical concepts such as strategic deterrence.
The Commando Sabre Operation – Call
In 1967, the US forces in Vietnam
faced a major problem. Supplies were flowing at a prodigious rate from the North
to Viet Cong forces in the South down the Ho Chi Minh trail. The Air Force utilized
a fleet of propeller-driven forward air control (FAC) aircraft to help high-tech
fighters spot targets, but overwhelming losses forced 7th Air Force leadership to
curtail these FAC missions. Still requiring eyes in the sky, the Air Force tasked
then-Major Bud Day to form a top secret squadron populated with combat-experienced
fighter pilots, all of whom were volunteers, to fly the venerable F-100F in a “Fast
FAC” capacity. Utilizing the call sign “Misty,” these individuals pioneered a new
array of tactics to fly fast and low over enemy territory. The dedication to duty
displayed by the Misty FACs is nothing short of legendary. Of the 157 pilots who
flew Misty missions, 34 were shot down (two of them twice), three were captured,
and 7 declared MIA. Despite overwhelming loss rates and constant danger, Misty crews
got into their cockpits and carried out their assigned missions day after day. The
tactics they developed serve as the corner stone for current FAC operations.
General Lawrence A. Skantze, USAF (Ret)
General Lawrence Skantze is
a retired United States Air Force four star general and was Deputy Chief of Staff
for research, development and acquisition. He was appointed Vice Chief of Staff
in 1983. His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Distinguished
Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster.
Walter J. Boyne, Col, USAF (Ret)
Walter J. Boyne is a former
director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. He
retired from the Air Force with more than 5,000 hours in many aircraft, from a Piper
Cub to a B-52. He has written fifty books and hundreds of articles on aviation subjects.
He has participated in many television programs, including Wingspan, before it was
purchased by the Discovery Channel. His many honors include being named to the National
Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007.
WASP – Women Airforce Service Pilots
WASP were the first women in
America’s history to fly American military aircraft. In less than 2 years, they
flew 60 million miles in every type of aircraft in the Army Air Force arsenal and
forever changed the role of women in aviation. Their accomplishments during the
war reflected courage and determination. They became role models for today’s female
pilots and astronauts.
Mr. Andrew W. Marshall is the
director of the United States Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment.
Appointed to the position in 1973 by United States President Richard Nixon, Mr.
Marshall has been re-appointed by every president that followed. After graduating
from the University of Chicago, he joined the original “think tank”, the Rand Corporation,
The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders
On April 18th 1942, seventy-nine
USAF officers and enlisted men volunteered to bomb Tokyo in a mission that was designed
and executed by Lt Col James H. Doolittle. Sixteen North American B-25B Mitchell
bombers took off from the USS Hornet hours before their scheduled time due to being
spotted by a Japanese trawler. Knowing they may not have enough fuel to reach their
auxiliary fields in China, the order was given to “GO.” One by one the planes found
and bombed their selected targets. Although no aircraft fell to the Japanese defenses,
all but one plane miraculously made it into China. A few made crash landings but
most crews abandoned their planes and parachuted into the blackness below. Three
Raiders were lost on the bail outs; eight Raiders were captured, tortured and spent
the rest of the war in solitary cells; three were executed, one died from malnutrition,
and four were repatriated at wars end. The only aircraft that survived and landed
this day flew to Russia when the crew realized they were running too low on fuel.
The crew was interned, eventually escaped and returned to duty.
The Tuskegee Airman
The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated,
determined young men who enlisted to become America’s first African American military
airmen. Each one possessed a strong personal desire to serve the United States of
America at the best of his ability. Meeting all standards for pilots or any of the
other career fields, the Tuskegee Airmen officers trained in operations, meteorology,
intelligence, engineering, medicine and other officer fields. Enlisted members were
trained to be aircraft and engine mechanics, armament specialists, radio repairmen,
parachute riggers, control tower operators, policemen, administrative clerks and
all of the other skills necessary to fully function as an Army Air Corps flying
squadron or ground support unit. The positive experience, the outstanding record
of accomplishment and the superb behavior of black airmen during World War II, and
after, led the United States Air Force to become the first service to integrate
racially. The subsequent integration by the entire military was an important factor
in the initiation of the historic social change to achieve racial equality in America.
