Retired Sep. 1, 1983.
Brigadier General Melbourne Kimsey is command director in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex for the North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
General Kimsey was born in 1930, in Danielsville, Ga. He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Georgia in 1953 and master of science degree, in business administration from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1966. As a distinguished military graduate of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 1953 and in the Regular Air Force in 1954. He is a graduate of Squadron Officer School, 1962; Air Command and Staff College, 1966; and the Air War College, 1979; all located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
He entered active duty in July 1953 and graduated from pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in 1954. He served with the Strategic Air Command as a KC-97 pilot at March Air Force Base, Calif., until October 1956. He was then assigned to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe as a pilot flying B-45s, B-66s, T-33s and L-20s at Royal Air Force Station Alconbury, England.
In 1959 General Kimsey transferred to the 23rd Bombardment Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., as a B-52 aircraft commander and squadron operations officer. He entered the Air Command and Staff College in 1965, and after graduation was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., as an air officer commanding. While there he was active in the pilot training programs as an instructor in soaring and he served as president of the aero club.
Transferring to Tactical Air Command in August 1968, he served as operations officer for the 428th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. From May 1970 to June 1971, General Kimsey flew 211 combat sorties and 317 hours in F-100s and was commander of the 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, and assistant deputy commander for operations, 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, Phan Rang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.
He returned from Southeast Asia to SAC headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., as chief of Bases and Units Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans. In June 1972 he become deputy commander for maintenance and later vice commander of the 509th Bombardment Wing, Pease Air Force Base, N.H. He served on temporary duty as commander of the 340th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Wing at U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Airfield, Thailand, until December 1973. Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned to the Directorate Of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as chief of the Strategic Forces Division and subsequently as the assistant deputy director for force development. He was responsible for the planning and long-range development of U.S. Air Forces.
In October 1976 General Kimsey was assigned to 8th Air Force as commander of the 97th Bombardment Wing, Blytheville Air Force Base, Ark. He was active in civilian community affairs as well as leading a wing charged with maintaining a strategic strike force of B-52 bombers and a global air refueling commitment with KC-135 tankers. He assumed the position of deputy director of programs, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Evaluation, at Air Force headquarters in September 1978. His primary responsibility was to chair the Program Review Committee and to develop the Air Force program for the chief of Staff and secretary of the Air Force for presentation to the secretary of Defense for development of the Air Force and subsequent Defense Department Five Year Development Plan. The general became chief of tactical systems, research and engineering at the National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade, Md., in September 1980 and assumed his present duties in September 1981.
The general is a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.
He was promoted to brigadier general March 1, 1978, with date of rank Feb. 28, 1978.