|Born||March 1, 1942|
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
|Service/||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1965–2005|
|Commands held||Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff|
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
North American Aerospace Defense Command
United States Space Command
Air Force Space Command
Pacific Air Forces
Fifth Air Force
|Awards||Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4)|
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Air Medal (19)
Presidential Medal of Freedom
|Other work||Board of Directors, Northrop Grumman|
14th President, Kansas State University
Richard Bowman Myers (born March 1, 1942) is a retired four-star general in the United States Air Force who 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. He also served as the 14th president of Kansas State University from 2016 to 2022.
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.
Myers began serving as the interim President of Kansas State University in late April 2016, and was announced as the permanent president on November 15, 2016. On May 24, 2021, Myers announced that we would be retiring from his duties as President of Kansas State University, and that his last day would be February 11, 2022. He was succeeded by President Richard Linton, the former Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University on February 14, 2022.
Myers was born in Kansas City, Missouri. His father owned a hardware store and his mother was a homemaker. He graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School in 1960. He graduated from Kansas State University (KSU) with a Bachelor of Science 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. He graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery with a Master of Business Administration in 1977. Myers 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.
Myers entered the United States 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 Phantom II, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, including 600 combat hours in the F-4. During his tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Myers often flew official aircraft such as the Gulfstream C-37A and C-37B by himself during official trips. According to his 2009 autobiography (Eyes on The Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security), "one of the pleasures he had as both Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was to be able to sometimes fly on his required travels and stay pilot-qualified."
Commander and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
From November 1993 to June 1996, Myers was Commander of United States Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force at Yokota Air Base, Japan and From July 1996 to July 1997 Myers served as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Myers received his fourth-star in 1997 when he was appointed as commander in chief of Pacific Air Forces. He commanded the Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, from July 1997 to July 1998. From August 1998 to February 2000, Myers was commander in chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States 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, Myers was responsible for defending America through space and intercontinental ballistic missile operations.
Following the appointment of General Joseph Ralston as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), Myers was appointed by President Bill Clinton to succeed Ralston as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in February 2000. He assumed his duties on February 29, 2000. As Vice Chairman, 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.
In August 2001, a year after assuming the role of Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President George W. Bush appointed Myers to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Myers was the first Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be appointed chairman, since the role was established in 1987 after the enactment of Goldwater–Nichols Act of 1986.
September 11 Attacks
On the morning of September 11, 2001 Myers was on Capitol Hill to meet Georgia Senator Max Cleland for his scheduled courtesy calls before his Senate confirmation hearings to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While waiting for the senator, Myers watched a television news network in the outer office of Senator Cleland that a plane had just hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. A few minutes later Myers was informed by his military aide Captain Chris Donahue about the hijacked plane that just hit the second tower of the World Trade Center. Later on General Ralph Eberhart, the Commander-in-Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, managed to contact Myers and inform him about the recent hijacking situation. Myers then immediately left Capitol Hill to proceed back to The Pentagon, where he was informed that this time another commercial airplane had just hit the western side of The Pentagon. During the crisis, Myers became the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, since General Hugh Shelton was en route to Europe for a NATO Summit. Upon arriving at The Pentagon and after a rendezvous with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Myers then conferred with Secretary Rumsfeld about the current situation and the next steps to be taken. Myers took command as the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for half of the day during the September 11 crisis, until General Shelton arrived back in Washington after he aborted his flight to Europe at 5:40 P.M. local time.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Myers was sworn in as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 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. A few days later, on October 7, 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom was initiated. Myers and General Tommy Franks, the commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), coordinated the early stage of Operation Enduring Freedom. Within three months, several radical terrorist groups had been toppled.
Myers also supported the involvement of NATO and allied coalition forces during the War on Terror. As a result of Operation Enduring Freedom, the political regime in Afghanistan was toppled and a new constitution was ratified in January 2004, which provided for direct presidential elections on October 9, 2004.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
During his tenure as chairman, Myers also oversaw the early stage of the invasion of Iraq. Together with CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks, Myers coordinated the plan for the Iraqi invasion and the reconstruction of the country, and also established a combined joint task force in order to focus on post-conflict issues in Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom was initiated on 20 March 2003, which was preceded by an airstrike on Saddam Hussein's Palace and followed by the Fall of Baghdad in April 2003. Operation Iraqi Freedom eventually led to the downfall of Saddam Hussein's 24-year regime and the captured of Hussein on December 13, 2003. Following Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Coalition Provisional Authority was established in Iraq and was succeeded by the Iraqi Interim Government, which presided over parliamentary elections in 2005.
In order to gain support on both the War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq, Myers often travelled abroad in order to strengthen military relations with other allied nations, such as Mongolia. He was the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit Mongolia. Myers met with Mongolian President Natsagiin Bagabandi at Ulaanbaatar on January 15, 2004. As a result, the United States gained the support of the Mongolian government and Mongolia also deployed troops in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In February 2004 Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a coup d'état, leading to conflict within the country. The United States deployed Marines to Haiti as part of the multinational Operation Secure Tomorrow from February to July 2004. On March 13, Myers visited the United States troops deployed to Haiti.
Together with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Myers conducted weekly press briefings at The Pentagon on the War on Terror.