Dr. James Schlesinger
Dr. Schlesinger dedicated himself
to strengthening our nation’s security. Over a span of almost four decades, he has
served as the Director of Central Intelligence, Secretary of Defense and the first
Secretary of Energy. He continues to provide his expertise on homeland security,
energy policy, arms control and nuclear issues. Most recently, he chaired a panel
that provided far-reaching recommendations to help the Air Force set a new course
for re-invigorating its Nuclear Enterprise. His efforts have directly assisted the
Air Force on a daily basis as it re-focuses attention on its nuclear mission, organization
George Everett "Bud" Day,
Colonel, USAF, (Ret.)
George Everett "Bud" Day (born
February 24, 1925) is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot who served
during the Vietnam War. He is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. service
member since General Douglas MacArthur, having received some seventy decorations,
the majority for actions in combat, including a Medal of Honor.
In 1942, he quit high school
and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served thirty months in the North
Pacific during World War II. A member of the Army Reserve in 1950, he received a
direct commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Iowa Air National Guard and was
called to active duty in 1951 for undergraduate pilot training. He served two tours
as a fighter-bomber pilot during the Korean War. Promoted to captain, he decided
to make the Air Force a career and was augmented into the regular Air Force. Anticipating
retirement in 1968 and now a major, Colonel Day volunteered for a tour in Vietnam
and was assigned to the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa Air Base in April,
1967. At that time he had more than 5,000 flying hours, with 4,500 of them in fighters.
In 1967, Colonel Day was flying in the F-100s, directing an air strike against a
surface-to-air missile (SAM) site west of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. On his 65th mission,
anti-aircraft fire crippled the aircraft, forcing the crew to eject. Colonel Day
was captured by North Vietnamese, tortured and moved to several prison camps near
Hanoi where he was periodically beaten, starved, and tortured. In December 1967,
Colonel Day shared a cell with Navy Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain, III. Colonel
Day was released after five years and seven months as a North Vietnamese prisoner.
On 4 March, 1976, President Gerald Ford awarded Colonel Day the Medal of Honor for
his personal bravery while a captive in North Vietnam.
David Charles Jones,
General, USAF, (Ret.)
General David C. Jones was
appointed to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense
on June 21, 1978. In this capacity, he served as the senior military adviser to
the President, the National Security Council and the Secretary of Defense.
Prior to this appointment,
General Jones served four years as Chief of Staff of the U. S. Air Force, responsible
for administering, training and equipping a worldwide organization of men and women
employing the world's most advanced defense systems. Concurrently, he was a member
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In combat, the general was
assigned to a bombardment squadron during the Korean War and accumulated more than
300 hours on missions over North Korea. In 1969, he served in the Republic of Vietnam
as deputy commander for operations and then as vice commander of the Seventh Air
His intimacy with the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance and its complex multinational defense structure
was based on a range of assignments that cover the spectrum of planning and operational
responsibilities. Having served as inspector, operator, planner and Commander in
Chief of United States Air Forces in Europe, he has dealt with every facet of the
diversified missions of military forces committed to the defense of Europe. Concurrent
with duty as Commander in Chief, USAFE, he was commander of the Fourth Allied Tactical
Air Force and led the way toward establishing the integrated air headquarters in
NATO's Central Region, Allied Air Forces, Central Europe.
Dr. Harold Brown,
Former Secretary of Defense
President Jimmy Carter nominated
Dr. Brown to be Secretary of Defense on January 20, 1977. He was confirmed by the
U.S. Senate the same day, took the oath of office on January 21, 1977, and served
as secretary of defense until January 20, 1981.
Born in New York City on September
19, 1927, Dr. Brown attended New York City public schools. He graduated from Columbia
University with an A.B. degree in 1945, A.M. degree in 1946, and Ph.D. in physics
in 1949. He has received 12 honorary degrees. Dr. Brown has lectured in physics
at Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of California
(1947–1952); was group leader, division leader, and later, director of the Radiation
Laboratory at Livermore, University of California (1952–1961). He was a member of
the Polaris Steering Committee (1956–1958), a member of the Air Force Scientific
Advisory Board (1956–1961), and consultant to, and then member of, the President’s
Science Advisory Committee (1958–1961). He was senior science adviser at the Conference
on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Tests (1958–1959) and a delegate to the Strategic
Arms Limitations Talks in Helsinki, Vienna, and Geneva, from 1969 to 1977. Previously,
Dr. Brown served as Director of Defense Research and Engineering; Secretary of the
Air Force, and President of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena,
Among his many honors, Dr.
