Retired March 1, 1995.
Brigadier General (Dr.) Thomas D. Gensler is command surgeon, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.
General Gensler was born in Loup City, Neb., and graduated from Morgan County High School, Fort Morgan, Colo. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in speech, English and history from the University of Nebraska in 1958, a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in 1963 and a master of public health degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1977. The general completed Harvard University's Program for Senior Officials in National Security in 1990.
He completed a year's rotating internship at Nebraska Methodist Hospital, and in July 1964 entered the general practice of medicine in Canton, S.D. In August 1964 he was commissioned as a first lieutenant, Medical Corps, with the 114th Fighter Group, South Dakota Air National Guard. In November 1966 he completed the Aerospace Medicine Primary Course at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. General Gensler moved to Omaha, Neb., in July 1967 to continue family practice with the Physicians Clinic as well as serving as a student health physician for the Nebraska Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. He was appointed clinical instructor in family practice for the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in 1969. He continued in these activities until December 1974. He was transferred to the Nebraska Air National Guard 155th Tactical Fighter Group (Tactical Air Command) in August 1969, completing his six-year tour in August 1970.
He entered extended active duty in the Air Force Medical Corps in December 1974 and was assigned to the Flight Surgeon's Office, Langley Air Force Base. After graduating from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in May 1977, he was transferred to Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. There, in June 1978, he completed Phase II of the residency in aerospace medicine and was certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (aerospace). In August 1978 he was assigned to the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, as the first F-16 weapon system flight surgeon. During this assignment, he developed initial programs for the study of hydrazine exposure and the medical response to hydrazine, and the first physical fitness program for high-performance aircraft pilots. Also, he was named the 1979 Tactical Air Command Flight Surgeon of the Year. From July 1980 until June 1983 he was chief of the Aerospace Medicine Division, Office of the Command Surgeon, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. There he developed an educational program for stress reduction in aircrews based on a study of stressors and authored medical standards for NATO Air Warning and Control Squadron aircrews.
In July 1983 he was assigned as director of base medical services of the Yokota Air Base, Japan, Air Force hospital. In July 1985 General Gensler became deputy surgeon and director of professional services/aerospace medicine, Headquarters Strategic Air Command Surgeon's Office, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
In February 1986 he was assigned as command surgeon, Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. There he advised the commander in chief on all medical matters and directed command medical programs, including the inspection of all Pacific Air Forces medical units. He became command surgeon, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, in September 1991. He assumed his current position in June 1992, when Tactical Air Command was deactivated.
The general has more than 900 flying hours in the F-15, F-16, F-4D, KC and EC-135, T-33, F-102, T-37, T-38, C-130 and OV-10, and is a chief flight surgeon. His military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters. He was chosen to be consultant to the Air Force surgeon general in aerospace medicine in February 1983. He served as co-founder and the Air Force representative to the NATO F-16 Medical Working Group from 1979 until 1983.
He was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 3, 1991, with same date of rank.