Retired Oct. 1, 1984.
Brigadier General (Dr.) Richard D. Hansen fills the dual role as command surgeon for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and deputy command surgeon, U.S. European Command. His office is located at U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
General Hansen was born in 1929, in Bedford, Ind. He moved to Bloomington, Ind., as a child and graduated from University High School there in 1947. He received a bachelor of science degree, cum laude, from Indiana University in 1951, a doctor of medicine degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1954, and a master of public health degree, cum laude, from the Harvard University School of Public Health in 1958.
After entering the Air Force as a first lieutenant in June 1954, General Hansen completed an internship at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco in July 1955. He was assigned to the Primary Course in Aviation (later Aerospace) Medicine at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where he was designated a flight medical examiner in October 1955. He next was assigned as chief of aerospace medicine, 20th Tactical Hospital, Royal Air Force Station Wethersfield, England. He was accepted for the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Medicine residency training program and in August 1957 entered the Harvard School of Public Health. The general graduated from Harvard in June 1958 and continued his residency training with the second year at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Randolph Air Force Base and the final year at Headquarters Air Materiel Command and the Aeromedical Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
From July 1960 to March 1963, he served at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., as chief of aerospace and preventive medicine. While there, he was named "Air Defense Command Flight Surgeon of the Year." General Hansen next moved to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., where he was officer in charge of the cadet dispensary and chief of aerospace and preventive medicine. During his tours of duty at Minot Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy, he was active in the U.S. Space program, serving first as a medical flight controller on the tracking ship positioned in the Indian Ocean, then at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and, finally, as medical flight controller in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the first manned orbital flight.
Transferring to the Republic of China in December 1963, General Hansen served as senior medical adviser to the Chinese air force surgeon general in Taipei, Taiwan, until May 1965. He then returned to the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, where he served successively as instructor and as chief of the Aerospace Medicine Branch. While there he was responsible for the Air Force's residency training program for flight surgeons.
From July 1969 to July 1972, the general served as hospital commander and wing surgeon at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. He then became 7th Air Force surgeon and commander of the 377th U.S. Air Force Hospital at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. While there he flew more than 70 combat missions, primarily in O-2A's and OV-10s, as Sundog/Covey flight surgeon. He was the last Air Force physician to leave the Republic of Vietnam at the end of the war in March 1973 and was then assigned to the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base as chief of the Education Division.
In July 1976 he transferred to the Air Force Military Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base, where he was appointed surgeon. In August 1978 General Hansen was assigned as command surgeon, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. He assumed his present duties in September 1982.
He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine in Aerospace Medicine, past president of the Society of USAF Flight Surgeons, fellow of both the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Aerospace Medical Association, and author of a number of professional publications in the field of aerospace medicine.
General Hansen holds a private pilot's rating for both single engine/land and gliders and is rated a chief flight surgeon. He has more than 2,500 flying hours, including 400 in single engine jet aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with "V" device and four oak leaf clusters, as well as several awards from the Republic of Vietnam, including the Air Service Medal and the Gallantry Cross.
He was promoted to brigadier general Feb. 2, 1978, with date of rank Jan. 20, 1978.