Military Bios

Brigadier General Graham E. Shirley:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired Oct. 1, 1992.  
Brigadier General Graham E. Shirley is vice commander, Air Force Intelligence Command, headquartered at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. A major Air Force command, AFIC's 17,000 people worldwide provide timely services, products and resources in the interrelated areas of intelligence, security, electronic combat, foreign technology and treaty monitoring.
General Shirley was born in 1943, in Starkville, Miss., and graduated from high school in West Point, Miss., in 1961. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1961 and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School in 1962. He earned a bachelor of science degree, with majors in engineering management and international affairs, from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1966, and a master of arts degree in international relations from the University of Southern California in 1973. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1970, Air Command and Staff College in 1971, Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1972, Air War College as a distinguished graduate in 1984 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI in 1988.
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation from the academy in June 1966. After completing pilot training in September 1967, he was assigned to Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., flying KC-135s. He attended RF-4C training at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, in November 1969 and was assigned to the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam. In June 1970 the general was transferred to the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, where he was an instructor pilot and squadron executive officer.
In January 1971 General Shirley joined the l0th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Royal Air Force Station Alconbury, England, as an assistant flight commander, flight safety officer and wing chief of safety. He was transferred to Headquarters 3rd Air Force, Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England, where he served as aide-de-camp to the commander from June 1972 to November 1973. He then was assigned to the Air Staff as assistant executive officer to the deputy chief of staff for plans and operations.
In September 1974 General Shirley was assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where he served successively as an F-4E instructor pilot, staff officer at Headquarters Alaskan Air Command, and assistant operations officer with the 43rd Tactical Fighter Squadron.
The general transferred to Strategic Air Command in October 1976 as a staff officer at Headquarters 8th Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, La. In December 1977, after completing FB-l11A training at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, N.Y., he became the operations officer of the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, Pease Air Force Base, N.H. After attending F-106 training at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., he assumed command of the 84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Castle Air Force Base, Calif., in December 1978.
In July 1980 he was assigned to the Directorate of Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He served as chief of the Middle East-Africa Division, assistant deputy director for regional plans and policy, and deputy assistant director for Joint and National Security Council matters until he entered Air War College in August 1983. After completing F-4 requalification training at Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., General Shirley returned to Europe and served as commander of the 86th Tactical Fighter Group, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, until July 1985.
He then became vice commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station Upper Heyford, England, and in July 1986 assumed command of the wing. The general returned to Air Force headquarters in July 1988 as deputy director for regional plans and policy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. In June 1990 he became vice commander of the Electronic Security Command, Kelly Air Force Base. He assumed his present position in October 1991.
The general is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours. He has been combat ready in the KC-135, RF-4C, FB-111A, F-106A/B, F-4D/E, and F-111E, and flew more than 200 combat missions in Southeast Asia. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" device and 11 oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with oak leaf cluster, Vietnam Service Medal with seven service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. He has been a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London since 1972.
He was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 1, 1988, with same date of rank.
General Shirley's hometown is West Point, Miss.


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