Merrill A. McPeak


Preferred Name: Tony
Nickname/Call Sign: Tony
Date Of Birth: January 9, 1936
Highest Military Grade Held: General
Hometown: Grants Pass, OR

Biography

From General McPeak’s book Hangar Flying:
Truckers were much admired by Misty. Their side called them “pilots of the ground,” the metaphor causing no offense. We invented a teasing song about them—how lonely it was on the trail; how bad the food was when they got any; how they jacked it up to change tires, slippin’ and slidin’ in the mud; how they picked bugs out of their teeth when Misty poked holes in the windshield. But they did deadly serious work in the most dreadful conditions imaginable. They left their homes in the North and lived on the trail for months, even years, enduring monsoon weather, malaria, animal bites, constant hunger. Mail was collected once a month; an exchange of letters could take a whole season. They got to navigate through this desolate, beat-up countryside, in the dark, without headlights—a job that would be no fun on open turnpike at high noon, nobody shooting at you. And then we dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos—something like our total tonnage during all of World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters—most of it aimed at the trail. We seeded clouds to induce flooding, sprayed Agent Orange, mined the road, installed sensors of the electronic-monitoring McNamara Line. No doubt about it, we extracted a heavy price. In time, the North would fill 72 military cemeteries with the remains of those who built, manned and moved over the road. But move they did, putting through the cargo—the 122 mm rockets that pounded the Marines around Da Nang, the mines that killed our soldiers near the Parrot’s beak, the heavy equipment that in the end would surround and capture the Saigon of memory. Pumping hard, the truckers provided oxygen sustaining the North’s ability to make war in the South. Their reward for each delivery: go get me some more.
The general view is that war long ago lost its personal dimension, the gory flesh-and-bone smell of face-to-face combat. Starting with spears, the technology for killing strangers has progressed through archery to long-range artillery and the ICBM, the workers now far back up the assembly line from the finished product. Even when armies do go toe-to-toe on a large scale, as in the Civil War or World War I, it has somehow gotten less personal, the sides mashed into fleshy, mindless, single-cell stuff, the fighting bacterial, formless. Mostly, nowadays, it’s more antiseptic—rapid armored thrusts supported by air, the killing invisible, done at a remove.
But for some military elites—and here I’d include fighter pilots—combat retains a certain intimacy. The idea of fighting as just business, nothing personal, will survive the first whiz of bullets that pass close but die with the stilled breath of a good-guy truck driver.
(For more information on this publication, click on the tab “Books by General McPeak”)
General McPeak’s Service
General Merrill A. (“Tony”) McPeak entered the Air Force in 1957 as a Distinguished Graduate of the San Diego State College ROTC program. A career fighter pilot, he spent two years with the Air Force’s elite aerobatic team, the Thunderbirds, performing before millions of people in nearly 200 official air shows in the U.S. and overseas. He flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam. Senior leadership assignments included command of the 20th Fighter Wing in NATO, the Twelfth Air Force (and concurrently U.S. Southern Command Air Forces) and the Pacific Air Forces.
He was Air Force chief during a period of very active US involvement overseas, including Operation Desert Storm. While leading the Air Force, he conceived and executed the most extensive reorganization in its history, creating a service better suited to meet the nation’s defense needs.
In 1992, San Diego State University honored General McPeak with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1995, George Washington University gave him its Distinguished Alumni Award, the “George.” He was among the initial seven inductees to the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, and in 2008 was a national co-chairman of Obama for President. In 2010, President Obama appointed General McPeak to the American Battle Monuments Commission. The Commissioners subsequently elected him Chairman. (Source: Https://generalmcpeak.com/about-general-merrill-a-mcpeak/)

Units Assigned

  • December 1959 – August 1961, F-104C fighter pilot, 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron, George Air Force Base, CA
  • August 1961 – May 1964, F-100D fighter pilot, 79th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Station Woodbridge, England
  • May 1964 – August 1965, fighter staff officer, tactical evaluation division, Headquarters 3rd Air Force, South Ruislip Air Station, England
  • September 1965 – December 1966, F-104G instructor pilot, 4443rd Combat Crew Training Squadron; later, F-104G weapons officer, 4510th Combat Crew Training Wing, Luke Air Force Base, AZ
  • December 1966 – December 1968, demonstration pilot, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, Nellis Air Force Base, NV
  • December 1968 – January 1969, F-100D fighter pilot, 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
  • January 1969 – August 1969, operations officer, later commander, Operation Commando Sabre (Misty Fast FACs), Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
  • August 1969 – December 1969, chief, standardization and evaluation division, 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
  • January 1970 – July 1970, student, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA
  • August 1970 – August 1973, air operations staff officer, Mideast Division, directorate of plans and policy, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  • August 1973 – June 1974, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
  • June 1974 – April 1975, assistant deputy commander for operations, 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, FL.
  • April 1975 – June 1975, student, French language training (en route for duty as air attache to Republic of Cambodia), Foreign Service Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • July 1975 – June 1976, military fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, NY
  • July 1976 – July 1977, commander, 513th Combat Support Group, Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England
  • July 1977 – July 1978, vice commander, 406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Zaragoza Air Base, Spain
  • July 1978 – February 1980, assistant chief of staff, current operations, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, Boerfink, West Germany
  • February 1980 – June 1981, commander, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England
  • June 1981 – October 1982, chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany
  • October 1982 – May 1985, deputy chief of staff, plans, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA
  • May 1985 – June 1987, deputy chief of staff, programs and resources, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  • June 1987 – July 1988, commander, 12th Air Force and commander, U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Bergstrom Air Force Base, TX
  • July 1988 – October 1990, commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, HI
  • October 1990 – October 1994, chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

