Retired June 1, 1982.
Brigadier General Joseph D. Mirth is deputy for Space Launch and Control Systems and the systems program director of the Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle), Space Division, Los Angeles Air Force Station, Calif.
General Mirth was born in 1931, in Flint, Mich. He graduated from Calumet High School in Chicago in June 1949. In 1959 he was awarded bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. He graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1972.
General Mirth entered military service in September 1952 as an aviation cadet. He received his pilot's wings and was commissioned a second lieutenant at Greenville, Miss., in November 1953. He was then assigned to Vance Air Force Base, Okla., as an instructor pilot until January 1957 when he entered Oklahoma State University.
He was assigned to the training with industry program at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., in July 1959. This began a period of eleven consecutive years in which he was closely associated with a variety of space programs and missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and Cape Kennedy (Cape Canaveral) Air Force Station, Fla.
In 1960 he moved to Vandenberg where he served as the project manager and launch director for several early Air Force space programs. In 1965 General Mirth was assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force Special Projects Office in Los Angeles and ultimately was named chief of the Satellite Vehicle Branch for a major space program.
In 1970 General Mirth volunteered for duty in the Republic of Vietnam and served with Headquarters Seventh Air Force in the Directorate of Operations at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. He was responsible for the management of the electronic ground sensor program throughout Southeast Asia. After returning to the United States in 1971, General Mirth attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. In 1972 he was assigned as chief of the F-15 Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Systems, Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
He returned to the space operations field in June 1976 as vice commander, Space and Missile Test Center, Vandenberg Air Force Base. General Mirth assumed his present duties in August 1978.
He has participated in more than 200 space missile launches and wears the master missile badge. The general is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to brigadier general July 1, 1980, with date of rank June 14, 1980.
General Mirth's hometown is Chicago.