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 (2)
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.

Awards and decorations[edit]

COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png Command Pilot Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Medal (19 awards in total)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
V
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Outstanding Unit Award with Valor V and three oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Organizational Excellence Award with oak leaf cluster
Combat Readiness Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with two bronze service stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with three campaign stars
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award (10 awards total)
Air Force Longevity Service Award
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Air Force Training Ribbon
MSC ribbon-military.png Meritorious Service Cross (Canada)
Légion d'honneur (France, degree of Commander)
Commemorative Medal of the Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic First Class ribbon.jpg Commemorative Medal of the Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic First Class
Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) ribbon.png Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) Singapore Distinguished Service Order (Military)
Ribbon Bar of the Grand Cross of The Order of Military Merit José María Córdova.svg Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit José María Córdova (Colombia)
Order of Military Merit (Canada) ribbon (CMM).jpg Commander of the Order of Military Merit (Canada)
EST Order of the Cross of the Eagle 1st Class BAR.png Estonian Order of the Cross of the Eagle First Class
JPN Kyokujitsu-sho Paulownia BAR.svg Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Paulownia Flowers
Tong-il Security Medel Ribbon.png Order of National Security Merit (South-Korea) Tong-il Medal
Ribbon Bar of the Member of The National Order of Merit Antonio Nariño.svg Medal of the Order of Military Merit Antonio Nariño (Colombia) (Grade unknown)
Star of Romania Ribbon.PNG Order of the Star of Romania (Romanian: Steaua României), Grand Officer (standard peacetime ribbon shown)
Grande ufficiale BAR.svg Military Order of Italy, Grand Officer
JPN Zuiho-sho (WW2) 1Class BAR.svg Order of the Sacred Treasure, Grand Cordon
Vietnam gallantry cross-w-palm-3d.svg Gallantry Cross (Vietnam) with palm
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
VNCivilActionsRibbon-2.svg Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Since 1999, General Myers is an Air Force Gray Eagle.
Other foreign awards include:

  • Order of the Balkan Mountain, without ribbon, 2nd Class (Bulgaria)
  • Badge of the Commander of the Military Forces (Paraguay)

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:

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