Comments:
Solo/Lead Solo Pilot, USAF Aerial Demonstration Squadron (“Thunderbirds”), 1967-68 (199 official air shows)
Operations Officer, Commander, “Misty” Forward Air Controllers, 1969 (99 Misty Missions, 269 Total Combat Missions)
Commander, 20 TFW
Commander, Twelfth Air Force
Commander, Pacific Air Forces
Chief of Staff, US Air Force
Effective Dates of Promotion
Second Lieutenant June 19, 1957
First Lieutenant May 30, 1959
Captain Oct. 1, 1962
Major May 20, 1968
Lieutenant Colonel Nov. 1, 1972
Colonel April 1, 1974
Brigadier General July 1, 1981
Major General Oct. 1, 1983
Lieutenant General May 22, 1985
General Aug. 1, 1988

Flight Info

Rating: Command pilot, parachutist
Flight hours: More than 6,000
Aircraft flown: F-4, F-4E, F-15, F-16, F-100D, F-104C, F-104G, F- 111
Pilot wings from: Germany, Spain, Mexico, Thailand, Yugoslavia France, Israel, Russia, Bulgaria, Venezuela and Poland

Military Education

1957 – 1958 Officer Preflight Training, Lackland Air Force Base, TX
1958 – 1959 pilot training, Hondo Air Base, Texas, and Vance Air Force Base, OK
1959 F-100 combat crew training, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and Nellis Air Force Base, NV
1970 Armed Forces Staff College
1974 National War College

Civilian Education

1957 B. A., Economics, San Diego State College
1974 M. S., International Relations, George Washington University
1979 The Executive Development Program, University of Michigan Graduate School of Business

BOOKS BY GENERAL McPEAK
Hangar Flying by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  HANGAR FLYING
Below the Zone by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  BELOW THE ZONE
Roles and Missions (The Aerial View Trilogy Book 3) by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  ROLES AND MISSIONS
The Vietnam Chapters: Air Combat in Southeast Asia by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  THE VIETNAM CHAPTERS
Desert Storm by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  DESERT STORM

Biography

Biography

From General McPeak’s book Hangar Flying:
Truckers were much admired by Misty. Their side called them “pilots of the ground,” the metaphor causing no offense. We invented a teasing song about them—how lonely it was on the trail; how bad the food was when they got any; how they jacked it up to change tires, slippin’ and slidin’ in the mud; how they picked bugs out of their teeth when Misty poked holes in the windshield. But they did deadly serious work in the most dreadful conditions imaginable. They left their homes in the North and lived on the trail for months, even years, enduring monsoon weather, malaria, animal bites, constant hunger. Mail was collected once a month; an exchange of letters could take a whole season. They got to navigate through this desolate, beat-up countryside, in the dark, without headlights—a job that would be no fun on open turnpike at high noon, nobody shooting at you. And then we dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos—something like our total tonnage during all of World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters—most of it aimed at the trail. We seeded clouds to induce flooding, sprayed Agent Orange, mined the road, installed sensors of the electronic-monitoring McNamara Line. No doubt about it, we extracted a heavy price. In time, the North would fill 72 military cemeteries with the remains of those who built, manned and moved over the road. But move they did, putting through the cargo—the 122 mm rockets that pounded the Marines around Da Nang, the mines that killed our soldiers near the Parrot’s beak, the heavy equipment that in the end would surround and capture the Saigon of memory. Pumping hard, the truckers provided oxygen sustaining the North’s ability to make war in the South. Their reward for each delivery: go get me some more.
The general view is that war long ago lost its personal dimension, the gory flesh-and-bone smell of face-to-face combat. Starting with spears, the technology for killing strangers has progressed through archery to long-range artillery and the ICBM, the workers now far back up the assembly line from the finished product. Even when armies do go toe-to-toe on a large scale, as in the Civil War or World War I, it has somehow gotten less personal, the sides mashed into fleshy, mindless, single-cell stuff, the fighting bacterial, formless. Mostly, nowadays, it’s more antiseptic—rapid armored thrusts supported by air, the killing invisible, done at a remove.
But for some military elites—and here I’d include fighter pilots—combat retains a certain intimacy. The idea of fighting as just business, nothing personal, will survive the first whiz of bullets that pass close but die with the stilled breath of a good-guy truck driver.
(For more information on this publication, click on the tab “Books by General McPeak”)
General McPeak’s Service
General Merrill A. (“Tony”) McPeak entered the Air Force in 1957 as a Distinguished Graduate of the San Diego State College ROTC program. A career fighter pilot, he spent two years with the Air Force’s elite aerobatic team, the Thunderbirds, performing before millions of people in nearly 200 official air shows in the U.S. and overseas. He flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam. Senior leadership assignments included command of the 20th Fighter Wing in NATO, the Twelfth Air Force (and concurrently U.S. Southern Command Air Forces) and the Pacific Air Forces.
He was Air Force chief during a period of very active US involvement overseas, including Operation Desert Storm. While leading the Air Force, he conceived and executed the most extensive reorganization in its history, creating a service better suited to meet the nation’s defense needs.
In 1992, San Diego State University honored General McPeak with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1995, George Washington University gave him its Distinguished Alumni Award, the “George.” He was among the initial seven inductees to the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, and in 2008 was a national co-chairman of Obama for President. In 2010, President Obama appointed General McPeak to the American Battle Monuments Commission. The Commissioners subsequently elected him Chairman. (Source: Https://generalmcpeak.com/about-general-merrill-a-mcpeak/)

