Retired Aug. 1, 1980.
Brigadier General Kenneth R. Fleenor is deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He is responsible for monitoring and providing staff support to pilot, navigator and survival training programs at nine bases and several detachments.
General Fleenor was born in 1929, in Bowling Green, Ky., where he graduated from College High School in 1947. He then attended Western Kentucky University, graduating in 1952 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture and biology. General Fleenor graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1967.
He was commissioned through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program in January 1952, and was awarded his pilot wings at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, in May 1953. Following additional training at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., General Fleenor was assigned to McGhee-Tyson Airport, Tenn., flying the F-86.
In May 1954 General Fleenor was assigned in Japan where he served as a pilot, assistant flight commander and flight commander with the 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. In February 1957, he returned to the United States for duty as a flight instructor at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, serving as flight commander and officer in charge of the standardization board. While at Laredo, in 1958, General Fleenor graduated from Air University's Squadron Officer School. In March 1962 he was selected for an exchange tour with the Navy at Meridian, Miss., and Pensacola, Fla., as a flight instructor.
Following this Navy exchange tour, General Fleenor had the distinction of helping to introduce the F-4 fighter-bomber to the Air Force inventory. He was among the first group of Air Force pilots who, in 1963, with borrowed F-4s from the U.S. Navy, established an F-4 combat training center at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. In August 1964 he moved to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to become the operations officer and squadron commander in the Air Force's first F-4 wing.
In early 1967, General Fleenor attended the Armed Forces Staff College. After graduating, he was requalified in the F-4 and sent to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Then, on Dec. 17, 1967, while flying his 87th mission over North Vietnam, General Fleenor was shot down. He was taken prisoner near Hanoi where he was held captive for more than five years.
Following repatriation in 1973, he underwent pilot requalification at Randolph in both the T-37 and the T-38 trainer aircraft. Remaining at Randolph, General Fleenor became the assistant deputy commander for operations. He served in that capacity until August 1974 when he became base commander, a position he held until July 1975 when he assumed the senior position of 12th Flying Training Wing commander.
General Fleenor was appointed assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Air Training Command, in April 1978. He assumed his present position on July 17, 1978.
General Fleenor is a command pilot with more than 5,400 flying hours logged in jet fighters and trainers. He has 184 combat hours. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster and "V" device, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" device and five oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general July 1, 1978, with date of rank June 16, 1978.