Keith Blaine Connolly
“I was a previous Aviation Cadet class of 57Q/R. After training, I flew the F-86 at Williams AFB with a follow-on assignment to F-100’s at Nellis AFB. I was checked out in the F-100A by “Whiskey Bill Weiger. My first assignment was Itazuke, Japan setting nuclear alert in Osan, Korea. I flew the F-100 for 10 years around the world. I served F-100 tours in Vietnam in 1964 and 1965 during the start of this conflict. I had a follow-on assignment in F-4’s at Cam Ranh Bay in 1969.
I was fortunate and flew the following aircraft during my 35 year Air Force career: T-34, T-28, T-33, F-86, F-100, F-4, O-1, O-2, OV-10, A-7, F-15 and F-16. I was a Forward Air Controller/Air Liaison Officer with the Army and I’m a Command Parachutist with 107 jumps.
I have four children with two boys that attended the Air Force Academy. I have been married to my wife, Patricia, 55 years as of this writing!
I’m currently the Director of Retired Affairs, DMAFB, AZ.”
Brigadier General Keith B. Connolly is vice commander, 5th Air Force, with headquarters at Yokota Air Base, Japan. General Connolly was born in 1934 in Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Phoenix (Ariz.) Technical High School in 1952 and received an Associate of Arts degree in Business from Phoenix College and Edison University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from New York Regents College in 1976.
The general graduated from Squadron Officer School in 1962, Armed Forces Staff College in 1968 and the Air War College in 1972. The general entered the Air Force in January 1956 as an aviation cadet and, upon graduation in July 1957, received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Greenville Air Force Base, Miss.
He completed F-86 training at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., in June 1958 prior to being assigned to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for F-100 training. His first operational assignment was with the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the Headhunters, at Itazuke Air Base, Japan. From June 1960 until June 1964 his follow-on flying assignments included Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C., and Misawa Air Base, Japan, as a mission-ready aircrew member. He participated in numerous worldwide deployments as a Victor Alert Strike Pilot.
He then was assigned to England Air Force Base, La., where he served as an F-100 flight examiner with temporary duty assignments to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, and Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. In June 1965 he was assigned to the Army at Fort Carson, Colo., as a forward air controller. During this assignment, he qualified as an M60A1 tank commander and attended airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga. After completing the Armed Forces Staff College in August 1968 and F-4 fighter training at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., in July 1969, he was assigned to Cam Rhan Bay Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, as a flight commander with the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron.
While in Southeast Asia he flew 172 combat missions over North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. From October 1969 to August 1971 General Connolly served on the Pacific Air Forces inspector general team at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. Upon graduation from the Air War College in June 1972, he was assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where he transitioned to A-7s. During this tour, he served in several positions, including squadron operations officer, chief of standardization and evaluation, and instructor pilot. T
he general was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., in March 1974 and served as a regional actions officer with responsibility for the U.S. Readiness Command and Alaskan forces. In June 1976 he transferred to the 21st Composite Wing, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, as deputy commander for operations.
From July 1977 to March 1979 he served as the inspector general for the Alaskan Air Command. General Connolly then was assigned as the senior Air Force adviser to the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, flying A-7s. He assumed command of the 507th Tactical Air Control Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., in August 1980. While he served in this position, the wing provided ground and tactical air controllers for worldwide deployment, including the 1st Operational Tactical Air Control Squadron to Saudi Arabia.
From August 1982 to April 1984 General Connolly served as vice commander, 314th Air Division, with duty as commander, Detachment 1, Yongsan Army Garrison, South Korea. Returning to Hickam Air Force Base in April 1984, he became commander of the 15th Air Base Wing. He remained at Hickam and became the inspector general for Pacific Air Forces in April 1985. Additionally, he supervised the inspector general and congressional complaint programs, and the fraud, waste, and abuse program within Pacific Air Forces.
In September 1986 he became commander, 313th Air Division, Kadena Air Base, Japan. He assumed his present duties in September 1987. The general is a command pilot with more than 4,800 flying hours in F-86s, F-100s, A-7s, F-4s, F-15s, and F-16s. General Connolly is rated as a master parachutist with 107 jumps. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Army Commendation Medal. He was promoted to brigadier general on June 1, 1985, with the same date of rank.
- 80TH TFSQ
- 352ND TFSQ
- 416TH TFSQ
- ALO Fort Carson CO.
- 358TH TFSQ
- Commander 507TH TAC Wing
- Commander DET One Yongsan, Korea
- Commander Hickam AFB
- Commander 313 Air Division
- Vice Commander 5TH AIR FORCE
Awards & Decorations
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Commendation Medal
Flight Hours: 4,800+
Military & Civilian Education
- Armed Forces Staff
- Air War College
- Business Degree, New York State Regency