Richard Myers

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This article is about the U.S. Air Force general. For other people with the same name, see Richard Myers (disambiguation).
Richard Bowman Myers
Richard Myers official portrait 2.jpg
Myers in September 2002
Born (1942-03-01) March 1, 1942 (age 72)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1965 – 2005
Rank General
Commands held

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
North American Aerospace Defense Command
U.S. Space Command

Commander, Pacific Air Forces
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Air Medal (19)
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Other work Northrop Grumman, Board of Directors

Richard Bowman Myers (born March 1, 1942) is a retired four-star general in the United States Air Force and served as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Chairman, Myers was the highest ranking uniformed officer of the United States' military forces.

General Myers became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on October 1, 2001. In this capacity, he served as the principal military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council during the earliest stages of the War on Terror, including planning and execution of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. On September 30, 2005, he retired and was succeeded by General Peter Pace. His Air Force career included operational command and leadership positions in a variety of Air Force and Joint assignments.

Early life[edit]

Myers was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School in 1960. He graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1965 where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He was commissioned by Detachment 270 of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at KSU.[1] He graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a M.B.A. in 1977. The General has attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; and the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

General Myers entered the Air Force in 1965 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He received pilot training from 1965 to 1966 at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Myers is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours in the T-33 Shooting Star, C-37, C-21, F-4, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, including 600 combat hours in the F-4.

Commander and Chairman[edit]

Prior to becoming Chairman, he served as the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from March 2000 to September 2001. As Vice Chairman, General Myers served as the Chairman of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, Vice Chairman of the Defense Acquisition Board, and as a member of the National Security Council Deputies Committee and the Nuclear Weapons Council. In addition, he acted for the Chairman in all aspects of the Planning, Programming and Budgeting System including participation in the Defense Resources Board.

From August 1998 to February 2000, General Myers was Commander in Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command; Commander of the Air Force Space Command; and Department of Defense manager of the space transportation system contingency support at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. As commander, General Myers was responsible for defending America through space and intercontinental ballistic missile operations. Prior to assuming that position, he was Commander, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, from July 1997 to July 1998. From July 1996 to July 1997 he served as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon; and from November 1993 to June 1996 General Myers was Commander of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

He was the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) during the September 11th, 2001, terror attacks because CJCS Shelton was en route to Europe. However, at the time the Pentagon was attacked, he was on Capitol Hill and not in the Pentagon. He did leave Capitol Hill and spent the remainder of the day in the Pentagon. His office was not damaged during the attack. He officially took position as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) on October 1, 2001. he served as the principal military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council during the earliest stages of the War on Terror, including planning of the War in Afghanistan and planning and execution of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Retirement and Post-retirement[edit]

On 27 September 2005, only three days before leaving his post as Chairman, Myers said of the war in Iraq that, "the outcome and consequences of defeat are greater than World War II." His rise to and stint as Chairman are chronicled in Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's book, State of Denial, as well as his own book Eyes on The Horizon. On September 30, 2005, he retired and was succeeded by General Peter Pace. His Air Force career included operational command and leadership positions in a variety of Air Force and Joint assignments.

Myers receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On November 9, 2005, Myers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His citation reads:

For four decades, General Richard Myers has served our Nation with honor and distinction. He flew some 600 combat hours in the Vietnam War. He later served as Commander in Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Myers played a central role in our Nation's defense while devoting himself to the well-being of the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. The United States honors General Richard Myers for his dedication to duty and country and for his contributions to the freedom and security of our Nation.[2]

In 2006, General Myers accepted a part-time appointment as a Foundation Professor of Military History at Kansas State University. That same year, he was also elected to the Board of Directors of Northrop Grumman Corporation, the world’s third largest defense contractor. On 13 September 2006, he also joined the board of directors of United Technologies Corporation. He also serves on the boards of Aon Corporation, John Deere, the USO and holds the Colin L. Powell Chair for National Security, Leadership, Character and Ethics at the National Defense University. He also has advised the Defense Health Board and served on the Army War College Board of Visitors.[3]

On 26 July 2011, Myers was inducted into the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Distinguished Alumni in a ceremony at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, officiated by Lt. Gen. Allen G. Peck, Commander, Air University.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Gordon R. England, Mary Jo Myers, and General Richard Myers in 2004

General Myers and his wife, the former Mary Jo Rupp, have three children: two daughters and a son.

Quotes[edit]

  • "We train our people to obey the Geneva Conventions, it's not even a matter of whether it is reciprocated - it's a matter of who we are".[5]

Notes[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Air Force document "General Richard Myers Biography".

  1. ^ Ceremony program, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Distinguished Alumni Induction, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 26 July 2011, page 4.
  2. ^ "Citations for Recipients of the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary, White House. November 9, 2005. 
  3. ^ http://bellum.stanfordreview.org/?p=2679
  4. ^ Ceremony program, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Distinguished Alumni Induction, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 26 July 2011, page 4.
  5. ^ Sands, Philippe (2008, 2009). Torture Team. London: Penguin Books. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-14-103132-3. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Howell M. Estes III
Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command
14 August 1998 – 22 February 2000
Succeeded by
Ralph Eberhart
Preceded by
Joseph W. Ralston
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
2000—2001
Succeeded by
Peter Pace
Preceded by
Hugh Shelton
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
2001–2005
Succeeded by
Peter Pace