Retired July 1, 1988.
Brigadier General Earl S. Van Inwegen is deputy chief of staff for operations, U.S. Air Force Space Command, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
General Van Inwegen was born in 1938, in Evergreen Park, Ill., and graduated from high school in Calumet City, Ill., in 1956. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1960 and a master's degree in business administration from San Diego State University in 1971. He also is a 1983 graduate of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Advanced Management. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1964, Air War College in 1979, Armed Forces Staff College in 1974 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1975.
After entering the Air Force as a second lieutenant with a regular commission from the academy, he completed pilot training at Spence Air Force Base, Ga., and Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in September 1961. The general's first operational assignment was with the l3th Aeromedical Transport Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., as a C-131 aircraft commander and instructor pilot.
In February 1965 General Van Inwegen joined the 309th Air Commando Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, and served as a C-123 aircraft commander and instructor pilot. He returned to the United States in January 1966 and was assigned to the 86th Military Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base as a C-141 aircraft commander and instructor pilot. In June 1967 the general began a three-year tour of duty at Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as command presentations officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans.
After completing graduate school at San Diego State University, he transferred to the Space and Missile Systems Organization, Advanced Ballistic Re-entry Systems, Norton Air Force Base and Los Angeles Air Force Station, both in California, from February 1972 to January 1974. When he graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College in July 1974, he served as chief of the Advanced Requirements Branch in the Office of Plans and Programs, Headquarters Aerospace Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, Colo.
The general completed the Air War College in 1979 and became chief of the Space Operations Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Readiness, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. In September 1981 he was assigned as deputy director of the newly organized Directorate of Space in the same deputate at the Pentagon. With formation of Space Command in September 1982, General Van Inwegen was assigned to Colorado Springs, Colo., as assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, for space and missile warning, Headquarters North American Aerospace Defense Command and Air Force Space Command, with consolidated headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base. In February 1984 he was named deputy chief of staff, intelligence, for NORAD and Air Force Space Command. In February 1985 General Van Inwegen became the Joint Chiefs of Staff representative, Defense and Space Negotiations, Washington, D.C., and Geneva, Switzerland. He assumed his present duties in August 1986.
General Van Inwegen is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal. He also wears the master space badge, missile badge and the excellence-in-competition pistol shot badge.
He was promoted to brigadier general Feb. 1, 1985, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1984.