Retired Oct. 1, 1986.
Brigadier General Billy J. Rhoten is deputy chief of staff, intelligence, for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Air Force Space Command, with consolidated headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
General Rhoten was born in 1936, in Loveland, Colo., and graduated from Fort Collins (Colo.) High School in 1954. He earned a bachelor of science degree in physical science from Colorado State University at Fort Collins in 1958. The general graduated from Squadron Officer School in 1965; Air Command and Staff College in 1973; and the Air War College in 1979; all at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He also completed the Advanced Business Management Course at Columbia University in 1982.
He entered the Air Force in August 1958 and received his commission as a second lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Following navigator training at James Connally Air Force Base, Texas, General Rhoten received advanced radar bombardment training at Mather Air Force Base, Calif. He then served as a navigator-bombardier in B-57s with the 3rd Bombardment Wing at Johnson and Yokota Air Bases, Japan, from August 1960 to July 1963.
In August 1963 General Rhoten returned to the United States to enter undergraduate pilot training at Webb Air Force Base, Texas. He earned his pilot wings the following year and was assigned to Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., as a T-38 instructor pilot until January 1969.
General Rhoten then began crew training at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, and was assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as an RF-4C aircraft commander. In November 1969 he transferred to Headquarters 7th Air Force at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, as an air operations officer. Upon returning from Southeast Asia in July 1970, General Rhoten became air officer commanding of Cadet Squadron 26 at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
Following graduation from Air Command and Staff College, the general was assigned as the first commandant of Air Training Command's Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in June 1973. From October 1975 to July 1978, General Rhoten was assigned to the Pentagon as chief of the Air Force Academy Group, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. The general graduated from the Air War College in June 1979 and returned to the Air Force Academy as vice commandant of cadets. He was named commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in July 1981. In February 1973 he was assigned as a command director at North American Aerospace Defense Command Combat Operations, Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colo. He assumed his present duties in March 1985.
The general is a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze star devices, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with device. The general also wears the Space Badge.
He was promoted to brigadier general Oct. 1, 1983, with same date of rank.