Brown was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and the Fermi Award
in 1993. He is the author of Thinking about National Security: Defense and Foreign
Policy in a Dangerous World (1983) and editor of The Strategic Defense Initiative:
Shield or Snare? (1987).
Paul W. Airey
First Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
Chief Master Sergeant of the
Air Force Paul Wesley Airey was adviser to Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown
and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. John P. McConnell on matters concerning
welfare, effective utilization and progress of the enlisted members of the Air Force.
He was the first chief master sergeant appointed to this ultimate noncommissioned
officer position and was selected from among 21 major air command nominees to become
the first Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. He was formally installed by Gen.
McConnell on April 3, 1967.
Chief Airey spent much of his
27-year career as a first sergeant. During World War II, however, he served as an
aerial gunner on B-24 bombers, and is credited with 28 combat missions in Europe.
After he was forced to bail out of his flak-damaged aircraft, he was captured and
became a prisoner of war in Germany from July 1944 to May 1945. During the Korean
conflict, he was awarded the Legion of Merit while assigned at Naha Air Base, Okinawa.
The award, an uncommon decoration for an enlisted man, was earned for creating a
means of constructing equipment from salvaged parts that improved corrosion control
of sensitive radio and radar components.
Ms. Patty Wagstaff is known
for flying one of the most thrilling, low level aerobatic routines in the world.
Her breathtaking performances give spectators a front-row view of the precision
and complexity of modern and unlimited aerobatics style that sets the standard for
performers the world over.
At nine years of age, Patty
moved to Japan with her father who was a captain for Japan Air Lines. Her cross-cultural
academic career, which began in Japan, took her to Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia.
In 1979, Patty moved to Alaska where she began her now-legendary career in aviation.
Her first flying lesson was in a Cessna 185 floatplane. Later she earned her Commercial,
Instrument, Seaplane and Commercial Helicopter Ratings. She is a Flight and Instrument
Instructor and is rated and qualified to fly numerous airplanes from World War II
warbirds to modern jets.
Ms. Wagstaff has won countless
awards for her flying skills. A three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, and
International Aerobatic Champion, Patty was the first woman to win the title of
U.S. National Aerobatic Champion. She is a six-time recipient of the “First Lady
of Aerobatics” Betty Skelton Award. Patty has won the gold, silver and bronze medals
in national and international competitions. She has trained with the Russian Aerobatic
Team and flown air shows and competitions around the world. In March, 1994, her
airplane, the Goodrich Extra 260, went on display in the Smithsonian National Air
and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Today, Ms. Wagstaff oversees
Patty Wagstaff Air Shows in St. Augustine, Florida. During the off-season, she engages
in such diverse projects as stunt flying and serving as a consultant to the movie
and television industry. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the Motion
Picture Pilots Association and the United Stuntwomen’s Association. She has flown
demonstration aircraft such as the T-6A Texan II. Recently she was in Africa providing
recurrency and bush training to pilots in the Kenyan Wildlife Service.
Medal of Honor Recipient and U.S. Senator
Senator Inouye is a World War
II Combat veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest award
for military valor. As a legislator he is the third most senior member of the U.S.
Senate. He is well known and highly respected for his bipartisan approach and consensus
building on the Hill.
First elected to the U.S. Senate
in 1962, Senator Inouye is now serving his eighth consecutive term. As the ranking
Democrat on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, he has focused on legislation
to strengthen national security and enhance the quality of life for the military
personnel and their families.
As Co-Chairman of the Senate
Commerce Committee, Senator Inouye has addressed important issues including aviation
and maritime transportation.
Senator Inouye was born and
raised in Honolulu as the son of Japanese immigrants. Three months after celebrating
his 17th birthday the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Using his medical training,
he rushed into service as the head of a first-aid litter team. In March, 1943, while
a freshman in pre-medical studies at the University of Hawaii, he enlisted in the
U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
In the fall of 1944, Senator
Inouye’s unit spent two of the bloodiest weeks of the war rescuing a Texas Battalion
surrounded by German forces in the Frend Vosges Mountains. As the war was drawing
to a close, Inouye displayed “extraordinary heroism” on April 21, 1945, near San
Terenzo. Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five
yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades. Before the enemy could
retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded
by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance
After losing his right arm,
on May 27, 1947, he was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. He returned
home highly decorated with a Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, Purple
Heart with cluster and 12 additional medals and citations. His Distinguished Service
Cross was upgraded to Medal of Honor and Presented to him by the President of the
United States on June 21, 2000.
