Retired Aug. 1, 1988. Died June 21, 1999.
Brigadier General Larry R. Keith is commander, 836th Air Division, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. He is responsible for the 355th Tactical Training Wing, which provides the only close air support training for A-10 pilots in the active force; the 602nd Tactical Air Control Wing, which maintains a combat-ready tactical air control system capable of providing direction to air elements and support to ground forces worldwide with units throughout the western United States; and the 868th Tactical Missile Training Group, responsible for training Air Force members to operate and defend the ground-launched cruise missile weapon system.
General Keith was born in 1935, in Peoria, Ill., and graduated from Peoria's Manual Training High School in 1953. He earned a bachelor of science degree in economics from the University of Tampa in 1970 and completed his master of science degree in political science from Auburn University in 1972. He completed Air Command and Staff College in 1973, Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1974 and the Naval War College in 1979.
The general entered the Air Force in February 1953 as an airman assigned to the 169th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, Peoria. In October 1954 he entered the Aviation Cadet Program at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and after graduation, received his pilot wings at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., in February 1956.
He attended gunnery school at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and after graduating in June 1956, returned to the Illinois Air National Guard with the 169th Tactical Fighter Squadron and served as a fighter pilot. The general entered the active Air Force in October 1961 and remained with the 169th until June 1962, when he was assigned to the standardization and evaluation staff of the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. General Keith flew F-84 Thunderjets and F-4 Phantoms while assigned at MacDill.
In November 1965 the general transferred to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Naha Air Base, Okinawa, where he served as "A" flight commander. He remained with the unit when it moved to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in February 1966. During this tour of duty, he flew 108 combat missions over North Vietnam in F-4 Phantoms and was credited with destroying a MiG-17.
General Keith returned to MacDill Air Force Base in August 1966 and was named chief of academics, 15th Tactical Fighter Wing, Replacement Training Unit. In October 1970 he transferred to Langley Air Force Base, Va., and joined the Tactical Air Command inspector general team as an operations inspector. He entered the Air Command and Staff College in June 1972 and after graduating in July 1973, requalified in the F-4 Phantom while assigned to the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, George Air Force Base, Calif.
In October 1973 he returned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, again as "A" flight commander with the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The general returned to the United States in July 1974 and was assigned as operations officer, 414th Fighter Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. In March 1976 he became the school's squadron commander. Two years later he transferred to the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis as assistant deputy commander for operations.
General Keith entered the Naval War College in June 1978, and upon graduation in June 1979, was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as assistant chief of the War, Mobilization and Plans Division. From June 1980 to May 1981 the general served as a planner for joint operations and National Security Council matters at Air Force headquarters.
In May 1981 General Keith was assigned to Zaragoza Air Base, Spain, and became vice commander of the 406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing. He transferred to the 86th Tactical Fighter Group, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, in January 1982 as deputy commander for operations. He was named group commander in July 1982, and in July 1983 became vice commander of the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing. In March 1984 the general transferred to Bitburg Air Base, West Germany, as commander of the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing. In January 1985 he became deputy chief of staff for operations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force, Rheindahlen, West Germany. He assumed his present duties in June 1987.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 1, 1985, with same date of rank.