Retired July 1, 1986.
Brigadier General Gerald C. Schwankl is the Air Force competition advocate general, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Research, Development and Logistics, and special assistant for competition, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development and Acquisition, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Washington, D.C.
General Schwanki was born in 1931, in Breckenridge, Minn., and graduated from Everett (Wash.) High School in 1949. He received a bachelor of science degree in architectual engineering from Washington State University in 1955 and another in aerospace mechanical engineering (summa cum laude) from Arizona State University in 1965. The general was awarded a master of science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1979. He has completed Squadron Officer School, and Air Command and Staff College, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
Following commissioning through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, the general entered pilot training at Hondo Air Base, Texas, and graduated in July 1956. His first operational assignment was with the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, Etain Air Base, France. From 1956 to 1959, while in France, General Schwanki flew F-86s and F-100s, and was squadron intelligence officer.
From 1959 to 1962, General Schwanki served as senior air surveillance officer and combat center training officer for the 25th North American Air Defense Region, Air Defense Command, McChord Air Force Base, Wash. The general then completed his studies at Arizona State University and was assigned as a space systems analyst in the Foreign Technology Division of Air Force Systems Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, from 1965 to 1966.
After completing combat crew training in A-1E's at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in 1966, General Schwankl remained there as an A-1E gunnery instructor for American and Vietnamese pilots. In July 1967 he was assigned to Project Tropic Moon 1 doing operational testing on a night reconnaissance and strike system using low light level television on the A-1E.
In January 1968 he was assigned with Project Tropic Moon to the 56th Special Operations Wing, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. While there he flew 145 night combat missions in A-1s from Nakhon Phanom and Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he served as assistant operations officer and operations officer.
Upon his return to the United States in February 1969, General Schwankl was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as chief of the Programs Branch, Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. The general was responsible for providing test facility planning and weapons systems program support.
In July 1971 he returned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a staff development engineer in flight test engineering with the 4950th Test Wing, providing engineering support and flying as a test pilot. From December 1971 to June 1976, General Schwankl was assigned to the B-1 Systems Program Office, where he held several key positions including airframe project manager, deputy director and chief of the Projects Directorate, and finally deputy chief engineer.
General Schwankl then transferred to Norton Air Force Base, Calif., as director of engineering for the Minuteman III and M-X for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles Program Office, Space and Missiles Systems Organization.
He returned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in July 1979 as deputy for engineering, Aeronautical Systems Division. The following year he moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., as program manager for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, a joint, multinational program for the U.S. Air Force and Navy as well as Germany and the United Kingdom. In April 1982 he was named deputy commander for research, development and acquisition, Armament Division, Air Force Systems Command, also at Eglin Air Force Base. In September 1983 he returned again to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as deputy for tactical systems, Aeronautical Systems Division, where he provided program direction for the F-15, F-5, A-10, Maverick missile, advanced tactical fighter and other tactical systems. He assumed his present duties in February 1985.
The general is a command pilot with more than 3,300 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.
He was promoted to brigadier general April 1, 1982, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1981.