William J. Perry
Former Secretary of Defense
An expert in U.S. foreign policy,
national security and arms control, Dr. William J. Perry is the Michael and Barbara
Berberian Professor at Stanford University – a joint appointment at the Stanford
Institute for International Studies and the School of Engineering.
Dr. Perry was the 19th Secretary
of Defense, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. He previously served as
Deputy Secretary of Defense and as Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
and is on the board of directors of several emerging high-tech companies. He is
the chairman of Technology Partners.
From 1946 to 1947, Dr. Perry
was enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers and served in the Army of Occupation
of Japan. He joined the Reserve Officer Training Corp in 1948 and was a second lieutenant
in the Army Reserves from 1950 to 1955. His awards include the Presidential Medal
of Freedom and the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
Dr. Perry is a senior fellow
and co-director of The Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration of Stanford
University and Harvard University. Preventive Defense is a concept for American
defense strategy in the post-Cold War era. It is premised on the belief that the
absence of an imminent, major, traditional military threat to American security
presents today’s leaders with an unaccustomed challenge and opportunity to prevent
future Cold War-scale threats from emerging. While the U.S. defense establishment
must continue to deter major regional conflicts and provide peacekeeping and humanitarian
relief missions, its highest priority is to contribute to forestalling developments
that could directly threaten the survival and vital interests of American citizens.
To this end, the project focuses
on forging productive security partnerships with Russia and its neighbors, engaging
an emerging China, addressing the lethal legacy of Cold War weapons of mass destruction
(WMD), and countering WMD proliferation and potential acts of catastrophic terrorism.
Former WAFS/WASP Commanding Officer
A licensed pilot at age 19,
Florene Miller Watson was one of the nation’s few women aviation instructors teaching
men how to fly in the period leading up to World War II. She went on to become the
first commanding officer of the Women Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS)/Women Airforce
Service Pilots (WASP) at Love Field, Texas.
Watson volunteered for the
WAFS on December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She not only
met the strict army pilot qualification requirements for women (which differed for
men), but exceeded them. The initial cadre of women pilots averaged more than 1,100
flying hours (850 flying hours more than the men). She was one of only 25 women
selected for the program.
Watson was a test pilot and
ferried fighters and bombers across the country during the war. She piloted mostly
combat aircraft such as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the North American P-51
Mustang. She flew over 60 different aircraft types used by the Army Air Forces.
Although the WASPs held officer status, they were classified as civilians. In 1977,
after waiting 33 years, the women pilots of World War II were militarized and more
than 1,000 WASPs were recognized with an honorable discharge as Armed Forces veterans.
A native of Odessa, Texas,
Watson’s lifetime achievements are many. She was a graduate of Baylor University,
a commercial pilot, a college professor of 30 years, and National Chaplain of the
WASP organization. She is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding service,
leadership and patriotism. Florene Miller Watson currently resides with her husband
Chris in Borger, Texas, and continues to speak to audiences around the country on
the topic of women in aviation in World War II.
Russell E. Dougherty
General, USAF (Ret.)
General Russell E. Dougherty
was the commander-in-chief of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and director of strategic
target planning (Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff) at Offutt Air Force Base,
Nebraska, from August 1, 1974 to July 1, 1977. An attorney, pilot, and airpower
leader, he oversaw the most lethal nuclear arsenal in the world including bombers,
tankers, reconnaissance aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles. “The issue
is not war and peace, rather, how best to preserve our freedoms,” Dougherty once
Dougherty was born in Glasgow,
Kentucky, and is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Law School of
the University of Louisville. After working for the FBI and serving in the 123rd
Cavalry, Kentucky National Guard, Dougherty entered active military service as an
aviation cadet in the US Army Air Corps at the out break of World War II. In 1947,
he served as a unit instructor with the Air Force Reserve at Standiford Field, Louisville,
Kentucky. A judge advocate in the late 40s, he moved from the legal world to fly
bombers and refuelers. His post-World War II assignments encompassed various duties
in operational, maintenance, administrative, political/military and command duties
in Air Force, joint, and international assignments. He retired a Command Pilot and
A strategic thinker and planner
and former Executive Director of the Air Force Association, Dougherty has served
on various government and commercial defense-related boards. He holds numerous military
awards and decorations, five honorary doctorate degrees, and is an “Old Master”
of Purdue University. He currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife
Barbara and remains active in aerospace issues.