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • December 1959 – August 1961, F-104C fighter pilot, 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron, George Air Force Base, CA
  • August 1961 – May 1964, F-100D fighter pilot, 79th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Station Woodbridge, England
  • May 1964 – August 1965, fighter staff officer, tactical evaluation division, Headquarters 3rd Air Force, South Ruislip Air Station, England
  • September 1965 – December 1966, F-104G instructor pilot, 4443rd Combat Crew Training Squadron; later, F-104G weapons officer, 4510th Combat Crew Training Wing, Luke Air Force Base, AZ
  • December 1966 – December 1968, demonstration pilot, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, Nellis Air Force Base, NV
  • December 1968 – January 1969, F-100D fighter pilot, 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
  • January 1969 – August 1969, operations officer, later commander, Operation Commando Sabre (Misty Fast FACs), Phu Cat Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
  • August 1969 – December 1969, chief, standardization and evaluation division, 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
  • January 1970 – July 1970, student, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA
  • August 1970 – August 1973, air operations staff officer, Mideast Division, directorate of plans and policy, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  • August 1973 – June 1974, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
  • June 1974 – April 1975, assistant deputy commander for operations, 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, FL.
  • April 1975 – June 1975, student, French language training (en route for duty as air attache to Republic of Cambodia), Foreign Service Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • July 1975 – June 1976, military fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, NY
  • July 1976 – July 1977, commander, 513th Combat Support Group, Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England
  • July 1977 – July 1978, vice commander, 406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Zaragoza Air Base, Spain
  • July 1978 – February 1980, assistant chief of staff, current operations, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, Boerfink, West Germany
  • February 1980 – June 1981, commander, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England
  • June 1981 – October 1982, chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany
  • October 1982 – May 1985, deputy chief of staff, plans, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA
  • May 1985 – June 1987, deputy chief of staff, programs and resources, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  • June 1987 – July 1988, commander, 12th Air Force and commander, U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Bergstrom Air Force Base, TX
  • July 1988 – October 1990, commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, HI
  • October 1990 – October 1994, chief of staff, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

Comments:
Solo/Lead Solo Pilot, USAF Aerial Demonstration Squadron (“Thunderbirds”), 1967-68 (199 official air shows)
Operations Officer, Commander, “Misty” Forward Air Controllers, 1969 (99 Misty Missions, 269 Total Combat Missions)
Commander, 20 TFW
Commander, Twelfth Air Force
Commander, Pacific Air Forces
Chief of Staff, US Air Force
Effective Dates of Promotion
Second Lieutenant June 19, 1957
First Lieutenant May 30, 1959
Captain Oct. 1, 1962
Major May 20, 1968
Lieutenant Colonel Nov. 1, 1972
Colonel April 1, 1974
Brigadier General July 1, 1981
Major General Oct. 1, 1983
Lieutenant General May 22, 1985
General Aug. 1, 1988

Flight Info

Rating: Command pilot, parachutist
Flight hours: More than 6,000
Aircraft flown: F-4, F-4E, F-15, F-16, F-100D, F-104C, F-104G, F- 111
Pilot wings from: Germany, Spain, Mexico, Thailand, Yugoslavia France, Israel, Russia, Bulgaria, Venezuela and Poland

Military Education

1957 – 1958 Officer Preflight Training, Lackland Air Force Base, TX
1958 – 1959 pilot training, Hondo Air Base, Texas, and Vance Air Force Base, OK
1959 F-100 combat crew training, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and Nellis Air Force Base, NV
1970 Armed Forces Staff College
1974 National War College

Civilian Education

1957 B. A., Economics, San Diego State College
1974 M. S., International Relations, George Washington University
1979 The Executive Development Program, University of Michigan Graduate School of Business

Images
Video
BOOKS BY GENERAL McPEAK

BOOKS BY GENERAL McPEAK
Hangar Flying by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  HANGAR FLYING
Below the Zone by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  BELOW THE ZONE
Roles and Missions (The Aerial View Trilogy Book 3) by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  ROLES AND MISSIONS
The Vietnam Chapters: Air Combat in Southeast Asia by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  THE VIETNAM CHAPTERS
Desert Storm by [McPeak, General Merrill A.]  DESERT STORM

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