Retired June 1, 1979. Died Nov. 19, 1990.
Brigadier General David E. Rippetoe Jr. is commander of the Pacific Communications Area of the Air Force Communications Service, with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The Pacific Communications Area is responsible for engineering, installing, operating and maintaining on-base and long-haul communications, air traffic control and navigational aid services and facilities for the Air Force and other federal and nongovernmental agencies throughout the Pacific. He is also the deputy chief of staff, communications-electronics, for Pacific Air Forces.
General Rippetoe was born in 1925, in Norfolk, Va. He graduated from Dillon, (S.C.), High School in June 1942. In June 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as an aviation cadet for pilot training. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation at Moody Army Air Field, Valdosta, Ga., in April 1945. General Rippetoe was released from active duty in November 1945 and joined the South Carolina Air National Guard in 1947.
After release from active duty, General Rippetoe attended The Citadel at Charleston, S.C., for three years and then attended the University of South Carolina School of Law. He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1961 and the National Defence College of Canada in 1970.
He was recalled to active duty in October 1950, during the Korean War, and assigned as an F-51 Mustang pilot with the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Lawson Air Force Base, Ga. He completed parachute training at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1951 and became an airborne forward air controller with the 726th Tactical Control Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. In May 1953 he attended the Fighter-Interceptor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and was subsequently assigned in Korea as operations officer of the 36th Squadron, 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing, flying the F-86 Sabrejet. Upon his return to the United States in October 1954, he attended the Advanced Interceptor School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and in July 1955 was assigned to the 326th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Grandview (later named Richards-Gebaur) Air Force Base, Mo.
General Rippetoe returned to Tyndall Air Force Base in July 1958 as an instructor at the USAF Interceptor Weapons School, and in 1959 became the group operations officer of the Air Defense Weapons Center. After completing Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in June 1962, General Rippetoe was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, serving on the Air Staff as interceptor systems operations officer in the Directorate of Operational Requirements.
He went to the Republic of Vietnam in November 1966 to assume command of the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron in the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base. On his return to the United States in October 1967, he was assigned to Headquarters North American Air Defense Command at Ent Air Force Base, Colo., and in 1968 became chief of the Space Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. The following year he was selected to represent the U.S. Air Force at the Canadian National Defence College, Kingston, Ontario.
General Rippetoe become vice commander of the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., in August 1970, and assumed command of the wing in May 1971. Subsequent to that assignment he was sent to Germany and assumed command of the 601st Tactical Control Wing at Wiesbaden Air Base. He was transferred to the U.S. Readiness Command in June 1975, and served as director of communications-electronics, J-6, until becoming deputy director of operations, J-3, in June 1977.
In July 1978 he was assigned to his present position as commander of the Pacific Communications Area, AFCS, with headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, with additional duty as deputy chief of staff, communications-electronics for Pacific Air Forces.
General Rippetoe is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours, including 168 combat missions in the F-4C in Vietnam. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general Feb. 1, 1973, with date of rank Dec. 25, 1972.