John R. Alison
Major General, USAF (Ret.)
Often called ”the All-American Airman,” Major General John R. Alison entered the
United States Air Corps in 1936 and went on to carve a brilliant career in the military
and industry. His talents as a pilot were recognized immediately, and later proven
in combat in Japan, when he gained six victories flying with the famous 23rd Fighter
Group, the successor organization to the immortal American Volunteer Group—the ”Flying
Tigers.” Alison’s diplomatic skills were also recognized early in his career, when
in 1941 he was sent to England to help pilots transition into the Curtiss P-40,
of which he was a complete master. Alison distinguished himself so well he was chosen
to go to the Soviet Union in 1941 to train Russian pilots in Lend-Lease Warhawks.
In his post-war career, General Alison held key positions in government and industry,
serving as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and President of the Air Force Association.
Honorable John H. Glenn, Jr.
Colonel, USMC (Ret.)
The career of Senator John Glenn has been one long series of ups, including two
of the most famous ”ups” in history —he made the first US manned orbital mission
on February 20, 1962, circling the earth three times in the Mercury-6 spacecraft,
Friendship7; 36 years later he took flight again aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery
on a nine-day mission completing 139 Earth orbits. A combat and test-pilot, Glenn
retired from the Marine Corps in 1965 and became a successful business executive.
In 1974 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and was re-elected four times. His commitment
to education and involving youth in public and community service inspired the formation
of The John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, a nonpartisan
institute located at The Ohio State University. The institute encourages public
service among citizens of all ages.
Jeanne M. Holm
Major General, USAF (Ret.)
The first woman to rise to the rank of general officer in the United States Air
Force, Jeanne Holm has spent a lifetime inspiring others. She is a role model for
the many women who admire her and an inspiration to all who served with her. General
Holm played a significant role in eliminating restrictions on women serving in all
ranks—expanding career and duty assignments, opening ROTC and service academies
to women, and changing policies on the status of women in the armed forces. She
is recognized as the single driving force in achieving parity for military women
and making them a viable part of the mainstream military. General Holm retired in
1975 to pursue a rewarding career in civilian life, serving as a Special Assistant
on Women for President Ford, and as a policy consultant for the Carter administration.
She is the author of Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution.
Charles E. McGee
Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
Soft spoken but spellbinding, Colonel McGee is a veteran of three wars—World War
II, Korea and Vietnam. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he was one of the proud members
of the Tuskegee Airmen, graduating with Class 43F on June 30, 1943. The ”Tuskegee
Experiment” was designed to see if African-American pilots could perform satisfactorily
in combat. The 332nd was a segregated unit, denied many of the rights ordinarily
given to other U.S.A.A.F. units. Despite the differences, McGee and his colleagues
were determined to succeed, and they did so with great honor. By the time of his
retirement from the Air Force on January 31, 1973, he had earned many honors, including
the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, and had 6,300 hours flying time in fighters.
McGee went on to a successful and distinguished civil career that included becoming
President of the Tuskegee Airmen, Incorporated. A gifted speaker, he is in demand
continuously for his inspirational talks.
Bernard A. Schriever
General, USAF (Ret.)
General Bernard A. ”Bernie” Schriever is one of the most important officers in the
history of the United States Air Force. Born in Germany, General Schriever saw World
War I Zeppelins departing on their course to bomb Great Britain, never dreaming
that in four decades he would help create a force of ballistic missiles that would
revolutionize not only warfare, but also space exploration. His long association
with research and development led to an appointment to the pivotal position of commanding
the Western Development Division, and being tasked with the development of the intercontinental
ballistic missile. Schriever and his handpicked military and industrial team conceived,
engineered, produced and deployed the Atlas, Thor, Titan and Minuteman ballistic
missile systems. It was an incredible achievement that led directly to the mastery
of space. After retiring from the Air Force in 1966, Schriever went on to a successful
civilian career, spending much of his time on special commissions. He is the only
man to have had the honor of having an Air Force base named for him while still