Mike’s last USAF job was as vice commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, but he is better known in the Super Sabre Society as the USAF F-100 Thunderbird’s solo pilot.
Mike was born in 1937, in New York City and graduated from Fordham Preparatory School, Bronx, NY, in 1954. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Georgetown University in 1958 and continued graduate studies in night school at Columbia University in 1959. The general earned a master of arts degree in government and international studies from the University of Notre Dame in 1979. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1963 and Armed Forces Staff College in 1971. Mike was also a currently a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Notre Dame.
Mike was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Georgetown University in 1958. He entered pilot training in October 1959 at Malden Air Base, MO, training in T-34s and T-28s. He transferred to Webb Air Force Base, TX, in May 1960 for training in T-33s and completed pilot training in November 1960 as a distinguished graduate. After completing advanced fighter and weapons delivery training in F-100s at Luke Air Force Base, AZ, and Nellis Air Force Base, NV, he was assigned in October 1961 to the 417th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, as an F-100 pilot. In October 1965 he was assigned as an F-100 flight commander with the 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron, England Air Force Base, LA. In July 1966 he deployed with the squadron to Phan Rang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.
In January 1967 he became an A-1H pilot adviser to the Vietnamese air force with the Air Force Advisory Group, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. He returned to F-100s as an instructor with the Air Force Fighter Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base from September 1967 through January 1969. He then served as a demonstration pilot (solo) with the Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, also at Nellis, flying F-100s and F-4E Phantom IIs, until January 1971.
Back to school again, he completed Armed Forces Staff College in July 1971 and was assigned to the Fighter and Reconnaissance Manning Section, Air Force Military Personnel Center, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, as a resource manager. He completed his tour of duty there in May 1974 as chief of the Fighter Section. Next Mike was assigned as operations officer for the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, from October 1974 to August 1975. He then served as commander of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron and, subsequently, as assistant deputy commander for operations with the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC, until August 1977.
After completing a research master’s program at the University of Notre Dame in June 1979, Mike was chosen to head for the Pentagon as chief, Senate Liaison Division, Directorate of Legislative Liaison. He was responsible for advising members of the U.S. Senate on Air Force issues and programs. In March 1981 he became vice commander of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, UT.
Still on the fast track, he was was assigned as commander of the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing at Nellis Air Force Base in August 1981 and subsequently commanded the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis from May 1982 to May 1984. The 57th Fighter Weapons Wing included the Air Force Fighter Weapons School; Red Flag; fighter weapons test, evaluation and tactics development; adversary threat training; the Aggressors; and the Thunderbirds. General Kerby then returned to Air Force headquarters as deputy director of legislative liaison and became director in August 1986.
Mike is command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours and more than 350 combat flying hours. He has flown F-100s, A-1H’s, F-4E’s, F-5s, F-111s, F-15s and F-16s. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Air Gallantry Medal with gold wings, and Republic of Vietnam Air Service Medal.