Terry Gabreski

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Terry Lee Gabreski
Lieutenant General Terry L. Gabreski
Birth name Terry Lee Walter
Born 1952 (age 65–66)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Years of service 1974 – 2010
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center
Battles/wars Operation Allied Force
Spouse(s) Col. Donald Gabreski USAF(ret.)
Relations Gabby Gabreski (father-in-law)

Terry Lee (Walter) Gabreski (born 1952) was the second woman to hold the rank of Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force (USAF).[1] She was the Vice Commander, Air Force Materiel Command,[2] Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, which conducts research, development, test and evaluation, and provides acquisition management and logistics support necessary to keep Air Force weapon systems ready for war. She is the daughter of retired Air Force Brigadier General Alonzo Walter[1][3] and the daughter-in-law of World War II and Korean War fighter ace Colonel Gabby Gabreski.[4] She was the U.S. Air Force's highest-ranking active duty woman until retiring on 1 January 2010, succeeded by Lt. Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger.

Education and personal[edit]

Gabreski was born Terry Lee Walter in 1952, the daughter of United States Air Force Brigadier General Alonzo J. Walter, Jr., then a test pilot, and Doris Walter, who had also been a commissioned officer. After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Louisiana State University, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta, Gabreski joined the USAF, attended Air Force Officer Training School, and was commissioned a second lieutenant on 10 September 1974. She later received a Master of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University in 1978. Gabreski also attended the Executive Program for Senior Officials in National Security which was conducted in 1994 by the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts and the General Manager Program, Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2002.[5][6]

In 1983 she was selected as the USAF Aircraft Maintenance Company Grade Officer of the Year and was awarded the Eugene M. Zuckert Management Award in 1999 as recognition for her top-level Air Force management skills.[5][7]

In 1989 she married Col. Donald Francis Gabreski, a retired USAF pilot, eldest son of World War II and Korean War ace, Col. Francis S. "Gabby" Gabreski, and they had two sons, born in 1992 and 1995 after she had attained the rank of colonel. On her retirement Gabreski noted that she applied three times for pilot training but had been turned down each time because being only five feet tall, she could not meet minimum height requirements for the T-38 Talon trainer.[8]


Prior to her final assignment, General Gabreski also served as commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base[2] (December 2003 - August 2005), which was the first Air Force installation to implement National Security Personnel System (NSPS),[2] as Director of Logistics, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio (August 2001 - December 2003) and as Director of Maintenance for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics at Headquarters U.S. Air Force (January 2000 - August 2001).[5]

Other than these assignments she directed two aircraft maintenance units, served as a squadron maintenance supervisor in three units, commanded three maintenance squadrons and a logistics group and served at the Air Staff, Secretary of the Air Force and Joint Staff levels.[5]

Gen. Gabreski also served as one of the original female Air Training Officers charged with mentoring the first female cadets of the U.S. Air Force Academy.[9] Then-Lt. Gabreski served in this role from January 1976 to September 1977 for the Class of 1980 female cadets.[10]

Operational activities and achievements[edit]

During Operation Allied Force in the 1999 air war against Yugoslavia, General Gabreski directed logistics efforts as the A-4 for the air war across the entire theater. Prior to her position as Vice Commander of AFMC, she was Commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker AFB, Okla. She holds a master aircraft maintenance badge and a basic parachute rating.[5][6]

Lt. Gen. Terry Gabreski (right), Air Force Materiel Command vice commander, and Lt. Col. Dale Parsons, U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School director of special courses, discuss the general's F-16 flight.

Awards and decorations[edit]

United States Air Force Parachutist Badge.svg Basic Parachutist Badge
USAF - Master Maintenance Badge.png Master Maintenance Badge
Headquarters US Air Force Badge.png Headquarters Air Force Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges
Legion of Merit with bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with two width-8 white stripes at distance 4 from the edges.
Meritorious Service Medal with silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Service Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Recognition Ribbon with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes
National Defense Service Medal with two bronze service stars
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korea Defense Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon
Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze star
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with bronze service star
Air Force Training Ribbon

Effective dates of promotion[edit]

Insignia Rank Date
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General  August 1, 2005
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General December 1, 2002
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General March 1, 1999
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel December 1, 1992
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel July 1, 1988
US-O4 insignia.svg Major August 1, 1984
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain September 10, 1978
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant September 10, 1976
US-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant September 10, 1974

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Columbus Ohio to celebrate Air Force Heritage Week". United States Air Force. Air Force Link. Retrieved 15 May 2007. . Her spouse is Col. Donald F. Gabreski.
  2. ^ a b c "Critical mission: assessing spiral 1.1 of the national security personnel system" (PDF). Department of the Air Force. United States Senate. 2006-09-20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  3. ^ Langlois, Kelli. "Grad makes history following father's military footsteps". Louisiana State University. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Biography: Lieutenant General Terry Walter Gabreski". United States Air Force. Air Force Link. May 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  5. ^ a b "Member Details: Terry Walter Gabreski". Delta Delta Delta Fraternity. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  6. ^ "ASC award winners Eugene M. Zuckert Management Award". 2002-01-11. Archived from the original on 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  7. ^ Rolfsen, Bruce (November 20, 2009). "Trailblazer comes to end of 35-year career". Military Times. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2008/12/airforce_academywomen_honored_120808/
  9. ^ http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/104787/lieutenant-general-terry-l-gabreski.aspx

External links[edit]