Colonel Paul Rost was born in 1940 in Jamaica, New York City, and raised in the small town of Malverne on Long Island. He graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ in June 1962 and was commissioned in the Air Force as a Distinguished ROTC Graduate.
Paul entered Undergraduate Pilot Training in Class 64D at Williams AFB, AZ in November 1962 and trained in the T-37B and T-38A. He graduated in December 1963 and was assigned to Combat Crew Training in the F-100 at Luke AF, AZ from February to September 1964. He served a three-year tour as an F-100D Bomb Commander in the 492 TFS sitting nuclear alert during the Cold War at his home station of RAF Lakenheath, England; and also while on temporary duty to Aviano AB, Italy, and Cigli AB, Turkey.
From December 1967 to December 1968, he flew 350 combat missions in the F-100 from Tuy Hoa AB, RVN. Following tours as a T-37 Instructor Pilot/Flight Examiner and Civil Engineer, he returned to South East Asia in May 1975 as an F-4E combat-ready pilot where he served in the 25 TFS at Udorn RTAFB in Thailand until the final withdrawal of USAF fighters in December 1975.
Colonel Rost served as Operations Officer of the 34th TFS flying F-4Ds at Hill AFB, Utah in 1976-77, and in 1979-81 served as Commander of the squadron as it became the first fighter squadron to be equipped with the F-16A. Serving as a Replacement Training Squadron, the squadron became the first to report mission-ready in the new airplane. He also was the Top Gun in the Wing’s first F-16 Turkey Shoot competition and his squadron was the Top Gun squadron throughout his tour as Commander. The squadron trained NATO pilots from Norway and Denmark, and the first 12 Israeli AF pilots to be qualified in the F-16.
From 1982-87, Colonel Rost served in various positions in the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center including Director of the System Safety Division, and Director of the Reports and Analysis Division of the Air Force Safety Center.
His awards include the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses for Heroism, two Distinguished Flying Crosses for Meritorious Achievement, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Silver Star, the Air Medal with 16 Oak Leaf Clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, plus others.
He retired from the Air Force in 1987.
During his career, Colonel Rost was qualified in the T-37B, T-38A, F-100C, and combat-ready in the F-100D/F, F-4D/E, and F-16A/B aircraft.