Retired Aug. 31, 1994.
Brigadier General David Oakes is commander of the 552nd Air Control Wing, Air Combat Command, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. He is responsible for the worldwide operations of the E-3, EC-135, Airborne Command and Control EC-130 aircraft and the 3rd Combat Communications Group.
General Oakes was born in 1944, in Dover, N.J. He earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering science in 1966 from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree in public administration from Auburn University in 1976. He completed Air Command and Staff College in 1976, Air War College in 1985, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1978.
Upon completion of undergraduate pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., in 1967, General Oakes received his pilot wings. His first assignment was to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., for combat crew training in the F-100 Super Saber. From May 1968 to May 1969 the general was an F-100 pilot with the 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tuy Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam.
He returned to the United States and transitioned to the F-102 Delta Dagger at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas, from July to September 1969. He then was trained in the F-106 Delta Dart and T-33 Shooting Star at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., until December 1969.
General Oakes next was assigned to Kingsley Field, Ore., where he flew the F-106 and T-33 with the 460th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. In April 1971 he moved with the 460th to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. In May 1972 he transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as an action officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Studies and Analysis, Fighter Division.
From June 1973 to July 1975 General Oakes was an instructor and director of tactics research and development at the U.S. Air Force Interceptor Weapons School, Tyndall Air Force Base. He then attended Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from August 1975 to June 1976. In July 1976 he returned to Tyndall for weapons controller training. From August 1976 to August 1977 he commanded the 795th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, Cape Romanzoff Air Force Station, Alaska.
In September 1977 the general was transferred to the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., where he served as test manager in the Aerial Attack Branch, working on AIM-9L and AIM-7F missiles and the F-16 radar. He then became test director for the advanced medium range air-to-air missile and conducted the operational utility evaluation.
General Oakes went through upgrade training in the F-15 Eagle with the 426th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., in July 1982, and then was assigned as assistant deputy commander for operations, 36th Tactical Fighter Wing, Bitburg Air Base, West Germany. In June 1983 he became director of operational requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. He attended Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base from July 1984 to June 1985.
The general next moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where he was vice commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, which flew F-15s. In June 1986 he was selected to command the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and flew both the F4E and the F-16 as the wing converted from the Phantom to the Falcon.
In June 1988 General Oakes became deputy for resources in the Program and Evaluation Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources, Air Force headquarters. His primary duties there involved development, preparation and presentation of Air Force program objective memorandums.
He was assigned in May 1990 to Albrook Air Force Station, Panama, as commander, 830th Air Division, 12th Air Force, Tactical Air Command, and as U.S. Southern Air Forces forward. As 830th Air Division commander, General Oakes was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the 24th Composite Wing and associate units at Albrook and Howard Air Force Base. As U.S. Southern Air Forces forward he represented the U.S. Southern Air Forces commander as the on-scene agent for air assets of the unified U.S. Southern Command.
In February 1991 the 24th Composite Wing was deactivated and the 830th Air Division was redesignated Air Forces Panama with General Oakes remaining as its commander. From December 1991 until July 1992 General Oakes commanded the 24th Wing, 12th Air Force, Tactical Air Command, with headquarters at Howard Air Force Base, Panama. Also, he was the Southern Air Forces forward, the air component commander's forward representative to U.S. Southern Command. He assumed his current command in August 1992.
The general is a command pilot with more than 2,800 flying hours, including 289 combat missions. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He was promoted to brigadier general July 1, 1990, with same date of rank.