One of Myers' achievements as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was his pursuit of the transformation of the United States military. Myers orchestrated substantive changes to the nation's Unified Combatant Command's plan following the September 11 attacks, leading to the establishment of United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) as the new Unified Combatant Command to consolidate and coordinate domestic defense. It was also to support local, state and federal authorities in order to assist the newly created Department of Homeland Security, especially in responding to national emergencies. Following the establishment of USNORTHCOM, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was also merged into USNORTHCOM and the United States Space Command was merged in to the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) in order to consolidate and strengthen the nation's nuclear deterrent and space missions. Like his predecessors, Myers also continued to promote a joint culture among the nation's military services in order to avoid interservice rivalry.
In order to emphasize the War on Terror, Myers created what was known as "National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism 2002-2005." The Strategic Plan provided a new guidance to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, regional commanders and Unified Combatant Command commanders for a multi-pronged strategy that aimed at targeting global terrorist networks.
Myers' tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ended in September 2005 and he was succeeded by General Peter Pace, who had served as Myers' Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Staff. Myers retired from active duty on September 30, 2005, after more than forty years of active service. His retirement ceremony was held at Fort Myer, Virginia, with President George W. Bush delivering the retirement remarks.
Awards and decorations
|Command Pilot Badge|
|Master Space and Missile Badge|
|Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge|
Since 1999, General Myers is an Air Force Gray Eagle. He also received the Badge of the Commander of the Military Forces (Paraguay).
In 2001, General Myers received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement presented by Awards Council member and Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Joseph W. Ralston, USAF.
- Rating: command pilot
- Flight hours: more than 4,100 
- Aircraft flown: F-4, F-16, F-15, T-33, C-21 and C-37
Effective dates of promotion
|Second Lieutenant||February 3, 1965 |
|First Lieutenant||December 5, 1966 |
|Captain||June 13, 1968 |
|Major||September 1, 1976 |
|Lieutenant colonel||December 1, 1979 |
|Colonel||September 1, 1984 |
|Brigadier general||April 1, 1990 |
|Major general||September 1, 1992 |
|Lieutenant General||November 12, 1993 |
|General||September 1, 1997 |
Retirement and post-retirement
On September 27, 2005, only three days before leaving his post as chairman, Myers said of the Iraq War 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: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security.
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.
In 2006, 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 September 13, 2006, he also joined the board of directors of United Technologies Corporation. He also serves on the boards of Aon Corporation, John Deere, the United Service Organizations 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.
On July 26, 2011, Myers was inducted into the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Distinguished Alumni in a ceremony at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, officiated by Lieutenant General Allen G. Peck, Commander, Air University.
On April 14, 2016, Myers was selected as the interim president of Kansas State University, which he began on April 20. On November 15, 2016, the Board of Regents removed his interim title and announced Myers would become the university's 14th president.
Myers currently serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Medisend College of Biomedical Engineering Technology and the General Richard B. Myers Veterans Program. Medisend College of Biomedical Engineering Technology.
On May 24, 2021, Myers announced he would retire from his role as president of Kansas State University as of February 11, 2022. He released the following statement as part of his announced retirement, “Mary Jo and I truly loved our time at K-State and working with students, faculty and staff. Being president of my alma mater was one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had. It was an honor to help move K-State forward on many fronts. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the many talented and dedicated people who comprise the K-State family.”
Myers and his wife, the former Mary Jo Rupp, have three children: two daughters and a son.
- Myers, Richard B., and Malcolm McConnell. Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security. New York: Threshold, 2009. ISBN 9781416560128
- "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".
General Myers delivers his opening remarks during a town hall meeting at The Pentagon auditorium on August 14, 2003.
General Myers greeted U.S. service members deployed to Saudi Arabia on March 17, 2005.
- "Board of Regents Announce Interim President at Kansas State University". kansasregents.org. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
- "New K-State President Richard Myers says his "honeymoon is over"". November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "President Myers announces retirement". www.k-state.edu. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
- "New K-State President Richard Linton to assume duties in mid-February". www.k-state.edu. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
- "General Richard B. Myers". Retrieved August 9, 2019.
- Ceremony program, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Distinguished Alumni Induction, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, July 26, 2011, page 4.
- Myers, Richard Bowman (March 17, 2009). Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security. Threshold. ISBN 978-1416560128.
- Perry, Mark (October 24, 2017). The Pentagon's Wars: The Military's Undeclared War Against America's Presidents. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465079711.
- Woodward, Bob (September 30, 2006). State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0743272230.
- of Staff, Joint Chiefs (September 30, 2005). "15th Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Bowman Myers". www.jcs.mil. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- "DoD News: Myers Thanks Mongolians for Iraqi Freedom Help". January 13, 2004. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- "Operation Secure Tomorrow". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
- "Marines Clean-up after Operation Secure Tomorrow". www.lejeune.marines.mil. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
- "Haiti's President Forced Out; Marines Sent to Keep Order". The New York Times. February 29, 2004. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
- "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
- "Citations for Recipients of the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary, White House. November 9, 2005.
- "Bellum » Special Guest: Gen. Richard Myers on NATO and the Defense Budget". Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- Hanna, John (April 14, 2016). "Ex-joint chiefs chairman named interim Kansas State leader". Washington Times. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
- "Richard Myers, retired Air Force general, selected as 14th president of Kansas State University". November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "Kansas State University President Richard Myers announces retirement". KSN-TV. May 24, 2021. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
- Sands, Philippe (2008). Torture Team. London: Penguin Books. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-14-103132-3.
- Kansas State University profile
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Myers on Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on July 15, 2010
- Senate Armed Services Committee Inquiry into the Treatment of Cetainees I'm U.S. Custody, United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, 2008
- General Richard B. Myers Veterans Biomedical Equipment Technology Program
- Medisend College of Biomedical Engineering Technology