Retired June 1, 1989.
Brigadier General (Dr.) Rufus M. DeHart is director of professional affairs and quality assurance, Office of the Surgeon General, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
General DeHart was born in Christiansburg, Va., in 1935, and graduated from Radford (Va.) High School in 1953. He received a doctor of medicine degree from the Medical College of Virginia in 1965 and a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. He is a 1974 distinguished graduate of the Air War College resident program at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
The general entered the Air Force in January 1955 as an aviation cadet and completed training at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, in April 1956. Following advanced training at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., he was assigned, first, to the 76th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Presque Isle Air Force Base, Maine, and McCoy Air Force Base, Fla., and, later, to the 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Keflavik Airport, Iceland, flying F-89s and T-33s. During this time, he served as a T-33 and F-89 instructor pilot and maintenance test pilot, and squadron instrument examiner.
Ending his initial tour in the Air Force in December 1959, he joined the Virginia Air National Guard, flying F-84F's, and entered the University of Richmond. He began medical school in 1961 and re-entered the Air Force in July 1964 as a senior medical student. After receiving his doctor of medicine degree, General DeHart completed an internship at the David Grant U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and the Aerospace Medicine Residency Program.
From July 1969 to August 1970 he was assigned to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as director, base medical service, and flew 160 combat hours in F-4E's. The general then was assigned to Beale Air Force Base, Calif., for three years as chief of aeromedical services and surgeon, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, in support of the SR-71 program. During this time he was a T-38 instructor pilot.
After completing the Air War College, General DeHart became director of base medical services at George Air Force Base, Calif., where he also flew F-4s. In July 1977 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., Office of the Surgeon General, as chief of flight medicine. From August 1978 to October 1983 he served as chief of the Aerospace Medical Consultants Division, Headquarters Air Force Medical Service Center, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. He then transferred to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and served as command surgeon, Pacific Air Forces. In October 1984 he was assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Va., where he served as command surgeon, Tactical Air Command. He assumed his present duties in January 1987.
General DeHart is board-certified in aerospace medicine and is a fellow of both the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Aerospace Medical Association. In 1977 he was selected as a consultant and in 1979 as a special assistant to the U.S. Air Force surgeon general for aerospace medicine. From 1981 to 1983 General DeHart served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Aerospace Medical Association and as chairman of the Aviation Safety Committee. He was president of the Society of U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeons from 1982 to 1983.
The general is a chief flight surgeon and a command pilot with 3,500 flying hours. He has flown Air Force aircraft in every major command, as well as the Air National Guard. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" device and Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars.
He was promoted to brigadier general June 1, 1985, with same date of rank.